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Friday, January 01, 2010

Buttermilk waffles with candied apple pecan topping

New Years Day... feeling relaxed and generous. Steve adores waffles and I almost never make them. These were very, very good, and totally worth the trouble.  Even Athena, who swore she didn't want any, devoured them.

The waffles came from Smitten Kitchen. The topping was my own creation.

Rich Buttermilk Waffles
Adapted from How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk*
2 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola or other neutral oil for brushing on waffle pan

Combine the dry ingredients. Mix together the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt and the egg yolks. Stir in the butter and vanilla.
Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients. Beat the egg whites with the whisk or electric mixer (spotlessly clean ones work best) until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter.
Spread a ladleful or so of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.
* The buttermilk can be substituted with 1 1/4 cups of milk at room temperature, mixed with two tablespoons white vinegar, left to clabber for 10 minutes.

Candied apple and pecan topping

1 lg Granny Smith apple, chopped
2TBS butter
1/2C pecan halves, roughly broken
1-2 TBS brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon

Melt butter in saute pan, add apple and pecan and stir to coat. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over all, and saute until apples are soft and pecans are crunchy. Serve over waffles, pancakes, french toast or oatmeal.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Delving in again

After reading Julie & Julia last weekend, I've been thinking about my own favorite cookbooks. While Betty Crocker (1972 ed.) is my "go to" book, my favorite has to be "Cooking Secrets from Around the World" by Pamela McKinstry. It's not even that I've made so many of her recipes, I haven't. But they all sound so delicious, I think I may want to try.

Pamela was a successful restaurant owner (she invented the Morning Glory muffin) before moving to Africa to cook at a safari lodge. Then she hooked up with the Earthbound Farms folks and now serves as their consulting chef and cookbook co-author.

Today I made two recipes out of BC, but as soon as I can get a food photography lesson I'm  going to start cooking from CSAW. There are three recipes for veal, which I do not plan to cook. Everything else is fair game. mmmmm...


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Grilled chicken and apple salad

Steve wanted a grilled chicken Caesar tonight but since I'm back on the WW wagon I made a different salad for myself.

For 1 serving (11pts)

8oz boneless skinless chicken breast (5pts)
2tsp olive oil (2pts)
chopped romaine lettuce
1 small gala apple, cored and chopped (1pt)
3TBS Trader Joes balsamic vinaigrette dressing (3pts)

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and the olive oil; rub in to thoroughly coat. Grill on the BBQ at medium for about 10 min or until done, turning once. Toss lettuce with dressing, place on plate. Slice chicken in to thin strips or chunks and place on salad, sprinkle apple pieces on top. Enjoy!

This salad is very filling, and has a whole day's worth of protein. It would also be good with spinach, or mixed greens. You could certainly reduce the amount of chicken if you want, which would reduce the points.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Steve requested this as a Father's Day treat. Since we were traveling on Father's Day, I made it tonight. I read several recipes to get the general idea, then made up my own. According to Steve, "This tastes just like the restaurant!"

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (one per adult) between sheets of wax paper until they are pretty thin. Spread a little bit of dijon mustard over each piece, using your hands to make sure it is even and pressed into the chicken a little bit.

Roll Canadian bacon slices around a piece of string cheese, two slices per piece of cheese. Place the bacon-wrapped cheese at one end of the chicken, and roll up, tucking the ends around the cheese to keep it in. Place the chicken roll in a baking dish, seam side down, and repeat with the remaining pieces. Rolls should be fairly close together, so they don't come apart. Salt and pepper to your liking.

Melt a little butter (a tablespoon or so per roll, depending on how rich you like it). Dribble half of the butter over the rolls, then sprinkle liberally with breadcrumbs. Pat down between the rolls to be sure crumbs cling to the sides. Dribble remaining butter over all, then sprinkle a little more breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, and let set for a few minutes prior to serving.

Per request, I served this with a blue cheese salad topped with roasted hazelnuts. Mmmmmm...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pumpkin bran loaf (or muffins)

Sam loves my baked goods, and this is one of his favorites.

1.5c oat bran
.5c flour
.5c brown sugar
2tsp baking powder
1 - 2 tsp spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cider spices)
.25tsp salt
1c cooked mashed pumpkin (or sweet potato)
.5c milk
1 egg
2TBS olive oil

Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. In separate bowl, beat egg, milk, pumpkin and oil until well blended. Slowly add wet mixture to dry and stir until well combined. Do not overmix. Pour into well-greased 9 x 5 loaf pan and bake at 350 for about 50min or until done.

Options: For muffins, pour in lined or greased muffin cups, bake at 400 for 20min. You could also add raisins or chopped pineapple tidbits, or nuts. This recipe is really forgiving, so get creative.

Originally from Recipezaar, with modifications.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chickpea curry

Becca sent me this recipe -- so yummy. Perfect for when you need to atone for an over indulgence. Very hearty and healthy.

Chickpea Curry

1 big or 2 small onions, chopped
oil for sauteing
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T ginger, chopped
1t cinnamon
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
1/4 - 1/2 t cayenne (or more if you like it really spicy)
2 cans garbanzos, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
1 can light coconut milk

Saute the onion until translucent, add garlic, ginger and spices. Saute a few minutes more. Add everything but the cilantro and simmer for ~30 minutes, more or less. If it gets too thick, add some water. You'll want it saucy. Add cilantro, serve over hot rice.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Black Bean Soup

I hardly ever make black bean soup the same way. Tonight's version was particularly well-received:

Black Bean Soup
olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
5-6 jalepeno slices, minced
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can/box diced tomatoes (13.7oz)
lime juice (1 TBSP or so)
chile powder (to taste)
salt & pepper (to taste)

Saute onion, garlic, red pepper and jalepeno peppers over medium heat until veggies are soft and onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add water if soup is too thick. Use potato masher to smash beans and make a nice gravy.

Serve with sour cream and homemade tortillas.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Perfect Dinner

This is not *my* perfect dinner. My friend recently had a baby, and I made dinner for her family last week. My friend called me during dinner a month or two ago, and she oohed an ahhed when I told her what we were eating, so I knew I had to cook it for her when the time came. What did I serve? A very simple meal:

*Falafel balls (from a mix) fried in coconut oil
*Homemade tortillas, rolled a little thick to be more like pita or naan
*Sliced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers for garnish
*Tzatziki sauce (plain yogurt, chopped garlic, diced seeded cucumber, salt & white pepper)

And the capper, Mixed Nut Chocolate Pie.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Award winning blueberry coffee cake

A couple of weeks ago, our local Farmers Market held a blueberry bake-off. I thought my favorite coffee cake would taste extra yummy with the addition of local organic blueberries, and I was right. I won first place in the "crumbly" category -- my reward was a market poster and $25 in "Market Bucks" to spend at any vendor.

Unfortunately, the contest was overshadowed by the County Fair that weekend, and the sad news that our local organic blueberry farm was over-picked for the season. I got what may have been the last of their blueberries at the Wednesday market that week. But all that didn't stop me from bragging about my culinary expertise to any and all who would listen. Including you.

All I did was add a cup or so of fresh blueberries to my standard coffee cake recipe. I also used all white flour, and plain yogurt. For the topping, I subbed chopped pecans for the coconut. I made a full recipe and baked it in two 9" round cake pans. One for entering, one for family to enjoy. Delish.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Baked Potato Soup

I made this tonight by adapting several recipes. It can be made over the course of the day, which is what worked for me. You could also just make it and eat it!

Baked Potato Soup
2 medium russet potatoes, baked
half a yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2TBS butter (or more to taste)
1-2TBS olive oil (or more to taste)
2TBS chicken broth powder
3TBS flour
half a cup spicy jack cheese, grated
1 cup milk (more or less)
Salt & pepper
garlic croutons (optional)

Bake the potatoes early in the day. Chop onion and garlic, saute with butter and olive oil in 3qt saucepan until onions are translucent. Chop baked potatoes (skin & all) into small cubes; add to onions and stir well. Smash potatoes a bit in pan. Measure broth powder and flour into quart jar and fill with cold water. Shake to mix thoroughly. Add to saucepan and whisk well. Bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened, whisking frequently. Add cheese and whisk until melted. Salt & pepper to taste.

At this point, I took the soup off the stove, cooled it down, covered it, and put the whole skillet in the fridge. You could just keep going if you are ready to eat.

(If necessary, reheat soup on low until warm throughout)

Wisk in enough milk to bring soup to desired consistency. Continue heating but do not boil. Check seasonings, and serve with croutons sprinkled on top.

Serves 2-4

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Nothin' says luvin' like...

I have been a baking maniac the last few days. Thursday I made banana muffins using a recipe I got at my bridal shower. "Absolutely never fail and easy" was the tagline. If anyone wants it, I will post.

Yesterday, I made homemade tortillas for our lunch-time quesedillas. Then after the kids went to bed, I made cinnamon rolls and a loaf of bread from this recipe. I modified it by making the full-yeast version, but doing the second rise overnight in the fridge. A bit dense (the dough, not me) but still very good. I used almost all whole wheat pastry flour.

Then tonight, I made these cookies. Absolutely the easiest cookies ever. The recipe made 16 good sized cookies, with a bit of spare dough for tasting. (Yes, Steve, I am mostly over my fear of salmonella from cookie dough). I used shortening, and white flour. But hey, all the ingredients were organic! Which means the batch cost a bit more than two bits like the recipe says, but still pretty darned cheap.

In the midst of all this baking (or maybe because of it) I have re-ordered my kitchen somewhat so that I always have a clean work space. It makes everything sooooo much easier.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bar Cookies

As promised. These are the best, easiest cookies to make, and people rave about them. Look at the ingredients. What's not to love? This is also a good one for children to help with. And the raw dough is amazing (if you are into that kind of thing). I adapted this from a couple of other recipes.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bar Cookies
(I make mine w/organic ingredients)

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour (I used half whole wheat pastry, half regular white)
1 cup oats
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Grease 9 x 13 cake pan. Blend butter and sugar together, add egg yolk and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add in flour one cup at a time; mix in oats and chocolate chips. Pat batter into cake pan, covering entire bottom of pan with even layer of dough. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 15 min before cutting into small squares. Makes a lot of very rich cookies.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Coffee Cake

The only other coffee cake I have made is my grandmother's Rivel Kuchen, which I make every Christmas. This coffee cake was chosen because I had all the (organic) ingredients in my kitchen. Very quick, easy and tasty.

Yogurt Coconut Coffee Cake (from Breakfast in Bed)
.5 cup butter
.5 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour (I used part whole wheat pastry, part all purpose white)
1 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
1 cup yogurt (I used vanilla nonfat)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
.33 cup sugar
.33 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
.5 cup coconut (I used unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, and sugar. Beat in eggs. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture. Stir in yogurt and vanilla; mix well. For topping, in a small bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, and coconut.
Pour half the mixture into a greased and floured 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle with half the topping. Pour remaining batter on top and sprinkle with remaining topping. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until cake tests done.

Serves 12

Note: I just put all the topping on top, none in the middle. You could get by with using a little less this way, and it is easier.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Chocolate Stout Cake

Steve calls this my "Three sticks of butter and a can of beer" cake. I call it delicious. Adapted from

12oz Guinness (buy the 14oz can and have a few sips)
3 sticks butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for dusting pan)

3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

.33 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 TBS cocoa
2 TBS vegetable oil
1.5 tsp vanilla
2 - 4 TBS hot water

Preheat oven to 350. Spray large Bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with cocoa powder. Shake off excess. Bring Guiness and butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. (This makes a lot of batter!) Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 85 minutes, until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Transfer pan to metal rack; cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, cool completely.

To prepare glaze: melt butter in saucepan, whisk in cocoa and oil. Blend in sugar and vanilla. Stir in water, one tablespoon at a time, until glaze is of proper consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Curried Couscous w/Chicken

Can also be made without chicken, as a side dish (omit romaine lettuce). Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Serves 3-4 as a light main dish.

1.5 cups Israeli couscous
1 TBS butter
2 cups water
.25 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
.25 cup good olive oil
1tsp white wine vinegar
1tsp curry powder
.25 tsp ground turmeric
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large chicken breast, cooked and chopped
.5 cup grated or small-diced carrots
.5 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
.5 cup dried currants
.25 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white & green parts)
.25 cup small-diced red onion
Several cups chopped romaine lettuce

Mix couscous with water and butter, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender. Add more water during cooking if needed. Fluff with a fork.

Wisk together yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, and spices in a medium bowl. Add couscous and toss well to coat. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve at room temperature over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Coming attractions

I've been cooking and baking a lot lately for other people, which leads to the very flattering "I must have this recipe!" request. I love it, obviously, or I wouldn't have this blog. Soon, you will see recipes for the following:

Orzo BFO
Chocolate Stout Cake
Fresh Shiitake Mushroom appetizer
Chocolate chip oatmeal bar cookies
Curried couscous w/chicken

And maybe a few other things I have forgotten about...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Frugal eating - What's for Dinner?

We spend (I should say I spend) way too much to feed our family. Obviously, this hasn't changed since we switched to organic. I am looking for help with inexpensive, healthy, TASTY meals that I can make for my family. I will be using organic ingredients, so keep that in mind when making your suggestions (i.e. no 10 for $1 deals on canned corn at Safeway).

Can you help? Post your best for all to see. Bonus points if you actually calculate the cost.

ps - I don't use my freezer for leftovers, so the maximum serving size needs to be 6. We do eat leftovers for lunch occasionally.

Peanut Butter Granola

I have become entranced with the Hillbilly Housewife. Thanks to an insanely frugal friend, I checked it out to get the recipe for homemade granola. This stuff is sooooooo good. I tweaked the recipe a little to accomodate what I had on hand, but it was all over and done in about 15 minutes. Steve had a big bowl of it this morning, and Sam and I have been snacking on it today.

Peanut Butter Granola
2 tablespoons margarine (I used butter. Organic, natch)
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey (I didn't have enough so I used some maple butter too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Begin by melting the margarine and peanut butter together in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the honey, vanilla and salt. Stir the mixture until it is smooth and hot throughout. It doesn’t need to boil. Add the oats. Stir until the oats are completely coated with the sticky gooey peanut butter mixture. It will be chunky. Turn the mixture into an ungreased cookie sheet, or a large 9 by 13-inch pan. Spread the granola out evenly and bake it at 375° for 10 minutes. It will be brown and crispy. Now remove it from the oven and allow it to cool right there in the pan. Break it up into pieces after it is cooled. Transfer the granola to a clean coffee can or sealed canister. Add the raisins, if you are using them, when the granola is cool.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

spaghetti & mushrooms

There is a guy here in town, a good customer at the store, who grows mushrooms. Each year, he brings Steve a big bag of luscious, fresh mushrooms. The first year, I was suspicious and lacked confidence and ended up throwing them out. This year, the grower told Steve exactly how his lovely oyster mushrooms (which I saw for sale at the co-op today for $8.99/lb) should be cooked for maximum flavor. The trick is to sear them in a hot, dry pan for about five minutes until crispy. Then add butter and whatever else you want to use to flavor them. They won't pick up as much of the other flavors, but will retain more of their woodsy goodness.

I roughly chopped the shrooms and seared as directed. Then I added butter (a lot, I confess), some chopped portabello mushrooms, lots of coarse ground salt & pepper, the juice of one large lemon, and four cloves of garlic (chopped). Sauteed until brown and yummy, then mixed with whole wheat spaghetti noodles and blanched brocolli florettes tossed in olive oil. Add some shredded parmesan, and yum!

If you find yourself with a pound of oyster mushrooms, I highly recommend this recipe. Actually, it would be good with just portabello caps as well, or any mushroom you like.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Harvest for Hope

Everyone should read this book. I just read it for my book club and it has changed the way I shop for food. We were already on the "buy local" train, and we switched to organic milk over a year ago. But now it is quite different.

Unlike my high fructose corn syrup freak out, I did not clear my shelves of anything non-organic. I gave myself permission to use up what I already had, but replace it with better choices when the time came. I found that there were too many choices (not enough acceptable choices) at my local supermarkets, so I have come to rely on the Food Co-op and Key City Fish. I expect to use the Farmer's Market more this year than I ever have.

We have not become vegetarians. We don't even compost. But I did ask QFC (where I get a latte five days a week) to start offering organic milk as an option. They did, and I am not the only one requesting it. I only buy organic produce, and I especially look for the signs that say it comes from a local supplier. Cheese is now organic, as is all our meat. We are fortunate to have not one but two organic bakeries in the area, one only three blocks from our house. One of them even sells balls of frozen pizza dough. (Sidenote: I made my first pizza a few nights ago -- using just olive oil and garlic as a base, no red or white sauce. I added spinach, chopped salami, kalamata olives, and three kinds of cheese. It was GOOD.)

OK, enough from me. Just read the book. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Banana Nut Muffins

These happen to be vegan. They are very tasty, and higher protein than ordinary muffins. Use the ripest bananas you have, for extra sweetness. They are not "beautiful" but more of an every day type of muffin.

14oz (1 tub) SOFT tofu, drained
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cup whole-wheat flour
1.5 cup white flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin pans with non-stick spray, or coat with butter.

Crumble tofu into bowl of electric mixer. Add bananas in chunks, mix until smooth. Scrape down sides, add sugar and vanilla and process until blended.

In separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to the banana/tofu and beat until just smooth. Add nuts and mix (do not overmix).

Drop batter into prepared pans (this makes about a dozen large muffins and a dozen mini muffins). Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until browned, springy to the touch and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan or on wire rack.

These are dense, hearty muffins. Kids love the mini size. They do not crumble, so are not too messy. They keep well for a few days in a plastic bag. Would probably freeze well too.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Birthday Breakfast

Steve brought me the latest issue of The Week shortly before his 40th Birthday and said, "You could make me this for breakfast." Since he usually asks for donuts, I happily obliged. The recipe serves four; we pigged out and ate double portions each. We regretted it. If you are only cooking for two, adjust the recipe accordingly.

Slow-scrambled eggs with prosciutto

4 slices rustic bread, about half an inch thick
1TBS olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half
6 eggs, at room temperature
2TBS butter, divided
.25tsp salt
Pinch of white pepper
4 slices prosciutto di Parma (I used Soprasata instead)

Brush bread slices with olive oil. Toast bread in large skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Rub each slice with cut garlic clove and set aside.

Whisk together eggs, 1TBS butter cut into small pieces, salt, white pepper. Melt remaining 1TBS butter in 9-inch nonstick skillet over low heat. Add eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to set on bottom, about 2 minutes.

Continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, until eggs become creamy, with texture resembling small-curd cottage cheese. Continue cooking and stirring until they begin to thicken and become less glossy but are not quite done, 8 to 15 minutes. Remove eggs from heat and stir for about a minute to finish cooking. They should be very creamy, with very small curds.

Divide eggs onto toasted bread and spread over each slice. Top each serving with slice of prosciutto.

Serves 4 Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 09, 2006

not quite right

It was my night to cook for my friend tonight, and I had a lovely menu prepared:

Spicy pumpkin soup w/Mexican cream & toasted pepitas
Tomato & cucumber salad w/cilantro
Ficelle (small thin baguette)
(no dessert - we're taking the month off from sweets)

I won't post the soup recipe because it came out way too thin, despite the fact that I halved the amount of broth it called for. What were they thinking? But want I wanted to document here was how wonderful the crema and pepitas were. If the soup had been the proper weight, it would have been a most lovely presentation. If you have never made Mexican cream, try it sometime drizzled over any thick soup. Lentil or black bean come to mind. Just mix equal parts sour cream and heavy cream together, with a little lime juice and chill for two hours or up to a day. Mmmmm.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lentil Stew

"Oooh, you should definitely blog this." - Steve
"This doesn't taste like diet food at all." - Steve
"Mmmmm... well, I like sausage... mmmmm, that's good." - Sammy

Lentil Stew

1 can 99% fat free chicken broth
1 can (see above) water
1 cup uncooked lentils
1 tube reduced fat Jimmy Dean sausage
1 sm yellow onion, chopped
1lb white mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
2 carrots, grated
1.5 TBS butter, divided
2 TBS flour

Pour broth and water into large saucepan, add lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer with lid vented for 30 minutes. Check to be sure they are tender before adding other ingredients.

While lentils are cooking, brown sausage, breaking up into small chunks. When fully cooked, spoon into a bowl and set aside. Add .5 TBS butter to pan (with any leftover brown bits from the sausage that might be stuck there), add onions and sautee over medium heat until soft, brown and sweet. Spoon onions into a bowl and set aside.

In same pan, add another .5 TBS butter and sliced mushrooms. Grind salt & pepper liberally over mushrooms, sautee until done. Add mushrooms, sausage and onion to saucepan with (now done) lentils. Stir well and leave on low heat.

Add final .5 TBS butter to pan with 2 TBS flour to make a roux. Slowly wisk in liquid from lentil pot, simmering over medium high heat to make a gravy. Add as much of the lentil liquid as you like, 1 cup or so. When it makes a nice gravy, return to the lentil pot and stir well.

Serve in wide bowls with grated carrot garnish.

(Note: for those of you who care about such things, this recipe has approximately 1600 calories total, half of which is from the sausage. I estimate that my portion and Steve's were about 600 each, and Sam's was 400 - although he didn't finish it. Athena had pears and toast.) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Fish Tacos & Black Bean Salad

This is a very easy, nutritious meal that (with a little planning) can be thrown together in about 15 minutes. I trade cooking duties with a friend once a week, and this is what I made tonight.

Black Bean & Corn Salad (make early in the day or the night before)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 cup (or so) frozen whole kernel corn, cooked
2-3 chopped roma tomatoes
.50 purple onion, diced
chopped cilantro to taste

Mix all together, cover and chill.

Fish Tacos
.50 to 1lb halibut filet, no skin or bones (you could substitute any mild white fish)
olive oil
chili powder
lime juice
chopped cilantro
.50 small green cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
thin corn tortillas

Heat olive oil, chili powder and lime juice in skillet until hot; add halibut and grind some salt & pepper over all. Sautee until fish breaks apart and most of oil is absorbed. Meanwhile, prepare cilantro, cabbage, and avocado. When fish is done, stir in cilantro. Warm tortillas in the microwave, and serve. To assemble, place a small mound of fish mixture on warm tortilla, top with cabbage and avocado, fold over and enjoy!

ps - Steve likes to top his with salsa; perhaps you will too.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Diet dinner #1

We haven't actually started the diet yet (that's for Jan 1), but since I was shopping with that in mind, I bought mostly diet-friendly stuff (and a couple of last-minute splurges!)

I sauteed a *bunch* of sliced white mushrooms in a tiny bit of butter, while boiling some pre-cooked flavored chicken sausage (sundried tomato & basil). I soaked a bag of baby spinach in hot water to wilt, then spun to remove the water and placed it in a serving dish. When the sausages were hot, I cut them into bite sized pieces and tossed them in with the mushrooms. Sauteed a bit to brown, then spooned over the spinach and served.

Yummy. Now on to some last minute chocolate...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chocolate-Pecan Snowballs

I hosted a cookie exchange this weekend, and this was my offering. You can see them in the picture, near the back of the table, in the green glass bowl. I also made some of the shortbread version, because I got tired of rolling little balls.

Chocolate Shortbread Two Ways

2 sticks (.5lbs) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup finely chopped pecans
about 2 cups powdered sugar

In large bowl of a standing electric mixer beat together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks, 1 at a time, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Mix in cocoa and pecans until well blended. Beat in flour gradually, until just combined well.

Form dough into 1-inch balls and arrange about 3/4 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. You may also press part of the dough into a square baking pan if desired, to create shortbread cookies instead of snowballs.

Bake at 350 until just firm and beginning to brown, about 18 minutes. Cool on baking sheets five minutes.

For snowballs, toss balls while still warm in powdered sugar. Set aside to cool, then toss again. They make wonderfully white snowballs, and the chocolate is a nice change from the usual shortbread.

For shortbread cookies, allow to cool completely in the pan, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares. A delicious and less time-consuming alternative; also not so "Christmasy."

If making snowballs only, this recipe yields 5-6 dozen cookies.

Friendly fudge

This is basically the recipe for "Friendship Fudge" from the PDN, but I exchanged the vanilla for Tuaca.

3 cups (18oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 2/3 semi-sweet, 1/3 milk chocolate)
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
dash salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts (optional) -- I used pecans
1.5 tsp vanilla (or Tuaca, or mint extract, or??)

In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chcolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt. Remove from heat; stir in nuts and vanilla. Spread evenly onto wax paper-lined 8 or 9 inch square pan.

Chill two hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off paper and cut into squares. Store leftovers covered in the fridge. (I stored them in the fridge for a day, then took them out and they are still fine two days later)

Note: This is "cheater's fudge" to me, because it is not really cooked. It got rave reviews from my husband and friends, but it is not my dad's fudge. Which is, of course, the standard by which all other fudge is judged.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Apple Pan Puff

It was beautiful, and I forgot to take a picture. It was also very good, and "held" me for most of the day. Steve liked that it was not too sweet, and Sam ate a bunch too.

Apple Pan Puff
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
.25 cup butter
3 eggs
.50 cup flour
.50 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven to 450. Saute apples in butter until soft. Spread apples evenly over the bottom of a glass or ceramic pie plate. In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add flour and beat until smooth. Stir in milk, vanilla and salt. Pour over apples. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

This is how the recipe appears in the cookbook ("Breakfast in Bed" -- a wedding gift). I made a few modifications: I used three small fuji apples, because that is what I had on hand. I did not peel them. I had four eggs and three hungry people, so I used all four eggs and increased the flour and milk a bit. I baked it in a rectangular Emile Henry ceramic dish, which made for lovely presentation but caused some butter to bubble out onto the bottom of my oven (joining the other miscellany encrusted there). Next time I'll use a larger dish or put a baking sheet under the pan to catch the drippings. I also sprinkled some cinnamon-sugar on top when I removed it from the oven. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Beef Stew

I think it has been at least 15 years since I made beef stew, maybe longer. And before that, well, we're talkin' High School or Jr. High Home Ec class. Yeah, I'm not a big stew person. But today at the store I was pondering what I had in my pantry/fridge, and saw a nice big pack of beef chunks just calling out to me. So here is what I made:

Beef Stew in the Crock Pot

stew meat
salt & pepper
corn oil

Dredge stew meat in flour that has been liberally sprinkled with salt and pepper. Heat enough corn oil to just barely cover the bottom of a large straight-sided skillet. Brown stew meat.

diced tomatoes

Coarsley chop root veggies (peeled or not) and place in bottom of large crock pot. Add browned stew meat and any leftover oil in the pan. Top with chunky slices of onion. Pour a can of diced tomatoes (I used the kind with jalepeno peppers in it) over all and pat down to make sure the juice gets to the bottom. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.

Remove cover and stir. Turn heat up to HIGH and cook for another hour or so, until a nice gravy forms. Enjoy!

ps- I will probably add some fresh garlic next time, but I was short of prep time today. Quantities are individual preference, and will vary with the size of crock pot you have and also whether you want left overs or not. A bit of salt and pepper wouldn't hurt either; we just seasoned ours at the table.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Best Pound Cake

This is what you bake when you need something sweet and comforting but you have nothing except the very basics in your cupboard. Just be sure you have enough time, as it needs to bake for quite a while. Delicious on its own, or with some fresh berries or a scoop of sorbet.

Bishop's Cake
(makes one bundt or two loaves)

1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour pan(s).
Cream butter and sugar gradually; beat until fluffy.
Add flour, stir just enough to blend.
Add lemon juice and vanilla; stir well.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. You can cover it with foil for final 30 minutes if it starts to get too dark.
Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Note: I double this recipe and it makes three nice sized loaves. They keep for a week, wrapped in foil. I expect they would freeze well also.

Disclaimer: This is from the original "Silver Palate Cookbook."

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The littlest Wilmart loves her food too

 Posted by Picasa

Roasted beet and fennel salad

I made this a few weeks ago, so I hope I remember what I did. It was very tasty. I roasted the beets and fennel a day in advance. I wrapped them each in foil, with a little olive oil on the fennel (just the white part, with the tough core removed). The beet skins slip right off when done. The next day, I chopped the beets and fennel, and tossed them with some chopped kalamata olives. I drizzled a little olive oil and vinegar on a bed of arugula, then heated the veggies in the micro and spooned them over the greens. Some salt & pepper, and voila! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wacky vegetarian

Today was Farmers Market day, and when I unpacked my Farm Share I also cleaned out the fridge a bit. This resulted in several items being tossed in the trash, some overdue cleaning, and a bunch of roasted beets (and one roasted fennel). The roasted veggies are now in the fridge, awaiting some future meal. Goodness knows what I'll make with all those beets.

Our actual dinner (mine and Steve's - Sam had yogurt, apple and tortilla) consisted of an arugula salad, brasied burdock, and rainbow chard with paneer. I told you it was wacky!

Arugula Salad with olives
Top rinsed arugula (tear into smaller pieces if you like, or leave whole) with sliced roma tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Squeeze a lemon over all, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste; serve.

Braised burdock
Scrub burdock well and peel lightly if desired. Cut each piece into 2-3" chunks, and place in bowl of cold water. Cut each chunk in half lengthwise and julienne into thin strips. Place strips back in cold water (note: multiple cold water baths will help ensure you have removed all the dirt from the burdock). Heat 2TB canola oil and 2TB toasted sesame oil in a skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Drain burdock and blot dry; add to skillet. Saute until burdock begins to brown.

While burdock cooks, mix 2TB seasoned rice vinegar (sub. sake if you have it), 1.5TB soy sauce, 1TB honey, a splash of chili oil (optional) and 2TB water in a small cup. When burdock begins to brown, add sauce and stir. Cover and reduce heat to medium/low. Simmer until burdock is tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Rainbow chard with paneer
Tear chard into large pieces, discarding tough root and stem pieces. Rinse and place in large pot with a drizzle of olive oil (chard should still be moist). Cook over medium/high heat until leaves begin to wilt. Add several ounces of paneer cheese, cut into rough cubes. Cook and stir until chard is soft and cheese is heated through. Salt and pepper to taste; serve.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Day Three of the BEST Pie

I'm not that into pies. I bake them because the people close to me love them. They are festive, especially around this time of year. But I have found a pie that is so good, I may bake it more than once a year. I found this recipe in a magazine I bought recently (it was on the cover) and I had to bake a dessert for a Birthday at work. I made two - one to take and one for home. We are now on day three of eating it. It is very rich, but oh so good.

Decadent Chocolate-Mixed Nut Pie

Crust for 9" pie (I used store bought this time, but you could make your own)
4 eggs
1.25 cups corn syrup
.75 cup sugar
.25 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1.25 cups salted mixed nuts
.50 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare crust and place in pie pan, fluting the edges at the top. In a large bowl, beat eggs with a wisk (I used the wisk attachment on my KitchenAid). Whisk in corn syrup, sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Stir in the mixed nuts and chocolate pieces. Pour filling into crust-lined pie pan. Place pan on a shallow baking pan. To prevent overbrowning, cover pie edge with foil.

Bake pie for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes more or until center seems set when gently shaken. Cool on a wire rack. May be left out for up to 24 hours, but should be covered and refrigerated after that. Keeps well for several days in the fridge.

(Note: I made a few subtle variations from the original recipe. The recipe called for a butter pastry in a tart shell, I substituted regular crust in a pie pan. They also called for unsalted butter and the addition of a dash of salt. I used regular butter and called it good. The recipe also calls for drizzling chocolate over each slice before serving. Since I was not serving the whole pie at once, I skipped that part. And of course, you could always just use pecans instead of the mixed nuts, for a more traditional pie. But I highly encourage you to try the mixed nuts. It is divine!)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Farm share, dinner exchange, and Zanzibar soup

So I got a call last Thursday, telling me my farm share would not be delivered to the Farmer's Market and I would have to drive to Sequim to pick it up. Uh, no. So I called and asked if they wanted to convert the rest of my share to Nash bucks (kind of like a gift certificate) but they said they would drop it off at the PT co-op on Saturday morning and I could pick it up there. I asked at the co-op Saturday afternoon, no sign of it. They leave three messages for the gal at Nash's, and I leave my name and number. It is Thursday night and I still have no veggies this week.

My dinner exchange is undergoing a transformation. Two of the original members have resigned, and I really want to go to three people/three days a week. We've worked out a compromise with the remaining three families to try it this way for a month. But we need a fourth family to split one "share", since one of the families only wants to cook every other week and get one dinner a week. I hope this works out. I really like the whole dinner exchange process. And I have a great new soup to share:

Zanzibar Chicken-Banana Soup

This is from my all time favorite cookbook (barring Betty Crocker). My sister tried it and her family loves it so much they eat it once a week. Rebecca made some adjustments to the original recipe, which I followed. I also did mine in the crockpot, but it could be done on the stove. I'll just print what I did, and you are free to make your own adjustments. It sounds odd, but it really is very good.

1.5lb chicken thighs (orginal recipe is 4 chicken breasts)
4c water (recipe calls for broth)

Put thighs and water in crock pot and cook on low until the meat falls off the bone. Remove bones and skin, then shred chicken.

1/2c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 can diced tomatoes
1tsp curry powder
1tsp salt
1tsp minced garlic (I used a powdered garlic seasoning blend)
1/2 tsp white pepper (I used black pepper)
Cayenne pepper to taste (I used two good shakes. Rebecca uses 1/8 tsp)

Add all of the above to the chicken in the crock pot, turn on high and cook for another 15-20min.

2 slightly underripe bananas, sliced (recipe says diced, but why hide what they are?)

Add bananas and cook until heated through. Serve immediately with fresh bread. Yum.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Special Sunday brunch

Now that another year has begun at QUUF, in order for Sam to be in a class instead of the nursery, we have to go to the later service. I turned this negative into a positive by promising to cook a "fancy" breakfast on Sundays. I remember Sunday brunches very fondly from my childhood, whether they were eaten out or at home. One word: bacon.

So this morning I cooked up a pound of bacon, a bunch of scrambled eggs mixed with a little milk, green onion, and co-jack cheese, and some crescent cinnamon rolls. I was going to make cinnamon toast like my Grandma Baker does, but caught sight of a tube of crescent rolls and decided to try something new. I sprinkled some cinnamon-sugar on the dough before rolling them up -- yum. Not too sweet, but just right.

And no, we did not eat a whole pound of bacon. There are two tiny slices in the fridge, which I will use to garnish some vegetable this week.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Grilling hubris

I realized tonight, with a great thud, that I am still truly a novice griller. It was my night to cook for Supper Club, free range chicken thighs were on sale, sounds good, right? Last night I prepped the chicken, with a special rub and some olive oil. This morning I baked pound cakes, scrubbed potatoes and wrapped them in foil. With Steve's help, the 'taters baked while I was at work this afternoon. Came home, peeled and chopped carrots, wrapped the cakes to go, and put the chicken on the grill. That's when things went very very bad.

The Weber Big Book of Grilling says thighs with bone & skin should be cooked skin side up over indirect medium heat. It also says you can sear the skin first for effect over direct medium heat. That's what I tried to do. Next thing I know great clouds of smoke are billowing out of the grill. I open it up to find flames leaping, and one third of the pieces charred. Feeling very silly for trying to do this on Supper Club night, I managed to salvage most of them. Then the "are they cooked all the way through?" paranoia set in.

Meanwhile, the carrots are cooking along, and my friends start to arrive to pick up their dinner. I pull the thighs off the grill with a little prayer that they are all fully cooked. Two of my pals swear they "like them a little crispy." As I prepare to serve my own family the most charred pieces, I remember that Steve doesn't like grilled food if it involves any charring at all. And he's not fond of baked potatoes. And carrots aren't his favorite. (He did eat some chicken and carrots and did not complain)


The pound cake was very, very good.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Why didn't I start grilling sooner?

Tonight I made dinner for a friend who recently had a baby. A few days ago I asked Steve what I should make, and he replied, "Chicken Ceasar Salad would be good." I know that is because he wanted chicken ceasar salad, but no matter. I grilled up some free-range chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and olive oil, chopped some romaine (part from our farm share, part from the store), dumped in a metric butt load of parmesan/romano, threw in a bunch of croutons, and tossed it all with a yummy dressing. I cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, and ours was still warm when we ate it. Served with a half a baguette, mmmmm. I hope the Kuznetsov's liked it too. Theirs was delivered with some oatmeal/coconut/peanut butter cookies that I made yesterday.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Tonight's dinner, just finished.
1lb+ boneless pork chops
1 egg
2TB milk
1/2 box Panko breading
Canola oil, enough to cover bottom of saucepan about 1/2"

Pound pork chops between two sheets of wax paper to desired thinness. Mix egg and milk together in shallow bowl. Pour Panko in another shallow bowl. Heat canola oil to medium-high. Place pork in a plastic bag with about 1/4c flour and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour, dip meat in egg mixture, then coat well with Panko. Salt & pepper, then fry pork in oil until dark golden brown on both sides, about 15-20 minutes.

Serve with cooked white rice, and thinly sliced cabbage. I used an heirloom Jersey cabbage (cone shaped) that came in my farm share -- very sweet and tender. For a sauce, I mixed some Worcestershire, soy sauce, and ketchup. Not bad, but I'm still working on it. The sauce is just for the meat, not meant to drench the rice.

I also served a cucumber salad: seasoned rice vinegar poured over thinly sliced peeled cucumber. Simple and refreshing.

The return of Supper Club

In just two days, Supper Club starts up again. We are being joined by a new family, who will no doubt bring yummy additions into the mix. And with the change of seasons, we are sure to see more soups, stews, and hearty fare. Most importantly, someone else will be making dinner twice a week. Next to a post-partum meal calendar, Supper Club is the best idea ever!

Friday, September 02, 2005

A simple steak dinner

I've fallen in love with tri tip steak. I have never been able to cook steak correctly, and in the last year or so I've been making more of an effort. Around the time I decided to really learn how to use my outdoor grill, I discovered tri tip (thanks, Sam N!). Luckily, it is one of the few cuts that Aldrich's always carries. It isn't cheap, but oh so good.

So tonight I prepared the steaks (one pound feeds all three of us) in the usual way: heavy grinds of salt and pepper, rubbed in and slathered in olive oil. Grill on high, direct heat, for three minutes, then turn 90 degrees (not over - turning sideways for grill marks). Another three minutes or so, then turn over and repeat grill mark action.

I served the meat with a simple green bean/onion preparation. I got yellow onions and green beans in my farm share last week, so I decided to make use of both in one dish. I sliced the onion into thin rings, and sauteed slowly in butter until opaque and a little brown. While that was cooking, I boiled the green beans in a little water until crisp/tender. Drain the beans, toss with the onion/butter, and serve.

We had a wee glass of cabernet to top it off -- delish!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mixed Berry Crumble Pie

Last week, Sam and I made a mixed berry crumble pie that I talked about in my other blog. I said, "I really have to write this recipe down" and that was when Steve suggested this blog. So now, I really have to write this recipe down. It was a hybrid and adaptation of several recipes, and I'll never remember it on my own.

Mixed Berry Crumble Pie

1 stick butter
1 cup oats
2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
Several Tbsp. sugar (for topping)

4 cups fresh blueberries, marionberries, or whatever you have on hand (washed and drained)
1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix berries, tapioca, sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes while you make the crust.

In a medium sized pot, melt butter - add brown sugar and stir. Add oats - mix. Add flour and mix gently until crumbly. Put half of crumbs in bottom of a 9 x 9 baking dish, flattening to form a crust. (note, this makes a thick crust. If you have more berries you could make it in a 9 x 13 pan with the same amount of crust)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour berry mixture onto crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbles on top of berries, sprinkle with sugar and bake pie for about 40 minutes, or until crumbles are browned and berries form bubbles that burst slowly.

Enjoy warm with ice cream. Keeps well for a few days (if you have any left).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Meatloaf boats

And this one, from my Mother in Law, Maribeth:

Love your (Steve's) new blog idea!
I don't know if you're soliciting recipes, etc., from others but I just heard about a new use for zucchini from a friend who grows it & has an overflowing abundance of it this time each year. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to do so as soon as I can convince Jim that it really isn't going to kill him to eat some zucchini!!

Meatloaf Boats

You just make your usual meatloaf mix & stuff it into halved raw zucchini that has been cored & bake at 350 for however long it takes the meatloaf to be cooked (this will depend on the size of the meatloaf and the zucchini). You can do several small zucchinis or one large one depending on what you have available. It's really a simple one-dish meal & easy to clean up after. I'd probably serve a small fruit or veggie salad or a simple pasta dish with it.

I really enjoy the idea of your blog & also your honesty in posting a recipe that didn't work out. Believe me, we've all been there!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Dill as a vegetable

I picked up my Farm Share on Saturday, and found with it a recipe titled, "Introducing Dill as a Vegetable." Perfect -- I have been wondering what to do with all that dill they have been giving me. The recipe was for a squash "curry" with two bunches of dill. I decided to add some fresh carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli along with the zucchini squash.

The recipe says to "serve with yogurt" but I know from other recipes that a curry often has the yogurt *in* it rather than *on* it. So Imixed in some yogurt near the end. Mistake. The lemon juice in the curry curdled the yogurt and made it completely disappear.

Steve was very sweet and said, "Yeah, it would need to be improved a bit to make it into the regular rotation." I thought it was awful. But mostly it was too much dill for me. So... dill as a vegetable? I think not.