Love you all! I'm taking the week off (mostly to play with the little one), and I'll see you bright and early in 2013!!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
I like to gather up all the new varieties of cookies that we've tried and add them to my list of old favorites. Even though I mostly make the traditional cookies for Hanukkah and Christmas at our house, I am of the opinion that you can never have too many cookie recipes and I like to add something different from year to year. Here are some suggestions if you feel your cookie list is getting a bit stale!
Show-off chocolate chip cookies
Cranberry cookie bars
Raspberry mascarpone cookies
Chocolate matzo treats
White chocolate ginger biscotti
Lemon-macadamia nut cookies
Thin and chewy molasses cookies
Grammy's chocolate cookies
Chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies
Lemon and lavender shortbread
The world's best brownies
Lime and basil shortbread
Homemade Oreo cookies
Perfect vanilla sugar cookies
Perfect chewy chocolate cookies
Fudgy chocolate cookies
Cream cheese-raspberry brownies
Chai-pistachio sugar cookies
Mexican chocolate cookies
Cream cheese-apricot brownies
Amish raisin cookies
Italian cornmeal cookies
Lime swirl cheesecake bars
Friday, December 21, 2012
Not all my friends are as crazy about mini-bell peppers as I am, so I recently tried making my appetizers in mushroom caps instead. The filling is an Italian-inspired ground beef mixture, related to the Greek Stuffed Mini-Bell Peppers that I already shared.
Italian Stuffed Mushroom Caps
2 packages (12 oz) of large mushrooms
1 lb ground beef
1 c cooked rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 T lemon zest
2 T fresh oregano
Preheat oven to 400. Remove each mushroom stem and reserve for another use.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Using a small spoon, fill each cap and place on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Place on the high-middle rack of the oven and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes. Turn on the broiler and cook a few more minutes until the meat is sizzling and cooked through.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I've been making chocolate shortbread for years, but just recently I came up with a better recipe than what I was using before. At least I think it is. It's a variation on my mother's classic shortbread, which I'll reprint below:
1 lb butter
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla
Pinch of Salt
5 c flour
Cream butter and sugar together with electric beater until light and fluffy. Add salt, vanilla and flour slowly. Bake in a 9" x 13" glass dish at 275 degrees for an hour. When you remove from baking score in squares and sprinkle with sugar.
To make the Chocolate Shortbread variety, make the following changes:
Add 1 c cocoa powder
Subtract 1/2 c flour
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Click to purchase ~ $2
Just before the holiday gluttony kicks in, and just after the New Year gluttony ends, Mike and I fill ourselves up with healthy healthy soups and stews. These comfort foods give us the boost we need to resist some of the worst abuses, and they also help to get us back on track in the New Year. This has been our pattern for years now, and I'm happy to say that even if we pack on a few pounds during the week leading up to Christmas and the week in between it and January 1, we always manage to get them right back off before another two weeks have passed.
No, we're not special (as in "well isn't that special?")...we just choose our gluttony wisely!
Well, I've put together an e-booklet with 13 of our favorites. While I can't make any health or nutrition or even diet claims for these soups (I am not a registered anything), I can tell you that they work for us.
Monday, December 17, 2012
I tend to think about this salad more in the summertime, but there's absolutely no reason not to serve it at other times. Use an English cucumber, and slice it paper-thin with a processor if you've got one. I did this one by hand, and my slices are a bit thicker. I used shallots instead of the more traditional red onions, and doused it all with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with sesame seeds just before serving.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Stuffed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, whatever you call these...they can get pretty elaborate. I've seen them stuffed with shrimp, caviar, all kinds of things, and even though some of them sound pretty good, I can't help thinking that the humble baked potato was meant to be a comfort food. Comfort food doesn't include caviar at our house, sorry!
Stuffed Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheddar
A large potato for every two people
A handful of broccoli florets for each potato
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Half and half (optional)
Bake the potatoes at 400 until softened, about an hour. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam or microwave the broccoli until softened. Saute in butter in a skillet until lightly browned. Spoon into a large bowl and add salt and a sprinkling of lemon juice.
Cut each potato in half lengthwise and scoop the innards into the bowl with the broccoli. Leave a little more than a 1/4 inch shell. Place the shells on a foiled baking sheet and place back in the oven to dry out and crisp slightly.
Mash the potato and broccoli mixture by hand. Add more butter if desired, along with a sprinkling of mustard, the cheese, sour cream, and half and half. Spoon into shells. Turn on the broiler and place the filled shells under it for 5 to 10 minutes to heat and brown.
Friday, December 7, 2012
The only way I don't like green beans is out of a can...yuck! Still, I hadn't thought about roasting them until a friend mentioned it. Brilliant
Roasted Green Beans with HerbsOlive oil
1 lb green beans, trimmed
3 large garlic cloves, cut lengthwise into thin strips
2 T fresh sage leaves
1 T fresh rosemary leaves
1 T fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Add a bit of olive oil to the bottom of a baking pan. Add the beans through the thyme to the pan and turn to coat and mix. Add more olive oil as needed to lightly coat.
Roast beans for about 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Here's another heart-healthy dish that's pretty darned tasty. I came across the idea in the Fresh magazine from Hannaford, but I changed it quite a bit. We prefer tempeh to tofu, so that's one really big change. I'd suggest checking out their recipe and deciding for yourself. Here's mine:
Rice of any type, prepared in a steamer
1/2 c orange juice
1 T sesame oil
1 T rice vinegar
2 t fresh ginger, minced
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 t soy sauce
1 ( 12 oz.) package of tempeh
3 sheets nori seaweed wrappers
1 c shelled edamame, thawed if frozen
1 carrot, shredded
1 pickling cucumber, peeled and diced
1 avocado, cubed
2 T sesame seeds
Start rice in the steamer. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Mix orange juice through soy sauce in a bowl and crumble the tempeh into it. Set aside, but stir from time to time.
Heat a large non-stick skillet and heat the nori sheets one at a time on both sides until fragrant, about 45 seconds per side. Set aside.
Place the rice in a large bowl and top with the drained tempeh (keep the sauce), edamame, carrot, cucumber, and avocado. Top with sauce, crumbled nori, and sesame seeds.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Take your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and add some extra melted butter to it, plus an extra egg yolk. The real trick is to follow the directions in The New Best Recipe book. Spoon up 1/4 c of dough and form it into a ball. Pull the ball apart to form two dough mounds with a jagged top. Rotate the mounds and push them back together with the jagged tops next to each other and facing upward. Place the dough balls on parchment-covered cookie sheets with the jagged edge up. You should end up with about 18 cookies, 9 on each sheet.
Bake them at 325 for about 18 minutes, rotating and swapping the sheets halfway through. Let them cool completely on the sheets before removing.
Friday, November 30, 2012
This salad looks great heaped up on a large plate. It's pretty and show-offy enough to be served to guests, even though it's really really easy!
Avocado and Tomato Salad
3 T red wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
1 t brown mustard
Dash of garlic powder
3 avocados, quartered and sliced
Pint of grape tomatoes, halved
3 - 4 radishes, sliced thin
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
3 - 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper
Place vinegar through garlic powder in a small jar and shake. Set aside. Place the chopped avocados on a large plate and sprinkle with about 1/3 of the dressing. Layer on the rest of the ingredients in order and top with the remaining dressing.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Did you know that the Real Food Fast! blog is available for your Kindle? Unfortunately, it's not free (Amazon sets the price), but it's only 99¢ a month. Is technology great, or what?
My other two blogs are now there as well:
Mixed Media Artist blog
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I know, I know...I'm late!! This turkey was roasted last week, but not on Thanksgiving day itself. We spent that day with friends, and I made lots of the side dishes that I've been posting recently. The turkey spent Thursday brining! Then on Friday, it was time to finally roast it.
Monday, November 26, 2012
We like to try different types of dressing with our turkey each year. Mostly we've settled on either Traditional Dressing or Hazelnut Dressing. Some of the others we've tried have been sort of disappointing, but this year I made Cranberry and Apple Dressing from Baking Bites, and it was far from disappointing! In fact, I think it's going to join the other two and become part of the regular rotation.
Friday, November 23, 2012
It seems that I collect cornbread recipes. I didn't mean to, because I've always loved my plain old Whole-Kernel Cornbread, but it's just seemed to have happened. And then I bought the antique cornbread pan...
My most recent variation is Fennel and Honey Cornbread. It's sweet enough to be a dessert, or you can cut back a bit on the sugar and serve it along with poultry or pork.
Here are links to the other cornbreads that we most love:
Cornbread with Figs and Feta
Fennel and Honey Cornbread
1 1/4 c coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1 T fennel seeds, lightly ground
1 t salt
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 stick plus extra for skillet
1/4 c milk
1 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 c honey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven for about 10 minutes while you mix the batter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, fennel, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large glass measuring cup, melt 1 stick butter in the microwave. Add the honey to the hot butter, and stir till dissolved. Stir in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Stir milk mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined.
Remove skillet from oven and add butter, swirling to coat. Pour in batter, and bake until cornbread is golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If baking batter as muffins in either muffin cups or cornbread pan, it will take about 18 minutes and make approximately 20 muffins.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I have loved this dish since I was a small child, but back in the day it was made with much more abandon than I make it now. I still use full-fat Swiss cheese, but I've switched to prosciutto and a fairly non-fatty sauce.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 slice of Swiss cheese and 2 slices of prosciutto for each
Dried bread crumbs, seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika
3/4 c white wine (dry)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 T cornstarch
1 T butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an open baking pan large enough to hold all of the chicken with cooking spray.
From the centers, slice each chicken breast to create a flat sheet. Pound them to 1/2-inch thickness. Place 1 slice of cheese and 2 slices prosciutto each. Roll the chicken lengthwise towards the wider end, securing with a toothpick. Place on the baking sheet.
In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and paprika. About 1/4 c will cover 2 chicken rolls. Spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray, and press the crumbs into the tops. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Make the sauce. Combine wine and bouillon cube in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low, cooking for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the cornstarch, whisking constantly. Add the butter and stir in until smooth.
About 5 minutes before the chicken is ready, cover with half of the sauce. Drizzle with remaining sauce to serve.
Monday, November 19, 2012
If you end up with leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving (we NEVER do!), here's something you can use it for. If, like us, you have cranberry fiends in your family, you can use a 14 oz can of whole-berry cranberry sauce. The recipe for these delicious bars can be found at Martha Stewart.
There are lots of different substitutions you could make, using the same dough. I just got a large jar of fig preserves, and I think they'd be amazing too. Or how about apricots and peaches?
Friday, November 16, 2012
Awhile ago I told you about the malangas we were enjoying for the first time. Not wanting to leave well enough alone, I decided to substitute them into our favorite Chicken and Potato Soup recipe. I made the soup considerably thicker as well, so it really became a stew. The malangas gave it a totally different flavor.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Is this authentic Thai? No. Is it good. You betcha!
Thai Marinade and Grilling Sauce
1 T coconut milk
1 T peanut butter, smooth
1 T soy sauce
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 clove of garlic, smashed
2 t turmeric
1 t curry paste
1 t sugar
1 t fish sauce
In a zip-loc baggie, marinate the chicken thighs in most of the sauce, reserving a little for grilling time.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Scones make everything better. And summer fruits, if you can get some that have a decent taste at this time of the year, will brighten up even the most dismal November day. Forget the fruit and go straight for the ice cream :-)
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
Don't you just hate it when the avocado that was rock hard yesterday (or so it seems) is now too soft to slice up for your salad? Never fear...just turn it into Avocado Salad Dressing with a flick of your trusty immersion blender.
Avocado Salad Dressing
1 ripe avocado
1 t hot sauce (we like Sriracha)
1 T lime juice
1/3 c buttermilk
1/4 c Greek yogurt
1 T red onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and sugar to taste
Place all ingredients into a glass measuring cup. Use an immersion blender to process until smooth. If you need to store leftovers, place plastic wrap on the surface to prevent oxidation.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Did you know that chocolate milk is the official beverage of Halloween? How can that be, you might ask...how can any milk product be passed out to trick-or-treaters without risk? Well, I recently learned about the Milk Unleashed campaign, which is introducing what's called Shelf Safe Milk to folks who haven't heard of it before.
What is Shelf Safe Milk? It's simply milk that has been briefly subjected to higher than usual temperature in the pasteurization process. You get the same nutrition and great taste, but it doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened. This means that small "juice box" style cartons can be passed out for Halloween, as well as tucked into lunches, picnic baskets, etc. And just in case you are wondering, these small boxes are recyclable too!
I was sent several different varieties to try, and being the chocolate milk fiend that I am, I can tell you that there is no difference in taste. So check out your local grocery store and see if they are carrying shelf safe milk...hint, hint...it won't be in the dairy case!
Monday, October 29, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Common in Cuba and Puerto Rico, malangas just recently made it into my local grocery store. They're pretty unattractive root vegetables, with a shaggy skin and uncertain shape. Some are bulbous, some are long and curvy. All are pretty ugly.
But oh, the taste! If you simply peel them (easier to do than it looks like), boil them up and mash or whip them like regular potatoes, they are just delicious. Malangas have a nutty flavor, and they whip up creamy smooth and silky without any additions of cream or milk. I added some chopped scallions and that was all...not even butter.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Do you like the chocolate oranges that are all over the place at Christmas time and then disappear the next week? I wasn't crazy about them until they started showing up in a dark chocolate version, and then...well, let's just say that I wish it was Christmas all year.
Chocolate-Orange Cookies are a way to enjoy that flavor all year round. I changed the recipe only slightly, adding a tiny bit of orange extract and making them a bit smaller. By using rounded tablespoons, I ended up with 5 dozen cookies, which I baked 12 per sheet, rotating and switching the sheets half way through baking. They took about 12 minutes at 350 to be perfect.
Monday, October 22, 2012
This is a terrific appetizer that is pretty fast and easy to make, especially if you've got some cooked rice left over. If you can't get ground lamb, or you just don't like it, another ground meat can be substituted.
Greek Stuffed Mini-Bell Peppers
2 small bags of mini-bell peppers
1 lb ground lamb
1 c cooked rice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c feta cheese, crumbled
2 T fresh mint, chopped
2 t dried oregano
Preheat oven to 400. Slice each mini-bell lengthwise, without removing the stem. Clean out the insides.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Using a small spoon, fill each bell and place on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Place on the high-middle rack of the oven and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and cook a few more minutes until the meat is sizzling and cooked through.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Poultry and sweet potatoes are such a natural pairing that I'm always interested in figuring out more ways to put them together, especially if it's fast and easy. If you've got homemade pesto on hand, use that, but if not, a standard basil pesto from the market works pretty well.
Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Pesto
Sweet potatoes, sliced into spears
Chicken breasts, sliced, or chicken tenders
In a Dutch oven, cook the sweet potatoes over medium low heat in olive oil. Add rosemary for the last few minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Cook the chicken in olive oil with a bit of cayenne pepper. When cooked through, return the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir in some pesto to taste.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I found the recipe for Rice and Pigeon Peas in Hannaford's Fresh magazine, and although I used bacon instead of salt pork, and a mix of long grain white and wild rice, I do think that I followed the spirit of the dish ;-) We had it with Jerk Chicken, and it was pretty amazing. The reason that the rice looks more like dirty rice is that I mixed the chicken into the rice just before serving, so you're seeing some of the jerk sauce mixed in there too.
Monday, October 15, 2012
How could you possibly forget about apples? There are so many wonderful apple dessert recipes, and here is one of my favorites for a special occasion. Like any Monday, any day with football, any day that has a "y" in it...
Sour Cream Apple Pie
Here are some more great apple desserts:
"Regular" apple pie
Applesauce and apple butter
Crumb topping for fruit pies
Amish apple cream pie
Friday, October 12, 2012
Cornmeal waffles, that is! Delicious and slightly crispy. These are sweet enough that you really don't need syrup (even though they don't have any added sugar), but they're also wonderful with real maple syrup, so don't let me influence you!
1/2 c melted butter, slightly cooled
1 1/2 c buttermilk
3/4 c cornmeal
1 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
Melt the butter in a large glass measuring cup. Let it cool slightly and stir in the buttermilk. Add the eggs. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Add the wet mixture and stir together. Add more buttermilk if the batter is too thick. Cook on a waffle iron.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Any kind of chips will do, as long as they don't have a strong flavor baked in already!
Simply heat up your chips on a baking sheet covered with parchment. When they're hot, sprinkle them with grated asiago cheese, paprika, and either some chili powder or ground cayenne pepper. Hot and spicy goodness!
Monday, October 8, 2012
They grow on tree trunks or stumps in Japan, they are long and delicate looking, and they have a delicious but delicate flavor. That's about all I know! Enoki mushrooms just recently made it into my local market, so of course I had to try them.
I'm a bit afraid to cook them, because they are soooo delicate. So far, they've only made it into my salads, but I'm betting that they'd be a nice last second addition to stir fries too. Anyway, I sliced them up a bit before digging in, but I wanted you to see what they look like before slicing. All I've done for this photo is slice them apart near the bottom...they grow in a close cluster.
Friday, October 5, 2012
Yes, I am very very happy with it. I especially like that Cuisinart finally (when, I don't know) made a top that you could use without the cumbersome feed tube attachment. Yay!
So, I can't tell you to buy a Cuisinart over another brand, but if you decide that's the company for you, there are two helpful pages on Amazon that will help you figure out which model. Because there are a LOT of them...
Food Processor Buying Guide
All the available models
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Well, they may not be everyone's absolute favorite, because there are certainly enough chocolate chip cookies, oreos, shortbreads, etc in my past to give them a run for their money. But these are probably the first cookies I learned how to make. I've adjusted the recipe only slightly, even keeping the baking soda and cream of tartar rather than switching to baking powder. I like how the soda gives the cookies a slightly higher loft. But you can do as you choose :-)
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c shortening
1/4 t vanilla
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 c sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Mix 1 1/2 c sugar, the butter, shortening, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix 1/4 c sugar and the cinnamon together on a small plate.
Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Refrigerate for 15 or 20 minutes.
Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet covered in parchment. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set, rotating the pan half way through. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Not just for salads, though! We used this dressing on cooked (and still hot) broccoli rabe, as shown above, and it was robust enough to take the heat and not break down. I really recommend using the Greek style of yogurt, since that is the yogurt best able to stand up to non-perfect conditions. Add more or less garlic as you desire ;-)
Creamy Garlic-Lovers Salad Dressing
2/3 c Greek yogurt
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 or more garlic cloves, chopped
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Salt to taste
Puree the yogurt through the garlic together well. Stir in the cheese and salt. Add more olive oil if needed to reach desired consistency.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Fresh Tomato Slices
Layered with olive oil and fresh basil leaves. Lightly salted.
Use a mixture of dark greens, and top with a chopped mixture of olives and pickled vegetables, including hot peppers if desired. Top with grated asiago cheese.