Friday, June 29, 2012

A Collection of Salads

Caprese salad is summer salad sexy.  I cant help but use that word.  The colors just go and it is so inviting.

I have gathered some of my favorite salads from my blog to share with you but also to remind myself of some of the recipes and make them again.  A few are total regulars like the radish and feta one- so good and so easy. Its not the best picture but if you want to check out the salad, click here.

Wheat Berry Salad

Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad

Asian Crunch Salad

Chop Chop Salad

Broccoli Crunch Salad

Ceaser Salad No Egg

Ceaser Salad with egg
Indonesian Chicken Salad

Lemony Lentil Salad
Japanese Slaw with Daikon Radish

Marinated Italian Vegetables

Green Tomato Salad
Marinated Asparagus with Rocket and Gruyere

Thats it for now.  Dig into summer- eat some vegetables!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Supreme Chocolate Chip Cookie

I finally found the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies- one that is exactly what I was looking for. Gooey on the inside, a little crisp on the outside, chocolatey, tender, not flat (hate when that happens).  I am pretty jazzed about finding this recipe.  My kids are very jazzed about it too. 

The first day, when I made the batter, we did a test batch in the sun.  A little experiment to see how log it would take to bake chocolate chip cookies in the sun.  Um... yeah, all day.  Maybe I did something wrong. It was about five hours when we just gave up and ate them anyway.  A bit undercooked. 

Next day, when it was a little cooler, I baked them in the oven.  They were a super hit in the house.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Supreme

3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
8 ounces unsalted butter
1 pound chocolate chips or your favorite chocolate chopped up
2 teaspoons vanilla or the seeds of one vanilla bean scraped

Cream the butter and the sugars together.  About five minutes.  Add in eggs, one at a time. Then vanilla.  In another bowl combine, flour, salt and baking soda. Fold in chocolate.  Chill if you like, but it is not necessary.

Bake at 360F (not 350- but really I don't know how much of a difference it would make) about 12 minutes.  They will appear golden on the outside but they will still be chewy in the center.  Cool on rack.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Canned Tomato Soup

I wanted to tell you about this recipe before canning season is upon me and I have little time for posting.  Once the tomatoes are in- you so need to make this soup.  It is delicious.  Has a name brand feel to it but it is EVEN BETTER.  If you just want to make a small batch to try- do it.  I so encourage you, it is delicious. 

It has been real nice having this through the winter.  A quick meal.  This home made soup and some grilled cheese sandwiches... YUM.

I am not so sure on the process but I will continue to experiment with how to do the flour thing to maximize the greatest taste. I thought maybe a roux but that was very difficult on large scale.

Tomato Soup
Adapted from this recipe at from a Mennonite source.

6 onions, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
8 quarts fresh tomatoes (or 5-6 quarts of juice) peeled
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 cup butter
1 cup flour

Place onion and celery in large kettle with butter.  Fry until it is barely golden.  Add tomatoes to kettle and cook until they break down and fall apart. Add sugar and salt.

Cream butter and flour together& mix thoroughly with two cups of COLD juice, until dissolved (or blend together in a blender), to avoid lumps of flour in the juice. Add butter/flour mixture to warmed tomato juice. 
Stir well.  Heat just until hot.

Ladle into jars& close securely with lids. Return to canner & process 20-30 minutes (start timing when it's at a 'rolling' boil).

Remove from canner & allow to set until sealed (approx. 12 hours) To serve, mix equal parts tomato concentrate to milk, and add 1/2 t. of baking soda per pint as it cooks (1 t. per quart).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pink Fluffalicious

Strawberry fluff sounds fun doesn't it?  Well, it is.  And it is yummy too! Thanks Mimi!
I was inspired by Mimi to make this.  Head over to her site to get the recipe if you are interested.

If you think for one minute you might skip that crumb topping- DON'T because it totally gives it texture and flavor in a wonderful way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


You know its funny, since I have had a blog, I realize how long its really been since the last time I made something. I am quite sure I have not made this in over five years.  My blog has been aroun d for almost four and I am pretty sure it was in our last house that I made this dish. That is way too long for spanakopita because it is good and really should be made on a regular basis. 

The main reason I don't make spanakopita more often is because I just dont think of buying phyllo dough and it is not exactly in my repertoire of skills.  I usually just buy the local supermarkets brand, Wegman's.  But I have been meaning to go to the Middle Eastern market to get it because it is so worth the trip...  Next time... which will be soon.... especially since my anti-vegetable child liked it.

I wanted to share some scenes from a recent getaway retreat weekend.

I just love ferns!

*many people put dill in there spanakopita but I did not put it in because my kids are not wild about it in their food- other than dill pickles.

1 package phyllo dough

2 pounds spinach
1/4 cup parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup minced onion
8 ounces feta
1 or two eggs
1 tablespoon butter

egg wash
1 egg
1/4 cup water

Boil spinach briefly, enough to wilt it (if you have baby spinach), if not cook it enough for it to be tender.  Drain and cool. Squeeze excess water out of spinach. Place in bowl.

While that is boiling saute the onions in a tablespoon of butter until translucent.  Add parsley and minced garlic- cook a few minutes more.  Cool and then add to bowl with spinach.

Stir egg and feta into the spinach mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

When working with phyllo be very cautious to cover the unused portions with a damp towel.  Phyllo dries rapidly and will become to brittle to work with.  If your towel is too damp it will turn your phyllo back into dough.  I use a paper towel that I wet and squeeze dry.  I loosely lay it over the unraveled phyllo.  My phyllo comes in two packages.  I open one at a time.

Lay out one sheet of phyllo and fold over into a long rectangle.  Place  a 1/4 cup to a 1/3 of a cup of the spinach mixture onto the end of the phyllo.  Turn over into a triangle, keep folding into triangles until you reach the end of the sheet. Tuck ends if desired.  Place on baking sheet and lightly cover with another damp paper towel.  Once all the triangles are made, brush with egg wash and place in a 350F oven and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.

If you do not want to mess with all those triangles, take a 9 x 13 and brush with butter.  Add 6 sheets of phyllo, brushing with melted butter between each layer.  Place filling on top and then add six more sheets of phyllo in the same fashion.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rye Bread

I had to get back to you on this rye bread.  The original recipe, which you can find here, is from Mary's blog, One Perfect Bite.  Let me tell you, she has a lot of perfect bites.  The rye bread being one of them.  I changed it up a bit depending on what I had on hand the day I made it. 


2 cups dark rye flour
2 teaspoons yeast
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
12 ounces light beer
15 ounces warm water
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds

Combine beer and water in a large bowl. Add yeast and stir until completely dissolved. Add rye flour and 3 cups of white flour in a bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. stir until thick batter forms. Cover and let rest until mixture begins to bubble, about 2 hours.

Stir in reserved 2-1/2 cups flour, salt and fennel seeds. Mix in the electric mixer or knead on a floured surface.  You will probably use about 1/2 cup additional flour for kneading.  Its a very sticky dough.  If you add in too much flour it will make your bread more dense. 

Return dough to bowl, cover and rest for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Place dough on floured surface and divide into two or three.  Shape each piece into a ball and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Place in forms.  I used one large casserole dish and one smaller Pyrex bowl.  Let rise until double in size, about 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Slash loaves with a razor blade. Slide loaves or pans into oven. Reduce heat to 425 degrees F after 5 minutes of cooking. Bake for another 25 minutes or until bottom of loaves sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

This bread has a nice crust, makes great sandwiches and best of all make great toast!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Turkey Reuben

Couldn't you just lick the screen?  Alright, only people like me lick my screen... kidding people!  I did however want to lick my sandwich- and being the Miss Manners that I am (eh-hem), I didn't even do that. But really, I could of.

With some Ohio Swiss from the Amish store and some turkey cold cuts, some Boars Head sauer kraut (a really great brand of sauer kraut by the way- no one told me to say that) and some homemade 1000 Island dressing- I was good to go.  But no, wait... I had no rye and no money to buy rye... Fortunately for me, it was a cool day, I had some rye flour and I was in the mood for making bread.  Mainly because I was so jazzed about having this sandwich.

So how do you make a reuben?

First, I squeeze out the sauer kraut and then fry it in a pan to get some of the liquid out.  I don't fry it until it's super dry because for this kind of sandwich I like the sourness.

I mix together some quick and easy 1000 Island dressing- ketchup, mayo and sweet relish- dang that's good.

I lay one slice of bread on a baking sheet, put sauer kraut, then turkey, then cheese.  I lay a second slice by its side.  I place it under the broiler until the cheese is nice and toasted and melting all over (slurp).

After it comes out into my plate, I put a little a lot of 1000 Island dressing on the plain slice of bread, then smack it all together.  Voila, drool worthy sandwich.

About that rye... I am going to tell you more about it on my next post.