Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Quick One-Skillet Lasagna

“From the Tables of Round Top Revisited,” another one from the cookbook I got from Aunt Kinky

We modified this slightly; I’m putting our modifications in parentheses.

1-1/4 cup ricotta cheese (I used fat-free)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 lb. Lean ground beef (turkey would probably be ok, too)
1 cup zucchini, diced (we used green squash and it was fine)
1 (29 oz) jar of pasta sauce
6 oven-ready lasagna noodles

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, water, and salt with ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese. Set the mixture aside.

Brown beef in a large skillet (be sure that the skillet has a lid for later use) over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; about 5 minutes breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon or potato masher while cooking. Drain off any fat. Add diced zucchini and stir in 2 cups of the pasta sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low. Top the beef mixture with 2 lasagna noodles, set in the center. Break 1-2 more of the noodles and fill in the edges of the skillet.

Gently spread the cheese mixture over the noodles. (The noodles may begin to curl in the skillet but the cheese mixture will hold them down.) Lay the remaining noodles on top of the cheese mixture. Pour the rest of the pasta sauce over the noodles and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella cheese on top.

Cover the skillet with lid and simmer the lasagna over medium-low heat until the noodles are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and let lasagna cool for 5 minutes. Cut lasagna and serve.

Serves 6.

Joseph's Kielbasa

"From the Tables of Round Top Revisited," a cookbook I got for Christmas from Geoff's Aunt Kinky (of margarita and salsa fame).

1 can (10-3/4 oz) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
¾ cup water
1 T butter or margarine
1 lb smoked Kielbasa, cut into ½-inch pieces
¾ cup uncooked long grain rice
1 (10 oz) package frozen peas or frozen mixed vegetables
1 (4.5 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, combine soup, water, and butter; bring to a boil. Add Kielbasa and rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Stir in peas and mushrooms. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until rice is tender and peas or vegetables are heated through. Sprinkle with cheese, cover and let stand until melted.

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Basil

From Bon Appetit, March 1998

(I have not tried these yet, but the recipe got rave reviews on

2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), crumbled
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3/4 cup half and half
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced garlic*

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Return to pot. Mix in cheese and butter. Mash until smooth. Add half and half, basil and garlic and stir over medium heat until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings.

** One of the recipe reviewers suggested cooking the potatoes with 10 cloves of garlic, and then mashing the garlic along with the potatoes and other ingredients. Other reviewers after that agreed that this was a nice addition, instead of the minced garlic.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

From "Recipes from a Very Small Island"

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I like spicy food and used a bit more than this, probably about a full teaspoon)
2 c walnut halves
2 c pecan halves
2 c whole almonds (I used slivered too)

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the sugar, 1/4 c water, and all the spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add the nuts and cook, stirring, until the butter mixture coats the nuts evenly, about 2 minutes. Scrape onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out evenly in a single layer.

3. Bake in the preheated oven, stirring every few minutes, until nuts are glazed and deep brown, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Store in a covered container for up to a week.

Makes 6 cups.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

spinach ball appetizers

From one of my co-workers -- made them for a baby shower this weekend and they turned out great. One tip: Next time I'll make them smaller.

2 cups fresh bread crumbs (whole foods' is very good) (she was right about that)
1 lb frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano (I used a blend of parmesan, fontina and something else)
5 eggs
3 garlic cloves minced
1 lg onion minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cayenne (I used a bit more of all the spices)

Form little ping-pong-size balls and lay on cookie sheet. Refrigerated covered 1 hour, then stick in preheated oven (350) for about a half hour. Keep an eye out -- shd be a light golden brown when done.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Brownies with peppermint icing

So, Becky and I baked this weekend.
I'm always ambitious when I set out on a baking binge, and this weekend was no exception. And since I always like to try at least one new recipe, I carefully selected this one. What's not to love? Chocolate and peppermint are always good in my book.
Except, well...the tassie part didn't turn out. Good thing Becky was around, because we just improvised and it was well worth the little bit of extra time. These are my new favorite dessert.

Here is our version:

Get a brownie mix, whatever kind you like (We used a dark chocolate one). Mix the batter. Put into mini-muffin pans. Set the oven on the lowest setting called for on the box (ours was 325) and bake about 15 min, then check to see if they're done. (ours took about 17 min)
Cool brownie mini muffins.

Then prepare icing:

4 tablespoons butter, softened
7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk, divided

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, marshmallow creme and peppermint extract until smooth. Mix in 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar. Beat in 1 tablespoon milk. Add in the next 1 cup confectioners' sugar and mix until combined. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the final cup of confectioners' sugar. If this mixture is too thick to easily pipe, mix in 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
(next time I'm going to use 2 c. of sugar and see if I can get it the right consistency, without using the milk. if it's not stiff enough, I'll add more sugar)

Then pipe the icing onto the brownies. If you don't have a piping bag or decorator tool, put the icing in a ziploc bag, and cut the tip off. Instant piping bag. Top with crushed candy canes.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Spaghetti Carbonara

From “The Joy of Cooking” 75th Anniversary Edition

This is completely unhealthy, but it tastes great. Shocking, but true. What do you expect of a dish that involves bacon, eggs, cheese, and pasta?

Makes 8 first-course or 4 main-course servings

1 pound spaghetti or linguine (we used angel hair)
2 T olive oil
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 large eggs
Salt and black pepper to taste
2/3 cup mixed grated Parmesan and Romano (3 oz)

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil and bacon in a skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp. Add wine and simmer until the wine has evaporated.

Beat eggs, salt and pepper, and cheeses together.

Drain pasta and return it to the hot pot. Immediately add the cheese mixture and the hot bacon and fat, stirring to coat thoroughly; the heat of the pasta will cook the eggs.

Notes: The bacon should be done at the same time the pasta is done, so you can throw everything together all at once. Adjust starting times to account for this.

Geoff and I thought there wasn’t enough bacon. Next time, I think we’ll use the entire half-pound package.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pasta e Fagioli

Found in The Nest, Holiday 2006 issue, from Giada de Laurentiis

Geoff and I tried this one tonight, and it's excellent. Smells really wonderful, too.

4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 T olive oil
1 t unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 oz pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5-3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 14-oz cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 T extra-virgin olive oil

1. Wrap thyme, rosemany, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it with kitchen twine. (We didn't have twine, so we knotted the cheesecloth.)

2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan (we used a 5-qt pot, and it worked well) over a medium flame. Add the onion, pancetta, and garlic, and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, and sachet of herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the sachet.

3. In a blender, puree 1 cup of the bean mixture until smooth, then return the puree to the saucepan. Cover and return the soup to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni, cover, and boil, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. (We mis-read the recipe and added about 3 oz of macaroni, probably closer to 1 or 1-1/2 cups. Still turned out fine.)

4. Season the soup with pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. (We left out the olive oil here, but you better believe we piled on the Parmesan.)

Recipe says it serves 6. In our house, it's probably closer to 4.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pretzel-crusted chicken breasts, with cheddar-mustard sauce

Got this from Rachael Ray, 365: No Repeats

I can't believe I haven't posted this one already.

4 quart-size ziploc bags
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 5-oz bag of salted pretzels, any shape
1 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
vegetable oil, for frying
2 T unsalted butter
2 T all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 cup grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
2 heaping tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (generous handful), chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large sour dill pickle, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Sprinkle a little water in the baggies. Place 1 chicken breast in each bag and seal it up, pushing out excess air. Use a mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan and pound each breast until flat, just shy of busting out of the bag. Repeat with the other 3 chicken breasts.

Place the pretzels in a food processor or blender and grind until fine. (I crush mine with a rolling pin.) Transfer the ground pretzels to a shallow dish and add the thyme and some pepper. Crack and beat 2 eggs in a second shallow dish with a splash of water. Working with 1 pounded chicken breast at a time, coat the breast in the ground pretzels, then in the eggs, then in the pretzels again. Preheat a large skillet with ¼ inch of vegetable oil; add the pretzel-coated chicken breasts to the hot oil. Cook in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, about 3-4 minutes on each side, until the cutlets’ juices run clear and the breading is evenly browned.

While the chicken is frying, in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheeses and mustard with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper and remove the cheese sauce from the heat.

Transfer the fried pretzel-crusted chicken breasts to serving plates, drizzle with the cheddar-mustard sauce, and then sprinkle with a little parsley, finely chopped onions, and finely chopped pickles. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges alongside.

*Notes: 1) The sauce is really the best part of this recipe. We use the leftovers as a pretzel/chip dip. 2) In our house, we completely skip the garnish of parsley, onion, pickle, and lemon. It’s still good without it.

Pomegranate Soup

I found an article on that talked about pomegranates. At the bottom of the post were three recipes, including one for pomegranate soup. We made it last night, and it turned out really well. Geoff made several remarks about how good it was, and we're likely to make it again before they go out of season in January.

A word to the wise: As the article says, pomegranates are a "labor-intensive fruit." It takes a little time to get the seeds out of the darned thing, but the reward is worth it. Look to the sidebar for hints on how to seed it without too much of a mess.

Here's the link:

FYI: We seeded two pomegranates, and got about 2 cups of seeds. We still have some leftover, after making the soup. I think Geoff is going to put them on his salads this week.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blackberry cake

I've got a ton of blackberries in the freezer from when Becky, Geoff and I went picking this summer. Determined to do something with them, I set out today to find a recipe.
Instead of reprinting the recipe here, I'm just going to link to it, and send you all to this fantastic food blog.
The cake smells really good (I haven't eaten it yet), and it was easy to make, entirely with ingredients I already had in the house. Super quick, and if it tastes as good as it looks, I'll be making this a lot more. I think it'd probably also work with blueberries, if you've got them. Maybe even raspberries.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Coconut Curry Thai Chicken

From: Food Network

My friend Tracy made this recipe for us this weekend, and it was quite tasty. I think she halved all the curry measurements, though, and it was still pretty spicy, so maybe adjust that to your tastes.

Coconut Curry Sauce:
1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk
1 Tbsp Thai curry paste
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
Dash Cayenne pepper
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

8 oz whole wheat pasta (we used rice noodles)
olive oil cooking spray
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers (we used red bell pepper)
1 cup thinly sliced water chestnuts
1 cup scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
chopped fresh mint and cilantro leaves for garnish
lime wedges for serving

For the sauce: In a medium bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients, whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside.

For the chicken: Cook the whole wheat linguine al dente according to box directions. Drain and rinse under cold water and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray so it does not stick and set aside.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and add onions. Cook until translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and stir in curry powder. Saute chicken until lightly brown. Add the peanut butter and allow it to melt to coat the chicken.

Add the roasted red peppers, water chestnuts and scallions and season with salt and pepper as you like. Saute for a few minutes just to release flavor.

Pour the coconut curry sauce over the chicken and vegetables and stir gently. Cook just until warmed through and thickened a bit, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. Garnish with chopped mint and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Chicken Picadillo

From Cooking Light, July 2006

This smelled so good as it was cooking. I wasn't sure about the combination of cinnamon, cumin and salsa, but it was really good. I used peach salsa.

Serving suggestions: serve with rice and black beans, or in a tortilla with a range of toppings including sour cream, lettuce, tomato, etc.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast *
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup salsa
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place chicken in food processor, pulse until ground.* Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, cumin, salt, cinnamon and garlic; cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring frequently. Stir in salsa and raisins. Cover, reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in almonds and cilantro.

Servings: 4, Serving Size = 1 cup

* This recipe has you grind the boneless, skinless chicken breast in your food processor. I bought already-ground chicken at the store, but I'm sure it wasn't skinless breast meat, so the recipe was probably much healthier if you do it at home. However, I think the recipe would also be fine with just dicing the bonesless, skinless chicken breasts, if you don't want to grind the chicken at home (I don't have a food processor, hence the need for alterations).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pumpkin muffins

from Cooking Light, Nov. 2006

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden raisins (I omitted, since we don't like raisins. I think dried cranberries would also work)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup buttermilk (I used milk, since I had no buttermilk in the house)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in raisins; make a well in center of mixture. Combine brown sugar, canned pumpkin, buttermilk, canola oil, molasses, vanilla extract, and eggs, stirring well with a whisk. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cranberry pork

I got this one from a crockpot e-group I'm on. While it worked really well for pork and I'll definitely do it again, I think it would be equally good on a whole turkey breast, or some cornish hens or maybe even a whole chicken.

1 can cranberry sauce, whatever kind you like
1 packet onion soup mix (the dried kind)
1 pork roast (or meat of your choice)

Mix the cranberry sauce and onion soup together. Put roast in crockpot, pour mixture on top. Cook on low until meat is falling apart, but still moist. (careful with the chicken, it takes less time. I suggest preparing the night before and sticking the whole crock in your fridge. That way it takes longer for everything to heat up in the morning, if you're going to be at work all day. Otherwise, just cook it for less

Thursday, October 19, 2006

chicken and apple curry

Found here, and made with more apples from the pick-your-own extravaganza this weekend. Very easy and creamy and delicious.

3 tablespoons butter
2 small onion, chopped
2 apples - peeled, cored and finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon curry powder (I used curry paste, and way more than one tablespoon)
8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup hot chicken broth (I used water)
1 cup milk (I used half yogurt, half coconut milk)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.Saute apple and onion in butter or margarine until tender. Add curry powder and saute 1 minute more. Add flour and continue to cook 1 minute longer. Add stock or broth and milk; stir well.

3. Salt and pepper chicken breasts to taste and lay in a single layer in a 9x13 inch (or larger) baking dish. Pour sauce mixture over chicken breasts and bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until chicken is done.

maxine wright's apple cobbler

From "Recipes from a Small Island," by Linda & Martha Greenlaw... Linda Greenlaw is the author of a few books about spending her life fishing for lobster and swordfish and generally being a total awesome bad-ass. I read the lobster one on vacation and loved it, and J. bought this cookbook for me in Bar Harbor. She and her mom wrote it together, and it has stories behind each recipe, and it's almost as awesome as she is.

3/4 c sugar (I used less the second time and was still good)
2 T flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
2 lb. tart, firm apples cored, peeled and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 c sifted flour
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 salt
2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c milk

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Make filling. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add the apples and toss to coat with sugar mixture. Sprinkle 1/4 c water over apples and transfer to a 2 1/2 quoart casserole dish.

3. Dot the apples with the butter, cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the toping. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and using a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers, work until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk all at once and stir until smooth.

5. Remove the casserole from the oven, remove and discard the foil, and drop the topping batter by spoonfuls on top of the apples to cover.

6. Return to the oven and make for 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until the topping is lightly browned and firm and the filling is bubbling.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hoisin chicken

This one is embarrassingly easy, and so, so good.

1 bag chicken wings (you know, the little ones for hot wings)
1 jar hoisin sauce (found in the Asian food aisle, or in any Asian store)
granulated garlic

Put wings in a backing dish, sprinkle with garlic, and pour on jar of hoisin sauce.
Bake for 30-40 min (until chicken is done) at 350, stirring every 10-15 min to coat the chicken. Eat.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Crockpot Chicken

This is adapted from a recipe I found here, which she took from a cookbook called Any Bitch Can Cook. I adapted it mostly because I didn't have the ingredients the original recipe called for. It smells tasty, and I bet it's tasty the original way, so I'll put the original ingredients in parens and you can make up your own mind.
Also, I used frozen chicken for this recipe because I started the crockpot at 7:30 and we weren't planning for dinner until 5:30 -- I didn't want the chicken to get dried out. That seemed to work well, so just a helpful little crockpot hint.
One more thing, unrelated to this recipe -- I got a pressure cooker for my birthday! If anyone knows of any good pressure cooker recipes, let me know. I've found some, and I'm searching the recipe sites, but if you guys have any you know of that are good, I'd appreciate it. Will keep you posted on the pressure cooker progress.
And now, the actual recipe.

Crockpot Chicken
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (chicken breasts, split)
1 can Healthy Choice cream of chicken soup (1 can cream of mushroom soup)
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. flour
granulated garlic

Put the chicken, soup, mushrooms and wine in the crockpot, cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Take out chicken, add sour cream and flour, sprinkle with granulated garlic mix together, and then put chicken back in pot. Cook another 30 min on high. Serve over rice or noodles.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Zesty Broccoli Casserole

*From Cooking Light

3 (10 oz) packages frozen broccoli florets, thawed
Cooking Spray
1 1/2 Cup fat-free milk
2 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (3oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (4 oz) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 Cup fat-free mayonnaise
3/4 c chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, rinsed, drained, sliced
3/4 Cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375. Arrange broccoli in even layer in an 11x7-inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Set aside. Combine milk, flour, salt and pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheddar and cream cheeses. Stir until smooth. Stir in mayo, onion and water chestnuts. Spoon cheese mixture evenly over broccoli. Place panko in small bowl. Drizzle with butter; toss. Sprinkle evenly over cheese mixture. Lightly spray breadcrumbs with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and breadcrumbs brown.

** Notes:
I used fresh broccoli, mixed with sliced zucchini because that's what I had.
Regular breadcrumbs are fine.
I didn't use the water chestnuts because I didn't have a can-opener at the time.
It was still yummy with all those changes. :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

curried sweet potato soup

I found this on RecipeZaar, just trying to use up some sweet potatoes from the last of the farmshare. The woman who posted on the site gave a lot of cute description, so I'm going to leave that and will explain all the stuff (which was a lot) I did differently at the end...

1 T oil
1/2-3/4 cup chopped onions (1-2 onions)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 T curry paste (levelled tbsp, preferably Madras, Korma or another Indian or Caribbean curry paste you like)
1 T grated fresh ginger (levelled tbsp)
4 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (not yams)
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 T rum (optional but recommended, I use white rum -- Gwen seconds that heartily)

recommended topping:
4-6 T sour cream (any fat content)
sweet paprika

2. In a soup pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add curry paste and onions and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat if necessary. Add garlic clove and ginger and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
3. Add sweet potatoes and pepper. Mix. Add stock. Cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.
4. Puree the ingredients in batches in a blender or puree the whole amount directly in the pot with a hand blender (if pot is high enough).
5. Check if you like the consistency of the soup. Add more stock or water if desired and adjust the seasonings (check if salt is needed). You can add more curry paste if desired, but most pastes need to be cooked first before adding to a dish. Add rum if using.
6. Serve in individual bowls and top each with a tablespoon of sour cream and a sprinkle of sweet paprika.

So, everything was cool until the end of step 3 -- my mom called and I boiled everything at too high a heat for too long while I was talking to her. When I started pureeing, it looked more like mashed potatoes than soup but! this turned out to be fortuitious, because I put in a whole bunch of skim milk to make it smooth, and the texture was lovely. And the rum... I am skeptical of rum in food, but the rum was GOOD. And then I put honey in it, because I'd seen other sweet potato soups with honey and everyone likes honey, and that was also GOOD.

So, in short... not sure if this is just so simple you can't go wrong or what, but this stuff hit the spot.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Apple-Cranberry (or Cherry) Crisp

From Weight Watchers
Aha! A new recipe from me, AND it's appropriate for the season! Huzzah!
I made this for an office brunch, and it got rave reviews. I used frozen cherries because I couldn't find cranberries yet, and it was quite tasty. Also, the recipe doubles well- just use a brownie/lasagna pan to bake.

1/2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
4 T. packed light brown sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
1 T. cold unsalted butter (I used more)
6 empire or other firm cooking apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 C. fresh or frozen cranberries
1-2 tsp corn starch (my own addition)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine oats, 2 T brown sugar, and flour. With 2 knives or your fingers, work in the butter until crumbly. In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberries, remaining 2 T brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss to combine. Spoon into pan. Sprinkle with oat mixture. Bake until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown, 35-40 minutes.

*Note: I made this twice. The first time the final product was very liquidy. The second time, I sprinkled a little corn starch into the fruit mixture (maybe 1-2 tsp), and the fruit mixture came out thicker and held together well, more like a pie filling. I would recommend adding the corn starch.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Shrimp newburg

My parents found this recipe somewhere, and made it for us the last time we were visiting. It meets all three critera I use when cooking: It's quick, it's tasty and Gaby eats it.
Here it is, as he sent it to me, with my notes in parens.

2 lbs cooked shrimp (I used the frozen, already cooked ones)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used the healthy choice low sodium/low fat kind)
8 oz cream cheese (I used non fat here, too)
1/2 cup chopped onion (or one small onion)
1/4 cup milk
2 glugs cooking sherry (ummm...probably about 1/4 to 1/3 c.)
1 tbs thyme
2 tbs butter/margarine

Melt butter in pan and add onion. Cook until onion is soft. Add soup, milk and sherry. Cook until combined. Add shrimp and thyme. Bring to boil. Add cream cheese and cook until cream cheese is melted and ingredients are thoroughly heated. Serve over pasta (or egg noodles).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

vegetable lasagna

This is from The Best Light Recipe, although I didn't look at the recipe before going shopping, so I didn't use the same vegetables as it wants. (A phone call to Alissa helped me get the right cheeses, though.) This was GOOD, you couldn't tell it was lower in fat than regular lasagna, and it makes a lot -- I am still eating the leftovers.

Personally, I was a bigger fan of my spinach/zucchini combination than I think I would have been of their mushrooms/zuchhini/broccoli combination, but I will transcribe the recipe as is...

Note: Take care to defrost the broccoli just enouh to bring it to room temperature. Be sure to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of it before you chop it. Blah blah no-boil lasagna noodles, I used regular ones and boiled them. Also, I used tomato sauce from a jar. You know what, I am only going to transcribe the filling and pasta layers part... if you want homemade sauce, you probably already know how you like it. (If you're dying for their sauce recipe, tell me in the comments and I'll post it.)

Anyway. Sorry. Ahem.

1 pound crimini or white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced thin (I omitted)
2 t olive oil
1/4 t salt
2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 lb. fat-free ricotta cheese
12 oz. reduced-fat mozzarella, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 oz. grated Parmesan (about 1/2 c)
1/2 c fresh minced basil leaves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t ground black pepper
12 no-boil lasagna noodles (I used normal)
1 10-oz. package frozen broccoli florets, thawed to room temperature, pressed dry with paper towels and chopped coarsely (I used one whole bag of spinach instead, sauteed with a little olive oil)

Combine mushrooms, 1 t oil and 1/4 t salt in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until mushrooms have released their liquid, about 8 minutes. Remove cover and cook until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add remaining t oil to skilled and return to high heat until just smoking. Add zucchini and cook, stirring often, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Mix ricotta, 2 c mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, eg, pepper and 1/2 t salt in large bowl until thoroughly combined. (You should have about 3 c of filling.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray, and spread 1 1/2 c of sauce evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.

Lay 3 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, spaced evenly apart. Place 1/3 c of filling on top of each noodle and spread evenly using a spatula. Scatter mushrooms (spinach!) evenly over the filling, then spread 1 c of sauce evenly over the mushrooms (spinach!) Repeat twice more, substituting other veggies. (Each vegetable has its own layer.)

Lay remaining 3 noodles over the top. Spread remaining 1 1/2 c sauce over the noodles, making sure to cover the edes. Spray a large piece of foil with vegetable oil spray and cover lasagna tightly.

Place lasagna on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle lasagna evenly with remaining 1 c mozzarella. Continue to bake, uncovered, until cheese is bubbling and slightly brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Spinach-artichoke tortellini

from Rachel Ray

1 10-oz box frozen spinach
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), twice around the pan
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I omitted this)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (I found 2% milk worked just fine)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped (I used the frozen ones from Trader Joes)
A couple handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and black pepper
1 pound cheese tortellini or flavored tortellini, such as wild mushroom

Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. Microwave the
spinach on high for 6 minutes to defrost.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the EVOO and butter. When the butter melts and is hot, add the garlic. Using a box grater, grate the onion directly into the skillet. Saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, then the cream, and bring the sauce to a boil.
Season the sauce with nutmeg and reduce the heat to low.
Place the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry. Separate it as you add it to the sauce. Stir in the chopped artichokes and a couple handfuls of cheese, then season the spinach-artichoke sauce with salt and pepper.
Salt the boiling water and cook the tortellini according to the package directions, about 3-5 minutes. Drain it well and toss with the spinach artichoke sauce. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Baked Zucchini Pie

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

This was so good that Geoff had two slices.

1 T butter
2 large zucchinis, thinly sliced (about 4-5 cups)
1/2 large onion, chopped (I used a vidalia)
1 t minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 T Dijon mustard
1 prepared 9-inch pie crust, thawed if frozen
2 eggs
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the zucchini, onion, and garlic, and saute them until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, basil, and oregano.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spread the mustard over the bottom of the pie crust.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, and zucchini mixture. Pour this mixture into the pie crust and spread it evenly.

Bake the pie for 30 minutes until it is lightly browned. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes, cut it into wedges, and serve it hot.

Serves 8 (though I goofed and cut it into 6, oh well)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Farfalle with feta, pine nuts, and tomatoes

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

This is the last of 3 recipes from this cookbook that Geoff and I have tried this week. Again, very good, very easy. We tried a pasta with ricotta, basil, and peas that we found in Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats, but we were disappointed in it. This one had a much better flavor, and we didn't need to modify it or anything, like we did with the Ray recipe.

1 package (16 oz) farfalle or other short pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 T pine nuts
1 T minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 large plum tomatoes or 2 large regular tomatoes, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

When the pasta goes into the water to cook, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pint nuts and garlic and cook them, stirring, until the pine nuts are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, salt, and pepper and stir it well. Add the tomatoes and cook the sauce for about 3 minutes until it is heated through and the tomatoes are slightly softened.

Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large metal bowl (we used plastic). Toss it with the sauce combination. Top it with the feta cheese. Cover it with plastic wrap (we used the bowl's lid) and let it stand for about 5 minutes so the flavors meld. Serve the pasta warm.

Asparagus with Scallops & Proscuitto

I googled scallops and proscuitto and this one popped. Sadly, I've forgotten where it came from. I can tell you this was so good, we ate it all. (including Gaby)

1 lb. asparagus
1 tbsp. Butter
1-oz prosciutto cut into wide strips
1 lb. sea scallops
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. Dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper, taste

Cook asparagus in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove asparagus from water and set aside, leaving water simmering on the stove.
In skillet add prosciutto and cook on low heat until crisp. Remove from skillet and set in paper towel to drain. Melt butter to skillet, add scallops to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add lemon zest to skillet and sauté for 10
seconds. Add white wine and chicken broth, simmer, scraping bottom of skillet, for 3 minutes. Return scallops to skillet, to heat through.
Return asparagus to water to heat through. Drain asparagus, place on large platter. Spoon scallops and sauce over asparagus. Top with fried prosciutto.
Serves 4. (or a very hungry family of three)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Peanut Beef/Chicken/Tofu

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

Geoff and I made this tonight, and it was delicious. Geoff's comment was "it's like a chicken satay that you'd get in a Thai restaurant." Very easy, plus you get to use a blender!

2 lbs boneless beef steak, such as top round (or use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tofu)
1/2 cup peanut butter, preferably natural
2 T lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 T honey
4 T soy sauce
1 T peeled and chopped fresh ginger
2 t chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)

Cut the beef into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

In a blender or food processor, combine all the remaining ingredients. In a plastic bag or a flat dish, combine the beef with the sauce from the blender and mix them to coat the meat thoroughly. Marinate the meat, covered and refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes or overnight, if possible. (Geoff and I marinated overnight. I recommend this.)

Preheat the broiler and put the rack about 3 inches from the heat source. On a foil-lined baking sheet, broil the meat for about 4 minutes per side until it is browned and cooked through. (Alternatively, you can grill the meat.)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Blueberry pudding cake

courtesy of epicurious

1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
10 oz blueberries (2 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
Stir together 1/3 cup sugar with water, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small saucepan, then stir in blueberries. Bring to a simmer, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl. (I also added cinnamon to the flour mixture)
Whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then add flour mixture, whisking until just combined.
Spoon batter into baking pan, spreading evenly, then pour blueberry mixture evenly over batter (berries will sink). Bake until a knife inserted into center of cake portion comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.

Cooks' note:
Cake can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then kept, wrapped well in foil, at room temperature.

July 2005

Chocolate Mint Mousse Pie

This one's from my mom. It's been a while since I've made it...

1 t unflavored gelatin
1 T cold water
2 T boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa or Hershey's European Style Cocoa
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold whipping cream
1 t vanilla extract
1 baked 8- or 9-inch pie crust, cooled

Mint Cream Topping:
1 cup (1/2 pint) cold whipping cream
2 T powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 t peppermint extract
green food coloring

In small cup, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 2 minutes to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in small mixing bowl, stir together sugar and cocoa; add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer until stiff, scraping bottom of bowl occasionally. Add gelatin mixture; beat until just blended. Pour into prepared crust.

Prepare mint cream topping: In small mixing bowl on medium speed of electric mixer, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, peppermint extract and several drops of green food coloring until stiff. Spread over filling. Refrigerate about 2 hours. Garnish as desired. Cover, refrigerate leftover pie.

Maple Salmon

from Geoff's co-worker Tracey

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 T soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t garlic salt
1/8 t ground black pepper
1 lb salmon

Mix syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Put salmon in a shallow baking dish, coat with maple syrup mixture. Cover, marinate in fridge for 30 minutes, turning once.

Preheat oven to 400.

Put dish in oven, bake 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with fork.

Spaghetti with Broccoli, Brie, and Walnuts

from Food Network

It's been a while since Geoff and I ate this one, but it's really good. The hardest part, for me, is cutting off the rind of the Brie.

1 pound spaghetti
3 T olive oil
2 bunches broccoli (about 1-1/4 lbs), cut into 1/2-inch florets
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Brie, rind discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

To a large pot of salted, boiling water, add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/3 cup cooking liquid and drain pasta in colander. Return pasta to pot with reserved liquid.

While pasta is cooking, in a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook broccoli with salt, to taste, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds.

To pasta add broccoli mixture, Brie, and walnuts, tossing until cheese is just melted, and season with salt and pepper.

Toasted garlic and sweet pea pasta

I feel like I go through these phases where I don't want to cook, much less eat, anything new...and then I get tired of our tried and trues and we branch out into new things.
I happened to pick up a cookbook last night and it opened to this recipe. As luck would have it, I had all these things on hand, and they made a tasty dinner. And it was quick.
By the way, I'm still looking for recipes for Friday night. I'm going to thumb through some cookbooks tonight.

from Rachel Ray's Express Lane Meals

1 pound long-cut pasta, whatever you have in the pantry
1/4 to 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (I eyeballed it)
black pepper
3/4 c. dry white wine
2 c. chicken stock
2 10-oz boxes frozen peas
1/2 c. fresh parsley
1 c. grated Parm or Romano cheese

Place a large pot of water with a tight-fitting lid over high heat and brign to a boil. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Right before draining, remove 1/2 c. of the starchy cooking water
While the water is coming to a boil, heat up the EVOO and the sliced garlic in a large skillet (I used a dutch oven, actually). Spread the garlic in an even layer and keep an eye on goes from brown to burnt really quickly. Once the garlic is toasty brown, remove from oil.
Turn up the heat under the oil to medium high and add onion, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 min, until the onions become tender and lightly browned. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook for another 2 min. Add the peas and the cooking water from the pasta, and bring sauce back to a boil. With the back of the spoon, mash half the peas. Add the parsley and garlic slices, stir and taste. Add pasta and toss to coat in sauce. Stir in the cheese, then transfer to serving plates. Pass extra cheese at the table.

**My notes -- I thought the sauce was too watery. Next time, I'd cut down the amount of chicken broth, or leave the wine out altogether. Also, I blended the peas with my imersion blender, but Ernie said he thought they'd have been fine without mashing or blending...and I like my peas to have shape, but I think she intended them to be mushy, hence the mashing. You decide which you like better. We'll be eating this again, I know.

Baked Apricot Chicken

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

Geoff and I made this tonight. It was easy and it turned out well.

1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup apricot jam (we used preserves)
2-3 T lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 T soy sauce
1 T minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 T dijon mustard
1 T olive oil
6 dried apricots, coarsely chopped (we ditched these, and it was fine)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the chicken breasts flat in an oven-safe dish with sides.

In a large measuring cup, measure out the apricot jam and mix togeher with all the remaining ingredients except the dried apricots. Pour the mixture over the chicken breasts. Top them with the dried apricots.

Bake 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

SLIGHT ALTERNATIVE: Marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours, covered in the fridge. We baked it after dumping the sauce on the chicken, and it turned out fine, but I think we'll be marinating it the next time we make it.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Alright, someone gimme some help.
Ernie and I will have been married for six years on Friday. The original plan was to get take out and stay in, but I don't want take out. I sort of want to cook.
But I have no freaking clue what I want to make. Anyone want to offer any suggestions (in the form of recipes -- including dessert)? Remember that I actually do have to work all day on Friday, so it's going to be an after-work cooking thing, although I can do prep stuff the day before.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

tropical gazpacho

It seemed too hot even for Becky's summer minestrone, so I gave this a try. It's from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, and it has two secret ingredients -- pineapple and bread -- that give it a nice tanginess and texture, respectively. And they also keep it from feeling like you're eating a giant bowl of salsa, which is my usual complaint with gazpacho.

Also, I didn't have tomato juice, so I used 2 c chopped fresh tomatoes, 1 c canned crushed tomatoes and 1 c water. Worked fine.

4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 1/2 c peeled, seeded, diced cucumbers
1 1/2 c diced red bell peppers (I used green)
1/2 c diced red onion
1 c diced tomatoes
1 c canned unsweetened pineapple chunks in juice
2 T red wine vinegar
generous pinch of cayenne (I used a lot and it's spicy)
1 t ground cumin
1 1/2 c French or Italian bread, crusts removed, torn into chunks
3 c tomato juice
salt and ground black pepper to taste
thin slices of lemon or lime for garnish

In blender or food processor, combine the garlic, 3/4 c of cucumbers, 3/4 c of diced bell peppers, red onions, 1/2 c tomatoes, pineapple and its juice, vinegar, cayenne, cumin, bread chunks and tomato juice. Puree until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl, then stir in remaining diced cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes for texture and visual appeal. (I love that direction.) Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until cold, and serve garnished with lemon or lime slices.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Braised baby bok choy

Courtesy of epicurious

We've been eating a lot of bok choy lately. I love bok choy, and it's super cheap at my favorite Asian market. And, I read, really good for you, too.

1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 lb baby bok choy, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Bring broth and butter to a simmer in a deep large heavy skillet. Arrange bok choy evenly in skillet and simmer, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer bok choy with tongs to a serving dish and keep warm, covered.
Boil broth mixture until reduced to about 1/4 cup, then stir in sesame oil and pepper to taste. Pour mixture over bok choy.

Bok choy with beef

Courtesy of epicurious

Equally good with pork. I think it'd probably work for chicken, too.

1 (1-lb) piece beef tenderloin

For marinade
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon medium-dry Sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 1/2 lb baby bok choy
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons medium-dry Sherry
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

Accompaniment: rice
Cut beef crosswise (across the grain) into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut slices into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
Make marinade and marinate meat: Stir together marinade ingredients in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved.
Add beef, tossing to coat, and marinate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Blanch bok choy: Separate bok choy into individual leaves and halve crosswise, keeping stems and leaves separate. Cook stems in a large pot of boiling water 15 seconds, then add leaves and cook 15 seconds more. Drain in a colander, then rinse with cold water to stop cooking and drain well.
Fry beef: Stir together soy sauce, Sherry, and vinegar.
Heat vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat..
Add beef to hot oil with tongs (discard marinade) and cook, stirring carefully, until slices separate, about 1 minute. Transfer beef with tongs to a colander and drain.
Stir-fry beef and bok choy: Reserve 3 tablespoons oil from skillet and discard remainder. Heat reserved oil in skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir-fry garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds.Add beef, soy mixture, and bok choy and stir-fry until sauce is simmering and mixture is just heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Alissa's mashed potatoes

OK, this isn't really a recipe, but I have to put in a plug for Alissa's not-so-secret mashed potatoes. The not-so-secret ingredient?

Cream cheese.

Boil the potatoes, mash the potatoes, put a little milk and salt and pepper in the potatoes. Apparently one can also put butter in the potatoes at this step, but I did not. Instead I put in the magical cream cheese, and boy howdy, as they say. I have never made such delicious potatoes. I put in a fair amount of cream cheese, too, because a lot of a good thing is really good.

Alissa + starchy tubers + delicious dairy products = AWESOME.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Light Summer Minestrone

There aren't a whole lot of seasonings in this recipe, so some may find it bland. I like that the flavor of the veggies really comes through.

Light Summer Minestrone
from Aviva Goldfarb, The Six O'Clock Scramble

1 T olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots or 10-15 baby carrots, diced
2 cans (15 oz each) chicken or vegetable broth
2 soup cans water
1 1/2 cups uncooked thin egg noodles
1 medium yellow squash (about 1/2 pound), diced (or use zucchini)
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 can (15 oz) cannellini or pinto beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes or 2 cups fresh tomatos (about 2 tomatos)
10 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese for serving

In a large saucepan (I used a 5 qt, and that seemed to be about right), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute it for a few minutes while you chop the carrots.

Add the carrots, broth, and water. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil.

Add the noodles and simmer them for about 5 minutes. Add the squash, peas, beans, and tomatos and return the soup to a simmer. Cook it for a few more minutes until the squash is tender.

Stir in the basil and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the soup topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 8.

While the flavor was good, I think Geoff wanted something more. Next time we do this, we'll probably throw in some sausage or pepperoni.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lemony Nutty Garlicky Broccoli

I discovered a recipe on the Food Network's website. I changed it up a lot -- changed the veggie, changed the cooking method, and ditched the ricotta -- and Geoff and I really liked it. We eyeballed pretty much everything, but I'll estimate amounts to the best of my ability.....

1 T olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups broccoli
1 T lemon juice, maybe a little less?

Heat the oil in a pan, then add the pine nuts. Stir occasionally. As they get lightly browned, add the garlic. When the garlic gets brown, add the broccoli and lemon juice. Season to taste (we used fresh black pepper and Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt).


Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Ok, this isn't exactly healthy, but you can eat it with lots of fresh veggies! Someone brought it to our Memorial Day BBQ and it disappeared in a nanosecond, so I had to find a recipe.

1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled, cooled
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 c. mayo
1 c. sour cream

Combine mayo and sour cream. Fold in bacon and tomatoes. Serve with veggies and crackers.

* One of the recipes I found called for the addition of seasoned salt and onion powder to the recipe above. I thought the bacon added enough of a salty flavor that it didn't need anything else.
* Make sure tomato is seeded and as much liquid is drained off as possible before you add them to the dip. Otherwise the dip gets runny.
* I used low-fat ingredients and it tasted great

Monday, July 03, 2006

French Toast

from the amazing Alton Brown, recipe found on Food Network

1 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread
4 tablespoons butter
In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

Classic Chocolate Ice Cream

from The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever

2 c. heavy cream
2 c. half and half or light cream
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a heavy saucpan, combine the cream, half and half, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then gradually whisk 1 c. of the warm cream into it. Return egg mixture to saucepan and cook like vanilla ice cream (below). Remove from heat. Immediately add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
Strain into a bowl and partially cover. Let cool one hour at room temperature. Stir in vanilla. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or as long as 3 days.
Freeze in ice cream maker according to instructions.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Speckled vanilla bean ice cream

This is our tried and true vanilla ice cream, adapted from the recipe in The Best Ice Cream Maker Cookbook Ever. I've said it before, and I'll say it ice cream maker is a good investment.

2 vanilla beans (I bought some nice ones on eBay last year for not much money)
2 cups heavy cream (or half and half, your choice)
2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
3/4 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla

Split vanilla beans and scrape out seeds. Add beans and pods, cream, vanilla and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Add the sugar and cook until the sugar dissolves and mixture is hot, 6 to 8 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk about 1 c. of the milk mixture into the bow, then return the egg mixture to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, cook 5 to 10 minutes, until custard thickens.
Strain the custard into a bowl, add vanilla bean pods for flavor. Cool 1 hour at room temperature, then in fridge at least six hours or as long as 3 days.
Discard vanilla bean pods. Pour custard into canister of ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions (30 min for our maker). Transfer to a covered container and freeze at least 3 hours.

Marinated mushrooms

Ernie loves mushrooms. He likes them marinated, raw, sauteed...doesn't really matter, he just loves mushrooms. I'll be making this for him today.

from Tastes of Italia

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms (1/3 whole, 1/3 halved, 1/3 quartered)
3 cloves garlic, minched
1 pinch chili flakes
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt

In a large saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to boil. Add mushrooms and boil for 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms with slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients, plus enough cooking water cover mushrooms. Let cool, then refrigerate 1 to 2 days. Remove and serve.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pam Wamsley's Casserole

I got this one from my aunt, who got it from her friend Pam Wamsley. My uncle has heart issues, so my aunt modified to reduce the fat and cholesterol a bit. I'll put in the original ingredients, along with her modifications....

- 2-1/2 to 3 pound chicken, cooked and off the bone (or take the easy way like me, and cook up about 2 pounds of chicken tenderloins)
- 1 12-serving package of Stove Top stuffing mix
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (use low-sodium, low-fat, or whatever version)
- 1-1/2 sticks of butter (margarine)
- 1 cup sour cream (fat-free)
- 1-1/2 cup chicken stock (2 chicken bouillion (sp?) cubes dissolved in 1-1/2 cups boiling water)
- canned cranberry sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, melt the butter, then stir in stuffing. Mix well, do not add water. Spread 3/4 of this mixture in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Lay pieces of chicken on top.

In a medium bowl, mix sour cream, soup, and just 1 cup chicken stock. Pour or spoon over the chicken and stuffing.

Spread the rest of the stuffing on top, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of stock on top.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Serve with cranberry sauce on the side. (In my opinion, the cranberry is necessary. Its sweetness/tartness really complements the dish well.)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pizza Pasta Salad

I made this one up, but I'm sure I heard from somewhere that you could do it. Anyway, I don't like traditional pasta salads, and I was in the mood for pizza. This stuff is good.

- cooked pasta (we had two partial boxes of rotini and bowties, but use whatever you've got)
- pepperoni (we got a log(?) of pepperoni, sliced it thickly, and then cut each slice into quarters, but if you've got slices, just cut 'em up)
- mozzarella cheese, diced (big or small, whaever you'd like)
- 1 small can of sliced olives
- Italian dressing

Mix everything in a big bowl, using enough dressing to coat, but not get soupy at the bottom. Chill and eat. Delish!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sour cherry-fruit slump

The picture accompanying this article looked so good I wanted to lick the page. I decided instead to make the recipe, and had to restrain myself from licking the hot goo out of the pan right now.
I've discovered (I think, anyway) that tart and sour cherries are the same thing. I'll be picking many, many pounds of these suckers on Sunday, and freezing them so I can eat this all year round. This time, I used canned pie cherries in water, and they worked just fine. I also used some blackberries left over from last year's picking (left them frozen and threw them in the pan) and a handful of fresh blueberries I had.
Enough talk. Cooking instructions now.

from Eating Well

3/4 cup sugar, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail or orange juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
4 cups fresh, frozen (thawed) or canned (drained) pitted sour cherries)
1 3/4 cups blueberries, blackberries and/or chopped (unpeeled) purple plums

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Sources)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into bits
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, plus more as needed (I used regular 2% milk, because that's what I had)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for garnish

1. To prepare fruit: Stir together 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a 9- to 10-inch non-reactive deep-sided skillet or 3-quart wide-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven . Stir in cranberry (or orange) juice and lemon zest, then the cherries and other fruit. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring. Simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and add up to 2 tablespoons more sugar if desired.
2. To prepare dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add butter and oil. Using a pastry blender, two knives or a fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk, mixing with a fork just until incorporated. The dough should be very soft and slightly wet; if necessary, stir in a little more buttermilk. Let the dough stand for 3 to 4 minutes to firm up slightly.
3. To finish: Use lightly oiled soup spoons to scoop up the dough, dropping it in 8 portions onto the fruit, spacing them evenly over the surface. Return the slump to the stovetop and adjust the heat so it simmers very gently. Cover the pot tightly, and continue simmering until the dumplings are very puffy and cooked through, 17 to 20 minutes. Cut into the center dumpling with a paring knife to check for doneness. Let the slump cool on a wire rack, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dumplings. Serve warm.

Per serving: 301 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 2 g mono); 10 mg cholesterol; 56 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 295 mg sodium; 178 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value), Vitamin A (25% dv). Exchanges: 1 fruit; 2 other carbohydrates; 1 1/2 fat; 4 Carbohydrate Servings.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

berry cobbler

My friend and I used about a third of the eight pounds of strawberries we picked this weekend to make this cobbler...

from the Best Light Recipe

This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 13x9 inch dish -- you may need to increase the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure not to combine the wet and dry biscuit ingredients until the filling is ready. Before you assemble the filling, first taste the berries. Add the smaller amount of sugar if the berries are on the sweet side, and more sugar if the fruit is tart.

30 oz (6 c) blueberries, rinsed and picked over
1/4-1/3 c sugar
2 T juice from 1 lemon
1 T cornstarch
1/2 t ground cinnamon

1 c (5 oz) unbleached flour
3 T yellow cornmeal
1/4 c plus 2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 c buttermilk
3 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t cinnamon

1. For the filling:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fruit filling ingredients together in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fruit releases its liquid and is hot and bubbling around the edges, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. For the biscuit topping:
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal, 1/4 c of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, butter and vanilla together; set aside. In a third small bowl, mix the remaining 2 t sugar with the cinnamon; set aside.

3. When the filling is ready, stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Remove the cobbler filling from the oven and stir. Pinch off 8 equal pieces of the biscuit dough and arrange them on top of the hot filling, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the cinnamon sugar.

4. Continue to bake the cobbler until the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through and the filling is again hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the cobbler on a wire rack for 15 min before serving.

Strawberry variation:
Follow the blueberry cobbler recipe, making the following changes: Substitute 2 quarts strawberries, rinsed and hulled, for the blueberries. Omit the cinnamon. Substitute 1 t vanilla for the lemon juice.

herbed zucchini noodles

The best thing about this was the zucchini shaved with the vegetable peeler -- the texture was different and a little odd, but I liked it.

from Calorie Commando, a Food Newtork show I've never heard of

2 large zucchini
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
4 ounces egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Parmesan, freshly grated (I used like 7 times this much. :) )

Carefully drag a vegetable peeler the length of the zucchini to create long strands. Discard centers with the seeds.

Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat with the butter. Add the zucchini and quickly toss to coat with the butter. Add parsley, thyme, oregano, and lemon pepper. Toss again and warm through, about 1 minute. Add the egg noodles. Toss once again until pasta is warmed through but zucchini remains crisp tender. Taste and adjust flavor with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Toss again and serve warm.

thai-style stir-fry with shrimp

My first time ever cooking shrimp: a success! This was really simple and surprisingly good.

From the website of the farmshare we belong to:

6-8 oz rice noodles
1 lb. stir fry greens
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs. fish sauce
2 tbs. hot sauce (Asian type)
2 tbs. sugar or honey
2 tbs. oil
12 medium shrimp (or substitute chicken or tofu)
1 onion
3 cloves garlic

Prepare Asian noodles (rice can be substituted).

Make sauce by combining vinegar, fish sauce, hot sauce and sugar. Heat wok over medium heat and coat with oil. Sauté onions and add garlic. Add sauce and heat to simmering point. If using chicken, add next and cook until done. If using tofu or shrimp add and stir quickly until coated; add other ingredients. Cook until shrimp is pink and greens are wilted. Do not overcook shrimp.

Serve over noodles. Garnish with uncooked stir-fry greens and lime wedges.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mango sorbet

We dusted off the ice cream maker yesterday and tried our hands at some mango sorbet. Yum. We didn't do all the fancy freezing in the shell bit, but I'm sure it'd be pretty.


4 ripe mangoes (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
1 cup Simple Syrup (equal parts water and sugar)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste

Using a sharp knife, remove the 2 flat sides of each mango, cutting lengthwise alongside pit and cutting as close to pit as possible so that mango flesh is in 2 large pieces. With a spoon carefully scoop flesh from mango sides into a blender, leaving shells intact. With a knife cut remaining flesh from pit and add to blender. Add syrup and lime juice to blender and purée until smooth. Put mango shells on baking sheet and freeze while making sorbet. Freeze mango purée in an ice-cream maker. Scoop sorbet into frozen shells, mounding slightly, and smooth surfaces. Freeze filled mango shells at least 6 hours, or until frozen hard. Frozen sorbets in shells may be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and kept in freezer 1 week.

Marinated Salmon with Mango-Kiwi Relish

We'll be eating this one later this week.

from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup diced peeled mango
1/2 cup cubed peeled kiwifruit
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
To prepare salmon, combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add fish to bag; seal. Marinate 10 minutes, turning occasionally. While fish marinates, heat grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from bag, discarding marinade. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. While fish cooks, prepare the relish. Combine mango and the remaining ingredients. Serve over fish.

Linguine with red clam sauce

I was a little afraid of the anchovies in this one, but it turned out really well.

from Rachel Ray's Express Lane meals

Coarse salt
1 pound linguine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 3 turns of the pan
One 2-ounce can flat anchovy fillets, drained
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine (a couple of glugs)
Two 14-ounce cans whole baby clams in juice, 1 can drained
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (2 handfuls)
Grated lemon zest, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook until al dente.
2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the EVOO (3 turns of the pan) and the anchovies and cook until the anchovies melt into the oil.
3. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme and garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the onion, raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the wine and cook 1 minute, then stir in the clams with their juice plus the drained clams. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute to concentrate the flavors. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste (be sure to taste the sauce before seasoning it; there's so much salt in the anchovies and clams that you may not need to add any).
4. Drain the linguine, return it to the pot and add the sauce. Add half the parsley and toss. Adjust the salt and pepper and plate the pasta. Garnish it with the remaining parsley and a little lemon zest.

pan-fried onion dip

I will try to clean up the sidebars and add all the new recipes sometime this week. Maybe I can get Gwen to help. (nudge nudge)

from Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa cookbook

2 large yellow onions
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half, then slice them into 1/8-inch half rounds. Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt and pepper and saute for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes, until the onions are browned and carmelized. Allow the onions to cool.
Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayo in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings.
Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Spinach Orzo Stuff

This isn't really a recipe, but something I've made a couple of times recently and Gwen asked me to post the "recipe."

I just made some orzo pasta. While it was cooking, I sauteed some chopped garlic in olive oil, and then added spinach and artichoke hearts. I used frozen for both of those, because it's what I had, but any kind would do. When it was all finished, I threw it together in a big bowl and added diced tomatoes and feta cheese and mixed it all together. Tasty. :)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

fennel cyooleeeeee...fennel cyoolaaah...

...a knapsack on my back!

two yummy fennel recipes:

roasted root veggies
1-2 lb. root veggies of choice chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
(sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, shallots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, etc)
1 fennel bulb, rinsed and chopped into 1/2 chunks
1/2-1 garlic bulb, broken up into cloves, skin-on
toss with olive oil, salt & pepper
sprigs of thyme or rosemary

Spread in a roasting pan and place in 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
Toss veggies, add a liberal sprinkle of parmesan and return to oven for another 10 minutes.
Serve with fresh crusty bread.

(I did it in a casserole dish and everything but the onions and fennel came out the texture of baby food, but I loved it. The only challenge is making sure you're watching out for garlic skins.)

fennel slaw
(on the Ocean Mist fennel bulb wrapper)
2 fennel bulbs
2 oranges
1/3-1/2 C bottled sweet poppyseed dressing
salt & pepper
Rinse fennel and cut bulbs in half.
Slice thin crosswise (perpendicular to the stripes in the bulb)
Zest oranges, then peel with knife and cut into 1/2 inch sections, working over the bowl to save the juice.
Stir dressing into reserved juice and zest. Add sliced fennel and toss.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate up to several hours in advance.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I raided Ernie's brother's garden this morning before we left to come home...and he kept telling me to cut down more dill, which was seriously taking over the entire plot (and was taller than The Gabs).
So, what to do with all the dill? I'm going to use some tomorrow to stuff a whole tilapia we bought this weekend -- we're going to stuff the fish with dill and lemon, and then grill it.
But seriously? That doesn't even dent the amount of dill I've got. Anyone have any suggestions? He said I could dry it, but I'd prefer to use it fresh if I can, I think. He'll be coming at the end of the month, and said he'd bring me more then. :)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Zucchini Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

From: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Hey! I finally cooked something again that turned out good! This dish was very tasty. It was written as a vegetarian main dish, but I think it would also be very good as a side dish.

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or reduced-sodium broth
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, finely chopped
4 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/3 cups arborio rice
16 sun-dried tomato halves, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh marjoram, or 1/2 tsp dried
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley to garnish

In medium saucepan, combine the stock and tomato juice: Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the shallots until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and wine. Cook until the zucchini is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice. Cook, stirring about 1 minute.

Add 1 cup of the stock mixture, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and marjoram. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the stock is absorbed before adding more, until the rice is just tender. Total cooking time should be about 25-30 minutes. Stir in the cheese and pepper. Serve at once, garnished with parsley.

Makes 4 entree servings, 1 1/2 cups each (7pts), or more servings as a side dish.

** Notes: I didn't have any marjoram, so I used thyme instead. Also, I didn't want to open a whole bottle of wine to use 1/2 cup, so I just used 1/2 cup of vegetable stock instead of the wine. The flavor was still very good.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

brown rice curry salad

Miracle of miracles, I finally cooked something again. I saw this recipe on Everybody Loves Sandwiches and I needed something to take to the Shakespeare Free-for-All in the park, and this was perfect. V. delicious.

2 c brown rice, uncooked
4 T curry paste (I used half hot and half mild, and it came out pretty spicy)
1 T ground cumin
1 t sesame oil
1/3 c vegetable oil (I would like to say I used less than this, but 4 T of curry paste is a LOT of curry paste, and I needed this much oil to get it to dissolve)
1/3 c major grey or mango chutney
1/2 of a large onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 c raisins
1 granny smith apple, diced
1 bunch of parsley, chopped fine

1. Cook rice according to package directions. When all the water is absorbed, pour rice into a large bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, heat vegetable oil with the curry paste until well mixed and add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add the cumin and sesame oil and mix well. Turn off heat and add the chutney, stirring until everything is combined. Add mixture to rice, mixing well. If you want more curry taste, cook up some more oil and curry and add it to the mix.

3. Add in all the finely chopped vegetables and the raisins and blend everything well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.

4. Stir in chopped apple and parsley and stir the salad once again to combine. Serve.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Roasted cauliflower

I drew my inspiration from here, but I didn't have half those ingredients, so I improvised.

One head cauliflower, cut into florets
generous drizzle of olive oil
generous sprinkle of granulated garlic
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 375 (same temp to cook turkey/ground sirloin meatloaf)

Place cauliflower in a large roasting pan or jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with oil; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring every 5 minutes. Toss cauliflower mixture, cheese, and lemon juice. Serve.

Coconut macaroon

So, Ernie and I got a DVR, which basically means I can record all the cooking shows I want, and then watch them at night when I'm hungry and highly suggestable.

Two nights ago we watched Paula Deen do a show on simple desserts. This was one of them; Ernie and Gaby made them the very next day.

3 cups shredded coconut
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine coconut, almond extract, and salt. Mix in condensed milk to form a thick paste. Fold in egg whites with cream of tarter. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Tasty Guac II

As a side-project to Shannon's fresh ingredients/new recipe challenge, what if our revival of the cooking blog was accompanied by a guacamole bake-off? Bring on your variations on an ultimate favorite.
(anyone have a better verb for the "bake" part?...)

My mom's (only slightly altered) guacamole

2 ripe avocados
juice of 1 lime
1/2+ tsp cumin
1/4+ tsp coriander
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3-6 dashes of tabasco
1 diced tomato (optional)
salt to taste

Mash everything together with a fork or potato masher.
If you have the time and/or patience, chill for 1 hr before serving to let the flavors mingle.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tasty guacamole

This recipe came to me via Tara, who got it out of a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. It can be easily halved. Ernie and I ate most of it (the halved amount) last night while watching tv.

4 ripe Haas avocados
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 dashes Tabasco sauce (or use a Mexican hot sauce. I honestly forgot it last night completely, and it was still good.)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped

Halve and pit the avocados, then scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic and salt and pepper; toss with a wooden spoon.
Using a sharp knife, slice through the avocados in the bowl until
they are finely diced. (I actually just mashed it with my hands until it was the consistency I liked) Add the tomatoes and toss to combine. Adjust the seasonings as needed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Knock Knock

This thing still on?
I'm back from vacation now, and will start cooking and trying new recipes this week and during the Memorial Day weekend.
What excuse do the rest of you have? :)

This week I challenge each of you to try one new recipe -- either something quick and easy, or using an ingredient you haven't used before. Extra points if you make something quick and easy with seasonal vegetables or fruits. We all need more of those in our lives, right?

Go. Read. Cook.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Walnut Coffee Cake

from Cooking Light

I typically have very bad luck with bundt cakes, but I bought some new spray (made by Crisco, with flour in it) and really coated the inside of my bundt cake pan. The cake came out perfectly, which has me rethinking the whole ban on bundt cakes.

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 14 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
10 tablespoon butter, softened
3/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups nonfat buttermilk
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add egg substitute; beat 3 minutes or until combined. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping sides of bowl. Spoon half of batter into a 10-inch Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of brown sugar mixture evenly over batter; spoon remaining half of batter into pan. Top with remaining brown sugar mixture.
Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Creamed spinach

I needed to use up a bunch of spinach. This worked nicely.

1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach
Cooking spray
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup tub-style light cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (1/4-inch-thick) sliced tomato
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
Remove large stems from spinach. Tear spinach into 1-inch pieces; place in a colander. Rinse spinach under cold water; drain. Set aside. Place a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add onion; saute 3 minutes. Add spinach; cover and cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Add cream cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper. Uncover and cook an additional minute or until cream cheese melts. Spoon spinach mixture into a 1-quart gratin dish or shallow casserole coated with cooking spray. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on top of spinach,and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Tilapia Parmesan Saute

I'm not sure where this recipe came from, but we had it for dinner tonight and it was pretty good, and really easy to make.

4-6 Tilapia fillets
1 Tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbls. parsley flakes
2 Tbls. butter
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley flakes; set aside. Heat a large saute pan and add olive oil, butter, and lemon. Saute fillets 2-3 minutes per side until white and flaky. Sprinkle cheese mixture on fillets and saute each side for another minute, then serve. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Roasted vegetable pasta

This came from the care2eatwell newsletter. I used asparagus, garlic scapes, baby squash and broccoli, and it was really, really good.

1 pound of your favorite pasta

For the Roasted Vegetables
4 cups total of any or all of the following (next time I think I'll use more like 6 c.)
Asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
Leek, white part only, cut into 1-inch rounds
Scallions, white and green parts, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
Baby patty pan squash or zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Broccoli florets
1/4 cup olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

For the sauce:
1/2 cup white wine or good-quality vegetable broth (I used about 3/4 c. broth)
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely minced, or 1 teaspoon dried
(I also threw in some pea shoots right before I mixed the sauce and veggies, to wilt them a little.)

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper, and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer in a deep-rimmed baking pan. Bake approximately 20 minutes, tossing once, until vegetables are lightly browned and tender. Remove from oven.
2. In a saucepan, heat the wine or broth along with the lemon juice and dill. Add roasted vegetables and stir to mix thoroughly.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to add to sauce if it is too thick.
4. Place cooked pasta in a large serving bowl. Top with roasted vegetable sauce and serve immediately.
Serves 6.

Monday, April 24, 2006

lemon pasta salad with arugula and pea shoots

I made this recipe up! I am tempted to name it something less descriptive and more awesome, such as "awesome awesome mega super pasta awesome," or "yeah pea shoots," or "Josephine."

Shannon has recently noted the coolness of pea shoots, aka parachutes, which she and I both bought at the farmers' market on Sunday. They're really good, a little sweet, a little bite-y. Yum. They are definitely random, though, and they're not vital to this recipe. Spinach or other greens would do just fine.

Clearly there is room for experimentation -- I didn't measure anything. It was about half greens and half pasta, which worked well. The greens are spicy and tangy, especially with the lemon dressing, so the pasta mellowed them out a bit.


Make pasta. I used about a third of a box of multi-grain rotini. (The recipe as a whole probably made four medium-sized servings.)

While it's boiling, take three or four big handfuls of arugula and pea shoots (or whatever). Tear into bite-sized bits, wash and set aside.

Mix viniagrette in small bowl:

equal parts fresh lemon juice and vinegar (I used white wine; others would be fine I am sure)
about 1 t sugar
a little rosemary, fresh or dried
black pepper
pinch of salt

Drain pasta, put back into pot and pour dressing over it. Toss and let cool slightly so it doesn't freak out the greens. I threw a little herbed goat cheese (that farmers market was excellent) in at this step too, which mixed together nicely with everything else, but I wouldn't say it's necessary.

When pasta is fairly cool, toss with greens and make sure everything's coated just a little. You really don't need a lot of dressing, because it's pretty strong.

Ta da! Eat it. Have other people tell you you're awesome.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Honey Nut Chicken Sticks

Source: Rachael Ray, "365: No Repeats"

Note: I'm re-doing the instructions a bit, because I think they could be written a little more clearly.

2 lbs chicken tenders
salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
splash of milk
2 cups Honey Nut Corn Flakes, crushed
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoon grill seasoning, e.g. Montreal Steak seasoning
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Line up 3 shallow bowls. Put flour in the first bowl. Put eggs and milk in second one, then beat. Put the remaining ingredients in the third bowl and combine well. Put a nonstick baking sheet after the third bowl.

Use an assembly line...put chicken in flour, then egg mixture, then breading mixture, and place in a single layer on the baking sheet.

When the tenders have been coated, bake for 15 minutes, or until evenly browned and cooked through.

Cool enough to serve or pack up for a picnic. Can be served hot or cold.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sour cream, lemon and herb deviled eggs

This is on our menu for Easter dinner tonight, along with lamb, asparagus, mashed potatoes, tomato and mozarella salad, rolls and chocolate cake. I figured this would be a good way to use up some of those eggs we colored earlier this week. My notes in parenthesis.

from Bon Appetit

6 hard-boiled eggs (I used 7)
3 tablespoons (fat free) sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (low-fat) mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (left this out)

Chopped fresh parsley or thyme
Shell eggs, then cut in half lengthwise. Transfer yolks to small bowl and mash with fork. Mix in sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Spoon yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle generously with chopped parsley or thyme. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely and refrigerate.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from Williams-Sonoma. Geoff and I made these a couple of weeks ago, and they came out wonderfully.

2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat (or spray with cooking spray).

Sift together flour, baking soda, an salt. Set aside.

Beat butter until smooth. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until slightly fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet, spacing them about 2" apart. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to the rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Makes 36 cookies.

- I modified the recipe to remove the references to a stand mixer, which W-S assumes all people have. Yeah, right. Anyway, Geoff and I don't have one -- we used lots of elbow grease while stirring things by hand -- and the cookies turned out ok.
- We didn't sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together, because we don't have a sifter. We just put those ingredients in a bowl and mixed them together really well.
- I don't think we actually got 36 cookies, we got less than that. But then again, we like our cookies a little bigger, so it was ok by us.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Middle Eastern Chickpeas with Spinach

From Moosewood Restauarant's Low-Fat Favorites

Gwen gave me a chickpea recipe 2 years ago that was almost exactly like this, minus the spinach, but when I asked for it again recently she had no recollection of it. I think this might actually be the same recipe, and maybe she just left out the spinach part? Either way, I liked her recipe, and I liked this one, too. The book recommends serving it over orzo, with the sauce on top. I just ate it by itself with the sauce.

2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp chopped fresh mint
dash of salt

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of saffron
1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, with liquid reserved (16 oz can)
10 oz fresh spinach, rinsed, stemmed, coarsely chopped (2 average-sized bags of the prewashed stuff from the grocery store)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cooked orzo (optional)

Combine the yogurt, garlic, mint and salt in a bowl and set aside to blend the flavors.

In a large skillet, saute the onions in the oil on medium heat until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the bell pepper, coriander, cumin, and saffrom, and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the chickpeas and 1/4 cup of their liquid and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the peppers are just tender, adding more of the reserved liquid if necessary. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is bright and wilted. Stir in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper.

Serve immediately over orzo, topped with the yogurt sauce.