Monday, January 31, 2011

Cheddar Ale Soup

I love how the change of the seasons influences what I make for dinner. When the Williams Sonoma catalog arrived with this recipe on a snowy Saturday I knew that it would be in my future. I just wonder if I lives somewhere like....hmmm....Orange, California...if this would sound so good. We'll have to let my sister weigh in on that one. Maybe it would sound good with all the rain they had in December.

Anyway, here's the Williams Sonoma version of beer cheese soup along with my picture of beer cheese soup aka cheddar ale soup. It does sound upscale being called cheddar ale soup rather than beer cheese soup though, don't you think?

I wiped out the pan pretty thoroughly after I sauteed the bacon and left just a very tiny bit of bacon grease (maybe 1/2 t or so). Gee, why am I worried about a tiny bit of fat when I'm putting in all that cheese?! Also, to saute the vegetables I used just a bit less than 1 T butter. I decreased
cheddar to 1 lb. Sadly, I used Vermont cheddar because that's what the warehouse club has as far as white cheddar, and I really prefer white cheddar over orange. I was local with the beer by using Lakefront's India Pale Ale. I did not make the garlic croutons or serve it with the truffle oil.

I'm not a big beer fan....but I really think this is a recipe that can't go wrong! Beer. Cheese. Bacon.

A Wisconsin type cheesehead meal for the Packers!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sushi Night

We love sushi at our house but it's something we don't eat as often as we would like...just because we don't eat out too much. The other night I decided we would make it at home; we have done this before but it has been a couple years. I don't remember it turning out this well, so we'll have to make it more often now that we're getting closer to mastering it!!!

We cut the vegetables into strips and got those ready as the sushi rice was in the rice cooker. When the rice was done Eleanor fanned it while it cooled, and I stirred in some rice vinegar.

Eleanor was the master "rice patter" and kept her hands wet while spreading the rice on the nori. We used strips of cucumber, carrots, avocado, red pepper and smoked salmon. Also, we sprinkled some sesame seeds on the rolls.

Here's our first beautiful roll of the evening. I thought the knife may not be sharp enough to cut through the nori, but it worked without a problem.

I'm sure that there are many secrets to making good sushi, but we found that we really needed to keep it very tight while rolling. Guess that's my sushi secret that isn't so secret.

There was plenty of sushi for three of us even after a morning full of exercise for all. I usually don't think that it will be filling but do always end up having enough. One of our favorite family field trips a couple years ago was to put Eleanor in the car and not tell her where we were going. We drove to a sushi place in Chicago on a Sunday evening for "all you can eat" sushi. My cousin and her husband had recommended it. The sushi was good...and it really was all you can eat...and the rules were very funny. Visions of the soup nazi were floating through our heads as we read the rules at the House of Sushi and Noodles. I can't remember all of them but they are things like, "You must eat all sushi on your plate. Not liking it or an allergy is no excuse not to eat it." Yep, anaphalaxis won't get you out of finishing your sushi!!!!!

Eleanor made this sushi platter for Paul years ago, so this was the perfect occasion to use it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gorgonzola Spinach Pasta

This is one of those "made up" recipes that we have at our house on occasion. Long ago, it used to be my standard thing to throw together if I didn't get a chance to plan a meal. Being a mom has made planning a bit more of a priority, so I don't need to resort to this recipe too often, but, it still is good...even if I plan it into our menu.

Eleanor could eat carbs every day for every meal, but Paul and I like a bit more variety. If I make this, she can have plain noodles and we're all happy with our own bowl of carbs.

Start boiling water for pasta...because this recipe comes together quickly!

In a saucepan melt some gorgonzola cheese along with a bit of milk (skim is fine) to thin the sauce. These should be in approximately equal measures. If you have thought ahead and defrosted some of the greens from the CSA box (or a frozen box of spinach), that's great! If not, put the greens in a colander and run some hot water over them until they are defrosted. Squeeze the water out and throw the greens into the saucepan. Depending on the consistency, it may be necessary to add a bit more cheese or a bit more milk. When it is all smooth and creamy add a dash or two of nutmeg. I had a mixture of kale and chard that I had steamed and frozen last summer, so that is what I used.

That's it. Really. Unless you want to top it with some sun dried tomatoes or chopped roasted red peppers or a couple grinds of pepper.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Italian Meatballs

About twice a year, I make a batch of small meatballs to store in the freezer for quick spaghetti dinners. I usually double my recipe, but this time I made a single batch...I adapt a recipe from for these and they are always a hit at my house. The recipe is Italian Meatballs from Southern Living.  I didn't take a picture, sorry about that, but they look like, well, meatballs!

Here is what I did...
1 lb of ground turkey
3/4 c Italian style bread crumbs
1/2-3/4 c minced onions
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper
2 t fines herbes or Italian seasoning

Combine everything and form meatballs. I make mine to be about 3/4-1 inch in diameter so they don't fall apart.  I bake them on a cookie sheet at 400°F for 20-30 minutes. I freeze them in ziplock bags for quick meals!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Asian Dumpling Soup

This one is inspired from one of my favorite cookbooks from the library, Cooking with all things Trader Joe's . My sister owns this book, so I have used it at her house as well and looked through the pictures. It's a fun book with photos that remind me of ours....real photos of real meals by real people. Admittedly, theirs are a bit better:)

My sister is a busy woman with a new baby and working as a medical resident and married to a resident. So, she just doesn't have much time to cook and will sometimes eat cereal for dinner. UGH. This book seems to give her a few things to prepare quickly throwing many partially prepared ingredients together to make new creations. She had mentioned that this one is a winner from this book, so I wanted to try it a few nights ago.

I really like Trader Joe's and am happy that I am able to walk to one to get many things we like. I do have a standing list of things I buy every time I go there such as the chicken apple sausage, yogurt, tofu and harvest grains mix. My only Trader Joe's complaint is that they seem to put allergy alerts on everything...... part of me likes it thinking it is vigilant labeling and I should be grateful. The other part of me feels resentful thinking they just slap that as a cover on everything. The cumin was exposed to nuts in packaging. Really?! I hope that sometime soon the people at Trader Joe's will take allergy labeling to the next level and not put (what I think) is a statement on nearly everything. Enough of my rant, I just use similar items from another store when I make this soup. And I use items that are safe for us from Trader Joe's.

I just never thought of putting these ingredients together to make a totally new dinner. It is a bit processed as far as food goes, but it does seem somewhat homemade since it is made in the home kitchen.

Quick. Easy. Delicious.

16 oz bag frozen potstickers (original recipe called for a bag of frozen Thai Shrimp gyoza)
4 c chicken broth
1 t soy sauce
1 small clove garlic, crushed
3 c stir fry vegetables
1 egg, optional
1 t toasted sesame oil

In a medium pot, heat broth, soy sauce and garlic over med high heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Add gyoza and vegetables. When mixture boils again, reduce heat to med low and cook for 5 minutes.

If using egg, beat with a fork until frothy. Slowly pour into boiling soup in a thin stream creating cooked ribbons of egg.

Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.

What a great idea....and there are other good quick ideas in the book as well. I used a large can of chicken broth, so it was a bit more than the recipe called for. I had a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables that I threw in. And, since I used potstickers from the warehouse club I really don't know how many I had left in the bag....but rather just dumped in what I had.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf

I try to plan dinners for the week so we have a nice variety....Asian inspired, Tex-Mex, chicken, pasta, pizza, meatless, etc. I do like having (especially in the winter) a meat and potatoes type meal once a week or so. Obviously, this was the one for this week.

As I have told you, I do like the crockpot and have found that it's a good way for me to make meatloaf. It is difficult to make certain things when you aren't able to be home an hour before serving dinner. Such is the life of a swim parent. I'm not complaining...just sayin'.

One way around this is to use the crockpot by making an aluminum foil lift in the crockpot. I take a 2 foot long piece of foil and fold it in half lengthwise and place it on the bottom and up the sides of the slowcooker. This will help to lift out the meatloaf "boule" when it's done(the picture on the left may help to see how it's done). I didn't think of this and don't want anyone to give me the credit for thinking of it, but it really does work. I did spray the sides of the slowcooker with Pam since I was using primarily ground chicken breast.
The recipe I use for meatloaf was from my mom years ago and can be varied a bit for variety. I usually use turkey (but this time it was ground chicken breast) because we aren't huge beef eaters, but I'm sure you can make this with ground beef as well.

In large bowl mix together:
1/2 c breadcrumbs
2 generous T dried parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c feta or bleu cheese, crumbled
1/4 c sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 lb ground turkey/chicken

Depending on the moisture of the turkey (and whether it is dark or light meat) it may be necessary to add a small amount of olive oil. I increased the breadcrumbs and cheese by a tiny bit and added 1/2 lb of ground pork because I had it leftover from another recipe (I had 1 lb ground pork in the freezer and only need 1/2 lb in my other recipe). Pat into a shape to fit in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or so. When it is done the foil can be pulled out of the slowcooker so it looks like the picture below.

I really think meatloaf is best served with mashed potatoes and broccoli, so you may have to make those quickly when you get home and serve it together. As you can tell, we had mashed potatoes and green beans with it this time.

It's so nice to come home and have the smell of dinner when coming in the door. A quick potato boil and mash and vegetable steam and it comes together so quickly.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spaghetti Freezer Sauce

The CSA box lives on! On one of the deliveries this summer we received our box the day before leaving on vacation. I knew that I had to get the vegetables in a preserved state before leaving since they wouldn't make it until our return. Based on the items, I knew that spaghetti sauce or salsa were the best options; I went for the spaghetti sauce. I'm glad I did because it was nice to pull it out on a winter evening and have a taste of summer during a Wisconsin winter.

Typically if I am going to make tomato sauce I use the method of making an "X" on the end of the tomato and putting it in boiling water for a couple minutes. Then, I plunge it into cold water and peel the skin off. I then cut it in half and squeeze the seeds out. I didn't have time on this day to do all those steps...but that was alright.

OK. The truth is I don't remember (other than above) exactly how I made this, but here's a general idea. I had onion, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes. So, I sauteed the onions in a bit of olive oil and added the remaining ingredients. I did not peel the tomatoes before cooking but rather pulled the tomato skin out of the pan over the course of the cooking time. I added some dried and fresh basil as well as some oregano and cooked it down for quite awhile. Then, I cooled it and put it in the freezer for a quick meal.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brit Noodles

Named in honor of our mutual swim friend!

The description given by her mother made me hungry. I have no idea if I am making this even close to the original, but we're satisfied with this version and have named it in her honor even though her family calls it Chicken Noodles. It's consistency is between soup and stew...and it tastes yummy.

1 lb chicken breast cut in bite size pieces.
Coat chicken with flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and Galena seasoning (Penzey blend)
Brown in large pot with about 1 T. melted butter and remove chicken from pot and set aside.
2-3 onions
2-3 carrots (or more) both carrots and onions are chopped into bite size pieces
Brown these in the pot (may need a bit more butter).
Return chicken to the pot and fill with about 8 cups chicken broth stirring up from the bottom to deglaze the pan.
Let simmer until vegetables are tender adding more water/broth, if needed.

Make a double batch of the noodles. The recipe is for one batch but I was told by Brit's mom to double it, so I do.
1 c flour
1 egg
pinch salt
Mix together by hand and slowly add water until a good consistency (vague..but it really means until able to be rolled out). Roll into sheets and cut to desired width and separate a bit to dry.

I usually get to this part before leaving for swim practice and then bring the soup back to a gentle boil (I turn off the soup when we leave for practice!!!) and add the noodles and cook when we return.

So hearty and so good!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nigella's Sandwich Slaw

This slaw recipe came from the book, Nigella Express. I checked the book out of the library recently and thought I would get a couple good recipes out of it...and I did. I found this recipe and thought it would be a good way to use up the remaining cabbage from fish tacos.

1 apple, chopped into strips
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 c finely sliced cabbage
For the slaw I just used the cabbage mix from Sendik's instead of the ingredients listed above.

2 T mayonnaise
1 T mango chutney
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t caraway seeds
pinch of salt

It's good. We served it with hot ham and rolls, a Milwaukee Sunday thing. I don't really get the whole hot ham and rolls thing but it's a definitely a Milwaukee staple. For example, at work on a Monday morning someone may ask what you did over the weekend. The typical response might be, "Watched the Badger game on Saturday, went skiing, watched the Packers, and got hot ham and rolls on Sunday". There are signs advertising this at many venues, so it really could be a project to check out which place has the best hot ham and rolls (future blog for us?). At our Sendik's on a Sunday after church services let out the butcher will be putting packages of hot ham on the counter and the packages of rolls (free with the purchase of the hot ham). Sendik's is a good place to get the hot ham because the rolls are from Sciortino's Bakery, a Milwaukee landmark. I think that if you're going to do the traditional Milwaukee Sunday meal....those are the rolls to have.

I guess the Wisconsin resident handbook should include a chapter on hot ham and rolls. Maybe that could be in the book right after the chapter explaining that a "bubbler" is a drinking fountain?

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup

We were sitting at a violin recital...and our friends mentioned that they were going home to have this soup between violin and basketball...or their version of it anyway. I asked for the recipe and got the ingredients since they make a slightly different version every time.

I didn't use evaporated milk..instead using 1 1/2 c skim milk. I wish I still had kale in my freezer, but I have used all of it. I used sweet Italian sausage...and this got three tumbs up (one from each of us).

Yum...why is it that I have been thinking about this soup often since it was mentioned?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Honey and Spice-Glazed Chops

The first time I made this recipe, I totally forgot to take pictures! This time, I did get a picture of the chops in the pan, but by the time swim practice was over, we were all so hungry, a pretty picture of the whole dinner was missed. I served these with the very last potatoes from my CSA and asparagus. 

Can you guess where I got the recipe? You bet,, here is the link. Anyway, I had a big package of thick pork chops from the warehouse club in the freezer so I decided I would make the whole package and freeze half. I tripled the sauce so that I would have enough to package for the freezer, so we ate 4 chops and froze 5.

My family is picky about pork because it can be dry...this recipe adds lots of flavor and the chops remain juicy. I have made it with thinner chops as well, it works out great. If using the really thick ones, the cooking time is a bit longer. One of the great things about this meal is it is truly a 20-30 minute recipe.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup

I just want to talk about this recipe. I'll do you a favor to save you from this mistake, since this one counts as the worst thing I ever made. Not only is it the worst thing I ever made, but it is probably the worst thing I ever made that a lot of people know about. Thanks to being a mom of a teenager, there was no keeping this one a secret after she shared it on the pool deck with other swimmers and coaches!

It does happen when you like recipes, and I hope none of mine count as one of THOSE recipes in your house, the dud. The recipe I'm talking about had no hope and ended up in the garbage. It saddens me to throw food away, especially in large quantities and especially when all the ingredients are so good by themselves. But, it was horrible.

The strange thing is, it came from The New Basics Cookbook. I have used countless recipes from that book with good results, so I'm not sure where this went wrong.

Here's a link to the recipe and someone's positive review just to give you the other side of the story.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Paul's Chili

Paul was off work on vacation during the break between Christmas and New Year's Day. I was expecting that he would want to smoke meat, since that is what he enjoys doing on his time off. He opted not to smoke something, which was surprising to me; however, he came up with the beefy chili idea. I tend to make chili that is a bit chicken or turkey, so I think it was fun for him to make a meaty/beefy dinner.

Trying to pin him down to tell his recipe was a bit difficult, but I think I have it all here. It was a trip around the pantry kind of recipe after he bought 2 lbs of ground chuck.

Brown 2 lbs ground chuck

In crockpot:
16 oz jar salsa verde (he used Trader Joe's brand)
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 "cube" chipotle in adobo from the freezer*
4 oz can diced green chiles
3 dried peppers, crushed (unknown kind)
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
2 t Hungarian paprika
2 t dried Thai chiles
1 t cayenne
about a 15 oz can's worth of black beans from the freezer
juice of 1/2 lime

Cook on low for 6 hours or so.

I'm not a huge beef fan, but this was good. I think it was even better since he made dinner AND cleaned the kitchen!

*I buy the canned chipotles in adobo, use what I need, and whir the rest in the food processor and freeze in ice cube trays. After frozen, I put the cubes in a ziploc bag and remove the cube to add to chili...or whatever recipe needing a bit of smoky spicy goodness.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Elsie's Soup

OK. I still call her Mrs. E______. But, my mom calls it Elsie's soup, so I will too. At least for recipe/blogging purposes:)

This is hearty soup and really warms you on a chilly day! It does have extended simmering time, so it needs to be made on a day that you're home; however, there isn't very much work involved.

Wash and dry 2 1/2 c dried beans, any varieties. I used a one pound bag of bean soup mixture and threw away the enclosed seasoning packet (it was probably mostly salt anyway) which seems to be a bit more than the amount called for. It works OK though and then I don't have bits of beans leftover for next time. Put them in a stock pot and add 3 quarts water.

To that mixture add:
one ham hock
bouquet garni of the dried spices listed below:
1/2 t. thyme, 1/2 t sage, 1 t parsley, one bay leaf
I put these all in a tea infuser and submerged the infuser into the water.
Simmer for 2 1/2- 3 hours.

large can tomatoes, undrained
2 c chopped onion
2 c chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours

1 lb smoked sausage (I sliced and quartered each slice)
2 chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces
Simmer 40 minutes

Serve over rice. The original recipe says to serve over rice with parsley. I didn't do that.

The only tricky part is not letting the beans get too mushy and overcooked. During those long simmer times I do check periodically (shovel snow, check beans, short walk with dog, check beans, fold laundry, check get the idea!!!). I didn't have any sage, so I omitted it and was fine. I discovered that AFTER I went to the store for a ham hock and celery and wasn't going to go back for an ingredient that is only 1/2 t!

It really is better when served the day after making it and does work well to simmer it all day on a weekend and then eat it during the week. It freezes well, so that works for our small family. I am able to start rice in the rice cooker before swim practice, so we come home and warm the soup and are ready to serve. I suspect that this would adapt well to a crockpot; however, I haven't tried that, so you'll have to let me know how it works if you do.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dog Treats

When Eleanor had days off for Christmas break she decided that she wanted to make dog treats for our dog, Miss Dorothy and Miss Dorothy's friends. She found a few recipes on the internet and combined them to come up with the recipe I'll list below. There was NO WAY I was going to the store to get ingredients for dog treats...she really had to figure out how to make them from things in our house.

For a girl who isn't too patient making human cookies, she did a very good job of rolling out the dough and cutting out the treats. Dogs seem to love them, so it's a definite win! Paul tried one and said that it tastes bland. I just couldn't try it...ugh.

Eleanor's Dog Treats:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a large bowl blend:
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c flax seed
1/2 c rolled oats
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add:
1/2 c water
1/2 c bacon grease
1 egg
1/4 c peanut butter

May need to add a bit more water until the dough can be rolled out. Roll it to 1/4-1/2" thickness and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake 20 minutes then turn them and bake an additional 15 minutes.

They seemed a bit fragile to me...but dogs like them...and that was the objective, so it all works.

Unlike my puppy chow post , this recipe really is for dogs.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Garbage Day Soup

There is really no one way to make my Garbage Day Soup.  Basically, anything I would contemplate pitching in the garbage can join the club! Being a Wednesday, my typical "work at home" day, I went to work on checking my freezer for possible pitchables.  I had about a pound of ground beef in the refrigerator that needed to be cooked, so I set my sights on soup.

Here is a list of things that I found in the refrigerator or freezer that probably would have been pitched if not used soon...

1 large onion that had been peeled, from another day, but I didn't use(I diced it)
10-12 less than attractive baby carrots that no one was willing to eat but were still fine(rough chop)
1/2 cup beef broth
3 cups chicken broth, but in two different containers
ginger root
1-2 cups red wine
red potatoes from my CSA this past summer
red cabbage from my CSA this past summer

1/2 bag frozen stir fry vegies, fairly freezer burned
1/2 bag frozen peas
2-3 T tomato paste
2-3 T roasted garlic

Other items I used to make the soup

Soy sauce
Thai chili sauce
1-2 c frozen green beans
1-2 cups cooked mixed greens
1-2 cups frozen corn
Additional chicken broth

Here is what I did!

I browned the ground beef,  drained the grease and put it in a crockpot. I then sautéed the onion and carrots with some salt and pepper until the onions were translucent and then added the roasted garlic, 1-2 t grated ginger and cooked a few more minutes. I then added the tomato paste plus 2 T thai chili sauce and 3 T soy sauce. This mixture was then added to the crockpot and I deglazed the pan with the wine and broth and then added this liquid to the crockpot. The final step is to dump everything else in the crockpot and add enough chicken broth to make a stew or soup consistency. I added a bay leaf and some red pepper flakes as well.

My family look sceptically at this concoction but were all very pleased with the results...there was an asian feel to this soup due to the Thai chili sauce and ginger, but overall it was a slightly spicy vegetable soup with a little ground beef thrown in.  While I will probably never create the exact soup again, it felt good to use up all the odds and was kind of like creating free food and we have enough for an two lunches and another full dinner. My picture isn't the greatest, sorry about that! The camera I usually use was at my husband's office!

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cafe Latte Chicken Chili

Chili. I love chili and could probably eat it at least once a week throughout the winter. There are just so many different kinds...there's white chili and red chili and vegetarian chili and meaty chili. And, if you're from Green Bay, there is chili with noodles in it. I'll talk about that another time because I have more chili recipes to post over this winter.

I have great memories of this chili. Paul and I used to go to Cafe Latte on Sunday evenings and each get a bowl of this chili when we were dating. I came across the recipe years later and am glad that I can re-create this great meal...especially now that I don't live close enough to Grand Avenue in St. Paul to stop in and get a bowl.

The version I have uses garbanzo beans instead of hominy, so that works also. I do use only 1 T or so of olive oil rather than the 3 that are mentioned in the recipe not because I'm virtuous but rather that I choose to have that fat portion in the toppings. This is a chili I have made for years....I think my boss when I worked in St. Paul somehow got this recipe...that was before it could be found on the internet because there wasn't the internet!

When Paul returns from Asian travel it's a bit unpredictable if he'll be hungry or not on his return. I used to make a nice dinner in anticipation of his homecoming; but I soon found that I was disappointed. Sometimes he ate a burger and fries on his return to American soil (like in Detroit or Minneapolis). Sometimes he hasn't eaten but falls asleep before dinner. So, this is my answer to his return...chili. Eleanor isn't a tomato fan, so I'm really ready to eat something with tomatoes. And, if Paul isn't interested in eating, it DOES taste better the next day, so I'm not too disappointed.

I top the chili with chopped red onions (rinsed under cold water to take a bit of the bite out....a Rick Bayless hint), tortilla chips, cheese, a lime wedge, and/or sour cream.

I think I'm going to have to try some of their other recipes also. This one does use quite a few canned items (as you can see). It was luck that I made it the weekend before our monthly recycling pick up....look at all those cans!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

I have made other gingerbread recipes over the years; however, this one came from the book Eleanor gave me for Christmas, About Breakfast and Brunch from the Joy of Cooking.

I made this for her for breakfast before swim practice on a cold winter morning of winter break. I had to adapt the original recipe a bit since I didn't have enough ginger. I was lucky to have some fresh ginger in my vegetable drawer, so I used some of that.

Sift together:
1 3/4 c flour
1 t bkg soda
1 T ground ginger (I used 1 t and 2 t or so of chopped fresh ginger)
2 t grd cinnamon
1/4 t grd cloves

In large bowl beat until creamy
1 stick butter, at room temp

Mix in 1 large egg
1/2 c brown sugar
Beat in:
1 c molasses (recipe says light, I used dark)

Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Add 1/2 c boiling water
Original recipe says to add 3 T crystallized ginger. I didn't do that.

Bake in greased 9 by 9 pan about 40 minutes. Use the toothpick method to check if it is done.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Bacon and Bleu Cheese Cake

When we pick up children from violin group class on Friday nights, the parents often roll down car windows and talk about books and about recipes. Last fall my friend Kathy was mentioning both. Kathy, just so you know who she is, gave me the recipe for arugula pizza and for mozzarella and tomato pasta as well as good book recommendations over the years. She was talking about the book The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz and mentioned that there is a recipe for a bleu cheese and bacon cake. I went home and reserved the book from the library online right away.

I loved the book, and even more, loved this savory cake. My brother in law's very favorite food is bacon and I think bleu cheese isn't far behind. I wish I could have made this for his recent birthday but it would be better and fresher if my sister makes it for him. I really meant to get the link to her earlier, but I bet it will be appreciated any day of the year.

So, follow the link above to the recipe. Oh, and find the book too.....this isn't the only recipe that looks good in the book.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hoppin' John

Happy New Year!

Black Eyed Peas and Hoppin' John are good luck for the new year, so I like to make this recipe for New Year's Day. I have made this meatless version many times to welcome in the new year......from the cookbook, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. I'm sure that a version with ham would be delicious too, it's just I usually want something lower fat after all the holiday eating. I am so tired of eating so many good things, so this will be a good time to have something a bit lighter.

The story goes like this...the peas swell to symbolize prosperity for the new year. This meal should be served with greens to symbolize money for the new year....I'm going with the Brussels sprouts since they're green. I think the condensed version is just that Hoppin' John is good luck. We'll go with that! Besides, it's good.

It is really good with a small amount of grated smoked cheese on it....not so bad since I didn't use the ham hocks?

Soak and cook black eye peas to end up with 4 c or so. I used 2+ c dried, an entire package. May wish to reserve some water after draining them. I didn't reserve any water since I cooked the black eyed peas the day before in the crockpot and opted to use boxed stock instead.

1 c finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced in 1 T or so of olive oil

pinch of allspice
pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 T tamari or soy sauce

Stir this mixture into the black eyed peas with some reserved cooking water or stock. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or so stirring often.

Serve over rice with:
chopped green onion
chopped tomato
sour cream or smoked cheese ( we used smoked gouda from Trader Joe's)

This is an especially good New Year's Day since the Badgers are in the Rose Bowl. Let's hope that the black eyed peas give them good luck too.

Go Big Red!
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