Monday, December 27, 2010

Stolen idea

I think I've mentioned A Year of Slow Cooking before. I love her blog. Well, she's done it again.

This year I got 6 cabbages bigger than my head in the fall from gleaning at a local farm. I've still got a couple in cold storage (ok, cool storage, an unheated basement room) and I made something like 3 gallons of sauerkraut with 1 1/2 others. (I turned the difference into krautburgers, yuum!)

Then I had to ask - "What do I do with all this sauerkraut?" I have a limit for how much brautwurst I'm willing to feed my family. I gave half of it away in pint and quart sizes, and the rest is sitting in the extra fridge, waiting for inspiration.

And here is Stephanie O'Dea to the rescue! Pulled pork with sauerkraut looks fantastic, and it uses up all the carrots I have left from the gleaning too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rene's Dad's Salsa

Fall is here and the mornings are giving us a hint of the frost that can't be far behind. It's time to use up all those tomatoes and peppers that are finishing in your garden or on sale at the markets.

Here's where I admit, yet again, that a foreigner is better at an ethnic recipe than me. ;-) OK, so we're both American, but Rene's Dad is of Dutch decent, and I'm of partial Hispanic decent. His salsa recipe is too excellent to turn my nose up at, so it's what I use. We ran out at the beginning of the summer, and this year my garden was almost worthless, so I'm using store bought veggies. Sigh.... poor me.

Rene's Dad's Salsa

1/2 bunch cilantro (~4 oz)
30 Roma tomatoes (~5 lbs)
1 jalapeno pepper
3 yellow or red sweet bell peppers
2-3 onions
2-3 green bell peppers
1 Tbs canning salt
15 oz tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar

Chop all vegetables very fine (skin tomatoes if desired)
Put all ingredients into bot and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 3-4 hrs

May can using water bath method for canning.

Notes and modifications:

Skim the extra liquid off if you like a thicker salsa. You can use the extra liquid for cooking other dishes.

I'm told you can halve this recipe, and I have successfully doubled and tripled it.

I have made lots of changed to this recipe as dictated by what I had on hand - different varieties of peppers and tomatoes, no tomato paste, more cilantro, and all of them have turned out great, just taste test as you go so you know what to expect. Some variations came out hotter than others. I give this away at Christmas time and it would be mean to give a spicy variation to my gringo friends. :-P

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not your mother's coleslaw

I got a couple of cabbages and this recipe from a friend about 15 years ago. It was a gift that lasted far longer than that first salad.

Asian Slaw

6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
6 thinly sliced green onions
6 oz snow peas - stringed and thinly sliced
1 large sweet red pepper thinly sliced
1/2 cup peanuts

Asian Dressing

whisk or shake together:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all vegetables and salad dressing together, top with chopped roasted peanuts

Notes and modifications:

I make a batch of this dressing and keep it around for putting on our everyday lettuce salads.

Leave off the peanuts if you're feeding someone with a peanut allergy.

You can substitute olive oil or peanut oil for vegetable oil, but the sesame oil really boosts the flavor, so I've never left it out.

I have made this with many different raw veggies when I don't have the right ingredients. I've subbed red onion for green onion, julienne raw carrots for red pepper or peas, etc. The key is to keep the volume of the salad about the same, and always have the cabbage and something onion like.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pocket Sandwiches

Frozen pocket sandwiches were all the rage when I was in college and flat broke. No worries, I had my secret weapon - the ability to cook. These are great for a quick meal or hearty snack.

Krautburgers and Pasties

Use your favorite bread recipe. After the first rise roll it out flat in batches.
Slice into rectangles. (twice as large as you'd like the finished pocket to be)
Put your favorite filling in and pinch the bread closed with your fingers. Use water to dampen if necessary. Bake at 350 for ~20 min, or until bread is done and filling is warm.

I've always made these with precooked meat and veggies.

Use any left over meat and veggies, chop into smallish bite sized pieces. Add left over gravy, or cheese to add moisture. Mix together in big bowl and then spoon onto prepared dough.

Chopped leftover turkey, peas, mashed potatoes and leftover turkey gravy

Chopped steak, mushrooms, peas, fried onions and a bit of beef gravy

Chopped broccoli, cheddar cheese, cubed left over baked potato, and a bit of pepper

Cooked and drained spinach, feta cheese, fried onions, spiced with a bit of dill

(I remember eating these as a kid, and even now a local fast food place sells something like them)

1 lb ground beef
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Fry up all together until browned and yummy. Eat up all on it's own or make into a pocket sandwich.

Notes and modifications:

There is no limit to what you can put in a bit of bread and call food. Taste as you go and you're not likely to go too far wrong.

These freeze and reheat well. To freeze put in freezer on a baking sheet. When hard wrap in plastic wrap, bag together and put back in the freezer. To reheat, microwave for ~2 minutes. I like to put them in the toaster oven for just a little bit when they come out of the microwave, just to make the bread toasty.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Comfort food

Here's something I make that I have never had a recipe for. My mom made it, and who knows where she learned it? Still it's cheap, hearty, and delicious. If you've never had scallop potatoes you're in for home-style a treat.

Scallop Potatoes

~ 5 lbs Potatoes, sliced, or enough to fill your casserole dish
~ 1 lb grated cheddar cheese
4-6 eggs
~3 cups milk
3 Tbs flour
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic pealed
1 tsp pepper
ham (optional)

Put milk, eggs, flour, onion, garlic, pepper, and handful of cheese in blender, blend until smooth.

Grease casserole dish.
Layer potatoes and cheese (and ham if you want it) in casserole dish. Leave out one handful of cheese.

Pour milk/egg mixture over potato/cheese in casserole dish. Add more milk if it doesn't come to the top layer of potatoes.
Sprinkle cheese over the top of the whole thing and bake for 1 hr. in 350 degree oven.

It's done when the potatoes are just tender.

Notes and modifications:

You can use up whatever extra cheese you have around, I've even been known to throw sour cream or yogurt in the blender with this.

Ham is what I've always added, but you could add just about any leftover you had around that appealed.

This freezes fine. I put it in the fridge to firm it up, then cut into chunks that look like about a meals worth, wrap with plastic wrap, and freeze. Then just microwave it for a few minutes to heat. You could also take it out in the morning to thaw and warm it in the oven. I just never think that far ahead.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken Frangelico

This is another often requested recipe. It has a heavenly fragrance. It's not too spicy for kids, but has enough flavor to endear itself to the grown ups.

Chicken Frangelico
(as modified from Colorado Collage)

1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp curry powder
3 Tbs flour
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in 1" cubes
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/4 + cup Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest (~ 1 lemon's zest)
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

In pie dish mix spices and flour.
Coat cut chicken in flour mixture.
Brown on all sides in skillet with oil or butter coated chicken.
Add mushrooms, Frangelico, lemon juice, and zest.
Simmer 5 minutes.
In a small bowl combine cornstarch and chicken broth.
Stir into chicken mixture.
Cook over low heat until mixture bubbles and thickens.

Serve over pasta.

Notes and modifications:

This doubles and triples well. I will often thicken a large batch in a casserole dish in the oven as my skillet isn't big enough for a triple batch.

This freezes and reheats well.

If you like extra sauce, add more chicken broth and Frangelico.

I've never been told I added to much garlic or Frangelico.

This is another dish we made on the boat, modifying it with turkey, dehydrated mushrooms, and chicken bullion. Hunger makes the best sauce, and we enjoyed it just as much there as here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Warm chili for cool nights

My husband cooks. He even cooks really well. Here's one of his recipes that all the kids like. This is one we keep in the freezer for busy days, or to take to a family when they're needing someone else to feed them.

Steve's Turkey Chili (makes 17 cups)

3 lbs ground Turkey
1 + large onion, chopped or diced
1 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped or diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tbs oil
1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp chipolte chili powder
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 Tbs mole paste (from Mexican section of the grocery)
2 15 oz cans kidney beans
1 15 oz can pinto beans
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions, bell pepper and garlic in oil.
Add turkey and brown.
Add cumin, chili powders, salt and pepper while browning.
Add tomatoes, mole paste, beans and about 4 pints of water.
Cook down until flavors blend and pot thickens. (2-3 hours on med/low heat)

Notes and modifications:

This is not spicy chili. It's suitable for children and gringos. It doesn't have a bite, it has a nibble, a love bite perhaps.

I've successfully doubled this recipe. I can't imagine I have a pot big enough to triple it.

It freezes and reheats really well. Many the busy day has ended with me taking a tub of this out of the freezer and heating in on the stove while I put out bowls, bread, and salad.

I've used both ground chicken and ground beef in this, both worked, but turkey tastes better somehow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A husband who cooks

I'm part Italian, my husband is not. Ironically he's the one who makes this dish at our house. No matter how I try to doctor it up, his is better, so here it is.

Steve's Chicken Marsala

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 lb mushrooms, slices
3 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs olive oil + 2 Tbs butter
1/4 + cup Marsala wine
1/2 + cup chicken broth
dash of thyme
salt to taste

Slice chicken into cutlets and pound flat.
Mix flour, pepper and salt together in a pie plate.
Saute onions and garlic in 1 Tsp olive oil, remove.
Add 2 Tbs butter and 2 Tbs olive oil to skillet.
Dredge chicken in flour mixture and brown in oil and butter, remove.
Saute mushrooms in remaining oil, remove.
Add Marsala to skillet, scraping skillet.
Add broth and cook a couple of minutes.
Return onions and mushrooms and cook 1-2 minutes.
Return chicken, add thyme and salt and cook until sauce thickens.

Serve over pasta

Notes and modifications:

This recipe can be successfully doubled or tripled. To do so I use a casserole dish placed in a warm oven to collect all the bits as they are removed, and thicken the whole lot in the oven.

If you like extra sauce for the pasta, use extra chicken broth and marsala.

No one has ever complained if I add extra garlic.

When we lived on a boat and had limited supplies we successfully made this using a turkey breast, dehydrated mushrooms, and chicken bullion. It probably didn't taste as good as the regular recipe, but was damn good boat food.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A quick meal

There are plenty of times in family life when you want a quick, inexpensive, but healthy, meal or snack. I especially appreciate food that my kids can heat up and serve themselves. This recipe fits all the way around.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Bake a lot of potatoes. (Specifics? Really? Sigh. Fine.)

Bake 5 lbs of potatoes at 350 for 1 hr. (Satisfied?)

Eat any you want with some grilled meat and a salad, or make a potato bar and call it dinner.

Let cool. You can even stick the potatoes in the fridge and get to them tomorrow or the day after.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, so that it easily lays with cut side up.

Scoop out potato with a spoon leaving skins and a thin layer of potato behind for structural support.

Put potato guts in a large mixing bowl, mash with milk/cream and large amount of butter (as if for dry mashed potatoes). Now add cheese, eggs, veggies, garlic, spices, salt, pepper, and/or meat to the mix. How much is up to you, as a minimum I would add 1 cup cheese and 2 eggs to 5 cups potato, with veggies and meat being optional. Taste as you go to get something you like. (Yes, I know about not eating raw eggs, but it hasn't killed me yet, and I'm not going to worry about it!)

Now you just scoop the mashed potato mix back into the shells, lay face up on a baking sheet, sprinkle with cheese and bake the stuffed potatoes again. (usually just enough to heat, ~ 20 min @350)

If any survive you can freeze the extras on the baking sheets, transferring to a freezer bag when they're hard. They only take a couple of minutes in the microwave to be toasty and yummy again.

If all the twice backed potatoes got eaten then next time try starting with 10 lbs of potatoes.

Notes and modifications:

I usually start with at least 7 lbs of potatoes.

My kids favorite twice baked potato is cheddar cheese, cream cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.
I like to add broccoli to this, and it's pretty good with ham and broccoli.

We've also made pizza potatoes using dried tomatoes, pepperoni, and mozzerella.
I'd like to try spinach and feta.

The sky is the limit when filling these, change the cheese type and the extras to make your favorite flavor.

A link to this post is also at Food Renegade "Fight Back Friday" for April 30 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Banana Bread Muffins

Muffins are a staple snack at our house. Once a month or so I'll get the bug (or be nagged) to make muffins. I make at least 2 dozen muffins at a time, freezing any muffins that aren't gone after 24 hours. Then when I need a quick snack I just pop them out of the freezer and into the microwave. They're also great to put into a sack lunch. In the summer they thaw quickly and help keep other ingredients cool.

Banana Bread Muffins (as adapted from Joy of Cooking)
makes 24 muffins or 2 loaves

2/3 cup shortening *
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
lemon zest (optional)

Beat in:
3 large eggs, chicken or duck - or 4 small eggs
2-3 cups ripe banana

Blend at low speed:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix in 1/2 cup goodies: (optional)
chocolate chips
chopped nuts
dried fruit

Put into greased muffin tins or cup cake papers
Bake at 350 degrees F (335 convection oven) for ~ 20 min.

divide and pour into 2 greased bread loaf pans for ~1 hour.

Notes and modifications:

*I never use vegetable shorting. Ugh. Vegetable shortening is not food!
I use butter, coconut oil, or olive oil for my baking. Recently I used half butter and half virgin coconut oil in this recipe and it was wonderful! The virgin coconut oil had a very faint fragrance (but not taste) of coconut that went very well with the banana. The muffins also had a slight crispness to the them that I've never got before.

If you have a smaller family and no freezer, this recipe halves just fine.

In my family muffins last a little longer than loaves. I think it has to do with portion control. :-)

Usually I stir in or sprinkle on nuts on half of the batch, then ditto with chocolate chips for the other half. Guess which the kids prefer? ;-)

I really like duck eggs for baking. They are larger, cook poofier (man, spell check hate that word!), and the flavor is just lovely. I don't like duck eggs when I'm eating an egg plain, although it's been so long since I've had one that way, I don't think I could tell you why.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring is here

I know spring is here because I'm making hollandaise sauce. Why? It's Easter. My neighbor's eggs are coming in fast and furious. The asparagus isn't up at our house yet, but it's cheap at the grocery store. The combination of Easter, ham, asparagus, and hollandaise sauce is completely irresistible to me.

Now, you can probably get all sorts of recipes for hollandaise sauce on the net, but I don't need to. My dad taught me how to make it years ago. It's way easier than you think, especially if you know his special trick.

Hollandaise Sauce

2 egg yolks
1/4 lb butter (1 stick)
juice of 1 lemon or 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
dash cayenne pepper

Melt half of the butter on low heat in heavy bottom pot. (You could also use a double boiler, but I don't bother.)

Whisk egg yolks and lemon together in bowl until smooth and bright yellow.

Dad's special trick: Don't let the pot get hotter than you can stand to touch. Cup your whole hand around the pan and hold it there to get the temperature right. It should feel warm, not hot. If your stove heat doesn't go low enough take it on and off the heat as necessary.

Temper egg yolks by whisking in 2 Tablespoons of warm melted butter, one Tbls at a time.

Slowly and gently dribble egg mixture into warm (not hot) pot with butter, whisking the whole time.

Add the rest of the butter, one slice at a time as each melts. Whisk constantly. Continue to heat gently until just thickened.

Take off heat, whisk in a dash of cayenne and serve of veggies, eggs, ham, or just dig in with a spoon.

Notes and modifications:

Whisk, whisk, whisk... I like the sound of that word. :-)

This isn't as hard as it seems reading it. In reality, I usually over-heat the first bit of melted butter, take it off the heat, whisk the eggs and lemon, get distracted by the toast or a child, and come back to find everything cold. It still turns out. The only part that needs attention is the part where you're adding the egg stuff to the warm butter and whisking in the butter slices. It usually takes me less than 5 minutes for that part, and that reward is well worth ignoring the children and toast for a tiny bit.

Save the egg whites, you can make meringue cookies or divinity.
OK. I guess you could also do something healthy like mix them into an omelet. Oooh, and then you could pour hollandaise sauce over it!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Treats

Here is an Easter gift for you. Cream puffs are delicious and super easy. They also use up eggs, which are becoming abundant this time of year.

Cream Puff Pastry

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 eggs (or 3 large duck eggs)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Boil water, salt, and butter until liquid, dump in flour, stir.
Let stand 5 minutes.
Stir in eggs one at a time.

Drop on greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees F (350 convection) for ~40 minutes.

Cool thoroughly.
Cut in half along equator and remove "guts".

Fill with whipped cream and dust with powdered sugar (for cream puffs) or ???

Notes and Modifications:

Unfilled these can be stored for a couple of days. I put in largish container and cover loosely so they don't dry out, but also don't get soggy.

The size is entirely up to you. I make mine smallish, using a whopping tea spoon to drop. (In this case the "tea spoon" isn't the measuring spoon, but the one used for tea or coffee.) I've seen them made huge, which is easier to make, but sometimes more of a commitment than I want to make with regards to eating.

These can be filled with more than whipped cream.

Try something savory - an egg scrambler inside topped with salsa or maybe ham, egg and asparagus topped with hollandaise sauce. Fill shells with left-overs, top with a cream sauce and present these as if they're what you were planning all along.

Drop into longer shapes to make shells for eclairs - fill finished shell with custard and top with chocolate sauce or chocolate frosting. Oh man, I think I just talked myself into making custard tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I like eating real foods. The more I move beyond my own reasons (it's cheap and tastes better) the more I'm finding it's also healthier than what's become the norm for the American diet.

I read Nourishing Traditions recently. Now I'm the sort of person who reads a cookbook like a novel, but this was a book that anyone could read for pleasure. Half of each page was commentary. I didn't check out references, but even if it was all bunk (which it wasn't), it was good bunk.

I was inspired. INSPIRED I say! So I made buttermilk. First I started with store bought cultured butter milk and the 1% milk we always have around. (We have it around because a lovely young man drives up to my house once a week and leaves some at my front door. How cool is that?) It worked. !!! Then I used the buttermilk I made to make - more buttermilk. That worked too! Man this is so exciting. !!! I got wild and crazy and asked the young man to leave a quart of cream and I made buttermilk with that.

Now I have died and gone to heaven. The cream turned into the absolutely best sour cream ever. Really. (Ask my husband, I let him have some. That's how much I love him.) I put a cup of my homemade sour cream in a jar and put it in the fridge to use with blueberries and pancakes. I left the rest out to finish curdling to see if I could make cheese.

Maybe this weekend I'll get wild and crazy and make my own yogurt.

I did ask the lovely young man to leave me a half gallon of whole milk this week.

Notes and Modifications:

I have felt perfectly justified in buying the cheapest cream cheese I could find, since I never noticed a difference in the quality of cream cheese.

Now I know better. I finished making cream cheese last night. The cream cheese I made by adding cultured buttermilk to cream (1:3 ratio) is amazingly delicious. Cost wise it works out about the same as what I'd pay at the store, so while this is a huge improvement on quality, it isn't a cost savings.

The cream cheese I made using purchased yogurt was as good as store bought, but not better. However, it was actually cheaper than store bought yogurt. I wonder if homemade yogurt works as well and if I'll notice a taste difference?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fagosa Bread

Here's another recipe from the Italian side of my family. This recipe came from an uncle via a cousin. (Although I can't vouch for how traditional it is. What the heck does Fagosa mean?)

This is good for an appetizer or a hostess gift. It looks like a high rising loaded foccacia bread.

Fagosa Bread

1 Tbs yeast in 1/2 cup warm water

1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
1 cup milk
3-4 cups flour

Let rise for 1 1/2 hr

Mix in yummy stuff - (here are some ideas, but don't limit yourself!)
cheese (swiss, mozzarella, cheddar, ?)
sliced onions
sliced mushrooms
sliced olives
sliced bell peppers
roasted bell peppers
dried tomatoes

Let rise 1/2 hr

Cover with cheese and bake at 375F for ~30 min.

Notes and modifications:

I made the base dough in the bread machine using 100% whole white wheat (+1 Tbs gluten/cup flour). When it was done rising I kneaded in olives, onions, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes by hand, topping it with mozzarella cheese and more sliced onions. It was pretty good, but I only got one slice before it was gone, so I'll have to make it again to be sure. Maybe next time I'll do cheddar, broccoli, onions, and ham.

When my cousin makes this she makes it into rolls, then freezes what doesn't make it through the first day - instant breakfast or lunch roll, brilliant!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stir Fry Pad Thai (sorta)

Friday night we had Steve's Chicken Marsala from the freezer, served over whole wheat thin spaghetti, with asparagus and salad on the side. The box of spaghetti said 7 servings. Since we had a guest I cooked the whole package of spaghetti. 5+1=6=~7, so I figured cooking the whole thing made sense. (No risk letting anyone go hungry.) I should have known better. From personal experience I know that half a box is enough for our family of 5, and our young guest doesn't seem to have come into his adolescent appetite yet. (I wonder who actually eats the serving size on the side of the box?) I ended up with a large tub of cooked plain spaghetti. Ugh.

I'm a bit of a tightwad. Which is strange to admit since I'll spend more to get organic and local when I can. I might be pound foolish, but at least I'm penny wise, and I hate to waste food. So here's what I did at 4:30pm yesterday when I had the dreaded experience of hungry children, and just dribs and drabs of leftovers in the fridge.

Stir Fry Pad Thai

(fed family of 5 w/ leftovers for 2 hungry people)

Chopped Veggies - about large dinner plate heaped with mixed veggies
Here's what I had on hand:
1 sliced onion
2 stems of broccoli, pealed and sliced
1 handful of broccoli florets
~1/2 cup sliced eggplant
1/2 cup left over asparagus
1/4 sliced red pepper
1 carrot pealed and cut into thin strips3 cloves of garlic pealed and pressed

~1/2 lb sliced cooked meat - I had 1 left over grilled chicken breast

1 quart cold cooked spaghetti
2 eggs, beaten

cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)
rice vinegar
toasted sesame oil
Thai Kitchen Pad Thai sauce (~4 - 6 Tablespoons)
soy sauce

There's a trick to cooking with a wok, and that's not to overload it. So for our family of 5 I divided and cooked this in two batches. Cooking in batches also has the advantage of allowing you to spice one batch more or less than the other. That can be helpful if some in the family prefer milder food.

Here's the fully loaded wok just after I put in the meat and before I add the sauce and egg. If it gets too full you're steaming the food, not stir frying it.Heat wok on stove on high. Stir fry the raw veggies in the cooking oil in the wok. As they get close to done splash some rice vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in. Toss on top any pre-cooked left over veggies, the cooked pasta, sliced meat, pad thai sauce, and a few shakes of the soy sauce. Stir. Pour the egg onto the side of the wok (so it cooks a bit before it touches the other stuff) and stir again. Taste test and add sauce if it seems like it needs it. Serve it up hot!

Now, do it all over again with the next batch. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the brief quiet while the children eat.

Notes and modifications:

You can use any veggies you like. I highly recommend always having the sliced onions and garlic, either broccoli or cabbage, and something orange or red for color, but add whatever you have. Don't be afraid to mix in left over cooked veggies too.

I've also used soba noodles or rice noodles as designated in official recipes, but it's nice to know that you can use left over pasta too.

If you don't have noodles use a little less sauce and serve over rice.

If I'm out of pad thai sauce I make up a sauce. Try; teriyaki sauce, make your own teriyaki w/ soy sauce and brown sugar or maple syrup, or try peanut butter mixed with soy sauce and a little honey. Get creative with what you have on hand, a little salty, a little sweet, taste as you go and it'll probably be fine.

WRITE DOWN anything that turned out particularly well. My husbandgets pretty frustrated with my inability to repeat some meals. This one's for you sweet heart!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PaPa's Bread

When I was a little girl, for the 3 yrs my parents were married for the second time, I got to spend some time with the Italian side of my family. Those times were great fun, and great eating. I hope to share with you some of the food I discovered through that side of the family.

This recipe is from my Italian great-grandfather. It's wonderfully crisp and chewy. It can be made into rolls, or used for pizza dough. Thanks to my lovely cousin for this recipe.

PaPa's Bread

6-7 cups unbleached white flour
1 pk quick dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 Tbs salt
1 Tbls olive oil
1 Tbls sugar

Put yeast in water wait ~1min
Put in flour, salt, sugar and oil
Using bread hook mix on low for 15 min (or by hand until you're exhausted)
Let rise 1 1/2 hr.
Cut into rolls, or roll out for pizza dough
Let rise 30 min
Bake @ 375F 15 min.

Notes and modifications:

I have successfully halved this and made it with the dough cycle of the bread machine. For half a recipe, 1/2 package of yeast=1 1/8 tsp yeast.

I have made this with 100% whole white wheat instead of refined unbleached white flour. Using 100% whole white wheat makes a very heavy roll, but a fine pizza crust.

For healthier rolls try mixing in half whole white wheat. It's a decent compromise between amazing and healthy. Whole white wheat needs a little extra gluten, for every 1 cup of whole white wheat add 1 Tbs gluten. Remember that whole wheat can benefit from a little extra time to rise.

To make it as good as "PaPa", use the unbleached white flour, and eat healthy another day.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The price of heaven (how to get the good stuff from a lemon)

Instructions on how to get the best of a lemon.

This is painful. It's worth it. But you need to really, really, want this. If you have any little cuts, you might want to cover them now. Try a band-aid, or Vaseline. Let me know if that works.

You will need a sharp knife, two bowls, and lemons.

First, use a zester to remove the zest from the lemon. Be careful not to get much, if any, pith. Set aside the zest.

Slice off the ends of the lemon.

Cut the remaining peel and pith (white stuff, it's bitter) from the lemon.

Until you are left with this:
Now do it again, until you have as many lemons as you think need. (This is enough for 2 lemon pies)

Now, use your knife to cut each section from the membrane.
Go all the way around, each section. Then use your fingers to remove the sections from the membranes. Scrape off any little bits that stick to the membrane. Throw out the membrane.

Do one lemon at a time. Scoop out the seeds.

When you're done you'll have a pile of good stuff from the lemon. Add in the zest.

and a pile of not so good stuff. Use it to make popuri.

Now, wash your hands. How many more little cuts on your hands did the lemon help you discover? Sorry about that. It's worth it. Really. Go make some lemon pie. Then maybe you'll forgive me.

Drop me a note and let me know how this worked for you.

A slice of lemon heaven

This is not your mother's lemon pie. It's not lemon meringue (blech). It's a lemon custard. Think lemon curd with a crust. Mmmm...

This is my most requested recipe, so it seems a good inaugural blog post.

This pie is easy to make. Well, after you separate the good lemon from the pith, this is an easy pie to make.

As you separate the good lemon from the bad lemon you may have doubts about this being worth all the effort. It is. If you make this pie for someone you love, you must make an effort to think loving thoughts while you deal with the lemons. That way you will be putting love in the pie, and not curses.

Scintillating Lemon Pie (adapted from Elsah Landing Restaurant Cookbook)

Pastry for two 2 crust pie - divide, prepare bottom shell

Roll out and cut circle for top, place on cookie sheet, cut into many small thin slices, and sprinkle with:
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Bake top in oven @400 degrees for ~7 min. (until baked liked a just-done cookie)

Cream together:
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons flour

Mix in:
3 lemons (prepared as described in this post)
3 eggs (4 if they're very small)

Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 400 degrees for ~30 min. (or 375 convection oven for 30min). Check pie by jiggling, should be "set" and possibly slightly brown.

Gently slip top slices on to pie, bake for another 5-10 min. Filling should be firm.

Serve only to people who are worthy and loved.

Another blog?

So here's me. Starting a new blog. Why? Well, 'cause. Um... well. Food. I like to eat. I like to cook. People keep asking me for my recipes. So here's a place I can point them instead of having to copy down the blasted things every time.

I'm going to try not to step on any toes. Mostly I modify recipes beyond recognition, but even so, if I start with a recipe from a published source I'll try to point you to the source. If I get it wrong, let me know!