Friday, November 26, 2010
Yesterday, we shared Thanksgiving with very good friends and family. Around here, it's like Thanksgiving Day cook-off! We shared some good wine, some great food, and good laughs!
A few of the recipes:
I really, really, despise the stuff that comes out of the can, so a few years ago, I found a recipe that I tweaked a bit and here is the result. It's great with dinner, but especially good on those next day turkey and cream cheese sandwiches! This is so easy and so good that you will never tolerate that canned stuff again!
1/4 c dried apricots, finely chopped
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c golden raisins
1 c water
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 t grated lemon zest
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c chopped crystallized ginger (don't leave this out! Find it in with the spices or cheaper in the bulk food bins)
1/2 t red pepper flakes (doesn't make it spicy, just brings out the flavors of the fruits)
Combine apricots, brown sugar, raisins and water in a small pan; bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, apple and lemon zest; simmer for 10 minutes more.
Stir lemon juice, ginger and pepper flakes into the mixture, then remove from heat.
Cool on the stovetop, then refrigerate or serve at room temperature.
Oven Roasted Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
This recipe has earned the approval of several friends and family members who normally turn their noses up at the little cabbages.
2 lbs brussells sprouts
1/2 lb bacon, sliced thinly crosswise
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3 T. good balsamic vinegar
6-10 cloves roasted garlic
2-3 t sugar
Salt and coarsely ground pepper
Line a baking dish with foil, add the garlic cloves and a bit of olive oil. Roast in a 350 degree oven about an hour, or until very soft. Set aside.
Put the bacon in a large frying pan and fry until crispy, adding the onions when the bacon is about halfway done. Set aside.
Remove the stem ends from the sprouts and cut in half, then place them in a large baking dish. Add the garlic and the bacon/onion mix. Drain off a bit of the bacon grease first if you like. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper and roast for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees--the sauce should be dark and carmelized.
Northwest Waldorf Salad
I got the original recipe from Cooking Light magazine, and of course, tweaked it a bit. This is a nice way to add local produce to the holiday spread and it's healthy, too!
3/4 c finely sliced celery
1/2 c chopped dried cherries
1/2 c chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 c plain, low-fat Greek yogurt (or just use plain yogurt)
1/3 c low-fat sour cream
2-3 T agave sweetener (honey would also work)
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 t salt
2 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled cored and chopped
Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl. Combine yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and sweetener and whisk until smooth. Pour over celery mixture. Add pears and apple and toss gently to mix. Chill at least 1 hour.
Hands down our favorite dessert--the one my husband asks for on his birthday--even though that is just two days before Christmas! We first had a similar dish at the 42nd Street Cafe at the beach and liked it so much I just had to try my hand at making it! Make the gingerbread a day early and leave it on the counter to dry out a bit before cubing it up for the pudding! In a pinch, I suppose you could use a gingerbread mix to make the pudding, but I admit I haven't tried that.
2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
3/4 c milk
2 t ginger
1 c molasses
2 t baking soda
1/2 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Heat the butter, molasses and brown sugar on low heat until the butter is melted and mixed with the other ingredients. Stir the milk, eggs and melted mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9" x 13" cake pan and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.
To make into pudding.
Cut the gingerbread into 1" cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together 3 eggs, 1 c milk and 1/2 c sugar and add to the gingerbread pieces until coated thoroughly, then return to the cake pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with caramel sauce, whipping cream, or both!
1/2 c butter
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 c brown sugar
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the brown sugar and mix well. While still heating, slowly add the whipping cream and continue to mix until the sauce has absorbed all the cream. Remove from heat and serve over the gingerbread pudding. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers to use over ice cream or in your coffee drinks!
So those are just a few of our Thanksgiving Day staples. I got hungry while typing this, so I am heading for the kitchen to pull some leftovers out of the 'fridge for breakfast!
Friday, October 8, 2010
Here's my take on it!
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey or hamburger ( I used ground turkey breast)
1-2 chopped peppers--I used a small green one from the garden and a large red one
2 small zucchinis, chopped
1 c. or so sliced mushrooms
1 small eggplant, cubed
3 sprigs of basil, chopped (use kitchen shears to make this easier)
1 quart or large can of tomatoes
2 cups dried wide noodles
Brown the garlic, onions and meat, drain any grease. In a large stir fry pan, saute the peppers for two minutes, then add eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms and saute for another minute or two. Add the basil and tomatoes and simmer until thickened. In the meantime, boil the noodles about 7-8 minutes. Combine the meat, veggies and noodles and serve topped with a sprinkle of your choice of cheese--I used the shredded Italian mix!
Caution! This makes a lot of pasta! It's great for leftovers or stick some in the freezer for a quick dinner. Enjoy!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
2 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
Small Pork tenderloin, cut into 1” cubes
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
3 poblano peppers, cut into 1” pieces
½ t. cumin
¼ t. ground coriander
1-1-1/2 lbs small potatoes
Season pork and brown pork and garlic in olive oil. Place browned meat and garlic in crockpot. Add broth to deglaze pan and then add it to the crockpot. Place the rest of the ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for about 6 hours.
If you like it hotter, add a few other peppers, such as jalepeno. For a smokier flavor, add a canned chipotle or a bit of liquid smoke. A bit of frozen corn, added at the end of cooking would be good in this, too.
Serve with fresh tortillas if you can find them, sour cream and cilantro.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
1 large bell pepper, any color
1 english cucumber
1 large tomato
1/2 sweet onion, such as Walla Walla, Maui, or Vidalia
1 ripe avacado
Chop vegetables and place in large bowl.
2 T. finely chopped cilantro
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. cider vinegar
2 t. balsamic vinegar (black cherry is my current favorite!)
1 t. seasoning salt
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. chipotle chile powder (optional)
Toss with vegetables and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
1/2, or up to 1 large bottle of V-8 juice, depending on how chunky you like it.
Season to taste with Tabasco. Garnish with extra cilantro leaves.
You can also add salad shrimp to the soup or serve it on the side.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Braised Balsamic Chicken
6 Chicken Breasts, boneless & skinless
NOTE: I substituted chicken tenderloins and used about 10-12
Garlic salt (I like fresh ground garlic sea salt)
coarsley ground pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 sweet onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar--buy the best you can afford--Costco's is pretty good
1-small can diced tomatoes
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried rosemary
1/2 t. dried thyme
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet, brown the onion and the chicken.
Mix tomatoes, vinegar and seasonings in a bowl, then pour over the chicken and onions. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is done (145 degrees) and the tomato sauce is thickened.
I cheat and buy the stuff at TJs in the tube. Slice it off and brown in a skillet brushed with olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet and top with grated asiago cheese. Broil to melt the cheese. Serve with extra sauce from the chicken.
Three Bean Salad
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can green beans
3 T. seasoned rice vinegar
1 T. Extra virgin olive oil or other light oil
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. seasoned salt or garlic salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. Mrs. Dash seasoning
Drain and rinse all the beans, then place in bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients until the sugar is well disolved and add to the bean mixture. Refrigerate until about 20 minutes before serving.
1-12 oz bag frozen raspberries, at least halfway defrosted
1 c. non-fat half and half
sugar to taste (about 1/2 cup or more)
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Add mixture to ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
1 lb. bag frozen mangoes
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.
Allow mangoes to thaw while syrup is cooling, about 30-45 minutes.
Combine the syrup and the mangoes in a food processor and process until smooth (about 30 seconds) If mixture is cold, process in ice cream maker immediately. If it isn't cold, refrigerate, then process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
You may serve both of these immediately if you are pressed for time, but I like to put the finished product in a container with a lid and freeze for at least a couple of hours before serving.
There you have it, folks--my mediterranean inspired dinner! I served it with a wine from a local winery--2005 Capstone Unicus. If you don't happen to have that one in your wine cellar, try a Washington or Coastal California Zinfandel or any "big" red wine. I also served the Asiago bread from Safeway bakery, warmed in the oven while the chicken cooked. Enjoy!!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Most of my father's relatives were dead before I was born, and they were held in greater esteem than any of the living relatives. My great-aunt was adamant that we know that these dead people had lived greater lives than we could ever hope to, and in a time that was much greater, simpler and harder than ours. The family matriarchy was the dominion of the iron-fisted, acerbic sisters, my grandmother and great-aunt Nellie, her younger-by-only-two-years sister. From the time I was about four, several times a year, but most importantly on "Decoration Day," they would load their gardening tools, my cousin and I into the old Buick and head to the Oddfellows Cemetery to tend the family plot.
We would wander through the cemetery for a while, but eventually our attention would be called away from our morbid grave games to pay our respects to the dead relatives. The would come the stories. Detailed, sometimes vivid descriptions about how each of these people came to be here that fascinated me and horrified my cousin. She didn't do well with things like that. While I thrived on hearing the stories like the one about my grandmother's brother Ralph, who, it was told, had an operation and died from the ether. My poor cousin would turn pale and rush to the car, escaping into the safety of the backseat. Ether, I was told, is what they used to knock you out so that the operation didn't hurt. I imagined that operations took place somewhere like the Frankenstein's labratory I had seen in the movies. While my grandmother told these stories in her matter-of-fact manner, my great-aunt seemed amused and almost delighted in seeing us squirm.
The trips were never described as "going to the cemetery," but as "going to see Mama and Papa," or "going to visit Ralph and Ester." No one in the family questioned it, or seemed to think it was the least bit odd that we going to see dead people. Sometimes the sisters spoke to them, filling them with the latest family news and gossip. Although I never asked either of them about death, my sense of death, as a child, was htat it was a temporary situation, and that, in time, they would get over it.
My peculiar sense of the dead continued at home. Home was my grandmother's house where I lived with her and my father. A big old house that had once held four apartments; we lived mostly downstairs in the space that had once been two of those apartments. When I would ask my grandmother about my grandfather and my father's little sister, she would tell me that they were with the man upstairs. I thought she meant upstairs in the unused apartment, so I sneaked up the stairs to look for them. I could use someone to play with. I wasn't supposed to be up there, and when she caught me, my explanations were met with silence. I thought it was pretty neat that we kept dead people in our upstairs and I told all the kids in my kindergarten class about them.
In another part of the house, my father had mounted the head and horns of a deer over the doorway. Unfortunately it was between me and the bathroom. I just knew that the deer wasn't really dead, but just marking time on our wall, and that it might come back to life just as I walked under it. After I had peed my pants a couple of times, someone figured out that I was afraid of the deer and took it down.
Many years later, when I was a young bride, the news came that my father had died. I went to his house, my grandmother's house where I had grown up and before anyone else arrived, I checked the apartment upstairs, just in case.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
If you've been to my home, you might have noticed that I like to decorate the dining table for the appropriate season/holiday, etc. My daughters will tell you that "like" is an understatement and that my fascination with it borders on eccentric. Heh. I own tablecloths, placemats, napkins and rings, and centerpieces for practically any occasion. Hispanic Barbie would be a centerpiece for Cinco de Mayo! It's a great holiday to haul out my brightly colored table linens and my much loved vintage Fiestaware.
So once a year I haul out this wonderful centerpiece and remember the love with which she was given. It is a nice feeling.
This salsa is pretty quick to make and it is easy to have the ingredients on hand all the time in case you have unexpected company or a really big snack attack! This and a bag of tortilla chips are also my mainstay when invited to something potluck-like and I get asked to bring it quite often. A few years back I went on a houseboat vacation with 9 of my closest friends and we made a gallon of this salsa, chopped entirely by hand because we didn't have a processor. We consumed every bit of it and could have eaten a lot more! But be forewarned, some people have not been able to recreate my salsa, probably due to the haphazard way I cook! Adjust the heat to suit yourself--I make it hotter at home but tone it down a bit when I take it somewhere. I'll also soon be posting some other recipes, one for pineapple salsa and another for Chipotle Salsa (burn your eyebrows off HOT!!!) But in the meantime, here is Twylla' s Super Secret, Kick Ass Salsa! Enjoy!!!
1 large can diced tomatoes--I like to use organic--and when you have ripe tomatoes in your garden, use them either by themselves, or added to the canned
1 small can chopped green chiles
2 or more chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (buy a can in the Mexican foods section, use what you will and store the rest in a ziploc in the fridge or freezer until next time you need them) These are dried, smoked jalepenos and give the salsa its zing and smokey flavor
1 bunch green onions, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bunch cilantro, stems cut off
Seasoning salt, or sea salt to taste
Place all the above ingredients in a food processor (I like to place the fresh vegetables in first with the rest on top so that they process better) Process until you get the consistency you like.
Make sure and taste it before you take it out of the processor so you can adjust it if you want to.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tonight I watched the Trailblazer's last regular season game from my sofa within arms reach of a large box of tissue. Turns out it was a groaner, but I was disappointed to not be there in person. My husband took me to my first professional basketball game while we were dating, and it didn't take me long to become a pretty big fan of the Portland Trailblazers, or the "Jailblazers" as they came to be known. It was easy to lose interest there for a while, when the Blazers were in the news more often for some of the dumb antics of their players than for their expertise on the court. But the last few years have been very, very different for Blazers fans--we have a superstar, and a local one, at that--we have an owner who is deeply committed to the organization--we have a fan-freaking-tastic coach, and we have a deep, a VERY deep bench. To say that this year held a lot of challenges for the team would be a gross understatement. The team has been riddled with injuries to the point of being unbelievable, and when Joel Pryzbilla suffered a season ending injury, many fans thought that the Blazer's prospects for the playoffs were over. But this amazing team stepped up and met every challenge and ended their season tonight 50-32, just four wins short of their season last year, and as sixth seed in the West.
This weekend the playoffs begin, with the Blazers set to play Phoenix in the first round. Who knows what the playoffs will bring, especially with Brandon Roy's play being questionable since he sustained an injury while playing against the Lakers. What I do know is that this team has a lot of heart and I can't wait to watch them continue their journey no matter where it ends this season.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
So the theory is that seedlings start much faster when bottom heat is applied to them. In the past I've used my greenhouse for many different things, but I haven't been big on starting seedlings. So I am starting quite a few seedlings right now and will likely have baby lettuce (mesclun) in just a few weeks! I typically spend quite a bit of money on plants each year, and my theory is that this will save me quite a bit. For now I'm growing lettuce, eggplant and cilantro because I have limited space for the vegetables. They have to be fairly close to the house or else the deer come up and feast upon them.
I just purchased a book that I read many years ago--Square Foot Gardening---and hope to incorporate more of the ideas from that book into my veggie crop this year. The idea is that you don't need a huge area for vegetable gardening and that a lot of space is wasted when vegetable gardens are planted in the traditional way. The methods in the book also reduce the amount of work required--that is always a bonus in my book!
I also ordered a variety of heirloom tomato plants from www.Burpee.com and just got notice that they are on their way. In MHO it is too early to set out tomato plants, so those bad boys will go into the greenhouse for awhile while we prepare a new raised bed for them. I've found a nice spot but I'm afraid it is going to require quite a bit of work to put a new bed in place there.
All the while I am also getting ready to put in a decorative flower bed out in front of the greenhouse--it's been pretty baren and weedy out there and it really needs some work. And I really need a few nice days so that I can get all my ambitious projects started!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
One recipe that I used over and over again when my kids were little was this one for quick sticky buns--it is easy to keep the ingredients on hand and appears that you spent a lot more time on them than you really did! I "resurrected" the recipe and made them for Dwain and I this morning along with scrambled eggs, bacon, sliced mango & strawberries, and OJ. A very nice little Easter celebration!
5 Minute Sticky Buns
In a round glass casserole or Corningware dish combine:
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
nuts or raisins if you like
Melt in the microwave and stir together well.
Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut 1 can of refrigerated biscuits into fourths, add to the mixture and stir gently to coat evenly. Microwave 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes.
Friday, April 2, 2010
1 lb ground beef (I used ground turkey breast to keep it low-fat, AND that is what I had on hand!)
1 can kidney beans (the original says black or pinto would also work, but I LOVE kidney beans)
2 T. cornstarch
1- 1/2 c. chopped onion
4 t. chili powder ( I substituted in 1 of the teaspoons with chipotle chili powder, which is available at Safeway and will make it quite a bit warmer with a smoky flavor)
1 clove garlic, minced
1- 28 oz can of tomatoes, diced (I buy the already diced ones)
1- 4 oz can green chiles
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil, add meat, brown and drain off fat, if any. Add beans. Put cornstarch in a small bowl and add the juice drained from the tomatoes. Whisk together. Add to onion/meat/bean mixture over heat and stir well. Stir in
tomatoes, green chiles and chili powder. Cook until mixture is thick. Shouldn't take long.
Spoon into 13 x 9 pan . Spread cornbread topping over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes.
1- 1/2 c. cornmeal
1-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
5 T. sugar
1-1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. + 2 T. oil
Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir briskly until just mixed. Pour over meat mixture and bake as above.