Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bones of the Dead

My husband and I are off trick or treating with our Queens, I mean kids. My parents will be here so please sit down, pour a cup of coffee and have a bone or two.

Ossi Dei Morti (Italian, Bones of the Dead)
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

2/3 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup ground almonds

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and then vanilla. Add flour, salt and almonds.

Grab a tablespoon of the mixture and shape into a bone, Bake at 400F for about ten minutes. They will not brown on top, do not overbake.

These are a not so sweet treat that you will really enjoy with some coffee or tea... or hot cocoa.

Update: My Mom wants to rename these cookies, "Just one more" cookies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The good people of Pom sent me a note and asked if I would like to review their product. I so willingly agreed. Why? Because I already liked POM. I can easily sing it's praises. It would also mean that they would be sending me a little stash of their liquid loveliness and I could create some POM recipes.

I already have made a few things and want to make a few more. So there will be more POM recipes coming next week.

The first thing that I made because I have been wanting to make it for some time now is a Pomegranate Martini. My inspiration came from Oprah's recipe but I will call this one my own because it is quite a bit differenet.

Now, you may be asking why I would take a healthy product (shown to be good for cardiovascular health, erectile function *yup* and prostate health) and add unhealthy alcohol to it. And I would like to say in reply, "cause I can, this is my blog". But no, what I will say is that an occassional moderate drink is actually good for you, I think, anyhow. It relaxes you and relaxing is very good for your body. Relying on drinks to relax all the time is probably not a very good idea but once in a while, why not?

Lori's Pom-etini
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

1 cup Pom juice
3 ounces vodka
2 ounces Grand Marnier
2 ounces simple syrup
spritz of lemon

Shake all ingredients together in a shaker with ice. Pour into 4 glasses- if you are really feeling indulgent, pour into two glasses.

Now, here is the redemption for my wicked ways - stuffed delicata squash.

Delicata Stuffed with Thai Sticky Rice, drizzled with Pomegranate Syrup
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

1 cup uncooked Thai Sticky Rice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Delicata squash, cut in half length wise with seeds scraped out and discarded
1/4 cup dried golden currants
1/4 cup walnuts chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan saute dry rice in the vegetable oil. When the rice becomes slightly fragrant add spices, stir one minute more. Add water, place cover on pot quickly because it will spit and sputter violently. Remove lid and bring to a boil. Replace lid and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Rice will take approximately 45 minutes.

While rice is cooking, place delicata squash cut side down on a cookie sheet and roast in a 425 F oven.

When rice is done combine 1 1/2 cups of it with the walnuts, s and p and dried currants. Turn delicata over, cut side up and spoon rice mixture into squash and return the squash to the oven. Bake for another five minutes or so.

Drizzle with Pomegranate syrup* and serve.

*Pomegranate syrup: combine 2 cups POM juice with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Boil and reduce to half.

If you want get really crazy I have to say that POM is wonderful in icing. It balances out the sugar with its nice twang. I did that here with Pomegranate Petit Fours. Since then I have become quite adept at cleaning them.

If you would like to find out more about the potential health benefits of Pom, check it out here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: French Macarons

It was really difficult for me to do this challenge. I so wanted to do the recipe the way I have been doing it. The way that has been successful for me. I fought this recipe the whole way, technique and all. So silly. I finally decided, especially when the first batch of macarons came out of the oven virtually footless, to treat this as an experiment.

Macarons ARE very temperamental. They like a little heat, certain baking trays, certain ways of folding, certain age of egg whites, certain temperatures of ingredients, certain this and certain that. Really. The best way to approach macarons is like an experiment. Don't think of it as pass or fail. Think of it strictly as a process. Take notes. Because your notes may be so different than my notes. Your pans may be thicker or your oven hotter. But the great thing, yah know, is that even if they flop, have no feet, or crack- they still taste good. No beauty contests will be won but they will still taste good.

See- they may not be pretty but these little hands kept coming back for more.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen.

Here are some of my past macarons:
Dulce de Leche as the picture implies.
Mint Macarons with chocolate ganache.
Peachy macarons

Pink Macarons with White Chocolate Cranberry Ganache
Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chinese Five Spice Pork Ribs

Last Saturday I pulled some ribs out of the freezer. I have been slowly whiddling away the meat in there so I can give the freezer a good cleaning and start out fresh. I went on Kat's blog, A Good Appetite so I could look up a rib recipe that I remembered seeing on her blog. And to my surprise she had posted a rib recipe that very day because she too was cleaning out her freezer.

Now, I know that I am not the only blogger that this happens to. I have heard other bloggers say they have run into a similar coincidental experience. So weird isn't it?

Incidentally, if you do not have Chinese Five Spice you can mix together 1 tablespoon ground star anise, 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoons crushed Szechuan peppercorns (regular pepper if you do not have this) and a pinch of ground cloves.

Chinese Five Spice Pork Ribs

(adapted from this recipe on Kat and Matt's blog, A Good Appetite)

1 rack baby back ribs, about 2 - 2 1/2 lbs
2 T canola oil
1/4 c soy sauce
1 1/4 c sweetened Mirin
1/4 c hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, peeled & minced
2 T honey

Place ribs on a foil covered broiler pan and sprinkle Chinese Five Spice on them. Rub it into the meat then place in the broiler. Move ribs around so they are equally browned.

Meanwhile, in a crock pot stir together the sauce ingredients. Place the ribs into the sauce and coat each rib.

Place on crock pot and low and let it go for about 3 to 4 hours. Opening occassionally and moving the ribs around to make sure the sauce if getting all the sides of the ribs. When the meat is pulling away from the bone, you know you are done.

I served the ribs with "cauliflower mash". I boil the cauliflower until it is completely tender then I mash it with a potato masher and then beat in some cream cheese salt and pepper. It is a lot like mashed potatoes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tamarind Restaurant in Ithaca

I have never been a big fan of Thai food. Yeah I like Phat Thai- it's good but that is about it. I dont know if my tastes changed but I have reconsidered my earlier decisions. While in Ithaca my husband and I visited a restaurant called Tamarind. Thai? What the heck made me choose Thai? Well, I saw a menu and there was fish balls on there. I use to eat this amazing soup with fish balls in Arizona- a Vietnamese place. So I went there for the balls (eh hem). Never ordered them. I was distracted. Way distracted. There was a ton of duck dishes on the menu. I am not a big fan of duck because any duck I have ever had was swimming in a pool of grease. Poor me- boy, have I been missing out. My husband was debating between two duck dishes ( he is the more couragous eater). One was Chochee Duck and the other Honey Roasted Duck. We asked our very sweet waitress which one he should order. She said the Chochee Duck was THE most popular dish. I had a suspicion there duck was going to be good. Why would they have a ton of it on the menu? Oh yeah. He let me eat a piece. Yup 'A' piece. It was the most succulent, light and tastey piece of meat, yes meat, I have ever had. Of course I had to ask what kind of duck this was. The lovely waitress said, "Our chefs our trained to make this secret recipe for preparing duck, found only in one area of Thailand." (I don't think I will find a recipe for it).

I can not wait to get back to Ithaca to have some of my own Chochee Duck!

But okay on to the recipe at hand. Our first course was soup. This soup and really minus the kaffir lime leaves, it is basically the same exact soup. I am happy to find this recipe because Ithaca is a long way away!

Oh and what did I have? A yellow curry rice dish with pineapple, raisins, shrimp, chicken and Chinese sausage. Yummy. For dessert we shared sticky mango rice. Delicious.

Thai Coconut and Shrimp Soup (Tom Kha)
adapted from Allrecipes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 stalk lemon grass, minced
2 teaspoons red curry paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 (13.5 ounce) can lite coconut milk
1 can regular coconut milk
1/2 pound fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste in the heated oil for 1 minute. Slowly pour the chicken broth over the mixture, stirring continually. Stir in the fish sauce and brown sugar; simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and mushrooms; cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp; cook until no longer translucent about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice; season with salt; garnish with cilantro.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Duck Sauce and Duckee Day

I do not like egg rolls at Chinese restaurants, they are too greasy. I make my own variety at home. Almost guilt free. Here is a step by step of how I make them. My one problem was that I wanted a duck sauce that tasted good and I could make it myself. I searched the internet many times but could not find what I wanted. I tried several recipes and they just didnt have the taste I was looking for.

About a month ago I saw some yellow plums at the market. I bought them. They were horrible, almost no taste and watery. Very bland- what a disappointment. I decided to cook them down. A good choice because the flavor of the plums transformed instantaneously. They were a sweet tart taste. I cooked them down and added some of my apricot preserves, a pinch of garlic and a pinch of ginger and my duck sauce was born. Wahoo! You can see chunks in my photograph. I left them in because I was in a hurry to get dinner on. The sauce was good as is. I froze the rest for the next time I make my eggrolls and I will puree it then.

A warning: If you make this and eat this the stuff at the Chinese restaurants will never be the same again. Bleck! Pittoo!

Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

7 plums peeled and cooked down
2 heaping tablespoons apricot jam
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 piece of ginger, grated

Place peeled and pitted plums in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and cook until they break down and "melt". Add remainder of ingredients and heat until jam has melted. Puree and use for dipping.

Recently my friend, her son, my girls and I went to a place called Stokoe Farms. We had a blast. It is a virtual Autumn Wonderland filled with activities for kids and grown ups alike. I can't say enough about it. You see this slide. Whoa. It was a blast! The kids went down this about ten times. Let me tell you they slept good that night after hiking up that hill so much.
I don't have a picture of it but they had these huge wheels to walk in with the kids. Kind of like a big gerbil wheel for humans.
Of course, they had a pumpkin patch to buy pumpkins too. And a corn maze.
They also had some visitors of the four legged variety there for the day. I snapped a few pictures of them before I realized that they charge a dollar a picture. Whoops.
Ain't he cute? I happily can admire him from afar but I sure would not like him roaming around my house- it would just eek me out too much.

A swell family kind of day! Where was my husband? Home installing insulation. Poor guy, we must go again so he can partake in all the fun. I know he would just love the "fly swing" ( a contraption where you stand on this disk and slide down a hill on a wire- kind of like Tarzan in the jungle).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gingerbread Bars

What is it about the Autumn and spiced foods. Around this time of year I start craving spiced foods such as Chai, gingerbread, and now even Indian food. Last week I think I made three Indian type dishes. Maybe its because spices are warming. I wonder if this is a "me" thing or a Northeast thing or an American thing.

A lot of people don't realize it but the spices, besides tasting good, have healing or nutritive properties. Recently turmeric was undergoing some study that found it reduced the incidence of Alzheimers. The big one that most people are aware of now is cinnamon, it actually lowers blood sugar. Then there is licorice root that actually raises blood pressure ( which is a good thing for people with low blood pressure).

Gingerbread Bars
recipe from Epicurious

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
7 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1/4 cup light (unsulfured) molasses

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 15x10x1-inch baking sheet. Place 2 cups flour in medium bowl; transfer 2 tablespoons flour to small bowl and reserve. Add spices, baking soda, and salt to flour in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then molasses. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat to blend. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. *(Sift reserved 2 tablespoons flour evenly over batter, then sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.)

Bake gingerbread until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes; cool completely in pan on rack. Cut gingerbread crosswise into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, forming 24 bars, each about 31/2x13/4 inches.

* In my opinion this step really does nothing for the final product. The bars are great tasting in and of themselves.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Celery Root Soup with Toasted Walnuts

Who knew this big, knobby, ugly vegetable could turn into this smooth, creamy, beautiful soup. Such a diamond in the rough. If you see this at your local farmers market, don't pass it up. It has great flavor and can be transformed into many delicious dishes.

This year I was driving my local farmer nuts. Any celeriac/celery root yet? Finally there it was and I descended upon it. I wanted to shout hurray but I thought they might think I was a little crazy. Okay, okay, I am crazy, I just don't want everyone knowing that.

While I am picking mine out, the kid at the stand says, "yah know, they are a pain in the neck to dig out. You have to be so careful not to destroy it." I fully appreciate his pain and I honored that beautiful root and made it into some silky, tastey soup.

Celery Root Soup with Toasted Walnuts
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

32 ounces chicken broth
2 celery roots, cleaned and cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and roasted

In a large soup pot saute onion in canola oil until translucent. Add chicken broth and celery root. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the root is softened, about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and blend to a puree. Return to stovetop and turn heat to low. Add milk and heat until it is hot but not boiling. Ladle into bowls and top with toasted walnuts.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chai Spice Pumpkin Soup with Apple

I want to tell you today about a group I have joined some time ago called Bloggeraid. Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen and Val of More Than Burnt Toast started the group. It is ever growing and expanding with exciting opportunities and chances to meet other bloggers in the forums. But what makes it great is that it is a pooling of strength to help those that are no so fortunate. Bloggeraid raises awareness and is aiming to help people in need with money raised from the book which is due to be released soon. The cookbook, BloggerAid…Changing the Face of Famine is an international network of food bloggers united behind the cause of ending global hunger. Members use their blogs as a platform for raising awareness about hunger in communities at home and abroad.

Have you thought of writing your own cookbook? The Cookbook People can make that happen. In their words " We're committed to helping families keep their cherished recipes, so we designed our own family cookbook software. Matilda's Fantastic Cookbook Software prints your home-made family cookbooks. One copy…or as many copies as you want. Whenever YOU want. Because you make it yourself on your own computer! " The Cookbook People have not only donated a software package as a prize to BloggerAid, they went the extra mile. They set out a challenge to all members of BloggerAid - Changing the Face of Famine. They are willing to donate $20 to our charity for every member who creates a blog post about their site. Take a trip over to their site - have a look around. They will ship worldwide and are wonderful people to work with.


4 cups pumpkin puree ( you can use canned (2) or roast and blend your own pumpkin)
4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of chai spice (recipe following)
1 apple, preferrably a hard, tart apple
salt to taste

If you are roasting your own pumpkin: Roast pumpkins cut side down in a 425F oven until softened. When you press on the pumpkin it should depress quite easily.

Saute onion in vegetable oil until soft. Add pumpkin and broth and let simmer for twenty minutes. Add chopped apple and chai spice. Cook fifteen minutes more. Blend all the ingredients and return to pot. Add salt to taste.

Chai Spice Blend

2 tsp cinnamon (ground)
2 tsp green cardamom (ground)
2 tsp cloves (ground)
1 tsp ginger (ground)
1 tsp coriander (ground)
1 teaspoon white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar to stoe. Stir small amounts into tea or use in recipes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daring Cooks: Chicken Pho

I have decided that I need to make the Daring Cooks challenge immediately after it is posted because other wise I forget and time jsut gets away from me. This time I actually finished my challenge. Wahoo.

This soup is right up my alley because the more I know any type of Asian food the more I love it.

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

Chicken Pho

For my Pho I wanted to make my own broth. You of course can use store bought if you would like but I felt it was worth the extra steps. I did take the easier route with my broth. Here is what I did the day before I made my pho:

2 pounds chicken thighs
2 pounds chicken legs

Lightly spray a roasting pan or cookie sheet with oil. Place chicken pieces around, leaving some space between each. Salt the chicken. Roast in a 425F oven until the skins are brown. DO NOT REMOVE THE SKINS- lots o flavor there. Don't worry you will get your chance to defat later. Once you are done roasting let cool. Pick of all the usable meat and set aside for soup or you can also use it for some other use because you will probably have quite a bit of meat. Place all those skins, bones, cartilage and juice into a deep soup pot. Add any aromatics that will lend itself to whatever you are making or you can leave it plain. For this challenge I only added pepper. Cover all those browned bits of goodness with water, just covering. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and let it go for at least an hour, maybe even two. Let cool a little. Pour the soup through a strainer, reserving all that amazing broth, fat and all. Discard solid and refrigerate broth. Leave overnight. The next morning your broth will have worked very hard forcing those fatty solids to the top. Skim off the fat. Your broth will be very clean after that and you are ready to use it for whatever your pea pickin' heart desires. In my case, pho.
All that gelatin means lots of calcium!

CHICKEN PHO ( pronounced fuh )

Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions Servings: Makes 4 servings Ingredients:

2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (you can skip this if you made your own, see above)
½ onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce
1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)


2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched offFresh
1 cup pea pods
cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice


Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.

In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.

In the oven roast onion and ginger until browned. Add to soup. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add fish sauce and sugar.
Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed.

Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.

Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Breakfast Oatmeal Power Bars

One of the things we face as parents is counter balancing popular culture. The kids are inundated with advertisements and messages constantly, 'buy this', 'wear this', 'act this way', 'say this'... It becomes more present as the kids get older, realizing that the world is bigger than the backyard. My husband and I want to raise children that realize that the world has far more to offer than what the T.V. does. For this reason, PBS is primarily the only station we watch. We try to keep the focus on what money can not buy rather than what it can.

School lunches are no exception to this inundation. You know, all the kids at school have cool snacks with cartoons on their yogurt cartons and other special, cool packaging. I only hope that one day they will realize that homemade beats out manufactured almost anyday. Not that some of that is okay because it does have its place. So I took extra special care and wrapped each granola with some deli wrap paper and placed a sticker on the outside. Yes, I know these are religious stickers but that's only because there uncle had been collecting all the stickers he could find for them. (Some of them had Harry Potter) They came in handy. They held the wrapper on quite nicely.

Breakfast Oatmeal Power Bars
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

4 ounces butter, unsalted, room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup or corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 2/3 cup quick or rolled oats
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, hulled (pepitas)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut, preferrably unsweetened

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 9 pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.

In a bowl combine oats, apricots, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut. In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, syrup and salt. Heat until all the butter is melted and everything begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour into dry ingredients, stirring until everything is moistened and combined. Press into the 13 x 9 pan. Press down with a back of a rubber spatula, evening out the mixture. Bake the mixture for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and score into bars. Let cool completely and finish cutting into bars.

*I went through all that trouble you know of wrapping them and they didnt liek the little bits of fruit in them. Good gats. So I did this same recipe, omitting all the fruit and nuts, keeping the coconut and adding 1 cup of chocolate chips. They were yummy. Gone, in a flash.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Got Green Tomatoes?

If you are a gardener that has tomatoes, the inevitable happens every year. The end of growing season comes before all of your tomatoes are finished growing.

Here are a few things I have done with green tomatoes in the past.

Green Tomato Jam I and II (no jello in these)

Green Tomato Salad (that you can also can)

And now Green Tomato Chutney. The nice thing about this one is that you can can it as well. I found the recipe in Martha Stewart Annual 2003.

Green Tomato Chutney

4 pounds green tomatoes, finely diced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large onion, diced
1 cup golden raisins
2 cups packed brown sugar
finely grated zest of one lemon

Bring all of the ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until mixture thickens. This will take over an hour, depending on how high your heat is.

Remove cinnamon sticks and place in 1/2 pint jars, wiping any spillage at the top of the jar. Place lids and rims on and seal. Place in a hot water bath (water should cover jars) and boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars from water bath and place on towel. Jars should seal within an hour. If there are any jars that the lids did not "go down" or seal, after they have cooled, refrigerate them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My oh My, Sit Down for some Veggie Pie

Just a couple days I posted the potato crust, veggie tart. It's good. But really this pie blows that veggie pie out of the water. That's not to say that I wouldn't make the veggie tart again because in fact I make it at least a couple times every summer. But this little experimentation, granted a fairly simple experimentation, yielded a tasty pie that disappeared before my eye. (oh, c'mon, I couldn't resist the rhyme).

I spend the entire summer pining for fresh zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant to start. Then I have them in my hand, and I am like duh, what should I do now. I need a calendar with pockets so I can slip the recipes into the pockets of the month when that particular recipe should be made. This time I came up with my own little winner.

Harvest Zucchini, Tomato and Eggplant Pie

Crust components:
2 cups of rice, cooked
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Peccorino Romano (my cheese of choice but you can use Parmesan as well)

1 eggplant, thinly cut and roasted
3-4 good sized tomatoes
4 oz or so shredded cheddar

Combine crust components and pack into the bottom of a greased 10 inch spring form pan. Lay thinly sliced tomatoes over the crust, overlapping as you go. Next place roasted eggplant over the tomatoes, followed by another round of tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake uncovered in a 350 oven. Let set for about ten minutes. Run knife around sides and remove sides of pan.

*Add herbs to rice crust for extra flavor.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cheaper Earthy Chips

Without naming names, because "those" vegetable chips are pretty darn good, I will say you can make better ones yourself. All you need is some masterful knife skills or a mandoline. I love when I recreate something at home that I overpaid for at a store. It makes me feel so accomplished in a geeky, cheap kind of way. Or should I say frugal. I have done these kind of chips with sweet potato, potato and carrot. All very yuumy.

When you eat a lot of beets, remember, certain bodily functions will produce red results. Don't be alarmed and call your doctor right away. It should subside in 24 hours or so.

For beets- here is the process:

5 medium beets

Cut tops off of the beets and place in a saucepan, covering with water. Bring to a boil and cook until beets become tender. Remove from water, let cool, enough to handle. Peel the skin off of the beet. Slice thinkly or slice with a mandoline. Place ona sprayed baking sheet, with none overlapping. Bake in a 425F oven until chips become somewhat golden or darkened. Remove and let cool.

Alternately, you can do this in a microwave in small batches as well. Heating and checking frequently until the chips become browned. I have heard that heating things int he microwave causes a loss of nutrients.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Some unfinished business and zucchini fries to nibble on

Last summer I seen these Zucchini Fries on blogs everywhere but I ran out of time. Too many of these 'mock crab cakes' were eaten by me and then I just love zucchini roasted plain. This year I finally tried the fries. Worth every little step to make them. Try it, you'll like it.


1/4 cup milk
1 egg white
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup peccorino romano cheese
2 medium sized zucchini's

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut zucchini into 3-inch sticks.

Whisk an egg white in a small bowl, and add 1⁄4 cup milk.

In another bowl, combine 1⁄2 cup shredded Peccorino Romano and 1⁄2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.

Dip zucchini sticks into egg mixture, and then roll in breadcrumb mixture. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place zucchini on sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown.

Calories 64; Fat 2g Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 7g; Sugars 2g; Fiber 1g;

I finally finished this. It started when I saw this idea in a book when I was pregnant with my first child, ahhh, like, 7 years ago. And I began brainstorming how I would make it and not follow all the directions. Why? Because I hate directions, I'd rather get thoroughly frustrated and figure it out myself then take the time to read directions. When my daughter was about 1 I began working on it. I hit a roadblock. I didn't know how to fix my mistake. I put it away. Last week, I pulled it out and finished it up. Perfect or not, it's a completed project. I am all about completing projects and getting rid of stuff that I just dont use anymore. So I am one happy girl. I will be using it for storing hair stuff for the girls. Wahhooo. Done!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recipes to Rival: Beef Bourguignon

Recipes to Rival is at it again. Cooking up a storm with truly amazing recipes- sure to please. How can you go wrong with Julia Child's recipe for Beef Bourguignon? I had just seen the movie when I heard what was going to be this months recipe. Man- I am so glad it was chosen. Apparently I wasn't the only one that was glad. I had my parents over for dinner that night. There was a little left over. My husband gobbled that up at breakfast. The man eats anything for breakfast.

The stew is really rich. It says it serves six but these are fairly modest portions, so I would accompany it with noodles, rice or potatoes or something, as well as a salad.

Lucky for me when I took the stew out of the oven the sauce was already very thick. I was hoping it would be - whew hooo!

Beef Bourguignon

click here for the original on PDF file from the publisher.

Serves 6
For the Stew
6 ounces bacon, solid chunk
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
2-3 cups beef stock (Simple Beef stock is posted on the site, unsalted and defatted) 1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, mashed (you may choose to add more)
1 sprig thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

For the braised onions
18-24 white pearl onions, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock salt & fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs parsley

For the Sauteed Mushrooms
1 lb mushroom, quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

First prepare the bacon: cut off the rind and reserve. Cut the bacon into lardons about 1/4" think and 1 1/2" long. Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9" - 10" wide, 3" deep) fireproof casserole and warm over moderate heat. Saute the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon.

In the same oil/fat, saute the onion and the carrot until softened.Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes. Now, lower the heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and the bacon rind.Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside till needed. For the onion, if using frozen, make sure they are defrosted and drained. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.

Finish the Stew: When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it (discarding the bits of carrot and onion and herbs which remain in the sieve). Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat. Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface. You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Taste for seasoning.