Monday, January 31, 2011


Friday, January 28, 2011

Turkey and white beans

Here's a terrific meal , courtesy of Fresh magazine, to use up leftover turkey!  I reduced the amount and it came out quite nicely.  Never never never would I recommend using the pre-cooked potatoes, but you're on your own about that.  If you simply take a bit more time, you'll have amazing home fries to use on top of your casserole.  I recommend frying them up with some of the garlic and an onion, in bacon grease if possible!  Then you can skip buying the garlic dipping oil.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stuffed fennel

Grab some fennel bulbs while they're fresh and try a tasty new method of preparing them.  Only the outer 2 or 3 layers will peel off to allow for stuffing, so make sure you get enough bulbs.  To serve around 4 people, you'll need 4 bulbs.  This makes a great vegetarian main course or a very elegant side dish. 

Stuffed Fennel

4 fennel bulbs
1/4 c butter, melted
2 c bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 c tomato sauce
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Cut the tops and bottom off the fennel bulbs to release the stalk layers.  Steam the fennel layers for about 10 minutes to soften them for rolling.

Chop the reserved fennel hearts and saute them in a little butter.  Add the rest of the butter and stir in the crumbs and eggs.  Cook through.  Place the stalks in a shallow dish, sprayed with cooking oil.  Fill them and use a toothpick to hold the roll closed.  Coat them with tomato sauce and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake for about 40 minute at 350, or until the cheese is browned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Parmesan & Oregano Braided loaf

Shirley Moore, from Beads&Bread sent me this fabulous-looking recipe that I can't wait to try out.  Shirley mills her own flour (how jealous am I?  very!) so I'm sure her loaves are exceptional!

Parmesan & Oregano Braided loaf

1 egg
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 1/2 cups freshly milled ww flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp lecithin (optional)
1 Tbsp gluten (optional)

Add in this order to bread machine using "dough" setting. After dough finishes, remove and spread onto floured surface. Roll into a rectangle. Brush with melted butter. (about 2-3 Tbsp)
Sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese. (I just used the Kraft powder kind). Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp garlic powder, and 2-3 tsp dried oregano. Roll up into tight tube from the long side.
Cut into 3 equal pieces. Shape into 3 20" tubes. Braid these together and tuck ends under. Place in greased loaf pan, let rise for 30 minutes. Bake 30 minutes @ 350.

These are just cute little garlic knots that I make for supper a lot. The kids love them. Same bread recipe, just cut into pieces, roll into "snakes" then tie into a knot and bake 350 12-14 minutes. brush with melted garlic butter before serving.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bok choy over rice

I was puzzling over what to do with bok choy besides put it in soups, and my wonderful produce man gave me this suggestion!  I used my wok, but you really end up steaming rather than stir frying, so use whatever pan makes you happy.  We had the vegetable mixture with leftover saffron rice.

Bok Choy with Rice

Prepared saffron or basmati rice

Bacon grease or olive oil
Red pepper, chopped
Jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/4 c water
Bok Choy, chopped

Saute or stir fry the garlic and peppers in oil until softened. Add the water and the bok choy to the pan and cover until the bok choy wilts. Stir to blend the flavors. Serve over rice.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Caraway and lemon Brussels sprouts

Of all the different ways we love Brussels sprouts (stir fried, roasted, steamed, grilled), this might just be the best.  I know, I'm very fickle when it comes to Brussels sprouts...basically I think the best ones are the ones I just had last night!  But in this case, I just might be able to be loyal.

Caraway and Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Onion, quartered and sliced thin
3/4 t caraway seeds
1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
1 T lemon juice

Cook the onion and caraway seeds in butter in a nonstick skillet until onions are soft.  Add the sprouts and a few tablespoons of water and cook, stirring until sprouts are tender, about 8 minutes.  Add a little water at a time if needed to keep them steaming.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Seafood chowder casserole

Living in New England for the over twenty years, we've had some wicked fine seafood chowder.  So when I saw this recipe from Eating Well for Seafood Chowder Casserole, I felt that it just wouldn't be right not to try it.

The verdict?  Amazing.  The only changes I made from their recipe (at the link above) was to use pre-cooked rather than raw shrimp, so it needed to be added a bit later.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dhansak sauce

Dhansak sauce is a savory Indian sauce that you can toss over cooked vegetables and rice to really spice it up!

Dhansak Sauce

Vegetable oil or clarified butter
1/2 t cumin seeds, ground
1/2 t fennel seeds, ground
1/2 t cardamom seeds, ground
1/2 t chili powder
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t cinnamon
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 t fresh ginger, chopped
1 t brown sugar
4 T tomato juice
2 T dried onion flakes
1/2 c garbanzo beans, mashed in their own liquid
3 T hummus
1/4 c spinach leaves, finely chopped
1 t garam masalah (my favorite)
Lemon wedges for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Stir fry all the spices with the garlic and ginger for about a minute.  Add the sugar, tomato juice, onion flakes, beans, and hummus and mix well.  Add a bit of water if needed and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Add spinach, garam masalah, and salt and simmer a few more minutes.  Mix sauce with rice and cooked vegetables and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Parmesan bread

You can vary the fresh herbs contained in this bread depending upon what you've got on hand.  We really liked it with fresh oregano.  The recipe is for use with a bread machine and makes a 1-1/2 lb loaf.

Parmesan, Pepper, and Oregano Bread

1 c + 2 T water
1 T olive oil
3-1/4 c flour
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
2 T oregano, fresh chopped
1-3/4 t yeast

Basic setting and medium crust.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The French Connection

The perfect drink (for me) to sip while enjoying the Patriots-Jets game.  The problem is that after I had one, I forgot which color I was supposed to be rooting for and decided that the green uniforms were really pretty  :-/

French Connection

1 oz Amaretto
2 oz Brandy
1 splash Triple Sec

Serve over ice.  Be careful!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Smashed potatoes

Cook's Illustrated had a wonderful explanation of how to make the best smashed potatoes ever.  The secrets were using small potatoes (and lots of them), high dry heat, and good flavors.  They used red bliss potatoes while I decided to use fingerling Yukon golds.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Leek and potato soup

Leek and Potato Soup is a wonderful once-a-month recipe to make in the fall or winter.  Pull it out when you need thaws and heats up quickly.  If you use fewer of the green parts of the stalks than I did, you'll end up with a creamier colored soup.  It's great either way!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sag gosht stew (spinach and beef)

This stew can be made in a dutch oven on the stove top, or it can be started in a skillet and finished in your crock pot if you need to simmer the beef a really long time.  As long as I'm home, I like the dutch oven method, but it's nice to have alternatives!  Make this dish with less water and serve it over basmati rice.  Made as a stew, I like to have it with Naan

Sag Gosht Stew

Vegetable oil
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 t fennel seeds
1 t ground cardamom
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t fresh ginger, minced
1 T your favorite curry powder or paste
1 lb stew beef, cut into small cubes
6 scallions, chopped leaves and bulbs
4 to 5 c vegetable stock (less if you want to serve it over rice)
1 T tomato paste
1 T ketchup
Bunch of spinach or beet greens, chopped
1 t dried mint
1/2 t vinegar
1 T garam masalah (my favorite)

Grind the seeds and stir fry through the bay leaves briefly.  Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute.  Add the curry powder or paste and add a bit of water to loosen the browned bits.  Add the meat and scallions and brown lightly.  Add more water to allow them to simmer for about 5 minutes without sticking.  Add the stock, tomato paste, and ketchup and allow to continue simmering (adding water as needed) until beef is very tender, an hour or more, or transfer to crock pot and simmer that way.  Before serving, add the greens, mint, vinegar, and garam masalah.  Salt as needed and serve over rice (thicker version) or with naan bread (stew version).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bourbon balls

Bourbon balls, aka Rum balls or Brandy balls (depending upon what type of liquor you have available), are a wonderful treat to slip into empty spaces on a cookie platter.  The flavor will be best if you put them in a tight tin and let the flavor develop over about a week, but it's hard to resist diving right in.  Just don't use Scotch.  Trust me.

Bourbon Balls

12 oz package of Vanilla Wafers, crushed
12 oz (2 c) semi-sweet chocolate bits
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c light corn syrup
2/3 c bourbon (or use 4 t extract in water)

1 c pecans, crushed
Additional sugar for rolling

Either whirl the Vanilla Wafers in a food processor until coarsely chopped, or place in a large bowl and pound to crush.  Either way, end up with them in a large bowl.  Place the chocolate in a large glass measuring cup and heat on medium in the microwave until mostly melted, 30 seconds at a time.  Stir in the sugar, corn syrup, and liquor.  Pour the liquid over the crushed wafers and stir well, adding the pecans too.  Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes to soften.  Roll the balls by hand, about 1-1/2 inches, and roll in sugar.  Set on parchment paper to dry slightly before storing away in a tight tin.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Candied citrus peel

 Recently I bought a pummelo (a what?  a Southeast Asian citrus fruit!) and was just overwhelmed by the size of the peel versus the size of the actual fruit.  Since I've been playing around with chocolate quite a bit, I thought that maybe this overabundant peel would be good candied.

I found a fabulous recipe (and the most glorious pictures) at Black Book Kitchen Diaries.  I would advise a visit to this beautiful blog for many many reasons, not just the wonderful candied peel instructions.  Many times I've seen recipes that called for boiling up the peel several times over several days.  Well, this method just has you draining and replacing the water three times.  I like that a LOT better!  My pictures aren't as pretty, but the delicate green color was a hit with everyone.

And here's the poor denuded pummelo:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Food trends 2011

I look forward to all the posts that come out mostly near the end of each year that focus on foodie predictions for the next year.  In one case I found predictions for the whole next decade!  Anyway, I'll give you a brief summary and will leave you with the best links I found if you'd like to read up more.

In foods:
Vegetables of all types
Sustainable seafood
Farm-branded meats and vegetables
Artisan and ethnic cheeses
Korean everything
Quinoa and other ancient grains

Out foods:
Bacon with everything
Super-sized anything

Lifestyle trends:
Homegrown still hot, but locavore waning
Edgy and exotic food choices, including downright gross
Vegetarianism still on the rise
Simplification of ingredients
Apps for everything food-related
Expansion of home-delivery market
Flavor with benefits, health that is

Restaurant trends:
Classic Italian
More food-to-go available at alternative venues like grocery stores and drug stores
Food trucks (making restauranteers crazy)
Cost-cutting measures that piss-off customers
Breakfast 24/7
Glorified sandwiches
Haute cuisine vending machines
Improved children's menu options

The Food Channel
Nutrition Unplugged
Baum + Whiteman
Food Processing
The Daily Beast

Image: Stock.xchng