Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs

I ran across this recipe in the recent Bon Appetit and liked the variations mentioned in the article, so be sure to check that out in the link also.

Chickpeas are a canned item I like to have in the pantry since it is a good quick addition to pasta for a meal. Combine chickpeas with lemon juice and noodles and Parmesan or feta....yum!

I threw together this salad the other morning just to have something in the fridge for a snack. I used the ever present (right now anyway) arugula instead of basil and parsley.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yogurt Parfaits

Elizabeth's 12/22 post on Garrett Weber-Gale's of our favorites. Since she shared this recipe this has become a pantry staple in our house. I usually take a small bag of it to work and have it on my yogurt mid-morning.

Last year Eleanor and I stopped at Kwik Trip to fill the car with gasoline before swim practice. There was an advertisement on the pump for a granola parfait. We didn't get it for a couple reasons....probably she couldn't have it with her nut allergy and it probably wasn't going to taste as good as it looked. We did, however, decide to make our own with some fresh fruit and the GWG granola and yogurt. Eleanor likes a squirt or two of chocolate sauce on hers. The yogurt parfait idea has lived on and become a staple in our house.

Notice the fancy parfait glass. It was a free gift from the local restaurant supply store, Boelter's, when I bought a large plastic container to store flour. I guess it was a Christmas bonus that year. Boelter's is the ONLY store where I kinda like shopping!

Tastes like summer to me!
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken Caesar Pasta

The first time I made this is for this post. I came across the recipe while posting about the Cafe Latte chicken chili and knew that this would be a good dinner idea when the weather got a bit warmer and we were in the mood for a non-hot dinner. Although spring has been a long (very long) time in coming to Wisconsin, it may finally be here...and we appreciate it.

I prepped this a bit on my day off. I made the dressing, cooked the noodles, and chopped the romaine, onion, and mushrooms. I even thought ahead a bit and had Paul grill the chicken on Sunday when he was grilling our dinner. I combined the chopped chicken, pasta and dressing and kept that in a bowl in the refrigerator. I chopped the onion, lettuce, and mushrooms and kept those in a separate bowl.

I have never had this salad at Cafe Latte restaurant, so I'm not sure what kind of wide noodles are used by the cooks there. I used malfaldine noodles and broke them into thirds or so before adding to the boiling water. I was glad to have the recipe prepped, so it came together very quickly after swim practice.

To say this makes A LOT is an understatement. We'll be eating this for lunches this week....and that's a positive.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Coeur ala Creme

This recipe is somewhat (maybe even exactly) like one I have somewhere in my possession. I had taken some cooking classes at various restaurants in Minnesota and received this from Palomino Restaurant. What I liked about this (besides its yummy taste) is that it isn't the coeur de creme that needs to be molded but rather a delicious topping for berries. I'm pretty certain I'll find my copy...but this one will do for now. The flavor is similar to what I remember (and I really think I made it just last summer) the meantime I'll make this one hoping my "original" is in a cookbook between pages.

Instead of the sour cream called for in the recipe I used Greek yogurt...non-fat. I did not add the whipping cream at the end this time so it was a bit thicker.

Eleanor recommends putting the cream and berries and sliced peaches on bread and toasting in the panini maker.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Artichoke and Olive Sauce with Conchiglioni

(picture taken before the pasta was added)
I have this recipe clipped from the Milwaukee paper and taped to a card, so I know that we deemed it cardworthy at some point in time. I searched for the original recipe and came up with the link listed above. Yep, it's the same recipe.

I really wasn't thinking the weekend before I made this since I was at the Italian grocery store, Glorioso's, the weekend before I made this. I'm quite sure that I have never made this with conchiglioni shaped pasta ever before and even had to do some research to find out what shape that is. Not surprisingly, it's shell's all in the first five letters of the word, I guess.

I omitted the walnuts due allergy. I used roasted peppers, and I used an entire can of black olives. I used a can of artichokes rather than marinated artichokes. But, other than the basil mentioned below I made it just like the recipe. HAHA.

Not only did I miss out on the pasta shape, but I missed out on using fresh basil. It did look good, but I had made a note on my recipe card that dried was OK so I went with that while awaiting the basil in my garden to grow. My parents were at the store with us and even asked if we wanted to split the bag of basil being sold.

Glorioso's is a fun place to shop and is even better now that there is a seating area. Panini sandwiches, pizza, gelato....yum. I just love looking at the stocked shelves. I had a full refrigerator when I was there, so I didn't feel like I needed to get anything on Sunday. But next time......

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spiced Tea

(SOME of the tea from Asia pictured left)
I really like chai tea but often find it too be a bit too sweet for me when ordered at a coffee shop. The answer is to make my own. I found this recipe in a cookbook I already owned, Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant. I had visions a few years ago of learning about a country every week and serving food from that country on a Sunday. I thought it would be a great way for Eleanor to learn about the world. The problem with that idea is that by the time she was old enough to understand it, she was so busy that lazy Sunday afternoons looking at maps and cooking native dishes wasn't going to happen. I suppose I could make it work if it were a priority...guess it isn't for me. I do try to vary our meals, as you know, so maybe I have achieved part of that goal...just in a way that is a bit different from the original plan. Hey, that pretty much sums up parenthood!

Too often Sundays are filled with swim meets and errands and getting ready for the week....and that's OK. Maybe I can page through this book and come up with a few things to try on a less scheduled basis. Weekly just won't happen in this household. I am going to browse through this cookbook and see what I can find. There is a lot in here that I have never tried.

Eleanor does enjoy this. So on a cool spring day recently (we have had a lot of those), she requested that I put ginger root on my grocery list so we could make spiced tea (as it is called in this book). We have a lot of tea...both loose tea and bagged tea due to Paul's frequent travels to Asia and to England. We made this version with black tea and even had some whipped cream from a can to top of the mug of tea.

In a saucepan in 4 c water add:
3" stick cinnamon
in a tea infuser add (1/2t cloves and 1 t coriander seeds)
1" piece ginger sliced into 4 slices
the original recipe also called for 1/2 t cardamom seeds and 1/2 t black peppercorns)
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add 4 tea bags and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove tea bags.

Use this mixture by pouring some of this mixture in a mug. Add some warm milk and serve. Sugar could be added to this mixture but we like it unsweetened.

I have made a larger batch of this and kept it in the refrigerator in a pitcher(without the milk) so we have it ready to go. I didn't do that on this round because I am hoping to be done with hot tea weather soon.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Chipotle Roast Chicken

I made this recipe pretty close to what is listed in the link. I used dried oregano and omitted the rosemary to closely match what I had. I did use the fresh cilantro.

Yummy condiments are pictured to the left. Notice the radishes from the CSA box....not a favorite of mine but good on these tacos. I used guacamole instead of sliced avocado since the avocados at the store were a few days from being ripe. I served it with Zaaschila sauce as well since Paul just brought some back from Mexico.

Served with the 4 berry medley below...and an arugula salad mentioned in the Bon Appetit article....basically arugula with radishes and cucumber. The dressing was a vinaigrette like the article recommended with lime juice and some oregano as well as the oil.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Civil War" Chicken

At Eleanor's school we have the uber volunteer mom coordinating many of the activities. I do some things but am often not available to do all the cooking and serving. When I received the email asking for volunteers to make chicken for Civil War Day a few weeks ago I was glad to volunteer since she made it easy. The recipe is online and she had pans, liquid smoke, salt, and chicken (legs only for this time) purchased for us.

The smell of this chicken baking made my head ache a bit...must have been the smell from the liquid smoke; however, Eleanor said that it tasted surprisingly good.

We were thankful to get the costume from a friend. Sounds like a fun day of cricket, drill, and food.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rhubarb Strawberry Coffee Cake

Bebop-a-Rebop Rhubarb Pie is one of my favorite Garrison Keillor clips, so check out the link if you aren't familiar with it...or if you just want to hear it again. I believe that he was the person who commented that every town in Minnesota thinks they are the only one that knows about rhubarb! As a former traveling nurse in the state of Minnesota, I think this does have a grain of truth. Nearly every town had a blood drive chairperson who would whisper to the charge nurse in the spring, "for dessert we have rhubarb".

Although I liked rhubarb through my youth and often would snack on a stalk while out playing, I did burn out on it through my travels. Although I never disliked it, I was really tired of it by the time I wasn't traveling. Now, 15 years later, I am finding that I like it again. I probably won't snack on a stalk while out playing anymore, but I don't mind a bit of it either. I do like it best when combined with strawberries, and there are a number of recipes with both.

My parents have rhubarb from the plant that was at my grandparent's house and are passing part of that plant to me now that I finally feel like I can enjoy it again. Of course I think this is the rhubarb that tastes best of all.

I have been thinking about rhubarb quite a bit lately since my parents traveled to Lanesboro, Minnesota (yep, another bloodmobile stop) for the rhubarb festival. I'm not sure where they read about this festival, but they did decide to take a quick trip to see this celebration of rhubarb.

The rhubarb festival includes games of skill with rhubarb (balancing an egg on a stalk and racing to the finish, rhubarb stalk throw, rhubarb golf, and rhubarb golf), snacks with rhubarb, and odes to this vegetable. There is even a national anthem to rhubarb and a singing group called the Rhubarb Sisters.

I made this coffee cake on Father's Day after returning from a run. I cut the butter by 1/4 c...big deal since it calls for 2 sticks! Hey, why not cut a tiny bit of the fat? There were a few groans here since no one thought they would like it. ended up getting rave reviews from all.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tofu and Sweet Potatoes with Sweet and Pungent Peanut Sauce

I was looking through my pile of recipes that are just waiting for the day they will be tried when I came across this one. I hadn't ever made it....and wanted to test its cardworthiness. It's from Mollie Katzen and was in the Milwaukee Journal date found on the clipping. I couldn't find this recipe on-line either and was hoping to do that so I wouldn't need to type the instructions. The instructions are long which is probably the reason this recipe has been in the pile for some time. Recently I thought I would take a deep breath and try it since we like all the ingredients.

Mollie is well-known for her vegetarian recipes and has authored a number of cookbooks including some in the Moosewood Cafe series. The Moosewood cookbooks are more a guide to cooking rather than specific instructions so they come in extra handy when faced with a large box of CSA vegetables needing inspiration to turn them into dinner. I'll have more of those references in the future...but today I'm referring to the recipe in the newspaper clipping.

I know that Elizabeth does the same thing I do...meatless meals combined with meals to satisfy carnivores. Both families are used to many different things for dinners, so I think both will be satisfied with this as a dinner; however, this recipe was billed as an appetizer or light could be a side dish as well. I made it for a dinner on a night Paul wasn't here...quite a bit of work for just two of us but I have been storing it for a long time.

I made this in the late spring early summer as a light meal yet a last hurrah for the sweet potatoes since they are not usually summer fare around here.

Tofu and Sweet Potatoes:
3/4 lb very firm tofu
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 1/2 c unsalted peanuts
1/4 c cider vinegar
3T sugar or light colored honey
grated zest of one lime
2 T lime juice
1/2 t salt
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/3 c hot water
cornstarch for dredging
peanut oil for frying
minced cilantro
carmelized onion condiment (see below)
Cut tofu into 1" cubes. Scrub and peel sweet potatoes and cut into 3/4" cubes.
Fill medium sized pan with water and bring to a boil. Add tofu and boil about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add sweet potatoes to same water. Turn heat down and simmer until just tender (8-10 minutes). Drain everything well and set aside keeping tofu and sweet potatoes separate.
In food processor or blender grind peanuts to a coarse meal. Transfer to med saucepan and add vinegar, sugar, lime juice and zest, salt, red pepper flakes and hot water. Place over med heat and heat to almost boiling then turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and wait about 2 minutes. In the meantime, place cornstarch on a large plate and lightly dredge tofu and sweet potatoes (place in a strainer to help shake off the excess cornstarch).
Add 2 T oil to pan and swirl to coat the entire pan surface. Fry tofu chunks until lightly browned and crisp. Then do the same with sweet potato chunks. Drain on paper towels.
Transfer sauce to serving bowl and sprinkle with minced cilantro.

Serve with rice accompanied by sweet onion condiment.

Sweet onion condiment:

Cut onion into very thin slices. heat oil in pan and add onion slices. Cook on low for 30 minutes or so.

Cardworthiness Rating: was considerable work for a medicore dinner. Eleanor and I both agreed that the recipe would be best placed in the recycle bin.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Farfalle and Broccoli Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing

This recipe is a usual rotation in our house in the summer. We do have many things on the summer rotation...but it does mean that I make this more than one time in the summer. One of my favorite foods is Sendik's (our local grocery store) chicken pasta salad with grapes and artichokes. I think that this recipe could be made with those items to be close to that yummy deli delight; however, I usually make the recipe pretty close to how it is listed in the link.

It's nice to have a bowl of this in the refrigerator for weekend lunches, work lunches, or a lighter dinner option.

Summer is here!!
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mocha Spice Cake

I think this cake is my litmus test for taste. I made this cake at a former workplace and NO ONE ate it preferring the day old grocery store doughnuts that someone else brought in. Really? I had made this cake for my birthday with whipped cream and freshly sliced strawberries and another birthday person brought grocery store doughnuts picked up the night before. At the end of the day when I went to collect my pan, the cake was there minus the piece I ate. And all the doughnuts were gone before noon. At that point I figured I was working with people with ZERO taste, so I wasn't going to take in treats anymore. The place I had worked before loved this as a springtime treat.

Am I sounding a bit angry? I really wasn't since I got to take my treat home and enjoy it. This year, in my new workplace, I took fruit and lemon curd. People ate that and seemed to enjoy it, so I may try this cake another time.

The picture above shows it with chocolate frosting since it's a versatile recipe and tastes good that way too. The recipe is from Cafe Brenda, a Minneapolis vegetarian restaurant that is no longer operating but had great food and atmosphere for a number of years.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Flatbread with Arugula, Asparagus, and Fried Eggs

This recipe was in my pile of things to, now that I have arugula and more arugula it seemed like a good time to check out the cardworthiness of this recipe.

I am the queen of substitutions to match what I have on hand. I didn't have spinach but did have some CSA basil , so I used that for the "greens" portion of this recipe along with arugula in making the pesto. No peas. Fresh mozzarella instead of ricotta. Yukon golds instead of fingerlings. But, other than that, I made it just like the recipe!

All three of us liked it...hooray!

(picture at left before the fried egg was placed on top)
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Arugula Pasta

Arugula grows well here. At least it did this spring....I"m finding myself with an abundance of this leafy green. But that's OK because we really like it. This week I made arugula pizza (see post from 9/23/10).

But wait, there's more!

I used some penne pasta, chicken apple sausage from Trader Joe's, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The sweetness of the sausage and the bite from the arugula...yum. The hot pasta wilted the freshly chopped arugula a bit. That is pictured below.

There's still more growing in my tiny garden, so we'll see what else I can come up with in the next couple weeks. It's a lot of arugula for the price of the seed package. The arugula pesto in the link above sounds good...and I have another pizza recipe calling for arugula. Really, just the leafy green with freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt and pepper is a favorite. I love it when simple food tastes so good.

It's that creative cooking time of year with garden produce and the CSA box, so stay tuned:)

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

White House Fruit and Oat Bars

Eleanor found this recipe on the internet and printed it for us to try. She thought it sounded like a good swim practice snack. When I looked at the recipe I thought it was close to Elizabeth's use of Garrett Weber-Gale's granola put into bars as Elizabeth's creation. Even though it didn't seem too different from those, I thought I would give this recipe a try.

It was entertaining to do an online search of these bars and read the comments on these. For sure, these are not a low fat snack; however, my feeling is that anything made with more natural ingredients must be better for us than more "artificial" ingredients. That was part of my issue with the Summer Shape Up recipes sent to us through the YMCA this spring...those recipes seemed to have a lot of lower fat/lower sugar but more processed ingredients. I do have to say that when Eleanor took a bite of these she asked, "what's healthy about these?".

It just seems to me like ice cream made from cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla is a better choice for the body than a list of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. I do enjoy an occasional Diet Coke, and I do know that is a big batch of it isn't like I am completely natural with my eating. And related to these bars, I do enjoy chocolate chip cookies instead of these more natural bars. I guess I think that there is a place for both in a healthy diet. I think most things made in my own kitchen are better for us than something made and packaged elsewhere.

I guess I eat a modified version of "Clean Eating" but am really loose about it. When I make the artisan bread referred to in this blog some people have commented that it isn't too healthy because it is made with white flour. There are healthier versions of the artisian bread which I do make; however, I think white bread made at home is probably a bit healthier (personal and earth health) than whole wheat bread made in a factory, placed in a plastic bag and shipped around the country. I get the fact that the white flour is more processed than whole wheat..but I'm comparing final products. And I'm not saying I wouldn't eat bread from a package that was shipped here. If I make a cake I pull out the flour and sugar and butter rather than a box. But, if you're making a cake for me for my birthday I will gladly eat what was made from a mix.

I'm a realist though and know that sugary and sweet and processed things are good at times too. I really do try to eat/live in moderation. We don't eat too many convenience type foods..but we do eat some. I try to eat yogurt without aspartame. We minimize our fast food consumption. But being a polite survivalist is important to me also. Sometimes there is nothing like an oreo or two...or three or ten. Oops...maybe that's the real problem!

My friend Kelly was talking about a parent from school bringing whole wheat cookies to an end of the year party. Guess what? The kids didn't eat any of them. Kelly made a comment which has made me smile for a couple days..."I'm all for healthy eating, but I prefer to do it in the privacy of my own home". I get what she's saying. That mom would have been better off making white flour, butter, and sugar cookies. That would have been a better choice than something with soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, coloring, and preservatives. And just for the record, there was watermelon and some other healthier options as well.

Back to the bars, this looked like a good option for a swimming snack, the sugar providing some nice and quick energy. We struggle with finding energy-type bars for Eleanor with her nut allergy...most do contain nuts. We have tried a couple packaged options for those days/weeks when we need a quick snack for her. Our most recent find was Bonk Breakers a packaged energy bar. We met the owners of the company at a bicycle show in Milwaukee and learned that they are careful about cross contamination. They do have a bar with almonds, but Eleanor is allergic to walnuts and pecans and really not to almonds (although we do try to avoid due to cross contamination), so she can have seems unlikely that the nut free bars have touched an almond that touched a walnut.

Now back to this recipe:

We are not eating these at our house as a dessert even though I labeled the post as such...but more as a pre/post workout snack. They are sugary...and good.

And now you have my opinion on food:)

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Some of the swim moms were chatting the other day and came up with the idea of having a tailgate party during practice. idea that we decided to try on one of the first summer evenings of practice.

I had received this recipe on a 3*5 card in the mail as part of advertising for a local furnace company. I thought I would save this until needed...appetizer recipes always are fun. I bought the ingredients not sure when we would have this, but the tailgate at the Schroeder parking lot seemed just the place for this.

I didn't get a picture since the sun was bright the other night, so you'll have to follow the link from the title to the picture.

We had a great time hanging out in the parking lot snacking and talking...the weather was perfect...sunny but not too hot.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mary's Orzo Salad

This is a very tiny bit different than Elizabeth's Summer Grain Salad. Mary S. (although in my current work department there are TWO women who are Mary S) brought this to the Christmas gathering of our department; I have been waiting for warmer weather to make it. Really, on many of the sweet treats I can leave them...but this....I could have eaten the entire serving bowl of it!

I think it's one of those recipes that just calls for substitutions/additions but I told Mary I would blog about it as she wrote it...and give her all the credit.

1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4" diced
1 red bell pepper, 1" diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1" diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1" diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c olive oil
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb orzo, cooked

1/3 c (2 lemons) freshly squeezed juice
1/3 c olive oil
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper

To assemble:
4 scallions, mined
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted (I left this out due to Eleanor's allergy)
3/4 lb feta, 1/2" diced
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with spatula.

I just did a very sight addition since I had 1/2 yellow summer squash in the refrigerator. I added that to the veggies to roast.

The weather FINALY warmed up here. It warmed up quickly, so I thought I would make this to have in the fridge for the warm days when I didn't want to be over the stove and hot oven in the late afternoon. I was able to get the oven/stove portions of this done in the morning. It tastes like summer to me:)

Addendum: July 6th. I just made this with cilantro instead of basil. For the vegetables I used some Italian beans, red onion, summer squash, red and green peppers.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Tropical Sweet Potato Salad

I clipped this recipe from a newspaper a number of years ago; I think it was from the Milwaukee paper but am not sure of that. I did an online search to see if I could find it but wasn't able to find it...and I searched a number of different ways. Anyway, the clipped recipe makes a large quantity and I will post it as it is in the original; however, I typically make 1/2 recipe. I decrease the sugar a fair amount also..just because I don't like things so sweet.

This is a favorite at our house...lots of good flavors and good vitamins too.

Here's the original:
4 1/2-5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4" chunks
1 c olive oil, divided
2 T white balsamic vinegar
2 T rice wine vinegar
1/3 c mango chutney
2 T orange juice
1 pineapple, cored and sliced int 1/2" thick rings
2 t ground allspice
1 c brown sugar
3 mangoes, cut from peel into cubes
1 1/2 cucumbers, diced
2 large jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 1/4 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss sweet potatoes with about 1/2 c olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast about 20 minutes or until tender. Chill immediately in refrigerator.
Meanwhile preheat grill or broiler and prepare dressing by whisking together remaining 1/2 c olive oil, both vinegars, the chutney, and orange juice.
Mix all spice with brown sugar and season one side of pineapple rings. Grill. Let cool and cut into chunks.
Prepare mango, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, and green onions, then mix with cilantro and cooled sweet potatoes. Add pineapple and toss with dressing until coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 18-20 servings.

I make about 1/2 a recipe and decrease the sugar to half (so 1/4 c..even a bit less). I have used lemon or lime juice instead of orange. I have found the sweet potatoes take much longer than 20 minutes until they are tender. Chives substituted for green onions this round.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Leftovers and Crostini

LinkThe plan was leftovers for dinner. I knew that Paul and Eleanor wouldn't be too excited about it, so I decided to add a fun appetizer type thing to the menu. I would definitely make these again...maybe with salad for a summer dinner?

After slicing a baguette into thin slices I brushed one side with olive oil and put them on the panini maker until toasted. I really do like the panini maker! I used a Breadsmith baguette for a few reasons: they are located in my village, the bread is delicious, and the staff have told me that they are careful about cross contamination with tree nuts. I get that there is not guarantee, but the staff has always been pleasant and it seems like they try to keep customers with allergies safe.

The crostini pictured on the right...that's a favorite at this house...fig jam sprinkled with bleu cheese. I get the fig jam/spread at Whole Foods. It was lucky I was headed there for lunch with some friends the day I thought of this dinner idea, so I was able to get a jar of it. It was nice to have the sweet crostini for a more dessert-y item.

The recipe on the left is a new one from Bon Appetit...Grilled Corn, Creme Mexicana and Cilantro. Would repeat this recipe...for sure.

There were a number of other ideas in the magazine, so we'll have to try them over the summer.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chocolate Biscotti

My Grandma used to make biscotti...only I think she just called the recipe a cookie recipe but that's really what they were only hers had sesame seeds on the outside. I remember both my grandparents dipping the cookies in their coffee. My mom, at the time, wasn't a fan of dunking since I think she thought it looked a bit too....well....immigrant-y. I developed an aversion to dunking (for which my mom later felt bad) and it has taken a few years to get over that.

When biscotti became more mainstream in coffee shops in the late 80s and early 90s I knew I had to learn how to make these crispy cookies. I took a class at a high school in Minneapolis one evening and came out with a few recipes. Then, not long after that, there were a number of recipes in the magazine Eating Well.

Through obtaining all these recipes I realized that there is a basic recipe and then it can be adapted in a number of ways. I didn't make biscotti for a number of years since I thought they tasted best with nuts in the batter. I have changed that and am now used to having them without due to a food allergy in this house. This one is a bit more complicated than the original idea since it requires the chocolate chips to be pulsed in a food processor, but really this is very easy to make.

I have made half the batter chocolate and the other half almond (or plain) for a swirled two flavor cookie. I have made white chocolate and craisin, white chocolate and dried apricot, lemon poppyseed, orange. It's a fun recipe to use and experiment, so go ahead and give it a try!

Chocolate Biscotti
1 3/4 c flour
1/3 c cocoa
1 T. ground coffee
1 t baking soda
1/3c chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients together through baking soda. Take part of these ingredients and put in food processor with chocolate chips and whirl until this is a powder.
Mix wet ingredients and sugar together.

Shape into two logs on a baking sheet
and place in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or so.

Remove and let cool slightly.

Cut into slices (serrated knife works best) and place back on the cookie sheet and bake 10-15 more minutes.

And I do dunk these now!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Buckwheat Pancakes and the Seward Cafe

This recipe comes to me from the Seward Cafe in Minneapolis which is the BEST breakfast place I have ever been!! It's a funky place where the order is placed at the counter and then the customer's name is called to pick it up. I'm not sure what part is the most fun.....listening for the fun and creative names, people watching, or eating the delicious food. It was organic and featured locally grown items before that was hip and trendy. We used to ride our bicycles there nearly every weekend in the summer since it wasn't too far from our house. A good breakfast place must serve real maple syrup and make hashbrowns from potatoes at that location, in my opinion.

The breakfast dilemmas for me get the buckwheat pancakes (with real maple syrup) or an Earth breakfast. The Earth breakfasts are potatoes with various and green earth. Check them out on the link to Seward for the accurate descriptions. It was helpful to get the pancake recipe so I could order the earth breakfast when I was at the restaurant and make the pancakes another day at home.

The perfect summer weekend in Minneapolis as far as eating when we lived there was to ride or bikes to Seward on Saturday morning and then to ride our bikes to French Meadow on Sunday for breakfast.

My friend and former coworker, Linda, introduced this place to me. She is the person who asked for the pancake recipe and got the original version and passed it on to me. This is the reduced version since the original calls for 4 cups of buckwheat flour and 10 c whole wheat flour.

The pared down version:
1/2 c buckwheat flour
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 salt
2 1/4 t baking powder
Mix together.
In another bowl combine:
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 c honey
Add dry ingredients to wet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mexican Cobb Salad with Chipotle Herb Dressing

My job has changed a bit in the last year...different boss, new duties, changed work area. It's been a good change, and I feel happy that I landed here when things got shuffled around a bit. One thing I used to do is go to various clinics and meet with providers....positives and negatives to that as with everything.

One of the parts that was fun was that my former boss didn't want to distribute laptops to us, so it meant that we had to sit in clinic waiting rooms without anything to do to look busy. As I said...positives and negatives....we weren't productive while waiting for doctors, but we were able to peruse the magazines.

My new boss is a bit better on the time management, so I don't read magazines on work time anymore. Nor do I need to drive and wait for a quick meeting. All in all, it's been a good change.

I found this recipe in a waiting room magazine. And, no, I didn't rip out the page. I asked the manager of the clinic to copy it for me.

I do enjoy a nice crisp dinner salad when the weather starts to get warm. This is a good one since (as with most, I guess), the dressing can be made ahead and then everything assembled before dinner. The presentation is nice.....and it's good.

Dried marjoram works fine in the dressing, but fresh cilantro is probably a requirement. At times I have added a sprinkle of feta cheese and some crumbled tortilla chips as well but used some roasted pumpkin seeds here. I'm glad for chives from the pot on my patio for this one. I do like a main dish salad for dinner as the weather gets warmer.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicken Marbella

This is a favorite at our house. I love the Silver Palate Cookbook and think this is one of the best recipes from that book. I believe that it was their signature recipe at one time....and maybe it still is. Eleanor asked for this recipe to be served for her birthday for many many years. I usually make double what the link suggests...maybe just because we love it so much.

The amount of garlic called for in this recipe is not a misprint and it does taste great when you add it all. And, just think about how good that garlic is for your body. Not sure I believe these claims, but it does taste good and maybe, just maybe there is some truth to these claims.

A nice thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and it is best served at room temperature. It looks best garnished with cilantro or parsley, but I didn't have that this week when I made it. I have used boneless skinless chicken breasts as well as regular chicken pieces...both are good. Often I will use the entire jar of capers since I don't usually want 1/2 jar of capers leftover.

It IS a classic!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sopa de Lima

We're huge fans of the Yucatan Peninsula and huge fans of this soup, a recipe from that region of Mexico. So, when my mom made this soup and offered to bring it to our house for dinner on a night my parents were coming here for an orchestra concert, I was happy to agree to it. Anything would have been awesome to have for dinner that night since it was an evening with a few minutes for dinner between swim practice/work out and the concert, but this was especially good.

Credit for the picture and the recipe goes to my mom!

Sopa de Lima
8 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
2 t vegetable oil (canola)
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb of diced chicken
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 corn tortillas (1/2" strips)
2 T cilantro
Bring chicken broth and lime juice to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 minutes
Heat oil. Add onion. Cook. Stir in garlic for 1-2 minutes.
Pour skillet ingredients into broth. Add chicken and tomatoes.
If using uncooked chicken, cook for 10-15 minutes. I buy a rotisserie chicken and add cut-up pieces.
You can bake corn tortilla strips @ 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes OR buy corn tostadas.
Ladle the soup over the tortillas and garnish with avocado slices and diced scallions.
Variation: Add celery,carrots or bay leaf.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard

This week was the last week of the Spring Share from my CSA...we got 4 heads of lettuce, a bag of spinach, swiss chard as well as a Bok choy type leafy green. We also got Kale, Mizuna, arugula and other green leafy things I wasn't familiar with. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially since I hadn't done anything with the kale from the week before!. I quickly "processed" the kale, some spinach, the mizuna and a few of the other leafy greens and froze them to use as spinach in quiche and other dishes throughout the summer and next fall. I do like the taste of Chard, so I went searching for a recipe. I found this on the New York Times website and it turned out great! Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard was part of a Fitness and Nutrition article that specifically talked about the health benefits of Chard.

This recipe reminded me of Pizzaladiere, a pizza-like dish that is popular in the south of France. The cheese makes it different than the French version, but overall it is a great dish. The family agreed that it doesn't really make for a pizza meal, but it would be great as an appetizer,

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Breakfast Panini

A breakfast creation!

I was thinking something a bit more on the savory side for breakfast the other morning such as fried egg, bacon, and arugula panini. Eleanor didn't think that sounded good, but I was able to sell her on this idea; cream cheese and fresh sliced strawberries in the bread with a dusting of powdered sugar.

She liked the sandwich, and I liked that it opens up possibilities with every other kind of fruit in the sweet breakfast panini.

We just may have our breakfast theme of the summer.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cafe Latte Lemon Asparagus Salad

I get so tired of the same ol' vegetables in the winter...potatoes and carrots and rutabagas. It's so much fun to see asparagus!

This salad tastes like spring to me. I usually make half the recipe linked to the title...and that is plenty for us even with it being a dinner salad.

The sunshine and warm temperatures help to make it feel like spring too. Yay...maybe it really is here?!!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Grain Salad

Vegetables before grain added
Summer is slowly arriving and so are all the CSA the past two weeks I have gotten lots of radishes and greens, including summer sorrell. Radishes are not a big hit in our house and I had no idea what to do with the sorrell, so I made something up! My daughter loves pasta salads but has recently really fallen in love with Quinoa.  I made two different versions of this salad this week and learned that anything goes! One version had Quinoa as the grain, the other had Bulgur.  The vegetables were pretty much the same, but I think anything crunchy would work...

1-11/2 cups uncooked grain(pasta, quinoa, bulgur etc) cooked in water or chicken broth according to directions
approximately 1/4 cup each finely diced...
garlic leek
red, yellow peppers
or whatever you have on hand

finely chopped herbs (I used fresh oregano and chive)
2-3 sorrell leaves finely chopped


Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Mix everything together, toss in some feta cheese(if desired) and enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mango Sticky Rice by Pisamai

Wondering about this "hat" pictured to the right?

This recipe comes from my friend Pisamai, an excellent cook. I cooked Thai noodles with her last fall; also it's her Pad Thai recipe I use.

The sad thing is....she's moving. The happy thing is that she will move with her children and be with her husband (who has already moved) and her family will be together again. And, he really likes his new job. And we'll have a place to stay in the Bay Area. And she'll still be my friend.

Anyway, she had some of us over for lunch the other day and served her delicious Pad Thai. For dessert she served mango sticky rice. I'm not sure what it is about her...but even her mangoes taste better than mine do!!!!

It seems like a key to getting this recipe to be authentic is the type of rice used. Pisamai mentioned this and both the recipes linked from this post mention it. Fortunately, I was planning on going to the Asian grocery store the weekend after having this, so I could add the rice to my Asian Market list. I shop at the Asian market linked from this blog since that's where Pisamai took me last fall. I had tried a couple other places in the Milwaukee area but really like this one the best.

I looked at the link above (from the title) and this one....

Pisamai is a good person to watch cook since she doesn't measure things and just has a knack for making food taste really good.

Here's my friend's version of the mango sticky rice:

Soak the rice in a bowl of water. I used a bit over one cup of water with one cup of sticky rice. I soaked it for 20 minutes or so. It is important to use the correct kind of rice...glutinous sweet rice.

Steam the rice in a steamer (see picture):
She didn't know how to make it without this very cool steamer, but I found the link listed above (the recipe title) that seems like it has a good alternative. I was at the Asian grocery store and found a steamer for under $5 so I decided to get it . Mine is a small cone that just fits over an existing pan.
(Pisamai's rice steamer)
After the rice is steamed place it in a bowl and stir in some of the mixture mentioned below.

Stir the coconut milk in a pan on the stove along with a bit of sugar and a pinch of salt (to taste) and mix a bit into the still warm sticky rice. Save some to drizzle on the top of this dessert right before serving. Keep the rice covered at room temperature.

Slice mangoes and serve with them on top...generous with the mango slices.
Drizzle with the coconut milk.

Enjoy...just as we enjoyed our delicious food and laughter the day we had it at Pisamai's house.