Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta TBT

It's Halloween and I am making some dips for our annual cul de sac party but luckily it's also a Thursday and I know exactly what fast/easy/tasty dish to make. The spicy sausage pasta. (The sausage was even on sale!  It's fate!).  The family really loves this!  (and soooo easy!)  I left the cheese off this one and we didn't miss it.

Spicy Sausage Pasta
 olive oil
 smoked sausage
 diced onion
 cloves garlic, minced
 low-sodium chicken broth
 Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
 heavy cream
 penne pasta
 salt and pepper
 Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
 thinly sliced scallions

Recipe and instructions here

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spicy Onion & Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs

So I am still cleaning out my food stores. I was looking through all the recipes I have in my to try file and this recipe sounded yummy and I had everything I needed for it.  It was outstanding!  I loved it.  It was fairly easy too.  I didn't bother with the croutons, instead, I just added all the garlic to the soup and then gave everybody hunks of baguette.  Easier, less oil and still really delicious!  This is going to be a favorite of mine!  It was pretty spicy with the 1/4 tsp of cayenne, next time, I will most likely reduce this amount a bit and let the everyone spice up the soup to the heat level they prefer.  The person who really couldn't take it was the 3 year old.  Really amazing.  I am full but I want more now!

Spicy Onion-Garlic Soup With Poached Eggs

3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves minced
1 medium sweet onion cut into 1/8-inch dice
1/2 Tsp sweet paprika
6 Cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
4 ounces sourdough bread crusts removed and cut into 3/4-inch cub
4 large eggs
2 Tbl chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of
the olive oil. Add two-thirds of the minced garlic and cook over high
heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to moderate and
cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the onion and
paprika and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5
minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer the soup until reduced to 2 1/2
cups, about 30 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper and season with salt.
2. Meanwhile, spread the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and
toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and minced garlic.
Season the cubes with salt and bake for about 12 minutes, or until
golden brown and crisp.
3. Crack the eggs into 4 small bowls. Bring the soup to a simmer over
moderately low heat. Slide the eggs into the soup and simmer until the
whites are firm and the yolks are runny, about 4 minutes.
4. Ladle a poached egg and some soup into soup bowls and sprinkle with
the chopped parsley. Serve the soup immediately, passing the croutons on
the side.
Make Ahead The soup can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Parmesan Broiled Talapia

I am still boycotting the grocery, but I found this pin I had for Parmesan broiled tilapia that I happened to have all the ingredients for.  I grated my own parm so it was in thin shreds, I guess you could use the green tube stuff too, but I try to avoid that stuff.  It doesn't take very long to great parm.  I liked the recipe, but I didn't love it.  The kids on the other hand, loved it.  My son was pissed I only made him one piece.  The husband wasn't home for dinner, so I can't give you his opinion.  We had this with some corn on the cob (I just microwaved it) with some compound butter I had in the freezer and a salad with oil and vinegar.  It was a super fast dinner, and while not stellar, a solid 3.5 for me and higher for the kids.

Parmesan Broiled Talapia

Parmesan Cheese
Lemon Juice
Fresh Dill
(and I added a bit of salt since I use unsalted butter)

Recipe and instructions here

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grocery Boycott Day 2

Well the smells coming out of the crock pot aren't too bad, so that's a good sign!  It was an ok meal.  I totally didn't write down anything, so this post is worthless.  Sorry!  I threw some chicken quarters in the crock pot with some onion, whole canned tomatoes from the freezer, a chipotle pepper from the freezer and a chopped up onion, and a bit of water, salt, pepper and garlic.  Threw them all in frozen about 30 hours before dinner and cooked them on low.  Took them out, shredded them and served them with some refried beans I made, shredded purple cabbage and sliced radishes I needed to use an the rest of a block of cheddar that I also shredded.  Not fabulous, but it sure cleared up space in the fridge.  I think I will stop posting these improv dishes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grocery Boycott! Day One

I have had moments of madness before where I decide to clean out the bursting larders I have, but this time I am making a serious effort!.  I refuse to go to the store unless there is a crucial item we don't have.  (you know like milk or wine;)  I am not pinning these recipe, and I felt like I shouldn't even post them, but my husband said why not, so here I am with nothing to say about an all right meal.  I am kind of afraid of tomorrows meal!  I threw a bunch of freezer items (chicken legs, whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, chipotle chilies) in the crock pot and we will be having "tacos" tomorrow.  I am making refried beans just in case!  I do think this combination of items could make a really great dish, but this was me kind of just rummaging through the fridge and pantry and tossing in things that had no other use and needed to be used.

Pdoma Pasta

4 ounces of goat cheese (room temp and cut in 1/4 is best)
8 ounces of dried pasta
4 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of the oil out of the sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 red onion chopped
1/3 cup of walnuts chopped
1 cup of green beans cut in half
salt  & pepper
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tbs butter

Start the water for the pasta and cook the pasta while making the sauce
Saute the onion in 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tbsp. of the tomato oil until soft
Add in the green beans and cook until crisp tender.
Add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds then add the tomatoes
Throw in the goat cheese and stir until the pasta is coated.  Add 1 tbsp. butter and stir until melted.
Throw in the walnuts, taste, season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wonton Wrapped Mozzarella Sticks

cheese sticks on the bottom, ground beef on top
I have been seeing these wonton wrapped mozzarella sticks all over pinterest, and I was curious but not very hopeful.  Yes, I guess, they made a mozzarella stick of sorts, and the kids did like them alright, but my husband and I thought really bad.  Really, don't bother.  They didn't even hold together that well.  I had my husband go into the freezer for some other type of filling when I was making these, and that was a great call.  I have decided to take a break from shopping for new recipes.  We have lots of busy weeks ahead, and I can't put one more thing in to the pantry or fridge.  I will be playing chopped in my larders.  I may or may not post the recipes.  I don't foresee a lot of tasty dinners, but at least it will be like spring cleaning. 

Wonton Wrapped Mozzarella Sticks

8 string cheese
24 wonton wrappers
1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp of water
oil for deep-frying
salt and parmesan cheese

1.Cut each string cheese into thirds.
2.Brush each wonton wrapper with the egg wash, place cheese in the
center, fold edges up, and roll.
3.Heat oil to 375 and fry for 1-2 minutes, flipping half-way through,
until golden brown.
4.Remove from oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and salt. Serve with
marinara sauce if desired.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Savory Waffles With Cremini Mushrooms And Poached Eggs

My husband has been wanting me to try making Chicken and Waffles.  I would love to, but I haven't had them before and I'm not sure just what they should taste like.  Today is meatless Monday, and I saw this recipe, so I figure it would be a great place to start.  I really liked this.  If I were to complain about anything, it would be that I think it needed more of a sauce.  Perhaps I reduced the cream a bit too much.  With the mushroom 'sauce' as I made it and the runny yolk, it was just a tad dry.  I had another revelation, waffles are super filling!  I think I am going to be making savory waffles often! They are a quick and easy bread to make for a variety of open faced sandwiches.

Savory Waffles With Cremini Mushrooms And Poached Eggs
2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp freshly ground pepper
4 Tbl unsalted butter melted
1/4 Cup minced shallots or red onion
1 Tbl finely chopped rosemary
3 large eggs
2 Cup buttermilk
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 Cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2) or -red onion
3 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 Lb cremini or white mushrooms
1/2 Cup sweet sherry or Marsala
1/4 Cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tsp chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1 Tsp vinegar
8 large eggs

1. Lightly oil an 8-inch-square waffle iron and preheat it. In a medium
bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. In
another bowl, combine the butter, shallots and rosemary; whisk in the
eggs and then the buttermilk. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into
the flour mixture. 
2. Pour one-third of the batter into the waffle iron and bake until
browned, about 8 minutes. Set the waffle aside and bake the remaining
batter in 2 batches. 
3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic
and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened but not
browned, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, sherry, parsley and thyme
and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over moderately high
heat for 5 minutes. Uncover and add the cream. Cook, stirring, until the
mushrooms are tender and the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and keep warm. 
4. Bring a large skillet of water to a boil and add the vinegar. Break 4
of the eggs into the water, 1 at a time. Simmer gently over moderate
heat until the whites are firm and the yolks soft, about 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined platter.
Repeat with the remaining eggs. 
5. Meanwhile, cut each waffle into 4 squares and toast until crisp. Set
2 squares on each of 4 warmed plates. Arrange 2 eggs on each plate and
spoon the mushrooms on top. Pass the remaining waffles separately. 

Make Ahead The waffles can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for
up to 1 month before toasting. Serve With A light salad of butter
lettuce, red onion and orange slices.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Miso Dressing

I think I have found a new favorite dressing!  It was super tasty, and totally worth the work of chopping an onion;).  I made this batch and after using it on tonight's salad, I am confident that we have enough for at least 3 more big salads.  For out main meal, we had the fusilli with green beans pasta that we have had a record 3 times since the blog started.  (Shocking I know:)  It is our go to recipe for green beans.  Since I wanted a new recipe, I found a dressing.  It will be a regular in the dressing rotation.  The only ingredient I need to get somewhere other than my grocery is the miso, but I get that at the health food store around the corner from the grocery, so it isn't a hassle.

Miso Dressing

1/3 Cup roughly diced vidalia onion
1 small garlic clove peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 Cup plus 1 tbsp white miso
2 Tbl toasted sesame oil
2 Tbl soy sauce
2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
2 Tbl mirin
2 Tbl water
1 large pinch coarse salt
3 grinds fresh black pepper
1/4 Cup vegetable oil

Put everything except the vegetable oil in a blender and blend until
smooth. While blender is running, slowly stream in oil. Season to taste
with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Fusilli With Green Beans, Pancetta, And Parmigiano

1/2 Lb fusilli or other twisted pasta
4 Oz pancetta sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1/2 -
1 large clove garlic smashed and peeled
1/2 Lb green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 -cup)

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until
just barely al dente, about 1 minute less than package timing. Reserve 1
cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, put the pancetta in a cold 10-inch skillet and
set over medium-high heat. When the pancetta starts sizzling, add the
garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until starting to brown, 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the pancetta until golden
but still chewy at the center (taste a piece if you're not sure), an
additional  2 to 3 minutes. If the pancetta has rendered a lot of its
fat, spoon off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan.

Add the beans to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until they're
crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic and season the beans
with salt and pepper. With the pan still over medium heat, add the pasta,
   1/2 cup of the pasta water, and the butter. Toss to combine. Add
another 1/4 cup pasta water and 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Stir well and
season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add a little more
pasta water to loosen the sauce.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl. Grind black pepper over the top
and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Potato and Tatsoi Pizza

We have another first for me in my Front Porch Pickings basket, tatsoi.  I have had it mixed in to a variety of organic salad greens I have gotten from the store, but never all by its self.  So, I turned to my trusty Field to Feast book, and found this recipe for Potato and Tatsoi Pizza.  I didn't make the dough that was in the book, we were at a corn maze all day, but other than that, I followed the recipe exactly even though it cooked the pizza very differently than I do.  The result, the crust was a disaster, but the potato/tatsoi/ricotta combination was really great.  I think if I sliced the potatoes just a tad thinner on the mandoline, I could bake it for less time at 550 like I normally do and the potatoes will get done and crust would be better.  Then this would be really excellent!  We enjoyed dinner despite the uber crunchy bottom crust (the ends of the crust were hard like stale bread).  Also there was plenty of potatoes left.  I wasn't sure if the recipe called for 2 layers of potatoes or the two layers it spoke of was one layer cheese one layer potato.  I erred on the side of caution and only did one layer of potatoes.

Potato and Tatsoi Salad

1 lb pizza dough
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 large Yukon gold potatoes
2 cups tatsoi, roughly chopped
Extra Virgin Olive oil for drizzling
coarse salt to taste

(their instructions.  I would change heat and time)

Place a pizza stone or large rimless baking sheet int eh center rack of the oven and preheat to 450

Combine the ricotta, garlic, 1/4 tsp of the salt and the pepper in a small bowl an set aside

Slice potatoes very thinly using a mandoline.  Place potatoes in a colander and rinse off excess starch.  Toss the potatoes with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and let sit 10 minutes, allowing them to release the excess moisture.  Pat dry with a kitchen towel and set aside.

Form dough into a 14" circle.  Spread dough with ricotta mixture.  Top evenly with potatoes, creating two layers, and discarding any remaining.  Lightly drizzle with olive oil and bake 30 minutes.  (Lies!  it will be done much faster) or until crust is golden brown and the potatoes tender.  Slide out the rack and top with the tatsoi.  Bake 5 minutes longer or until tatsoi is wilted. 

Cool slightly (5 minutes) before slicing.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with coarse salt to taste.

I had plenty of extra potatoes, not tatsoi, so I made one just potato
pizza and drizzled some cream and truffle oil

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mushrooms Stuffed With Brie

I actually made this last night for a late evening with the girls.  The evening was full of laughter and great friends, the mushroom were meh.  I guess they are ok, but I had much higher hopes for two of my favorite things.  First of all, and I can't believe I am about to say this, but there was way too much garlic.  There was way too much topping in general.  I have made and eaten plenty of stuffed mushrooms and these were near the bottom of them all.  Sorry Pioneer woman, I have loved every other recipe of yours I have tried, and I enjoyed your post and laughed a lot, but I just didn't dig the mushrooms.

Mushrooms Stuffed With Brie

1 Pkg White Button Mushrooms Washed And Stems Removed
4 Clove Garlic Minced
1/4 Cup Flat-leaf Parsley Chopped
4 whole (to 5) Green Onions Sliced (up To Middle Of Dark Green Part)
Splash Of White Wine (optional)
1 Slice (wedge) Of Brie Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add mushroom caps and toss to coat in
butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook for 1 minute. Remove
mushrooms from pan and place upside down in a baking dish.

In the same saucepan (without cleaning it) throw in garlic, parsley, and
green onions. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and splash in wine, if
using. Stir around until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from

Cut rind off of brie wedge, then cut pieces of brie to fit each mushroom
cap. Place inside, lightly pressing to anchor each piece of brie.

Top mushrooms with parsley/garlic mixture.
Place into the oven for 15 minutes, or until brie is melted.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spicy Corn Chowder

For throwback Thursday, my son got to choose, and he choose a family favorite: Spicy Corn Chowder.  Other than getting the corn off 10 ears, the recipe isn't hard.  I suppose a slacker solution would be frozen, but cutting corn off the cob isn't that hard, and we even did it the day before.  We froze the cobs and are going to make corn broth with them later.  This soup is really amazing.  My family likes to add a few dashes of  Tabasco Chipotle Hot sauce.  It is smoky and with some heat that really makes the soup outstanding.  We don't bother with the cheese because it really doesn't need it.

Spicy Corn Chowder

1/2 Lb thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon (6-slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 scallions thinly sliced
2 celery ribs cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch d
1 Tsp fresh thyme
5 Cup fresh corn kernels (from 10 medium cobs)
1/2 Tsp pure chipotle chile powder
2 Cup half-and-half
2 Cup lower-salt chicken broth
1 large russet potato peeled and coarsely grated
Kosher salt
Grated white Cheddar for garnish (optional)

Cook the bacon in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot
over medium-high heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. With a
slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off
and discard all but 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat.

Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add the onion, half of the
scallions, the celery, bell pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add
the corn and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chipotle
powder and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the half-and-half and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the
grated potato, lower the heat to medium, and cook, covered, until the
potato is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt
and transfer to 4 large soup bowls. Garnish with the reserved bacon and
scallions, and the cheese, if using, and serve.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

London Broil With Crash Potatoes

I haven't made this marinade in years.  It came to me from a former manager of a Steak and Ale that was, then, working with my husband. They had used it on some steaks the cooked for an employee  cookout. I tried the steaks, loved them because they were tender and flavorful, and asked for the recipe. The funny thing was that my husband told me later the reasons the employees got steaks at the cookout, is they were being taken off the menu because of too many complaints of toughness. Now I guess it could be true I got the rare tender one in the bunch but I think it was the marinade. These particular steaks at the cookout were marinated for 3 days. I would only do that for really tough cuts of meat. I did this London broil for about 24 hours. The ends tasted to salty and too much like the marinade, but most of it was just right. I did not salt the meat at all.  I cooked it like I do my steaks (under the broiler) I just increased the time a bit and gave it a few minutes in the oven that was still hot but I had turned off the broiler.

Steak N Ale Marinade

3 parts pineapple juice
2 parts soy
1 part red wine vinegar
1 part red wine
granulated garlic

Mix all ingredients and cover meat with marinade.  Marinate overnight (or longer for tougher cuts of meat)



12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.
On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.
With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.
Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Posted by on June 2 2008

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baked Eggs With Chorizo And Potatoes

If you read my brief post on the tagine, you would know I had sausage issues with it.  I bought this raw chorizo they had at the store even thought I was sure the tagine called for cooked sausage.  I was quite annoyed with the tagine and my store.  Fast forward to today, and I am looking to make something with the superfluous chorizo I have.  I see this recipe in the to try file and I think it fits the bill nicely.  It was easy to cook and other than the potatoes taking like three times as long to brown up, the recipe was accurate and fast.  Let me tell you, once we tasted this, all was forgiven with the tagine.  I love that I made it because it caused this dinner to happen.  Oh myyyy!  If I were going to make any tweaks, I would have liked a tad more potatoes to meat in the hash.  It wasn't bad, but I tend to like less meat than most.  As it was, I was making it with only a pound of chorizo, and I used 1 pound 12 ounces potatoes which was a slightly higher ratio, but that is totally a personal thing and you can do as you will.   I also cooked the eggs a bit less than the time called for.  Most were perfect, one or two were a tad over done for my liking.  If you wanted to have this for breakfast, unless it is a weekend and you have time, I suggest you make the hash ahead of time and just reheat it before popping in the oven.  The note only suggests the boiling happening ahead of time.  While that may be slightly preferable, the browning of the potatoes was what took so much time for me, and I wouldn't want to do that on a weekday morning.

Baked Eggs With Chorizo And Potatoes

2 Lb medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 Lb fresh chorizo casings removed (see Note)
1 large onion finely chopped
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 large eggs
Toast and hot sauce for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and
cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook over moderate heat until
tender, about 25 minutes; drain and let cool. Peel the potatoes and cut
them into 3/4-inch pieces.
2. Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Add the chorizo, break
t into chunks with a wooden spoon and cook over moderate heat, turning,
until cooked through and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the onion
and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape the chorizo
mixture into a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
3. Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the potatoes, season with salt and
pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden
and crispy, about 6 minutes. Stir in the chorizo mixture. Remove the
skillet from the heat.
4. Using a ladle, make 8 indentations in the potato-chorizo mixture
about 1 inch apart; crack an egg into each one. Bake the skillet in the
middle of the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the egg whites are
just set but the yolks are still runny. Serve at once with toast and hot

Make Ahead The potatoes can be boiled a day ahead and refrigerated.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cast Iron Skillet Fondue

I wasn't sure how this would turn out.  It seems a super easy shortcut to fondue. (And I guess technically it is more of a raclalette??) It also boded ill when the instructions said Italian fontina was better and they only had Swedish, but dang if this wasn't a giant bowl of artery clogging goodness!  I had forgotten just how much fun fondue is.  I am determined to have it more often.  (I'm thinking Fondue First Friday??)  There was one injury when the little girl (who shouldn't really have had her own fondue fork, but...) kind of stabbed herself in the palm, but to be fair we were in the middle of telling her that fondue forks and crackers are a bad idea and she will get hurt.  I still don't think she believes it despite the crying, tantrum and several band aids required to soothe her.  I didn't measure the oil, but I don't think I had that much more than what was called for, but here was a ton of, albeit tasty, oil in the skillet.  Not complaining, just preparing for making it again;).  I did also use 2 cloves of garlic.  I don't think this will work with all cheeses, but the soft, high fat ones should be fine.  Best thing was when the cheese cooled a little, we just popped it in the oven again for a minute or two and took a 'salad break'.  That is kind of a good thing, because the salad was not going to be the star tonight.

Cast-Iron Skillet Fondue

extra-virgin olive oil
garlic clove finely minced
Italian fontina
dried thyme leaves
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
crusty French baguette

Recipe and instruction here

Yes they are blurry, I was in a rush to eat;)

Rushing again :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chorizo Tagine with Lentils and Fenugreek

This dish was frought with problems from the get go. The sausage!  Oh the dang sausage. Merguez wasn't going to be found in town but I had high hopes on the chorizo. Well they had the raw Mexican kind at publix and not the cooked Spanish kind that this recipe called for.  I settled for a hot Portuguese sausage.  (chorico?) that they had at the store.  I don't really like this sausage.  The instructions to cover the lentil with an inch of water was way, way too much!  I didn't even get a whole inch over the top, and almost none evaporated.  This made the tagine very runny and I cooked it longer to try and fix that by cooking is some with out the lid on.  The flavors were ok, and I would be willing to try it with the proper sausage, but it didn't wow me, but with merguez it might. (oh and less water;)

Chorizo Tagine with Lentils and Fenugreek

2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
2 onions chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 pound chorizo or Merguez sausage thickly sliced
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
1 cup brown lentils
14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped and reserve some for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Warmed flatbreads and plain yogurt for serving

Heat the oil or ghee in a tagine or heavy bottomed casserole.  Add onions and garlic and sauté until the they begin to color. Toss in the chorizo slices and sauté for one or two minute just to flavor the oil. Stir in the turmeric and fenugreek and add the lentils making sure they are well coated in the spices.  Add the tomatoes with the sugar and pour enough water to cover cover the lentils by 1 inch.* Bring the liquid to a boil reduce heat put the lid on and gently cook for about 25 minutes adding more water if necessary until the lentils are tender but not mushy.  Toss in 3/4 of the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Scatter the rest of the cilantro over-the-top and serve with warm flatbreads and plain yogurt


Too much liquid

Friday, October 11, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I dove in to my pasta Pinterest board and picked this recipe. I have seen several cook the pasta and sauce all together and have been leery of them, but I figured what the heck, go for it. I think the idea is sound, cooking the pasta in flavorful water makes total sense, but I was worried the pasta wouldn't cook correctly.  I worried for nothing with this dish. It was amazing, and it was super fast, easy and one pot & one cutting board to clean up.  Next time, I think I will leave out the cheese.  I didn't notice it and it seemed to just clump up on utensils and plates.  Not bad, just why throw it in there if you don't need it.  This is going to be one of my favorites!  Not only for it's taste, but easy and fast cooking.  It has a bit of heat, so if you are totally against that, you could use just the plain tomatoes, and I think that would be fine too.  I think that this recipe is a great base to create other recipes on.  Same technique, but vary ingredients.

Spicy Sausage Pasta
 olive oil
 smoked sausage
 diced onion
 cloves garlic, minced
 low-sodium chicken broth
 Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
 heavy cream
 penne pasta
 salt and pepper
 Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
 thinly sliced scallions

Recipe and instructions here

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chicken in Tarragon-Mustard Cream Sauce

The boy took the pictures.  Not great :)
For throwback Thursday, I chose a meal I didn't really want again as I was going to be out.  My husband loved this the first time we had it, and while I enjoyed the flavor, it was my issues with raw chicken, again, that prevented me from being able to enjoy it.  Even the boy likes it despite the presence of those evil mushrooms ;).

Chicken In Tarragon-Mustard Cream Sauce

3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Lb skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-in
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 Lb white mushrooms thinly sliced
1 large shallot minced
3/4 Cup dry white wine
1 1/4 Cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 Cup heavy cream
2 Tbl grainy mustard
2 Tbl chopped tarragon
Buttered noodles for serving

1. In a very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the
chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet in a single layer.
   Cook over high heat, turning once, until browned but not cooked
through,  4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to
a plate. Pour off any fat in the skillet.~
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the
mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned,
4 to 5 minutes. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add
the wine and cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Add
the stock, cream and mustard and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce
has reduced by half, about 6 minutes.~
3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and
simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3
minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tarragon. Serve with
buttered noodles.~

Yea not great pictures ;)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Salisbury Steak

I don't know what struck me.  I personally was never the hugest fan of Salisbury Steak, but when my son asked for beef tonight, I saw this on pinterest and felt the strong urge to play 50's housewife and make a good ole fashioned meat and potatoes dinner.  Perhaps it was that my darling husband had been away for a few days on business, perhaps it was the slight cooling in the air that had me thinking of family and the holidays.  Whatever the reason, we were having a bit of a retro dinner.  I was looking at the ingredients a bit askance, but most troubling for me, the bouillon.  I was worried it would be too salty and my cube didn't crumble in to fine powder.  I envisioned bites with little, but powerful bouillon bombs in them.  It turned out great!  My son adored it.  My only complaint, even cooking it a bit longer, the gravy was pretty thin.  I was afraid longer cooking would make it too salty.  Next time, I will add a bit more corn starch.

Salisbury Steak

Meat Mixture:
1 1/2 Lb lean ground beef
1/2 Cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Tbl ketchup
2 Tsp dry mustard
4 Dash Worcestershire sauce
1 cube beef bouillon crumbled (or powdered beef base)
Salt and pepper
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil

1 whole onion halved and thinly sliced (or diced if yo
2 Cup beef broth more if needed for thinning
1 Tbl ketchup
1 Tsp seasoning sauce such as Kitchen Bouquet, optional
4 Dash Worcestershire
1 Tsp cornstarch optional
Salt and pepper

For the meat mixture: Combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, dry
mustard, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon and some salt and pepper. Knead
until all combined. Form into 4 to 6 oval patties, and then make lines
across the patties to give them a "steak" appearance.

Fry the patties in a skillet with the butter and oil over medium-high
heat on both sides until no longer pink in the middle. Remove from the
skillet and pour off any excess grease.

For the gravy: Reduce the heat to medium and add in the sliced onions.
Stir and cook until golden brown and somewhat soft, for several minutes.
Add the beef stock, ketchup, seasoning sauce, if using, and the
Worcestershire. Then combine the cornstarch with a little beef broth and
add to the sauce if using. Stir and cook to reduce.

Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and more broth if needed for thinning.
Then return the patties to the gravy. Spoon the gravy over the top and
let them simmer and heat back up for a couple of minutes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mrs. Duvall's Crab Cakes

I made these years ago. I'm talking 10-12 years ago. I remembered loving them then.  While, I have grown, food wise, since then, I did still really like them.  They are, like all crab cakes, dependent on the quality of crab you are using. I totally splurged and spent $20+ on the meat.  That keeps this from being a regular night dinner. I needed 3 of the containers the crab came in, so I got 2 fancy jumbo lump and one more reasonably priced one. I think that worked well. We had all the nice lump crab that makes for a great crab cake, but also some of the smaller pieces to help fill in the cracks and assist the mayo/egg binder.   I think the crackers make a fine breading for the cakes too.  Oh and yes, the recipe comes from actor Robert Duvall's mom.

Mrs. Duvalls Crab Cakes
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
1/4 Cup onion minced
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tsp dry mustard
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Lb lump crabmeat picked over
1 Cup soda crackers finely crushed
2 Tbl unsalted butter
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
Lemon wedges

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, onion, eggs, Worcestershire
sauce, dry mustard, salt and cayenne. Fold in the crabmeat and 1/4 cup
of the cracker crumbs. Shape the mixture into 16 cakes about 1-inch
thick. Coat the crab cakes with the remaining cracker crumbs and
transfer to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. The crab cakes can be
refrigerated overnight at this point, if needed.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 2 tablespoons of
the oil. When the foam subsides, add half the crab cakes and cook over
moderate heat until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain the
crab cakes on paper towels, then keep warm in a low oven. Repeat with
the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil and cook
the remaining crab cakes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Eggplant Calzone

Well it's Wednesday and I realize I have forgotten all about my Meatless Monday recipe. I just kind of threw things together and as it was a few days ago, I can't be 100% sure of my measurements.  Also, I cooked it like pizza, and I think a lower temp with a longer cooking time would have resulted in a better end product.  Oh yeah, I'm not the one usually rolling out the dough, and as you can see from the pictures of it whole, it's pretty rustic looking;).  All that means is no real recipe tonight, just a bit of a recommendation.  The recommendation: diced roasted eggplant is a nice addition to a calzone or pizza for your meatless Mondays.  Also I like to have this as kind of a dinner diary, so I'm doing a post.  Sorry for slacking :D

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Callaloo with Sautéed Shrimp

I was super excited to have callaloo in this weeks FPP basket. I have seen it going out in the local basket, but it hasn't been in my basket on my weeks. Callaloo is a green. It can be one of several greens used to make a dish of the same name. (and I have no idea which particular one I got.  It can be used like spinach. However, as it is my first time with it, I wanted to use it in one of its traditional forms. What could fit the bill better the aforementioned soup named for the green?  Now, I was a little worried the boy wouldn't adore dinner. (He isn't a fan of greens in general and as a growing tween, he needed some extra calories!). Great call on my part. He really didn't care much for the soup. My husband and I (even the baby girl) really liked the soup. It was a bit spicy by itself, but served with the recommended rice mixed in to the soup it was perfect. (In fact we even added some hot sauce:).   It was a full meal even without the shrimp.  It would a great vegetarian, could even be made vegan, meal.  The coconut and sweet potato tamed the scotch bonnet nicely and the callaloo had a great flavor.  It was a little like spinach.  I loved it and thought it a great ingredient.  I like my soups pureed, so I did use my immersion blender right before serving.  I think it was better that way than chunky.  The shrimp came out good too.  I just sauted some bell peppers and onion in some butter and added a bit of tomato paste and jerk seasoning, and then a pat more of butter. 


2 Tbl unsalted butter
1 Cup chopped yellow onions
1 sweet potato peeled and small diced
2 Tsp minced garlic
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced seeded scotch bonnet pepper
1 Tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
1 Lb fresh callaloo leaves or spinach (about 8 cups of leaves), ribs/stems -discarded, well rinsed, and chiffonaded**
3/4 Cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 Cup water

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the
onions and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the sweet potato, garlic,
peppers, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook stirring for 30 seconds. Add
the greens and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and the
water. Cook, stirring, until the leaves and sweet potatoes are tender
and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Remove from the
heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Serve hot or warm with rice and hot pepper sauce on the side

 ** We just roughly chopped and then used the immersion blender just before serving

Friday, October 4, 2013

Vegetarian "Bacon And Eggs" Tofu Scramble Recipe

I have been curious about tofu scrambles and finally got the wherewithal to make one for dinner.  I thought this one would be the most kid friendly.  It was with one small exception: the "bacon".  It was not only the worst part of the meal, it was just plain gross.  It would have been delicious with out it.  I don't know if it is that bacon is so adored, iconic, inherently unhealthy, or what, but when you mess with it, it isn't good.  It looked so bizarrely unnatural too.  So, next time, no "bacon" in this dish.  Everything else was great.  I am looking forward to adding tofu scrambles to our meals.  I think I would really like it in a breakfast burritos with lots of salsa and some refried beans.  While I don't think it altered the flavor too much, the turmeric made the tofu look a lot like proper eggs.

Vegetarian "Bacon And Eggs" Tofu Scramble Recipe

2 Tbl olive oil
3 - 4 strips vegetarian mock bacon
3 Clove garlic minced
2 green onions chopped
1 red bell pepper diced
1 container firm or extra-firm tofu well pressed and mashed
1/4 Tsp turmeric
1/2 Tsp soy sauce
1/2 Tsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the vegetarian "bacon" in olive oil for a few minutes, just until
cooked but not crisp. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Return bacon to the pan along with the mashed tofu, onions, bell pepper,
turmeric and soy sauce, stirring to combine. Sautee for a 5 to 7 minutes,
stirring frequently and adding more oil if needed.

Remove from heat and stir in nutritional yeast. Season with salt and
pepper to taste.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Potato Latkes (TBT)

My son choose (and photographed) tonight's throwback meal.  He loves these latkes.  I was at a benefit at the Ormond Wine Co for breast cancer research. They made chicken fingers to go with it.  So, just a short post today.  Mostly for my personal information and to share what we loved so much we had to have again. 

Potato Latkes

Our Note: double everything but the egg, use  only 4 of them.  otherwise it is too soggy.

2 Cup potatoes Peeled And Shredded (4 cups)
1 Tbl onion Grated (2 Tbsp)
3 eggs beaten (4)
2 Tbl flour (4 tbsp.)
1 1/2 Tsp Salt (3 tsp)
1/2 Cup oil for frying

1.Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much
moisture as possible.
J2.In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt
3.In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil
until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil,
pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on
one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels. Serve

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Caramel-Filled Cookies

We took the girl to Sesame Street live tonight, so I baked cookies to have a recipe in lieu of dinner. 
While these tasted good, I am calling it a Pinterest fail.  Notice how they caved in on top?  They are also too big and rich to eat a whole cookie without feeling like you made a big mistake.  (ok my son disagrees because he ate 2!)  So while I am not advocating against the recipe or the idea of stuffed cookies, I don't feel that these were a total success.  They don't really come out of the muffin cup in one piece and you really should eat these with a fork. I am not a baker and I am fully willing to accept that it was all my fault.  In more skilled baking hands, perhaps these will come out as cookies instead of these molten cakes I achieved.  Still, it was a really tasty mess!  Ok I am being a perfectionist and feel like I messed up so I am complaining.  They tasted amazing and who cares how they looked!

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Caramel-Filled Cookies

¾ Cup butter softened
¾ Cup brown sugar
¼ Cup white sugar
1 egg
2 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tsp baking soda
2 Tsp cornstarch
½ Tsp salt
1 Cup milk chocolate chips
12 Ghiradelli Caramel squares unwrapped

Recipe and instructions here
caved in tops :(

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Date Steak

I got this recipe from a Nigella Lawson interview in NPR. It wasn't the one I heard her taking about when I set out to find the recipe, but I added it to the to try file anyways. So, when my boy asked for steak for dinner, I picked this one.  I liked the sauce more than expected to but it was a bit like A-1 and I'm not a fan of that type of sauce in my steak.  I would eat this sauce over the bottled processed kind, but I prefer a good compound butter over a BBQ type sauce.  I cooked the steaks the way I always do, under the broiler, but I did add the garlic oil she recommended.  I made that by smashing a clove of garlic and putting it in, oh lets say... 1/4 cup of olive oil and set it on the top of the stove where some of the heat from the oven would gently warm it while I prepped the sauce.

Date Steak
2 Tbl dark brown sugar
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl red currant jelly
2 Tsp chopped fresh gingerroot
1 Tbl tomato paste
1 Tbl garlic flavored oil
2 boneless strip steaks
Put the sugar, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, red currant jelly, ginger
and tomato paste into a small saucepan and whisk together over a gentle

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer for about 5
minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly; now take it off the heat
and leave to one side while you cook the steaks.

Either fry or grill the steaks: If you are frying, heat the garlic-
flavored oil in a heavy-based skillet or frying pan first; if you are
grilling, paint the meat with the oil before placing it on a very hot
grill pan.

Cook the steaks for about 3 minutes a side, for warmed through but still
rare meat  how long you need to cook them depends on the thickness of
the meat and, of course, how you like your steaks.

Take the steaks off the heat and double-wrap in aluminum foil; let them
rest for about 5 minutes out of a draft.

Open the foil and put any juices that have collected there into the
saucepan of barbecue sauce, whisking to mix.
Put the steaks on two warmed plates and pour or drizzle the sauce over
them, to taste.
Note: If you can only buy 1-pound steaks, then cook the steak for a
couple of minutes extra per side, or until done to your liking. You may
prefer to share one steak between two people, thinly sliced and
slathered in the sauce.