Sunday, September 29, 2013
Pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash- it's hard to even see them without thinking of crisp chilly nights, crunchy leaves, flaming bonfires and steaming apple cider. Orange food just seems right for fall, doesn't it?
A big bag of carrots in my vegetable bin inspired this colorful bowl of comfort for supper the other night. Carrots, sweet nuggets of goodness packed with beta-carotene and vitamin A, make this soup a fabulous choice for those chilly fall nights. (And it's not so shabby for lunch either!)
Carrot Ginger Soup
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (the smaller you chop them, the quicker they cook)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon curry powder
a few sprigs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
2 tablespoons minced or grated ginger (If you freeze your ginger root, then it's really easy to grate with a microplane grater.)
1 quart chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Gently saute onion and garlic in the butter and oil. Add carrots, thyme, ginger, curry powder, salt and chicken broth.
Simmer (covered) until carrots are tender. The length of time this takes varies, depending on your carrots and how large your carrot chunks are.
Remove sprigs of thyme and blend with an immersion or regular blender. (My immersion blender leaves the soup with a little more texture, and the regular blender makes it silky smooth. Be very careful with hot soup in a regular blender. Leave the vent lid open!)
Season to taste with freshly ground pepper.
Monday, September 23, 2013
I'm trying to
Pumpkin Spice Pudding Cookies with Pecans and Chocolate Chips
adapted from Sweet Treats and More
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 small box (3.4 oz) Pumpkin Spice Pudding (Jello)- I found this with the seasonal baking products at WalMart
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light.
Beat in dry pudding mix. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
Gradually incorporate flour into mixture. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
Use a large cookie scoop to drop cookie dough onto parchment covered baking sheets. (My large scoop is about 3 Tablespoons.)
Bake 8-10 minutes and cool on cookie sheet until cookies are sturdy enough to remove to a cooling rack. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.
Yield: 2 dozen large cookies. (Using a smaller scoop will yield more, and will probably require a shorter baking time.)
Friday, June 28, 2013
Cherry season is an anxiously awaited event in my household. Even though the price is dear, I can't resist stocking my refrigerator with the luscious ruby-red orbs, and keep a bowl on the counter for popping in my mouth every time I pass by. In addition to being delicious, they're a nutrition powerhouse, fiber rich and full of antioxidants. Way better than bon-bons for you, but with the same "curb appeal."
This summer rice salad showcases both sweet (fresh) and tart (dried) cherries. I don't even know where to start describing it. Saffron and curry scented rice, tangy and sweet cherries, crunchy pistachios and cashews, bursts of celery and chives, citrus and ginger dressing- it all comes together perfectly to make a mouthwatering bite. It pairs perfectly with grilled chicken or pork, but will easily stand alone as a delightful vegan (and gluten free!) main dish.
Jeweled Golden Rice with Cherries
from Eating Well, June/July 2006
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 can (14 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken (or vegetable)broth
1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon curry powder (your favorite)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 generous pinch crumbled saffron threads
3 Tablespoons canola oil (I used walnut oil)
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon freshly grated orange zest (I used dried)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger (I grated the ginger)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped celery
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped scallions or chives, divided
1 cup fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup unsalted nuts, chopped -pistachios, almonds and cashews recommended- divided
1. Combine rice, broth, water, curry powder, turmeric and saffron in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil,stir once, cover with a lid. Reduce heat to low (simmer) and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
2. Combine oil, lemon juice, honey, orange zest, ginger and salt in a large non-reactive bowl. Stir in the cooked rice, celery, dried cherries and 1/4 cup chives or scallions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (up to 2 days)
3. To serve, fold fresh cherries and 1/2 cup nuts into the rice mixture. Serve at room temperature, garnished with the remaining 1/4 cup scallions/chives and nuts.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Some of my berries were lucky enough to find their way into this buttery pound cake that is currently tempting me from the confines of its cake dome. Those beautiful bursts of blue make each slice of it just as hard to resist as the berries themselves. I'm taking it to my Mom's tomorrow for Sunday dinner- hope I can wait!
Fresh Blueberry Sour Cream Pound Cake
recipe from Taste of Home
6 eggs, separated (room temperature)
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
3 cups all purpose flour
8 oz. (1 cup) sour cream
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (may use frozen- do not thaw!)
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add extracts and butter flavoring.
2. Combine flour and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition.
3. In a separate bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter. Toss blueberries with about a tablespoon of flour. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the pan as the cake cooks. Fold blueberries into batter.
4. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 350F for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan to a rack to cool completely.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Since my chopping hand has been on the fritz, Hubby has been making most of our meals. I'm down with that, especially since he's a really good cook and has become quite proficient with his
I hope to share more of Hubby's grilling adventures with you soon! My cast comes off in three weeks, but I'm sure my hand will need at least a little more time to recover. I know when I've got it good. :)
Spicy Grilled Shrimp
Mark Bittman, from Fish, The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking
2 lbs. large shrimp (raw), peeled and de-veined, rinsed and dried
1 large clove garlic
1 Tablespoon coarse salt (I use only about a teaspoon and it's plenty for us)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
Finely mince garlic and mix with salt. Use the flat blade of your knife or a mortar and pestle to make a paste with the garlic and salt. Mix in cayenne, paprika, olive oil and lemon juice. Combine with shrimp until the shrimp is evenly covered with the spice mixture.
Grill or broil shrimp (hot fire) 2-3 minutes per side, or until done. Serve immediately or at room temperature, with lemon wedges if desired.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
My grandson in TX requested cookies, so I couldn't let a little thing like a bum thumb get in the way. I looked to Alton Brown and his mixer friendly recipe for The Chewy, and he did not disappoint me. The only change I made was to use dark brown instead of light brown sugar. And I chilled the dough overnight, which made it even harder to scoop left handed, but made for a nice compact cookie that didn't spread too much in the oven.
This cookie lived up to its descriptive name, and was still pronounced "yummy" (and still chewy) after a few days in the hands of the postal service. It's definitely a "keeper" recipe, especially since my trusty mixer did most of the hard work! And my grandson's smiles across the miles made it totally worth it. :)
Recipe from Alton Brown, Food Network
I followed the recipe linked above with a few minor changes I've indicated below.
Ingredients- If you have a food scale, I recommend weighing the ingredients- especially the flour.
2 sticks (16 Tblsp.) unsalted butter
12 oz. bread flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 oz. granulated sugar (about 4 1/2 Tblsp.)
8 oz. light brown sugar (about one cup) I used dark brown.
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 oz. whole milk (2 Tblsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. chocolate chips
- Melt butter over low heat. Cool slightly.
- In a stand mixer (using paddle attachment) mix butter and both sugars on med. speed for 2 minutes.
- Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. (I like to sift onto a piece of waxed paper.)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Add to butter and sugar in mixer (on low speed) until combined.
- Gradually pour in flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Once flour has been incorporated, reduce mixer speed to "stir" and add chocolate chips.
- Chill dough for at least an hour. (I chilled mine overnight)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Scoop dough onto parchment covered baking sheets.
- Bake 13-15 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your cookies. I used the medium sized scoop from Pampered Chef, and baked them about 14 minutes. Using this scoop, the recipe yielded about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
- Slide parchment (cookies and all) onto racks to cool. Remove cookies from parchment to rack when they've cooled enough to firm up.
Friday, March 22, 2013
I have no idea why this is called a Camper's Special, but I do know it's pretty special and I'm a happy camper when I eat it. It's my favorite thing to order at one of my favorite restaurants, Sammy T.'s, and I've been ordering it for years. What makes it special? Well there's the bean and grain burger smothered with grilled peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. And then there's the Chi-Chi dip (AKA hummus) hiding inside the cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) covered wrap. But really what I love is the Lemon Tahini Dressing that's served on the side. I wish they'd bring it in a vat.
I looked far and wide for a Lemon Tahini good enough to enjoy with my Camper's Special at home, and made countless batches from countless recipes. None were what I was looking for. But then I had dinner with a dear friend and there it was, hiding in plain sight on her salad- the elusive, delicious Lemon Tahini Dressing. Just what I needed to go with my homemade Camper's Special.
Even if you don't have a Camper's Special to eat with it, this Lemon Tahini is fabulous for pouring over your salads or drizzling on your stuffed pita sandwiches or for dunking your veggies. Please excuse me while I go make a vat of it.
Arthur Gordon, Irregardless Cafe, Raleigh N.C.
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. tamari
1/4 c. onion, minced
2 Tbs. green pepper, minced (My dressing looks a little pink in the photo- I used a red pepper)
1 stalk celery, minced
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 c. light olive or grapeseed oil
2 Tablespoons water (I omit this, because I prefer a thicker dressing)
Blend (or process) the tahini, tamari, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Puree well if you want a smooth texture. Process in lemon juice and white pepper. With motor running, add oil and then enough water to get desired consistency. I prefer it a little on the thick side but that's just a matter of taste.
Camper's Special Top your Bean and Grain Burger (recipe follows) with hummus, sauteed onions, green pepper, tomato and mushrooms. Wrap it in a grilled flour tortilla and top it with mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Heat at 350F until cheese is melted. Serve warm with lemon tahini dressing. Yum.
Bean and Grain Burgers
Recipe adapted from Sammy T's Published in The Best in the World: Fast, Healthful Recipes from Exclusive and Out-of-the-Way Restaurants
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1tablespoon olive oil
1 (19 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and ground or coarsely chopped
3 slices whole wheat bread, blended in food processor
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/3 cup raw wheat germ
Gently saute onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are slightly browned. Mix onions together with remainder of ingredients EXCEPT the wheat germ. Form mixture into 8-10 patties. Coat each patty in raw wheat germ and grill on a non-stick surface until heated through and gently browned.