Friday, December 28, 2007

Using my present

I looooove my new Le Creuset Buffet Casserole (in flame). I got it to replace a stainless steel pan that I use constantly that is separating at the seams on the bottom. I wanted something that was oven proof, and mainly because of the dish I am making tonight.

This is an adapted recipe from Eating Well magazine. I blogged about the original recipe and gave the link here. But, even though I am only one hour from Kumquat Avenue in Coconut Grove, it is hard for me to find fresh kumquats in my regular haunts, even my farmers market that has a pretty extensive variety. So, I make mandarin orange tagine. Seemed like a decent replacement. Picky loves mandarin oranges, and it is much easier to keep two cans of them and a can of chick peas (Picky and S eat around them) than it is to source the fresh kumquats all year.

Mandarin Orange Tagine (adapted from Eating Well magazine)

1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, slivered
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
3/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1/8 t ground cloves
1 14 0z can vegetable broth
2 cans Mandarin oranges (22 oz), drained of juices
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1 1/2 T honey

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Heat oil in an ovenproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add chicken; cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes. Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cloves; cook until aromatic, about 20 seconds. Stir in broth, oranges, chickpeas and honey. Bring to a simmer.
4. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the broth is bubbling and somewhat reduced, about 1 hour.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I can't make up my mind...

...if I would try one of these if I was offered one.

Cookies with Bacon

Anyone care to weigh in?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy holidays!

The ones in particular that happen today are:

My brother's birthday (Happy birthday bro!)

and National Maple Syrup Day.

I am planning on celebrating both. I made French toast for breakfast (totally by coincidence) and I will be dining with my brother tonight.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Satan chicken

I had to buy it. Not only is it the perfect size, but it is the chicken from Hell.

I will be using a high roast method, which seemed appropriate.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


My mom showed up and I got way too busy to post anymore. I finished everything, we all pigged out, and I am SOOOO full. We didn't eat the pie, which is ironic, considering how much time I spent on it, But, it looks beautiful, and I am having a leftovers potluck tomorrow that I am sure it would be perfect for.


Cranberry sauce, done

Hey, all youse who like it from the can. You have obviously not tried this recipe. It has fresh orange zest, not peel. It is imperceptible, texture wise. I also added a few tablespoons of Grand Marnier. Mmm mmm.

Now I am going to make oyster stuffing. Mostly for me. Stuffing (or dressing, as my father called it) is the most important part of Thanksgiving. Oh, and I am simmering giblets for the gravy.


As of 2:20 p.m.:

Pie, done

Camera, acting up (damn!)

Turkey, in the oven with cornbread apple and sausage stuffing (dang, forgot to put in almonds. I think they will go in the oyster stuffing to make up for the mushrooms. Don't question my logic, because I am NOT going back to the store.)

House, cleaned by husband Picky, who even ironed the table cloth and napkins. Love ya, honey *smack*

Kids, playing up the street

Mom, told to hold back and wait since the kids aren't here and she isn't that into cooking

Beer, open

Feet, up

Note to self

PE coaches do not make good assistants when trying to delicately peel rolled out dough off of parchment paper.

Dough is torn and then rerolled, AGAIN. I will NOT be trying the transfer to the rolling pin method again. This time I will try to peel off one side of the parchment, flip the whole thing over into the pie plate, and then peel off the back. Right after my head explodes.

Rrrrrg stinkin pie

I had noooooo pie plans. None. I am not a dessert maker in general, and tend to shy away from baking or anything that takes too much precision. But, my mom handed over about 6 pounds of apples and some refrigerated pie dough made by a chef for an event at her school that fell through.

I have been wrestling with the pie. Rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper was a dream. I mastered this clockwise 1/4 movement that my cookbook recommends. Then, just as I tried to wrap it around the rolling pin, Z, the 3 year old, senses the horrible timing and comes in to "help mommy" by grabbing the pin. Well, the dough fell apart, and as annoyed as I would like to be at Zach, I think some of it had to do with it being at least 10 degrees warmer in my kitchen in South Florida with the windows open than it is in most kitchens. So, I am chilling my rolled out dough before trying the transfer. Wish me luck!

Now to go tell Coach Stu to corral Z...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Good evening, and welcome to my Thanksgiving play-by-play.

First the menu:

Croissant breakfast sandwiches

Snackies throughout the day and hors d'œuvres:

Pear and apple slices
Hard salami
Port Salut cheese
Camembert cheese
Manchego cheese

The big dinner:

Roasted turkey and gravy
Honeybaked Ham (Coach Stu gets this every year - he insists on having it)
Oyster stuffing (shit! I forgot to buy mushrooms!)
Apple sausage and slivered almond cornbread stuffing
Green beans with almonds and persimmons
Mashed potatoes
Macaroni and cheese
Baked sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon

For dessert:

Pumpkin crème brûlée
Apple pie

I was very unmotivated earlier, and didn't get home from shopping for Thanksgiving until 9 p.m. tonight. I have to start the pumpkin crème brûlée tonight so it can chill. I also am making at least one pie if not two tomorrow morning, and then the turkey goes in the oven. So the crème brûlée is in right now.

I have a confession. Food has been falling in my lap this week. Not only did I not cook my own pumpkin because my mom gave me two huge cans of pumpkin today, but I also have pie dough in my fridge she gave me, and a tray of mashed potatoes and a tray of macaroni and cheese in my freezer that were untouched leftovers from a school function. I usually insist on making everything from scratch, but it was hard to turn any of that good fortune down.

I will make and effort to update this post and link to recipes if I got them from online.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Parmesan ties it together

I haven't had the time to blog at all that much since starting med school. I still cook as much as I can. I rush home before evening review to try to squeeze out a hurried homemade meal. Sometimes (OK, all of last week) I forget to defrost meat for dinner. So, we had carbonara pasta, tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and roasted brussel sprouts (thanks Stefania!). All with freshly grated real Parmigianno-Reggiano on it. Yum yum.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Happy breast cancer awareness month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, get aware, y'all!

I haven't posted in a while, since I am now in medical school. Not as much cooking, not as fancy cooking, not as much picture taking, and not as much blogging.

But, I had to share my breast themed banana chocolate chip muffins that I made for the bake sale. Yummy!

Friday, August 3, 2007


This is what happens to my kitchen when I make pulled pork. Ahhh, but it is sooooo worth it.

Mini molten chocolate cakes with mocha sauce

Served with French vanilla ice cream. Mmmm mmmmm.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Picky's "only like THIS" list

A friend of mine just stumbled on my post about what Picky WON'T eat. That reminded me that I still have to post his conditional eating list. I am sure I am going to miss some on here, but let's give it a whirl.

Tomatoes only plain or with salt, when served on the side. I make a yummy balsamic vinaigrette, but he won't eat it. Even though he will eat tomatoes in salad with dressing, or on a sandwich with mustard, and will eat balsamic vinegar and oil in other capacities.

Nothing in his eggs except cheddar cheese. No onions, juevos rancheros (of course, my favorite way to eat eggs) no tomatoes, no spinach, nothing. Oh, and only hard scrambled. No boiled, poached, fried, etc.

Pancakes, French toast or waffles only with fake corn syrup based syrup. No maple syrup. I can use maple syrup as an ingredient, but not on his breakfast cakes.

While we're on pancakes, no fruit in them. And no jelly. On anything. No fruit baked in anything. No fruit pie. No mango cheesecake. No apple stuffing. Fresh fruit only.

No mayo except on BLTs or in tuna salad.

Cereal only dry, no milk. I think this is common.

Only certain nuts. Almonds, peanuts, and that's about it. No nuts in cookies or brownies. He'll eat 'em, but he'll b*tch and moan. No peanut butter, especially not peanut butter and jelly (see above on jelly) and he is even sickened by the plate or smell. He will eat peanut butter cups, Nutter Butters, Reese's Pieces, and the like. I have found most "picky" people have a lot of their pickiness evened out by a level of processing and crap ingredients to balance out whatever the offending natural food is. (I am sorry, is that too sarcastic? I really do think it is true. I had a friend who wouldn't eat shellfish unless it was breaded, fried buffalo shrimp from frozen. WTF is that?)

There is a whole category of Picky's "ehhhhhh" foods. He will eat a couple of bites of them, but only for my benefit. If he was still single, all of these foods would be replaced by Krsipy Kreme donuts. I will post that list another day, when someone reminds me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Comedy of errors dinner

I decided I wanted to make a variation on the dirty rice recipe I had been using from a copy of Cook's Country. I already fudge the recipe a little bit by leaving out the chicken livers. Even though I roast whole chickens almost every week, they don't all come with giblets anymore, and I would be the only person in the house that would appreciate the addition.

So, I had some mild Italian sausage I was planning on using. I noticed that it was chicken, not pork sausage. The original recipe uses ground pork. No big deal, I thought. I will stick to the recipe, otherwise, and I am sure it will turn out great. I had already decided to omit the seasonings in the recipe, some dried thyme and stuff, because the sausage was already delicately seasoned and we were all big fans of it.

I was browning the meat, and I started chopping up the onion. I used red onion instead of the usual yellow onion because that is what I had, and I wanted to use some of it for the salad. I went to the fridge to get the celery, and there was no celery. I also didn't have a close substitute for the bell pepper. I have used roasted red peppers and sweet mini peppers as substitutes, but I had neither. I desperately scrambled around in my fridge. Zucchini and spinach. What??

I ruled out the zucchini. I didn't know how it would affect the liquid ratio for the rice. I took the spinach and figured I could add it in and let it cook down, and it would barely make a difference. I threw it in after the onions were cooked through.

Next ingredient: chicken broth. One whiff of the carton in the fridge told me I needed a back up plan. Nope, of course there wasn't another one in the pantry. But, there was a carton of vegetable broth. Well, since I used chicken sausage in the recipe instead of pork, it would add chicken flavor to the broth. OK, vegetable broth it was.

Then time to add the rice. What?? I only had 3/4 of a cup of rice, and the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups. No. No no no no. I can't just throw in polenta and call it an even trade. I dug around and found another bag of rice. Whew! But, I was so flustered that I forgot the recipe called for removing the meat and vegetables from the pan and draining them while you cook the rice and broth in the pan with the browned bits. I dumped the rice and broth in with the meat and vegetables and then realized what I did. Oh well, too late. I covered the pan and hoped for the best.

Fifteen minutes later, I had beautiful, buttery , flavorful rice with yummy meat and soft veggies. It was delicious, and Picky and my roommate said it was better than the original recipe. Whaddya know.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Picky's Father's Day Menu

Salad with fresh tomatoes and red onions and cheddar cheese and my salad dressing (Even my no veggie eatin' brother asked for seconds on salad. Seriously)

Buffalo wings made with my roasted hot sauce (Oops, forgot to buy the wings when I went to the store. We had tons of food, anyway).

Sweet mini pepper "poppers" with roasted hot sauce and cheese

Corn (Red and white sweet corn. It was delish)

Smoked BBQ baby ribs with a dry rub, homemade BBQ sauce on the side (Killer)

Mac n cheese (I used Paula Dean's recipe. Ehhhhh, too eggy)

Brownies a la mode with hot fudge and mini M n Ms (No one wanted the M n M's. I made the brownies with new Hershey's Special Dark cocoa. They were the best I have EVER had, I am serious).

Oh, yeah.

Pictures now posted!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fluffy mackerel pudding!

A friend sent me this hilarious collection of 1970's recipe cards, complete with snotty commentary and disgusting pictures. The Melon Mousse looks like something you would serve at a Return of the Living Dead picnic. "I can smell your brains...oh, yeah, they're right here on this cake stand."

If that was what I was serving myself to eat, I think I would actually lose weight. Hmmm, they may be onto something.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pizza meatloaf

S is back home after being gone for a week. I asked him to pick any dinner for me to make for him, and he picked pizza meatloaf. Appropriate, since I came up with the recipe when he was three and his own version of picky.

(Sorry about the awful picture. I can't decide whether to leave it up or take it down. As my dad would say "Well, it tastes good, but I sure wouldn't want to step in it!")

I have made this with all kinds of ground meat. Beef, pork, turkey, buffalo, and mixes of them all. Tonight I have equal parts ground chuck and pork. I have also used all sorts of vegetables. I put onions in everything, so I always have onions in my pizza meatloaf. I have used broccoli, cabbage, shredded broccoli slaw, mushrooms, various squashes, celery, whatever I have lying around.

Chopped produce, of the pizza compatible variety, about 2 cups (this time I used zucchini, yellow squash, onions, celery, and mushrooms)
3 lbs of ground meat
2 eggs
2 tablespoons diced garlic
Oregano (I use 6 drops of oregano oil, but that is an obscure ingredient. Use at least 2 T of fresh or 2 t of dried oregano)
2 tablespoons double strength tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (C'mon, you KNOW you have stale bread. Don't be lazy!)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 bag of shredded mozzarella or 1 good sized ball of the fresh
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large casserole dish (I use an oval shaped pyrex dish) arrange produce.

In a large bowl, add meat, eggs, oregano, tomato paste, salt and pepper and bread crumbs. Mix just until combined. (I use my hands. If you're not into that, use a utensil of your choice, but I can't think of one that would work as well. You can be like Alton Brown and wear latex gloves....kinky!)

Heap the meat in an oval shaped loaf above produce in casserole dish, not tapering too much at the ends. Pour the jar of tomato sauce over it. Put in oven.

After 1 hour, take out and dump cheese on top. Cook until cheese is melted and instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F in the center, about another 45 minutes. Enjoy!

It's great over spaghetti the next day.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back with a vengeance!

I got a new camera for Picky for an early Father's Day present. Picky has taken to cooking up batches of my cookie recipe every other day or so recently. There is NO way I am getting into shape for med school this summer.

I went all out for dinner tonight. I was happy S was home from his dad's house. I made French onion soup, green beans with persimmons, and a T-bone with wild mushrooms. It was S's first experience with French onion soup (one of Picky's favorites) and he loved it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Fast food ads versus reality photos

This post comparing advertisement photos of fast food and real items ordered at the same restaurants is a hysterical post. We used it for a hearty laugh and one of those unscripted educational experiences in which I don't even need to lecture one word.

This bowl of "dog food from the planet Krypton" (thanks, Slashfood) can be found at your local KFC.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Quest veggie muffins

A friend just reminded me about these muffins. Funny, because I was thinking about making them. I can't believe I haven't posted the recipe here!

I had a fantastic savory muffin in a health food co-op, Sevanandah,(sp?) in Atlanta's Little Five Points area. This was a good 12 years ago at least. It was so good, I remember it. It was moist, salty, and full of tons of shredded veggies. I finally came up with something that fills my savory muffin void. It is not the same - the original had squash and zucchini, and may have had cornmeal in it. But, I call these my quest muffins, since I finally made a good shredded veggie filled muffin after ten years of not being able to find one for sale anywhere near where I live.

Ingredient explanation: broccoli slaw is commonly available in the produce section of my regular grocery store. It is bagged, raw, and shredded broccoli, carrot and cabbage.

Quest veggie muffins
Makes 24 muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 T baking powder
2 t salt
½ t cayenne pepper
¼ t black pepper
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 bag (12 oz) broccoli slaw (or 1 ½ cups shredded veggies of your choice)
2 ½ cups milk
6 T unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick spray

2. Blanch broccoli slaw. One method: Boil water in a medium saucepan. Submerge veggies into boiling water for one minute. Strain and submerge in an ice bath or run under cold running water. Set aside in a colander to dry out.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne and pepper together in a large bowl. Mix in cheese and veggies, breaking up any chunks, until cheese and veggies are coated with flour. Whisk milk, butter, egg, and sour cream together in medium bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (batter will be heavy and thick). Divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle Parmesan over batter in each cup.

4. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before eating.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Salad dressing

While I don't have my camera, and due to another request for it, I am FINALLY posting my salad dressing recipe. Which is one of the reasons I started this dang food blog. And, the other reason was a loaf of bread I never tried making, so there.

Hilary's Honey Miso dressing:

3-4 tablespoons miso paste. (It is the only obscure ingredient but I can get it at my local grocery store, refrigerated in the hippie section. If you have a choice, get mellow yellow or white, not the red. It has been carried at every health food store I have ever worked at, and it should be available at Asian markets. It lasts FOREVER and it is actually a great condiment/ingredient for other purposes, too, including the obvious bowl of soup. I use it to cook chicken sometimes, and it is delicious.)

Grated ginger, at least a T
diced garlic, at least a T
honey, at least 2 T to taste
flax oil, about a cup (this can be substituted with olive oil or any other oil, but since I make a big batch and keep it in the fridge, I prefer flax oil because it stays liquid when refrigerated, unlike olive oil)
Apple cider vinegar, about 1/2 a cup
Trocomare, which is a herbed salt blend. Can be replaced by salt and pepper
You can add fresh herbs if you are fancy.
Blend and enjoy. I almost always tweak it based on taste testing, add a little more oil if it is too tangy from the vinegar and not creamy enough, add some honey if it is not sweet enough, adding garlic if it is not garlicky enough, etc.

The kids love it. Picky loves it. Everyone who visits loves it. My ex husband used to carry it with him to work for his salads - heh, I hope he misses it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kumquat tagine

I wish I had my camera. This was such a yummy and pretty dish. The recipe is from Eating Well magazine. A tagine is a Moroccan stew. I have never had kumquats before, and they are yummy. And, kumquat is fun to say! Kept us giggling and making bad jokes all through dinner.

Tagine is also fun to say, except that it reminds me of someone I don't like's nickname for the female genitalia, and we can just leave it at that.

I also like this meal because Picky loved it and said I could make it again, and it had CHICKPEAS in it! Don't tell him.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I would eat this...

I love blood pudding, and curry goat, and all sorts of other strange entrail and weird body part based foods. I would eat this.

Would you?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Picky does Mother's Day breakfast

I love big weekend breakfasts with Picky. He makes really good breakfast potatoes. Today, I got to sleep in. When I couldn't stand the yummy smells any more, I ventured from my room and found this breakfast with these smiling faces waiting for me! Yummmmm!

Happy Mother's Day!!

Stuffed cubanelles

I made delicious stuffed cubanelle peppers last week. I used to make this recipe with poblano peppers, but their heat is too unpredictable. I have had 3 people at the table telling me they are delicious, and one person crying and gulping water. The cubanelles had a wonderful, sweet flavor, more complex than bell peppers and no unpredictable scalding of anyone's tongue.

I roast, peel, and bread the peppers. It may seem high maintenance, but only the breading is really messy and hands on. I also roasted some garlic and tomato to put inside, and chopped up some delicious Italian mild sausage. I added some ricotta cheese, since I was using Italian sausage. Usually I do a more Mexican style filling. These were a huge hit.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What's grosser than gross?

When you Google the pizza place you usually order from because you lost the menu and can't find the number, and you come up with a site about restaurant closures by the health department because it was closed recently due to rodent activity.


We are now ordering from Mr. Pizza. Not on the list. I guess we're both somewhat picky.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What happens when I run out of time and onions

I seem to have a folder full of pictures of food, and no blog posts that I put up with them! So, without further ado, here are the highlights of a week or so of meals:

My former roommate Charity came over for a farewell visit, and she has since moved to Gainesville, boo hoo! I really enjoyed having her by my side in the kitchen again. Here is her beautiful salad with fresh fennel from the garden:

We had a favorite meal of hers that night, one I like to call the three P's: pork, pineapple and peppers. I put pork loin country ribs over chopped celery, onions, pineapple, and multi colored fresh sweet mini peppers, cut into rings, cilantro and diced garlic. I drizzle over this pineapple juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil or grapeseed oil. Roast in the oven at 375 or 400 for about an hour, until the pork is done. Watch out, the pineapple gets really scorching hot, and it's hard to resist digging in right away!

I made top sirloin this past week, on one of my favorite pieces of kitchen hardware - my cast iron grill pan. This sucker weighs 27 pounds, and I saw Alton Brown using an identical one on his show recently, so it must rock. Behold its glory.

Finally, I ran out of onions and celery. If you have read any of my recipes, you will see why that would cripple me. So, I decided to veer away from my usual tilapia recipe and tried adapting a recipe for Fish Meuniere with Browned Butter and Lemon. Instead of sole or flounder, I used tilapia, and instead of fresh parsley I substituted fresh garlic chives that I originally planted for my brother-in-law more than three years and two houses ago. It was fabulous, and a big hit. Even with Picky, who usually tries to order pizza every time it's fish night. At the end of this meal, he said, "This was definitely better than pizza." I was beaming.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Speaking of bread

I have recently overcome my fear of yeast breads. I am trying this No-Knead Bread recipe right now. Let's see what happens! I am letting it rise overnight. I will post pics tomorrow. Uh, if Picky figures out why the oven isn't heating.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Science project loaf

I spent my Earth Day making resolutions, potty training Z and doing a science project with S.

S's science project involved putting yeast in three different water samples. One was boiling, one was the recommended temperature of 110 degrees F, and one was cold from the refrigerator. We not only had a fun and educational time together, but we ended up with a yummy loaf of bread!

Gingered apricot oatmeal

Today I lounged outside with S, looking up the birds we could see and not only hear in his field guide. I relished the seasonably aberrant cool breeze licking my skin, and decided I could pull off oatmeal for breakfast at least one more time.

Gingered apricot oatmeal

2 cups organic whole milk
2 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats
3 T chopped crystallized ginger
8 dried apricots, chopped
a few glugs of maple syrup
a few T of kefir
4 T of ground flaxseeds
Turbinado sugar at the table

Heat liquids to a boil. Add oatmeal, stirring with a whisk vigorously. Lower heat slightly and stir frequently. When oatmeal has thickened and softened, add ginger and apricots, turn down to low heat, and cover. A few minutes later, add the syrup, kefir, and flaxseeds, and serve. Mmmmmmm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Salmon with mango salsa

I decided to shake it up a little bit with a diversion from my normal soy-honey-mustard-sesame sauce I normally make to accompany the fantastic wild salmon I can buy at my local Target, and also get rid of a mango that had been languishing in my fridge for almost a week.

I baked the salmon for about 30 minutes at 425 in a pyrex dish rubbed with butter, skin side down.

Mango salsa

2 T butter
1/2 a very large white onion (or 1 large onion)chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup peppers (I chose sweet mini peppers)
3 T red wine vinegar
1 mango, cubed
3 T diced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped scallions

Melt butter is skillet. Saute onion, celery and peppers until soft. Add vinegar and mango, cook for about five minutes longer, or mango is soft. Add garlic, cook for two more minutes, stirring, until fragrant. Add cilantro and scallions, stir and cook for one more minute. Put on top of salmon.

National Eggs Benedict Day (observed)

According to Slashfood, Monday was National Eggs Benedict Day. My friend, roommate and Z helped ring in the holiday today, two days late. Yummmmm.

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, aka "Dirty Clothes"

This is one of my signature dishes.

In fact, I think this is one of the first meals I ever cooked for Picky. He says he never ate anything like it before, and this was the first in many scary but rewarding culinary adventures I have invited him on.

We call it "Dirty clothes" in my house due to a misunderstanding. Picky thought the recipe was called "Thirty Cloves" and was asking for it as such. I thought he was asking me to do the laundry, which I had already folded, and I got annoyed. The conversation went like this:

"Thirty cloves?"
"Dirty clothes?"
"Thirty cloves?"
"Dirty clothes?!"

Much hilarity ensued when we got on the same wavelength.

Chicken with 40 cloves

1 cup chopped onion (about 2 medium)
1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
2 lb dark meat chicken, bone in and skin on (or two pieces per person)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper, or Trocomare
40 cloves of garlic (or 10 per person), removed from head, single paper still left around clove

Preheat oven to 425

Arrange onions, celery and tarragon in casserole dish.

Arrange chicken pieces over the veggies, skin side up
Tuck garlic cloves, removed from head but still in peel, around chicken
Drizzle generously with olive oil and wine
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, or in my case, Trocamare

Bake for at least an hour, until chicken is done, skin is crispy, garlic is soft, and your kitchen smells so good you can't stand it. Serve with crusty bread to squeeze garlic on. Fight over the garlic and drippings with your bread. Stink like garlic for days and be happy about it.

This recipe will win you friends and lovers.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Roasted hot sauce

I keep talking about my roasted hot sauce, so I should really post the recipe up on here.

Here is a message board post from when I made it for the first time a month ago:

I am using tomatoes (halved and cored) from the garden, some itty bitty hot peppers, one left over mild pepper (too small but all I have), whole garlic cloves and green onion (cut up). Almost all from my garden.

I tossed all of the above in a roasting baste made of tomato paste, olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika (trying to make up for my lack of sweet peppers). I roasted all of the above under the broiler in my toaster oven. I took the green onions out first and the garlic is still in, but smells pretty insane. I will be blending it all up with some vinegar soon.

It is super tasty. I am nuking a frozen burrito so I have something to eat it with.

On a side note, S fed Z a hot pepper from the garden and made him cry while I was making this. Sigh. I let S be a taste tester for the hot sauce.


I made it again today for my brother-in-law. Today I had more sweet peppers. It turned out great.

Mexican party with Crème Brûlée!

I finally earned my foodie wings! No, not because I hosted a dinner party that went off without a major hitch. I have done that before, quite a few times. But last night, I served crème brûlée. My younger brother gave me a kitchen torch for Christmas. I guess he asked someone what every foodie (and closet pyro) wants but won't buy for herself. I decided it was about time to whip that sucker out and scorch some stuff!

I made the crème brûlée recipe found in my The New Best Recipe cookbook. (Thanks, Mama Jackie!) It involved twelve egg yolks, fresh vanilla, and a small argument between Picky and me as we tried to get the pan in the oven. Next time I will read the directions more closely and pour the boiling water for the water bath after the ramekins and baking sheet are on the oven rack. It still came out delicious, and I will be making it again.

The rest of the buffet:

Soft and hard taco shells
Refried beans (Also from the cookbook - Neither Picky nor S will eat beans, so I rarely cook them and need a recipe)
Ground beef
Chicken breast with mojo sauce
Roasted corn and roasted garlic salsa with fresh garden tomatoes and lime
Fresh guacamole with roasted garlic, fresh tomatoes and lime
Condiments: Shredded lettuce, sour cream, chopped plain garden tomatoes, homemade roasted hot sauce
Sweet mini peppers with roasted hot sauce, roasted garlic and melted colby jack

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Chicken soup for sick mommy

I used the leftovers from the roasted chicken in some therapeutic chicken soup. I vary the vegetables in this recipe depending on what I have on hand. Yesterday, this is what I made:

1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
a hefty handful of baby carrots, chopped
cabbage from my garden (about 1 cup chopped)
garlic, diced (lots. I used at least a T)
ginger, grated (lots, I used at least 1/2 T)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup miso broth (or 1 cup water with 1 T miso paste)
1 cup uncooked egg noodles

chopped cooked chicken from roasted chicken carcass (Ewww, not a nice word when cooking, but meat eaters, face the reality.)

1. Heat oil in dutch oven or large heavy pot
2. Add vegetables and salt and cook until barely tender (Or, in my case, cook until you smell them almost burning and realize you have cooked them too long and freak out.)
3. Add garlic and ginger and cook for one more minute
4. Add broth (If you are burning your veggies and they are too hot, watch out for steam burns with lots of cursing. The steam cooked through the aseptic container my chicken broth was in, and tried to cook through my fingers!!)
5. After simmering for a while, maybe 20 minutes, add pasta and meat and cook until pasta is cooked through, about another 10 minutes

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Roasted chicken, white noodles and snow peas

This is a total comfort food meal for me, and a real standard in our house. Even before I became a real foodie, roasting a whole chicken was a form of therapy for me. I had one particular friend, Turtle, with a good sense of smell. He would come from up the hill and sop up the drippings in my poor-excuse-for-a-roasting pan whenever I had a particularly hard day.

I have officially given up on a Cook's Illustrated (no! really!) recipe because it is too high maintenance, and I like my results better. I am not rotating my dang chicken every 20 minutes or so, and please, let me slather it in some form of fat. It just comes out so much tastier! I used grapeseed oil on and under the skin, sprinkled it with Trocomare, and shoved a whole peeled lime in the cavity. I will never go back to butter. It was so tasty.

White pasta

8 oz egg noodles
2 T butter
2/3 cup sour cream

This is a basic super easy white sauce I do. I just cook and drain the egg noodles and add the butter and sour cream and Trocomare (an herbed salt blend). This is gobbled up by everyone in the house, and can be easily added to and made a main course. Add roasted chicken leftovers and spinach and cooked garlic. Or, add peas and prosciutto.

Glazed snow peas

Snow peas, ends trimmed
grated ginger
diced garlic
soy sauce

Heat oil in skillet. Add snow peas and carrots, cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, honey and soy sauce, and cook one more minute, or until garlic just opaque.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tuna Steak with Tibetan Hot Sauce

Tonight I made tuna steaks. When I worked at a health food store, I got a free jar of something called Tibetan Hot Sauce. It was more like a cooked hot salsa than a hot sauce, and it was fantastic over seared tuna steak. When the jar ran dry, the store wasn't carrying the product. So, I had to recreate it, or something similar enough.

Seared tuna steaks with "Tibetan Sauce" over wilted greens and lemongrass rice

a stalk of lemongrass
one tuna steak per person
oil (I use grapeseed oil)
a big bunch of greens (I used arugula and sorrel because that is what I had in my garden. Spinach would work fine)
lots of diced or crushed garlic, at least 3 T
salt and pepper
sesame seeds
toasted sesame oil
diced tomatoes (one can or a few ripe large tomatoes)
onion (I used green onions because I am growing them. I added the white parts in the sauce and saved the green tops for garnish)
2 or 3 stalks of celery, sliced length wise and then chopped
2 T tomato paste (I use Amore)
soy sauce
grated ginger
lemon basil

Put 2 1/2 c of water in a pot, and bring the lemongrass to a boil. Cover and simmer until water gets and attractive dark color and smells divine. Take out lemongrass and use this water to make the rice. I use about 1 1/2 c of rice

Sear tuna on each side to desired doneness. I recommend cast iron. I like mine very rare. Keeping a tuna steak frozen until cooking makes it easier to keep a dramatic red center (which I did not successfully do this time because I was distracted.) Picky likes his grey all the way through.

While the tuna steak is cooking, add 1 T of oil to a hot skillet. Saute greens until wilted and starting to change color. Add salt and pepper, half of garlic, and sesame seeds and stir for a minute until the garlic turns opaque. Put greens in a bowl and cover to keep warm. Wipe out pan and add tomatoes, celery, onion, tomato paste, and soy sauce. Cook until onions and celery are softened slightly. Add remainder of garlic and ginger and herbs, cook for another minute or two then remove.

Put down rice, then greens, then tuna steak, then top with sauce, scallions and sesame seeds. I also add roasted hot sauce, for which I will post a recipe soon. If there were no kids eating this, I would add the hot sauce while the tomatoes were cooking.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fried rice from leftovers

Picky is an eager shopper. He likes to buy two of every impulse buy. When I had him order dinner for us yesterday when I was running errands, he ordered double of all the appetizers. So, today I have a dozen extra large jerk-style chicken wings looking at me. No problemo.

Fried rice is one of my favorite things to make with leftovers. You can use steak, (beef or tuna), shrimp or shellfish, chicken, or keep it vegetarian. I shredded up the leftover chicken wings and added them to these ingredients:

broccoli, chopped
carrot, chopped
green onion (you can use white or yellow)
grated ginger
diced garlic
a scrambled egg
your leftover protein
cooked rice (I use 1 cup uncooked to make 2 1/2 or so cooked)
sesame seeds
soy sauce
toasted sesame oil

These ingredients are very flexible. Even the rice can be substituted with soba noodles, or spaghetti in a hitch. Any of the vegetables can be switched out for others. Squash, sugar snap peas, sweet peas, cabbage, bean sprouts, and many other veggies work well. If I plan the meal out ahead of time, I sometimes have a can of water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and those yummy straw mushrooms, but last night I didn't. This is by no means an authentic formula. If had something called fish sauce in the house, I think Picky would throw it away.

I added the ingredients into a hot wok in the order shown. letting each cook a minute or two, or longer if needed. (For example, I was using raw broccoli, so that took a few extra minutes). I deglaze the pan each time with a little soy sauce, but I usually have to add a little more at the end. If I start the rice then start prepping the ingredients, the rice is done by the time I need it. I just scoot the veggies over in the wok and scramble the egg right there. If your protein is precooked, you can add it late just to warm it, and this is a super quick meal.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Someone give me a flippin' hand!

While I was cooking tonight I wondered, as I often do, how some people (who are much more coordinated than me) do that cool flippy thing with a skillet full of hot food. And, how do you practice doing it without burning yourself and making a huge mess? Okay, for me an even huger mess.

So, I shot a question over to my buddy BadBadIvy at her new, AWESOME site Home-ec 101. She should be putting up an answer soon. She told me that her husband can do it really well. I told her that I think it's a guy thing, kind of like armpit farts.

Hamburgers to DIE for

So, I decided to start a cooking blog, and I proceed to make red meat three times in a week. I swear, I thought we usually eat it about three times a month. We'll have to keep track on here and see.

If I had to pick one food item that is worth a real brag on my part, it would have to be my burgers. Good thing too, burgers are Picky's favorite food.

These were made with buffalo meat. If you are going to use beef, I usually use ground round, because that is what my mother used. I am also not fat phobic. I haven't ever tried this with turkey, but who knows.

This is a true non-measuring foodie recipe. Sorry, for those of you who don't like foodie types like me who don't measure, but I really don't measure when I make burgers. I adjust everything to the amount of meat and my mood.

Put the meat in a medium bowl and make a well in the center. Wash your hands and take off them rings.

Put in the well:
diced garlic
crackers (I use ak mak) ground up in a food processor
an egg
mustard (ground or wet...lately I use a smoky mustard and it is phenom)
salt and pepper (I use Trocomare)
oil of oregano (I got mine in the supplement section of a health food store. Yummy, fragrant and kills germs!)

Mix just until incorporated, cook til they're done to taste (silly Picky likes everything wellllll done), and accept compliments with grace.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Meaty day

Picky made me this yummy prosciutto and cheese sandwich for lunch. I added marinated fresh tomato from my garden, and it was delicious! Tomatoes soaked in olive oil and balsamic vinegar are a favorite of everyone in my house. Oh yeah, except for Picky. He won't even eat prosciutto, come to think of it. Boiled ham, sure.

I am new to this food blogging thing. Please laugh with me at my horrible picture. Not only does it lack in all sorts of food picture ways, but there is a bite out of one of them. Yes, I couldn't wait to take the picture, and had a bite.

Tonight we will be having corned beef and cabbage. I will be using this recipe from my buddy Stefania. Every recipe I have made of hers has been fantabulous. She mentioned me in an entry and I glowed with pride. Maybe I'm yummy too, because everything else in her blog sure is.

The one difference will be that I will be using my own homegrown cabbage! I am so excited. I glow with pride once again. These have to be the coolest things I have ever grown. OK, I admit it. I also added a bottle of Guinness as part of the "Cover with cold water" step. Inspired by my buddy Mountainmomma's Irish dad. Thanks!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, or as my friend's boy says, Happy Mattress Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Easy night for Picky

Tonight will be an easy night for Picky. We are having steak. I was never a big red meat fan or steak fan, but I have learned to make it and even enjoy it occasionally. Picky would talk so fondly of his family splitting a T-bone as a child, it tugged at my comfort-food heart strings.

I don't get T-bones, usually. I am making top sirloin tonight, which is my favorite cut. Cook's Illustrated (I luff that magazine) recommended top sirloin as the best inexpensive cut of steak, and I must say I agree.

I usually throw a marinade on the steak of balsamic and olive oil and salt and pepper. We almost always have cheesy polenta on the side, and I think that will be the case tonight. S is the one who is too picky for the chessy polenta (of all things not to like!) so we usually save that for nights he is not eating dinner with us, and he will be with his grandma tonight.

Here is my recipe, and it is an original:

Cheesy Polenta

• 2 cups whole milk or buttermilk
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring milk, water, and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook 20 minutes, until creamy, lifting the lid and stirring every 3 or 4 minutes to prevent sticking. Remove pot from stove, stir in pepper and butter. Gradually stir in cheese.

I prefer it with Gorgonzola, but I am the only one who does. Please note: Gorgonzola is not a picky friendly cheese. I have been able to sneak it in my quest veggie muffins, which I will post soon. They are dang good. I will post pics later, if all goes according to plan.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Picky does pulled pork

I went for a job interview and to run some errands this afternoon. I took a chance before I left the house. I opened up a recipe I had written for pulled pork on the computer and left it there, and left a defrosted pork Boston butt in the fridge.

Picky and I did a quick kid switcheroo at his school at the end of basketball practice. He was busy collecting equipment, so it was basically a hand-off. (He loves sports references). He called me on his way home with the kids, and as he was trying to end the conversation, I slipped in "Hey-do-you-think-you-can-start-the-pork-for-me-
just-a-few-ingredients-is-that-OK-huh?" After some resistance and grousing, Picky agreed. If it was anything but the pulled pork, I think he would have said no and ordered pizza.

I told him I would let him slide on the searing step in the beginning and he didn't have to go pick onions from the garden, I would add them in later. He started going over the recipe with me and asking me amounts and I said "Just do whatever it says on the recipe, but remember this is a four pound cut, not a 12 pound pork shoulder like I wrote the recipe for."

Well, he added the full amounts for everything. Not that big a deal, since I eyeball everything and am usually pretty generous, but the poor pork was swimming in liquid when I got home and rushed to the rescue. I took the lid off and turned the pork up to high heat, and boiled off all the extra liquid. It was a tad heavy on the paprika and I totally could tell he had used a spice blend instead of the red pepper flakes (BAD Picky!) but it was scrumptious.

Here is the original recipe, by me totally from my noggin.

Pulled pork

12 lb picnic pork shoulder (only size they had!)
2 T grapeseed oil (or whatever oil ya got)
2 large yellow onions, diced
2 T paprika
1 T salt
1 t red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
4 cups water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 12 oz can diced tomatoes
1 T diced garlic
1/4 cup maple syrup

Remove as much of the large layer of fat that you can with a sharp knife. It should come off in one piece if you separate and remove it in a sawing motion from one end.
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Rinse pork shoulder and pat dry.
Put pork shoulder in hot oil, fat remainder side down. Let fat sear and sizzle for about 15 minutes. Turn the pork on one of the uncooked sides.

Add onions, paprika and salt. Make sure onions fall into the hot oil and fat. Cook until fragrant and opaque. Turn pork onto other uncooked side. Add red pepper flakes, bay leaves, water and vinegar. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium to medium low (enough to maintain a healthy simmer) and cover. Boil until tender, about 4 hours. Turn pork occasionally, and check for tenderness.

When meat is tender and it shreds with a fork, add can of tomatoes. Cook ½ hour longer.
Add garlic and maple syrup. Stir, and turn off heat.

Shred meat from bones with 2 forks. Eat and enjoy.

I served this with French hamburger buns, onion rings and fresh tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. (On the side, because Picky only likes the tomatoes plain, you know.)

Peas and tortellini

Picky is off to school with a sammich, apple, and cookies in his lunch box. But, I still have three mouths to feed here for lunch. S stayed home from school, and Z is on a hobbit eating schedule. We had our favorite lunch: tortellini and peas.

Fix your packaged (I use frozen) tortellini according to the label instructions. During the last minute of boiling the tortellini, toss in at least half a cup of frozen peas (I eyeball it, but I eyeball everything. Thus my crappy results with bread baking). Drain, add butter and seasoning (hooray, Trocomare!) and enjoy!

Jennifer beat me to it in the comments on my last entry of lists of foods the picky one won't eat. My Picky won't eat peas. She said "peas (what are you? three years old?)?"


My two and a half year old, eight year old and I gobbled this up!

What WON'T Picky eat?

My Picky has a serious list of foods he won't eat.

beans (of ANY kind, except green beans)
duck, lamb, or most "exotic" meats (I did get him to eat buffalo burgers and meatloaf)
brussel sprouts

Anyone else got a list?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tilapia tomatoes and greens

Whenever it's seafood night, Picky suddenly has this sweet idea that I really need a break and maybe we should order in. Pizza, Chinese food, or something decidedly not fish.

This is one dish that, when I make it, he always cleans his plate and, at the end of the meal, says "Next time, you should make more."

You can use any white fish. I love red snapper made this way. You can substitute many vegetables in this recipe.
olive oil
chopped onions (I used green onions from my garden, or about one large)
celery (2 or 3 stalks)
4 tilapia fillets, about 1 1/2 lbs
tomatoes (I used fresh tomatoes from my garden, but you can use one can of diced tomatoes)
crushed garlic to taste
white wine (1/2 cup or so)
salt and pepper (or Trocoamare)
fresh greens (use a lot - they really reduce in size when they wilt)
Fresh green herbs, like basil or cilantro, at least a few tablespoons, chopped

Put a big skillet on medium high. Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Add onions and celery and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring. Add garlic and saute just until fragrant, about one minute, stirring. Spread them out and add fish fillets in a layer on top. Sprinkle with seasoning. Add tomatoes, garlic, white wine, and finally add chopped greens and herbs to the top. I used sorrel and arugula from my garden, but bag of fresh baby spinach does really well.

Cover, turn down to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes or until fish is done.

I served this with basmati rice and roasted brussel sprouts. Z crammed the brussel sprouts in his mouth with his bare hands, S and Picky picked at them, and roommate and I thought they were delicious.

Bad mommy, good cookie

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I am a bad mommy. I gave Z the cookie with the burned bottom, and I kept one that was perfectly done for myself. Of course, this cookie monster will eat a cookie that's covered in dog turd. Not that I have ever tried to feed him one, but S may have.

These are killer cookies. As my pastry chef roommate says, the dough is delicious. Best raw dough around, and the cookie part of the cooked cookie ain't bad either.

You can put anything in this dough. I am sure it will work unadorned, although I am not sure why you would want to. We have put leftover chopped up Halloween and Valentine's candy in, and I am planning on trying them soon with macadamias and craisins. (For me and S. I have a feeling Picky will turn those down, if he can resist. We'll see what happens late at night.)

This is the baisc recipe, and even though Picky bitches every time about their being nuts in them, he says they are the "best chocolate chip cookies in the world."

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup high cacao-content chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of accoutrements of your choice. I pretend these are semi-healthy due to dark chocolate (high in antioxidants) and nuts.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls (or, as I do, use a mini ice cream scoop) onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
Cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen.

Foodie loves picky

I decided since I cook so much, eat so much, troll foodie blogs and websites so much, and post about my cooking on message boards so much, I should just join everybody and their dog (thanks nessy) and start my own food blog.

So, here it is. The concept: I am a foodie who will eat almost anything and who loves to cook new and exciting recipes. My husband has, as his sister described to me when she was giving me the pros and cons lowdown on him when we started dating, a "plebian palate" and would prefer to eat mac and cheese and a burger every night. It's not the kids I have to worry about, even though there are two lovely ones, S and Z, who also appear in my other blog. The two year old and the almost eight year old fight over miso soup and wakame salad when we order in sushi, but we always have to make sure that the restaurant also has batter fried chicken with glow in the dark sweet and sour glue sauce for Picky.