Sunday, December 23, 2007

"The" salmon recipe

I posted this recipe last year in my other blog, but now I have a photo, so I thought I'd put it here. I call it "the" recipe because while we have had plenty of wonderful salmon cooked other ways, so far this is my favorite. We prefer wild caught salmon, but if that's not an option, we'll use the farmed stuff from Sam's club. Both taste great cooked this way. Enjoy!
(Oh, and you really need to use FRESH dill in this.)

Salmon in Phyllo

2 lbs. Salmon fillet, skinned and boned and cut into 8 portions

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper to taste

8 sheets phyllo dough

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon heavy cream

Fresh dill for garnish

Creamy Dill Sauce (recipe at end of post)

Marinate salmon in lemon juice and dill for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; rub the spices in well. This can be done several hours ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 375F. Take a sheet of phyllo dough. Combine melted butter and mustard and brush lightly over the phyllo. Put a strip of salmon at the long end of the dough. Fold phyllo over salmon and roll up. Two inches from the end of the sheet, tuck the sides in toward the middle. Finish rolling and place roll on buttered baking sheet, seam side down.Repeat with remaining salmon strips. This step can be done an hour ahead and refrigerated.

Combine egg yolk and heavy cream and brush pastry with this egg wash.

Bake until phyllo is puffed and browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

At serving time, put pastry on a heated plate, garnish with dill and serve.


Creamy Dill Sauce

2 T. dry white wine

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2/3 c. heavy cream

2 T. chopped fresh dill

1 T. Chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the wine and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Add the cream. Simmer until well combined and cream has reduced slightly. Stir in the dill and parsley. Taste for seasoning.

This sauce is excellent with all sorts of fish. Makes about 2/3 c. sauce.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Broccoli Chowder

As the weather turns colder, I've been enjoying soup for lunch. Today I needed to use up some fresh broccoli from the frig. Here's what I did with it:

Broccoli Chowder
Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each
{recipe from Eating Well}
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)

1 large carrot, diced (½ cup)

2 stalks celery, diced (½ cup)

1 large potato, peeled and diced (1 ½ cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 ½ cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth (two 14-ounce cans)

8 ounces broccoli crowns (see Ingredient note), cut into 1-inch pieces, stems and florets separated (3 cups)

1 cup grated reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

½ cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Broccoli Chowder Instructions
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring often, until the onion and celery soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add potato and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in flour, dry mustard and cayenne; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. 2. Add broth and broccoli stems; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in florets; simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes more. Transfer 2 cups of the chowder to a bowl and mash; return to the pan. 3. Stir in Cheddar and sour cream; cook over medium heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the chowder is heated through. Season with salt.

Broccoli Chowder Tips
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Ingredient note: Most supermarkets sell broccoli crowns, which are the tops of the bunches, with the stalks cut off. Although crowns are more expensive than entire bunches, they are convenient and there is considerably less waste.

Broccoli Chowder Nutrition Information
Per serving: 180 calories; 8 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 15 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 4 g fiber; 354 mg sodium.Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Vitamin A (50% dv), Calcium (15% dv).1 1/2 Carbohydrate ServingsExchanges:1 starch1 vegetable1 high-fat meat

sweet potatoes

I really don't like canned sweet potatoes made into that sweet, gooey, marshmallow casserole so popular at Thanksgiving. I never have. Greg likes it, though, so his mom often provides that once-a-year treat for him. Since I have never liked sweet potatoes made this way, I never made any kind of sweet potatoes until I'd been married a few years and Greg bought a fresh one at the store. He asked me to just bake it like a regular white potato. I still wasn't convinced. It took a few more years before I tried it that way, and it wasn't too bad. Then a few years ago we started grilling vegetables and sliced rounds of sweet potatoes were one of our choices. I liked them that way, too. I still don't eat them very often, but when I find a recipe that looks tasty, without any augmentation of the sugar load, I'll try it.
I made this recipe for supper on Monday evening. Served it with grilled turkey mignons and steamed fresh broccoli. It smelled good the minute I put it in the oven and I actually looked forward to tasting the end result. I was not disappointed. (Comments in the recipe come from Kalyn. Her blog is where I got this recipe.)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onions, Rosemary, and Parmesan

(Makes 4 servings, slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2002)

4 large or 6 medium tan-fleshed sweet potatoes (white skin)

3 medium red onions

3 T olive oil

2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided (if you only have dried rosemary use less and make sure it's finely chopped)

1 tsp. salt

fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

2-3 T chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F and cover a flat roasting pan with foil, then spray foil with non-stick spray or mist with olive oil.
Peel potatoes and remove skin from onions. (Sweet potatoes could also probably be left unpeeled, but I did peel them.) Cut sweet potatoes and onions into same-size pieces about 1 inch square. Place in plastic bowl and toss with olive oil, 1 T chopped rosemary, salt or sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Arrange in single layer on roasting pan and roast until vegetables are cooked through and slightly browned, about 45 minutes or longer. (I actually roasted my sweet potatoes and onions in the photo for about exactly an hour, but I like them a little crisp and well-browned.)
Combine fresh-grated parmesan and finely chopped rosemary in small bowl. Remove vegetables from oven and toss with parmesan-rosemary mixture. Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh parsley if desired.

[My comments: I used yams. We just don't get "sweet potatoes" here very often. I also used fresh rosemary, but skipped the parsley. Greg really liked this.]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dangerous Cookies!

These are dangerous because they're so darn good!
(The recipe comes from Tanya, posted to a Yahoo holiday group. )

Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 Cup Crisco

1/2 Cup sugar

1 1/4 Cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 T milk

2 t vanilla

2 Cups flour

1 package instant vanilla pudding

1 t baking soda

2 1/2 Cups oats

1 Cup white chocolate chips

1 Cup dried blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat Crisco and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat well. Add flour, instant pudding and baking soda; mixwell. Stir in oats, chips and blueberries; mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 9 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies or 12 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool one minute on cookie sheet; remove to wirerack and cool completely.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Banana Bread

Yesterday I noticed a bag of bananas in the freezer that was dated in August, so I thought I'd best thaw it and make some bread. Banana bread is something I learned to bake in my pre-teen years, and it always reminds me of my mom. She always included banana bread in her Christmas baking, and I remember having it for breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate during the winter.
The recipe I use is from the Betty Crocker cookbook I bought just a few weeks after Greg and I got married. You can see it's been well-used. :o)
Banana Nut Bread
2 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup brown sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/3 Cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 C mashed banana
1 Cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom only of loaf pan. Mix all ingredients; beat 30 seconds. Pour into pans. Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of loaf comes out clean. Cool slightly. Loosen sides of bread from loaf pan. Remove from pan. Cool completely before slicing. To store, wrap and refrigerate for up to one week.

This loaf was really good. It didn't make it to storage, but I'll make more.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fish & Chicken

I've been cooking a little lately, but not much new or exciting, unless you count the chili a couple of weeks ago that was the best I have ever made - I'll tell you about that another day.
Tonight I want to share a couple of recipes from Kalyn's Kitchen that I've been saving to try. The first is for salmon - you know how we like salmon - and was really good. It calls for a mortar and pestle to grind the spices together, and I don't have one, so I did what I could with the bottom of a spoon. It was okay, but I'd recommend the mortar and pestle. I also bought fennel seeds instead of ground fennel. Still tasted good. (Sorry about the photo - I forgot to take one before I started eating...)
Herb-Encrusted Grilled Salmon
(Makes 2 servings, recipe can easily be doubled, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from her friends.)
2 salmon filets, thawed in refrigerator if frozen
1 T olive oil, plus more for oiling grill
Herb mixture:
1 generous T Claudia's Fantastic Fish Blend (Fish blend is lemon basil, chives, dill, thyme, and dried celery leaves. To substitute, use equal parts dried basil, dried chives, dill weed, dried thyme, and celery seed.) [I used the equal parts of herbs.]
1/2 tsp. fennel pollen (to substitute, use ground fennel )
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Remove salmon from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
In mortar and pestle, grind together Fish Blend (or individual herbs), fennel pollen (or ground fennel), lemon pepper, and salt. Pick out any woody pieces that don't grind up, then add olive oil and mix together. Rub fish on both sides with herb mixture, and let sit for at least ten minutes while you preheat gas or charcoal grill.
Rub grill slats with a piece of paper towel dipped in olive oil (or use nonstick spray), then heat the grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for 3-4 seconds at that temperature.) Place fish on grill at an angle, top side down, and cook until grill marks start to appear, about 2-3 minutes. Then rotate and cook 2-3 minutes more to get criss-cross marks. Turn fish carefully and cook 2-3 minutes on second side, or until fish feels just slightly firm to the touch, but not at all hard. Total cooking time will be under ten minutes, I cooked my salmon just over 7 minutes, and it was perfect. Fish should feel barely firm when it's done. Serve hot.
Now we come to the chicken portion of our program. I wondered about serving this to Greg - he's not a fan of really "tangy" food - but, I have pledged to try new things, so... I bought the Kalamata olives and pitted them by pressing them onto the cutting board with the back of a spoon - easy peasy. When I first tasted the olive caper sauce by itself, I still wasn't sure. Then I grilled the chicken, put on the sauce, and my fears were a thing of the past. (I remember when we were on our cruise and we'd get foods with sauces on the plates, just little dabs of this and that. We enjoyed the food, but then we added the sauces, and they made the appetizer or entree so much better. That's what happened here. The olive caper sauce mixed with the flavors of the poultry seasoning on the hot grilled chicken, it all worked together for a very flavorful dish.)
Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Olive-Caper Sauce
(Makes four servings, recipe for Olive-Caper Sauce adapted from pâté di olive at Briciole.)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil for sauteeing chicken [I grilled the chicken.]
poultry season to rub on chicken breasts
Sauce: 3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 T chopped red onion or shallots
2 T capers
1 T fresh thyme (or use 1 tsp. dried thyme) [I used fresh.]
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. Rub chicken on both sides with small amount of poultry seasoning and let come to room temperature while you make olive sauce.
(I used a food processor, but you could use a blender or chop the ingredients by hand for this sauce if you don't have one.)
Put Kalamata olives in food processor fitted with steel blade and pulse a few times until olives are coarsely chopped. Add onion, capers, thyme, balsamic vinegar, and parsley. Pulse about 20 seconds, until ingredients are well combined. Remove sauce to a bowl and stir in olive oil. (You can add a bit more olive oil if the sauce seems too thick, but I didn't need to.)
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. (Pans which aren't non-stick will give the best browning.) Put chicken breasts into the pan, top side down and cook 5-6 minutes, or until top is well browned. Turn chicken over and cook 2-3 minutes more on second side. Chicken is done when it feels firm, but not hard to the touch.
Serve hot chicken breasts with olive-caper sauce spooned over. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a week if you manage to have any leftovers.
Seriously, try these - they're healthy and tasty and easy to make, and just might broaden your horizons a bit. :o)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good Day for Baking

It is a grey, rainy day (again), and I'm determined I will not turn the heat on yet. It's warmed up quite a bit outside, but has stayed cool enough inside that I'm wearing a sweatshirt over my T. To help warm up the house, I thought I'd bake some cookies. I got the recipe here, and whipped up a couple dozen.
The remainder of the dough was rolled into a log shape, wrapped, and frozen for future use.
Me alone in the house with several dozen fresh-baked cookies is never pretty. :)

This plate is going to the theater this evening (for you, Heather, dear!).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Not everything is better with chocolate!

I'm sure those who know me well are surprised by my subject line, but, sadly, it is true.

Jessi spent the weekend in North Dakota with friends, and they went to a chocolate shop where she purchased some treats for us. Okay, so I use the term "treats" lightly.

The malted milk balls are delicious, and I do like the chocolate-covered potato chips.

My problem started with the chocolate-covered olives and ended with the chocolate-covered jalapeno.


I love the girl, but this is one time I'll take a pass on finishing the chocolate. :o)

(These, um, "treats", come from Widman's Candy Shop, Grand Forks, ND. Thanks, Widman's. I think I'm permanently scarred...)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Insalata Blu

A few weeks ago Greg and I enjoyed some gift cards he had for Macaroni Grill. I had a delicious salad that I recreated at home. I loved it, but Greg said it's too sour for him. [He likes a little lettuce with his creamy bleu cheese dressing. :o)]

Butter lettuce

thin-sliced red onion

toasted walnuts

bleu cheese, crumbled

balsamic vinegar

I tore up the lettuce, gave the walnuts a rough chop and toasted lightly in a dry skillet. I did add the bleu cheese after I tossed everything else with the balsamic. This is VERY tasty!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Preserving the bounty

If you know me at all, you know that I intensely dislike canning food. It's hot, messy, tedious, and potentially dangerous. I do, however, want to be able to enjoy some summer sunshine during the cold, bleak winter days. I'm able to do that with just a fraction of the effort by freezing my garden bounty, and this year I will have the tastiest roasted tomato sauce to make into soup and sauces.

I have a tomato-basil soup recipe from Barefoot Contessa that I discovered last winter. Paid dearly for those fresh tomatoes and basil, but very much enjoyed the end product. This year I grew my own and with the help of the Kalyn's Kitchen blog, I've got summer wrapped up in the freezer. Wish you could have smelled this while it was cooking...

Here's what I did:

Washed and chopped up the tomatoes. I can't tell you how many pounds, but I got a 9x13 pan and an 11x15 pan full. Chopped several cloves of garlic and sprinkled over. Seasoned with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of red chili pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, stir, and pop into a 375 degree oven for about an hour, or until tomatoes begin to brown. I did not add any herbs - will do that when I use it in a recipe - gives me a little more versatility.
Here's the tomato basil soup recipe that I'll use it in:
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Copyright, 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All rights reserved
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

(I won't have to do the tomato roasting, obviously, but can just put it all together to heat up. Oh, and the soup freezes nicely, too.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Creme Brulee

Or, more food and fire!

I worked at the theater all weekend, and Saturday night we got to talking about Creme Brulee. Sometimes on the weekends we do potluck for supper, each person contributing a portion of the meal. I offered to whip up some Creme Brulee for Sunday night's dessert. It's really very easy to make, but it made a big impression tonight. Christina and John had never had it, and were quite surprised to find out they really got to play with fire to get it ready to eat.

(In fact, John's face lit up when I handed him the torch!) :o)

This recipe came from Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten). I substituted amaretto for Grand Marnier.

1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 Cup sugar
Put in mixer w/ blade attachment and mix just until combined.

Heat 3 Cups heavy cream until it's very hot, but not boiling. Add to egg/sugar mixture. Now add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 TBS amaretto.

Pour into 6 ramekins, dividing mixture evenly. Put ramekins in a cake pan. Pour boiling water in pan until it reaches halfway up the side of the ramekins.

Bake at 300 until custard is set. Mine took almost 50 minutes, but that depends on the size of your ramekins and your oven. Directions said 35-40 minutes.

Remove from water bath and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill in frig.

To serve, sprinkle 1 TBS sugar evenly over the top of each ramekin of custard. Use a torch to melt the sugar, then let sit for one minute so sugar can harden.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Flaming Bananas

I've been wanting to make Bananas Foster for a long time. I just thought the recipe sounded really delicious. Last night I finally got to it. I had purchased fresh bananas, dark rum, and we had some good vanilla ice cream.

Greg thought it was okay (he's not a huge fruit fan), but liked the flaming pan the most. I have a theory about testosterone and fire...

I know the photo is blurry, but I was snapping quickly before the flames went out. Can you see the blue flame? It was pretty cool!
I didn't have the banana liqueur, and wasn't buying it just for this. It had plenty of banana flavor without it.
Ingredients: -
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
1/4 cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet.
Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.
When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.
Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum.
When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream.
Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.
Serves Four

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

About comments...

Had some spam in my comments awhile back. I really hate Spam! (Just ask Greg - I never buy it!) :o)
From now on when you post a comment on this blog, it won't show up until I approve it. That could take a day or so.
If the spam ceases, I'll go back to unmoderated comments.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Easy Summer Supper

An easy supper after a busy day. Grilled sausages (smoked mozzarella and artichoke), pasta tossed with a touch of olive oil, parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley. I also served some asparagus tossed with olive oil, parmesan, and lemon zest.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Herbing up the butter

My last entry showed a photo of those incredible salmon sandwiches and the sweet corn I served with it. For the sweet corn (which was really good for coming from the store!) I made a cilantro compound butter.
Compound butter is regular unsalted butter with flavor added to it. Tonight I made two kinds, cilantro, and basil. The cilantro butter adds a freshness to the taste of the corn. I don't know about the basil butter - this is the first time I've made it, but I think it'll be great to use with an Italian meal.

It's easy to make - just chop the fresh herbs and mix with softened butter.

Then roll into a log shape inside some plastic wrap and chill. Since I made two kinds, I labeled them both and they are in the freezer. I can slice off discs to use whenever needed.
If you serve these to company, be sure to explain to them what they're for so they're not mistaken for terrible appetizers. :o)

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches

I saw this recipe on Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa the other day, and have been counting down the days when Greg and I would both be home for supper so I could make it.
It was worth the wait!
I grilled the salmon fillets for 4 minutes on each side, then let them rest just about 5 minutes before assembling the sandwiches. They were moist and perfect.
The sauce is really yummy - the capers give it a little tang. Try to use fresh herbs if possible.

2 pounds fresh salmon fillets
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

For the sauce (make this a bit ahead of time):
1 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
12 fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped scallions, (white and green parts)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons capers, drained

To assemble:
6 fresh white or brioche rolls (4-inch round)
1/4 pound mesclun mix or fresh basil leaves

For the salmon, heat coals in an outdoor grill and brush the top of the grill with oil. Rub the outside of the salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste. Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the salmon is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

For the sauce, place the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, basil, dill, scallions, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until combined. Add the capers and pulse 2 or 3 times.

To assemble the sandwiches, slice the rolls in 1/2 crosswise. Spread a tablespoon of sauce on each cut side. On the bottom 1/2, place some mesclun salad and then a piece of salmon. Place the top of the roll on the salmon and serve immediately.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sipping some love...

Many of you know that Greg and I like wine. Cheap, expensive, red, white, sweet, dry. Between the two of us, we pretty much like it all. There has been a very large bottle of red wine in the cupboard for many months - I guess Greg thought it good for a family gathering sometime. And it was. As we planned the menu for yesterday, Greg mentioned we should serve that bottle of wine. I was skeptical that anyone would want wine at lunch if they wanted to get anything else accomplished that day. He suggested making sangria. I Googled for a recipe and this is what I found:
1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
1 Lime cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
Splash of orange juice
2 Shots of gin
1 Cup of sliced strawberries or raspberries (may use thawed or frozen)
1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)
4 Cups ginger ale

I loosley based my recipe on this one. Here's what I did:
Poured the entire bottle of wine into a large plastic jug. Cut up a lime and a lemon and squeezed those into the wine, then dropped the lemon into the jug (the lime was a little old and the peel not so attractive). I didn't have an orange, and we forgot to get one at the store, so I just added a little extra orange juice concentrate. A couple of spoonfuls of sugar, two shots of really good gin, and it sat in the frig for several hours. Just before serving, I added 2 liters of ginger ale to the jug. Poured it into a pretty pitcher, and served it with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and grapes in the cups.
It was a hit! Here's an email Randy sent early this morning:
"Need new pictures for screen saver. Please send me some of kids to choose from. Also, the drink in the glass pitcher at Sunday lunch was great, please send some of it too."
(The photo is off the www - I didn't get a picture of mine.)

Feasting with Family

Tried something yesterday that I've wanted to do since I first read about it in a magazine many years ago. Cousin Bobbi wrote about it on her blog awhile back, and I got her recipe. I thought our Father's day gathering would be a good time to try it. We liked it well enough, I just think I needed 2 spice bags instead of 1, and next time I'll make garlic butter for the dipping.
Here's the recipe Bobbi sent:
Seafood Boil
Boil 8 small red potatoes, 4 ears of frozen corn on the cob, 1 onion, and 4-5 garlic cloves with a crab/shrimp spice packet for 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes of boiling, add 1/2 lb andouille sausage links, chopped. The last 5 minutes of boiling time, add 1 lb shrimp. After 30 minutes of boiling time has elapsed, remove large pot from heat and cover with a lid. Let it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes, then pour out liquid. Put the seafood boil on jelly roll pan covered with paper sacks to absorb the remaining liquid. You can also add crawfish, crab legs, or lobster tails. Serve with melted butter and lots of napkins. No utensils required, just use your fingers.
We obviously tripled the recipe, which is why I should have had another spice bag. The corn did have a nice "zip" to it, though. :o)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Grilling is Peachy!

Ben and Greg grilled some awesome steaks for supper, but I was busy in the house and didn't get any photos. For dessert, Abbie and I prepped some peaches and plums, then Ben grilled them. We sprinkled on a little cinnamon and drizzled some honey while they cooked, then served them hot with vanilla ice cream. MMMMM...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Grandma Regier's Rhubarb Dessert

We made this after supper for a bedtime snack. Ben and Abbie say they've never had rhubarb (Tonita?). They LOVED it! I was a bit worried about Abbie's fingers as she cut up the rhubarb stalks, but they stayed in one piece. Whew! :o)

4 C rhubarb

1 C sugar

1 (3 oz.) pkg. strawberry Jell-O

1 white Jiffy cake mix

1/3 C margarine (diced)

Put in a greased 8 x 8 cake pan in the order listed. Pour 1 Cup water over other ingredients. Do not mix. Bake at 350 for one hour or a little less.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Citrus Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Oranges

My nephew earned his keep tonight by preparing this dish for us for supper. I don't usually like sweet sauces or marinades on my meat, but this was pretty tasty.

1 (12 oz.) jar orange marmalade

1/3 C orange juice

1/4 C olive oil

1 TBS white wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1 tsp. pepper, divided

6 (1/4-1/2"thick) bone-in pork chops

3 large oranges, cut into 1/4" slices

1. Place marmalade, orange juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a blender; process until well blended.

2. Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper evenly over pork. Place chops and 1/2 C of marinade in large Ziplock bag; seal and shake to coat. Chill 2 hours. Drain, discard marinade from bag.

3. Grill pork, covered with grill lid, over med-hi heat, 4-5 minutes on each side or until no longer pink or til juices run clear.

4. Grill oranges 1-2 minutes on each side or til grill marks appear. Serve chops w/ remaining marinade and grilled orange slices.

Ben found this recipe at WalMart in the produce department on one of those little cards they have strategically placed around the necessary ingredients.
The grilled oranges just had kind of an added "toasty" flavor to them. They were good with the pork.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fresh Basil and Mozzarella salad

We ate lunch at Greg's parents' house today to celebrate Mother's Day. I wanted to take a salad, and I wanted to use things I had on hand and not have to drive to the grocery store this morning. I remembered some fresh mozzarella in the garage frig, and there were some cherry tomatoes in the cupboard. Fortunately I have two basil plants waiting to be planted. This salad came together in about five minutes. The dressing is 2 parts olive oil to 1 part red wine vinegar, and a little salt and pepper shaken together in a jar.

I am learning to use fresh herbs, and love having my own plants. The cost of fresh in the store is insane. So much better to run outside and pluck them right off the plant.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Garlic Lover's Rub

Mmmm - garlic. We love it. Crushed, chopped, minced, roasted, we use it all the time. That's why I was very interested in this wet rub recipe from the June issue of Eating Well magazine. I made it tonight and put it on chicken breasts. Kinda worried that the garlic might burn on the grill and get bitter, but noooo...

The chicken was juicy and the garlic flavor was just right. Not too subtle, not too strong.


Greg even grudgingly agreed. (He's the dry rub master in our house, and I'm messing in his territory.)

I look forward to using this often, on all of the things we grill.

Garlic Lover's Rub

(use on: extra-firm tofu, shrimp, scallops, salmon, mahi-mahi, chicken, duck, pork, beef, lamb)

Combine 8 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest in a small bowl. Using your hands, spread the rub evenly onto 1 1/2 pounds (6 servings) of your chosen protien just before grilling. Makes 1/4 cup.

I'm thinking this would be wonderful on roasted veggies, too!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Asparagus has been used from very early times as a culinary vegetable, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius's 3rd century AD De re coquinaria, Book III. (reprinted from Wikipedia).

I just discovered this tasty gem a few years ago when Greg's sister-in-law took a chance and gave us some fresh spears from her garden. I went ahead and roasted them on the grill, and a new love was born. I had eaten asparagus one other time in my life, but it was mushy and disgusting, and I carried that bad memory with me since childhood.

Of course it's best fresh, and we're in the peak of the season right now. Tonight I tried this recipe that came to me via Kalyn's Kitchen, but is from Simply Recipes.

The asparagus was cooked perfectly - tender and crisp. The lemon added a nice hint of zing. Yum!

I have purchased some asparagus to plant in my own yard - hopefully in a couple of years I'll be able to share my bounty, too!


Preparation time: 10 minutes.

1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb

2 Tbsp of the most exquisite extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon lemon zest - freshly grated lemon rind

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.

2 Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water.

While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.

Note that when you are working with so few ingredients, it's important to make sure they are of the highest quality.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Yummy breakfast

This recipe came from and sounded like an easy Spring morning breakfast to me. I couldn't wait for it to cool completely, so I had to eat my piece with a fork. I thought I might take it to work tonight to share, but having it last that long is questionable... :o)

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease/flour/spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.

Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then, stir in milk and oil.

Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not overmix.

Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.

Nutrition Education

This comes from my mom's recipe box. It must've been torn from a product box - perhaps brown sugar? I got a good chuckle when I read the nutrition advice on the bottom.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prepare to be amazed

Since going to Alaska last summer, we've been eating a lot more salmon. This recipe comes from my aunt, Jan Anderson. She went to Alaska in the Fall, and got this recipe from a woman who lives in Anchorage. This is exactly the way she sent it to me:

de-skin & cube salmon
de-seeded & diced jalapeño pepper
diced onion
fresh grated ginger root
equal parts sour cream & mayonnaise

sea salt
bake 375 degrees, 45 minutes
sprinkle fresh grated parmesan on top last 10 minutes

It is SOOOO good! We had it with roasted asparagus, hush puppies, Cesaer salad, and a very nice white wine named Traminette. The wine comes from a Nebraska vineyard which Aunt Jan also introduced us to.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


I don't usually fix appetizers for our meals, with the exception of celery stuffed with peanut butter. Sometimes I make a plate of those and Greg has them for a snack when he gets home from work. So much for the appetizers. :o)
Yesterday I purchased a 16 oz. box of whole mushrooms, and when I got them home I noticed a recipe on the side of the wrapper. I had all the ingredients, and thought these would be perfect along with the nice supper that was planned.

Since there were just the two of us, I made less than half of the original recipe, and I still had some filling leftover. That's okay - there are more mushrooms just waiting for some yummy goodness to be tucked inside and baked!

Here's the original recipe:

Stuffed Mushrooms

8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat)

4 slices bacon

1 small onion, finely diced

8 mushroom stems, finely diced

(I always clean mushrooms by wiping gently with a damp paper towel.)

Remove mushroom stems, saving 8 for the filling. Cook the bacon and let cool. Drain all but a small amount of bacon grease. Saute onion and mushroom stems in bacon grease, just till softened. Crumble bacon. Mix bacon, onion/mushroom mixture, and cream cheese til well blended. Fill mushroom caps w/ cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on broiler. Broil just long enough to brown the tops. (Took about 2 minutes.)


Friday, April 6, 2007

Back in Time...

I've been doing a little Spring-cleaning; rearranging furniture, sorting through closets, organizing my hobby supplies.
In the midst of the chaos I found my mom's recipe box. I always knew I had it, and knew where it was, but today I brought it out and put it on my desk. This afternoon I took a little break from my sorting and looked through the contents. In coming weeks I will share some of the recipes I found, but for today I thought this would be interesting.
It's a menu from a cafe - on the back is scribbled a couple of cake recipes, so that's why this was in the box. I got a chuckle at the prices of the meals, and you KNOW it was good, homemade food. None of the boxed or instant stuff we get at our cafe here sometimes.
(If you click on the menu, you should be able to see it in a larger size, thus being better able to read the prices.)
Entrees included potatoes and gravy, stewed tomatoes (ew), salad, bread pudding, bread and butter, coffee or tea. Milk was 5 cents extra. :o)
My best guess is this menu is from the early 60's. I don't remember this cafe, and I don't even know if it was in York. I do know we can't cook this cheap at home now - what would Dan think of today's $3.50 hamburger?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Yummy goodness from the Gulf

Greg's mom brought us a treat this morning - fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. I cooked it up right away, just a few minutes ago. Doesn't it look tasty? I love shrimp - boiled shrimp, shrimp scampi, shrimp salad, fried shrimp, butterflied shrimp, shrimp toast - I sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump, don't I? :o)
I never got to have shrimp when I was a kid, since it really was pretty expensive here in the middle of the U.S. On those rare occasions, it was heavily breaded and deep fried - most of the succulent flavor lost, but I liked the texture and the fact that it was a rare treat.
Then Greg and I made Red Lobster our "special place" for celebratory meals. We at there when we became engaged, when we found out Nick was on the way, and for various anniversaries. No more breaded shrimp - I discovered scampi and was hooked!
My dad loved shrimp, too. I didn't realize this until he was sick and bedridden. I was with him one afternoon when a TV commercial for Red Lobster came on, and he said he would love to go there for the "all you can eat" shrimp feast. Obviously that wasn't in our realm of possibility, but I had some Sam's Club shrimp at home in the freezer. A few days later, I brought some from home and made him scampi. His house smelled of garlic the entire evening, but he feasted and we were happy he ate a good meal.
This particular pile of goodness will be for salads. It was boiled in a mixture of water, a splash of white wine, one lemon, and some celery salt. I'll leave some whole , and the rest will be chopped and mixed with celery and mayo for sandwiches - and that's what I'm having for lunch!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tilapia Amandine

This recipe originally called for catfish, but neither Greg nor I like catfish, so I substituted tilapia fillets. The recipe came from the February 07 issue of Eating Well magazine, a subscription to which I got as a Christmas present. I am really enjoying it. You'll see more recipes from this magazine in the future. :o)
Last night was the second time I've made this recipe, so I knew it would go over well. I'm trying to serve fish at least once a week, and keep beef to once a week. Some weeks that works better than others.
I served this with couscous cooked in chicken broth, and French cut green beans.

Catfish Amandine

1 Tbs. plus 1 1/2 tsp evoo, divided

1 Tbs. butter

1/4 cup sliced almonds

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 C low-fat milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/3 C flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 pound catfish, divided into four portions

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

Heat 1 Tbs. oil and the butter in a small saucepan, over med. heat. Add almonds and garlic and cook until they just start to turn brown. Set aside.

Combine milk and egg in a shallow dish; combine flour, salt, and cayenne in another shallow dish. Dip fish in milk mixture, then in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour.

Heat remaining oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add fish and cook until lightly browned and opaque in the center, 4-6 minutes each side.

Return the pan with garlic-almond sauce to heat. Add lemon juice and heat through, 1-2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the fish, sprinkle with parsely, and serve.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pear Bread

At first glance this bread might not seem too dangerous. It's made from everyday ingredients, nothing unusual. Except. It is SO tasty, you may not be able to stop eating it. :o)
I had 3 pears in the bowl on the counter - thought maybe if they were easily accessible, Greg would grab one on his way out the door in the mornings, and actually eat some fruit. Guess they weren't obvious enough, because they were soon too ripe for "grab 'n go", so I dug out the recipe for pear bread.
I think this came from Paula Rodewald, a past girlfriend of my dad's. She's a great cook, and sells her baked goods at the street market in York during the summer.
I made this and shared it at work last night. It was a hit. Now I'll share the recipe with you:

Pear Bread
1/2 C applesauce (I use natural, unsweetened)
1/2 C oil
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 C peeled, diced pears
1 C chopped pecans (optional, but nuts always make it better!)
2 tsp vanilla
3 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I used 1/4 tsp - I don't care for a strong nutmeg flavor)

Mix applesauce, oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Add pears and nuts. Mix flour w/ baking soda, salt, and spices; add to pear mixture and stir just til combined.
Bake in two loaf pans at 350 F for one hour. I used French bread pans, so they only took about 50 minutes.

Let cool before slicing - if you can! Enjoy!