Saturday, April 30, 2011

Two Way Chicken

I think the more original of this recipe came out of a Mark Bittman cookbook, The Best Recipes in the World that I had checked out of the library. I'm not sure on that, but that's what I am remembering. I think there were two different ways to finish this recipe, thus the name; however, I have been making it one way for a couple years and don't even know what the other way is.

We have certain things that Eleanor likes me to make before we stay in the dorm together for violin camp...this is one of those recipes. It works well for that since it can be made ahead of time and kept in a container in the dormitory refrigerator until it is served at room temperature.

Anyway, we all like this recipe and it comes together in minutes, so that's two points in the recipe's favor. Maybe that's where the number "2" comes from.

1/2 to 2 lbs chicken, chopped into bite size pieces
3 T soy sauce
1/2 T minced garlic
1/2 T minced ginger
1 t red pepper flakes

Combine above ingredients and marinate for hours. Overnight is best; however, I usually do it in the morning and make the chicken in the evening.
In 1 T oil brown chicken(picture above) and remove from pan.

To make this a one-pan meal, I have added chopped red bell pepper and bite size pieces of broccoli and removed that from the pan along with the chicken(picture left).

May need to add a small amount of oil. Add:
1/2 T each additional garlic and ginger

2 T sugar
2 T fish sauce

Cook until foamy and return chicken (and veggies, if using) to the pan.

Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro and serve over rice.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mint Chocolate Shake and Summer Shape Up

Does the title of this blog post make you a bit ill? I thought this shake sounded absolutely disgusting when it was sent to me by my "Summer Shape Up" team leader and friend, Kelly. The thought of peppermint tea and ice and chocolate chips and yogurt really turned my stomach.

Surprisingly, it wasn't bad. That's Minnesota-speak for it was good. Paul didn't like it but his expectations weren't as low as mine maybe it's all in how low the bar is? I did notice that he drank all of his, so it couldn't have been that bad for him.

Summer Shape is a program through our local Y with different activities highlighted each week to motivate a member to.....shape up for summer. Points are tallied for various cardio/strength training activities with extra points acquired for working out with a team member. There are bonus points available for trying the suggested recipes, so that's why I was going to make this shake no matter how bad it sounded. It really was OK, so I'll have to experiment a bit with tea being used in a smoothie/shake. I did make it fairly close to the recipe except I used vanilla protein powder instead of chocolate since that is what we have.

There are recipes every week in this program, so I'll blog about more of them as I make them.

What do we get for being in this program? Besides our fitter selves for summer, we will get a T-shirt. I don't know why I'm feeling so competitive about the points on this....GO BLEACHER BUTTS!!! Didn't Kelly come up with a great name for a team composed of swim parents?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Steak and Bleu Cheese Pizza

Another fun meal on a crust.

Carmelize the onions, grill or bake the steak. I pulled a steak out of the freezer when Paul was grilling pork tenderloin and had him throw this on as well. That way I could freeze the cooked steak only to pull it out of the freezer again to make this pizza for a quick weeknight meal.

Top the pizza with both.....add some bleu cheese...and sliced tomatoes....bake....and serve.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun Waffles

(Bruxie's version is pictured to the left)
A few years ago I had a great idea to start a waffle business with various waffle toppings on the waffles. I guess it was a good idea, since there is a booming business similar to this idea in my sister's town. The truth is, even though I had this idea, mine probably wouldn't be this good...and anyway...this guy followed through and really started this place.

My sister lives in a SoCal town that has miles of unique California bungalows and a downtown walkable from her house. This seems pretty unusual to me in the land of tract housing and strip malls, but it really is a cute town complete with a traffic circle in the middle of town with a pretty fountain. To be sure, it is a California town with two Starbucks on the circle...but there are some unique stores and restaurants as well. Chapman University is a couple blocks north of the circle, so there are pedestrians. Anyway, previously there was a walk-up ice cream stand that didn't seem to be open very often. On this visit, there was new life (and regular hours) for this place. Bruxie's is the waffle place serving sweet and savory waffles and....Wisconsin frozen custard. When my sister, Lisa, asked about the Wisconsin custard the owner told her that he had a friend from Wisconsin who told him that he had to serve that if he ever started a restaurant....and so he did!

I ordered the goat cheese, sun dried tomato arugula "sandwich" and it was delicious while Eleanor raved about her salmon, cucumber and dill cream cheese sandwich. We had to go back later in the day to try the sweet waffle, lemon cream and berries. Lisa and Greg even let us have a bit of the Liege sundae they shared. It was decadent.....a good idea to share it!!!

The problem with this place is now we have yet another place that we will want to grab a meal when visiting them. Add this to our list of Thai Kitchen, Rubio's and the requisite In-N-Out Burger!

My version doesn't fold over as neatly as Bruxie's did. But, mine tastes great too.

I made a lemon curd as follows:
1/4 c lemon juice
zest from one lemon
1 egg
2 T sugar
I stirred constantly until the mixture thickened. Removed it from the heat and stirred in 1 T butter. I put clear wrap over the top and cooled it in the refrigerator.

Next I'm planning to make some of the savory selections.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Custard Topped Spoon Bread

This recipe (or the original anyway) is from the Joy of Cooking breakfast book from Eleanor.

Place an ungreased 8"X8" pan in a 350 degree oven to heat.
Whisk together:
1 c flour
3/4 c cornmeal
1 t bkg powder
1/2 t bkg soda

Whisk together in a large bowl:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 T melted butter
2 c milk
2 T sugar
1 1 /2 T white vinegar

The original recipe says to add the dry ingredients to the wet. I added the wet to the dry since that bowl was larger and stir until just smooth of lumps.
I sprayed the warm baking dish with Pam spray and put the batter in it.

Add 1 c milk over the batter but don't stir. The original recipe says to use heavy cream which would probably be delicious and a bit more custardy, but this worked OK too.

Bake until top is puffed but still quivery and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes or so. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve.

Friday, April 22, 2011

California Dreamin'

We really do appreciate what we don't have. I appreciate fresh delicious produce this time of year when Wisconsin has oranges, bananas, and apples. I am so hungry for some berries! And I don't want the hard unripe ones either. As for locally grown items? We just have to wait a couple months here. It does sound a bit Garrsion Keillor-esque to talk about the cold winter making us good people....but it does make us value the produce that Californians just don't think about since it is attainable to them nearly year-round. I guess I don't appreciate a rainstorm or the bite of cold air the way they would either.

I love California produce...especially in the spring. One of my favorite stops when visiting my sister and family is the Euclid Farmer's Market . This trip the sign said "Sam's", so I'm not sure of the current name....either way the fresh produce is good. She discovered this place early in her California living a couple years ago, and we have adopted it a "must stop" as well. Eleanor and I have always gotten delicious and inexpensive produce there. How can a cantaloupe be 33 cents? How can berries be sold for pennies? We like to stop in soon after our arrival to make sure we are stocked up for our visit since it isn't only the prices that are good......the produce is good as well.

When we stopped there with our friend, Emma, we got all kinds of fruit and dehydrated it in Lisa and Greg's food dehydrator and ate dried fruit for a couple days. Hooray for Greg being the infomercial gadget guy since it was a fun project.

Another fun thing about the area where this market is located is that there is a strawberry field almost directly across the street. There is a stand near the a stand we would see in a rural area in the midwest....and the strawberries are grown right there. This is on a busy California thoroughfare in the shadow of Disneyland. I like to stop there for the strawberries and the Euclid Farmer's market for the rest of the items called for in a produce run.

In a similar vein, there is a Sunkist citrus grove in the shadow the a huge shopping mall, The Block. I guess it amazes me since rural areas are a bit more distinct from our urban areas where I live. Even though the farms are not far from me, they don't front the busy road where a shopping mall is in my suburb.

Yum...all this fun produce in addition to the citrus grown in Lisa and Greg's backyard.

Yeah. Vacation is good.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Portabella Wraps

I like these as burgers. Paul doesn't like it if I call these burgers but is OK with it if I call it, "an alternative meal on a bun". Anyway, I had gotten these last summer to grill but found a pack in the bottom of the freezer and decided that we needed to get these eaten. As I said, I do like portabella type burgers, no matter what they are called...but I can call them something else when using them for a dinner for all of us.

Instead of using it as a burger substitute, I decided that we would use these for wraps.

Cook the burger in the skillet and place in a warmed tortilla with:
feta cheese
roasted red pepper
baby greens
balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper

Wrap and eat.
Yum...a good alternative meal on a tortilla!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Struesel Coffee Cake

This one came from the recipe book Eleanor gave me for Christmas, All About Breakfast and Brunch. She was hoping that I would be willing to make sticky buns...but I got up on a recent Sunday morning and realized I just couldn't make that 4-12 hour rise time happen in time for breakfast. We'll have to have that another day...but this was a good choice for a weekend morning.

I think she was pleased with the result. I did cut down on the sugar and butter amounts, but it still is high sugar and high fat. She enjoyed though...and since she is so active it probably was just what her body could use.

This is how I made it:
Spray a 10 inch springform pan with Pam and coat with breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl mix together:
2 c flour
1 c sugar
Cut in 8 T butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resemble coarse crumbs. Remove 1 c of the crumbs and place in a separate bowl and set aside.

To the remaining mixture add:
1 t bkg powder
1/2 t bkg soda
Add 3/4 milk mixed with 1 generous teaspoon lemon juice and allowed to sit a few minutes to thicken the milk
1 large egg
1 t vanilla

Whisk that into the dry mixture and pour into the prepared pan.

To the 1 c reserved mixture add:
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t grd cinnamon

Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the batter and bake 50-65 minutes until fork inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Green Papaya Salad

The thought of this makes my mouth water. If you haven't had it, I admit that it may sound unusual or not appetizing, BUT it is delicious...and after you try it I bet you'll get a craving for it as I do!

I saw the recipe linked from the title in Bon Appetit last summer and was intrigued. After making it my only question was, "what took me so long to try this?". It's just so good to have the tart and sweet and salty tastes together. When I went to an Asian grocery store with my Thai friend she pointed out the sign that it can be ordered there as well.

The green papaya in the picture on the left is how this looks before any shredding. Even if you aren't a papaya fan I would still recommend trying this salad since green papaya tastes nothing like the ripe fruit. It is more refreshing....kind of like cucumber.

I would say that having a food processor is just about a necessity with this recipe...especially if you don't have a mandolin. I hate to say a necessity because I bet it was made without a food processor for longer than it has been made with one...but it would be very labor intensive without it.

If you haven't made this before, try it. It's delicious.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mandarin Orange Breakfast Bites

Eleanor found this recipe and thought it would be a good breakfast idea. It got a yuck rating from all of us. I'm not sure what the problem was.....but I'm not going to make it again to find out. They just weren't good!
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Recipe Box to keep all the recipes organized?
I have been through a few different methods and really like my current systems. I often clip recipes from magazines or get copies from others and keep them in a drawer until they are tried in our house. If we don't like it, then I toss the recipe. If we like it, it's considered "card worthy" and goes on a card in the recipe box (thanks to the Seinfeld episode for the wording idea).

My box was getting too full and the cards were jammed into the box. Voila! My dad had come up with this idea for my mom when that happened to her recipes...the oversize recipe box. He made one for me too....and my mom did a few stencils on the side. There's room for more recipes...hooray.

And that card in the front means I'll be making that recipe watch for that one in a upcoming blog since it's already been determined to be card worthy!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wisconsin Tuna Cakes

My friend Lisa gave me this recipe years ago and it has become a usual in the rotation in our house. She's given me a couple other good recipes as well, but you'll just have to wait for more. She's a busy full time pharmaceutical rep as well as a mom of two young boys, so her recipes tend to be good and quick...two of my favorite things in recipes!

1 can (12 oz) tuna, drained, finely flaked
3/4 c seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 c minced green onions (whatever onions you have on hand will work)
2 T chopped pimentos
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 t grated lemon peel (optional)

Toss together tuna, breadcrumbs, onions, and pimentos.

In small bowl beat together milk and egg. Stir in lemon peel if using. Stir into tuna mixture.
shape into 4 inch patties and fry in skillet coated with Pam for about 3 minutes per side.

These are good the next day, so I often double the recipe in order to have some for lunches.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011


I'm always looking for new breakfast ideas. It's that hot breakfast thing. Eleanor and I found this in a book while waiting for her violin lesson. Carol, the violin teacher, had a Hints to heloise book that looked intriguing...and we found this idea.

Eleanor isn't a fan of french toast, but she does seem to like it if I make it in the waffle iron. That's all there is to it. We had some leftover french bread, a rare occurrence in our house, so I thought these would be a good food before practice the other mornings.

3 eggs
a bit of milk
dash of cinnamon
drop of vanilla

Coat the bread on both sides in the egg mixture and put in a hot waffle iron. SErved here with maple syrup and blackberries.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Chutney Chicken Pizza

As you probably know by now, we'll eat just about anything on some crust and call it a pizza-like thing. This recipe is from the grilled pizza book mentioned in a previous post. We're not really in grilling season, although we do grill in the winter at times; however, I made this using the oven instead of the grill.

It's a quick weeknight dinner if using the thin crust recipe posted last summer.

Marinate 1 lb chicken breasts (diced into bite size pieces) in:
8 oz plain yogurt
1 t curry powder
1 t coriander
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
squeeze lemon juice
dash of turmeric

Bake until chicken is done.
Roll out crust and top with 1/2 c smoked cheese and bake.
Spread crust with small amount of mango chutney and chicken.
Top with fresh chopped mango and serve.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dutch Baby

Eleanor got a new cookbook for me for Christmas, All About Breakfast and Brunch. Actually, it was a good purchase for her since she will benefit from the new recipes in this book.

The first thing we tried was the recipe for a Dutch Baby which is a sweet pancake. We were interested in these after seeing a recent episode of America's Test Kitchen. It's a puff pancake, but the recipe is a bit different from the versions I have already posted. I know how we eat, so I made a triple batch. I guess she wasn't too hungry that day, so I did have enough batter to refrigerate for the next day to make them again.

The recipe I'm posting says it's enough for 2-4 servings.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1/2 c milk
1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature

Melt butter in a 10" skillet over medium heat and add butter. Original recipe calls for 4 T; however, I used 1/2 T or so and brushed it around the pan. I didn't have a sticking problem, so it must have been enough.

Pour the batter into the skillet and cook without stirring for a minute or two.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake 12-15 minutes or so.
Serve immediately since it starts to lose the puff right away.

Eleanor put powdered sugar and lemon juice on hers and declared, "This tastes just like a doughnut!". I guess that means it's a keeper.

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