Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mushroom Chicken

2 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion sliced
3 large chicken breast bone in skin on (3.5 lb)
4 tbs of flour
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. of quartered mushrooms
1 c. dry white wine
2 tbs marjoram
1 Turkish bay leaf
½ c Greek yogurt or sour cream

I could not have been more pleased with the way this came out. It was creamy and earthy and wonderful (if I do say so myself!) I, have a love affair with Greek yogurt. It allows me to have all the yummy goodness of sour cream with ¼ of the fat and calories. My husband, who I can’t get to eat anything that is adjacent to light and healthy loves it and told me I could stop buying sour cream. For those of you that hate mushrooms (and I know you odd things are out there) you could omit them and substitute peppers or potatoes. I used bone in/skin on chicken. I think keeping the skin on made this a very rich and wonderful dish, but I think you could easily (and I did) take the skin off the chicken and eat the meat without it, I just recommend cooking with it.

Add butter and olive oil to stock pot or Dutch-oven and melt butter.
Add the onion and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Salt and pepper chicken (I also used a little onion salt) and lay on bottom of pot.
Sprinkle with 4 tbs of flour then add 4 cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Once boiling reduce to simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Add 1 cup of dry white wine, mushrooms, bay leaf and 2 tablespoons of marjoram and simmer for 40 minutes.
Take about ½-1 cup of hot liquid and add to your yogurt or sour cream, stir, and then put the mixture back into the pot. Doing this keeps the milk from curdling.
Heat for 5 more minutes and serve.

For those of you doing weight watchers this would be about 9 points per breast the best I can tell (they don’t give you a raw, bone in skin on choice??) . I served this with mashed potatoes that I put skim milk and about 3 tbs of greek yogurt in and it was great and about 1.5 per ½ c. serving.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Orange and Goat Cheese Salad

I hope everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed time with friends and family. This year for Christmas Eve dinner I did a seafood lasagna. I am quite sure some of you might desert me if I write up one more thing containing orange or orange zest. I love citrus though. I believe citrus is the most underutilized powerhouse of the kitchen. Don’t believe me? Next dish you make, sweet or savory either squeeze some fresh lemon, lime or orange unto it or use a little fresh zest from one of these beauties. It just picks up a dish. It adds a layer of flavor that makes all the difference in the world. The only key with citrus is to add it at the very end. It gets bitter if cooked too long.

This is just a simple salad. It contains only lettuce (your choice), onion, toasted walnuts (pine nuts would be great too), orange and goat cheese or feta. I made this salad twice. The first time I simply used a very good EVOO and a ton of fresh pepper. For Christmas Eve dinner I used a bit of vinegar, EVOO and again a ton of fresh pepper. It was the perfect salad for a seafood meal and pretty as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And the winner is….

Swestie of won this weeks contest! As in previous contests, I will not be posting anything else today (or tomorrow for that matter) and ask that you go give her some blog love!

I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful holiday full of yummy things!

Until after the holidays,

AKA Mommy Gourmet

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Orange Chocolate Chips

I am not quite sure why but for some reason I have really been on an orange and chocolate kick this holiday. That said, I made some chocolate chip cookies the other day. I followed the nestle tollhouse recipe, except, I added 3 tbs of fresh orange zest and used ½ c. dark chocolate and ½ c semi sweet. They were outstanding. Among my favorite flavor combinations in the world are strawberry and chocolate, banana and chocolate and orange and chocolate. I was wondering if there would be some way to use super ripe banana’s in the batter? That may be my next experiment!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Okay guys, I am going to extend the contest until Wednesday, noon. I finally got my face book badge up. It is to the right under my profile. Remember if sign up as a reader you will be entered to win a $10 gift certificate to For the Love of Chocolate or to Penzeys Spices.

Also, I was nominated for the bloggers choice award. I don’t have a ton of votes…yet, but I think it is pretty nice that I got nominated. So if you want to show me some blog love, pleas go and vote for me!

Hope everyone is hanging in there and getting to enjoy some of the best the season has to offer!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Whole Lotta Cheese

If you were to ask me what my favorite dinner in the world is, I would have to say wine, cheese, and bread. If you were to ask me what my favorite cheese was, you would be hard pressed to get an answer. I love cheese. I love blues, and goats, and even cheddar. Among my favorites are Cypress Groves Truffles Tremor. It is just knock your socks off good. In fact every cheese I have had of Cypress Groves is outstanding and their Humboldt Fog is another love of mine.

I digress, though, sadly I could talk to you forever about my many cheese loves. So one Saturday gal pal extraordinaire and I, decided to finally venture out to the far west end to visit Whole Foods. We decided that while we were out there we would just grab some dinner. First, we swung by Trader Joes (because how could you not really). While there I got a Trader Joes reserve zinfandel and a soft blue cheese. Then off to Whole Foods we went. Whole Foods is quite impressive and brings a lot to the table (sorry I really couldn’t resist). It is a really visually beautiful store. So we mill about and she settles on some ethnic food from their enormous food bars (really, I have never seen anything like their prepared food section in my life). I walked past the cheese section and the smell of good cheese stink seduced me, as always. I settled on the Truffle Tremor which is a semi soft goat cheese, surrounded by a very soft truffled cheese layer. I also got some Ahi Tuna salad from their deli section.

I was impressed to see that Whole Foods carried Epoisse an extraordinary cheese. They really had quite a selection. We took our finds home and enjoyed some wine (very good, highly recommend the Trader Joe Reserve Zin, at $9/bottle, can’t beat it!), and each others company. Sad to say, but it was a great Saturday night for me!!

So would I go back to Whole Foods? Absolutely. It was beautiful, a very sensory experience. However, I wouldn’t make a special trip there for anything other than the beauty of it. Quite honestly, for cheese, hands down, I recommend Ellwood Thompson. They don’t have the selection that Whole Foods does, but they have the best of what Whole Foods has to offer, plus local cheeses that Whole Foods doesn’t carry and you would be sorry you missed. Also, if you like cheese but aren’t super familiar with it, go to Ellwoods. There was no one to assist me at Whole Foods, and Ellwood always has folks to offer me tastes to see if I like it first, and to point me in the right direction (how do you think I found the Truffle Tremor in the first place).

….that is all for now, I feel some cheese calling me….

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pork Taco’s and Lentil Soup

This ends up being 2 meals. Half the pork tenderloin is used for the pork tacos and half is used for the lentils. The lentils form almost like a chili, it is a very hearty bean soup. Also note, I used the tenderloin, not a loin roast. I think that is much better for this dish. If you want more information on costs and meals go to the most neglected blog in the world, family meals for less and check it out.

Pork lion 2.5 lb
1 Onion chopped
1 bag of red lentils
2 tbs cumin
1 jar of sofrito sauce
6 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of red wine
1 tbs oil
Salt and pepper to taste

We used this as two separate meals. The first meal was pork tacos, with refried beans and rice. The second meal is a pork and lentil soup with salad.

Here is how I did it. In a stock pot I sautéed the onions in a bit of oil. Add the bullion and lentils. Add the wine and sofrito sauce. Bring to a boil. Salt pepper pork tenderloin and add to pot. Add cumin. Reduce and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Check periodically to make sure tenderloin is under liquid and stir the beans. Once the tenderloin is good and tender take it out and shred the meat. Add half back into the lentils. We set the lentils aside for another day, you could have them in or with the tacos too. The meat that is left is for the pork tacos. It should have a good flavor form cooking in the lentils, but if you want you add more cumin.

To top the tacos I made a quick salsa with three tomatillos. I cleaned three put it in the processor with 1 garlic clove, a pinch of red pepper, salt pepper and 2 tsp of lemon juice. Also, I put a little lime juice and salt in the sour cream too. We had our pork tacos with lettuce, sour cream and salsa on corn tortillas. I have to say, they were pretty tasty.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Old Jack Frost

So it was suggested by Swestie at that should take holiday cooking questions and answer them. I thought it was a great idea, so send me your questions and I will see what I can do to get them answered for you. I am going to start with the question she had for me.

Swestie asked:

“I'm going to try individual pound cakes. What would you do to dress them up? I was thinking something like a raspberry or orange glaze. And how would you adjust cooking times ?”

Here was my answer:
“ A glaze would be nice. Doing a frosted raspberry or two with a sprig of rosemary (for looks not flavor) on top would be really pretty too.  Or you could do some frosted cranberries (less expensive just as pretty).  There are a couple ways you can do it.  You can rinse the berries and then toss to  coat the berry in super fine sugar, then freeze or you can coat them in egg white or pasteurized egg product and do the same. “

However, with Sallies application I wasn’t sure the frozen berry would stand up as long as she needed it to, so I came up with this alternative and tested it to see if it worked. I used a cherry (all I had that was red and berry like) I made a simple sugar glaze of powdered sugar and water (you can use juice or milk as well.) I used a two sugar to one water ratio (in this case 2 tablespoons sugar to 1 tablespoon water). I coated the cherry in the glaze and let the excess drip off, and then rolled in the sugar. It looked great and two hours later is still good. The sugar glaze will dry hard and should eliminate needing to freeze.

So there is the question for the day, send me some more and I will see what I can come up with.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

...And the Winner Is? Hmm Good Question!

Sorry it took me so long to announce the winner today, but there is not much to announce (*sigh*). Good gracious people, no one commented saying they were referred. The best I got was from doggybloggy at Chez What ( ) who was clever enough to refer himself. Not technically what I was going for, but I have to give an “A” for effort and originality and so I deem him the winner. He wins a $10 gift certificate to Bende. Again, I will not post today, but ask everyone to go visit his blog and show him some blog love holiday style!

The next contest was asking you to follow me on Twitter. I have found out… I am NOT a twitter type of gal. I know so many are all a twitter over twitter, but I just don’t love it. That said, Mommy Gourmet is on Facebook. I will be working to get an icon out there, but for now go and find me on face book if you drop me a line or sign up as a reader you will be entered to win $10 gift certificate to Crossroads Coffee and Ice cream or if you are NOT local to Penzeys Spices.

That said, I hope everyone is hanging in there. I know it is a really hectic time of year and I want to thank all of you for your continued support. It amazes me! So I am

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Veal Stew

Considering the weather here right now, rainy, cold and raw this is just what the doctor ordered.

1 lb stew veal
1 small onion minced
3 tbs Flour
3 tbs butter
1 cup of white wine
1 medium onion diced
2 stalks of celery chopped
6 cups of chicken stock
1 Turkish bay leaf
2 small potatoes diced in inch cubes

Bring cup chicken stock to boil. Add Turkish bay leaf.

In pan heat 3 tbs of butter until melted and add veal and brown. Coat veal with 3 tbs flour and add to pot with stock. Deglaze pan you cooked the veal in with 1 cut of wine. Add that to stock pot. Sautee onion in 1 tbs butter once clear and soft add it to stock pot pot. Add 2 stalks celery that have been chopped to pot.

Loosely cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Add water as needed. Add potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes or until done, adding water as needed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just a Reminder

Hey guys the “I am Needy” challenge ends tomorrow. So far NO ONE has posted a comment saying someone referred them. I have only yet to have someone cleverly refer themselves, which I might have to end up allowing in the spirit of giving (and downright cleverness). So just know, right now if you just get a friend on over to say you sent them, you have a REALLY good chance of winning. Sheesh you guys act like it is a busy time of year and you have other things to do…what gives???

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dark Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes

‘Tis the season for Christmas baking. I love to cook. I do. However, baking isn’t my favorite thing to do. Again, it all comes back to having to follow a recipe. For some reason, over the past week I have felt motivated to make a cake or cupcakes…something. I have also felt motivate to do something with some really nice chocolate. What is a girl to do??? How would I combine that desire? And today it finally came to me. I did cupcakes because I wanted to see how it came out first. It seemed like a good and tasty way to test my idea.

To start, I purchased Swans Down cake flour. I used the recipe for the 1-2-3-4 cake. However, omit the almond extract. I only made 12 cupcakes so I halved the recipe. The ganache icing below will only make enough for 12, so if you make the whole cake recipe, double the ganache.

4 oz. good dark chocolate
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 tbs butter
1 tbs orange zest (or the zest of one tangerine)
3 tbs powdered sugar
White chocolate shavings

Break up chocolate into small pieces and put into a bowl. Heat butter and cream just until it begins to boil. Pore over chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Using a whisk, stir until blended. Add powdered sugar and orange zest. Let stand until thickened and ice cupcakes.

I shaved some white chocolate on top, some orange zest would be good also.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Salmon over Turnip Greens

I served the greens and salmon over mashed potatoes. Yesterday Joel wasn’t feel well and I hadn’t planned anything for dinner. So I just took the leftover greens and broth, warmed it in a pan and tossed with with some past and parm. It was quite good.

Normally, I am not a fan of cooking vegetables too much. This is a bit different. I cook them until they a totally soft and limp…almost soupy. Also I use a micro planer to grate my garlic. I like it better than a garlic press but you could to that as well but you might want to add an extra clove.

Turnip Greens

3tb olive oil
4 cloves garlic grated
1 lb turnip green cleaned and chopped
1tsp sugar
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the garlic in the oil for 2 minutes. Add ½ the turnip greens a bit at a time and turn to coat. Add chicken stock and wine. Add the rest of turnip greens. Add sugar and cook until very soft. Salt and pepper to taste.

1 lb salmon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp lemon rind

Cut the salmon into 4 pieces. Coat each piece with a touch of olive oil. Salt an pepper each piece. In skillet heat about 2 tbs olive oil and get it hot. Add salmon and turn heat down to medium. Cook on first side for 2 minutes. Flip and cook another minute to two. Remove from pan.

Plate about 1/3 cup of mashed potatoes. Put turnip green on top with several tablespoons of the liquid from the pan and place salmon on top. Finish with a couple of passes on the zester of fresh lemon rind.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

….And the Winner Is?

Okay guys here are the official results. As you can see everything was done very technically! I really want to thank everyone for their support, but DC of 360 Degrees of DC won!!! Yeah! I am not going to post anything else today and encourage you to go visit her great site, get inspired by her journey, and show her some love. I will post tomorrow about last nights dinner (salmon over garlicky turnip greens….yum)

Don’t forget the “I Am Needy” contest starts today. You will get entered for every person that comes to Mommy Gourmet and notes you referred them. So if 10 people say you sent them, you get 10 entries. And what do you get for all this effort??? You will get either a $10 gift certificate to “For the Love of Chocolate” or a $10 gift certificate to Bende (if you have never heard of Bende, click the link on the right and check them out).

And until tomorrow go show DC some serious love!! Thanks DC! You can also view her by clicking her link under "sites I love" sites listing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Apples and Pork

I love a good sweet/savory combo. I get some folks can’t stand it. Nothing is better than good old pork and apples. My intent was to get some nice thick chops to do this, however at the market they only had super thin ones, and when they are thin like that I always opt for boneless. I really like how this came out and I think next time I do this I will go to the butcher.

1.5 lb of pork chops(I used boneless)
½ c vinegar
2 c apple cider
1/8 c. salt

Mix vinegar, cider and salt in Ziploc bag. Add pork chops. Let rest 4-8 hours.

2 tbs oil
½ red onion chopped
3 tsp flour
1.5 c. apple cider
1 tsp fresh thyme (removed from stem)

2 slices of green apple per chop
2 tbs butter
Dash of sugar

Sautee onion in oil add pork chops and cook on both sides for 2 minutes each (these were thin boneless chops, otherwise cook until almost done). Sprinkle with flour. Add thyme and apple cider and let simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is thick

While sauce thicking heat 2 tbs butter and put slices of apple in and cook until done. Once browned pull out and sprinkle lightly with salt an sugar.

Top chops with apple and sauce. One thing I will say is I fully expected the apple slice to be a garnish, however I think it really made the dish special. So I my opinion, don’t skip that step.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mahi Mahi with Israeli Cous Cous

The other night I had in mind that I wanted to coat some mahi mahi with some panko and rosemary and then fry it up. I wanted to lay that over some Israeli cous cous that was set in a Bouillabaisse like broth. In my mind it would be a soupy, rich, oily tomato based sauce. Something went wrong. Mind you, it did come out well… it really did. It just did not come out they way I had it in my mind. Perhaps I should have read some bouillabaisse recipes. Perhaps you can’t cheat 3 different kinds of fish, with some clam juice and fish bullions? The problem with the end product was that it really just tasted like a red sauce. It was a good red sauce, definitely Stromboli dipping worthy, but just a red sauce. Any suggestions are welcome.

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 tbs of shallot or red onion finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 can crushed tomato
1 bottle of clam juice
3tbs fish sauce (if you have, I use it to add richness and salt)
1 c. red wine
2 fish bullion
1 c. water
Pinch of sugar
2 tbs Italian seasoning

Heat oil and butter together. Add onion/shallot and garlic. Sautee for 2 minutes. Add Italian seasoning. Sautee for another 2 minutes. Add tomato, clam juice, fish sauce, wine, bullion, water and sugar. Let simmer for 20 minutes.

I then made the cous cous to the package instructions, cut the mahi mahi into small pieces and coated and fried. I put some sauce on the bottom of the dish, the cous cous went on top and the fish on top of the cous cous. I finished with just a bit more sauce. Again it was good, but it lacked richness and depth. I am open for help here.

An I love My Readers Reminder….

Hey everyone, I just wanted to remind you that there is little over 36 hours left in our first give -a- way. Remember you get entered to win a gift certificate to Ellwood Thompson or Penzeys if you elect to follow me.

Later today I am going to post a recipe, but I will be looking for some help. Despite my husband thinking it was great it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I am hoping some greater minds might be able to help me. I likely won’t get it up until after 2:00 (thank goodness for naptime!).

Until then…

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hungarian Chicken

I am calling this Hungarian Chicken, for lack of a better idea of what to call it. This is how this came into being. It is cold here, and I think to myself, “Hungarian!” I mill it about in my head and finally decided on Chicken Paprika. So at the market I pick up a green pepper. When I got home I look up some recipes, none had green pepper and all called for split chicken breast and I just had boneless/skinless. What?? So what does any good blooded girl do? I called my mom. She said, “No, you are thinking of that pork recipe.” Shoot, she was right…but I had chicken defrosted. Hence the experiment began.

1 package of egg noodles
1 tbs oil
1 onion
1.5 lbs chicken cubed
3 tbs flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 c. white wine
1 green pepper sliced
2 tbs paprika (Hungarian sweet)
1 C. full fat Greek yogurt or sour cream

Sautee onion and chicken for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle 3 tbs flour over mixture and stir to coat.

Add 3 cup chicken broth and 1 tsp thyme and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add pepper to taste, paprika, 1 cup of dry white wine (preferably not a chardonnay) and sliced green pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare egg noodles.

Turn the burner down. Scoop the yogurt (or sour cream if you want) into a bowl. Add to the yogurt about ½ of the hot sauce from the pan and stir and then add the yogurt mixture to the pan with the chicken and green pepper. Add the hot liquid to the yogurt fist and than adding that mixture to the pan should prevent you from getting a lumpy or grainy texture from the yogurt curdling.

Sever over noodles and enjoy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Banana Nut Bread

Okay, I have a confession. I like food….a lot. I do! All kinds. That said, I do try to eat reasonably healthy. Even more so, I am strict on what my children eat. So the other day I am sick and I read an article on the best ways to stay healthy, (I get the irony) and it suggests cutting back on sugar and processed foods because it lowers your immunity. Ironically at that very moment I had 4 banana’s dangerously close to fermenting. I decided to try a little experiment. I was very pleased with the results. The bread did not come out as sweet as a great deal of banana bread, but it WAS sweet and good. And for a no sugar, whole wheat treat, that my kid calls a cupcake...well they were just perfect.

2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 c. raisins
2 tbs milk
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil bread pan/pans (depends on size)

In a food processor processes raisins and milk until very blended or almost smooth. Add banana and pulse a few times.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside Add banana/ raisin mixture. Mix to combine.

Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Fold in the nuts. Spoon batter into pan and tap it on the counter to get the air out.

If you do two small loaf pans the bread will only need to cook for about 25 minutes. If you do one larger pan it will need to cook for about 35-40 minutes.

Check doneness with a toothpick or knife. When it comes out mostly clean it is done. Let is sit 20 minutes before eating.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Love My Readers!!

Dear Reader,

Okay! So I decided to make things a little more exciting going into the holidays. My traffic has been up quite a bit and I really want to encourage that and keep my faithful followers… well… uh… faithful. So I decided ‘tis the season of giving! And what better way to let you guys know how much I love you being around than a give-a-way.

The winners will be announced every Wednesday, as well as the prize for the next weeks give-a-way. Each contest ends at midnight on Tuesday. Here are the following contests:

Just Follow Me! Starting tomorrow and going until December 10th, each person that signs up to follow me will be added into a drawing. Everyone that signs up (or has already signed up) before midnight tonight will be get 3 entries. The person who is picked will win their choice of a $10 gift certificate to Ellwood Thompson or Penzeys Spices. (Please note: if you elect to follow me, but not be public, you will have to leave a comment and let me know and let me know how to reach you in case you win.)

I Am Needy! The next contest will be from December 11th until 17th. I want to see how many people you can refer to Mommy Gourmet! You will get entered to win a prize (to be announced December 10th) for each person who comes to Mommy Gourmet and posts a comment saying you referred them. Be sure to follow up on the 17th as I will post the winner and you will need to let me know how to get your prize to you.

Possibly A Bit Codependent! The next contest will be from December 18th until December 24th. I want to see you on Twitter. I have added a link to my Twitter page to the left. Come join me, but you have to leave a comment! I will announce the winner of the final contest on Christmas Eve.

Finally I have been playing with Mommy Gourmet’s look and layout a bit. I have streamlined some things and added others. I really want your feedback. Tell me if you like it. Tell me what you would change. There is something special in it if you do (shhh! I am not telling!) Only honest feedback though, if you like something tell me why, if you hate it (I can take it, I swear) tell me!

Thanks for making the 9 months so much fun. I really do love you guys!!

A.K.A Mommy Gourmet

Turkey Enchiladas

This is another recipe that is totally unoriginal. Bare with me though, ‘tis the season of traditions and I thought I would share a few of my favorite family recipes with you guys. I will get back to an original recipe tomorrow along with a contest! Some exciting things are happening here at Mommy Gourmet, so tune in over the next few weeks to make sure you don’t miss out on the all the fun!
Okay, besides the chestnut stuffing this recipe is the whole flipping reason for Thanksgiving for me (oh and giving thanks and all that jazz). I will warn you upfront these are not gourmet, or authentic, or fancy, but they are GOOD. I mean, G-O-O-D! I am going to give you the recipe as it was handed down to me, however, true to form I have made some alterations. These alterations were just in eliminating some steps that I don’t think made the end product any better. This is one of those forget the diet and forget the cardiac impact and just enjoy recipes.
12 Tortillas
2 tbs butter
¼ onion minced
1 cup turkey or chicken meat
1 ½ c. half and half or light cream
2c. Sour cream
1 can green chilies chopped
1 lb monetary jack cheese grated
Salt garlic powder
½ c oil
Heat over to 325.
Wilt onion in butter and add meat, and garlic and salt to taste. Add ¾ of the cheese and stir until melted.
In skillet heat oil. In a bowl large enough to dip tortilla in (try a pasta bowl) put the half and half or cream and about ¼ tsp salt and stir. Now fry the tortillas in oil just until soft (5-10 seconds each side) and dip them in the cream.
Put some of the meat (about 1 tbs worth, maybe a scant more)and cheese mixture in, roll, and place into a casserole dish.
Once all the tortillas are rolled pour the remaining cream over.
Add the chilies to the sour cream and add about ¼ tsp salt. Pour over tortillas. Place remaining cheese on top and bake.
I do not know what made me try it, but one year I decided not to fry the tortillas or dip them in cream. Instead I wrapped the tortillas in a barely damp towel and micro waved for 10 second (just to soften) then filled with meat and rolled. After the tortillas were rolled but before I put on the sour cream mixture I took about ¼ c of half and half and poured that evenly over the tortillas. I don’t think there was any difference in the end product and it saved a bit of time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turkey Soup

Okay, how could I not give you some recipes for turkey leftovers. More are on the way. This was my grandmothers soup and it is my favorite soup. It is great with leftover chicken as well.
1.5-2 c. chicken or turkey meat
1 onion chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
2 carrots diced
1tsp salt and pepper
2 qts water
6 bullion cubs
1 can cream corn
1 cup green beans
1 egg
1 cup flour
¼ tsp salt
Sesame oil (optional)
You want about 1..5-2 cups of meat. What I did was cover the turkey carcass with bullion and simmer for an hour. I then pulled the carcass out and ran under cool water and picked it clean. If you need to, add more meat. Add meat, carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper back to bullion and simmer for one hour. Add your can of cream of corn and you green beans (I use frozen you could use fresh). Bring back to a boil. Meanwhile work 1 egg into 1 cup of flour and a quarter teaspoon of salt. The mixture will be mealy and dry. Scatter this mixture into the soup, cover pot an boil for 10 more minutes. Serve.
This is a very traditional down home sort of soup, however my parents added sesame oil one day to their bowl. The results were amazing. You only need a drop or two, but give it a try if you like sesame, you love it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude and Food

Here is hoping that you and your family have a great Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is at our house this year and it should be fun. Just a note on what we are thankful for this year:

It is finally time again for chestnut stuffing
…and pecan pie
Tristan gets to play with his cousins again tomorrow
Joel has 4 days off
I got some down time today
We get the leftovers this year,turkey croquets… I hear you calling!
We recently got to go out to eat to a new restaurant…even better, with new friends!!
We have people that love us (or at least like us most of the time)
Wine…enough said really.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mushroom Risotto

Believe or not this was the first time I made Risotto. You hear how complicated it is to make and honestly, it scared me off. Then the other day in the supermarket, I see the big container of risotto next to the basmati and I think, “Now honestly, how scary can a little bit of rice be?” So, I buy it and I make it, and I am utterly shocked. Shocked I tell you. It takes the skill level of rice- a- roni. I am not joking. At all. It has all been a lie! But now I know the truth…. I think we will be have a lot of risotto for a while!!
1.5 c. of risotto
4 tbs olive oil divided
1 cup of white wine
4-6 c. of chicken stock (it took me about 5)
1 packaged of mixed mushrooms chopped
1 large or two small shallots finely chopped
1 tbs porcini and truffle oil (optional, you can get at sur la table)
1 tsp tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook mushrooms and shallots. Once done set them aside.
Heat the other 2 tablespoons of oil. Add risotto to pan and cook for about 3 minutes stirring until rice starts to yellow/brown just a bit.
Add wine and tarragon. Cook over medium low heat until liquid is absorbed. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Cook, until that liquid is absorbed (the recipe on the canister indicates to stir constantly. You do want to stir it a bit, but constantly is a bit of an overstatement. However, you do want to stay close, this is not a dish you can leave and come back to check on.) At this point add liquid a cup at a time. Check doneness of rice after 3 cups of stock and check each cup after. Risotto should be firm but not hard. It will be a bit wet.
Once risotto is done add mushrooms back in, drizzle with oil and serve.
One thing I could use suggestions on is reheating the risotto. The next day I went to have some and it was terrible. It was gluey and pasty and the kids ended up getting it for lunch (they thought it was great). I just microwaved it. Any ideas on a better way to heat it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Special note: today's post is by my good friend and fellow blogstress, Swestie. She writes about things that inspire her. Check out her blog here. Today, I'm also posting on her blog about how I was inspired to start cooking. I hope you enjoy the switch! Don't forget to let us know what you think! Heeerrrrreeee's Swestie!

Recently, I indulged my taste buds in some banana pudding at a restaurant here in Richmond. This restaurant is known for it ever-changing repertoire of comfort foods, and the banana pudding I ordered there did not disappoint.

Served individually in shallow dishes, the sweet, gooey lusciousness is layered over a crumbly crust, topped by a layer of ever-so-thinly-sliced bananas, fanned over the top and caramelized to crisp, delicate perfection. The caramelization creates such a rich note to the already decadent dessert. Eating the pudding, slowly… mindfully… one immorally delicious bite after another… is the meaning of pleasure in the first degree.

So I decided to try to recreate it… with a recipe from Weight Watchers, no less. Now the WW recipe called for the recipe to be layered into one large dish, creating servings for 12 (only four points per serving!), and one of the layers was “whipped topping” (love the taste, hate the idea). So I modified the recipe to serve the pudding in individual ramekins, without whipped topping, WITH the caramelized goodness on top. Here’s how I did it.

1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
¾ cup of sugar, plus a little bit extra for caramelization
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 ½ cups of 1% low-fat milk
3 tablespoons of butter, divided
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
36 Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers
5 ripe bananas
10 individual ramekins

Crush the Nilla Wavers and distribute evenly between the ramekins.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a 3-quart saucepan.

Combine egg yolks and milk; stir with a whisk. Gradually add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring well. Add 2 tablespoons butter. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts.

Pour this mixture into the ramekins.

Layer the pudding with bananas sliced very thinly.

Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve, layer the top again with very thinly sliced bananas, fanned over the top of the pudding. Sprinkle the top with sugar, and place in a HOT broiler for 3-3 ½ minutes (watch this – don’t want it to burn). Or, if you have one of those kitchen blow torch things, put it to good use, the best way you know how… I’m not so fancy.

If you MUST have the “whipped topping” add it now… or for an even richer taste sensation, use real whipped cream…

Now impress and astound your friends and family with delicious, home-baked - yet easy and slightly fancy – goodness, right in your own home. (5 WW points/serving, the way I fixed it.)

Chicken Cacciatore Pasta

1.5 lb pasta
1-1.5 green pepper depending on size, sliced
2 small yellow onions halved and sliced
2lbs chicken cut up into small pieces
1 large can of crushed tomato
1 large can of petite diced tomato
3 TBS olive oil
3 TBS Italian Seasoning
Pinch of sugar
1 tbs garlic
Salt and pepper
Add olive oil to stock pot and turn burner to medium. Add onion and sauté in pot for 2 minutes. Add both can of tomatoes and Italian Seasoning, pinch of sugar and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce heat and simmer on low for 1 hours or until the chicken is very tender. Add green peppers and simmer another hour. Adjust salt and pepper.
Meanwhile put pasta on. Once pasta is done, add on ladle of pasta water to pasta sauce . Drain pasta, take sauce off heat, toss and serve.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes Topped with Crab

Okay, okay I did not invent this, at all. I didn’t even improve it. My parents made this for me and I don’t know where they go the recipe. It is just so good I can’t stand it. I will tell you if you want to make this a bit healthier, instead of frying, spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray, and then lightly spray the coated tomatoes. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Honestly, the yumminess of this dish is the flavor combination not the frying. No matter how you slice it, Hollandaise is just fancy butter, so it is not low cal, however, you drizzle it over (so you don't use much) so use your judgment. If you just can’t bring yourself to do the Hollandaise use a butter substitute with a lot of lemon or just lemon juice.

Start with the Hollandaise and set it aside until you need it. You can also by the jar stuff but it is quite easy to make
Add 3 egg yolks, 2 tbs lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor or blender. Blend for 30 second. Heat 1stick (yeap a whole durn stick) until bubbling. Here is the trick, while the processor or blender is going, slowly, slowly add the hot butter. If it seems a bit thin at first, don’t worry it will thicken.
You will need 1 lb of crab, though you will have likely have left over crab (but you don’t have too!!) . I by back fin, because I am cheap, but lump….of course would be better.
Fried Green Tomatoes
2 large green tomatoes
2 egg whites beaten
½ c. white flour
½ c. cornmeal
Salt and pepper
3 tbs oil
Slice tomato. Combine flour and cornmeal and salt and pepper. Coat tomato with egg white and dredge though flour combination. Meanwhile heat oil. You really don’t need to deep fat fry these, a little oil goes a long way. Fry them up until they are gold brown on both sides. Remove. Top each slice with a healthy scoop of crab and drizzle with the Hollandaise. ENJOY…these are good!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Chicken

1.5-2 lbs chicken
1 c. sun dried tomatoes (get the ones packed in oil)
16 basil leaves
1/4c. Cream
Salt an pepper
1tbs olive oil
Filet chicken breast, pound out and season. Remove ¼ c. of the tomatoes and set aside remaining. Line chicken with tomatoes and basil leaves, roll and secure with toothpick.
In skillet heat oil and add chicken. While chicken is cooking in food processor add remaining tomatoes and cream and 1tsp salt. Process. Check salt. When chicken is almost done, spoon cream mixture on top and let finish cooking.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Salmon with Honey-Soy Glaze (aka Miso Honey)

I have to say a special thanks to someone that stopped by and suggested the name change (aka). It was such a great idea I had to roll with it.

This was a recipe that my husband adapted from Gourmet. It originally called for Maple Syrup. We like it far better with honey.
¼ c. soy
¼ c. honey
2lb salmon
Boil honey and soy in saucepan over medium heat. Reduce to about 1/3 c. (about 5 minutes).
Heat oven to 450.
Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper. Reserving 1.5 tablespoons of glaze for later use, brush salmon with glaze. After 5 minutes brush with remaining glaze. Put salmon in oven and let cook for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil 4-5 minutes. Brush with reserved glaze (use clean brush) and serve.

There are not any other fish I think this glaze would be good on, however I think it would be great on scallops.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rosemary Pasta

I am behind on posting. We had a lot of heavy food that went a long way and then I have been lazy of late. This is easy and so good. Add some chicken or shrimp for a protein if you want. I suspect you could use any fresh herb (oregano, basil) to do this, I just love the rosemary so much I have never strayed. Since this is really simple the Parmesan is a real stand out in this. Get some good stuff. I recommend hands down Locatelli. However, if you don’t want a big block go to Ukrops you can by the end pieces and it will cost your near nothing. Plus you can use the extra on popcorn (yummy).
½ lb pasta
¼ olive oil
½ stick butter
1-2 spring fresh rosemary
Fresh Parmesan
Start pasta, while that is cooking melt butter and oil in a pan. When the butter mix just starts to bubble, throw in the rosemary and take off the burner. Allow rosemary to steep in the butter for 5 minutes or more. Once pasta is done, remove rosemary and toss with pasta. Serve immediately with fresh grated cheese over.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pork and Kraut

3-5 lb pork(pork loin, pork butt, pork ribs)
1 large can crushed tomato
1 large onion diced
3 large carrots shredded
2 tbs sugar
½ tsp (or more) red pepper
2tsp salt
1 bag of sauerkraut and liquid
1 tbs olive oil

This dish always lets me know winter is here. Depending on the cut of meat you use this can be an extremely healthy dish (use a pork loin if you want it be be more healthy). I must confess, this is one time I go whole hog (pardon the pun.. I just had to!!). I use a Boston butt typically on this. Ribs are outstanding too. Obviously both are fatty meat, but sometimes you just got to be bad and this is worth it to me. It is hearty and down home with a little bit of spice (or a lot if you like it). You can also add some bacon in if you want to really, really be bad but I normally don’t. I have also thought about trying a bit of smoky paprika….maybe next time.
Add oil to pot and heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Season meat. Place meat on bottom and add the remaining ingredients. I usually make this with a Boston butt, however it is great with ribs but shouldn’t need to cook quite as long. Bring to a boil and reduce and let simmer for 2.5-3 hours or until meat is done and tender. When I say tender, this should be fall apart tender. So if you are doing ribs you might want to get a spoon to pull them out otherwise they will just fall apart. Check periodically while it is cooking to keep liquid level up, add a bit of water as needed. Serve with a side of mashed potatoes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kielbasa and Collard Soup

This was adapted from a recipe I found off of Epicurious. It is a recipe from “Gourmet.” The original calls for pancetta and for swiss chard. I wanted a heartier soup so I substituted the pancetta for kielbasa and the swiss chard for collards.

1 lb great northern beans (or 4 cans) soaked over night
1 lb package Kielbasa (I use turkey, but use whatever you want)
1 large onion chopped
1 fennel bulb chopped (just use bulb not stalks or top, however you can set them aside for other use)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs minced garlic
5 c. chicken broth (or 5 chicken bullion cubes and 5 cups water)
3 c. water
1 (3x2 inch) piece of parm rind (many stores sell just the rind, if you can’t find try 1/2c. of a good grated parm)
3 Turkish bay leaves
6 large collard leaves, cleaned, and chopped thick part of steams removed.

Soak beans overnight (or at least 8 hours), and drain.

Heat olive oil. Add chopped fennel, garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until soft. Add beans, broth, water, bay leaves, and parm and simmer for 45 minutes (or until beans done). Taste flavorings and adjust now. Add collards and cook another 15 minutes. Served

Mixed Mushroom Pasta

1lb pasta
1 onion chopped
½ lb bacon (lean) chopped
1 package mixed mushrooms chopped
1 c. white wine (not chardonnay)
½ c cream
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper

Just a note on the bacon before I start. I used the Gwaltney 40% less fat bacon. It is just a less fatty bacon which appeals to me, however you have the same flavor. If you use regular bacon, remove about half of the oil after cooking bacon.
Start water to boil, add pasta.
Meanwhile, cut bacon and fry in pan. Once done, remove bacon from pan and set aside. Add onions to bacon grease and cook over low heat to caramelize. Once caramelized add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes, add wine, garlic and salt and pepper. Once you add wine, your pasta should almost be done (2 minutes or so, if not set sauce aside until your pasta is almost done Cook sauce on low until pasta done.)Remove pasta from heat, and take 1/2c. of the starchy water and add to sauce. Turn heat up on sauce to simmer. Drain pasta and put pasta back in pot. Once sauce thickens (about 2-3 min) add cream, cook an additional minute. Toss with pasta and serve.
Now of course you know I am a truffle oil freak, so of course I added about 2 tbs to the entire dish before serving. It was wonderful but I think the sauce will be just as good without it. Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Family Meals for Less

I decided to take on new venture. My husband is starting his own insurance agency. What that means for us, is we are living off of savings until it starts to make some money. I noticed on another blog I follow ( that she is trying to cooking economically, healthy and most importantly flavorfully. Since I highly doubt that I am the only one watching my budget these days, and also highly doubt I am the only gal that likes good food, I decided to try my hand at another blog. I am tasking myself with coming up with a meal for four for under $10. I am going to reserve mommy gourmet for my original recipes, or alterations of favorites. However, if the dish is also economical you will see it posted on my new site. If I make something, healthy and economical but not original it will only be on the new site. I guess what I am saying is there will be some cross over, but you will still have to check both out (if you are interested.) I provided a link to the new blog. However, it is Family Meals for Less ( Please provide comments or suggestions I am always eager to hear what you think!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lamb and Rosemary Stew

This is an adaptation on one of my favorite winter dishes. The original is a wine stew with beef. I simply change the beef out with a leg of lamb, and added rosemary.

3-4 lbs of cubed lamb
1 qt (small bottle) red wine
2 can tomato soup
2T kitchen bouquet (can find in seasoning isle)
3bay leaves
2 TBS fresh rosemary chopped up
6 medium potatoes quartered
6 carrots chunked
6 stalks of celery in chunks
4 medium onions (cut into large piece, quarter than half the quarter)
2 c. frozen peas
Salt to taste
1 tbs of fresh rosemary chopped up

Season meat (salt pepper, garlic..whatever) and brown. Combine the first 6 ingredients and cook over low heat for 2 hours. Add vegetables and cook an additional 40 minutes before serving. Stir occasionally add water if needed. Add the last TBS of rosemary about 10 minutes before done or when you reheat it if you make this the day before serving (see note below).

One very important thing to note with this is that it is better if made a day a head of time which makes it ideal for a dinner party.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oyster Nirvana At Mama Zu

Last night me and my husband went to Mama Zu. I love their food. Hands down it is got to be the best pasta in town (among other things). Last night Joel and I decided to get an appetizer. We noticed they had fried oysters. Now normally I don’t like fried oysters (or most fried food for that matter) that much, however I had just been standing next to someone at the bar who was eating sweetbreads, that looked so heavenly… I think it just put me in a fried frame of mind. I think in my mind’s eye these friend oysters would have some panache, maybe some chopped mushrooms and sauce over top. Somehow I thought they would look like the sweetbreads I had been salivating over. I was so disappointed when they came out. It was just a plate of fried oysters….whoopee. Now anyone in Richmond knows Mama Zu is not only wonderful but CHEAP. I am talking $9 for a HUGE pasta dish cheap. These oysters were $15. So I expected there to be something special about them, or at least there to be a lot of them. However, it was just 8 measly oysters on a plate. Just in case you are a math whiz that is almost $2 a pop. I felt sad. Let down. Disappointed in Mama. Then I tried one. Holly Good Mother of Our LORD!! These were no typical fried oysters. They were barely breaded, they were barely cooked, they were sweet, and salty and juicy and crisp all in one pleasingly perfect mouthful.

I can now die happy. …… Or at least I can once I figure out how make them myself!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Goat Cheese and Pine Nut Spinach

1 tbs olive oil
1 bag spinach
¼ c. soft goat cheese
2tbs pine nuts
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in skillet. Add spinach, turning often. After about 2 minutes. Add goat cheese and nuts and cook for about 1 more minute. T

The doneness of this is based on your preference. I like my spinach, just wilted. However, you might like it cooked through. I will say, if you like it a bit less done, take it off the stove before you think it is done because it will keep cooking. A good rule of thumb is about the moment you think, “One more minute and this will be done.” Take it off.

Another way of doing wilted spinach and a favorite of mine as well is:
2tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
¼ blue cheese
¼ c toasted walnuts

Heat oil and vinegar in skillet. Add spinach turning often. After about 2 minutes add cheese and nuts and cook for about one more minute.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

1.5 lb split chicken breast
¼ c. lemon juice
¼ olive or lemon infuse olive oil
1 tsp lemon rind
1tbs chopped rosemary
¼ greek yogurt (or sour cream or regular plain yogurt)
2 tsp general purpose seasoning (greek, lemon pepper)

Heat oven to 375. Heavily salt and pepper chicken and bake covered for 35 minutes. Meanwhile whisk together lemon juice, rind, oil, rosemary, yogurt, and general seasoning. After 30 minutes increase temperature to 400. Cover chicken with marinade and put chicken uncovered back in to bake. Bake for 15-20 more minutes or until done.

This would be great with pork or fish.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Indian Experimenting

Okay, clearly this is not a recipe of mine, this isn’t even pilfering. However, it was a great find and I had to share. As I have said, I am thrilled with the new made over Food Lions. I know! I swear just go in, you will be shocked. It used to be so bad I called it the Food Dog (well that and the logo looked more like a dog than lion to me). So one day while shopping in there new little international section, I came across something I typically would not have bought if not been for my giddy mindset. (Okay… don’t expect whole foods or Ellwood when you go there. It is still a Food Lion after all, it is just so nice to have a decent store, other than Ukrops which I hate, near me.) While in this happy state, perusing the Indian section, I put two things in my cart. The first, I might have considered before, it was a “Kitchens of India” paste for butter chicken curry. The other was “MTR” Palak Paneer. It was a ready to eat package. I know! I would have never done this if not intoxicated by my new choices! (can you tell we are woefully in need of a really good store hear on the city’s south side?)

I made both last night, more as a precaution hoping at least one would be good. Let me tell you, Palak Paneer is one of my favorites and a must order for every Indian outing Joel and I have. Butter chicken curry I have never had, so I didn’t have any point of reference. I augmented the butter chicken. The package calls for you to melt 3 tbs of butter and add a pound of chicken, season packages and a cup of water and cook for 20 minutes. I wanted more than sauce and meat. I added onions and carrots (I know not a big deal, but made me feel less like a total carnivore). I have to tell you, it was outstanding. It had a great heat level that built, it was rich (butter will do that though!!) it was wonderful, easy and CHEAP. The seasoning was $1.60 or there about, a pound of chicken, some rice and viola a great meal for two in under thirty minutes for about $5. Can you beat it? Really? Next time I would add potatoes, I thought that would be a really good addition. Leave it to me to make the simple more complicated!
Now on to the Palak Paneer. I have a mixed review on this. It was good. It was. It was NO WHERE near as good as what you would get in a restaurant. Nowhere close. That said, it was good. The spinach was thin and saucy not thick like I am used to. The cheese was good. I suspect that an Indian would look at this like an Italian looks at Chef Boyardee. That said, I would get it again. Honestly, some days you just don’t want to cook. This was about $2.75, throw it over some rice and again, viola a meal for two. Like I said, we made both last night. My husband had one and a half helpings and we still have enough left over for a really nice lunch. So for under $10 bucks and under 30 minutes I get two meals that maybe aren’t as good as the restaurant but are a heck of a lot better than a hot pocket.

Try it out and enjoy!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pork With Apple Stuffing

It is sad, my aunts and uncles and cousins are all having a pig roast this weekend in Indiana. I couldn’t go. So I am missing all the food and all the fun. So I decided in honor of them, I would do a little pig myself. Not exactly a pig roast, but hey… it is just two of us after all.

3 lb pork tenderloin
Filet Pork tenderloin (you slice horizontally, essentially making a V on it’s side so that instead of one big round piece of meat you have a wide flat piece you can stuff and roll). Salt and pepper heavily.

1 tbs olive oil
2 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
3 small apples chopped (I used Macintosh You need a good tart cooking apple)
2 cups chicken stalk
5 pieces bread
2 tbs fresh sage
1 c. raisins
Salt pepper
1 egg
Heat oil and sauté onion and celery. Cook on medium for about 3 minutes. Add apples. Cook on medium for 5 minutes. Add chicken stalk, sage and raisins. Bring to simmer and let simmer 3 minutes. Add bread breaking apart before adding. I used whole wheat because I like the nutty flavor, but use what you want. Season to taste before adding egg. Cook until liquid is absorbed by bread. Should be mushy but not wet. If need to add more bread a little at a time. Remove from stovetop, add egg.
You will only need about ½-¾ of the stuffing. Put a generous amount along the center of the meat. You want a good amount of stuffing but need to still be able to bring the meant up around and secure. You can secure with toothpicks or string.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. While baking make glaze.

Finely chop one apple (I used Macintosh You need a good tart cooking apple)
1 cup sherry
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
Add all ingredients to skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium low until apples are soft and liquid reduced by half. Let cool, put in food processor and process until smooth.
After roast has cooked for 35 minutes turn up the heat to 400. Pour glaze over top of roast and cook uncovered for 10 more minutes. Pull out and let stand for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Green Tomato Pasta

Tis that time of year again. Green tomato season! So here is another attempt at using up those green tomatoes. Not bad!
1/2 lb pasta
5 medium green tomatoes chopped
1 small onion diced
¼ lb chopped pancetta (you can get this at Trader Joes!!)
1 c. marinated artichoke heats
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper

Sauté tomatoes, onions and pancetta in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile boil the pasta. When pasta is almost done, take one ladle full of the water and add it to sauce. Add artichokes and seasoning. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickened a bit. Add lemons zest and cook one more minute. Drain pasta, toss immediately and serve.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf

This recipe is a bit of a break from my normal approach. I tried to task myself with coming up with a meatloaf that I felt was appropriate to serve at a nice dinner party. I don’t know if I accomplished it, it still is a meatloaf after all… but I did dress the girl up a bit. It is also a bit more complicated (okay not complicated, again it is just a meatloaf, but rather more involved) than my average fair. I do have to say I think it came out pretty good.
Meat mixture
2 eggs
2 TBS tarragon (Okay, I used tarragon but I really wanted to use marjoram but I was out of it.)
1 tsp of Fines Herbs (omit if you don’t have)
1 TBS salt
1TBS minced garlic
½ tsp Pepper
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork
8 slices of bread that have been soaked in milk (about ¼ c milk)
Mix together and set aside
Mushroom Mixture
2 packages of mixed mushrooms (or portabella or whatever you like. ) shopped
4 shallots chopped
4 TBS butter
2 TBS Olive Oil
6 oz (two shot glasses worth) of dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter and add oil. Sautee shallots for 3 minutes add chopped mushrooms, sherry, and salt and pepper and sauté for another 3 minutes. Set aside
This is very much like a Marsala sauce and would have been if I had marsala so feel free to substitute.
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 C beef stock
2 c. dry sherry
Pinch of tarragon
2 TBS cream
Melt butter and add flour to form paste. Slowly add stock while whisking. Add sherry one cup at a time. Add tarragon and cook on high heat until sauce has thickened some. Add cream. Set aside.

In a large baking dish line bottom with ½ of the meat mixture. Bring the meat up the sides of the pan (you are essentially making a stuffed meatloaf ) forming a shallow cup of sorts. Put the mushroom mixture in the center and spread 1/3 of the sauce on top. Cover with remaining meat. Cover meat with 1/3 of sauce and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Heat the remaining sauce right before serving. Once you have the slice of meatloaf on the plate, over each serving spoon a little more sauce…enjoy.
If you don’t love mushrooms try making a bread stuffing with apples or pears, I think that would be really good as well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cilantro Salad/Tabouli

1 c. bulgur
2 c. boiling water
¼ onion
2 medium tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro chopped
¼ c. lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
Salt, pepper
Put bulgur in boil and cover with boiling water. Stir and cover bowl. Let stand about ½ hour or until water absorbed. Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate for about an hour or moor until cool.
I owe this recipe to my cousin. I was a tabouli purist. Then one time I went to visit her and she had put corn and carrots in her tabouli. How odd, I thought. It was so good. From then on I got much more experimental with what I added to my bulgur. However, I realized the other day… I always used parsley. Why… why not cilantro. I have to say, if you like cilantro…and I do, try it. You will wonder why you didn’t before.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Greek Yogurt and Potato Salad

Okay, I must admit I am behind the 8 ball with this. I have been hearing people rave about it for a long while now. I finally took the plunge and got some… Greek yogurt. Honestly, I don’t know what makes it so different. I understand that is it strained, but I have stained regular yogurt before for recipes, and it did not have the same effect at all. Greek yogurt is dense and creamy, to me it has the consistency of a soft ice cream in your mouth without the cold. It tastes like a mix between sour cream and cream fraiche.The first time I had it I put some bananas and a touch of honey in. Oh my gosh, it was sooo good. Yesterday I used it to make potato salad. I was trying to pair the calories down but not loose the flavor. I was trying to see if 2% Greek yogurt would do it for me. I used one container of the 2% Greek yogurt, 3 tbs mayo (just in case…) and 4 tbs Dijon mustard. I thought it was fabulous. It was creamy like a sour cream based potato salad. The key was… what would my Dad think? My Dad isn’t a fan of healthy cooking, unless a dish is just naturally healthy. He would rather take the eat less/enjoy more approach than cut flavor. So I wanted to see if he could detect the impostor. One thing I love (and at moments dread) is my fathers complete inability to hold his tongue. If he doesn’t like it, you WILL know. Generally in the form of, “What the hell did you do to that dish!?” Gee Dad, tell me how you really feel. I am happy to report nothing was said… which from Dad is good.
So here is what I did:

8 medium potatoes cubed and boiled until just, tender
2 stalks of celery
½ bunch of chives (more or less to taste)
1 7oz container of 2% Greek yogurt
3 tbs mayo ( I think you could more than safely omit this, but maybe substitute 1 tsp lemon a pinch of lemon zest)
4 TBS good quality Dijon mustard (like this)
2tbs vinegar
Pinch of of sugar
3 chicken bullion cubes

Chop celery and put in a large bowl with vinegar and pinch of sugar. Add potatoes to pot and cover with water.  I heavily season my water because…well it will season the potatoes which I think produces a much better potato salad. Go crazy. Put herbs, bay leaves, whatever. I also put bullion in the water. Boil potatoes (putting them in cold water will allow them to cook more evenly) Once the potatoes are ready, drain immediately put in the bowl and toss. Then let sit for about 10-15 minutes and let it cool off. Add chives. In bowl mix, yogurt, mustard and mayo. Toss on salad. Season to taste. Let cool.
Potatoes ,as do most starches, will keep absorbing the dressing. So you may want to either hold about a ¼ in reserve until right before you serve or, another trick is to put a tablespoon of milk in and toss to moisten it up.
Clearly you can add more things to the potato salad. You may like sweet relish or eggs in there. Go for it. Also other, non traditional seasoning could be great like curry (my favorite) or thyme or rosemary.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Filet and Truffle Oil

Without a doubt, I love truffle. I however, have relegated it to a fish, cream sauce, white meat application. I honestly don’t know what prompted this expansion of my truffle repertoire, however, filets will never be the same. We got some filets from the butcher. In and of themselves they are to die for. Honestly, if you like filets you get at the supermarket, try the Bon Air Butcher. I have no words. We had grilled asparagus and potatoes with a mix of paprika, cumin and seasoned salt as sides. Mmmmm. I have to say, if you have never tried truffle (and I have never cooked with the real thing) go get some truffle oil from Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shrimp and Feta

Okay… eventually I did have to stop drinking and start cooking again! Tonight we are having filets form Bon Air butcher. I am excited!!!! Keep you posted.

6 plum tomatoes
1 Tbs minced garlic
¼ onion chopped
1 Tbs chopped oregano
1 C. white wine
Salt and pepper
1 lb shrimp
½ c. feta
½ lemon
Add the first 6 ingredients to pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat oven to 400. Put ½ the sauce in the bottom of a small baking dish. Add shrimp and feta, and cover with remainder of sauce. Cook for 10 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Remove from oven and squeeze lemon over. Serve.
You can serve this over rice or pasta for a meal or with bread as an appetizer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good Wine

Nothing interesting has been happening in the kitchen much. We had new neighbors over for drinks and munchies but nothing new and amazing to report. Just a little goat cheese topped with sun dried tomatoes, and caramelized onions, baked about 10 minutes. I did however have a great new wine. So I am sharing that with you. My husband found it at World Market. He reports that it was only 9-10 bucks a bottle. It was really good….or was it the company….

It was a Cabernet and is called Foodies. Try it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Okay, I have to totally admit I am pilfering here. I was checking out River City Food and Wine and I saw something I had to try. Pear-kissed Martini. Oh, it sounded good, but I am sucker for pear. So today at the store (the food lion off of Forest Hill! No I am not joking…go in if you haven’t been there recently, it is a whole new world of gourmet and specialty??!!) I looked for the pear nectar the recipe calls for. Sadly no pear nectar to be found. However, I saw the guava nectar and it called to me. So inspired by the pear-kissed martini and in the mood for a good cocktail I forged ahead. I have to say this is really good. It is dangerous though, it has a really tropical taste (but not super sweet) and doesn’t give away the alcohol that is really in it. Enjoy!
3oz vodka
3oz guava nectar
1 ½ oz triple sec
½ oz roses lime

Shake well with ice and serve. I would garnish (if you do) with a lime twist.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beef Satay Lo Mien

Okay this is t three-parter but is easy… trust me! Plus if you do a larger cut of meat like the london broil you will have that left over for another meal… so it is a two-fer! If you don’t love the spice you can leave off the Sriacha sauce in the sauce.

MeatLondon Broil or other cut of beef
Fish sauce
Garlic Chili Sauce

Lo Mien
1 package of lo mien
1 cup of broccoli (just floret, small pieces)
3 carrots
½ sweet onion or 1 bunch of green onion

6 TBS peanut butter (or ¼ c plus 2 tablespoon, I just hate to dirty two thing!)
1 c. cilantro
Juice of two limes or about 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tbs water
2 tsp sriracha hot sauce

How much garlic, salt and fish sauce depends on the size of the cut you decide on. (I used about 2 lb cut of london broil. I used 3 TBS of minced garlic. 3 TBS fish sauce, 2 tsp salt. ) I put the meat in a bag and put the fish sauce, garlic and salt and let is sit for about an hour. Make sure the meat is coated fist. While meat is setting, heat oven to 350. Bake meat for 30 minutes. Pull out and coat the top with a thin layer for the garlic chili sauce (if you don’t have it skip it and just keep cooking meat for another 15 minutes of so). Once coated put under the broiler for 7-10 minutes. Let set.
Cook lo mien noodles to package instructions. Drain and cool. Add broccoli (chop to small florets) onion and carrot. Toss.
Add all the sauce ingredients to food processor or bender (or you can hand stir) and process. Do not add the sauce until right before you are ready to serve or the lo mien dries out.
Plate lo mien (once sauce is added) top with 4-5 pieces of thinly sliced beef. Enjoy…

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pasta Ceviche

Okay this really isn’t ceviche... at all, but it was the best way I could describe the flavor of the dish. I used crab and scallop pieces but shrimp and a whitefish would be really good too. I have to confess this was ENTIRELY my husband idea, I just was the short order cook here. It was soooo wonderfully good. Just a hint of spice, sweet from the seafood, and a little tart from the lime. Whooo-hoo!! Now you know one little reason I love my husband so much!!

¼ red onion
2 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 c. white wine
1 red bell pepper minced
1 TBS garlic
½ lb crab
½ lb scallop
1 c. cilantro leaves
1 lime
Salt/ pepper and a pinch of red pepper

Melt butter and oil and add onion. Sautee for 3 minutes wine. Cook until reduced until about half. Add peepers and let cook 2 minutes. Meanwhile boil pasta. When pasta is done, but before your drain, add one ladle of the starchy water to the sauce mixtures (Thank you Follow The Cook !!). After you add pasta water, add garlic, crab scallop and salt and pepper. Cook for about 3-4 just until scallops are done. Remove entirely from heat. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the sauce. Plate pasta and top with fresh cilantro and…EJOY!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Okay, I tried it again. Here is the key... bake at 350 for 7 minutes. Put under the broiler for 2-3. mmmmmm

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chocolate Chili

Okay, this past week we were sick. I know summer is not exactly chili weather but when I am sick I want comfort food. My husband made this and it was good. This is a VERY meaty chili (did I tell you my husband made it?) however, you can swap about a can a chili beans per half a pound of meat.
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 medium onions
2 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
4 15oz cans of kidney beans
1 tsp pepper
1 TBS minced garlic (or more if you like)
3 TBS chili powder (we used hot Mexican)
2 TBS cumin
3 TBS soy sauce
3 TBS coco powder
Sautee onions for 2 minutes add beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook beef until done. In stock pot add remaining ingredients and cook for 30 minutes. Taste. One note about the soy, soy is a great way to salt a dish and add a richness at the same time. However, add a tablespoon at a time, too much and it will taste like a bad fusion dish. If you don’t have coco powder but do have a very dark chocolate add a bit of it instead. It will give a rich full flavor. Adjust seasonings to taste and preferred heat level.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Marshmallow Topped Brownie

Okay this was a success and a failure. Clearly the marshmallow is a bit overdone. I am going to write the directions the way I think it will come out better. I simply put it under the broiler for 4 minutes. It burnt a little and the chocolate wasn’t melted. I then had to put it in the oven at 350 for about 7 minutes. Instead, I would put it in the oven then finish under the broiler. Still it WAS good.
1 ramekin or other oven safe dish
Some brownies
1 piece of very dark chocolate
Raspberry Jam

Heat oven to 350. Line the bottom of the dish with some brownie. Place the piece of dark chocolate in the center. Smear about a tablespoon of jam over the chocolate. Top with marshmallows. Place in oven for 7 minutes or until the chocolate is melted. Turn on broiler. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the marshmallow is brown.
Next I am going to make some brownies with some orange zest in the batter. Mmmmm

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cashew Butterscotch Cookie

These are my husbands favorite. When I feel like being especially nice to my HH (hot hubby), about once a year, I make these. I have to admit they are pretty durn good!

2 ¼ c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1 cup of butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 and ¼ C. butterscotch morsels
1 c. Cashew

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.. In a separate bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in morsels and cashews. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets that are un-greased.
One of the keys (thanks Sondra of this tip!!) to baking a cookie that is not hard as a rock in a day is to undercook the cookie a bit. So check the cookies in about 9 minutes and see how they look then keep a very close eye on them. They should look like they just started to brown but are still gooey. Pull them out. If you have never under-baked. Do a test batch of about 5 cookies to see.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cilantro Lime Tuna

2 tuna filets
4 TBS chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
Zest of ½ lime

Season filets heavily, just like chicken tuna takes a fair amount of seasoning. Heat oil in pan over high. Once good and hot, sear each side of tuna and reduce heat to medium low and cook to desired doneness. While cooking, chop cilantro and add the zest to it and mix. Once fish is done, top each filet with about half the cilantro and squeeze the juice of half a lime on each filet.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wild Rice Salad

My Aunt, god bless her, goes with her husband on these remote camping trips in Alaska. While I imagine lovely, as I have stated before, not my cup of tea. Lucky for me she brings back this great wild rice and I don‘t have to suffer a life without bathrooms to have it. The type she normally gets takes quite some time to cook. The type she brought back this time cooked in much less time. So good. This really came out good and is totally guilt free. If you don’t have the bulgur, brown rice would work. If you don’t have the wild rice, try the wild rice packages, just leave off the seasoning.
1/3 c. bulgur
1/3 c. wild rice
1 celery stalk chopped
2 TBS onion chopped
¼ large cucumber chopped
1 carrot chopped
Juice of one lime
1 TBS olive oil
Salt Pepper
1 tsp dill
Cook bulgur and rice and let cool. Combine and add celery, onion, cucumber and carrot. Mix. In a bowl combine lime, dill and oil. Mix and poor over rice. Salt and Pepper to taste. This doesn’t make a ton, so if you are making this for more than four adults or trying to use it for more than just a side, make double.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Figs Galore

Here are two more use for figs the fist was something I tried, the second is something my dad did.

Stuffed Figs wrapped in Bacon
The amounts really depend on you. These are rich and filling so I would not plan on more that 3 per person.

Some tart cheese (I used cream cheese because it was on hand, goats cheese, feta of a good soft blue would be great)

Wash figs and remove steam. Push a bit of cheese about the size of the fist joint on you little finger (how is THAT for precise!) into the fig. Wrap it in a slice of bacon (depending on the size of the figs you might be able to use half a piece of bacon). Place under broiler for 8-10 minutes or until bacon is done. Let cool a couple of minutes before serving.

Figs and Pepperoni

Again, the amounts vary on how much you want.

Sliced Figs
Line the bottom of a cookie sheet with pepperoni, place a slice of fig and top with a small piece of feta. Place under broiler for about 3-5 minutes.
Dad said the sweet of the fig was just enough to offset the spice of the pepperoni. What I wasn’t sure about was how you serve it. I know they just at it as is, which while I am sure yummy, I am not sure if it would work for a party appetizer. I am going to have to do them to see how the pepperoni sets up. Otherwise, I am sure it would be great on a cracker or bread round.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Almost Heaven

I am not weighing myself for a week at least. The tomatoes were fresh and so were the pork biscuits! And a fresh tomato on the pork tenderloin biscuit…. Forgetaboutit! While I did not make it to Lowells for a hot dog, there was a new restaurant in Hinton that overlooked the New River and had great Barbeque that I thoroughly enjoyed!
I am not an outdoorsman. A cabin on the River is really as rustic as this chick wants to go, but in West Virginia I can see why someone could overcome their fear of all things icky just for the chance to sleep underneath the stars. I never realized how many stars were in the sky really. I often say, that West Virginia is like an America I have read about but never got to grow up in. Some of the sterotypes are a bit true. It is a rural area. However, it is lovely and the people lovely too. As I watch the kids along the river, out until dusk, fishing without a grown up in sight, I think of some Norman Rockwell painting that somehow missed being painted. West Virginia is often, I feel, the greatest gift I will give to my children, not only for the beauty they will get to experience but the contrast it provides to their life here in the city. So if you ever get a chance to visit anywhere in West Virginia, but specifically anywhere along the Greenbrier River in Summers County West Virginia, do not pass up the opportunity.
That said, I made a great, and I mean great pasta recipe while we were up there. I got the idea from Rachel Ray, she calls it California pasta. I don’t think I changed much if anything other than omitting what I didn’t have (orange rind). It is super easy and really summery and fresh.
1 bunch of leeks slices and cleaned
1-1.5 cups artichoke hearts (you can use, canned, marinated or frozen, I used marinated because I had it)
1 pound pasta
1 cup flat leaf parsley
½ c Olive oil
½ c parmesan
1tsp lemon rind
1tsp lime rind
1tsp orange rind

To clean leeks slice the white part, separate and put in a bowl of water. Swish around a bit to give it a “bath.” Discard water. Sautee in a bit of oil leeks until wilted add artichoke and sauté to warm through. Meanwhile start pasta. Combine, parsley, parmesan, the zests of the lemon, lime and orange (I did not have orange so I used a bit more lemon. I didn’t measure how much zest either, I just zested one and a half lemon and one lime.) pulse. Add oil and process until smooth. Once pasta done, add leek dish and pesto to pasta and combine. Serve.
I am sure if you look at Rachel’s recipe on line I didn’t follow it to a “T” however, it was close and man it was good.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Until Tuesday

It is time to head to West Virginia again….. I wonder if I will manage to pack on three pounds like I did last time?? Maybe a pork tenderloin biscuit EVERY morning is a bit excessive. I have to tell you, they are soooo good though. The weather is going to be in the 70’s for the highs. Not very labor day, but I sure am looking forward to it. Until Tuesday, enjoy your cookouts!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fig Salad

I don’t know where you are but here it is fresh fig season. The figs that are grown locally, are not super flavorful, which is the reason for “drying” them in the oven to concentrate the flavor. The dressing is the most complicated part of this simple salad. It is really good, and very pretty. If you don’t like goats cheese, use feta.

10 figs sliced
½ c. balsamic vinegar
¼ c, oil
2 tbs raisins
1 tsp brown sugar

Heat oven to 250. (note below this is a good time to toast walnuts) Line a baking sheet with sliced figs and cook for 1 hour. You still want them moist, you are just trying to concentrate the flavor. Put into blender of food processor. Add all other ingredients and mix until fairly smooth. This will be a thick dressing.

Bag of spinach
¼ of onion thinly sliced
¼ c. walnuts
½ c. goat cheese
3 fresh figs

Toast walnuts in oven for about 10 minutes. Set aside. Combine spinach, onion, goat cheese in a bowl. Top with walnuts and garnish with slices of the fresh fig. I would serve into bowls and put a dollop of dressing in the middle of each salad.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Zucchini Pasta Continued

Last night I had some zucchini, tomatoes and spinach that needed to be used. So I made moms pasta again but this time put in some spinach at the very end (last 2 minutes or so) and it was really good. This makes a really pretty sauce as well so I thought I would share a picture my hubby took. I think this would be good with addition of artichokes. Also, if you cooked this to thicken it just a bit, it would great on top of a light fish.