Mmm… Food


The comeback of Tarts
June 12, 2009, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Cooking

When you try something and it’s good.  Make it again!!  April did just this when she made Paula Dean’s Fresh Fruit Tart, (actually she made 2) to take to a 2nd Story (which is an awesome storytelling group that present stories monthy, check it out) Workshop meeting.  They were a hit! 

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 She even got fan e-mail about them so I advice you whip one up for the next event you’re headed to. The tart can be twisted to fit any assortment of fruits.   April’s included strawberries, mango, kiwi and grapes.  mmm…  I got to take a piece for breakfast when leftovers returned home, and !!!!!  OH MY GOD.  Better than before.  I want more tart!!! Pie.  anything really. i love it all.

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Grilling Weekend
June 3, 2009, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Cooking

It was a weekend for grilling.  Our neighbors thought so too.  You come out back to undress (take the cover off) the grill and notice that your neighbors have already done the same.   “What ya grilling?”  “Chicken kabobs” he replied.  “I’m making chicken breasts myself.”

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Of course we smothered ours in pesto and ate them with a delightful side of potato salad (made almost per April’s grandmothers recipe, with a few of our porch herbs thrown in) and a spinach/shitake/quinoa/feta salad by martha that has become one of our favourties.  🙂 

Yes we have restarted our porch garden,  i’ll have to get some good photos once things get warmer here and the plants grow a little bit more.  We have a couple tomatos, some jalapeno peppers and a ton of herbs.  (Which is really the part I’m most excited about).  Fresh herbs are the best thing, and can be quite expensive at the store.  Growing them on your own  makes them readily available and FREE (after the initial plant investment of course, but after 1 or 2 uses the plants really pay for themselves).  We did have a strawberry plant until last week (which we have now deduced that the dog ate it. Strawberries aren’t poisonous to dogs, but her stomach was not exactly happy (“Was that your stomach?” I questioned April, “No” she replied and then added “It wasn’t yours??” at which point we both look under the table to find an unhappy dog who when let down into the yard ate grass while I grilled)

But… grill season is setting upon us (even if it is only 55 degrees outside right now, a little frustrating for June 3rd, alas warmer weather is coming, I feel it) and I’m excited to get back out there.  Which is why I was excited to find this article titled “How to Grill (Almost) Everything” at Chow.com  I want to try the “Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Egg Salad and Bacon” with our veggie friends J&R (minus the bacon of course for them), but they look super tasty!!!



What happened?!?!?!
May 22, 2009, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Foods, Random Facts, Restaurants

I don’t have any good excuses.  So I won’t try to make a grandiose apology.  It’s been too long.  I’m coming back!!!

Of course, maybe I should have waited to share a more recent eating/cooking/dining experience.  But I’m feeling the impulse, and don’t want to push it off and watch more time go by before I post again. 

So…  here’s a few pics of stuff I managed to snap along the way in the past two months since I’ve put anything new up.

1st Grill of 2009 on March 26th.

The first time I grilled in 2009 was back on March 26th.  Rare warm day that I took advantage of.
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Ethiopian Coffee, (April 12th)  served from a traditional coffee pot known as a “jebena”, at The Peacock Cafe located at 6014 N. Brodway at Glenlake.
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Duck Nachos (April a5th) at Dorado 2301 W. Foster
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Strawberry Whipped Cream cake (April 23rd) , from Chow.com which April made for me after I e-mailed her with an “I want This” e-mail 🙂  Super Awesome!!!

And there will be new to come!!!  Yeah 3 day weekend comingup!!!



Vacation Cooking does it again!!!
March 11, 2009, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Cooking

Our second nite in Wisconsin treated us to Cornish Hens stuffed with couscous, almonds and dried apricots, with a side of steamed broccoli in olive oil and orange zest!  Soooooo cute!!! and super tasty.  Double bonus tokens all around.

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The Cornish Hens were a discovery from a Food and Wine Herbs and Spices cookbookI picked up at a garage sale this summer.  It’s kind of fascinating in it’s organization.  There are of course different ways of organizing cookbooks.  Some seem to follow a meal progression with appetizers up front, main dishes, sides, desserts, drinks.   Others follow the seasons from Summer to Fall into Winter and Spring pairing fresh ingredients from each time period with recipes to enjoy.  But this cookbook listed recipes by main spice or herb.  The cornish hens were from the Cinnamon section.  The couscous was flavored with cinnamon and cooked ahead of time before being stuffed inside the hen for roasting.  The moisture made the hen super juicy and tasty.  I guess that couscous with apricots and a cinnamon flavour is a traditional North African food stuff.  However my guess is putting it inside the poultry may not be so common??  I don’t really know though.  My knowledge of life in North Africa is limited at best.  Non-existent may be a better sum up.  But anywhoozle, this was a tasty treat, although as April said, Cornish Hens are super cute with an individual one for each guest, but a chicken would work just as well and would cost a whole lot less!!!  Ah well, vacation is for experimenting and doing things you might not normally do.  Well at least my version of vacation is, and April went with it this time 🙂



Vacation Cooking in Wisconsin
March 9, 2009, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Cooking

Ah.  Vacation.  Last week we spent some time away from home, holed up in a cute little cabin located in Twin Lakes Wisconsin.  We took the time to relax with the dog, make fires, read Harry Potter and of course cook!!!  The cabin was outfitted with a full kitchen which fit our needs quite well.  We planned our meals and brought all our food with us (although we later learned the local Sentry grocery store was well stocked and shopping could have easily been done up there. They even had white asparagus. You can’t find that stuff at most of the local stores!!!)  We did bring some pans with us, and this was good as the mismatched oddness of what was available wouldn’t have suited our needs.  Of course when we told our friends about our trip and the things we brought with us they laughed.  A microplane and a ricer aren’t on most peoples lists, but we took the time to be adventurous with new food stuffs.  Our first nite there I made a sweet potato gnocchi and April made an Asparagus salad with orange, onion and goat cheese.  Scrumptious!!! 

 

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I’ve never made gnochhi before, and while there were a few snags, the finished product was quite tasty.  If you believe Martha Stewart (and I do) a ricer is key to making gnocchi.  It mashes the potatoes and adds an airiness to the batter which is essential to a good final product.  The potato gets pushed thru a fine mesh that mashes the potato into fine bits, that can then easily be mixed with the other ingredients.  The sweet potato (5medium) got combined with 3C all-purpose flour, 1C chopped watercress, 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.  The mixture was very sticky (I needed more flour, but didn’t have any extra with us) and was a little hard to work with and form into little balls to cross hatch with a fork as in the traditional method of preparation.  They looked more like lumps.  Little orange lumps.  Toss the lumps into boiling water for a couple of minutes until they come bobbing to the surface.  Then, they needed to be popped under the broiler for another 8 or 9 minutes until light golden brown before topping with Parmesan and parsley.  Serve.

 

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The salad was also super tasty.  The asparagus were blanched in boiling water for a couple of minutes.  Just enough to soften them a little bit and bring out the bright green color.  They were tossed with orange slices, red onion and goat cheese and mixed with a dressing made from fresh squeezed orange juice, red wine vinegar and a few other flavourings (I wasn’t in charge, and dont’ have the recipe with me) but ooh ooh ooh.  Asparagus is oh so tasty!!! 

 

Oh vacation. I miss you so much already!!!



This here is one of my favourite things!!!
February 24, 2009, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Cooking, Foods

MACARONI AND CHEESE!!!

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There are of course millions of variations and this is a variation on a Martha recipe.  I was raised on a rather simple version of elbow macaroni and grated mild cheddar.  Yes that’s it.  That’s my mom’s cooking for ya!  Simple!  To the point!!  I still prefer this 2 ingredient version, but instead prefer the small shell over the elbow macaroni.  But… this time around the recipe included the Ropp Blue Cheddar cheese we purchased at the Winter Farmers Market 2 weeks ago mixed with a more lentilwalnut-012standard medium yellow cheddar from the Devon Market.  I started with one of Martha’s many different recipes (this one from Everyday Food) for Macaroni and Cheese and changed it up by of course swapping out kinds of cheese, using low fat milk, whole wheat small shells, whole grain bread and leaving out the ham.  Results 2.5 stars out of 4.  While flavor was tasty (the blue cheddar gave it a nice pungent kick), it lost that creaminess and had a kind of grainy texture.  😦  Who knows what the exact cause was,  The blue cheddar was a bit more crumbly than moist (as some blues tend to be) so perhaps this was the downfall, or perhaps it was the lowfat milk.  Cooking time.  Reduction of milk.  I dont’ have enough experience to tell you where this went wrong.  Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time.  Do you have a favourite mac and cheese recipe?  Or place to order it?



Martha Martha Martha
February 23, 2009, 11:28 am
Filed under: Cooking

Everyday Food is still the reigning cookbook of choice.  Saturday nite we cooked dinner for J&R and laid out the following dishes. 

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Lentil Walnut Burgers.  We’ve made them a couple different times and this may have been the best yet.  Even with substitutions!!!  We didn’t have enough walnuts, so we used pecans for additional nuttage.  Also, they seemed really moist so I added an additional 1/3 cup of bread crumbs to the mix.  I think the added moisture came from the fact that we had leftover lentils in the freezer which were defrosted just prior to being used.  They had more water content than fresh cooked ones would have.  And this is part of what I’m going to say helped!!!  In previous versions, the patties have been drier and at times, difficult to flip in the pan, for fear of crumbling apart.  This mix was much more moist and hung together better while they were frying.  I want them back on the menu sooner than later.  I hate to call them veggie burgers, because as a meat beef eater, a veggie burger sounds like it is just trying to imitate a burger for people who don’t want to eat meat.  This is way better than any “veggie burger” in that regard, in that I love a juicy beef burger, but I love a good lentil walnut burger, so veggie or not, you need to try these!!!

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Spinach salad with Shittake Mushrooms and Quinoa.  This is a super tasty very easy salad to throw together.  The mushrooms get cooked on the broiler, while the quinoa cooks on the stovetop while you wash and prepare the spinach.  Where it all comes together in the end is a tasty salad mix.  While we did use this as a side salad it can also be featured as a main course, as Martha notes quinoa contains protein and helps balance out the nutrients in this meal. 

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Sweet Potato Fries.  Okay, these aren’t actually Martha they’re Bon-Appetit, but they were quite tasty.  Tip to making good sweet potato fries seems to be 1. Keeping the fries thin.  The recipe says 1/2 inch, ours were more like 1/4 inch
2. Spreading them out on the cookie sheet. Don’t crowd them together, so they each have plenty of room to be tossed.
3. High heat. These suckers cooked at 500 degrees!!!

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And we weren’t the only ones eating dinner that nite.  Emerson just started eating Rice Cereal!!!  Solids!!! Bravo 🙂