Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beef Stew with Noodles

For my last recipe of this 31-Day series, I chose a beef stew from Martha Stewart Living One Pot cookbook.

Don and I will be out at a soccer game from 4-6 p.m. So I made the stew this morning. This way we can warm it up when we get home, just before the Trick-or-Treat kids ring our doorbell.

Beef Stew with Noodles

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 T. vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced lengthwise
2 T. flour
5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups egg noodles
3 T. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 t. red wine vinegar

Season beef with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over high heat. Working in batches, add beef and cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion begins to soften(reducing heat if necessary), about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Add broth and water, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender, about 25 minutes.

Add carrots and potatoes; cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and vinegar just before serving.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chicken Piccata

A couple of years ago, Daniel decided he needed a cookbook. This is the one he asked me to buy him for Christmas. I wonder how many recipes he has tried so far?

The Joy of Cooking is a classic. It's been around for over 75 years. The trouble with it is that it doesn't have any pictures. I like pictures in my cookbooks.

As I looked through this cookbook, I landed on page 436 right where the recipe for Chicken Piccata was. Just ask Don how much I love Chicken Piccata. If it is on the menu when we go out, I order it. But I have never made it myself until now.

It was so easy! And it tasted just as good as at the restaurant. I'll be making it at home now too.

This recipe is in two parts in the book. The first part tells you how to make the chicken breasts, and the second part is the sauce. I used my own method for Juicy Chicken rather than theirs.

Chicken Piccata

Prepare and keep warm in a 200 degree oven sauteed boneless chicken breasts. Remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet. Heat the remaining fat over medium heat, and add: 2-3 tablespoons minced shallots. 

Cook, stirring, until wilted, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and add: 1 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Add: 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons drained small capers. Boil until the sauce is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 3-4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and swirl in: 2-3 tablespoons butter, softened. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

I used chicken tenders in mine.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sour Cream Corn Bread

Ina Garten is another cookbook author whose cookbooks I collect. Many of her recipes are easy, and all of the ones I have tried are very tasty.

Ina created Make It Ahead because the most common question she receives from people is, "Can I make it ahead?" When Ina owned a specialty food store in East Hampton, New York, that's what she did most of the time - make food ahead. So this cookbook draws on that expertise.

I made Sour Cream Corn Bread which can be made the night before and toasted in the morning for breakfast. Mine came out a little flat, so I was worried it would get stuck in my toaster. It was still good eaten right out of the oven.

Sour Cream Corn Bread

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3 cups flour
1 cup Bob's Red Mill medium grind yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. baking powder
1 T. kosher salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 c. sour cream
2 extra large eggs (I used two large eggs and one egg white), at room temperature
Salted butter and strawberry jam for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line the bottom of two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 inch loaf pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, and eggs and then slowly whisk in the melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix them together with a rubber spatula, until combined. Don't over mix!

Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the top, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Place the pans on a rack and cool completely.

When ready to serve, slice the corn bread, toast it, and serve with salted butter and strawberry jam.

I think my loaf pan was too big.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Earl Grey Iced Tea

Geoffrey Zakarian is a judge on the Food Network show, Chopped. He has written a nice little cookbook called My Perfect Pantry listing 50 pantry ingredients and 150 recipes that can be made from them.

Some of his pantry staples are chocolate, coconut milk, honey, oats, popcorn, tuna and tea. I chose tea. I know this is sort of a lame recipe, but I needed a break today. And I love iced tea.

I didn't know you could make Earl Grey Syrup to go with your French Toast or Earl Grey Cream to go with your Bomboloni (Italian donuts), but Geoffrey shows you how.

This iced tea would be perfect to impress a friend who is over for lunch. Make it the day before so the ice cubes are nice and firm.

Earl Grey Iced Tea with Iced Tea Cubes

5 Earl Grey tea bags
3-4 T. superfine sugar
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Place 2 glasses in the freezer. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups cold water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and let steep 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags. Stir in the sugar, to taste. Add 1 cup cold water.

Pour about half the tea into ice cube trays and freeze. Chill the remaining tea in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, place the ice cubes in the chilled glasses, pour the tea over, and garnish with mint.

I didn't have a friend to share it with, so I drank both glasses.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Turkey Salad

The Good Home Cookbook by Richard J. Perry is a collection of more than 1,000 classic American recipes. These recipes haven't been de-fatted, de-carbed, de-glutenized or de-surgarized (my made up words). They are just as our parents and grandparents would have made them.

I chose to make the Turkey Salad recipe in preparation for Thanksgiving leftovers. However, I could not find a decent piece of turkey to work with at the grocery store, so I used chicken for now.

This chicken salad was nice and crunchy. Very refreshing.

Turkey Salad

2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 T. cider vinegar
1 t. salt
4-5 cups cooked turkey, diced
2 large celery ribs, sliced
1 large red apple (do not peel), cored and diced
2/3 cup walnuts
2 t. grated onion
Lettuce for serving

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the turkey, celery, apple, walnuts, and onion. Mix gently. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Make a bed of lettuce on a platter or individual plates. Mound the salad on top of the lettuce and serve.

Don't mind my windmill lettuce.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Boiled Baby Potatoes

Keepers by Kathy Brennan & Caroline Campion is a cookbook of tried and true recipes by these two home cooks. I figured if they were really keepers, they should all be great recipes.

Tonight I needed a side dish to go along with my pork tenderloin, so I made these potatoes. The lemon made these potatoes stand out. I loved them.

Boiled Baby Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds small red or white skinned potatoes
3 T. unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
Coarsely ground black pepper
Handful of fresh dill, chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Salt the water so that it tastes like seawater. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Place the pot over medium heat, shaking occasionally, to dry out the potatoes, about 1 minute.  Off the heat, add the butter and lemon juice and season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Put the lid on the pot and shake vigorously. You want the potatoes to break up a bit so the flavorings get under the skins. If they need a little help, crush slightly with a fork. Check the seasonings, then add the dill, shake again, and serve. (If you aren't serving the potatoes right away, hold off on adding the dill because it quickly starts to discolor.)

Notes: I did not use the dill. I used a strange kind of potato. They were oval shaped and sort of brownish red, so I cut them in half. I also think I cooked them a little too long. That's why they appear mushy. But they were delicious anyway!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup

The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Dinnertime by Ree Drummond came out last week. I didn't waste any time buying it. I love her cookbooks and I have all four of them.

This one is the best yet. Her photos - not just of the food - but of life on the ranch are so gorgeous. I don't know how she does it all, but somehow she manages.

The recipe I tried in this book is Butternut Squash Soup. It turned out great. I didn't put as much squash in as I was supposed to, so it wasn't as thick as hers, but it still tasted wonderful.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
1/4 cup plus 2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the squash on two rimmed baking sheets and drizzle it with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Roast until it's soft and light brown, 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Set squash aside.

In a large pot, cook the onion in the remaining 2 T. olive oil over medium heat until soft and lightly caramelized, 7-8 minutes. Add roasted squash and broth. Heat the mixture until bubbling.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot until totally smooth. You can also tranfer the mixture in batches to a regular blender, just don't fill it more than halfway full since the soup it hot! Transfer the pureed soup back to the pot when it's done.

Finally, add the cream, maple syrup and salt. Then stir it around and let it simmer for 5 minutes more. Give it a taste and add more salt to your liking.

Notes: I used butternut squash that was already diced from the grocery store.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Joy the Baker  (Joy Wilson) has a great website and two published cookbooks with amazing bakery items. Oh the patience one has to have to bake for a living.

Don and I love carrot cake, so I decided to try the Carrot Cake Cupcakes in her new cookbook, Homemade Decadence.

I also made the Cream Cheese Frosting on page 184, but I am not including that recipe here. These turned out delicious.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

3 cups flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. cloves
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 T. vanilla extract
4 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcakes pans with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

In a medium bowl, whisk together, sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Fold in the carrots, cranberries, and walnuts. Add the carrot mixture to the flour mixture and fold together until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake pans.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan 20 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting, then refrigerate.

Friday, October 23, 2015


I am a late comer to Guacamole. For years I would not try it. Then Katherine convinced me to try Chipotle's guacamole, and I was hooked.

Josh makes a mean guacamole (or so I've heard) but I've never tried to make it. Alice Waters, in her cookbook, The Art of Simple Food had a very basic recipe that looked simple to do.

Before I tried it though, I watched a YouTube video to see how to cut open an avocado. The video also showed a method of mixing things up if you don't have a mortar and pestle - use a fork.


2 ripe avocados (use Hass if you can find them)
1 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. finely chopped onion (I used green onions)
2 T. chopped cilantro
Salt to taste

Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Scoop the flesh out of the skins with a spoon into a mortar and mash it roughly with a pestle.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste and add more salt and lime juice as needed.

Notes: I used a glass bowl and a fork to mash the avocado. If you are not going to serve the guacamole right away, put one of the avocado pits in with it and press cling wrap directly on top to keep from browning.

Served with Rolled Tostidos

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lemon Sage Drumsticks

Today's recipe comes from Celebrate Every Day, a cookbook by Jaime Richardson.

This cookbook is set up in sections geared toward celebrating every day fun with your kids such as Movie Night, French Cafe, Berry Picking Party, Living Room Sleepover and Snow Day. Lemon Sage Drumsticks is in the section called Pumpkin Carving Party.

These were so simple to make, and they were just delicious. I will make them again for sure. Great for a party.

Lemon Sage Drumsticks

2 pounds drumsticks
2 T. butter, melted
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
5 sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange drumsticks on a wire cooling rack set over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush chicken with melted butter, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Top drumsticks with sage and lemon slices. Squeeze lemon juice over the top of the chicken. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until chicken skin is golden and internal temperature is 165 degrees. allow meat to rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cake Pops

I've always wanted to make cake pops. They look so cute and taste so good.

Today I made them. I have two words to describe them: labor intensive. I won't be making them again.

They didn't turn out that great anyway. I guess this just isn't my thing. When I need cake pops in the future, I'll call my niece, Elizabeth. She makes great cake pops.

Here is the recipe anyway:

Caramel Cashew Cake Pops

1 package chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup canned dulce de leche
48 lollipop sticks
2 1/2 pounds milk chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped
Chopped cashews

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions, using a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Crumble cake into a large bowl. Add dulce de leche and mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on baking sheets; insert sticks. Freeze for at least 2 hours or refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

In a microwave, melt candy coating. Dip each cake ball in coating; allow excess to drip off. Coat with cashews. Insert cake pops into a foam block to stand. Let stand until set.

Notes: I couldn't find anything called dulce de leche, so I used caramel flavored sweetened condensed milk. I didn't have any cashews, so I used peanuts. I did not make all 48. I stopped at 12.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Baked Chicken Risotto

Carolyn gave me this cookbook last year for my birthday. I love it because all the recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less.

To use up the leftover rotisserie chicken from Sunday, I selected Baked Chicken Risotto for dinner last night. Don didn't care for the artichokes - he left them all on his plate. I didn't have this until today at lunch because I went out for dinner last night. It was yummy! I ate all my artichokes.

Baked Chicken Risotto

1 T. butter
1 cup minced sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup Arborio rice (short grain)
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 t. lemon zest

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and saute 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Add wine and cok 2-3 minutes or until wine is absorbed. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Bake 20 minutes.

Remove rice from oven and stir in artichokes, chicken, zucchini and pepper. Cover and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Notes: I chopped my artichokes a little more and I left out the zucchini. I used dried parsley flakes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rotisserie Chicken

Did you know you can make a rotisserie chicken in your crock pot? I found this great recipe in The Complete Slow Cooking for Two cookbook by Linda Larsen.

I made it, and it was so delicious. Plus there was way more meat on the chicken than when I buy a rotisserie chicken from the store. And it was cheaper.

Rotisserie Chicken

Nonstick cooking spray
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. paprika
1 t. dried thyme leaves
1/4 t. black pepper
1 roasting chicken (3-5 lb.)
1 lemon

Spray the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Tear off 4 (18-inch long) pieces of foil. Scrunch the foil into balls and place in the slow cooker.

In a small bowl, mix crushed garlic, salt, paprika, thyme and pepper until well combined. Sprinkle one quarter of this mixture inside the chicken; rub the rest onto the chicken skin.

Roll the lemon on the counter beneath your palm to soften it. Quarter the lemon. Put 2 quarters inside the chicken. Squeeze the remaining 2 quarters lemon over the chicken, and put those pieces in the slow cooker between the foil balls.

Place the chicken breast side down on top of the foil balls.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until the chicken registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer and is very tender.

Notes: My crock pot is a large oval one. I used a an organic chicken I bought at Giant Eagle. I think it was about 4 lbs. in weight. I forgot to get the crock pot going before church, so I cooked this on high for 4 hours instead of low for 8 hours and it turned out great. You could season it any way you like. Highly recommend this!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

White Cheddar-Horseradish Baseball

When I first saw this cookbook, I thought of Peter. He loves cheese balls and he loves creating things. He would love this.

As I looked through Great Balls of Cheese, I tried to find a cheese ball that didn't take too many ingredients and one that Don would like.

He likes horseradish, and he likes baseball, so that is how I chose this particular cheese ball for today.

White Cheddar-Horseradish Baseball

2 cups shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 T. prepared horseradish
1/2 t. fresh lemon juice
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Coarse salt, to taste
1 red bell pepper, for decorating

Using a stand mixer, mix together the cheddar cheese, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Form the mixture into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Slice the bell pepper into thin strips, then cut into pieces to look like baseball laces. Pat the pepper pieces dry with a paper towl. When ready to serve, put the ball on a platter and arrange the red pepper pieces to look like laces.

Serve with crackers.

Don says my laces are too big.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Meatloaf Sliders

Katie Lee is a co-host on the Food Network show The Kitchen. She also graduated from Miami University and was married to Billy Joel from 2004 to 2009. The Comfort Table is one of her three cookbooks.

This cookbook is organized by menu, each for a different occasion. I chose a recipe on the menu for a Retro Cocktail Party. Katie's Meatloaf Sliders would be perfect for a small gathering of friends.

The most popular recipe in her first cookbook was a meatloaf she called "manloaf." This slider recipe makes mini manloafs.

Meatloaf Sliders

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. minced flat-leaf parsley
1 t. minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. garlic powder
24 slider buns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place a rack on top. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, 1/4 cup of the ketchup, the onion, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Use your hands to mix everything together.

Divide meat by the tablespoonful and shape each into a thin patty. Place on the prepared rack. Brush the patties with the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup. Bake for 20 minutes.

While meatloaf is baking, spread mayonnaise onto one side of each bun. Place each meatloaf slider in a prepared bun and serve.

Notes: This recipe was supposed to make 24 sliders, but I made the patties a little larger (just the size of the slider buns) and I got 12. I cooked them 25 minutes and they were perfect. Also - I used dried herbs (just a little because my breadcrumbs were seasoned). Delicious!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Greek Frittata

I've been meaning to make a frittata for years. I think what was stopping me was not having an oven-proof skillet. I have one now, so no more excuses.

I saw Pam Anderson do a cooking demonstration at the Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson about six years ago. I liked the way she cooked, so I picked up a couple of her cookbooks - Perfect Recipes for Having People Over and The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great.

Pam and her two daughters have a blog called Three Many Cooks on which they all share their recipes.

This recipe called for a 12" skillet, and my skillet was only 10.5" so I had to cook the frittata longer. Next time I will just use 10 eggs instead of 12.

My Big Fat Greek Frittata

12 large eggs
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 t. dried oregano
Salt and pepper
3 T. olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 package (10 ounces) frozen leaf spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped
6 ounces ham, cut into a small dice

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cheeses, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oil and garlic in a large (12-inch) ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until garlic starts to sizzle and turn golden.  Add spinach and cook until excess moisture evaporates, about 1 minute. Add ham, shaking skillet to distribute evenly. Add egg mixture. Cook, without stirring, until eggs start to set around edges, about 1 minute.

Transfer pan to oven and bake until frittata is puffed and set, 10-12 minutes. Slide or invert onto a large plate, cut into wedges, and serve.

Great for breakfast or brunch! Pam suggests serving it with tomato juice.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Cake

I made this recipe for Don. He loves coffee cake, and apple and cinnamon.

He hasn't tried it yet because he's out tonight, but I think he will like it. I had a sample, and it was just the kind of thing he loves. I was surprised it wasn't too sweet.

Jamie Deen is of course Paula Deen's son. He is so cute (with those dimples and all). Jamie Deen's Good Food is his latest cookbook, and it looks like he has his son Jack in training because if you turn the cookbook around to the back cover, it has a different photo of Jack cooking up scrambled eggs. The title says, Rooster's Cafe' by Jack Deen. Jack has 17 of his favorite recipes in the cookbook too. So cute.

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Cake

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup walnuts

1 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 cups cored, peeled, and diced apples (Honeycrisp)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with nonstick baking spray.

First make the struesel: In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt, whisking together until well blended. Use a fork to cut in the butter, then switch to your fingers to really crumble the struesel all together. Once it's all combined, stir in the walnuts.

In a second medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add butter and sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With a spatula, scrape down to the bottom of the bowl halfway through beating to ensure it's all coming together.

Beat in one egg at a time, making sure the first is well blended before adding the second, then beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add flour by the scoopful and mix until well incorporated. Turn mixer off and stir in diced apples. Batter should be thick.

Pour batter into the pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the struesel. Bake for 50 - 55 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Leave to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tomato Pumpkin Bisque

This cookbook - Table Talk by Carol McManus was my souvenir when we visited Martha's Vineyard in 2011. Carol lives on Martha's Vineyard and owns the Espresso Love Cafe there. Many of the recipes in the cookbook have been featured at the cafe.

Let me just say up front that if you like tomato soup, you MUST make this! It was delicious, and it only took about 20 minutes to make. I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum!

Tomato Pumpkin Bisque

2 T. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cans kitchen-ready tomatoes*
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Heat oil in large pot. Saute onion until soft and transparent. Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Then add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and salt and pepper.

Cook for about 15 minutes, until soup is hot. Use an immersion or regular blender to puree the soup.

Notes: * I was not sure what 3 cans of kitchen-ready tomatoes meant, so I substituted two 28-ounce cans of Hunt's whole peeled plum tomatoes. It turned out perfect. Makes 6 servings. I put the leftovers in freezer containers for future cold fall nights.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Moroccan Lamb Burgers

The Williams-Sonoma Weeknight (Food Made Fast) cookbook has three sections: recipes that take 20 minutes, recipes that take 30 minutes, and recipes that are made with enough for leftovers.

Moroccan Lamb Burgers was a recipe in the 30 minute section. I like that they were very simple and fast to make. And...they were DELICIOUS! I felt like I was eating a Gyro without all the extra calories of the bread.

Moroccan Lamb Burgers

1 1/2 lb. lean ground lamb
5 T. fresh mint, minced
5 T. fresh parsley, minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
3/4 cup plum (Roma) tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (optional)
Pita bread (for serving) - optional

Prepare grill over high heat.

In large bowl, using your hands, mix together lamb, 4 T. each of mint and parsley, onion, 1 t. cumin, the cinnamon, 1/2 t. salt, and pinch of cayenne. Form four oval patties.

In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, remaining mint and parsley, remaining cumin. Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Grill lamb patties, turning once, for about 10 minutes total for medium or until done to your liking. Place one lamb patty on each plate, then top with spoonful of yogurt sauce, sprinkle with tomatoes and serve along with cucumbers.

Notes: I cut the recipe in half for me and Don. I served brown rice on the side. I loved this! Will be making it again.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sweet Cream Scones

I've been a fan of Downton Abbey since Peter and I watched the first three seasons in one week back in 2012. At the end of his senior year, he came down with a virus that knocked him out for a week. He was bored, so we watched Downton Abbey for the first time.

This will be the last season of the show (sad but true). So I thought I would make a recipe from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines.

Sweet Cream Scones comes from Chapter 8 of the cookbook: Tea at Downton Abbey. These are just the sort of scones the ladies of Downton would enjoy in the afternoon. I can just picture Daisy and Mrs. Patmore whipping them up in the downstairs kitchen.

These scones are very good. I would like them even more with some blueberries in them.

Sweet Cream Scones

1 cup sour cream
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1 t. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
1 egg, at room temperature
Heavy cream for brushing
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Blend sour cream, vanilla extract and baking soda together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, blend together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Stir in sour cream mixture and egg until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, kneading briefly. Pat dough out into a 3/4 inch thick round. Cut into 12 wedges and place them 2-3 inches apart on the greased baking sheet. Lightly brush them with cream, then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.

Notes: I mixed the flour, etc. in my stand mixer bowl. After cutting in the butter with a pastry blender, I poured the sour cream mixture and cracked the egg into the flour mixture. I mixed it in the stand mixer just until the dough came together. This dough comes out nice and smooth.

I used a biscuit cutter to shape them because I didn't like the way my wedges came out.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hasselback Potatoes

Eat & Make by Paul Lowe (aka Sweet Paul), is a combination of recipes and kitchen crafts.

This is a lovely cookbook. Nice photos, nice paper, nice things to cook and craft too.

The recipe I chose for today was Hasselback Potatoes. I've always wanted to make these, and this is the easiest method I've seen.

They came out great! Don loved them. He said I could make them any time. He doesn't say that about many of my dishes, so I know he really liked them.

Hasselback Potatoes

12 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. Paprika
12 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the middle position.

Using a sharp knife, cut 8 slices almost three-quarters of the way through each potato, leaving the bottom quarter intact and the slices still connected.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and brush with butter, getting butter between all the slices.

Sprinkle with salt and paprika and place a bay leaf into each potato.

Bake until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Notes:  I accidentally bought Klondike Gold potatoes, so they were a little larger. The recipe still worked. I just used six potatoes and cooked them a little longer. Also, I don't think the bay leaves made that much difference. You could leave them out unless you like the presentation.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cannellini Beans with Crushed Red Pepper

I don't watch TV, so I didn't know until I read the inside flap of Eva's Kitchen by Eva Longoria that she played Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives.

So she's not a Food Network star like I though she might be. But she grew up on a ranch in Texas, and she loves to cook, and she put together this cookbook full of 100 favorite recipes.

I gravitated toward one that looked very simple today because I didn't have much time. I missed yesterday's recipe since I was in Atlanta for Lauren's wedding, and we just got back this afternoon.

Here's what Eva says about this recipe: "I first had this dish at a restaurant in Florence, Italy. I took a bite and immediately asked the waiter to tell me exactly what was in it. When he told me, I had the same reaction I've had so many times after tasting something delicious in Europe: "That's it?""

This dish would make a great throw-together appetizer. You can do it in less than five minutes. But I could also make lunch out of it. I love white bean dip, and this is similar to it. It's just that the beans are not mashed up.

Cannellini Beans with Crushed Red Pepper

2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
1 T. dried red pepper flakes
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

In a medium serving bowl, place the beans, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt to taste. Gently stir to combine.

Serve with assorted crackers or toasted pita triangles.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Foolproof Salmon

The Kitchn Cookbook (2014) by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand is a beautiful work of art.

The Kitchn and Apartment Therapy are related websites. While Apartment Therapy is all about decorating, DIY and shopping, The Kitchn focuses on recipes and entertaining.

There is a lot more in The Kitchn Cookbook than just recipes. It includes how to set up a kitchen, caring for your kitchen, and The Kitchn's cooking school. I love it.

The recipe I chose from this cookbook was Foolproof Salmon Baked with Olive Oil and Herbs. We love salmon, and this just looked like a sure-fire way to make it right every time. The recipe note says you can't overcook your salmon if you make it this way.

Foolproof Salmon Baked with Olive Oil and Herbs

1/4 cup plus 2 T. olive oil
1 1/4 lb. salmon fillet (or two smaller ones)
1 large shallot, roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh dill fronds (I used dried dill and just sprinkled in a little)
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley
Zest of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a small baking pan just large enough to hold the salmon. Lay the salmon, skin side down, in the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Blend shallot, dill, parsley and lemon zest in a small food chopper or small food processor (or chop them all together by hand). Blend the remaining 2 T. olive oil into the herb mixture and pat the paste over the salmon.

Bake the salmon for 22-28 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon fillet. Serve with rice and a salad or vegetable.

I ended up baking my salmon for 35 minutes because it was a little thick. Next time I will look for a thinner piece. This was very tasty with brown rice and asparagus.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes

Don and I had pancakes for lunch yesterday. I was in the kitchen mixing up the batter and plopping it on the griddle while expecting him to call out to me from the other room, "what are you making?" I don't normally "cook" for lunch.

Before I was finished with four pancakes, he showed up. Don doesn't normally eat lunch, but he was more than happy to test out the pancakes. We each ate two, topped with melted butter and real maple syrup. Yum!

Don't you just love the cover of this cookbook? What a cute couple. Cheryl and Griff Day own a bakery in Savannah, Georgia that I would love to visit some day. To celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2012, they created The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.

The cookbook is full of more than 100 recipes from their bakery. I love the photos and stories inside. This is the recipe I chose to make:

Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 t. baking soda
1 t. fine sea salt
2 T. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
8 T. (1 stick) butter, melted
Butter for serving

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt and sugar.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and 6 tablespoons of the melted butter. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined.

Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Grease hot griddle with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle for each pancake, making 3 to 4 pancakes at a time. After 2-3 minutes, lift each pancake up halfway with a spatula to see if it is golden brown and edges are crispy; if so, the pancake is ready to turn. Flip the pancake over and cook until the underside is golden brown, 2-3 minutes more. Serve, or keep warm on a heatproof plate in a low oven while you cook the remaining pancakes. Serve with butter and syrup.

This recipe says it makes 8 pancakes, but  I could have made 24.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lemony Chicken and Kale Soup

This is my new favorite soup! I haven't been a fan of kale until now. I think it is the lemon that brings out the taste for me. This soup makes me feel like I am eating my Sito's stuffed grape leaves. It smells and tastes like "cigars."

Pat and Gina Neely are such a sweet couple. I love the way they interact with each other on their Food Network show. Kale soup doesn't exactly seem like a southern cooking recipe, but it works for me.

Lemony Chicken and Kale Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I put in 8 cups)
Juice of 2 lemons (next time I'll use a little less)
1 small bunch kale (8 ounces), stems removed and finely chopped
1 cup orzo
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in onion. Saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Toss in garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add both chicken pieces, and cover with broth. Bring broth up to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the chicken for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Using tongs, remove chicken to plate until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken with a fork, and then chop into bite-sized pieces.

Squeeze lemon juice and slip the kale and orzo into the pot. Cook for 8 minutes, or until orzo and kale are soft. Stir in chicken, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.