Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marinated Radicchio and Orange Salad - Bon Appetit


With all this roasting poultry the fall and winter brings, I find myself with a taste for salad to bring tart balance to the plate.

Last night we enjoyed this delicious Marinated Radicchio Salad with Orange and Walnuts
found in Bon Appetit. (Yes, this is their picture, by the way.) I made the salad with shredded apple and tangerines when the orange I'd saved for the meal mysteriously disappeared. It was perfect. Toasted walnuts and the slight bitter bite of the radicchio sitting in the tangerine vinaigrette. Scrumptious even.

How about you? What's happening with salads in this lovely cold season?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

But first, cuteness.









You might think they're watermelons.









Baby watermelons?

But, in fact, they're Cutecumbers. 

Little, crisp, slightly lemony cukes. If they had them at the grocery store or the Farmer's Market, I'd put them just like this in my salads, or dip them in a nice tangy dip. I might even make a tomato/Cutecumber salad using mini Roma tomatoes. 

My beautiful neighbor & friend is a produce Forager. She finds the best and most interesting things growers are growing. And then she'll call me and say, "Come see what I've got!" 

These made my heart skip a little beat. 

When we can buy them, we'll have fun, don'tcha think?







Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let's talk about Apples: Pink Pearl

Look at this beauty.

The Pink Pearl is a wonderful, wonderful heirloom apple with a pretty pearly exterior and look, a pink, stripy interior with a tart, crisp bite.

The apple is said to make a pink applesauce. And I can see why. But, I only have two, and when I cut into the first one, it was gone in a flash!

What's not to love? Flavor, texture and the really, the perfect introduction to apple season.

A group of friends and I head up to Riley's Farm in the southern California apple country in Oak Glen this time each year. I don't get to go so, I'm all the more grateful for these babies.

The lovely people at Frieda's tell me that our local Sprouts Market will have lots of heirloom apples coming our way. I have two favorites. The amazing Arkansas Black apple and the Mutzu. So I'm ready to expand my repertoire and see what flavors and textures are coming my way.

Tomorrow or so? King David.

What's your favorite apple?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia!

I have two grandmothers to thank for my love of the kitchen. Julia just made all of it more interesting. More practiced. And more fun.

Here's how she was remembered on what would have been her 100th birthday.




You have to start with Julia herself and the chicken sisters:



Then there's also the Natural History Museum exhibit.

Or the Huffington Post with thoughts on food in writing. (I don't agree so much with David Astor. I love many of her recipes. And...you can modify a touch here and there for heaven's sake.)

The LA Times remembrance.

An embedded quiz at the Monitor.

And her bio at Bio.

Happy Birthday Julia. And thank you for being the fearless pioneer you were.

Bon Appetit.



Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Revisit to Julia's French Omelette


This morning my just-about-16-year-old boy was, as always, honnngry. This is like "hungry" but with emphasis on starvation. He was about to head out the door with my Dear, so, Mrs. Child's omelette was the only choice.

This time I had a few pieces of an Asian Flank Steak to toss in with a 1/2 teaspoon of Philippe (Home of the French Dip Sandwich) hot mustard.

His only words, "Thanks. The eggs were perfect. Neither over nor under cooked."

I've trained a culinary critic I fear.

But thanks Julia!

Her birthday is coming August 15. She'd have been 100 years old. I suspect there will be plenty of celebrating. We'll keep you informed.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Hello Kitty Cake


Hello Kitty!

Well I have to start with this:  My going-into-8th-grader decided she (who loves math) wasn't going to spend a whole year in pre-Algebra when she gets it. So she plopped a stack of papers down for me to enroll her in a four week concentrated pre-Algebra course at the nearby all girl Catholic high school. Where they were uniforms every day in summer. With saddle shoes. 

Really?

Well, it went very well. She loves her very fun, young teacher so much she wanted to make her a Hello Kitty Birthday Cake for the party today. As they review yesterday's final. 

Really?

It's all quite good and wonderful and don't you think cake is a great way to finish summer school?

We made this easy by downloading a picture of darling Hello Kitty, making a white on white cake (teacher's favorite) and decorating with rolled fondant. Fondant can be difficult. We had a few challenges, but all in all, my girl stepped in rather fearlessly to decorate and I'm quite thrilled with her outcome.

Care for a bite?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Coming soon: talking coffee


We start our day with a cup of the bean so, tell us: what do you think about it? 

Do you drink coffee everyday? Before breakfast? With? How do you prepare it? I have a friend with a Bunn, he swears by it. Me? I'm looking into a MoccaMaster. And Jemma wouldn't part with her French Press, (but she drinks my coffee from the Cuisinart Thermal Carafe).
We seem to love it. It's a tradition, a ritual. 

We'll be celebrating a couple of weeks on the perfect cup coming up quite soon and we'd love to hear from you. Guest bloggers from Paris to the Pacific shore have lots for us to talk about.

Enjoy your morning cup and let us know -- how do you enjoy a cup?


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chicken Broth Success

Don't freeze your broth in Mason Jars. They break. I know. I tried.
I am so happy with the success of the Chef John's Roasted Chicken Broth. Easy. Though, with my three days on the task you might not know it. But, believe me, that's just life with a high school schedule.

It is so very delicious. Rich, full of body and ready for carrots and onions, celery and the chicken breast remaining. Here's his recipe. We're having soup for lunch and saving the rest for later (in the freezer, of course).

When you make it (and you should), just give yourself the space on a Saturday. The flavor is much different than a standard homemade stock, which I love, but the richness and depth of flavor makes it just perfect as a simple soup base. And, it's not labor intensive, it just needs the stretch of 3 hours to cook.

I'm planning to add red pepper, tomato and sausage soup to one of these, too.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quick Apple Dumplings


Well, there's your picture. It happened before I got back to the kitchen this morning. 8 dumplings. 2 kiddos. 1 Dear Husband.

Ta da.
Poof.
Gone.

Here's the recipe and I believe you'll love it!
Set the oven at 350.

You'll need:
2 apples - Granny Smith are fine, I like Jazz
1/2 stick butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 container refrigerated crescent rolls

Cut the apples in quarters, skin on and core them.
Wrap the apples in the crescent roll strips and place them in a greased 8x8 baking pan.
Melt butter and sugar and whisk together lightly.
Pour over the wrapped apples and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Breakfast? Dessert? Kiddo's snack? Just enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken Broth, continued

We had a bit too much on our plate tonight, but the chicken broth finished it's simmering. This will be a staple for a Saturday from now on. My Dear grabbed a piece of the cold chicken breast and loved it. I had a tiny bowl of the broth for taste and can't wait to compile the soup.
That's coming up, but the worthy work is through and it really was no work at all.
Ahh. Chicken broth. In Ball Jars. Ready for soup.
So, on then to soup.
Tomorrow or so.

Do you have a favorite?

Chicken Broth update

Ok, I went and got the chicken.
But I went to Whole Foods (but not this one in Austin, Texas).


I became distracted by beautiful kales



Purple cauliflower


Sumo Mandarins


And the salad bar. 

Ai, ai, ai! My daughter and I spent over an hour looking and touching and dreaming. I grabbed some whey protein for morning smoothies and shocked my girl when I showed her the spinach I'd be adding. She's still recovering.

So, yes, we bought the chicken. But with the salad bar, right near the cold case where I picked up some cold roasted brussels sprouts (I promise, both my grandmothers are rolling over in their graves.) I acquiesced immediately to my girlie's request for their rotisserie chicken. Dinner? Done!

Last night I finally got to the Chicken Broth and I'll say this. It is worthy of some time. I roasted the chicken in the dutch oven as Chef John suggested, but I'm finicky about the breast meat coming up to 160 degrees. It took a bit longer than 45 minutes. Do temperature test the chicken when you try this. 

Then, after the stove top caramelizing and about one hour of simmering, I gave up for the night and put it in the refrigerator to wait. (I did cool it first.) So more on that later. The fragrance is superb and I can't wait to finish it tonight for chicken soup. 

I promise, we'll report on it when it's finally complete. Chef John's recipe is a keeper, or at least seems so for now. What I love over and over about his point of view is this, more of the chicken, less of the extras. This recipe doesn't want you to add anything to the broth as you go but one celery stalk, one onion and three little bruised garlic cloves.

It took a lot not to let my Dear have a spoonful. Mais non! It is not ready for tasting.

To be continued.

Til then, 
Vicki


  



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chicken Broth

I just love what Chef John from Food Wishes did with Chicken Broth. And, with our impending cold snap in mind, its time to make some broth. (The 5 Day Forecast has us between 57 & 67 degrees.)

So I'm off to the market to buy a 3 1/2 pound chicken while you watch this.

There's a secret ingredient in his video, so I'm trying it now!

Enjoy.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another version of the Kale Salad


I do hope my lovely friend Lori will be a guest blogger with her fabulous Kale Salad with feta and rice wine vinegar. Until then, here's a new version I'll be trying this week. Found here at Cesars Tradgaard. You'll have to translate.


Kale
3-4 tbsp lemon oil
1/2-1 red onion
2 apples
a handful of walnuts


Translated: Add chopped kale in a blender, in batches, so that it becomes very finely chopped. Finely chop the onion and apple and mix with green cabbage (kale). Stir in lemon olive oil and mix well. Sprinkle with walnuts. If you leave to stand for an hour so the flavors can come together really well!

I haven't used a blender or food processor with kale. I may try it, or I may just chop, chop, chop. Can't wait for this mix of flavors.

Has Kale made it to your plate?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekending: Easy Lemon Scones


This Sunday morning we decided to have "home church" as Truman calls it. I made scones and the kids set the table. Eric read us a devotion and we sang our prayers. It was actually quite lovely. We ended our home church with playdoh and sketchbooks. Which sometimes feels more church-like to me.



I found this recipe on epicurious, but I adapted it for what I had in the fridge, and what we had in the pantry. I cut down the lemon in the recipe to just a hint so I could mix in chocolate chips. Isabel, my daughter does not really enjoy scones, but she does enjoy them with chocolate. Personally, I enjoy my scones with a big dose of coffee. Don't you?
Easy Lemon Scones
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
For top of scones:
  • 1 tsp melted butter
  • 1 enough sugar to lightly dust each scone

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Whisk flour, baking powder and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Using fingertips, rub in chilled butter until pieces are size of small peas.  Form a well into the dry ingredients.


Mix 1 cup milk, lemon juice and zested lemon peel in glass measuring cup. Pour buttermilk mixture into the well you created dry ingredients and stir until dough begins to form (some of flour will not be incorporated). Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and gather together. Knead dough briefly, about 5 turns. Divide dough in half. Incorporate the mini chocolate chips into one half of the dough, do not need just incorporate. Form each dough half into ball and flatten into 1-inch-thick disk. Cut each disk into 6 wedges. 

Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart.* Brush tops with 1 tablespoon butter and dust with sugar. Bake until scones are golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

*Note: I did not space mine apart enough and they all baked together. So if you want these to LOOK like scones, you probably should not be in a hurry and do that (:


--Mary







This week we're joining Amanda for Weekending, and Tasty Tuesday with 33 Shades of Green.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A great cup of the bean.



I have a penchant for good cup of coffee. My friends know this and my husband, really knows it.

Years ago (decades, even) I was on a work trip talking with coffee lovers about this whole bean craze in the Pacific NorthWest when my client took me to this little shop in Pike's Market, Seattle. I had a short cup of espresso and bought a pound of ground beans and really enjoyed it. It got to be a big company. Good coffee, you've been there.

But the real discovery was on a vacation in Hawaii. My Dear and I were staying at the Hana Ranch Hotel and found a beautiful wicker coffee tray in our room. It housed two fair sized cups, a grinder and a jar of coffee beans. I was game. This was new and my tradition of a cup (or so) of freshly ground coffee was born. Every morning the cutting whir of beans grinding to that coarse, fragrant powder promises a cup that makes me breathe deeply and settle in for a moment.

From there, the search for the perfect cup began. For years I've bounced between some bean I'm trying and Dean & DeLuca's Mocha and Java blend.

Then I discovered the Kobrick Coffee Co

All I can say is this: Go. Shop. Buy. Drink. I started with Martha's Blend through a sale at OpenSky. It's delicious. Couldn't be happier. Or could I? I'll only find out if I try a few more varieties, blends and roasts.

So how about you? What's your favorite cup of coffee? Really, I just might need to taste it.


Pin It

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lunch for Two


My husband and I work at the same place and so we get to take lunch together. And what do I love most about our lunches together? Making eggs.

We use whatever we have in the fridge but it mostly consists of a base of eggs with runny yolks, spinach and garlic. The rest is all up for interpretation. This particular lunch we added ham, cherry tomatoes and a bit of stone ground mustard.

Yum, yum?

Do you ever do breakfast for lunch?

--Mary


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Making Almond Milk


Last weekend, my husband was away on a business trip and my kids were both occupied: little man was washing all of his micro machines in warm water at the kitchen table. And little lady was drawing kitties and cutting them out of cardboard.

I could have cleaned or folded something, but instead. I decided to make almond milk. The night before I had left the slivered almonds in a dish of water to soak. And now, the easy part of blending and straining.

This was so easy. Though I'm sure a vita-mix and cheese cloth would have done better than my regular blender and fine mesh sieve.


I felt so self sufficent making my own. Though... in honesty, I do like the store bought kind better!
Almond Milk
1/2 cup almonds soaked in water over night
2 cups cold water
2 dates chopped
1 tsp honey (or more if you like sweeter)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (real not imitation)
pinch of kosher salt


Strain the almonds from the soaking liquid and discard liquid. In a blender place the almonds, water, chopped dates, honey, vanilla and salt. Blend about 2 minutes on high speed. Strain through fine mesh sieve or 3-5 sheets of cheese cloth. Save the almond meal for another recipe. Shake well before serving. Keep refrigerated for 3-4 days.

I really like this almond milk in coffee (but leave the last sip of it or you'll get a mouth full of tiny almond pieces). It's also delicious on granola or in oatmeal. I don't like to drink any form of Almond milk straight up.

Enjoy this simple recipe. I hope you have fun making it!

--Mary

Monday, January 16, 2012

Make and Bake Pizza

Delicioso Pizza almost from scratch!

Pizza is one of our staples so I am always looking for an angle and with this simple feast -- I've found it!

My kids ( the toughest critics around) loved it too! Now that is worth every bite!

Your secret ingredient is the pizza dough. Mine is from Trader Joes but I have it on good authority that you can buy dough straight from your favorite pizzeria for about a dollar. With piled high ingredients you get the fullness of deep dish without the deep dish!

My ingredient's:

Sweet italian sausage - removed from casing, crumbled in a hot pan and cooked through.
Brown mushrooms, stems removed and sliced lenghthwise.
Pepperoni - prepackaged slices, cut in half.
1/2 6 oz. can Tomato paste- doctored up with fresh garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Let the layering begin:

On a par baked pizza crust round add the sauce to make a generously even layer over all but the crust.
Add on the goodies; a nice thick layer of shredded mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms and lay them on thick! Top with a little more mozzarella and bake as the dough directs, mine suggests 400 for about 10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite side salad and you've got it made!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Satsumas


Isn't this time of year the best? Satsumas (and all the other amazing tangerines) are at the ready. I could buy five pounds and they'd disappear in just as many days. My Dear is the biggest culprit and his minion, our youngest, is right behind him.

They are beautiful and tasty and belong in a salad, right next to the pomegranates and walnuts, don't ya think?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Baked Eggs in Individual Cups

We started a quiet morning with beloved Streusel muffins and baked eggs. My Dad was an egg guy. A master of omelettes and one who loved a poached egg on corned beef hash and occasionally, a shirred egg in the right restaurant. This morning I was musing about the tenderness of the well-cooked egg and thought about baked eggs.

Keep it simple.
Heat an oven to 325 degrees and place individual ramekins in a pyrex or other oven-loving baking dish. Carefully fill the baking dish and not the ramekins so the water comes to about the 3/4 mark. 

Now, enjoy inventing:
  • use either a bit of butter or cooking spray in each ramekin to ensure easy removal
  • break an egg into the dish and add a touch of salt 
  • chose your favorites: shredded cheese (I used some jalapeno jack), roasted tomatoes or peppers, sauteed mushrooms, onions, panko breadcrumbs, croutons perhaps, the whole grain on this one is hemp 
Place in the oven and bake. About 20 minutes to tender but set. Check as you go. I finished one of the eggs in the broiler to brown the cheese for my cheese lover. You'll add lots of individual touches and I bet you can come up with lots of wonderful ideas. Like Caesar Eggs for the anchovy lover.




Ooooh! I'm excited to hear what you might do with just an egg and a ramekin!

Do share.



Monday, January 2, 2012

Kale Salad, again

Kale Salad for breakfast.
The Kale Salad recipe with berries and a whole pomegranate, raisins and nuts and Oh! La! La!

We loved this at our New Year's Brunch.
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