Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Fun #115 - Reflections on 2009

I don't know about you, but I've tried a few new things in 2009, made a few new things, and learned a few new things. For example, I canned my first pickles! We opened them about a week ago when the in-laws were here since my MIL had given me the recipe. I'd already realized I needed to pack the pickles in a LOT tighter, but upon opening I learned the importance of canning the pickles as soon as possible after picking so they stay crisp... and also that when my MIL's canning recipes call for vinegar, they mean apple cider vinegar, not white.

So, how about you? Any noteworthy new foods tried? New recipes attempted (successful or not)? New techniques learned? Let us know about some food-related thing you learned/tried in 2009!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Fun #114 - Christmas Traditions

Thanksgiving's got its (admittedly stereotypical) traditional foods what with your turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes (possibly with marshmallows), cranberry sauce (possibly still with its rings from the can), & pumpkin pie.

Christmas has got...what? Christmas cookies? Peppermint sticks? Eggnog? All good and tasty, but not a lot of substance there. (Well, other than all the "substance" that ends up on my hips after a few rounds of Christmas cookies!) I'm wondering if you and your family have any traditional Christmas DINNER-type foods. Do you always have ham? Turkey (again)? Standing rib roast? Pierogies? The yearly lobster dinner? Some ethnically-traditional dish passed down for generations from one side of the family or another?

What's YOUR traditional Christmas (or Christmas Eve) Major Meal food?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Fun #113 - C is for Cookie!

Life's been busy 'round here with holiday prep, including some cookie baking. So far we've made a variation of Syl's Pretzels and Hugs with caramel kisses as well as some sugar and molasses cut-out cookies. Not that we actually made the dough for the cut-out cookies (yay, store-bought buckets o' dough!), because that's NOT the fun part of those. The fun parts are rolling, cookie cutters, and sprinkles!

So, how about you? Have you made/do you plan on making any cookies this holiday season? What kinds? Anything especially drool-worthy that, gosh, you should probably share with the rest of us Recipeeples? :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Fun 112- Boca Chica review

Well kiddies, Shonuff just recently turned 35 and when Pusher asked where I wanted to have the birthday dinner I picked Boca Chica. This is Mexican food without messing around. Family recipes carefully made and full of flavor. Presented in a more of a fine dining style than most Mexican food you can get. They give you soup or a salad with most meals and the decor while still being Mexican themed is like you might find at a nice resort.

What about the food makes me love Boca Chica? Well, let me explain how I normally get a sense of a Mexican restaurant. I've got it down to sort of a science (I've gone to a lot of Mexican places). There are three things I check for... Tamales, Chile Rellenos, and Mole sauce. Now if a place has all three of these dishes it's a good sign... but there are times when some or all are bad. If two out of three are good to great then the place is good just a bit limited. So I'm betting you know how Boca Chica did.

Tamales... these appear to be a simple thing but aren't. If you don't like corn meal then of course you aren't going to like them but the proper balance between the corn meal and pork is very tricky. Boca Chica nails the balance and actually presents the tamale in the husk of corn... a presentation I've noticed is done most places you get a great tamale. Boca Chica Tamales = excellent.

Chile Rellenos also sound kind of simple, stuff pepper batter and fry. Well this is a dish I love but is often done poorly. Not a problem at Boca Chica, you taste the pepper, you taste the filling and they all meld together to make the wonderful flavors this dish can create. Another win for Boca Chica.

Then there is Mole sauce. This like the previous two dishes is fairly labor intensive. The sauce at it's best is cooked for hours so the flavors can meld. Boca Chica's is done right and it shows, it's easily in the top 5 I've ever had. Their sauce is strong on the cocoa flavor with that bitterness showing through even while it is balanced nicely by the rich roasted pepper flavors.

I think I might have to go back soon...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cream Cheese Chutney Dip

I am ashamed to even try to call this a recipe, but it's good and fits the theme.

4-8 oz of cream cheese on a plate (spread it around if you want it to look pretty)
spoon Major Grey Mango Chutney on top (use less if you don't want it too sweet)

Spread this on crackers. I find water crackers and Wheat Thins work well. Delicious!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December's Theme - Party Food

Our normally scheduled Wednesday Fun will be usurped today by the monthly theme update. Hope y'all don't mind, but I've still got unpacking & laundry to do from our Thanksgiving trip!

(I will put up a poll, too, but actually, I'll be scheduling to leave it up for two weeks so I hopefully get a large number (well, relatively speaking, that is!) of you to weigh in on it.) (ShoNuff, feel free to do a poll with your review anyway next week, if you'd like!)

Anyway, December's theme is Party Food! Hooray! Since there are so many get-togethers, parties, and, of course, New Year's Eve coming up, let's hear your recipes for dips, appetizers, finger food, cute little desserts, etc.

Here's a few we've got so far:**
  • Diplowhat shared some Taco Salad Dip that is making me hungry.
  • Or you could go with her Dead Sister Dip. (But maybe call it something festive!*grin*)
  • Also in a TexMex-y vein, we've got Nectarine's Chicken Enchilada Ring.
  • I really love Tomato Bruschetta, even if it's way better in summer.
  • Syl's Cucumber Sandwiches make me think of summer, too, but that never stops me from eating them!
  • The Sexy Blonde posted a Roasted Bell Pepper Antipasto that I think sounds more "pro-" than "anti-!" (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)
  • Nectarine shared some Caramel Dips for Apples. Nice if you want something in addition to or instead of a cheese/creamy sort of dip.
  • Apple Berry Salsa is also from Nectarine - again, also a nice fruity option.
  • A more exotic option than (or addition to) a veggie tray could be Diplowhat's Miso & Cucumber.
  • Pusher's Peppered Tuna Skewers might go great next it, too!
  • And if you're looking for another seafood option, The Sexy Blonde shared a recipe out of the South Beach Diet cookbook for a Salmon Ball.
  • Also along healthier lines, this time from Cooking Light, she also posted Proscuitto-Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Bleu Cheese.
  • Pusher's Soft Pretzels. You might think "Oktoberfest" thinking about pretzels, but color your salt green & red with food coloring & you've got an officially holiday-looking snack!
  • No one can guess what's in the sauce for Nectarine's Crazy Meatballs, but it doesn't stop them from coming back for more!
  • If you want to be fancy, and are willing to stand in front of a pan of oil for a while during your party, you could make these Crisp-Fried Vegetables that are really good, if not at all make-ahead-able.
  • And how can you not end with some classic (and colorable) Cream Cheese Mints from Pusher?

** As always, if I've missed a recipe you think should be on this list, let me know & I'll add it. I only looked through the Appetizers/Cocktail food label, so there could very well be other good recipes under Snacks or Desserts or whatever. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Fun #111 - Happy Turkey Day!

Happy pre-Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Americans!

Firstly, if you're in charge of making the turkey, make sure it's thawing! :)

Secondly, if you're an NPR listener, you might want to check to see if you can catch Lynne Rossetto Kaspar and her producer, Sally Swift, doing their "The Splendid Table: Turkey Confidential" broadcast where they do a live chat/help on Thanksgiving from 10-12. I've listened before, especially when traveling, and it's fun, funny, and helpful. I remember one year when two callers back to back really demonstrated the range of help Lynne gives & the varying experience levels of her listening audience - one had a question about a double-reduction sauce, the other was cooking a whole chicken for the first time and wanted to know how to get the packet of giblets out. Or, if you've got the technology, you could, you know, download some previous years' episodes and listen on your drive to Grandma's house.

Thirdly, what is your favorite part of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. I know everybody has different traditions, and I'm sure family-specific dishes that show up at your feasts, but let's hear about your fav of some of the (stereotypical, I'm sure) traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Leave a comment here or just click on the poll off to the right.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fettuccine with Garlic Scallops

Mr. Kluges made us this for supper the day we had the giant radiator puddle, and it was really good. I'm just typing it the way the recipe is written, since I didn't make it myself, but I liked it and I'm not, in general, a fan of seafood. It comes from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook called Low Fat Bold Flavors.

1 lb. fresh or frozen scallops (We used frozen.)
6 dried tomato halves (not oil-packed) (We used oven-dried cherry tomatoes from our garden that were frozen with some oil. I think they say not oil-packed since it's a "low-fat" cookbook.)
1/3 c. boiling water
2 tsp. cooking oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 Tbl. lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch
4 green onions, sliced
2 Tbl. snipped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
3 c. hot cooked spinach and/or plain fettucine
lemon wedges (optional)

1. Thaw scallops, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl combine dried tomatoes and boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain tomatoes, reserving liquid. Cut tomatoes into thin bite-size strips. Set aside.

2. Pour oil into a large nonstick skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add mushrooms; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add scallops and tomatoes; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until scallops are opaque.

3. Combine lemon juice and cornstarch. Add to skillet along with reserved tomato liquid, green onions, parsley, and lemon peel. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

4. Serve the scallop mixture over hot pasta. If desired, garnish with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Total Fat: 4 g. Daily Value Fat: 6% Saturated Fat: 0g; Daily Value Saturated Fat: 0%
Per Serving: Calories: 263; Total Fat 4g; Saturated Fat 0g; Cholesterol 34 mg; Sodium 281 mg; Carbohydrate 36 g; Fiber 2g; Protein 21g
Exchanges: 2 Starch, 2 Lean Meat, 1 Vegetable

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Fun #110 - Bird, bird, bird. Bird is the word.

As we approach the Festival of Turkey Eating, otherwise known as Thanksgiving, it got me thinking about the eating of bird. Poultry. Hmmm... what sorts of birds do we ate/have people eaten. I mean, you've got your very prevalent chicken and turkey, a little more exotic duck and goose, wild birds like pheasant, birds seen as edible in other cultures... and the list goes on.

So, go to the poll off to the right and let's see what sorts of poultry the Recipeeples have eaten, okay? And if you've got a great bird-eating story or a different bird you've eaten that I didn't include, please leave a comment here.

(And, um, sorry to any strict vegetarians/vegans out there... guess WF's not really for you this week!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Fun 109- Kings review

Need Bibimbap, Sushi, and to sing some Karaoke? Well then you need King's. When Pusher and I got back from visiting Diplowhat and Wog in Korea we set out to find a good place in the cities to get Dolsot Bibimbap (Pusher was hooked). Well after some passable places we found King's... in a stripmall just off Central Avenue.

Now if you aren't familiar with Korean food it's largely grilled meats and stews... in Korea there are actually either gas ranges or a hole for a charcoal grill in the tables where you cook your own meat. They are rich and complex full dishes and on the side there is always a number of Kimchi. Traditional/basic Kimchi is cabbage based and fermented (like sourkraut) with red pepper, but there are all different kinds made with seaweed, sprouts, daikan, or even fish. King's doesn't let you cook your own meat at the table (I suspect the insurance here would be insane) but otherwise you get the experience quite well.

The servers were also quite impressed with Diplowhat and Wog speaking Korean.

King's also has Sushi, which I don't think is traditional but may be related to the long occupation of Korea by the Japanese (I understand this isn't a good light topic of conversation with Koreans as they, quite rightly, have some resentment about being occupied). We have other places that we go for Sushi so have only had it once or twice but it was very good.

Of course after 9pm it turns into a nightclub. From what I've heard it is one of the hip places to go for Karaoke. That's not really my scene but the set up looked impressive.

Then of course there is Dolsot Bibimbap, I'll let Pusher explain Bibimbap since she loves it so...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Apricots and Brie

Ok I know it's not Turkey- but we had this tonight and it was yummy and SO easy I had to tell you about it. 

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Apricots and Brie 

1 lb Pork Tenderloin
4 oz of dried apricots, chopped
5 oz of Brie, diced
1 tsp. Olive oil 

Butterfly the tenderloin by cutting it down the center (without cutting all the way through). Place wax paper on top and pound to 1/2 inch thickness.  Spread the apricots and brie on the pork, leaving yourself about 1/2 inch of an edge all the way around. Roll the tenderloin back up (starting on the long side) tucking in the filling as needed. Tie up with butcher string, use toothpicks to seal the ends if necessary.  Place pork on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes (or until cooked through).  Slice to serve. 

I just eyeballed the apricot and brie amounts, but I plan to use more of both next time. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday Fun #108 - Gimme some gravy!

I know I mentioned before (recently) about the lovely gravy that this recipe makes. But, oh, I think it's my favorite! Do you have a favorite gravy? Your mom's? Grandma's? Your mother-in-law's... but she won't share the recipe? How about gravy style? You've got beef gravy, chicken gravy, turkey gravy, pork gravy, sausage gravy, red-eye gravy... Maybe you love yourself some biscuits and gravy done right.

Tell us your gravy love!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November's Theme - Turkey

Happy November, everyone. Or, as we call it around here, try-not-to-eat-all-the-leftover-Halloween-candy month.

November's theme is, probably not surprisingly, turkey! We're talking anything turkey around here - from raw, using leftovers, or heck, even turkey-shaped things! Who knows, somebody around here (not me, thankfully) might even be hosting a Thanksgiving get-together, or just taking home a few pounds of leftover turkey from the in-laws.

So far we've got my (ok, Cooking Light's) Mahogany Turkey Breast with Vegetable Gravy. I love this recipe. In fact, I just made it again earlier this week, but subbed in baby leeks (from the CSA) instead of the onions and celery, and used maple syrup & honey instead of the molasses. I ADORE the gravy (but serve the gravy veg on the side, not in it).

This La Bamba Casserole calls for ground turkey, but you could totally sub in chopped-up leftover turkey. That also reminds me you can often substitute ground turkey in for some or all of the ground beef in many recipes. (We like to do halfsies ground turkey and ground buffalo sometimes because it still tastes red-meat-y.)

And these Chicken Chimichangas could totally be made with leftover turkey instead, and probably provide a nice change of pace for the day after Thanksgiving. Plus, if you've got people around, you could put all the toppings on the side and let people doctor up their own (maybe have some plain tacos/fixings available, too, for fussies).

For a delightful dessert or fun kid-cooking-project, you've also got Nectarine's Turkey Cookies. They are cute!

How about you? Got any turkey recipes to share? Or great ways to use the leftover turkey after the big day? (I did make a Friends-style sandwich with mine! The moist-maker made it yummy!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Simple Roasted Turnips Extraordinaire

Ok, not an actual recipe, but SO GOOD I wanted to post. I'm totally buying turnips at the store to do this. Not that the under-10 set liked these, but too bad! More for me! (A tiny bit cabbage-y, so if you despise cabbage, you might not like.)

This is what I did:
  • Take a small batch of CSA turnips; cut off both ends and peel. Cut into wedges.
  • Mix in a bowl with some olive oil. Sprinkle on some thyme.
  • Put in a pan; roast at 350F for like, maybe 45 minutes, shaking/stirring occasionally until both sides are kind of brown/caramalized and delicious.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday Fun #107 - A rose by any other name?

Thinking about this month's theme, I'm wondering...

You know that yellow-orange stuff they put on nachos at the game? Is it cheese? Discuss.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Soft Pretzels

Thanks for the inspiration, Ms. Huis! Saturday's wine tasting was Riesling, so I made a batch of soft pretzels for the occasion. I have changed my poll response accordingly. This recipe is lifted straight from Alton Brown on The Food Network site, which probably breaks all kinds of fair use laws, but I suspect y'all won't turn me in.

My notes:
I've always heard that pretzels are difficult to make. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, these are a breeze.

I couldn't find pretzel salt, so I used coarse sea salt instead. It was maybe a little intense for my tastes, but still a serviceable substitute. I also toyed with the idea of using margarita salt, since I think of that as being softer and slightly less salty. But maybe that's just the influence of the tequila. Also, I measured my flour by weight and it came to barely 4 cups. Maybe 4-1/2 sifted? Perhaps related to that, everywhere he says to oil a surface? Oil it. This is sticky dough.

The best thing about these is how intensely buttery they taste, even though there's only 2 ounces of butter in the whole recipe.

The recipe:

* 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 package active dry yeast
* 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
* 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
* Vegetable oil, for pan
* 10 cups water
* 2/3 cup baking soda
* 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
* Pretzel salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Neat Champagne Science... and a Saber!!!

Ok, for some neat Champagne knowledge plus a SABER go to Wine Library TV and watch episodes #756 and #757... it's worth the 35 minutes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Fun #106 - Rainy Day Foods

It's raining outside. Looks to be one of those all-day soaking type rains. Which is great - I think we're still behind from the summer.

Days like today make me crave homemade chicken noodle soup (with homemade noodles) and/or basic grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum. I think I just figured out what I'll be making for supper tonight!

How about you? Any particular foods you find yourself wanting on dark and rainy days?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Fun 105- Modern Cafe review

Pusher and I first went to The Modern Cafe picking it off a list for a charity event. We were both a bit familiar with it (she a bit more than I) but hadn't made it there. That was our mistake.

The food is tremendous! It's mostly dishes you know but with their own flavorful twist. Pot roast that melts in your mouth with a delicious creamy horseradish sauce, spicy pork with cous-cous, and meatloaf that only your French dream-mother would make. The menu seems to shift regularly so those that get bored with the relatively brief menu don't have to long to wait for a change.

The Modern also seems to draw an impressive mix of client. I've seen people doing family generational dinners, hip couple dinners (no that wasn't us... real hip people), teenagers hanging out, and older (retirement age) just getting a good meal. You have to do something right to get that mix.

I also need to mention the wine list. It's a list that shows someone there knows about wine. There isn't a bottle for over $40 (so $20 and under if you were getting them retail) and they stay away from household names. This means those who aren't adventurous might be a bit scared (though a large percentage of their list is available by the glass), but the advantage is the wines are world view that "wine nerds" would say are a great value. These are often the areas or grapes that haven't yet hit huge. The capper to the wine is that on Tuesdays they do half price bottles!

The last thing I need to discuss is the look. It's "Modern" as in modern art and has largely been restored in that vein (restored is relative as the booths are clearly of that time and haven't been restored). The building is from before plumbing so when you go to the basement to "rest" there are exposed pipes (all painted and clean). The place has character and I highly recommend you go... let me know when and maybe I can join you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Fun #104 - Name 3 cheeses!

Ok, gang, this one should be pretty easy.

Name 3 (or more!) cheeses!

Bonus points if they all start with the same letter, are organized in mildest to "feet-y"-est, are the same color, from the same region of the world, or otherwise relate.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Margarita Pie

Margarita Pie
This is one of those recipes that gets slightly altered each time I make it, so I've included some of the variations.

For Crust: 
  • 2 cups  crushed pretzels 
  • 1/4 cup  sugar 
  • 2/3 cup melted butter 
Pulse pretzels and sugar in food processor (or blender) until fine crumbs. Add butter, process to blend. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of pie plate. Freeze while preparing filling. 
Note: Personally, I like the salty crust, it's unusual though. Some people prefer to use a standard graham cracker crust, still good, just makes it sweeter. 

For Filling: 
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp. grated lime peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tequila (if you use this amount you will taste it a bit.  You can cut back to 2 tbsp. or eliminate) 
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau (or other orange liqueur, you can cut back to 2 tbsp. or use orange juice)
  • 2 cups  heavy whipping cream (you can use cool whip if you want, but it will be sweeter)
  • 4 drops green + 2 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Garnish: lime slices

Stir condensed milk, lime peel, juice, tequila, Cointreau, and food coloring in a small bowl. Beat cream with mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually fold in the lime mixture until well blended. 
Pour into crust, freeze 4-6 hours or overnight. To serve, let pie sit at room temp for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for 20 min.  Re-freeze any remaining pie. 

  • Strawberry- omit lime peel, add 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries, use red food coloring 
  • Virgin- omit tequila, add an extra 1 tbsp. lime juice, use 1/4 cup of orange juice in place of liqueur.
Ok, that is not as many different ways as I thought! Oh, I think I did use Triple Sec one time too, but I can't remember if that was in addition to the Cointreau or replaced it...

October Theme - Cheese!

Oh, hey, wow! Look at that - it's October! Sorry about the lateness of this theme update, but here it is anyway.

October's theme is cheese! Yay, cheese! Now, we've got a lot of recipes in here that include cheese, but I figured I'd highlight a few where it's the star player. If I've missed some, let me know & I'll fix it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Fun #103 - PIE!

I just made my first pie in quite a while yesterday. The Dutch Apple one in the post below, if you're wondering. Yeah, it's a rule that when you buy 40 pounds of apples (or more, I suppose) at a local orchard, you have to make at least one apple pie. Didn't know that, did you?

Then I was reading over at that she made a grape pie, something I hadn't imagined making ever, not being an especial fan of grapes. But hers looks good!

So, I'm wondering - what sorts of pie(s) do you make? Do you have a specialty? What's the oddest pie you've ever made? Any great pie stories? Do tell!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dutch Apple Pie

Another family recipe & this one's a favorite of mine. I'll do the crust as well, but feel free to substitute your own favorite crust recipe. The one I learned from my mom isn't the flakiest or the most buttery. It is, however, about the fastest & easiest I've heard of. Enough so that I'm not ever tempted to get fancier. Also, it works well for savory dishes like quiche.

Dutch Apple Pie
(And yes, I'm half Dutch, so it totally counts!)

6 medium apples, peeled & sliced (I dunno - more or less as you'd like to fill your pie pan. You should end up somewhat level to the top.)
Combine with 1/2 c. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, maybe a sprinkle of cloves & a sprinkle of nutmeg. Mix well. Arrange slices (or just dump & level) in unbaked pie crust*.

Combine 3/4 c. flour & 3/4 c. sugar. Cut in 1/4 c. butter. Include some spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, if you'd like. (I like!) Sprinkle over the apple in the pie crust.

Bake at 375F for 50 minutes or until golden and tender.

*My Mom's Easy-Peasy, No-Fuss Crust
For a single bottom crust: Mix together 1 1/3 c. flour & 1 tsp. salt. Then add 1/3 c. oil & 3 Tbl. cold water & mix with fork until it sticks together. Press into a ball. Let it rest for a couple of minutes. Roll between wax paper.

For a deep dish pan or to have a top crust, too: Mix together 2 c. flour & 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Then add 1/2 c. oil & 1/4 c. cold water & mix with fork until it sticks together. Press into a ball. Let it rest for a couple of minutes. (Divide into two if top/bottom crust.) Roll between wax paper.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Fun 102- Jax review

So if I'm reviewing TC restaurants I have to start with Jax. This is the place Pusher and I have gone for every anniversary since we found it... so I may not be a particularly unbiased judge. But since I plan on only reviewing restaurants I enjoy you won't get a lot of bashing in these posts... sorry any haters out there.

Jax is a steakhouse that lets me pretend I've escaped to a royal British lodge. Wood paneling surrounds the dining room and the servers are excellent. I've had things show up without realizing the server had been there. The steak is excellent and made to your actual request, not medium when you've ordered medium rare as seems to be the case with many restaurants.

The back garden is also a beautiful setting with a little shed with water wheel that spins in the trout stream. The prom dates in tuxes catching the trout for their meal is a fond memory. The seafood we've had has been quite tasty though we've never had the trout.

They also have a wonderful 30 foot long bar that you pass as you enter. If you sit out by the bar they have a small (and more like $15 and under price tag as opposed to the $15 and up for dining room entrees) menu with great Mac and Cheese and Steak bites. The wine list isn't huge but has a good range of stuff and some big famous wines if you want to drop the cash.

Jax is simply the best special occasion restaurant I've found in the TC.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ranch Crackers

2 bags small oyster crackers
1 cup vegetable oil
1 double packet Hidden Valley Ranch
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dill weed
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes

In a doubled brown paper bag, add crackers. Mix remaining ingrediants in a small bowl. Add mix to bag. Shake for 2 minutes. Wait 2 hours. Store in an ice cream bucket or similar.

Variations: Add oregano or other herbs that you think will go well with the mix.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WF #101 - Input?

So, regular readers will have noticed that last week I asked about what you liked/didn't about WF, ideas for it, etc. Our good friend ShoNuff has offered to do some restaurant reviews, so that feature will start appearing monthly, usually on the second Wednesday. Hooray! Thanks, ShoNuff!

He's also offered to do some wine reviews/food pairings if folks are interested. I think it sounds like a great idea - how 'bout y'all?

Anybody else have talents they want to share (beer reviews? food trivialist? cookbook review?)? Or have more to say on what you like or don't or would like to see as a Wednesday Fun feature? Speak up, I'd love to hear more input/ideas!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 14

Dear weather conditions this year,

Why have you been so nice to the kohlrabi when we haven't even gotten ANY carrots yet from our CSA? Ours at home are yummy and good-sized, but the girls keep picking them two at a time for snacks and we're starting to run out already! Also, they've figured out how to tell which ones of the rainbow mix are red/purple, so those are going fast. Can you pretty please give us some nice fat carrot producing days?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Herbed Soda

I first had this served to me by a lovely, grandmotherly coworker. I believe she said she got the idea from Martha Stewart, but I might be misremembering. Anyway, this recipe is available many places online, but that's not going to stop me from putting it here.

Simple Syrup Herb Soda
Basically, you make a simple syrup, which is a one-to-one ratio between sugar and water. Let's say a cup of each. Bring that to a boil, and toss in, oh, a third of a cup or so of fresh herbs that you've crushed a bit to bring out the oils. So far basil is my favorite. I've also tried lavender (a little too floral/sweet, but I think it would be awesome if you also mixed in some lemon zest) and lemon verbena (YUM!). Anyway, turn off the heat under the water, cover, and let steep for 5-10 minutes depending on how strong you want the herb flavor to be. (I usually go 10.) Chill.

To serve the sodas, put some ice in a glass, fill about 1/5 to 1/4 with the syrup, then top off with club soda. If you want to be fancy, you could garnish with a sprig of whatever herb you used.

This is a fantastically refreshing summer beverage, and there's lots of flexibility around creating it to taste.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday Fun #100!!! - P.S. Mmmm... bacon!

Did you know that last Saturday was International Bacon Day? No? Me, neither, or you know I would have totally used that as last week's Wednesday Fun! So, go ahead and have an extra serving of bacon today, anyway!

Speaking of Wednesday Fun, I'd like us to take this 100th WF to do a little assessing/revising. I started doing these posts so that we'd have a regular reason to check back in. Our recipe posting often goes in streaks, based on theme, or having time, or just finally getting around to posting, or whatever. But unless we click over here to Recipeeps on occasion, we just might not notice there've been new recipes put up. So, I figured a regular weekly post would be a good idea.

Bearing that in mind, what do you think? I do still think we need some sort of regular post/feature/whatever, but I'm open as to what it could/should/might be. Do you enjoy the WF questions? Or links? Or polls? Are there other things you'd like to see - maybe restaurant reviews (esp for the TC area or chains, since more Recipeeples are TC-based than anywhere else), maybe trivia-type info on specific foods, maybe ????? Would you be ok with the CSA post being the regular feature for the summer months rather than WF or would you rather something more than just that? Also, how interested/willing would you be to maybe take a month, or something like the third Wed of every month, or do a restaurant review (single or series), or introduce a favorite food blog?

Let us know! Of course, I know you'll keep comments constructive and helpful, but you are still welcome to leave your comment anonymously if you'd like. Thanks so much for your input!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009


This is yummy and makes a lot. Uses one eggplant!

1 Eggplant
4 Zucchini
1-2 onions
3-4 Green Peppers
1 Jalapeno
3 cans Diced Tomatoes (Italian Style - Basil, Oregano, Garlic)
1 can small Black Olives
3-4 cloves Garlic Minced
2 T. Chicken base

Saute garlic in Olive Oil. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for 1-1.5 hours until tender. Top with Parmesan Cheese

Friday, September 4, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 13

So, yeah, a few more tomatoes this week again. Guess I'll need to freeze 'em or make marinara sauce again (& then freeze it). Also, guess I'm going to actually have to do something with these eggplants & the ones in the frig or they'll start taking over. I've gotten a couple of ideas, from baba ganoush (sp?) to Alton Brown's Eggplant Steaks to just throw 'em on the grill. So we'll see how that all goes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Caramel Dips for your Apples

Here are three great dips to eat your apples. We usually make the cream cheese one but they are all good! I have also dipped popcorn in so do not stop at just apples. Enjoy!!

Caramel Dip
1 jar Mrs. Richardson's Caramel ice cream topping
1 small jar marshmallow cream
Pour Mrs. Richardson's in a microwave safe bowl and heat to warm. Mix in marshmallow cream and serve.

Caramel Apple Dip
1 block Cream Cheese
¾ cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Mix together and warm. I serve in a small crock pot. If I am in a hurry I warm in the microwave first. Otherwise I just put everything in crock pot let warm and mix.

Autumn Apple Dip
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp vanilla

Mix together. Can also serve with graham crackers or ginger snaps.

Apple Cinnamon Turnovers

We make this with the kids and they enjoy helping. Everyone get their own little "pie".

Ready in 30 minutes or less

1 medium tart apple, peeled and chopped
½ cup applesauce
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
Dash ground nutmeg

1 tube (7 – ½ ounces) refrigerated biscuits or large crescent rolls
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
In a bowl, combine the apple, applesauce, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Separate biscuits; roll out each into a 6-in circle. Place on greased baking sheets. Place a heaping tablespoonful of apple mixture in the center of each. Fold in half and pinch edges to seal. Brush with butter. Combine sugar and remaining cinnamon; sprinkle over tops. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Serve warm.

Apple Berry Salsa

Yields: 3 cups (16 servings)
2 med. Granny Smith Apples
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 pint strawberries, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons apple jelly or apricot jam
2 kiwi, peeled and diced
Baked Cinnamon Chips (see recipe)
1 small orange

Peal, core and slice apples. Coarsely chop apple slices. Dice strawberries and kiwi. Put fruit in bowl. Zest orange to measure 1 teaspoon. Juice orange to measure 2 tablespoons full. Add orange zest, juice, brown sugar and jelly to fruit mixture; mix gently. Spoon into serving bowl. Serve with Baked Cinnamon Chips.

Baked Cinnamon Chips
Yields: 64 chips (16 servings)
8 Flour tortillas
1 tablespoon Sugar
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray tortillas with water. Combine 1-tablespoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into eight wedges. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and crisp. Remove from baking sheet; cool completely.

Greek Salad

3-4 Roma Tomatoes

1/2 Red Onion

1-2 Green Peppers

2+ Cucumbers

Feta Cheese (we like lots)

Kraft Greek Salad Dressing

Chop into bite size pieces. Pour the Greek Salad Dressing over and mix.

Enjoy! I meant to post this in August and it did not happen.

Wednesday Fun #99 - Name Those Apples!

Since September's theme is apples, it reminded me of the many, many, many varieties of apples there are. So today's question is...

How many varieties of apples can you name?

P.S. Don't forget to be thinking about changes you might like to see with WF (or other regular posting feature). I'll be asking what you like/dislike/enjoy/don't enjoy about WF, if you'd be willing to take a month, suggestions for WF ideas, suggestions for improvement, other ideas that could take the place of WF or alternate with it, with the purpose of having a regular post/reason for people to come by. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Theme - Apples for the Teacher

...or you, or me, or whomever! What yummy dishes/ideas do you have for apples? This reminds me I've got a favorite Dutch Apple Pie recipe I should share.

We already have
and heck, my Butternut Squash Soup with Curried Horseradish Cream uses an apple, too!

So, c'mon, let's have your apple recipes!

Friday, August 28, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 12

Did I mention all the tomatoes? No? How about all the summer squashes?

(I already gave some tomatoes & squash to the nice neighbors 'cuz we just can't keep up at this rate! Hooray for produce! And sharing!)

(Plus, they brought us over a big bag of pears & apples. Yay!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Fun #98 - What a Pickle?!

So, as I write this Tuesday evening, I've just finished my first attempt at pickling. Well, actually at canning pickles since I've made refrigerator pickles before. (All of twice, but both times turned out swell! *grin*) It's a bit of an intimidating process, I think, since I didn't grow up around anybody who canned, so it's all new to me. Fortunately, my MIL has tons of experience canning, has shared her recipes (including the one for Kraig's late paternal grandmother's garlic dill pickles!), and is only a phone call away when I have questions. I did call her the other day before starting and asked a lot of those little detail questions that are probably obvious to those who've done/been around canning, but I didn't know.

So now I have to remember to ask her how long I have to wait until we can open one and try it. With only 3 pint jars, there aren't many, so either it'll be a not-so-bad failed experiment or an incentive to plant a lot more hills of cucumbers next year...

How about you? Have you canned? Ever thought about trying it? Your parent or grandparent can when you were a kid?

Friday, August 21, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 11

Holy 'Maters, Batman! This is definitely the part of the season when we start falling behind in consumption vs. supply. I see spaghetti sauce (frozen) and dried cherry tomatoes and frozen shredded squash in our freezer soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Fun #97 - S or P?

Ok, gang, I want you to be thinking about this... we're soon to be approaching WF#100... and that's a LOT of questions/links/polls to have come up with. (Also, recognition & thanks again to AKJ and Diplowhat for taking a couple of those months!) So, be thinking about what you like/dislike/enjoy/don't enjoy about WF, if you'd be willing to take a month, suggestions for WF ideas, suggestions for improvement, other ideas that could take the place of WF or alternate with it (Since the purpose was to keep this site from stagnating when we had a gap in the recipe posting. That way you'd still have something new each week to make a return visit worthwhile.), etc. Not that I'm asking that now, but I want to give y'all some time to think about it.


For Wednesday Fun this week, since I'm feeling a little lazy (& silly), let's keep it simple. Basic, even. Salt or pepper? No, not both. Salt OR pepper? :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 10

Y'all, I'm sorry I didn't post this sooner. I got the pic taken, but then I was all busy getting the place ready for our outstanding & wonderful & FUN weekend guests & then I just plain forgot. So here it is a bit late. Also, I was apparently standing on one of the tall chairs, because everything looks smaller than it really is. Those squash are all HUGE! Imagine the tomatoes regular-sized, not smallish & you'll see!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Fun #96 - Cookin' with Clocks!

I know, I know, I'm rather late today, but here's a Wednesday Fun...

Name (at least) 3 things in your kitchen that have clocks on them.

(Off the top of my head, I think I've got 4, but if I had to reset them all, I bet I'd find more...)

Friday, August 7, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 9

This week there was only 1 "this OR this OR this"... but we still ended up with kohlrabi instead of one of the other veg! I guess it's just the universe's way of telling me I really should try this kohlrabi puree recipe...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Fun #95 - Variations on Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum. Just, yum. These, to me, are something I will eat and enjoy anything. I learned from my father that there is no wrong time of day for grilled cheese sandwiches; he'd serve them for breakfast sometimes. What a great way to start the day! Now, those were pretty much always white or wheat bread with American cheese, which is still the classic, go-to grilled cheese for me.

But in college I was introduced to grilled cheese sandwiches with either a little spaghetti sauce spread/poured onto the bread pre-grilling, or dipped into spaghetti sauce. Yum! Different, intriguing, but definitely yum. (And don't forget Don's grilled cheese on big ol' Texas toast!)

Now I hear from Nectarine that they're good with jam spread on the inside, my aunt highly recommends putting a little good mustard in 'em, and I've discovered the joys of a rye bread/muenster cheese grilled sandwich. They even transcend culture - one of our fav (and READILY available) pub foods in Ireland was the "toasted special" - a grilled cheese sandwich with onion, tomato, and ham joining the cheese inside. Yum.

So how about you? What's your favorite variation on the theme of grilled cheese?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tomato not really recipes

Most of the things I make with tomatoes aren't recipes.

Case in point: last night for supper, we grabbed some tomatoes, cucumber and basil from the garden, cut them up with cubes of fresh mozzarella and drizzled a little 18-year balsamic vinegar over the lot of it.

Or cutting a tomato in half, topping it with mozzarella and throwing it on the grill or under the broiler until the cheese is melty and starting to brown. Maybe sprinkling it with oregano or pressing a fresh basil leaf into the top before you serve it.

Puck's mom is in town, and on hearing me wax rhapsodic about both garden tomatoes and Colorado peaches, sent me this New York Times link, which includes the following:

"Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice. Astonishing."

I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds really good and like something I would never think to try on my own.

(Those of you who don't like tomatoes, follow the link anyway -- it's 101 summer salads, many of which have no tomato at all. I think I need to make the walnut, bleu cheese and raspberry one too.)

And we have all tried BLTs with avocado, right?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August theme - To-may-toe/To-mah-toe

Looking at this year's theme list, I see that August's theme is "To-may-toe/To-mah-toe."
So let's have 'em! Got any recipes for yummy ways to use fresh tomatoes? Perfect technique for preserving? Fabulous spaghetti sauce recipe? Salad that's so easy you hardly think it's a recipe, but folks really like it?

We don't have a tag specifically for tomatoes (nor do I think we need one), but it means I'm more likely to have missed a recipe that should be highlighted here. If so, lemme know & I'll add it in right away!

And a lot of the Mexican/TexMex recipes use (or could use) tomatoes in them or as a garnish. Plus there was a Wednesday Fun where you described your favorite way(s) to eat fresh tomatoes.

Friday, July 31, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 8

Still a little light in the box, but maybe a little more than last week. Since there's been so little rain, fairly often it's happening that our CSA doesn't have enough of a particular crop to put in all the boxes. So people get this veg OR this one OR a different one. Starred vegetables in the photo are ones listed in the newsletter as being this OR this OR this. We got full-sized tomatoes rather than cherry ones, which is fine since Penguin found (& shared with her big sister & ate) our first couple ripe cherry tomato ones earlier this week. While we got kohlrabi (not a fav of mine) rather than beans or summer squash, I was pleased we got broccoli instead of a green pepper (girls & Mr. Kluges don't like) or beets (we have our own in our garden & they're yum!).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Fun #94 - Cereal Choosings

I know some of you read Tomato Nation, but for those who don't, Sarah is currently finishing out the "N Cereal AA." Good fun to read and vote on your fav in cereal matchups, and, as of this typing, it's down to the final two - Frosted Flakes vs. Honey Nut Cheerios! (So, you know, vote!)

It got me thinking... if you could only ever eat ONE kind of cereal for the rest of your life, what would you choose? With other foods, fine, variety away, but cereal would have to be singular. As in, "I, [my name], take you, [cereal of my choosing], to have and to eat, for breakfast every day (unless I'm having eggs and pancakes or whatnot), for as long as I shall live and you are available in stores."

How about it? Who'd be your life-long cereal partner?

(Edited to add - Your choice does not have to be FF or HNC or anything that was in Tomato Nation's brackets, but feel free to check it out for ideas.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 7

Eh, I may not be quick, but at least I remembered to post Thursday's CSA photo before this next week's came!

* Everybody got the non-starred veggies, then the newsletter lists "2 other crops will also be in your box." So, we got peas & kohlrabi.

** Both the honey (delicious!) and the portabella mushrooms (this was only 1 from the bag) were purchased as separate shares. Honey comes monthly & mushrooms (reg OR portabella) are every other week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Fun #93 - Salsa-fied!

In case you missed it, July's theme is Mexican/TexMex. Not that we've had a lot of them posted in July yet *coughanycough*, but you know, hope springs eternal! ;) I don't know about you, but I cook less when it's hot...

Anyway, the theme can still be inspiration for Wednesday Fun! I'm wondering about salsa. Not your fancy gourmet fruity salsas, just regular ol' tomato-based ones. Do you have a favorite? Is there one brand you prefer... or hate? Do you like the ones with stuff like black beans and corn... or just tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.? Do you (or somebody in your family) make and can/jar your own?

Time to speak out on salsa!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Temp's Refreshing Summer Salad

I may be hopeless at putting my own recipes up, but damn it, I can cut and paste for others. :-) Here's the zucchini salad Temp brought to mai tai, as posted on her blog.

Temp's Refreshing Summer Salad

Take 4 or 5 Zucchini and peel them, and then keep using the peeler to make ribbons into a bowl until you get down to the seeds.

Open up a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil and chop some of those up and toss into the zucchini until you have a good ratio. Pour about a tablespoon of the oil in there too.

Take a lemon and shave about a tablespoon of zest off it into the zucchini. Squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice in there too (This is less than when I served it this weekend, and much less than the 2 tablespoons I recall the original recipe asking for).

Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

This would probably also be good with artichokes, but I like the color of the tomatoes in there. It's also a little soppy, so you can let the zucchini sweat a little before putting the other stuff in there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 6

I don't think I've mentioned it, but we're a little drought-y around here. Mr. Kluges was just telling me tonight that he looked at the official meteorological site based in our own and, over the last 37 days, we've had less than an inch of rain. In total. And pretty much NONE in July.

So, while we're watering our garden (when I remember sometimes), and our CSA farm engages in some irrigation, this week's box was rather light.

(But, you'll note, we still got lettuce. Tonight I showed the girls they could wrap pieces of pork roast (leftover from yesterday's slowcooker meal) in the red romaine lettuce, so that novelty got a fair amount of it eaten, more than I'd've guessed.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Fun #92 - Let us discuss lettuce...

This will be our 6th week of our CSA share... and I'm betting we'll have lettuce. Pretty much every week we get lettuce - either a bag of salad mix or spinach (not yet this year though) or a head (or several) of something like red romaine. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I don't usually do a main dish salad, but I did serve one last week that surprisingly went over gangbusters. I guess I shouldn't've been so surprised - any time I serve a "make your own" version of something, be it pizza or noodles or, apparently, salad, the girls love it. So small bowls of toppings it is!

But really, what ELSE can I do with all this lettuce besides salads and throw it on a sandwich? Any ideas would be more than welcome, 'cuz I'm guessing we'll be getting some more tomorrow! (...and the next week, and the next, and the next...)

P.S. My Wordless Wednesday today over at Musings & Mutterings also happens to be food- (and poll-) related...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CSA Year 2 Week 5

Yeah, so sorry about that. We DID get CSA boxes for weeks 2-4, but I just didn't photo and/or post them. One week I was at GAW, and the other two I just forgot. In summary, there were lots of garlic scapes (lots still in my crisper drawer, too), plenty o' lettuce, more yummy peas, and a quart of strawberries each time along with other stuff. Oh yeah, radishes. Lots and lots of radishes. Those are done for a while, but man, the lettuce, it comes in quantity. So, what to do with so much lettuce?! Hmmm... methinks I may have a WF question there... ;)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Dude's Pizza Crust Recipe

Dude put this in the comments of the last Wednesday fun, but I figured for easier finding later, I'd paste it into a post.

Gino's East style Pizza Crust Recipe

1 cup of warm water
1 package yeast
1/2 cup cornmeal or corn flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 T corn oil
2 ½ to 3 cups of cheap generic flour
Yellow food coloring – the real secret to why its yellow.

Take the water and put it in your mixer. add yeast and a touch of sugar. Let the yeast foam up to be sure that it is active. Then add the rest of the ingredients including 2 1/2 cups flour. I usually end up adding between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoons of yellow food coloring. Using a dough hook, kneed the dough until it is well combined. If the dough is sticky add a little more flour. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Let the mixer kneed the dough for 10 minutes. Put it in the oven to rise. If you desire a late in the day pizza taste (beer like), then let it rise all day.

Assembling the pizza -
Preheat oven to 350. After the dough has risen take your deep dish pizza pan (or a round cake pan with straight sides) and coat the inside of it with a very healthy coating of melted butter. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick and up it in the pan. Then pinch the dough up along the sides of the pan. Now put your cheese, and I mean a lot, into the crust. Then add your spinach and anchovies, and finally your sauce. Bake in the oven until the crust is starting to brown and cheese is starting to bubble up through the sauce.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Fun #91 - Favorite Pizza Toppings

The Sexy Blonde just posted her Thin Crust Pizza recipe, and we just made homemade pizza ourselves for supper. While Mr. Kluges was helping 2 yo Penguin with her toppings, he offered to put ground-up centipede feet on hers...

Anyhoo, this does actually lead me to our Wednesday Fun for this week, which is...

What do you like on your pizza?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July Theme - Mexican/Tex-Mex

Edited on 7/7/09: Ok, I had this in and scheduled to go LAST Wednesday (the 1st even!) in the evening, but lo and behold I've just noticed it never posted! Grrr! So, well, I guess it's time to get crackin' on those Mexican/Tex-Mex recipes!!!

I've heard eating spicy food makes you feel cooler. Well, I dunno about that 'cuz I'm a wimp when it comes to spices, but I do know that July's theme is Mexican and/or Tex-Mex sorts of foods. Now, I also know that pretty much any experience I've had with this cuisine, growing up in the good ol' rural Midwest, is probably not so very authentic. (Not like my 2 years in Ireland was any better for that! Peas as the main ingredient in guacamole?! WRONG!)

So if you do know a lot about authentic Mexican cooking, please, please, share your expertise with us!

And if you don't, but you've got a recipe that uses cheese, salsa, and tortillas, well, share that, too! That's basically all the Tex-Mex-y recipes I've got! YUM!

Here's what we've got so far:
  • For an appetizer, you wouldn't go wrong with either Diplowhat's Taco Salad Dip or her Dead Sister Dip.
  • Happy Veggie's Mexican Slow Cooker Pork has the bonus of not requiring you to heat up the kitchen! Very important in July!
  • My La Bamba Casserole is from Cooking Light & would probably freeze well, too, if you wanted to double it...
  • It has Fritos. And sour cream! How could you NOT want to make Diplowhat's Mexi-Cali Casserole?! (I've made it - YUM!)
  • I adore my Chicken Chimichangas, but since I make them in the oven, I'm less likely to make them in July. 'Course, now I'm all hungry for them...
How 'bout you? Got any yummy authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, Mexican-inspired/salsa-containing recipes to share?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thin crust pizza

3/4 cup warm water (plus and additional 1/3 to 1/2 cup water)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons or 1 packet active dry or quick rising yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound quality high gluten flour (such as King Arthur's bread flour)

Corn meal so dough doesn't stick and additional flour for rolling out dough

Combine first 5 ingredients in either the large bowl of stand mixer (warm water -- but not the additional water, oil, yeast, sugar, and salt) and let stand 5 minutes. Place bowl on a scale and tare it out. Add flour until you have 1 pound. Attach dough hook to stand mixer and mix ingredients until just combined, adding the additional water as needed. You do not want to kneed this dough any more than required to get it combined.

Divide dough into 3 or 4 equal parts (I use the scale again) and put in 3 or 4 bowls, covering dough tightly with plastic wrap. Splitting into 3 parts will give you 3-14 inch pizzas. Check you pizza stone/peel to make sure they are large enough). Place dough in refrigerator for 24 hours. This is a very important step -- 1 whole day in the refrigerator! Dough can be kept refrigerated for at least a couple of days, or may be tightly wrapped and frozen.

Take dough out of the refrigerator about an hour before you're ready to use it (if frozen, you'll need more time, I put it in the refrigerator the night before or the morning of the day I want to use it) (I recently discovered that you can microwave it on defrost mode and that works fine too). You want the dough to come to room temperature. You can start rolling it out before it is room temperature, just know that it will take a bit longer to get it nice and thin.

Place pizza stone in oven and turn it on to preheat to 450 degrees.

Using sufficient flour to keep dough from sticking, roll out the dough and/or use your hands to flatten and then pick up and stretch it out on the backs of your fingers. I use a combination of both. This dough is very strong and can get very thin. If the dough was split into 3 equal parts, you should be able to get a 14 inch round pizza.

Shake some corn meal onto either a pizza peel (wooden cutting board with a handle) or a cookie sheet that doesn't have edges. Place the dough onto the peel/cookie sheet. Dock the dough (use a fork to poke lots of holes in the dough -- this prevents big bubbles from forming in the dough while it cooks).

Shake some corn meal onto the pizza stone. I do this now, instead of sooner, because the corn meal will burn in the very hot oven. As it is, the corn meal will probably start smoking a bit when you sprinkle it on. Slide the dough onto the stone. Pre-cook for 4 minutes.

Remove dough back onto peel/cookie sheet. Add sauce and toppings. Place back on pizza stone and cook an additional 6-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and pizza looks yummy.

Cool for 5 minutes on wire rack or wooden cutting board. Then enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Fun #90 - You say "salad," I say, "holy mess of vegetables, Batman!"

June was salad month - green salads, pasta salads, fruit salads, whatever. (Remember, you can always post recipes that don't fit any given month or post monthly-themed recipes even in other months... like the next month... Just sayin'...)

Now, my definition of salad growing up was rather small. You had your lettuce as a base, and some kind of (probably Kraft) salad dressing to go on top. And sometimes that was it. Otherwise, toppings might include cherry tomatoes, big tomato wedges, cucumbers, carrot slices, chopped celery, Vidalia onions, maybe some peas... You know, other vegetables.*

The first time I saw a salad (might've been a Cobb salad...) that had cheese? hard-boiled egg? and ham? was just strange! Those weren't vegetables! What were they doing on a salad? And how would it taste?

Just fine, thank you very much. Just fine! In fact, YUM!

I'm still not much of one to make or eat a main dish salad - one with meat/cheese/chickpeas/protein of some kind or that's all gussied up with thematic ingredients (Asian chicken salad with chow mein noodles & mandarin oranges, I'm looking at you!), but that's often 'cuz I just don't think of salads that way. Not that I don't enjoy them; I just never think of them.

But hey, how about you? What constitutes a "salad" in your head? Or what's your favorite topping(s) to throw on a salad? Conversely, what do folks put on salads that is just plain wrong in your book? Is there a special, super-good salad at a restaurant out there that you ALWAYS order when you go? Let's talk salads!

*Exception to that definition of "salad" was the Midwest classic 7-layer salad, but that was special! It had BACON! :) (And is something I still love to this very day.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rosemary Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I know The Sexy Blonde sent out a link to the recipe she used for the lovely chicken salad sandwiches she and AKJ served us on croissants at Girls' Adventure Weekend, but I know I'll forget that and look on here for it. So, here it is! :) Thanks, TSB!

Rosemary Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Rosemary Chicken Salad Sandwiches from Cooking Light
Randy Mayor

Yield:5 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)


  • 3 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped smoked almonds
  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 slices whole-grain bread


Combine first 9 ingredients, stirring well. Spread about 2/3 cup of chicken mixture over each of 5 bread slices, and top with remaining bread slices. Cut sandwiches diagonally in half.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 360 (29% from fat)
Fat: 11.6g (sat 2.1g,mono 3.5g,poly 1.8g)
Protein: 33.6g
Carbohydrate: 29.9g
Fiber: 4.4g
Cholesterol: 76mg
Iron: 2.9mg
Sodium: 529mg
Calcium: 104mg
Brandy Long, Cooking Light, APRIL 2005

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Fun #89 - Introducing "Accidental Hedonist"

First of all, isn't that a great name? Accidental Hedonist. Awesome.

This is a more-than-just-recipes sort of blog. Kate Hopkins also writes about restaurants, beer, whiskey/whisky (her book, 99 Drams of Whiskey just came out!), and food politics. She also has guest bloggers who do extended (I want to say year or half year long) stints with (I think weekly) regular posts.

She's currently exploring more about beer, beer styles, beer judging, beer making - both industrial and home brewing, etc. and thinking about writing a second book, this time about beer.

While not as practical/useful as some other food blogs out there, Kate's is definitely one that makes me think. She talks about food politics, the FDA, foodie/gourmet, price v. quality, food snobbery, the food distribution system, Big Food, etc. Check her out; I think you might like Accidental Hedonist.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Fun #88 - Banned Veggies!

I came across this tidbit from the NPR blog... "British Captain Bans 'Devil's Vegetable' From His Ship." Yeah, I guess he's got a thing against Brussels sprouts. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the mini-cabbage-y things myself, but, you know, they are allowed in my house. We even got some in our CSA last year!

How about you? Any veggies you'd ban from your abode?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's CSA time again! Yay! (CSA Year 2, Week 1)

Hooray! Today was our first CSA box of the year and I was so excited all day about it. I know, geek, but yay! Here's what we got...

The newsletter said you could just eat the pea tendrils in salad, as lettuce on sandwiches, etc. So we had it with some baby spinach for supper. It was... good, and very much tasted like peas. The green garlic can be used like scallions or garlic, and I found out that apparently you can eat radish greens, too. Huh.

My favorite moment was when I held up the popcorn and asked the girls, "What's this?" Penguin immediately said, "Pop-toen!" while Pumpkin said, "Oh! It's Popallovercorn!" Then she had to make sure I remembered how much fun it was when we put last year's popcorn on a cob in the microwave without it being in a paper bag and watched it pop all over the place inside the microwave. Good fun, good fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday Fun #87 - Cheesecake Toppings?

Ok, so I kind of had an idea, but then I read Pusher's recipe for cheesecake that she just posted, and it completely went out of my head in a flurry of cheesecake fantasies. *drool*

So, um, how do you like your cheesecake? Plain and simple so you can enjoy its absolute perfection? Topped with strawberries? Raspberries? Everything's better with a little chocolate drizzled over the top? Chocolate and caramel? Got a strong crust preference - traditional graham cracker or vanilla wafers or that chocolatey graham cracker kind? Tell us!

(Me? Any/all of the above... now make it magically fat and calorie-free, but still real food and tasty!)


The anti-salad? Puck sent this recipe to his brother-in-law. Since he went to all the trouble of transferring it to electronic format, I thought I should post it up here as well. This is a lighter, fluffier cheesecake than is currently en vogue, but it's also pretty much my favorite ever. (Despite the fact that it never seems as good as when mom makes it.) It's originally out of the 1960-something Betty Crocker cookbook.

Mama B's Cheesecake

5 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 lb cream cheese (room temp) in pieces
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 tsp. vanilla

crust mix
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Butter 9" springform pan. Dust bottom and sides with crust mix then dump the rest.
Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, gradually adding sugar.
Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
Add sour cream, flour, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.
Gently fold whites into cheese mixture.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 275 for 70 minutes, then turn off oven and leave in 1 hour without opening door (make sure it's done before you turn off oven).
Remove from oven and cool.
Remove cheese cake from pan just before serving.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Easy Pasta Salad

This is my favorite pasta salad - so easy and versatile.

1 package Wacky Mac
Salad Dressing - I'm partial to Newman's Own
Whatever looks good in the produce department
Whatever else you want to put in it

Cook the Wacky Mac in a dutch oven (big enough to cook the whole package at once). While the noodles are cooking, chop whatever vegetables, pepperoni, etc. that you want to put in it. When the noodles are done, run cold water over them to completely cool them before adding everything else. Pour salad dressing over everything and toss. Chill for at least an hour or so before serving. Or not.

Especially good in this salad:
Red, orange, and yellow peppers
Black olives
Parmesan cheese
Fresh green beans
Pea pods

This salad is awesome to just have in the fridge, keeps for days, but never lasts that long.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Taco Salad Dip

This isn't really a salad, but the salad theme made me remember this. It always goes over very well at pot lucks, etc. Hope I'm remembering quantities right.

Mix together:
8 oz cream cheese
5-8 oz (small container or a bit less) sour cream
1/2 - 1 package taco seasoning (try using 1/2 the package first and add more if you think the flavor is too weak)

Place on bottom of 9" pie plate.

On top place aprox:
1 c. shredded lettuce
1/2 c shredded cheese (or to taste)
and about 1/4c-1/2 c salsa, scattered along the top.

Enjoy with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday Fun #86 - Mooooo?

Yesterday, Pumpkin, Penguin and I went on a field trip with Pumpkin's 4K class. 'Cuz, you know, that's what you do during the last few days of school! (Pictures here.) We went to a local touristy farm where Pumpkin got to do something for the very first time! (And I'm pretty sure it was my first time, too...)

She got to milk a cow by hand!

Which leads me to my Wednesday Fun question (and poll, BTW)...

What's your favorite dairy product?

Monday, June 1, 2009

June Theme - Salads

Hellll-ooooo, springtime!

That's right - the days of sun and fun and frollicking in the grass are here! Who needs soups or stews or oven-cooked hot things now? We want easy-peasy dishes that we can just throw together from what's on hand after we come in from a few hours spent outside! Let's have nice, light, easy, yummy salads!

Ones like these!
  • Quick Pickles from DiploWhat sound delicious and super-easy!
  • Nectarine might call this Winter Salad, but I think it sounds yummy and substantial enough for a meal-salad.
  • Her Easy, No-Prep Salad sounds perfect for when you've suddenly been invited to a BBQ and want to bring something more impressive than deli take-out...
  • Looking for something a little Mediterranean? Try The Sexy Blonde's Roasted Bell Pepper Antipasto!
  • Only 3 ingredients needed for DiploWhat's Tomato Snack. It makes me impatient for my garden tomatoes to start producing (in, like, what, weeks and weeks and weeks?!)!
  • And while Diplowhat calls her Tahra's Tabbouleh "very yummy and filling," she does confess it will "leave you with bad breath." ;)

How 'bout you? What delicious salad-y sort of recipes do you have? Don't worry if it's a simple, not-a-real-recipe one - many salads are - we'd love to hear it!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Memphis-Style Beef Ribs

First of all, Mr. Kluges made this with pork ribs and it was still delicious. Also, we so didn't do that many ribs for just our little family! Once again, from "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen. He also points out in his introduction that "Wet refers to sweet, sticky, sauce-slathered ribs in the style of Kansas City, while dry refers to the spice-crusted ribs of Memphis, Tennessee."

2 racks of beef ribs (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each) [or pork ribs]
3 Tbl. sweet paprika
2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
2 tsp. mustard seeds
3 tsp. coarse salt
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup distilled white vinegar
North Carolina Vinegar Sauce (optional) [from elsewhere in his cookbook]

1. Rinse the ribs under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Combine the paprika, hot pepper flakes, mustard seeds, 2 tsp. coarse salt, pepper, brown sugar, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and cumin in a small bowl or spice shaker. Set aside 2 Tbl. for the mop sauce.
2. Sprinkle about 1 Tbl. of the rub on the meat side and 1/2 Tbl. on the bone side of each rack of ribs, rubbing the spices on with your fingers. Set the remaining rub aside for serving. Let the ribs sit for 20 minutes while you make the vinegar mop sauce and preheat the grill.
3. Combine the vinegar and remaining 1 tsp. salt with the 2 Tbl. reserved rub in a small bowl and stir until the salt is dissolved.
4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using charcoal, place a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or a smoker pounch and preheat the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium. [We didn't use wood chips with our gas grill.]
5. When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss half the wood chips or chunks on the coals. Place the ribs in the center of the hot grate away from and cover the grill. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When the ribs are cooked, they will be mahogany brown and tender enough to pull apart with your fingers; the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones. If using charcoal, add 12 fresh coals per side and toss on the remaining wood chips after 1 hour.
6. Transfer the ribs to a clean cutting board. Mop on both sides with mop sauce and sprinkle with remaining rub. Cut the rack into individual ribs and serve at once with any remaining mop sauce or the North Carolina Vinegar Sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Fun #85 - Introducing "The Wednesday Chef"

Ok, people, it seems to me as though we need a bit of a break from the question-y Wednesday Funs because, well, they haven't been especially answer-y lately. Fine and good, I say, for I shall take this opportunity to begin the food-related website sidebar dealie which I proposed a few weeks ago.

I don't know quite how I stumbled upon The Wednesday Chef, which foodie sites led me to which links which led me to hers, but oh, I know why I stay. Luisa introduces her recipes with such elegant, inviting writing, such poetry, with descriptions that make me swear I'm going to try that recipe, no, this recipe, no, oh, did you read this recipe?*

I mean, listen to this excerpt from her post on Florence Fabricant's Moroccan Carrot Soup with Mussels:
This soup! So unassuming. So simple. And yet. With just one spoonful, something steals over you. A strange and piercing Wanderlust, almost impossible to battle with. You close your eyes and as you eat, you feel yourself transported to a cool, tiled courtyard, with a tiny fountain babbling quietly and the scent of rose petals in the air. It was all I could do, once my spoon scraped the bottom of my bowl, to keep myself from booking a flight, right then and there, to Morocco.

Or listen to this, from her recent trip, April in Paris:
If you don't already know about the cheese course at Astier, in the 11th, consider this your nudge. When you're in Paris, have dinner there. Skip the desserts, they're nothing special. But whatever you do, don't skip the cheese. The waiter, winking, will bring you this straw platter covered with...can you count how many cheeses? With a few knives and a nub or two of bread, settle in until he comes by again, cluck-clucking, to take the cheese away and bring it to another deserving table.

Or, for a non-travel-y excerpt, she write about her uncle's way with artichokes:
And, lastly, my uncle - as I think I've mentioned before - is an artichoke whisperer. He closes himself into the kitchen with a sharp paring knife and a bowl of acidulated water and, and meditates or something, goes into a fugue state, cleaning big mountains of thorny little artichokes, transforming them into silky, delicious dishes that make me want to park myself with a fork at his table and never, ever leave.

And her pictures? Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

Inspiring, huh? So go, check out The Wednesday Chef...

...and then, when you make something from there, let us know just how poetically it turns out, m'kay?

*Ok, I must confess I actually haven't made any of the recipes from her blog yet, but that's only because I forget to go look at them whenever I make up my weekly menu plan. But, oh, they sound so good!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Fun #84 - Kids eat the darnedest things...

I've heard the story a hundred times - whenever Mom needed a green pepper for a recipe, she always had to buy two... because I'd eat one, like an apple, while we were in the store. Don't know how old I was, but apparently, I thought green peppers were divine.

My own kids have already done some of that "you want WHAT?" sort of eating. I've talked about Pumpkin's unusual food likes as a toddler before, and Penguin was chowing down on bleu cheese yesterday and asking for more.

How about you? Got any stories about strange foods you'd eat and love as a child? Or got a kid of your own who is more than willing to munch some not-usually-considered-kid-friendly food? Let's hear about it!