Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer zucchini (for Abby)

4-5 slender zucchini with firm ends, halved and sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 tsp olive oil
freshly grated pepper to taste
salt to taste
5-10 fresh basil leaves

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and zucchini, stirring to coat lightly. Cover and cook until bright green and just barely soft. You may need to add a little water (1-2 tsps) if it starts to stick. Stir every few minutes to cook evenly.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using scissors, cut basil into thin strips over the zuicchini. Serve hot.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Crustless petit quiches

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup might cream (or milk if you don't have cream)
1/4 tsp salt
pinch nutmeg
4 eggs
1/3 cup Emmental or Swiss cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese or cottage cheese
1/3 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 slices bacon, crumbled
6 cherry tomatoes

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, cooking until bubbly. Pour in the milk and cream. Keep stiring until thick, like pudding. Grate cheese into the mixture. Add salt and nutmeg Remove from heat and let cool until you can put your (clean!) finger in it.

Beat the eggs, then stir them into the mixture until mixed in. Fold in spinach, goat cheese and bacon.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Spoon mixture into muffin tin, filling each one about 3/4 full. Top with half of a cherry tomato.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° until puffy and browned, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Zucchini pomodoro

1 box tomato purée / pomodoro (about 2 cups)
2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup carrot purée (optional)
4-6 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp sugar
5-10 basil leaves, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary
1 tsp olive oil
Optional: 1/2 lb ground beef, browned and drained

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add zuchinni and cook 5 minutes or until soft and bright green around the edges. You may need to add a little water to keep it from sticking.

Add tomato purée, carrot purée, sugar, thyme and rosemary. (If using beef, add now) Simmer on low at least 15 minutes.

Serve over hot pasta with basil on top.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Amber Dawn's guacamole

2 ripe Haas avocadoes (not sure if it's ripe or how to peel it? See here.)
2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
Lawry's seasoned salt to taste

Optional add-ins:
chopped tomato
chopped onion

Cut avocados in half. Remove pit. Scoop out avacado from the peel, or gently pull away the peel. Put in a and mash well with a fork. Some people like theirs really smooth, but personally I like mine a little chunky.

Stir in lemon juice, seasoned salt, tomatoes and onions (optional). Serve immediately with tortilla chips or pita bread.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mom's bread & butter pickles

In a large bowl, toss 7 cups sliced cucumber (don't peel) with 2 tablespoons of salt. Let sit for 15 minutes then squeeze water out or very briefly rinse. (Do NOT let soak for more than 15 minutes or it will make the pickles salty! I promise, I know what I am talking about. Yuck, salty sweet pickles.)

In a small bowl combine 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cups white vinegar, 1/4 cup water, and 1 tablspoon celery seeds (Note from Kari: I used 3/4 tsp celery salt). Add some sliced onion and green, yellow and red peppers (the peppers are optional; they make it "pretty" and colorful.)

Pour the sugar mixture over cucumbers and let sit on counter for 1-2 hours, stirring often. Scoop the cucumbers, onions and peppers into a sterilized jar and add vinegar mixture to cover. Keep refrigerated.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mulberry muffins

I came up with this recipe after we stumbled onto a mulberry grove. The cornmeal gives a good texture and the lemon really brings out the mulberry flavor.

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (semoule de mais)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp lemon zest (this makes the muffins!)
3/4 cup fresh mulberries, rinsed

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a second bowl, mix the egg, milk and oil well.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed. Gently fold in the berries and zest.

Spoon the batter (it will be thick) into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hamburger corn casserole

I used to request this on special occasions as a kid. It was a real shocker to me the day I figured out that it isn't fancy or expensive to make :)

1/2 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 small can corn
1/2 cup sour cream (crême fraîche), or more to taste
2-3 servings cooked pasta
1/ tsp beef boullion

Brown the ground beef and drain fat. Put meat to the side and brown onions in the same pan.

Toss together all ingredients. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 350° until hot all the way through.

Serve on fancy occasion plates.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gâteau de semoule (semolina cake)

3/4 fine semolina
2 cups milk
3 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs,
1/4 cup sliced dried apricots
2 tsp butter

Heat the milk until little bubbles form at the edges, then add semolina in a thin stream, whisking. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly for 10 minutes, until the mixture looks like cream of wheat. Remove from the heat and add butter, eggs, sugar and apricots and whisk until well mixed.

Pour the batter into a non-stick pie pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Britt's zucchini bread

The original recipe came from Jonathan's sister when we got married. I've adapted it a bit since then, but the basic genius is hers.

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the zucchini until evenly mixed.

In a second bowl, mix the sugar and oil well. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just mixed. Spoon the batter (it will be thick) into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Monday, June 09, 2008

French toast with cherry compote

Now that's breakfast.

1 lb fresh cherries, washed and pitted
1/6 cup sugar
3 Tbsp Kirsch (optional)
1/4 tsp almond flavoring

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer 10 minutes.

6 slices stale bread
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 pat butter

Break eggs into a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate; beat lightly with a fork. Stir in milk, vanilla and cinnamon.

Over medium-low heat, heat a little of the butter in a skillet.

Place a slice of bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds, then carefully turn to coat the other side. Transfer the egg-soaked bread to the skillet., cooking it slowly until bottom is golden brown. Turn and brown the other side. Repeat with remaining slices.

Serve French toast hot with cherry compote poured over it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cool cucumber tabouleh

This one is a spin-off from traditional tabouleh salad. It's very refreshing and light, perfect for picnics.

1/2 cup bulghur, medium
1/2 of an English cucumber, chilled
1/3 golden raisins
juice from 1/2 lemon
10-15 fresh mint leaves
2 tsp olive oil

Soak bulghur in cold water for 20 minutes or until soft. Squeeze out excess water from bulghur using hands or paper towel.

Soak the raisins in hot water for about five minutes to allow them to plump up. Drain well.

Cut the cucumber into quartered strips (like a pickle spear) and then slice them into small pieces.

Pour the bulghur into a serving bowl. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over it. Using kitchen scissors, snip the mint into the bowl. Stir in the raisins and cucumbers. Toss well. Taste and add more of of something if it's missing!

Serve immediately or, if you prefer, chill first.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Slooow roasted pork belly

This one really couldn't be easier. It turns a fat-filled piece of pork belly into a melt-in-your-mouth treat topped with crispy pork cracklings. It got two thumbs up from the husband.

2-3 lbs pork belly, skin on
3-4 onions
crushed garlic

Peel onions and slice them in half. Place them flast side down in a roasting dish. Add crushed garlic on top of the onions.

Rinse the pork belly well, then pat the skin dry wihth paper towels. This will ensure the crispiest cracklings. Place the meat over the onions, skin side up. Score the skin like a tic-tac-toe board so that there are 1 inch squares all over the top. Sprinkle heavily with salt and herbs..

Roast at 275° for three hours. The fat will dissolve, running down into the onions which caramelizes them while keeping the meat moist. The skin will crisp and puff up. For extra crispy cracklings, you can broil it for a few minutes at the very end.

Garden of Eden bran muffins

This recipe revamps boring old bran muffins, giving them a lightness (buttermilk batter) and natural sweetness (figs and apple).

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups wheat bran
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tsp vanilla
1 apple, chopped
6-8 dried figs, cut into small pieces (size of raisins)

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.

In a second bowl, beat eggs. Add oil, buttermilk and vanilla, mixing well.

Pour wet into dry and mix until just blended. Stir in fruit. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with paper baking cups, filling 3/4 full.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container. These muffins freeze well for a breakfast or snack on the run.

To make buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice. Microwave on low for 15-30 seconds.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tomato bruschetta

1-2 tomatoes
1 onion
fresh basil leaves
olive oil
loaf of baguette (crusty French bread), sliced

Chop the tomatoes and onion and toss with drizzle of olive oil and snipped basil in a bowl.

Place the bread slices on a baking stone or cookie sheet and broil until just golden. Flip them over and top with a small slice of mozzarella and a big scoop of tomato mixture. Toast again for about two minutes. Buon appetito!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Going granola (again)

I published this recipe a few years ago but wanted to look at it in comparison to store-bought granola or muesli. We can buy a small box of generic muesli here for about $1.50 or a name brand for about $4.50. I calculated that this recipe makes the equivalent of two boxes and costs $6 max to make.

I love being able to control what goes into what we eat and this is a great price for a high quality recipe.

In a large bowl, mix:
2 cups whole wheat flour
6 cups oatmeal
1 cup dried coconut
3/4 sesame seeds
1 cup wheat germ (I subbed ½ cup cornmeal + ½ cup wheat bran)
½ cup powdered milk (opt)
2-3 cups peanuts

In another bowl mix:
½ cup water
1 cup oil
1 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly. Spread on 2 non-stick cookie sheets or cookies sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 250 degrees for one hour or until dry and golden. Cool completely, then store in airtight container. Eat plain, as cereal, over yogurt or in trail mix.