Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beef and Broccoli and a Winner

*Oh, guys I am sorry I am a day late in announcing the winner.  Heather. It's you.  You won the Red Pack gift set!  Send me an email and I will let you know the details of how to get your free gift pack.  Congratulations!

My good friend that I grew up with use to order this all the time when we went to the Chinese restaurant.  I was never interested.  Now, I have to say it is one of my favorites.  I love the sauce as you can tell.  I made extra as I love rice with this sauce on it.  Hmmm, so good.   My kids of course didn't eat it.  Ugh!  But I did reserve some of the sirloin before finishing the dish. They ate the sirloin, no problem. It was brown on the outside and tender on the inside.  That is the magic of coating your meat with cornstarch before frying.

Beef and Broccoli
Largely adapted from this recipe at Simply Recipes.

16 ounces of sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced

Marinate the beef: Stir together the beef marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the beef slices and stir until coated. Let stand for 10 minutes or so.  Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a sauce pan cook the broccoli until crisp tender. Drain and set aside with lid off to prevent more cooking.

Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef in a single layer over the surface of the wok or pan (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink, Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil.If you like your sauce thicker, add in a teaspoon of corn starch dissolved in a teaspoon of water.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Manhattan Style Clam Chowder

It's still soup weather around here.  Bitter cold, damp, snow, sleet and blowing cold winds.  Fun!  Actually I am one of the few people around that actually enjoys winter.  I like the cuddle up thing.  I like the soup thing.  I like snuggling under blankets.  So I am totally okay with the cold until about mid to late March, then I have had enough.  Ready for warmer weather and of course the farmers market.  Fresh fruit and vegetables.  It's all about the food you know. 

I used my Red Pack crushed tomatoes for this recipe.  It was delicious.  And as always soup is even better the second day.

*A reminder that the giveaway is open until noon Saturday, Eastern time for US residents only.

Manhattan Style Clam Chowder
1 cup corn, chopped
1 1/2 cups potatoes, chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion (about a cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1- 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1- 64 ounce can clam juice with clams
2 cups water or broth
2 cans of clams
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
a couple shakes of Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons butter

In a  soup pot saute onions, celery, red pepper and carrots in butter until onions become translucent.  Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf cook one minute more.  Open all the cans and strain the clams from the broth.  Place clams in bowl and reserve in the refrigerator.  Add clam broth to soup along with two cups of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add potatoes, Tabasco and salt and pepper and green beans.  Cover and cook until potatoes are just tender.  Add in tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Add in all the reserved clams.  Heat just until the clams are warmed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Waffle Iron Gets A New Life

I am not a big fan of Rachel Ray.  She is okay.  I will watch her show on occassion.  And once in a while I will find some really useful information.  Such was the case the other day.  She told her audience that she had been playing with her waffle iron trying to come up with some useful ways to use it besides just waffles.  Wouldn't that be awesome for your waffle iron to have a dual purpose?  She got me to stay tuned. 

So what did she do?  She put pizza dough in the waffle iron.  Genius, I must say.  It just so happened I had some little balls of naan dough in the fridge.  I oiled them with olive oil and then sprinkled some of my Tuscan seasoning mix and a little salt on them .  I popped them in the waffle maker and voila, some seriously good flat bread.  Four minutes was all it took.  These are what I call dangerously delicious.

Try it, You will like it!

I have made naan before but wanted to try this recipe.  I have to say I find this one to be superior to the other one.  Not that the other one is bad but I find this one to be more tender.


1 package dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (I buy mine in bulk)
1 cup warm water (you can stick your finger in for 15 seconds and not feel like it is burning)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup melted butter

Proof your yeast by disolving the yeast in warm water.  Let stand ten minutes until frothy.  ( I read one time that with modern yeast this is pretty unnecessary,  I have to say its been over two years since I have proofed my yeast.)  Stir in sugar, milk, salt, egg and the flour.  Knead for six to eight minutes.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour.

Make small dough balls, place on tray, cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough and either place on a buttered, hot griddle or use the method above, the waffle iron.  If using the griddle.  Turn after the first side becomes browned.  Heat on other side until lightly browned.  The second side will be much faster than the first. Place in a paper bag, folding the top of the bag down, until you have grilled all of them. Placing them in the paper bag helps to keep them warm and tender.

If you use the waffle iron.  Roll out the naan and lightly oil the surface.  Sprinkle seasoning on them if you like. Place in waffle iron for about four minutes.  I like mine a little more tender so I did about 3 minutes.  You will have to play with the time for your griddle and how you like your naan.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dal and a GIVEAWAY!

The good people at Red Pack contacted me and asked if I would like to do a giveaway and a review.  Now, if you follow my blog, you know that I can my own tomatoes.  That is not to say that I have never had the occassion to buy my tomatoes.  Matter of fact I have bought jarred sauce too.  Shocking I know but hey I like a quick meal once in a while too.   Quite honestly I have bought Red Pack before and have previously been very happy with the product, affordable and good tasting.  I was quite pleased to do a review and of course happy to pass the good fortune on to you. 

I tasted the tomatoes before dumping them into the pot.  They had a tomato-ey taste.  They were far better than "fresh" supermarket tomatoes that you get in the produce section in the winter.  I received a can of whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.  The whole tomatoes were much firmer than my canned tomatoes.  You could actually chop them up and make some salsa.  I think Red Pack has a very fine product.  Certainly it is something I have purchased before and will continue to purchase.


Adapted from this recipe at Food Network

1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
2 cups orange lentils
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
2 tablespoons Garam Masala
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
8 cups water

In a large pot, heat the ghee and stir-fry the onions just until transluscent. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, lentils, ginger, curry powder, salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaf. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes, until the herbs and spices become very aromatic. Add the tomatoes and vinegar. Add the water, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning with cumin, salt, pepper and sugar.

Rules for Giveaway:

1. You can only enter once.
2.  You can enter twice if you blog about my giveaway on your blog or if you mention the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.
3.  Giveaway drawing will take place on Saturday 2/26/11 after 12 in the afternoon.  My daughters will draw the name.  The winner will be announced Saturday evening.

Full Disclosure:  Red Pack provided me with a tomato kit for review and will provide one of my readers with a kit as well.  I have paid nothing for these products.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Carrots in Plum Sauce

When plums are getting toward the end of the season in September I can usually pick up a peck for a farily good price.  We eat some and then I clean the rest, pack them into jars, make a sugar syrup and can them.  You can check out how I do the process here.  In the winter I melt some butter in a frying pan, add some of the plums that I have canned and melt them down.  In a seperate pot I boil the carrots.  I add the carrots to the sauce one it has cooked down into a saucey base. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.  My husband who is not a real fan of boiled carrots loves them this way.  What's not to love?

You can use fresh but I would lean to the more ripe ones as they will cook down a lot faster and will tend to be sweeter.  You may need to add a little sugar.  Still very delicious.  Hey, if it gets your loved ones to eat more fruits and vegetables then why not.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Sheet Cake, the Size of Texas

Well, not really but you know it has BIG chocolate taste the size of Texas.  I have always wanted to make a Texas Sheet Cake.  A most excellent cake! Dense, fudgey, rich, chocolatey... and delicious!
 Wanna a square?
No, oh, your trying to be good.  Okay, how about a bite?

I really did not have to resist this cake.  I had about two pieces between day one and day two.  And then it was gone.  Gone, gone, gone!

Texas Sheet Cake
Largely adapted from this recipe at Home Sick Texan

2 cups of sugar
2 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
4 tablespoons of cocoa
1 cup of water
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the sugar and flour together in a bowl. Melt the butter on low in a saucepan, and when melted add cocoa and water and heat until boiling. Pour cocoa mixture over sugar and flour and combine thoroughly. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well with a spoon.
Pour batter into greased 9x13 inch pan (the deeper kind, not the shallow brownie pan kind (like I did- that was a mistake because it needed to rise just a bit more), and bake for about 30 minutes, checking it at 20 minutes.  Pour icing (recipe below) over cake when you take it out of the oven.

Texas Sheet Cake Icing

1 stick of butter
4 tablespoons of cocoa
6 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 box (1 pound) of powdered sugar

Five minutes before cake is done, bring to a boil the butter, cocoa and milk. Remove from heat, and mix in sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Beat well, and then spread over cake while both are still warm.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pear and Candied Pomegranate Walnuts

Candied walnuts are all the rage in salads now.  I love them but, dang, they are a bit pricey.  After the folks at POM sent me some concentrate I began thinking that candied pomegranate flavored walnuts would be delicious.

I mixed up my concoction and hoped for the best.  I have to say I am very please with the results.  The tricky part of the recipe is to not overcook as the sugar in the mixture can burn.  Even though you may pull them out of the oven and they are a bit wet, they will dry as they cool.

Pomegranate Candied Walnuts

1 cup sugar
6 cups walnuts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup POMegranate concentrate

Toast the walnuts at 375F until lightly golden.  Remove from heat and combine with salt sugar and concentrate in a large mixing bowl.  Reduce the oven to 300F.  Pour nuts out on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread them out as evenly as possible.  Bake for about ten minutes.  You need to keep an eye on them so they do not burn.  Remove from oven and leave ont he pan until cooled. Store in an airtight jar.

Full Disclosure:  I did not purchase this POM Pomegranate Concentrate.  The folks at POM sent it to me in exchange for some recipe experimentation.  I gladly agreed.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oatmeal Toffee Bars

So sad, these are all gone, I could really go for one with a glass of milk right now.

I am finding it so hard to cook and bake.  My gears have shifted. Before I could not get enough of cooking and baking and creating in the kitchen.  But I became tired of my masterpieces disappearing in one gulp.  Dont get me wrong I still enjoy it.  Now my passion is quilting and creating.  I am approaching it with the same fervor as my food fascination a couple years ago.  I started a blog called the Crafty Bee's Knees.  I cant stop.  I eat sleep and breathe fabric.  Dreaming of new ways to put it together.  Watching it transform itself from the singular into a composed piece of whatever- like a wuilt or a hand bag.  So fun. 

But you know me and the kids still get snacky from time to time.  These were a great treat for their lunch pails.

Oatmeal Toffee Bars
Adapted from this recipe here at Hershey's.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup HEATH BITS Toffee Bits
3 cups quick-cooking or regular rolled oats

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Stir together flour, oats, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.  Spread batter into prepared pan; sprinkle toffee bits over surface. Bake 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wheat Berry and Pomegranate Salad

A few years ago it was very difficult to find Pomegranate Molasses.  In general people didn't even know what it was.  I would ask people about it but no one had heard of it.  I know if I had asked someone who's origins were of the Middle East, they would definitely have known what it was as it is used in Middle Eastern cuisine.  So, last year, I boiled down my pomegranate juice.  It took a painstakingly long time. Of course the final product was worth it but it took precious time and attention.  

Now, the good people at POM* have come out with Pomegranate concentrate.  Wahoo.  Easy to find as POM seems to be everywhere.  Convenient.  No boiling needed.  What could be simpler?

If you are familiar with wheat berries than you probably understand how awesome they are.  Packed with nutritional benefits, they are also tasty and nutty! I know this salad would be even more awesome with fresh vegetables.  Standing alone it is also quite delicious.

Stay tuned for more pomegranate recipes this week.

Wheat Berry and Pomegranate Salad

1 cup of wheat berries
3 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons POMegranate concentrate
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup pistachios

Boil wheat berries in water for about 45 minutes.   Add in salt towards the end of the cooking process. Let site covered for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile in another bowl combine POM concentrate, olive oil and green onions.  Pour the wheat berries into the mixture and stir.  Sprinkle pistachios over top. Serve warm or cold.

*Full Disclosure:  The people at POM have graciously given me a bottle of POMegranate concentrate to review. No other compensation provided.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Curried Kabocha

This is one of those quick whip ups that was a most delicious lunch.  I just want you to know that when I say curry I mean that, not in the curry powder you find in the stores (which frankly I do not dig at all) but rather a mix of ingredients that is Indian in nature. A curry is more a kin to a sauce than an actual specific mixture.  But anyway, since I am not Indian I am not even sure I am correct my name of my dish.  I do know that kabocha is right.  I love kabocha squash.  It's nutty, rather like a chestnut than a squash in flavor but it also has that squash flavor as well.

Curried Kabocha

1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 inch nub ginger, grated
1 garlic clove grated
10 curry leaves
4 cups kabocha chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
s and p to taste

In a frying pan heat the ghee.  Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  Saute until they begin to pop.  Add turmeric, curry leaves, ginger and garlic.  Cook one minute.  Add in the squash and saute until a bit brownish.  Add about a cup of water, cover and simmer until squash is tender.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with cilantro.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stop GMO Alfalfa

We interupt normal posts of Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness to bring you this special announcement.  While that may sound light hearted this message most certainly is not.  In fact it is down right scary. Last year I watched a movie on HULU called the Future of Food.  My eyes were opened and I was alarmed.  I think people need to start realizing what is happening with our food supply and how it affects us and our children.  I highly recommend watching the movie.  If you live in the US the message below is for you. 

Stand up for Farmer and Citizen Rights - Tell Obama to Ban Monsanto's GMO Alfalfa!

Last week President Obama and Secretary Vilsack approved Monsanto's GMO alfalfa despite overwhelming public protest. This move fundamentally undermines the organic industry, especially organic meat and dairy. In approving GMO alfalfa the Obama administration has caved to Monsanto and made it harder for family farmers to make a living and for consumers wanting to eat safe, healthy foods.
This decision is a devastating blow to our democracy and the basic rights of farmers to choose how they want to grow food on their land and protect the rights of consumers who are increasingly buying organic and sustainably grown food for its positive health and environmental impacts. Please join us in telling President Obama that you're deeply disappointed in his decision and want a ban on GMO alfalfa.

As has already been widely acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court, the USDA, scientists and active farmers, the planting of GMO Roundup Ready alfalfa will lead to contamination of conventional and organic crops, creating significant economic loss for important export markets and organic dairy and beef farmers.
While we are deeply disappointed in President Obama and Secretary Vilsack’s decision, we were fortunate enough to be at the 31st Annual Ecological Farming Conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California where pioneering farmers and leaders in organic and sustainable agriculture gather every year. When we received word of the announcement there was an immediate and collective response from the farmers and members inf this community that day that vowed to fight until this injustice was exposed to the world and ultimately overruled.
Over the course of the next few days, several dozen farmers and individuals from organizations working to promote best agricultural practices helped craft a letter to President Obama and Secretary Vilsack calling on them to reconsider and reverse their decision.
As members of this movement, we were greatly encouraged by the spirit of cooperation and the resolve that immediately took place as we worked together to craft a collective response.
In an effort to help spread that good will and resolve to fight this unjust decision we experienced this past weekend, we’d like you to join in this fight to protect the democratic rights of farmers and the citizens who support them.
If we are to win the fight ahead, we must join together and be united going forward. It’s time that President Obama and those in Washington learn that the rights of farmers and American citizens mean more than the unjust profits of Monsanto, which increasingly put the livelihoods of farmers and the integrity of our democracy at risk.
Please take a moment to sign this letter inititated by our organic and sustainable farmers and leaders, then pass it on to friends.

Please click here to sign.