Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Squash Soup

Wolfgang Puck's Squash Soup

I have raved about the "other" squash soup recipe.  You know, the one with apples and apple cider.  I was looking for another one; I still like the original, but I like this one too.  It's just a bit more savory than the other recipe.  We're a squash and pumpkin family, eating both of those items with great frequency in the fall and winter.  As I'm sure you can tell from my recipes, there is plenty of pumpkin and squash to be eaten here.  the curry and apple flavors are delicious, but it's fun to have some other flavors as well.

I like to roast the squash whole with a few fork pricks in it.  None of this trying to chop it in half for me.  That's just crazy.  I remember my mom hitting the squash with a hatchet in the garage before baking the squash halves.  Yikes.....we need to be done with that method.  I'm not sure what crazy person thought of that idea.  The "baked potato" method is much better, so that's what I did for this recipe.  I did not rub the squash with butter either.  I really did use the did give it some great flavors.

I haven't been a dedicated blogger this fall.  In part because of my full time job part because of computer availability with two teenagers in the house....and I haven't been too creative lately and have been sticking with some old favorites.

I decreased the butter to about half of what the original recipe said.  And the only garnish we had...pumpkin seeds.

I guess I can't have too many good sqaush soup recipes!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Brisket Taco

I have to say, I'm feeling a bit let down on this one.  Nicole of had not let me down until this one.  The brie was good and the mango barbeque sauce was good; however, the meat seemed a bit bland to me.  Perhaps it ws my substitution of Coke for the Dr. Pepper.  We aren't big soda drinkers around here, and I somehow had a can of coke in the pantry.  I'm willing to admit that may have been the reason for the lack of flavor, but I don't know that I will try this one again! I do think that with some tweaks and adding a little something for more flavor this could be really good...and I think I'll make the mango barbecue sauce again...but it just didn't do it for me the other night:(

This one kept giving since I ended up with leftovers that no one ate.  That's unusual since we're pretty good at eating the food that we buy; however, it just wasn't that good.  I put the leftovers (about 1 1/2 c or so) down the garbage disposal.  Umm...bad idea.  Garbage disposals are not really to be used for disposing garbage, I guess.  I ended up with a clog (Paul was out of the country), so I washed dishes in the washtub in the basement until  he came home and  got it down the pipes.  I tried re-setting the garbage disposal, removing the J pipe, and snaking the drain.  I even called a friend and asked for help.  Still...the great clog of 2012.  Paul installed a cleanout (where there should have been one anyway) and quickly got rid of the clog.

So, this was not may favorite recipe, and I probably won't repeat it.  I love the source blog, so we'll try another one from there soon.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gingerbread Biscotti

Gingerbread Biscotti
Loved these!  Just thinking about fall flavors and ginger comes to mind; however, our exchange student thought it smelled a bit like Christmas.  Yes, that too!

These were a bit crumbly and took quite a bit more time (and a few more bowls) than other biscotti recipes. Although the flavor was really good.  I think that if I plugged the taste and work into an equation they wouldn't work out as a very high scoring item.  However, the flavors were good, so my plan is to adapt this recipe a bit so the work is more similar to a previous blog post for Mocha Almond Biscotti, one of my favorite recipes from Eating Well years and years ago.  Check out the link at the top of this post for this recipe....go ahead and try them and let me know what you think!

I'll blog about my adapatations of this recipe since the flavors are great.  In fact, maybe I will need to do that very soon.  I'm sure I can find some willing tasters in my house!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Grape Infusion

What to do with all those grapes being harvested off the vines?  Paul planted grapes and constructed a beautiful arbor years ago after we were in Napa Valley.  It seemed like a good solution to a corner lot and kids cutting through our yard after school.  Since that time, we had a child and our yard standards were lowered...and lowered...and lowered again.  Not just blaming Eleanor..but just a change in priorities over the years.  However, the arbor still stands and the grapes have matured so we get quite a crop every year at the end of the summer.  We're never quite sure what to do with them...a few for eating depending on the sweetness; however, we're a family that really enjoys seedless grapes.  Maybe I should be more of a purist and not admit that, but it's the truth!

Anyway, this year Paul decided to put the grapes in with some vodka for this infusion.  The grapes and the vodka and the pretty bottle are in the refrigerator just waiting.  Waiting for what?  I'm not sure what he'll concoct out of this, but stay tuned.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spiced Latte with Caramel Sauce

From Confections of a Foodie Bride
I found this recipe while wandering around cyberspace the other day.  So many fun things to find.  I'm not thinking that this type of thing brings out the best in me.  That is, my productive task oreinted nature seems to go away while I wander around looking from food blog to food blog.  I'm not even sure of my exact path that got me to the webiste listed above; however, I'm glad that I found it.

We don't have cable TV.  It's for the same type of reason related to my poor timing.  I know that I can watch show after show...and suddently an entire afternoon is gone.  My SIL thinks that if we had cable we would have some self control, but I don't think so.  I admit I have been a bit like this my entire life.  I remember looking up something in an encyclopedia (yes, the precursor to wikipedia, folks) and getting sidetracked.  I guess it's a good think I have a bit more stucture in my day...because there are so many great blogs out there.  In fact, it made me feel a little bit bad about myself.  I took a deep breath and realized that I may not have the most awesome photography and multiple dish sets for photography or the right lighting for photos, or even the "print page" button on each blog right now, but I am finding blogging fun.  I guess if I waited for everything to be perfect it wouldn't really happen for me.  It is easy to critique someone else's work, but the fact is there are many of us actually doing it.  It's like watching a large person run, I guess.  You have to say, "good for you"!

What I'm most impressed by, as I troll through other blogs, is the energy in these blogs.  The great photograhy and the enthusiasm.  It seems that most of these food bloggers are very young.  I love that cooking is cool (along with knitting...whoda thunk it) and talking about cooking is cool. 

Back to the blog where I got this recipe.  I love everything about it...the cute design the clever name, and the caramel sauce.  Can I just tell you how much I love the caramel sauce?  I'm a sucker for anything with the words "salted" and "caramel".  Neither word alone does anything for me, but if you put them together I want to make it.  And I did with my sea salt from Sicily. 

The spicy latte syrup was delicious and the caramel sauce was fabulous.  My only substituion in this was 1 t or so of vanilla instead of using the vanilla pods.  My guess is that it would be better with the vanilla beans, but I was doing this without running to the store. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Squash Soup

Squash Soup
OK...maybe everyone has this recipe by now.  If so, that's because it's a good one.

1 T butter
2 large onions, chopped
4-5 t curry powder
2 T brown sugar
3 c chicken stock
2 c apple cider
2 1/2-3 lb squash, peeled and chopped (or poke a few holes in it and bake until soft)
2 apples, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper
optional garnishes:  plain yogurt or sour cream, parsley, bleu cheese, chives

Melt butter in stockpot.  Add onion and curry powder.  Cook until onions are soft.  Stir in brown sugar.  Add stock, cider, squash, and apples.  Simmer until tender.  Process until smooth or simply mash in pan.

This one is a classic around here, and I don't think we have had a fall without it in years and years.  A friend of mine was telling me that she enjoys a similar soup at our local City Market; however, theirs does not have apple.  Lucky for her since she has an apple allergy.  That did get me to thinking that this may be good with pears instead...maybe pear juice substituted for the apple cider.  I'm going to try that next time; however, my plan is to omit the brown sugar since pear juice seems a bit sweeter to me.

If you're not a curry fan, this may be a good way to get a bit of good-for-you tumeric into your body:)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Yes, Nicole does it again with a great quick and healthy recipe.  Have I told you how much I love this woman's blog?  Do you like how I call her Nicole even though I never met her?  I always have to chuckle when people call a television or radio personality by his/her first name even though they have never met.  You know, like "Katie (Couric) said blah blah blah"  or "Brian (Williams) mentioned blah blah blah".  So, here I am mentioning my virtual friend, Nicole!  I do think I want to be her...although maybe I like her because she is the younger version of up a storm, climbing the work ladder, and working out a bit.  I'm just the older more tired version of that person!!!!

Enough of the envy, I just really love the recipes and her pictures.  Her blog is my go to place when I'm in the mood to try a new recipe, especially during the week.  They are healthy, quick and have been tasty.  Ah, all the things I need.  This one sounded great....and was a MUST MAKE when the romaine heads arrived in the CSA box last week.  We grilled bratwurst on Sunday (during the Packers victory...hooray) and I threw on 2 chicken breasts in anticipation of this dinner.  We were having it after a high school swim meet and had to have a dinner that could be thrown together quickly when we arrived home.  I made the dressing the night before, so all I had to do was boil the water and cook the pasta!
Chicken Caesar with a Twist from www.preventionrd

1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

Mix all ingredients together.

12 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 oz dry rotini
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp Greek seasoning
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
2 oz Parmesan, shredded

When the pasta is cooked; drain and return to the pot. Toss with olive oil, salt, seasoning, and grated Parmesan.
Toss the lettuce with the dressing and shredded Parmesan. Divide salad among 4 plates and top with 1/4 of the pasta and 1/4 of the chicken
I think I'm back!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Felice's Dip

This is the dip I had at the violin picnic and LOVED.  Forget the brownies and other assorted desserts...just give me a salty and cheesy dip.  I asked Carol, the violin teacher to get this recipe when she sees the mom who brought this.  I believe that Carol was going to hold the serving plated hostage until the recipe was given!

OK...this is from the woman who just may be one of the most adorable moms of all time.  She's gorgeous, pleasant, and has a whole brood of cute and well behaved kids with names of kings and queens.  Even with all that going on, she is learning to play cello!  I'm just glad that the parents have someone to represent us as an adult learner (thank you, Felice.  I owe you one).

This is the kind of recipe that 's good to have to throw together for a party.  You really don't want to have this in the house since it's so good tasting and so bad for you:)  A little does go a long way.  I took it to a party last weekend and was placing a portion controlled scoop on my plate (OK...maybe it was a generous serving) when someone randomly asked me if I knew what was in that dip since it was so good.

2 packages cream cheese, softened
French onion mix (I used Knorr's)
1 link Italian sausage, cooked
1/3 c mayo
2/3 c cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix it all together and bake.  I baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so.
I'm thinking some canned jalapenos may be a good addition for the next time I make this.  That is, the next time I make this to take it someplace!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Waffles for those who don't plan ahead....

Eleanor found this recipe over the summer since our "usual" waffles take a bit of planning ahead,  Yea, good find. I'm still making hot breakfast every morning, so we haven't given up on that.
Alton Brown



Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl beat together eggs and melted butter, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the iron according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Close iron top and cook until the waffle is golden on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.n Waffles