Saturday, February 28, 2009


Our batch this week included:

Orange peels
Carrot peelings
Sweet potato peelings
Celery leaves
Coffee grounds
Red pepper stems
Banana peels
Egg shells

For your own batch, you can compost anything that was once living, but not meat, dairy and cooked food. Get started here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Willie Rae's fish tacos

My favorite item on the menu at Willie Rae's!

Oil for frying
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg
1 cup water
1 pound fresh tilapia (or other white fish), cut into 8 strips
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1/6 head green cabbage, shaved or very finely sliced
1 chopped tomato
Lime wedges
Chopped fresh cilantro
Cilantro jalapeño tartar sauce

Pour 1/2 inch oil in a fryer or pan and heat to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, paprika and cayenne. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and water. Dip the tilapia pieces in the egg wash, and then roll in the cornmeal. Fry about three minutes per side, until lightly browned and cooked through, and then drain on paper towels.

To assemble the tacos, warm the tortillas in a dry pan or directly over the flame of a gas stove; do not let burn. In the center of each tortilla, place a dollop of the tartar sauce (about 2 teaspoons) and about 1/4 cup shaved cabbage. Top with two pieces of fried fish. Garnish with a spoonful of tomatoes, a squirt of lime juice and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro.

Cilantro jalapeño tartar sauce from Willie Rae's

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon capers (or chopped dill pickle)
1 teaspoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon pickled jalapeño peppers, chopped
Zest of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, cilantro, mustard, capers, onion, jalapeño and lime zest. Adjust flavors to taste. Chill for 30 minutes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cornmeal griddle cakes

This recipe came from my mom's cookbook, but as I started tmaking it I decided to tweak a bit. The cornmeal we had was a very coarse grind so I used less than the recipe called for, then added more flour to bind it. The result was a light, almost lacy, griddle cake.

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp melted butter

Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl just until blended. Whisk the buttermilk and melted butter into the eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk to blend. Do not overmix - a few lumps are ok.

Lightly grease a griddle with oil before making each batch of cakes. Use 1/3 cup measure to pour batter onto the hot griddle.

The griddle cakes are ready to flip when they look dry around the edges and bubbles break to form holes that don't close.

Serve with butter and syrup, honey or preserves.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mother-in-law's Mounds cake

This cake is definitely one of our favorites. The recipe comes from my mother-in-law and usually make it for our birthdays.

Mix and refrigerate (covered) overnight:
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 cups sour cream (crème fraîche épaisse)
12 oz flaked coconut

Bake a 2-layer devil's food cake. Cool completely. Frost with coconut mixture. Cover and refrigerate 3-4 days before serving.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mom's chicken fiesta soup

1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans white beans, drained
3 1/2 cups salsa
1 cup grated mozzarella
hot sauce to taste

Combine in a large saucepan and heat slowly. Olé!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hungarian kolache pastries

1/8 cup hot water
1/6 cup melted butter
3/4 milk, warm
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp yeast
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups flour

In a large bowl, mix together water, butter, milk and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and stir once. Wait about ten minutes until the top is foamy.

Add egg and salt, beating well. Stir in 2 cups flour and mix well. Wait ten minutes.

Knead in flour one half cup at a time until smooth and elastic. Don't add in more flour than needed - you want these to be nice and fluffy!

Put the dough back in the bowl (oiled) and cover gently with plastic wrap. Let rise an hour or until doubled in size. Punch the dough down.

Lightly flour a clean countertop. Roll the dough out into a rectangle. It should be about a pinkie finger's thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into eight long strips.

Using a brush, paint oil onto the kolache stick. While one person holds the stick, the second person can wrap a strip of dough around it. Leave a thin space between the strips to where you can just barely see the wood. Keep going, pinching the ends of each strip to make them stick to each other.

Sprinkle sugar onto a cookie sheet and roll the dough to lightly coat it.

Bake the kolache over hot coals, turning slowly the whole time to avoid burning. Once the strips puff up and start to brown, they are done.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar onto a cookie sheet and roll the hot kolache through it to coat. Eat hot!

This recipe make 2-3 kolache pastries.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pan grilled zucchini and red peppers

My friend Kendra made this for us the other day and we loved it!

2 zucchini
1 large red pepper
olive oil
herbes de Provence

Rinse and dry the zucchini and red pepper.

Cut the ends off the zucchini. Cut into three sections. Slice each section lengthwise into fourths.

Cut out the core of the red pepper and remove seeds. Cut into large pieces.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil over high heat in a cast iron skillet. Once hot, place v cut veggies in the skillet to form one layer. Cook carefully, being sure not to burn them. Flip over every few minutes to ensure even cooking. Once they begin to soften and blacken, remove from skillet and season with salt and herbes de Provence. Serve hot.