Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cilantro pesto

1 large bunch cilantro, washed with stems removed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic

Mix all ingredients in blender. Pulse until smooth. Freeze in ice cube trays until ready to use.

Serving suggestion: Toss 1 tsp cilantro pesto with cool spaghetti. Top with shredded Gouda or other cheese of your choice.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fall applesauce

All apples, with a dash of cinnamon. No sugar needed, but you can sweeten it if you prefer. I do 2 lbs of apples per batch. These are Reine de Reinette apples, but any firm cooking apple works well. It's great served warm or cold, and also with a splash of cream. Freezes easily.

Wash, cut and core apples.

Cook over low heat, covered, for one hour or until soft. Stir occasionally.

Mash with wooden spoon.

Puree with hand blender.

Sprinkle with cinnamon. Voila!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pizza verdure

I used to work in an Italian pizza restaurant and wanted to recreate and elaborate on their amazing Pizza Verdure. It's a labor-intensive meal, but so delicious! Even better reheated the second day...if there is any!

1. Prepare crust.
2. Caramelize onions.
3. Make sauce.
4. Prepare remaining toppings.
5. Roll out dough. Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.
6. Top with sauce, toppings, then cheese.
7. Bake 30 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees.


3 tsp honey
3 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

Dissolve honey in warm water. Add yeast. Let sit ten minutes or until foamy. Whisk well. Add 2 cups flour, oatmeal, and salt. Mix until dough pulls away from edge of bowl. Turn out onto floured surface. Knead well, mixing in the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place dough in oiled bowl, turning to coat. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size. You'll know the dough is ready when you poke it with your finger and the indention stays.

Marinara Sauce:
3 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup Italian Seasoning mix
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Caramelized onions
Confits de tomates
Sauteed eggplant, zucchini, and green peppers

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Jonathan's 4-step Italian sandwich

1. Slice Turkish Elmek bread or baguette in half.
2. Spoon confits de tomates on bread.
3. Top with sliced Gouda cheese.
(3.5. Jonathan likes to then add a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash)
4. Broil until bubbly and just burnt on edges.

Sweet-n-sour pork

Adapted from the famous red and white checkered Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

1. Mix the following and let marinate 30 minutes:
1 pound boneless pork shoulder or country style ribs, cut in small cubes
2 Tbsp mirin or dry sherry
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil (or 1 tsp sesame seeds sauteed in a few drops of oil)

2. Heat 1 cup oil over med-high heat in a saucepan.

3. Pat the pork dry, then dredge through the following mixture:
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chicken broth

4. Fry pork pieces in oil, 4-5 minutes or until no pink left. Keep warm.

5. Microwave the following on high for 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender:
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2-3 Tbsp water

6. Whisk the following, then cook until bubbly and thickened over med-high heat:
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tbsp soy sauce

7. Add 1 cup drained pineapple to sauce. Add vegetables and pork.

8. Serve over hot rice.

Cheesecake à la food processor

12 Petit Beurre cookies, or 5 "sheets" of Graham Crackers
3 Tbsp butter
2 dashes cinnamon
dash salt

Put cookies, butter, cinnamon and salt in food processor. Process on high with steel blade until crumb mixture is even. Pour into baking dish, spreading out evenly across the bottom.

Rinse food processor bowl and blade.

1 box Kiri cream cheese squares (or 1 lb cream cheese)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup light cream
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Put all ingredients in food processor. Process on high until smooth. Pour on top of crust.

Bake in preheated oven at 475 degrees for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 200 degrees. Cook one hour without opening oven door. After one hour, turn off heat. Do not open door. Let the cake sit one hour. Remove and let cool fully. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Oh. Yum.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Curried chicken pot pie

A warm twist on an old favorite.

Prepared pastry crust (1 or 2, your choice)
1-2 cups chopped chicken
2 cups broth (or 2 cups water + 1 cube chicken bouillon)
1/4 cup light cream
2 chopped carrots
1 sm chopped onion
1 cup cauliflower florettes
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup peas
1/3 dried coconut
1/4 c finely chopped green pepper
2 Tbsp curry powder
12 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
dash cinnamon

Roll prepared crust out into pie pan or cast iron skillet. In a saucepan heat all remaining ingredients. (Note: the pie would still be very good without all of the listed vegetables and fruits. Feel free to make substitutions for your favorites.) Once hot, pour into crust. Fold excess crust over the filling.

If using a second crust, lay it on top, pinching edges with bottom crust to seal. Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. If the crust begins to brown too much, put a piece of aluminum foil over it to deflect the heat.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Black bean quesadillas

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp oil

Mix dry ingredients. Pour water and oil in at once. Mix well until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Knead dough well for about 5 minutes. Cover with a wet towel and let sit at least 30 minutes. Divide into 12 pieces, shaping them into balls then covering with the wet towel. Roll the first piece out thinly using a rolling pin.

Heat a cast iron skillet to med-high. Cook tortilla for about one minute on either side, just until spots begin to appear. Repeat with remaining 11 dough balls.

Stack cooked tortillas on a plate, covering them with a damp towel.

Black beans and corn filling:

1 can black beans
1/2 cup corn
2 Tbsp taco seasoning
dash liquid smoke (opt)

Heat beans, corn, and seasonings. Scoop one large spoonful (about 1/4 cup) into a tortilla. Grate Pepper Jack or Gouda cheese over the filling. Fold tortilla and layer them into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until tortillas begin to crisp.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Orange pumpkin muffins

These spiced muffins are quick to make, make the house smell great, and are light and moist with a hint of citrus.

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 cup raisins (opt)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves.

In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Stir in pumpkin, orange rind, and raisins (opt). Slowly blend the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Pour the batter into muffin cups, filling 2/3 full, or two loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.

Freeze very well!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Toasted gouda, pear, and bacon 'wich

An excellent toasted sandwich with a new twist

1 loaf French bread or Turkish Elmek Bread, sliced in half
Slices of Gouda cheese (or white cheddar)
Crumbled bacon
1-2 pears, sliced thinly
Thyme (optional)

Spread butter on the inside of the bread, then place bread butter-side down in skillet over medium heat. Lay slices of Gouda on the bread. Sprinkle crumbled bacon and thyme over cheese. Once cheese has melted, top with sliced pears. Smush two pieces together, and voila!

(recipe adapted from this excellent site.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sauce caramel

Such simple ingredients make a rich, smooth caramel sauce in under 15 minutes.

1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Before making the caramel sauce, gather the measured ingredients and have them ready to go. Once the sugar begins to caramelize, you have to move quickly!

Pour the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, at least 2-3 quarts - trust me. Over high heat, melt the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the crystals have dissolved into a dark amber liquid, add the butter. Be careful! It will bubble up and can burn you if you're not carefule. Continue to stir or whisk until well-mixed.

Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream, being very careful again. Mix well, until smooth and even. Let cool a few minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let sit until room temperature. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Serve warm over pies, drizzle over ice cream, or dip your apple slices in it. Whatever you do - do not put a small spoonful in your coffee! It's highly addictive and should only be attempted by those of us who can handle it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Spinach lasagne

Using prepared ingredients, this lasagne can be made in under an hour.

1 package no-boil lasagne
3 cups tomato sauce (pureed tomatoes)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup riccotta cheese or fromage faiselle
1 cup frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1 carrot, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
Italian seasoning (oregano, thyme, basil)
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

In a bowl mix tomato sauce, Italian seasonings, onion, garlic, sugar, and salt. In a second bowl mix mozzarella, ricotta, spinach, carrots and eggs.

Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a glass or Stoneware loaf pan. Top with a layer of lasagne. Spread a layer of cheese mixture over lasagne. Top with tomato sauce, then lasagne. Repeat until all ingredients have been used.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until lasagne is tender.

Simple potato soup

Very healthy and super easy to make. Ideal after a month of U.S. junk food! Freeze single servings in Ziploc bags for quick meal.

4 medium potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cubes (or 1 tsp) chicken bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp rosemary
dash thyme
1-2 cups milk

Place prepared vegetables in a large pot. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add pepper, rosemary and thyme.

Allow to cool slightly, uncovered. Purée with hand blender. Add milk, mixing well. Sprinkle with parlsey before serving.