21 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

04 August 2014

Farm to Table

I've been saying "yes" to almost every good thing that comes my way this summer, so when my friend Ann invited me to a dinner at her CSA farm... well YEAH! This type of event has been on my bucket list for a while.

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On my 57th Happy Day, I took one of "grandma's dishes" to Park Ridge Organics to share a fabulous farm-to-table meal prepared by Jill Chisholm of Paddock Club in Elkhart Lake.

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Due to unsettled weather, our dinner was served in the barn. It cleared up from time to time, but also poured buckets, so the decision to move indoors was sound! And it was so cozy and cute.

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The event began with a social hour, featuring a lovely nectarine sangria or fresh lemonade and appetizers. Oh yum.

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I mostly ate my food instead of photographing it, so I'll have to use my words.

My favorite appetizer was a pea pod with a lovely mixture of small-dice cooked beets, fresh basil & fresh mozzarella spooned onto one end (above). It looked as if the pea pod had been used as a scoop. Very neat to eat, and so tasty! I think goat cheese would be fun to try sometime -- I love goat cheese with beets.

Another fave was heirloom grape tomatoes -- every single one cut on the bottom so it would sit flat on the plate, seeds and pulped scooped out -- filled with a mixture of small-dice green beans, preserved lemon, parmesan cheese, parsley and dill, and drizzled with olive oil. It was such a pretty plate with all the colorful varieties!

The hot appetizer was a mushroom cap stuffed with tasso smoked pork shoulder, okra, cabbage, and celery, with creole seasoning. Delicious!

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I've driven by Park Ridge Organics many times on my way home from points south; it's located on my favorite side of the lake -- the side less traveled. I live at the north end of Lake Winnebago and if traveling from points south, until I'm through Fond du Lac at the bottom of the lake, I have options -- continue racing up US Hwy 41 on the west side of the lake, or take a right for a more leisurely drive up the east side. It's 2-lane state highways that mosey through small towns, picturesque farmland, the Bible Belt of Wisconsin, and offers some of the most beautiful views of the lake.

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The 3-course meal was simply spectacular. For several days afterward, it was the standard by which I seriously judged every morsel that dared come near my lips, lest my tastebuds and the memory of that wonderful meal be sullied. Hello, FOOD.SNOB.

We began with a salad - green beans, romaine lettuce, pickled walla walla onion, cherry tomato, Sartori BelliVitano Gold cheese, dressed with a macadamia nut-dill vinaigrette.

The beverage pairing was a choice of 3 Sheeps Cirque du Wit wheat ale or Guild White Wine (there was a local connection, but I don't remember what it was). I chose the ale.

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The entree was fresh grilled pork loin and lemon-braised pork shoulder from Golden Bear Farm, served with snow peas and pickled kohlrabi, caramelized green and purple kale with carrot, celery and walla walla onion, and deer creek cheddar grits.

Um. We pretty much licked (in a manner of speaking) all of the service plates clean!

The beverage choice was 3 Sheeps Really Cool Waterslides I.P.A. or Guild Red Wine; again, I chose the beer.

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The final course was dessert. Oh my.

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Brachetto cherries and Berry Dairy black & red raspberries served with oatmeal crumble, and topped with celery and lemon balm ice cream.

Um. Yes, you read that right:  CELERY ICE CREAM! It was so fabulously different and delicious. I loved it.

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And then it was time to drive home.

They have a 5-course farm dinner coming up next month... I've been invited and am so tempted, but not sure it'll work out.

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But someday I shall return!

And someday, somewhere, I shall also be Outstanding In the Field.

 

07 July 2014

The 4th of July

I squeezed about 20 lemons by hand (4 full cups) and grated a half-dozen small beets (1 cup) to make Beet Lemonade!

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Rusty, Maddy and I each had a little taste, and it declared it DELICIOUS!

About mid-morning, I loaded it and a bunch of other stuff into my car and ran off to do the next thing.

And everything was great until the jug fell over and dumped the lemonade all over the back seat. I heard it, realized what was happening, and watched it slosh, but there was nothing I could do about it. Ugh. It was a quadruple batch, so that would be about two gallons. There was maybe a quart that didn't spill. The rest was on the floor, soaked into the seat, dripping out of the pocket on the door.

Not good. A big mess. I was hurrying = not thinking. I also had to change my clothes about 3 times in the span of :30. There was about an hour where I was coming off the rails!

DEEP BREATHS... and ReaLemon to the rescue. I just didn't have it in me to start over with the lemonade. I floated a sliced lemon and some strawberries on top to make it look pretty. meh.

Meanwhile...

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It was a beautiful day. No doubt Mom would have made a few tweaks, but I think she'd have approved of our 4th of July decor. I am especially happy about the two small buntings on the window box -- she'd have loved that!

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There was plenty of food! We had grass-fed beef patties and Johnsonville Brats (the best), and I made some pulled pork with some of my favorite Howling Wolf BBQ Sauce, along with baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, chips, lots of fruit, some cheese, cookies, and...

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PIE!! Apple, Blueberry, and Cherry! Rusty made them on Friday morning; the cherries freshly plucked from Ali & Rod's back yard tree on Thursday.

 

20 December 2013

Chili All Day

The main reason I cooked our spatchcocked turkey well in advance of Thanksgiving was because I needed to make Turkey Soup for our family gathering after Saturday's baby shower and that's how the timing worked!

It turned out that Maddy was such a huge help with party prep on Saturday morning that I actually had time to run home and get a pot of Chili All Day started before the shower began. I'm so glad I did, too, because even though "turkey soup" is different than roast turkey or turkey sandwiches... it was still only two days after Thanksgiving and some people were turkey-ed out! Guests were gracious and tried both soups, but were very grateful for the non-turkey offering.

The get-together was the perfect cap to a rather drawn out and different Thanksgiving... more like a season than a day, with cake and baby gifts. Maddy, my sister Karen, brother Mike and his wife, Ali and Rodney, Rod's two brothers and their families, and his parents all came over... it was pretty great.

Christmas is going to be drawn out and different this year, too, but I'm sure it will also turn out pretty great!

So, I started writing this post on December 2nd and nearly had a heart attack when I went to link Abbey's Chili All Day recipe, as I have countless times over the years, and found that her long-neglected blog has now been entirely removed! I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later; that original post is from October 2004! Thank goodness for the Wayback Machine! I don't want to depend on that, though, so I'm sharing it here for all time (which is, obviously, a relative term in blogging).

Chili All Day

1 ½ - 2 lb. beef stew meat, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 large onion, diced large
6 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
2 Tbsp. dark chili powder
3 Tbsp. ground cumin (more or less)
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ tsp.(or more) ground cayenne pepper (if you like it hot)
½ bottle of beer

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can of Bush's chili beans w/sauce
2 14 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 oz. pkg. of sliced mushrooms

In a large pot, over high heat, sauté beef in olive oil until browned. (Or roast it, as I sometimes like to do.)

Add onions and continue to sauté until golden.

Reduce heat to medium and add all spices, stirring well and sauté until garlic is tender, but not browned.

Add beer and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, and sliced mushrooms.

Stir well and let simmer with cover on for 30 minutes or longer (longer is better....the meat will be more tender).

* If the chili is too thick for your taste, add the remaining ½ bottle of beer (if you didn't already drink it).
* If the chili is too thin, add a small can of tomato paste.

Enjoy!

And here is the summarized story of Chili All Day, in a nutshell (because my kids people always ask):

Abbey's kids were getting ready for school one cold morning in 2004, and as they were waking up she told them, "Dress warm because it's going to be chilly all day."

After dropping the kids off at school, Abbey decided that it would be the perfect day to cook a pot roast for dinner.

When she went to pick the kids up from school that afternoon, the first thing her daughter said was, "I can't wait to have chili for dinner!"

Abbey said, "I didn't make chili for dinner."

Her daughter replied, in that pre-teen argumentative tone, "Yes you did! You told me this morning that you were going to make chili all day!"

Ha! If she had made chili that day, she'd have used the recipe shared above.  :)

Bon appetit. And happy weekend! I feel unsettled with a weird work schedule and not really prepared for next week. There's sort of a plan, but it's very loose and then there's the weather throwing a slippery layer of ice and snow on top. It'll work out, I'm sure, and perhaps some clarity will come over the next couple of days. Let's be merry!

 

24 November 2013

I have...

SPATCHCOCKED!

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Therefore, I must BE.

Crisp-Skinned Butterflied (spatchcocked) Roast Turkey: here. The slideshow immensely helpful -- doubt I'd have tried it, otherwise.

It's still in the oven. That's a fresh 13-lb turkey and it will cook in about 90 minutes. I haven't done all the pre- stuff, because I haven't been very good lately at reading *all* of the directions and fine print, but I'm confident that it will be amazing. It sure smells amazing in here. I also have the beginnings of an awesome soup (not gravy) on the stove.

I love trying new things in the kitchen.

 

24 October 2013

The beet goes on

First of all: ROASTING!

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Lord knows, I'd eat almost anything drizzled in oil, beautifully seasoned with plain salt and pepper, and ROASTED. Whatever it is, roasting makes it a million times better.

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I used my new* favorite cookbook, Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan, and made Belly Dance Beet Salad. The original/prototype recipe can be found here, with lots of good discussion in the comments.

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Ahem. Do as I say, not as I do: put the pistachios on the upper rack for toasting in the oven (not the lower, as shown above). Those burned, of course, and I had to quickly shell more nuts to toast on the stove (which is probably what I should have done all along).

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I think I had slightly more than 2 lbs. of beets. Most of them were VERY small, so I chopped top and bottom and roasted them whole; others were halved or quartered and there were a couple that were pretty large, chopped to make more or less uniform. I loved that I didn't need to peel!

After roasting, the beets were cooled a bit and chopped again to about 1/2-inch size pieces. Actually, I was a bit behind, so I chopped them so that they would cool down quicker!

Dressed with a combo of orange juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and spices, and tossed with the toasted nuts and sliced green onions, it was DELICIOUS! I don't have an aversion to beets, as do some, including my husband, but even he gobbled this up like crazy -- loved it and said they were the best beets he's ever had!

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Using another recipe in WF2, I dressed up some grass-fed ground beef and made Italian burgers. They, too, were delicious; moist and full of flavor. This book couldn't have arrived at a better time!

*One of my old favorite cookbooks is the original Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, which I have in electronic form... and would really like in physical form! That book is home to the recipe for The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever., which is still one of our hands-down favorites! I haven't made every recipe in that book, but I love every recipe I've made -- one of the best features in both books are the the options and "You know how you could do that?" ideas that Melissa includes for almost every recipe.

 

22 October 2013

Ten on Tuesday: That's delicious!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Foods I Regularly Eat That Were Exotic (or Unheard Of) When I Was a Kid

Hm. The foods of my childhood were mostly limited, but there were flashes of the exotic. Artichokes, for one thing; thanks to my Aunt Cece, we were introduced to artichokes quite early and we all *loved* them! They were truly exotic, as in hard to find in good shape in NE Wisconsin at any time of year -- the grocery clerk always needing to ask what it was in order to properly ring it up.

With a bunch of German farmers and wanna-be-farmers in my not-too-distant ancestry, I would occasionally hear stories about farming... and the raising & butchering of livestock. The fact that every bit of a hog, for instance, was used in some way -- that nothing went to waste -- made a big impression on me. True to her upbringing, Grandma Blum would serve her precious sulze with other cold cuts for lunch; my dad always had a jar of pickled pigs' feet in the fridge.

Dad liked smoked fish, anchovies, and sardines, too; I remember many sardine sandwich picnic lunches with my dad -- sardines, yellow mustard, white bread.

While Grandma preferred cheddar and colby, Grandpa (and also his son, my dad) had a fondness for the stinky Limburger and sharp Brick cheese.

Grandma Koenig died when I was only 8, but I remember gigantic boiled dumplings with gravy at her table -- my mother never made them, but I've had them since from the hand of my Aunt Arlene. My mother had some influence, too; there were the memorable Camembert cheese and smoked oyster phases of my youth!

Now, I didn't *love* all of these foods, but I tried them all (and did actually like most) and they were definitely a part of my childhood -- I'm sure that each one helped me be a bit more adventurous as an adult.

1.  Fresh vegetables. I'm serious. I think I grew up in the golden age of commercially canned vegetables. Thinking about it (esp. creamed corn) makes me want to hurl.

Tonight's roasting: broccoli & cauliflower. Perfect with our goat & beef burgers and a big glass of Malbec. #lastoftheweddingwine #haventmetaroastedvegetablethatidontlove #alsowine

Fresh roasted broccoli & cauliflower.

2.  Avocado. This was a very rare and special addition to a salad in my youth. For one thing, they were very high in calories & fat and that was a no-no. Not so now! I eat and enjoy avocadoes on a regular -- almost daily -- basis.

3.  Salmon. My dad was a fisherman, so we had plenty of wild lake fish at the table but never salmon; he didn't care for it, my mother didn't like its lingering aroma after cooking. I don't care for the aroma, either, but I love to eat salmon!

4.  Turkey burgers. Are you kidding? We had turkey at Thanksgiving -- whole, stuffed, roasted. Sandwiches & soup for a week after. Period.

Feeling nostalgic, or maybe it's that Thanksgiving is approaching, but all of a sudden, I've a hankering for a cold turkey breast sandwich on white bread, slathered with mayo and with a piece of iceberg lettuce!

5.  Any lettuce or "salad" green that isn't iceberg lettuce.

6.  Liver. Of course. I should clarify... BEEF liver was awful as prepared by my mom (everyone's mom); my dad would sometimes fry up chicken livers and they were great!

7.  Quiche. The eggs of my childhood were made only to be boiled, deviled, scrambled, or fried!

8.  Brown rice -- or any rice that wasn't preceded by "Minute" on the package!

#yum Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs... worth the wait! #itswhatsfordinner #onthebarbie

Shrimp on the barbie -- also unheard of in my youth (though I do recall steamed lobster)

9.  Sushi. I don't regularly consume sushi, but it was completely unheard of in my youth!

10.  Paprika... for anything other than to pretty up deviled eggs. My spice cupboard is bulging these days, thanks in part to at least three or four different types of paprika -- Hungarian, California, sweet, sharp, etc.

Bon appetit!

16 October 2013

Soup weather!

I made slow-cooker BBQ ribs last weekend, but the weekend before saw the first pot of soup for the season:

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Before & after adding the coconut milk.

Moqueca! Almost just as I learned to make it in Brazil. I used a little less cod and a lot more shrimp... because that's the way I like it! Maybe one of these days I'll find what I need to make farofa, which would definitely be served with this soup.

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Dinner is served!

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And lunch the next day!

It's been overcast, rainy, and much cooler here the last few days... Soup Weather is definitely here and there'll be another pot bubbling on the stove today.

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{ m e s s y  k i t c h e n }

 

24 March 2013

Soup's on!

I've made this a couple of times in recent weeks -- a little different each time, but basically Bella's Carrot, Orange and Fennel Soup from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery.

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Carrot and Fennel Soup

2 T. coconut oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped fennel
Sea salt
3 lbs. carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 tsp. orange zest
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
4 c. organic vegetable broth
4 c. organic chicken broth
1 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. maple syrup

Heat the oil in a soup pot, then add the onion, fennel and a bit of salt. Sautee until golden. Stir in carrots, orange zest, spices, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Sautee for a few minutes, stirring until well combined. Add 1/2 cup of broth and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Pour in the remaining broth, another dash of salt, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Puree with soup until very smooth. I've used both a hand-held blender, blending the soup right in the pot, and in small batches using a traditional blender, and they both worked fine.

Return the soup to the pot over low heat, stirring in the orange and lemon juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Taste and made adjustments as needed.

It's a lovely soup! Next time, I might add coconut milk to make the "creamy" variation.

* * * * * 

Random.org says it's Lucky #7! Dcalaneknits, look for an email with a request for your mailing address, and I'll get a copy of Keep Out!: Build Your Own Backyard Clubhouse: A Step-by-Step Guide in the mail to you! Thanks everyone, it was a blast to read all those comments and memories about clubhouses and forts.

 

27 December 2012

What's working, what's not

Well, it's "the holidays" and, considering that it's the holidays, I think I'm doing okay. My weight has fluctuated a bit but given the added imbibing and indulgences, I am very okay with that; last Saturday I finally hit 30 pounds lost.

Thirty pounds! That translates to something like over 100 pounds of pressure taken off of my knees (and, I suppose), ankles, and toes.

My back is finally feeling better. I was beginning to wonder if I had a kidney stone. Oh! You want to know what my sweet daughter said? She told me that my sore back could have been my body adjusting to the weight loss -- Whoa!! Isn't that the sweetest thing?

So, what's working? I've been trying to use my Yummy - Paleo Pinterest board more, especially for things I find online. The stellar Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs and Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potatoes that I made at Thanksgiving are both there. They both made encore appearances at Christmas and were devoured! I've recently pinned, made, and loved Balsamic-Glazed Drumsticks and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (once with added carrots) -- balsamic vinegar obviously being my new best friend! The brussels sprouts also were requested at the Christmas table, also, and I was happy to oblige.

And I've finally made cauliflower "rice." I'm SO happy that I found this video... OMG, so fast & easy! It takes longer to get the equipment out than it does to chop and "rice." (I have an old Osterizer commercial blender, so that's what I used and it worked great!)

(And isn't that funny? I have a Big Red Kitchen, too!)

I usually rice a whole head at a time. Sometimes I cook it all up (in batches) and store the leftovers that way, but I've also stored the extra uncooked. It's super fast to prepare, either by sauteeing or just throwing it in a pot with some butter. Most important of all, it was very well-liked by all -- including Rusty, never a huge fan of cauliflower and an almost daily consumer of real (brown) rice!

I've roasted cauliflower (and broccoli - sometimes together), too, and it is SO yum. I have been winning people over with the roasting, especially when I do it with my new best friend (balsamic vinegar), and even the previously detested brussels sprout has been declared "delicious."

I'm still motivated and eager to try new things.

What's not working? OMG, the sugar!! It's hard to avoid right now, and I've indulged, but waking in the middle of the night with horrible heartburn tells me how much I've OVER-indulged -- as do some other "systems" conditions. This all serves to remind me how far I've come and just how much better I feel overall! I won't have time for a Whole30 before leaving for Brazil, but a Whole15 is looking pretty good!!

Also not working are some overly involved "weeknight" meals I've prepared. One of the things I like best about "paleo" is rediscovering how delicious and satisfying a simply prepared meal can be -- season, roast, steam, saute, or bake, sometimes serve with a simple sauce or glaze. I enjoy putting together an elaborate meal occasionally, but definitely not the norm.

Just for the record, it was a mid-afternoon Christmas Day meal this year at my house:

  • HoneyBaked Ham (Mom)
  • Rolls (Mom)
  • Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potatoes (minus dairy components)
  • Steamed Green Beans
  • Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Tortilla Wraps (Katie)
  • Gluten-free Bread w/Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar (Ali)
  • Apple Pie with Rice Flour Crust (Rusty)
  • Everyday Paleo Pumpkin Pie w/fresh whipped cream

And before I even knew it, Annie had the kitchen all cleaned up! That works!!

 

27 April 2012

Baked eggs

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It's what's for dinner... yesterday... and lunch today! I've made them before, and here is the recipe I've been using.

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At this point in the process, all of a sudden, I realized that the light wasn't too bad and I could take pictures! I'd already cooked the prosciutto and steeped it in half & half. I'd also realized that I didn't have any spinach, but found some left-over peas in the fridge. Hey, why not?

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So there's a tiny bit of butter at the bottom of each dish, prosciutto, peas, a spoonful of half & half, an egg, another spoonful of half & half, a smidge of sea salt, and some pepper.

Last time, I'm sure I used a whole lotta butter and the heavy cream. Next time, I will probably cut the butter even further, perhaps just "greasing" the dish, or possibly using olive oil; I think I'll still use half & half, because I like the richness, but maybe only half... of the half & half.

I love a recipe I can play around with.

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Last time, while not overcooked, they were cooked very well. This time, I baked them for just a little less time and they were perfect -- the whites thoroughly cooked, the yolk still soft.

I have to say that I love love love the Pampered Chef 1-cup Prep Bowl Set that I bought from my cousin's wife, Jane. I don't remember if my sister Karen was a one-time consultant, or just hosted now and then, but I've purchased a few PC items over the years. I have some favorites, and these bowls shot right up to the top -- not only are they are PERFECT for this recipe, they also have COVERS, so I've been using them for leftovers and for packing my lunch. Love.

Do I need to say that I'm not getting paid to say that? I'm not. Jane doesn't even know that I'm talking about/linking her!

Happy weekend, ever'body!

09 April 2012

Yesterday = Yummy

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Such a tasty, beautiful, colorful plate that I had to shoot it twice.

We were pretty into dessert, apparently: I made poppy seed cake, Kate came over and made lemon bars, Kevin made carrot cake, and Mom had a small cheesecake from the store.

Easter Bunny brought a small bag of jelly beans, some Andes mints, and "bunny ear" Kit-Kats.

I believe I consumed more sugar yesterday than I have in the past month. I'm amazed that I didn't wake up with terrible heartburn at 3 a.m. Must've been good quality sugar, or the little bit of cheese and the (only slightly exaggerated) half-gallon of milk I consumed in the evening hours helped to neutralize and/or dilute it.

Busy week. How 'bout you?

 

30 March 2012

Mmmm, roasty!

It's no secret that I love stuff that's roasted.

I love Roast Beef Soup.

I love roasting the beef for Chili All Day.

I love roasting tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, herbs, etc., for Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce.

I love roasting veggies for Roasted Vegetable Soup.

I love making Smashed Roasted Potatoes.

New favorite: Ina Garten's Roasted Asparagus. (God, I love that woman!) I have done this several times already this spring! It could not be simpler... preheat the oven to 400F; wash and prep as for any other method; I dry the spears off a little bit and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with just a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt; I shake and rattle the pan a little bit to distribute it evenly and so the spears are "coated" all around. Since it's often just two of us, I usually make only a pound at a time and decrease the cooking time a bit. But not too much, because OMG, the ROASTY YUM!! I just love how some of the smaller spears get kind of CRISPY -- and especially the tips -- and I even said to Rusty tonight, as I gobbled 'em up, that parts of them are almost like ASPARAGUS CHIPS!

Strange but true, and so delicious.

You're welcome.

Happy weekend, people!

 

10 January 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Soup's on!

Ten on Tuesday: 10+ Favorite Soups

1. Potato -- including all variations, such as Potato-Leek. I don't make it often, but I sure do love it.

2. Split Pea Chowder. My mom makes this using a recipe in the Picture Cookbook from LIFE Magazine, circa the year I was born. This is an orange, oversized cookbook that is integral to my childhood and development, as is The Torch Is Passed and a gigantic Michelangelo art book that was so heavy we always looked at it two-at-a-time. This soup calls for a tablespoon or two of whole peppercorns and, though not always successful, I've been dodging peppercorns in my soup ever since I can remember and can't imagine it any other way!

3. Chicken -- also including all variations, such as what we throw together using leftovers after roasting one (some better than others), and Chicken Dumpling Soup from a local restaurant called Mary's.

4. Chili All Day. I have praised this soup year after year, sometimes numerous times a year. Delish!

5. Beef Stew. This is another recipe from the LIFE cookbook. Also, Carole's Roast Beef Soup -- I love the flavor! And, because of Carole's Roast Beef Soup, I have roasted beef in the oven (rather than browning on the stove) for other recipes -- such as Beef Stew and Chili All Day.

6. Vegetable with or without ham, always with lots of cabbage, carrots, and celery; often with potatoes; sometimes with rutabaga.

7. Bean With Bacon -- Campbell's.

8. Tomato -- also Campbell's, though I've made homemade Cream of Tomato Soup and it is divine. I like to make mine with milk and it is best served with a grilled cheese sandwich (made with white bread, butter, and sliced, but not ever individually wrapped, processed American cheese).

Spinach
9. Cream of... almost anything. When we were kids Mom used Cream of Mushroom soup... as soup. Most people have an "Ew" reaction to that, as they've always only ever used it as an ingredient. When I met my husband, he used Cream of Celery soup as... soup... and I had an "Ew" reaction, having never used it in any way, shape or form EVER. Well, I ate it. And it was good! And now my kids have grown up eating Cream of Celery soup, too! (No one around here was ever a fan of the 'shroom as much as me.) I've also made Cream of Spinach (shown above) and Cream of Asparagus soup from scratch -- and I should like to do that again this spring when it's in season again.

10. Quick Minestrone.* I have a recipe at home that's almost nothing but opening cans of beans and tomatoes and chicken broth, adding some spinach (frozen or otherwise), and some orzo (or other small pasta) -- it was always a great stand-by recipe for busy weeknights!

11. Cioppino -- or any fish soup, stew, chowder, or boil. A whole bunch of my favorite worlds collide right there -- I love to make it, and to eat it.

12. Turkey. You might think, Isn't this the same as chicken? But no, it is not the same. There's a recipe in an old Holiday Cooking magazine that started us on a (somewhat lapsed but not forgotten) tradition of making it with homemade noodles -- good ones can be found at the grocery, but homemade... Mmm.

*I just found this recipe in a post from December of '09, so thought I'd share again. 

QUICK MINESTRONE SOUP

16-oz. can cannellini beans
16 oz. can red kidney beans
16 oz. can seasoned-for-pasta tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. orzo
season to taste

Combine beans and tomatoes in a large pot. Add chicken broth, spinach, and orzo. Bring to a boil, stirring to break up spinach. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender. Makes about 10 cups of soup.

See? Couldn't be easier. You've never tasted a more delicious "homemade" soup that came from so many cans.

30 December 2011

Deemed even better the 2nd time

I made Roasted Potato Stacks again for our Christmas Eve dinner (photo recycled from Thanksgiving).

After

The first time I made them, I had help; the second time, I was on my own. There's a lot of slicing and layering of potatoes with brushing of garlic-infused olive oil and it's a perfect-for-teamwork recipe.

Not only was I working by myself at Christmas, I was also a little behind and needed to find a way to speed up the process. I needed to get the oil on the potatoes quickly. My first thought was to go the shake-and-bake route, but that works best when there's a dry component... not so much with only garlic and oil.

I ended up going old-school with a big bowl and a spoon (and no plastic waste) and just stirred it all up. I'm sure some potato slices were oiled up slicker than others, but in the end it worked out great. An empty platter and calls for more were testament to that. I sprinkled with sea salt, pepper and, this time, a little rosemary in place of thyme. Yum.

I need another 12-cup muffin pan!

 

28 November 2011

Weighing in

I had a great track for a post going in my head while I was in the car this morning, but I lost it along the way and I haven't been able to find it again. So, I'm falling back on photos today... photos of food. It's a good thing the blog doesn't ever have to weigh in.

These are some I took last summer for Ali at the coffee shop. I don't think I've shown them before -- maybe a couple. If I did, think of it as going back for seconds.

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Sandwiches and salads. That's not so bad. I think that's a Goud-Asparagus panini.

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Coffee is good.

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Coffee drinks are yum, especially frozen blended ones that include chocolate and a little fresh whip!

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Mmmmuffins.

Remember, photos have no calories!

 

22 October 2011

Squash Lasagna

My search for the Pumpkin Lasagna that I remember has been unsuccessful; even a request to the source didn't come up with exactly what I was looking for... the one that I remember. She sent a LOT of other great, savory squash recipes, though, and is one of the few people I know who is an actual Gourmet Cook, so it's entirely possible she just made it on the fly with whatever she had that day.

I made this: Butternut Squash Lasagna*

I used acorn squash instead, because that's what I had. I partially cooked it this afternoon, in the same manner that I'd cook a pumpkin (halved, cut-side-down in a pan w/1/4-inch of water at 350F) and then stored it in the 'fridge until I was ready to assemble. Lemme just say that acorn squash isn't really something you want to peel. I sliced one and then cut off the shell, but mostly I just scooped it out as slab-like as I could. There's that to keep in mind. I used two small and one large squash.

I used a combo of grated mozarrella and gruyere, and didn't use the Sage/Lemon Brown Butter, but otherwise followed the recipe and IT WAS SO GOOD! I had to share... and record what I did before I forgot.

The recipe in my mind did not use lasagna noodles, did not have meat of any kind, and the squash was not mashed, pureed or cubed -- it was sliced. It took a few intensive searches to finally find the recipe above, and I found it on Pinterest! Yay!!

*No photo... that time of year is here! It is my goal, before too long, to have a semi-permanent lighting set up that I can haul around to wherever in the house I'm working... sewing in the front room, knitting in the living room, cooking/dyeing in the kitchen (never at the same time), whatever, wherever!

 

03 September 2011

Good enough to eat

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Yes, I actually took it outside to photograph. When purchasing my next house, kitchen light will be a huge consideration!

For some reason, I bagged up and froze the entire first batch of tomato sauce. Today, I'm making the second and we'll be having it fresh over some pasta and probably with some CSA eggplant.

That's about 8 pounds of red tomatoes and one nice looking heirloom from the CSA some orange cherries that were in the 'fridge; some yellow cherries that I picked up this morning, along with some garlic and peppers (also in the pan), at the farmers' market; 3 enormous onions; 3 varieties of my own fresh basil; and some dried herbs, seasonings, and olive oil from the kitchen cupboard. As it was all tossed in above; and after a stir, below.

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I thought for a sec this morning that my oven wasn't working, but all is well. It hasn't even been in for a half-hour and already smells AMAZING!

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I can't wait for supper!

07 July 2011

Groceries

CSA Week 3:

image from www.flickr.com 
This is the full share -- two quarts of strawberries, about two quarts of sugar pea pods, two bunches of garlic scapes, a bunch of radishes, and a large head of romaine lettuce (somewhat obscured by the styling of the radishes). The strawberries were probably the last we'll receive this season -- they were really yum, too.

I made Strawberry & Feta Salad using some of the romaine and garlic scapes, and with strawberries that I had to buy at the store because the ones from the CSA box sort of disappeared. It was delicious! I used nearly a quart of strawberries in the salad (because I had them, and why not?), and would probably cut the oil at least in half next time.

image from www.flickr.com 
We grilled some shrimp on skewers over the weekend and I cut up the left-overs to use in my standby summertime pasta salad (in place of the most-often-used tuna) -- I also used some scapes and some thinly sliced radish. There were more radishes in this week's box (below) and I'll be pickling a la Margene!

CSA Week 4:

image from www.flickr.com 
This week there were two bags of spicy mixed greens (not shown because they were in the sink at photo time and I couldn't wait because the light was fading!), some swiss chard, two bunches of radishes, two bags of sugar snap peas, two pints of Michigan blueberries, FOUR more bunches of garlic scapes, a zucchini, and a patty-pan squash.

I think I'm going to try roasting some sugar snap peas... I love roasting stuff! I haven't quite decided about the squash -- I love squash, though, so it'll get eaten even if it's just steamed or sauteed... or roasted. In fact, we roasted some zucchini last night and I have some in my lunch today, along with some of those spicy mixed greens and blueberries.

image from www.flickr.com 
Don't they look fabulous?

Speaking of blueberries, Katie made the most amazingly simple, delicious, not-too-sweet dessert the other day -- Scottish Blueberry Dessert with English Custard. I can't stop thinking about it -- how easy it was, how to play around with it, and how it is that my grandmother never made it. It seems so much like something Grandma would have made.

23 June 2011

Goodness

image from www.flickr.com
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This is my half (I'm splitting with Ali) of the Week 2 delivery from our CSA. I've packed my lunch with a little bit of everything today.

Is it lunch time yet?

image from www.flickr.com 
I can't stop looking at it. I picked up eggs on the way home, too. Our CSA offers an egg share, but they were sold out by the time I signed up; they also offer additional shares in fruit, honey, maple syrup, bread, and late-season produce. We kept it fairly simple this year as first-timers, though we did each buy a late-season share in addition to the full share that we split.

I forgot to photograph the Week 1 delivery. Imagine... two types of popping corn, fresh rhubarb, fresh asparagus, and wee tender new garlic.

image from www.flickr.com
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The eggs are from a hobby farmer named Matt that I play phone tag with a lot. Eventually, we connect and I usually pick up a few dozen eggs at a time. This week, they were mostly shades of soft, gorgeous green.

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Heh. I can't stop looking at these, either.

image from www.flickr.com

That's one of my brand new, home-grown, heirloom tomatoes! It's just a baby, but it'll grow. Kate's are even bigger -- she's blogging, so you can see for yourself (and say "Hello!").

The buttons are all sewn on the baby sweater for Project Spectrum June=Green! I've the day off tomorrow -- sisters are coming into town -- and a busy weekend planned (including the photographing of a small garden wedding on Sunday) (but also Monday off); even so, I'd like to get it written up. I love how it turned out!

09 February 2010

It's what's for dinner (with leftovers for lunch)

Dinner

I had a very busy day on Saturday.  I wanted to make a good dinner, but didn't have the time or temperament for slicing, stirring, simmering, and such.

Country-style pork ribs 

The cute little Nesco was a wedding gift from the Marshfield aunts and uncles.  The size is such that it doubles as a pretty good-sized slow cooker.  It's seen a fair bit more action than usual so far this year.

Howling Wolf BBQ Sauce 

I had purchased two varieties of Howling Wolf BBQ Sauce to try, and "The Original" was howling "ribs" to me.  The other variety I have is Cranberry Orange and I think I'll be doing some of this in a few days with a little of that.

Ready to roast

The ribs.  Country-style.  I rubbed half of them with Chicago Steak Seasoning from Penzey's that I had in the cupboard.  The other half were seasoned simply with salt and cracked pepper.

Cracked Pepper

I roasted them in the regular oven, first, for 15 minutes on each side at 400F.

Roasted and ready

I popped them into the roaster.

Sauced

Poured on the sauce and cooked 'em slowly for 5-6 hours ('til DH came home).  The meat was falling right off the bone!  In the end, it was impossible to determine which ribs were heavily or lightly seasoned -- they were all delicious!  The sauce was excellent -- rich and flavorful, with exactly the right combo of ingredients for the perfect kick.

Sunday lunch

It was so delicious and I was so hungry that I didn't even take pictures.  Those are leftovers that I had for lunch the next day.  Cold.  Nom.  So good!!

24 December 2009

Let it be known!

Decorated!

I have ornamented the tree with things most dear to me.

I had cookies for brunch yesterday; peanut butter balls and homemade caramels today.  I did just have some minestrone soup... with cookies for dessert... and a peanut butter ball chaser.  Oy.  Soon it will be all gone.

Speaking of minestrone soup -- this is a great recipe and QUICK, just as the title would lead you to believe.  It's a delicious, warm, nourishing soup that provides a great meal even when you're pressed for time -- as we all are this week -- throw in some ham or turkey, if you've got it, or some other kinds of beans, it's easy to play around with, too.  I have no idea where it came from -- it's scratched on the back of one of the kids' old "Book It" forms (my note from 12/4/93 says, "GOOD!)).

QUICK MINESTRONE SOUP

16-oz. can cannellini beans
16 oz. can red kidney beans
16 oz. can seasoned-for-pasta tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. orzo
season to taste

Combine beans and tomatoes in a large pot.  Add chicken broth, spinach, and orzo.  Bring to a boil, stirring to break up spinach.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender.  Makes about 10 cups of soup.

See?  Couldn't be easier.  You've never tasted a more delicious "homemade" soup that came from so many cans.

 

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