Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Orzo Salad

I have been making this all summer with variations...sometimes I use a grain instead of a noodle...but Eleanor prefers noodles, so that's the way I make it most often. This is a great way to use fresh veggies, especially when feeling a bit overwhelmed with them.

For the picture, I diced summer squash, zucchini, garlic, and red onions and roasted them with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. I had some shrimp in the freezer that I can't remember buying so I boiled and diced that in the salad as well. I had made corn on the cob a couple days prior to making this and had taken corn off the leftover cob, so I roasted that with the veggies as well.

Served with some freshly ground pepper, parsley, basil and Parmesan cheese and a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil.

It's been great to have this in the refrigerator for lunches or pre-meet snacks.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Baked Ziti or Rigatoni

Help! I'm in a recipe funk! It's hit me. I do get this on occasion....and sure have it now. I just can't think of what to make. I woke up yesterday morning and was working on planning the week...activities, start of school and menu and grocery list and just couldn't figure out meals. High school swimming is whole different thing for me with planning between the spaghetti dinners ( Eleanor won't be here...maybe we can eat something with tomatoes...) and the swim meets. Add to that the cool weather making me crave apples and soups...but I'm not quite ready to start that....

Anyway, I went running with my friend Nora and everything changed! She was talking about the pulled pork she had made the day before. She said it was so good she could even eat it right at that very moment. Hmmm...must be good if she's thinking about it on an early morning run. She directed me to the recipe she used this I realized I hadn't been on that site for a long time. Yay...some new recipes gave me renewed meal planning energy.

I decided that this recipe looks great for Eleanor's evenings away. I had a lot of garden tomatoes from our tiny garden and some CSA basil (and some from my garden) and CSA onions and garlic. So, I made this recipe with rigatoni and my homemade sauce. I also had a partial can of tomato paste (it was the can minus the tablespoon I used in the pulled pork), so I used that.
I did peel the tomatoes by cutting the "X" in the bottom and putting them in boiling water for a few minutes. After peeling them I chopped them roughly and added them to the cooked sausage and onion mixture. I was generous with the basil in this mixture as well.

Since Eleanor wasn't hungry for dinner last night Paul and I had this and really enjoyed it. Yea, Eleanor not hungry for dinner...that's an odd thing. I think it's because she had a large bowl of the rigatoni with Parmesan cheese before I added sauce to it.

Oh...and I did make the pulled pork, so I can tell you about that another day! I think/hope it was a short-lived recipe block.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Clam and Cheddar Pizza

Does it sound strange?
This recipe/idea is from the James McNair pizza book I have mentioned many times. The original recipe was for Clam, Mussel, and Vermont Cheddar and called for 4 c cheddar and 5 c seafood. I adapted and used 2 small cans chopped clams (drained) and about 1 1/2 c shredded cheddar. I also minced 5 cloves garlic and put that on the crust as well. After removing the pizza from the oven I sprinkled it with crushed red pepper and some cilantro.

Eleanor and I both liked it. Paul initially gave it a thumbs down but decided he liked it on the 2nd piece. When I told him that's what I would report on the blog, he backed off a bit on his dislike saying that he just wasn't fond of food with a slightly fishy taste after eating so many meals in Asia. I don't think I would make this often but wouldn't mind having a couple of cans of clams on hand to make it on occasion.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cauliflower Koottu

We're not huge cauliflower fans at this house. We don't dislike it either....we all like it...just not huge fans. So, when it comes in the CSA box I need to think about how to use it in a way that most of us will be happy. I have found that a cookbook by some local women, Healthy South Indian Cooking, is a good resource when I have an abundance of some type of produce yet want something a bit different. These women are really local...they live on my friend's street in our little suburb.

In the past I have gone to an Indian grocery store to get the ingredients for some of the recipes in this book, but now, being a bit more pressed for time, I just omit anything I don't have. It seems that if you aren't too stingy on the salt and the oil these all turn out just fine.

Many of the recipes in this book end up tasting a bit of the same which is probably because I'm not purchasing all the ingredients. But, it's a good way to get out of a cooking rut...trying some of these dishes.

The original recipe calls for toor dal(I used lentils), asafoetida powder, curry leaves, and urad dal. I left out all of those ingredients except the substitution noted. This may be a case where I like mine only because I have never had the original, but I think that's OK. I'm happy with what I made and we got the cauliflower in our bodies.

Bring 4 c water to a boil. Add 1/2 c lentil and 1/4 t turmeric. Reduce heat and cook about 30 minutes or so..until it becomes creamy.
2 T oil in saucepan. Add 1 t mustard seeds. cover and cook until they burst. Add 1/4 c chopped onions, 1 T minced ginger, 1/4 t turmeric and 1 t chopped chile pepper(from our garden...yay).
Add cauliflower cut into 1" chunks. Blend well.
Add lentil mixture, 1/2 t cumin powder, and 1/2 t salt.
Cover and cook over low heat until cauliflower is tender.
Add 1 T unsweetened coconut.
I had some grilled potatoes leftover from another meal, so I chopped those and threw them into the mixture. There's something about potatoes and curry that I really like when they're together.

Serve over rice with mango chutney.

I wouldn't say that we LOVED this recipe but it certainly was fine for one dinner. I admit that we went out for frozen yogurt that night with a recent groupon purchase. The place we went probably won't be repeated....and this recipe won't be repeated...but none of it was terrible either. Probably next time I will go back to cauliflower cheese soup when I get some in the CSA box...just thinking that all the vegetables in it will balance out the cheese a bit.

Follow the link if you're wondering what koottu means!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Buffalo Chicken

I stumbled on this blog and thought this recipe sounded good. I decreased the butter a bit...quite a 2T.

We had it on buns with some bleu cheese and shredded cabbage and really liked it. Spicy, for sure! I did freeze some for quick Bufflalo Chicken Pizza for dinner in the future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eggplant Spiedini

I have been waiting for eggplant to arrive in the CSA box, and it finally did!

I had this at Festa Italiana a few weeks ago. Actually, I had it twice. I tried some my parents ordered and then went back later in the day and had another plate of this for dinner. I brought a plate of it to Paul for his dinner that night too. I came home and found this recipe...then all I had to do was wait for eggplant arrival.

The day we were at Festa was one of those perfect summer days in Wisconsin. Few clouds...low humidity..lots of sunshine. The highlight of the day (besides the spiedini) was that we saw THE CAKE BOSS. And...not only did we see him....but we were front and center; he was as entertaining in person as he is on TV. The Italian flag throwers weren't there this year...and they are a highlight, but now this meal just may be my favorite thing when I return to the festival next year.

I had onions from the CSA box, so I used those as well as CSA parsley and eggs.

When making this I tried to decrease the fat a bit by not frying the eggplant but rather baking the slices until 400 degrees for 10 minutes or so. I omitted the pine nuts too. The link above takes you to the original recipe which is probably what I had since the recipe comes from the restaurant making the spiedini at Festa. Since my eggplant wasn't very big I decided to make this a bit more like eggplant Parmesan without breading each eggplant slice. I layered the sauce, baked eggplant and breadcrumb mixture. I did have to run to the store to get another jar of spaghetti sauce because it seemed a bit dry....must be all those breadcrumbs? I did layer a few tomatoes from our garden over the eggplant thinking/hoping it would add some moisture to the dish. Anyway, I just layered everything and baked was fine this way for an at home meal.

I have to admit that I bought spaghetti sauce to use in this. That isn't usually what I would do but it is what worked this day. Hey, sometimes it's good to do something a little different!

I'm still a bit confused about the name of this dish......hmmm...thought spiedini was more like a skewer or a kabob. Even if I made this dish exactly like the recipe I can't imagine it on a skewer. Oh well, whatever this was...eggplant was good! It made quite a few meals since it's so filling, so we'll be eating this for much of the week. I think that next time I will plan to make half the recipe in the link.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Stuffed Peppers many ideas on what to stuff in bell peppers......

Stuffed summer squash or stuffed eggplant or stuffed peppers are a great thing to make the when the garden produces faster than we can eat it. Stuffed peppers are good even when the peppers come from the grocery store, as these did. I bought yellow and red peppers because they are so pretty and were on sale. They weren't from my garden or even from a Farmer's market this time...but they are from the USA.

If the peppers are smallish I think they look great when just the tops are cut off and then they are stuffed. But, since these were largish, I cut them in half and parboiled them for just a couple minutes. I don't like the peppers too soft, so it was a couple minute parboil.

My very favorite filling is out of the book, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. It's a recipe for a stuffed vegetable filling with spinach and artichoke hearts. I make it with a few variations, depending on what I am stuffing and what I have for filling. I made it pretty true to the original recipe this time. I always omit the pecans...for obvious allergy reasons.
This is a good dinner on its own since it is filling, but we had it with some grilled burgers and grilled potatoes on the night Paul returned from his most recent Asian excursion. I cooked them on the grill this time (which was a first) and they were yummy.

The Moosewood recipe:
10 oz fresh spinach, steamed (I used thawed frozen)
4 oz cream cheese at room temp
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c minced scallions
1/2 c toasted pecans (omitted, as noted above)

Stuff the vegetables and bake covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. May want to add water to the bottom of the pan before covering to help steam the vegetables (I don't do this if I parboil the peppers).

The peppers are a great lighter dinner on their own. That's the way we usually have had them...but it was fun to have them as part of this dinner too.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Honeycomb Pie

I think this looks better than it tasted. It was sweet. Really, really, really sugary sweet. We ended up throwing much of it away because we just couldn't eat it....and I think I decreased the sugar a bit also.

The honeycomb pictured on the right was fun to make; however, that would be enough sugar on its own without the pie.

Gets thumbs down x3 from this house.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Santa Fe Pizza

One of my favorite pizza authors, James McNair, has a book featuring vegetarian pizzas that are a bit unusual. I don't own the book but had gotten it for my sister in law for a present years ago (and, no, I didn't read it before gifting it). After I had given her the book, I paged through it and found this dinner idea, Santa Fe pizza. Since I love anything to do with New Mexico I had to try the surprise...I love this pizza and have been making it for years.

Top pizza crust with mozzarella, chevre and roasted red peppers. Bake.Serve with avocado salsa.

Avocado Salsa:
1 c corn
1/2 c finely chopped red pepper
1/3 c finely chopped tomatoes
2 T red onion
1 T mint
1 T jalapeno
2 T lime juice
1 c diced avocado

I used cilantro instead of mint and used quite a bit more than 1 T. Any sort of pico de gallo will work for this dinner idea.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it works for any time of the year.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting Organized for the School Year

Meals...they come around day after day...if I'm ready or not.

I like the change of the seasons to vary my cooking. In the summer we eat a lot of veggies very simply...roasted in salads or sandwiches. Fall in the midwest gets me thinking about soups and stews and crockpot recipes. We're experiencing some cooler mornings now, so I'm turning my thoughts to those types of recipes. The school forms are rolling in and so are the lesson scheduling requests....and the money is flying out of the checkbook....all meaning fall is not too far behind.

The past few years I have gone through my recipe box and pulled out a few cards of fall sounding recipes. I have paged through cookbooks and made a list of recipes...usually until I get about 30 or so recipes on deck. Then, each week I choose about 4 of them to make. I have found that help coordinate my ingredients, cilantro for a couple recipes instead of just one...etc.

This fall will be a bit different since Eleanor won't be swimming club. Sniff. Sniff. High school swimming will be different with it being a bit more about the meets rather than the training. I think I will end up with a bit more time when I get home from work since we won't be dashing off to the Y every day; but it still is nice to be organized. I'll still get to the Y for a few classes but the rhythm of after school activities will change a bit.

So, as the summer wanes, I'm looking for some of my chili recipes and my crockpot recipes and starting my pile of warm and cozy meals. I'm still enjoying summer, but I can feel it coming to an end for this year.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Goat Cheese Crostini

Caprese Salad on toasted bread. That's what this is. I lightly toasted the slices of French bread..then spread some goat cheese(that I just happened to have leftover from the pizza recipe I blogged about the other day) on it and topped it with the ingredients listed below:

Mix together:
diced tomatoes
slivered basil
balsamic vinegar
drop of olive oil

This wasn't an original idea (although I think I could have thought of this), but it's based off an idea at a restaurant I have raved about before, Cafe Hollander. We had this appetizer when we ate there with Paul's sister and her husband on a gorgeous summer night recently. It tasted just as good at home:)

The other night Eleanor and I weren't really hungry for dinner (it was on her very quick swimming hiatus), and she suggested that we just have these. Excellent idea!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strawberry Peach Muffins

The original of this recipe is in the Favorite All Time Breakfast and Brunch cookbook. The original is for strawberry muffins, but I had peaches too and thought Eleanor would like to wake up to these before the drylands portion of her high school swim workout. She was home when I returned from work and had the entire batch gone, so I guess they are good.

I cut the butter in half from the original recipe and used 1/4 c whole wheat flour instead of all white flour...just trying to increase the nutritional value without changing the taste too much. Also, the original called for 1 c strawberries but I used 1/2 c strawberries and 1 c diced peaches....a bit more fruit in the muffin as well. I decreased the sugar from 1/2 c to a generous 1/4 c. it is:
1 1/4 c flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 c oats
1/4 c sugar
1 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 t vanilla mentioned above
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Sift together dry ingredients and set asided. Mix wet ingredients together and add to the dry mixing until just moistened. Add the fruit.
3. Bake 15 minutes or so.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stuffed French Toast

Hmmm....something different for seems like I have made everything there is to make for breakfast since we have had hot breakfast for years at our house.....then I came up with this idea.
I have seen recipes for stuffed French Toast but they usually involve jam mixed with cream cheese. With the exception of fig jam (go figure), Eleanor can't stand jam or jelly or marmalade. So, I diced a peach and mixed it with softened cream cheese and put that mixture between two slice of bread. I took the entire "sandwich" and coated it in a mixture of egg and milk and made as usual French Toast.
Hooray...stuffed French toast that isn't disgustingly sweet!!!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Horseradish Cheddar Dip and Violin Friends

Hmm...summer party with planning, right?

I have mentioned our posse of violin friends...aka...Carol's peoples. Eleanor plays violin using the Suzuki method, which is more about creating a good human being than about playing an instrument. Although these kids play violin well, really well. Anyway, it's been a great group of people for our children to have as an extended family, especially nice since family doesn't live so close. I don't really think there can be too many caring adults in the lives of children.....real family, violin family, swim family, whatever and whoever.....

We have this nice group of people within the larger Suzuki group. I had wanted to do something with the larger group since I don't like to exclude people, but really, we do have this smaller group within that large group of people who have gone to violin camp for years together. This was the first year that the group was starting to break up a bit....just due to kids getting older. I thought that the time at camp would be a bit emotional, so I wanted to have something on the schedule when we could get together. If I planned something big, it probably wouldn't happen, so I kept it on the really really simple side. I think that's the way a summer party should be anyway. Time to just sit and talk with the peeps.

Although I was only at violin camp for part of the week, it really was OK. It was different.....I didn't get to hang with the moms in the poker for the kids....but the camp is still good without my time to catch up with the other moms . We had air-conditioning this year and a bottom fitted sheet, but I would trade these upgrades to have the whole group back in the same dorm wing again.

Fortunately, the violin part camp still works for some of the kids by moving to the teen dorm or having a friend as a roommate instead of a parent. So the memories now will be a bit different for the kids but a good part of the camp remains. Even if all our violin friends don't come to violin camp anymore we can still share special times with them.....even if it is right at home. We started going to this camp 9 years ago, with new friends added every year. Part of the fun was the violin playing and the instruction and part of the fun was living in the Suzuki world. It's uber-cool that there is this opportunity for kids in central Wisconsin...and kids come from everywhere to attend this camp.

As I said, it was a really simple party. Bring an appetizer and a Point beverage of your choice and c'mon over.

Here's what I threw together based on a recipe card I have. I'm not sure of the origin of it, so I'm not giving the credit where it is due. I did a quick online search since I didn't want to steal someone else's recipe but couldn't find it.
8 oz cheddar
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 c mayo
1 T horseradish
1 1/2 T minced red onion
1 12/2 T chopped parsley
1/2 t dried mustard ( I used mustard from the jar. Check out Paul's mustard collection...ugh!)
3/4 t worcestershire

This picture is from my proud mom moment at the camp!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grilled Chicken....a Winner!

OK, sometimes I'm a bit slow. I do wonder why it has taken me so long to figure out that it's a good idea to grill some chicken breasts and keep those sliced grilled chicken breasts in the freezer for quick meals. It just may be my best idea from the summer. I figured out this was a good idea the other week and have used most of the chicken already.

I made chicken salad...very simple chicken salad with halved grapes, diced grilled chicken, dried tarragon, and mayo. It's such a simple thing to do but it tastes so good and feels like a special meal and this recipe is even better when the chicken is grilled. Eleanor is very happy to have this in the refrigerator for a quick meal or snack.

I diced some of the chicken breasts and added them to a made up pasta salad recipe based off Mary's orzo salad. I roasted vegetables from the CSA box and threw in some of this chicken and made a dressing with lemon juice and olive oil...yum.

I am a fan of having things in my freezer so I can throw together quick meals...either when I plan ahead or when I'm standing in front of the freezer thinking about what can be thrown together to create something new. I am brainstorming many uses for this chicken in the future, so I had better get pasta? sandwiches?

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Raspberry Corn Muffins

I'm not going to tell you how these are healthy...or low fat. Umm...they do have fruit? Anyway, I guess that's why Eleanor swims a lot, just so she can eat things like this!

I did decrease the butter to 1 stick and used skim milk instead of whole milk and decrease the honey to 1 T or so. I know, still a bit decadent.

I had a happy happy girl the day she woke up to these.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Watermelon Cucumber Feta Pasta Salad

It seems like watermelon+feta=salad of 2011!

I have been seeing this combination nearly everywhere I turn. I have to admit I wasn't sure that these two items go together. You have to realize I'm a bit shy about combining unusual flavors due to THE SOUP(see blog post from 1/13/11). The other wild flavor combination was in my days traveling through rural Minnesota where odd things ended up in gelatin. Lettuce and lime Jell-O just don't go together in my mind. I mean...just 'cause they're both green doesn't mean they should be combined!

Eleanor found this recipe in Cooking Light August 2011 edition at the orthodontist and thought it looked good. Well, she didn't find this exact recipe since I read it at the office and committed it to memory. I think this may be close, but I'm not sure. I did search for the exact recipe online and didn't find it, so maybe it will be online once the next issue of this magazine is distributed.

Pasta, cooked...about 1/2 lb
diced watermelon, a couple cups
1 seeded cucumber, chopped
crumbles of feta
lemon zest
lime zest
juice of one lemon
olive oil whisked in to make a dressing
Mix together and put in refrigerator until all cooled.

That's it!
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Agua Fresca de Pepino

My parents tried this beverage when they were at XOCO a few weeks ago. They were there during a run of hot hot days and found this to be deliciously cooling. It sounded great to me, so I whipped up a pitcher of it.

OK, I can see how a vita-mix kind of blender would be helpful for making this. It ended up being a lot of work to use our immersion blender. Eleanor was the workhorse on this one, so it was fun...we were making it together.

The color may not be too appetizing, but the nutrients, taste, and cooling properties more than make up for that.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BLT pizza

This is another one of those.....alternative meal on a crust.

It's getting to be the good tomato season around here. Our garden hasn't produced good ones yet, but the tomatoes in the grocery store are getting closer to Wisconsin. I did end purchasing some from Michigan the other day since I hadn't gotten to a Farmer's Market yet. I'm hoping to get to one in the next few days but was juggling a few other things at the moment.

Really, what's not to like on a BLT? Eleanor would say tomatoes, I guess. But it's an awesome blend of flavors to me. The idea to put this on a pizza crust is from the book Pizza by James McNair book. I did a quick online search and found a number of recipes with this ingredient combination. The one I used was a bit different since the lettuce/greens are sauteed. It was a great volume reducer with CSA vegetables.

I sauteed the lettuce in a bit of olive oil and added 3 cloves of minced garlic. For the cheese...I used smoked mozzarella as called for in the recipe. The original recipe called for 3 c, but I used about 1 c shredded smoked mozzarella. Other than that, it's just how you see it in the picture.

Paul is not here for dinner this week....and Eleanor would eat noodles and Parmesan cheese and peas nearly every night. I like that too, and I can go quite a few nights eating that as well. But, sometimes a bit of variety is good. I thought I would make this pizza after her first day of high school swim practice, since I didn't work that day. It doesn't really seem like she can be getting ready for high school....time really does pass quickly. She had plenty to talk about comparing club swimming and high school swimming....and I'm glad we could talk about it over a nice dinner. The rest of the week will get a bit more hectic!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sausage and Vegetables

The veggie box is here! I had some Italian sausage in the freezer that I par-boiled. Then, I chopped lots of veggies and threw everything in a roasting pan and baked at 400 degrees for 45-60minutes.
fennel bulb
red onions
red pepper
garlic fronds
Italian beans

It was a good way to get the CSA items under control and get some good nutrients into our bodies.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken Kabobs

It's been blog-lite around here lately with Elizabeth on blog hiatus and me posting short things. I guess that's just how things go sometimes, especially in the summer. For us, especially during the end of the summer long course swim season and violin camp time of year. Hopefully, as the harvest starts coming in, we'll both feel more creative with our meals and more loquacious(is that a word only for talking? or can it apply to blogging?) with our posts!

Violin camp means quick easily prepared meals for the portion of the week I was the PIC (parent in charge). In the past, all the parents from our group were in attendance, it's a Suzuki camp after all. As our children get older some are heading off to the teen dorm (no parents allowed) and others are finding other interests. Eleanor and I had a number of food items that we always took to camp, but now...tradition is gone and we're starting anew with many of the camp activities and meals.

I knew that she would be ready for a good meal after snacking in the dorm for the week. Paul is getting ready to head to Asia for a couple weeks, so he wants something good to eat before dining out for weeks.

I thought chicken kabobs on the grill would work for all of us. I found this recipe in the Weber's Big Book of Grilling and thought the Asian sounding sauce would be good since thinking about Asia made me hungry for Asian food while Paul wants something that is NOT Asian. This seemed like a good way to meet in the middle.

I blended the spices for the marinade early in the day but held off on adding the oil until closer to the time I was using...just to save the time when I needed it a bit more. I used some lemon juice instead of lemongrass and omitted the thyme since I didn't have it. I skewered red and green bell pepper pieces as well and served it all with grilled potatoes (parboiled earlier in the day).

I'm doubtful that I would make the "Asian Dipping Sauce" again, but I did like the marinade, so I probably would do that again. I bought the bargain pack of chicken breasts at our Sendik's store and usually divide and freeze some of the chicken breasts. However, this time, I decided to grill the remaining chicken and freeze it for a quick salad/quesadilla addition in the future. I did use a couple to make chicken salad. I figured since the grill was going I could do this. Paul is traveling the next few weeks, and I don't usually grill without him. It's not that I CAN'T's just usually more of his domain. Typically I don't bother when it's just the two of us.

For the paste/marinade:
1 t granulated garlic
1 t granulated onion (I didn't use)
1 t paprika
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t dried lemongrass (I used a bit of lemon juice instead)
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried thyme (I omitted)
1/2 t kosher salt
couple grinds black pepper
1/8 t cayenne
1/4 c canola oil
Cut the chicken into 1" cubes and marinate 30-60 minutes.

Dipping sauce:
1/2 c soy sauce
2 T lemon juice
2 T rice vinegar
1 T green onion
1/4 t pepper flakes

The picture has a funky color...I'm guessing since I took it with my phone. My camera wasn't unpacked from Eleanor's suitcase yet. She kept it at violin camp to take pictures of friends in recitals.

It's not that I think things will slow down (they never seem to), but a huge work project is done, club swimming is on hiatus (due to the start of Eleanor swimming high school...yikes), the intense work on Corelli's La Folia has backed off a bit. Ah...deep breath! Hopefully I'll be able to cook and write a bit more. Time will tell!

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken and Basil Stir Fry

We all liked this recipe! I was looking for a recipe that used the basil that came in the CSA box. I have so many ideas for using basil but wanted to try something a bit different.

This recipe is a keeper...quick, fresh, and good.

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kale Chips

Seriously? These are supposed to taste like potato chips? It wasn't that they were bad, but I do think it was a jump to say that they taste like potato chips. Have these people never eaten a potato chip?

Eleanor took some to a swim meet for her coach to try (remember...he's quite aware of the peanut butter sweet potato soup). He thought that the chips didn't look like a legal substance.

I like kale in other recipes, so next time I'll stick with something a bit more traditional.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Chocolate Soy Nut Butter

Our new favorite product is chocolate soy nut butter! Eleanor has been so sad that she can't have nutella. Well, she probably really can because her allergy isn't to hazelnuts but in the conservative allergist world the recommendation is made to avoid all nuts.

She asked the pediatrician if she could be tested for hazelnuts. After he described the process, she decided that she wasn't ready to go through multiple layers of testing just yet. I had a flash of an idea about a product I had remembered seeing years ago, soy nut-chocolate butter. Whole Foods carries it.

Eleanor had been making panini sandwiches with peanut butter and fruit and dipping the sandwich into chocolate syrup...but now she has been eating this spread as well.

We have found her product...hooray!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mocha Almond Biscotti

I did mention this version in my post 6/13. This is the exact recipe I have used since I clipped it from Eating Well magazine years and years ago.

I no longer make it with almonds due to the allergy in our home, but I made the chocolate and plain version recently for a UPAF event at Paul's work. His company does a lot of work in raising money for this fund....and part of this year's festivities was a bake sale. I was planning to make cut-out sugar cookies since I have a musical note cookie cutter and a violin shaped cookie cutter, but I really had way too much to get done on a day off after a swim meet (like meals and laundry and de-trashing the house) to make cut outs. I think that these will sell since it's a nice treat with coffee or tea.

The basic ratio of wet to dry ingredients does work for other flavors of these cookies...sweet and savory.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fresh Tomato Basil Spaghettini

This recipe is from the now closed Palomino Restaurant in Minneapolis that I clipped out of the newspaper year and years ago. Of course, I have adapted it a bit over the years...but not too much because it's really good.

16 oz. spaghettini
1/4 c olive oil
4 t minced garlic
3/4 t kosher salt
3/4 t pepper
2 T sliced, drained sun dried tomatoes (or a little more)
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c chicken broth
2 small bunches of fresh basil, shredded, divided
2 T. chilled butter
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
2 T toasted pine nuts

Cook spaghettini for 2 minutes in boiling water until partially done; drain. Set aside. Heat saute pan over med high heat. Add oil and garlic and saute garlic about 1 minute but do not brown. Mix salt and pepper, dried and fresh tomatoes and add to garlic tossing to combine. Add wine and chicken broth, stirring up any bits stuck to the pan. Add the pasta and half the shredded basil.

Cook until volume of liquid is reduced by half. Stir in butter. Put on serving plates and top with Parmesan, remaining basil, and pine nuts.
It's a good basic recipe working well with any type of add-ins such as broccoli, shrimp, chicken, etc. We like it pretty basic...just the way it's written above. At times I have cut back a bit on the olive oil... but it really does taste best with the butter added at the end. I may decrease it to 1 T or so of butter but it's best not to omit this. I mean, the menu (see picture on right) says that it is heart healthy....go figure.

I don't think a summer has gone by since I got this recipe that I haven't made it with garden basil and a garden tomato. Just perfect this week with fresh CSA basil. I had to use a grocery store tomato, so I do know that this will be better in a few weeks with some locally grown tomatoes; however, it's pretty good anyway.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bacon and Date Scones

Paul took my list and went to the grocery store the other day. Yay....although I can tolerate grocery shopping, I really dislike shopping altogether. I have come to accept grocery shopping as a necessity but am really happy to not have to do it once in awhile. Paul took the list, so that means that he has to decode my writing. And that's how we ended up with a container of dates.

I thought that my scawl..."DW deterg" was pretty clear so I was expecting him to come home with dishwasher detergent, but he thought it was a certain kind of date. I thought about taking the dates back to the store but instead decided to make something with the dates. OK...maybe my writing wasn't really clear about what we needed, but I didn't think it was THAT bad! I probably have spent too much time at work trying to decipher illegible writing so my scale may be a bit off!

The drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs features a number of date farms. Last spring we stopped for a date shake since that's what helped make that part of the dessert famous. We had planned on going an a tour of a date farm but high winds and a sleeping baby made it seem like a better idea to stop and have a shake instead. We enjoyed walking around the store and seeing so many varieties of dates. It doesn't seem like date shakes are too common outside California...and that's too bad since they are good.

For years I wouldn't eat dates. Not because they are a wrinkly dried fruit most of the time I see them, but because I THREW UP DATES AS A KID! It's so strange how that sticks with you for so long. A couple years ago I decided I needed to try to get over that issue, and I think I have. I gorged myself on dates wrapped around almonds as a kid after my parents made those as a Christmas treat. I think I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, so it really was time to get over it....and I'm glad that I did! Maybe next I'll try root beer and French onion soup....or maybe I'm not ready for that yet even though it has been nearly 30 years! I know that I'm not unusual is struggling to get over this since I have had this conversation with a number of people. I even have a slight aversion to bread pudding since my friend Meghan has talked about her experience with that.

Anyway, I was paging through an older Bon Appetit magazine deciding if there were any recipes I wanted to put in my pile to try, when I came across this one. Perfect...I had just gotten bacon at the warehouse club, so fate seemed to dictate trying this recipe. Hmmm....bacon and dates in my at home food supply....

Eleanor is not a date fan...but all three of us really liked these scones. Maybe it has to do with the stick of butter, or the sweetness of the dates, or the bacon? Whatever it is these are really good!
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Goat Cheese, Greens, and Garlic

These aren't from the garden...although those tomatoes are on the way. We had some extras from the store, so some freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper and we were good to go. That was the perfect thing to serve with this pizza.

I had some chard that I had blanched and frozen from the CSA box a couple weeks ago and decided to use it since it is likely that there will be more greens coming our way.

Paul did the lip curl/sneer when I mentioned this was the dinner plan, but he was won over after trying this recipe. The crust was really good but did require planning ahead. I really did let it rise as recommended in the recipe. It was OK since I made it in the early afternoon, ran some errands, punched down the dough, drove to the Y for swimming and body pump, and finished it when we came home.

I was thinking about making the pizza Elizabeth posted earlier this summer but felt I should try something else...just for the sake of the blog.

Greens+Garlic+Goat cheese=GOOD
I would make this recipe again...for sure.

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