Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Frittata with fresh baby spinach

We had a Frittata for dinner last week, using my tried and true recipe. I was sauteing the leeks, I decided to throw in several handsful of fresh baby spinach.  I let it just barely wilt before adding the egg mixture to the cast iron pan.

I like my cast iron best for this dish, since I don't have to worry at all about it being oven-safe :-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Second Seder

Second Seder was at home, as usual :-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

My fruit platter for Passover!

We look forward to getting together with our dear friends every year for Seder.  I bring a fruit platter each year, and whatever else I can talk the hostess into letting me contribute!  She sets a beautiful table and serves up a mighty fine meal.  Passover starts tonight at sundown, so we're working up an appetite :-) 

Here are some of my prior posts on Passover if you'd like to read about it:

Passover (Pesach)

The Passover Seder

Meat and mashed potato pie (OAMC recipe)

Spinach cheese bake

Chocolate chip cookies

Side dishes: chicken livers and charoset


Roast chicken with stuffing

Lemon curd topping

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Buy at
Hershey's Syrup

13x16 Tin ...
Buy From

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easy basic chili

I think everyone ought to have a basic chili recipe that their family likes and that they can throw together very quickly when needed.  We use a crock pot for ours, and I love how the flavors mingle and develop during the day as the pot chugs along on low.

Part of pleasing your family is finding the combination of beans that best suits them.  We like to vary it.  I use a mixture of the following, depending upon mood and what's currently in the pantry: great northern, kidney, pinto, pidgeon peas, black, black-eyed peas, and sometimes soybeans.

Easy Basic Chili

Olive oil
1 lb ground beef 
Onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t cumin seeds, ground
1 t cocoa powder
1 t dried oregano
1 t molasses
1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
4 - 15 oz cans of beans

Shredded jack or mozzarella cheese (optional)

Brown the ground beef in a large non-stick skillet and remove to the crock pot.  Saute the onions and garlic over low heat until almost cooked through.  Add the cumin seeds, cocoa powder, and oregano and heat till fragrant.  Add the molasses through the tomatoes and bring to a low boil.  Remove from the heat and add to the crock pot.

Drain and rinse the beans, and add them to the crock pot.  Cook on low for several hours.  Adjust spices as needed before serving, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with jack or mozzarella cheese if desired.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hershey's Better Basket Blog Hop!

My lovely friend Elizabeth at The Life of a Home Mom has invited me to take part in a special Easter basket blog hop!  Hershey is going to donate $10 per blog post up to a total of $5000 to Children's Miracle Network!  The basket pictured above is filled with some new Easter products that are only available at Walmart. 


•Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
•Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.
•Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.
•Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.
•Leave your link at comment section. You can also find the official rules of this betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.
•Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010).
•Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

I am passing this virtual basket on to my foodie friends at FoodBuzz!  Any readers who would like to post about this too, consider yourself invited!  Love you all :-)

Turkey rogan josh

We had rogan josh awhile back, substituting pre-cooked turkey for the lamb.  It was delicious.  I don't know how my Indian friends would feel about it, but there weren't any leftovers at our table!

Since the turkey was already cooked, I followed our usual recipe for rogan josh but added the turkey and some additional vegetables (orange bell peppers and green beans) at the same time as the onions, garlic, and ginger.  We served it on a bed of baby spinach and had rice on the side.  It took right around thirty minutes to put the meal together.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring carnival at Craft Critique!

Do you know Craft Critique?  If not, you definitely need to check it out now :-)  They have posted a spring carnival that has a plethora of great links to all kinds of springy, crafts, and projects. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Strawberries, kumquats, and chocolate dipping sauce

Here are the basic proportions for a wonderfully smooth and creamy dipping sauce.  You can double or triple the recipe if desired.  I usually double it.

Chocolate Dipping Sauce

4 oz dark chocolate
1/3 c heavy cream
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t vanilla

Heat the chocolate gently in the cream until melted.  Mix together until smooth and add the other flavorings.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Buy at
Orchard's Harvest II
Judith Levin
24x8 Fine Art Print
Buy From

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vegetables in korma sauce

We went vegetarian last night, using up all of the wonderful vegetables that we're still able to get fresh here in New England.  I made a korma sauce to simmer the vegetables was delicious!  Instead of rice, we boiled up some orzo pasta to make this a 30 minute meal.  I think next time we'll stick with rice, but it was an interesting change.  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saint Patty's Day...

Guess what we had last night? 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chipotle meatloaf

Meatloaf takes an hour to cook, and no matter how you slice it, it leads to a pretty meat-intensive meal, so we don’t have it that often. But when we do, we like to really enjoy it! I discovered recently that adding chipotle sauce to the mix (and slopping some more on top) makes a mighty tasty meatloaf :-)

Chipotle Meatloaf

3/4 c bread crumbs or stuffing mix
1/4 c water
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c chipotle sauce (more for topping)

Heat the water and soften the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients, mixing by hand. Shape into a loaf and place in bread loaf pan, covered with foil. Cook at 400 for about an hour.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Salmon salad

Can we please pretend that it's spring? 

Here’s a fabulous recipe from The Taste of Home Cookbook. I used fresh salmon instead of canned, and substituted yogurt for the sour cream. Using the fresh salmon obviously upped the time needed to put this together, but if you chose to used canned, it only takes 10 minutes to prepare!

Salmon Salad
Courtesy of The Taste of Home Cookbook and website

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Buy at
Huile d'Olive

12x16 Tin ...
Buy From

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chocolate Amaretto torte

Don't even think about cutting big pieces of this torte!  It is so rich and chocolatey and delicious, you'll think you want a big piece, but I can pretty well guarantee you won't be able to finish it.

You're going to mess up every bowl you own to make this, but it's worth it...for special occasions.  

Chocolate Amaretto Torte

Spray oil
Cocoa powder

1/3 c  Amaretto
1/3 c currents

1 c almonds, processed fine
1/3 c flour
10 oz 60% dark chocolate, chopped
10 T butter, cut up
4 eggs, separated

2/3 c sugar

1 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 T butter
1/4 c sugar

Spray a 9 inch cake pan and dust with the cocoa.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, soak the currents in the Amaretto.  In another small bowl, mix the flour with the ground almonds.  In a medium bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate until chocolate is just melted.  In another medium bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.  In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar.  Stir in the chocolate mixture slowly.  Add the flour mixture and the currant mixture.  Fold in the egg whites half at a time.

Bake in the dusted pan at 325 about 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool and then refrigerate for at least two hours.   

To glaze: Melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave.  Stir in the sugar and stir until no longer gritty.  Spoon over the top of the torte.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Savory Carrot & Tarragon Tart from Eating Well

This isn’t fast food. This is for when you want to impress! It is, however, easy food :-)

For once, I followed the directions pretty much exactly: my only substitution was to use real cheese instead of low fat. I also mixed cheddar and parmesan. But besides that, I did follow the directions. Oh, and I used quite a bit more fresh tarragon than called for.

I really like tarragon!

Savory Carrot and Tarragon Tart
Courtesy of Eating Well magazine

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beef stew with cinnamon and fennel

A sweetish flavor combination, this stew is an interesting change from the Guinness stew, Provençal beef stew, and the Beef burgundy that we also love.  

Beef Stew with Cinnamon and Fennel

Olive oil
2 lb stew beef, floured

3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 onions, cut into wedges
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 T fennel seeds
1 c red wine (we like Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 lb baby carrots, halved if desired
1 c beef broth
Salt and pepper

Brown the floured beef in a large stockpot or dutch oven.  Remove from the pot and set aside.  Add the garlic through the fennel seeds and saute until soft.  Add the red wine and scrape up any browned bits.  Add the broth, carrots, and the beef and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover, barely simmering for about an hour.  Season and serve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Kielbasa and cabbage

Quick and amazingly tasty!  You can use a different type of sausage for this dish if you prefer, but overall I think the Polish or German styles work best.  I mean, it needs to be a type of sausage that tastes great with beer and mustard... 

Kielbasa and Cabbage

6 oz dark beer
1 T cider vinegar
1 T whole grain mustard

1 t  fresh thyme
Dash of cayenne pepper

Olive oil
1 lb kielbasa, cut in several long pieces
1 head cabbage, sliced
4 small red potatoes, quartered
2 carrots, 1/2 inch slices
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 T mustard
2 T cooking liquid
1 T honey

Mix the beer through the cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.  Saute the sausage in a large stockpot or dutch oven until browned.  Remove from pot and set aside.  Add beer mixture to the pot, add the cabbage through pepper, toss and bring to a simmer.  Spread sausage over the top and cover, cooking at a simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through.  Remove sausage and slice into pieces; return to pot.  Spoon up a bit of the cooking liquid and add to the mustard and honey.  Stir together and drizzle over contents of pot.  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

White bean and spinach soup

Don't skip the lemon wedges and fresh parmesan cheese!  These two flavors make the soup.   If you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, this makes an excellent vegetarian meal.  Just add bread.

White Bean and Spinach Soup

Olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 head of fennel, chopped

3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
32 oz white beans, drained (we like great northern best)
8 c vegetable or chicken broth
3 - 4 oz fresh baby spinach
1/4 c basil leaves, chopped
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
Lemon wedges

Heat the oil in a large stockpot and saute the vegetables until soft.  Add the beans and stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and barely simmer for about 30 minutes, covered.  Add spinach and reheat for the last few minutes.  Serve in bowls, sprinkled with cheese, with a lemon wedge.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Provençal beef stew

Provençal beef stew is a meal to make on a day when you're going to be hanging around.  It takes at least 3 hours in the oven at low temperature to really break down the lean meat fibers.  By the time dinner's ready, your family will be screaming for you to serve it up!

Provençal Beef Stew

Make a bouquet garni by wrapping the following in cheesecloth:
1 bay leaf
1 stalk celery
2 sprigs fresh parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Strip of orange peel

Stew ingredients:

Olive oil
4 slices of bacon
2 lbs beef stew meat

2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb carrots, sliced into 2 inch pieces
2 T tomato paste

12 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
Grated zest from the orange

Assemble the bouquet garni and set it aside.  Brown the bacon in a dutch oven; remove and crumble, leaving drippings.  Place the bacon in a bowl.  Brown the stew beef in the drippings and remove it to the bowl.  Add olive oil if needed and brown the vegetables through the carrots.  Stir in the tomato paste and remove the mixture to the bowl.  Brown the mushrooms in oil until tender; remove them to a smaller bowl and set aside.  

Add the wine to the dutch oven and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits.  Add the vegetable and meat mixture and the bouquet garni.  Add hot water if needed to just cover everything.   Cut a piece of parchment paper to just fit the top of the pot and place it over the stew.

Cook the stew, covered only by the parchment, in a 250 oven for about 3 hours, checking each hour to make sure the liquid level stays high enough.  Add the mushrooms for the last 10 to 15 minutes to heat through.  Remove the bouquet garni, and serve topped with chopped parslep and orange zest.