Thursday, May 29, 2008

French Toast

There are two ways I like to make french toast. The first is the more savoury version, where I heavily salt and pepper the egg mixture. Usually I only make this type of french toast if I'm the only one eating. The sweeter version, which I make for others, is what I made on the camping trip. So here it is:

6 slices white bread
3 eggs
1 tablespoon cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
.25 teaspoon cinnamon
.5 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter

Heat one tablespoon of butter in skillet. Whisk eggs, cream, salt, vanilla and cinnamon together. Soak two slices of bread in the egg mixture (both sides). Fry slices of bread in pan until the bottom forms a nice crust. Flip over and fry other side. Remove from pan to plate, add butter, syrup, powdered sugar, or whatever you prefer. Repeat two more times until bread and egg mixture are used. Serves 3*.

*We had three people in our camp, so these recipes are all for three people.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pan Fried Scallops

Over the next few days I'll be posting some of the foods we ate while camping. Today, I post scallops.

9 sea scallops
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon each: salt, white pepper

1 tablespoon each: butter, olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

Combine flour, paprika, salt and white pepper. Pat scallops dry, then coat lightly in flour mixture. Shake off excess. Heat butter and olive oil in a small pan to medium or medium-high heat, then fry scallops for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove scallops from pan and keep warm. Add lemon juice and capers to pan (a tablespoon or two of white wine would be nice as well at this stage), bring to a boil and reduce slightly. Pour over scallops. Serves 3.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Camping Cookies

I just finished making the cookies for the camping trip. What camping trip? P and I have an annual vacation/camping trip to go to Flipside. We look forward to it all year. The living room is filled with camping gear and dry pantry goods. I've prepared a menu. I've also made cookies - crispy oatmeal raisin cookies from Martha Stewart's cookie book, and another go at cranberry-ginger biscotti. The base recipe was from Delicious Living, though I changed it around a fair amount (away went the cinnamon, I used fresh cranberries and cut them in half, plus considerably more ginger, different flour and dried egg white).

Tomorrow, we head up to Austin, where we spend one night at SJ's house making ~150 spring rolls (vegetarian, though), and then go to Flipside Thursday. So there won't be any posts from me until after Memorial Day.

In the event you all are curious what's on the menu, here it is:

Thursday:
Dinner: Fried Scallops in a Buerre Blanc-Lemon Sauce and Mushroom-Artichoke Risotto

Friday:
Breakfast: French Toast and Bacon
Lunch: Grilled, Spiced Portabellas, Tabouleh, Hummus
Dinner: Filet and Grilled Vegetables

Saturday:
Breakfast: Bagels and Cream Cheese plus Strawberries in Cream with Vanilla Sugar
Lunch: Leftover Tabouleh and Hummus
Dinner: Black Bean Stir Fry

Sunday (easy food day):
Breakfast: Corned Beef Hash, Bagels with Cream Cheese
Lunch: Mama Nellie's Homemade Tamales
Dinner: Hebrew National Hotdogs

Monday we pack and go, so we'll probably just eat fruit and olives for breakfast. Hope you all have a great holiday!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bean Tacos

These could've been burritos, but I filled them up too much. In fact, they were supposed to be burritos.

Rice filling:
1 cup rice
1 can Ro-Tel Mexican lime and cilantro (drain and reserve liquid)
.25 cup frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon each: dried bell pepper, dried carrot (optional)
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
salt
water added to reserved liquid to make 15 ounces

Heat lard or vegetable oil in a saucepan. Fry rice until it's golden. Add vegetables, salt and liquid and bring to a boil. When boiling, cover with a paper towel, then with the lid. Reduce heat and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes.

Bean filling:
1 cup small red beans
water
1 teaspoon epazote
1-2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
.25 teaspoon chili seasoning
reserved cooking liquid

Soak beans in water overnight. Drain and add to a pot, then cover with water. Add epazote (in cheesecloth or in a tea ball) and simmer for 2 hours, or until slightly overcooked. Remove epazote and let stand until cool. Heat a pan and add lard or vegetable oil. Add beans, salt, pepper and chili seasoning, plus enough of the cooking liquid to mash the beans easily. Which means, mash the beans as they cook.

Construction:

Lay out a tortilla (I actually used 2 of them because I made them very heavy) and top with a couple large spoonfuls of the rice. Add a layer of shredded cheese, then a quarter of the beans. Makes 4.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Key Lime-Apple Pie

I have a big sweet tooth these days, so bear with me.

The apple in this pie cuts the tartness of the lime slightly, and rounds the flavour out a bit. While I love a traditional key lime pie (with either crust*), this is a refreshing variation on it.

3 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup key lime juice
3 tablespoons zest from limes
1 granny smith apple, finely grated, then drained (I generally press the pulp to remove as much of the apple juice as possible)

Method One: Prepare crust and cook. Allow to cool completely. Whisk together all but lime juice. Slowly add lime juice while whisking. Mix thoroughly. Pour into pie crust. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Method Two: Prepare crust and cook. Allow to cool completely. Set oven to 350F (see below). Whisk together all but lime juice. Slowly add lime juice while whisking. Mix thoroughly, then pour into crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to come to room temperature on the counter before chilling.

*I realise that people fall into two camps in the key lime department: graham cracker crust or traditional pastry crust. Having made and tasted both types of pie, I have decided not to fall into either camp. They're equally good for different reasons.

Now that that's out of the way, the type of crust you choose will obviously determine whether your initial oven preheat will be at 350F. Regardless of choice, though, the pie itself should be cooked at 350F.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pound Cake and Berries

8 – 1” slices pound cake or lemon pound cake (store-bought is fine for this)
1 – 8 ounce package blueberries
1 – 8 ounce package strawberries, sliced
1 – 8 ounce package raspberries
8 ounce whipping cream
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier (sometimes I use orange extract instead)
¼ cup sugar

Cut slices of pound cake into cubes. Arrange cubes of two slices into each of 4 large martini glasses (if you want to be fancy; putting it all in a bowl is great for me). Stack fruits on top of cake. Whip cream with sugar and Grand Marnier liquor until stiff peaks form. Top dessert with large dollop of whipped cream.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ratatouille!

Ratatouille = Good. I wish I had bread, and I also wish I wasn't too lazy to either bake a nice,
crusty, rustic loaf, or at least to go buy one. But I am. So we had our ratatouille on rice. P doesn't know if he likes it or not, because he's sick. So to him it tastes... warm. But I can taste, and all I think is, Yum!

I added a couple ingredients that don't belong, and I took an abnormally large number of pictures. For step-by-step, even. So that's a plus.

Ingredients:

3 small eggplants, cubed (I leave the peels on)
4-8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2-3 zucchinis, cubed
4 small celery stalks, cubed (omit if you're a purist)
7 button mushrooms, quartered (again, omit if you're a purist)
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 large bell pepper, any colour, cubed
3 large tomatoes, diced (retain liquid)
2 tablespoons herbes de provence
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
salt

Directions (with pictures!):

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan (I'm using my le cruset) over medium heat, then add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is heated, throw in the eggplant and give it a pinch of salt (yeah, I said throw. I actually throw it in the pot, because it's fun). Fry the eggplant for about 7 minutes, then remove from the pot and set aside.




Now, cube those zucchinis (in fairness, I actually used a Mexican summer squash, but I would have used zucchini if the store had had some), add another 1-2 tablespoons of oil and ping the squash into the pan. Salt it a little, too, then fry that for about 10 minutes. When it's done, add it to the eggplant. They can hang out and get to know each other a little better while we're busy.





So in this next part, we've wandered off the beaten path. So if you really like ratatouille to be more traditional, skip to the next set of pictures.
Cut up your celery, and quarter the mushrooms. Put some more oil in the pan, throw those guys in to cook together and salt them a bit. Let them cook about 6 minutes, then they can go mingle with the eggplant and squash.





And now, we're back on track. Chop up that onion and the garlic. Once again, put a bit of oil in the pan, add the aliums and salt them. Let them cook for about 7-10 minutes, but this time, we're not going to take them out!!








Now, you get to cube up the bell pepper. I used yellow today. You use what you want to, but do get a big one if possible. I mainly like to use yellow because it retains its colour better than green does. Cube it up, add it to the onions and garlic, then fry that too for about 5 minutes.







Now, dice and add your tomatoes. At this time, add in another teaspoon or so of salt, plus 2 tablespoons of herbes de provence and an extra teaspoon of tarragon. If you're using fresh tarragon, throw in a tablespoon or as much as you like. If you want to add a little more oil, go for it. If not, don't. You're going to let all this mess simmer for 5 or 10 minutes.





After it's simmered a bit, add back in all the other veggies and stir well. Cover it up and let it hang out for at least an hour. Then you can eat it. It's good with rice, it's good with bread, it's good alone, it's good hot or cold.
If you don't see any more pictures for a while, this is why. ;)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Orange Smoothie

Am I the only one who misses Orange Julius? Do they still exist in places I never am? What's the deal w/ it all? Anyway, I've been making this, as my own version of an orange julius since I was a kid. I hope you like it too.

3 cups orange juice (or one small container orange juice concentrate, which is what I typically use)
½ cup ice cubes
2 eggs*
1½ teaspoons – 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon powdered milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar

Put all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth.

*Yes, raw can cause salmonella. I don't worry about it, but if you do worry about it, perhaps some powdered egg and water replacement will work for you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh, and rice

I want to thank Thip for her recipe for Thai sticky rice with mango. While it is true that I overcooked the rice, the flavour of the rice was amazing. I don't possess a rice cooker, nor did I bring my bamboo steamer to Houston when I moved here, so I've still got to play with it until I get cooking glutinous rice in a pot down. Although rice is the staple food in my home, I'd never purchased glutinous rice until recently. We usually have long-grain basamati (our every day rice), medium grain, short Bhutanese red rice, short-grain chinese black rice, jasmine rice, wild rice and regular brown rice at any given point, but glutinous rice had never appeared. I'm not sure why.

I do know, however, that we gorged ourselves on that meal. First a vegetable and black bean stir fry with regular basamati (we probably eat this every week, though sometimes with meat), then the sticky rice. I think we each ate about 3 cups of rice.

Anyway, thanks for the recipe.

Cherry Tomato Salad

Usually when I get cherry or grape tomatoes, I either eat them straight out of the bag or I cut them in half, dressing them lightly with salt and pepper. Ok... Sometimes pepper. Anyway, occasionally I get in a weird mood, and I want to do something different. So this is the "different" I like with these little tomatoes. The dressing is supposed to be very thick so it sticks well to the tomatoes.

Salad:

12 ounce cherry tomatoes cut in half

Dressing:

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ teaspoons fresh dill, chopped

Whisk together. Pour over tomatoes. Serves 4.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cabbage Salad with Kalamata Dressing

Salad:

½ head green cabbage, shredded
3 radishes, julienned
½ cucumber, diced
½ rib celery, sliced
1 cup assorted bell peppers, sliced

Mix thoroughly, toss with kalamata dressing. Serves 8

1½ cups pitted kalamata olives
3 egg yolks
zest and juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon molasses
olive oil to stream (3/4 cup?)

Blend all but oil. Slowly stream in oil until dressing reaches desired consistency. This makes entirely too much dressing for this salads, so I put the remainder in a jar and use it as a dip for pita bread, french fries and other raw veggies, in addition to using it as a dressing for other assorted salads.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Provincial Braised Chicken

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenders, cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1” chunks
.5 onion, chopped
.125 teaspoon garlic powder
.5 teaspoon provincial thyme
1 bay leaf
.5 teaspoon dried marjoram
.125 teaspoon dried basil
.25 teaspoon dried lemon peel
1 teaspoon crushed lavender flowers
.5 teaspoon dried tarragon

.5 cup white wine

1 cup chicken broth
2 bunches scallions, cut into 2” pieces
1 small artichoke cut into quarters with choke removed


Preheat oven to 300F. Heat a medium sized dutch oven or other oven-proof pot over medium to medium high heat and add olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. When pot is heated, add tomato paste and seasoned chicken. Sear chicken on all sides and mix tomato paste into the oil. Remove chicken then add bell pepper, onion and spices to the pan and sauté until onions are soft (about 10 minutes). Deglaze with wine and scrape up the little bits. Add chicken back to the pan with the artichoke, broth and scallion and bake, covered, in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serves 4.

Total calories: 924 = 31/31/113
Per serving: 231 = 8/8/28

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Non-Post

I may take a break from posting for the next week or so. Between finishing finals and a recent death that hit a bit too close to home, I'm not really feeling like cooking much. Of course, it's certainly possible that I'll cook and post anyway. So if you get no new food, that'll be why.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sour Cream Dip

This is the first diet recipe I've posted in this blog. In the future, any recipe with a caloric breakdown at the end is a diet recipe but are things that I eat (and I am not a dieter, really).

8 ounces fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon dried chives
.5 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon salt
.5 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon bottled lemon juice
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

Whisk together. This dip is fantastic on roasted vegetables, chicken, bison, venison, beef and many other foods. Serves 8.

Total Calories: 182 = 0/34/8
Per Serving: 23 = 0/4/1)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Blueberry Pancakes and Vanilla Eggs

Ok, so I would like to apologise in advance because once again, I completely and totally forgot to take a picture. Woops. I was listening to my tummy grumble, which outweighed the thought of picture-taking.

So, my mother has this fabulous recipe for pancakes that dates back to 1848 or 1852. I can't remember. I left the recipe the same, but I just added blueberries to it. I think next time I make them I will also add in some lemon. Blueberries and lemon are like, nature's perfect couple.

Blueberry Pancakes

2 eggs
1.25 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups flour
.25 cup melted butter
1.25 cup blueberries (I used frozen; you use what you like)

Whisk eggs. Add milk and whisk. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries (I really thought about using raspberries instead. Perhaps next time). Melt some butter, lard, or some other fat in a pan over medium heat. Add a big ladle-full of pancake batter. When you see the surface of the batter bubbling up, flip the pancake over. Cook another minute, remove. Rinse and repeat. Makes about 4 big pancakes. Thanks, Mom.

Vanilla Scrambled Eggs

4 eggs
1 tablespoon milk (ok... in this instance, I'd run out of milk so I used a teaspoon of cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
.5 teaspoon salt
couple passes over the grater of nutmeg (just use a little)

Melt some lard or other fat in a small pan over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture while the last pancake is cooking. Stir until cooked. Eat with pancakes.