Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mmmm....Chocolate Crinkles!

Huh. Here I was all set to post a lovely recipe for cookies I only remember ever making near the holidays - Chocolate Crinkles. They're the ones Penguin & I were making here. I even took some photos of them all lined up pretty, cooling on their wire racks.

But hey...
I guess I didn't need to...

Oh well, at least I can add the note that we like them much better when they're made with baking chocolate, rather than the substitution of butter & cocoa - they hold their shape better & stand up taller. Still yummy either way though!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December's Theme - OUR Traditional Holiday Favorites

Happy December, everyone! It seems like, from Thanksgiving, we are in a season of deliciousness and tradition (and maybe a little gluttony). We all have favorite dishes that get made every Thanksgiving, favorite cookies and sweets that help bring in the holidays, fond memories of cooking and baking with family.

I'd love to hear some of your favorite or traditional holiday recipes. Maybe your family does a big bunch of lefse every year. Maybe it wouldn't be Christmas without Great-Grandma's caramels. Maybe you always ring in the New Year with black-eyed peas for luck. Maybe you've got your own personal or family traditional foods (possibly accompanied by a story with how it came to be a tradition?).

This is kind of a hard one for me to do links to previous recipes. If you're looking for something, please do use the labels off in the right sidebar for things like "Cookies and Bars" or "Appetizer/Cocktail Food" or go way up to the top left corner and type in a specific search term to search Recipeeps 4 Us for it.

If you've already posted one of your traditional holiday recipes, give us a heads up by leaving a comment here. And do tell us about YOUR traditional holiday favorites either in a comment here, or by sharing a recipe, or posting a story! Thanks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Amazing, Outstanding, 4-Thumbs-Up Lamb Ribs

Mr. Kluges took charge of the lamb ribs for Sunday supper, and boy, am I glad he did! He looked up a bunch of recipes on-line, narrowed it down to a winner, shopped for the couple of things I didn't have on hand (like fresh rosemary) & cooked up a storm (including very garlicky mashed potatoes & brandy-sauteed carrots).

Was it every worth it! I'm not just saying that 'cuz for once I wasn't the one cooking, but man, oh, man were those ribs amazing!

Here's what they looked like...

...and the smell? Heavenly!

And EVERYONE liked them!!! They're totally how we're going to make our 2nd package of lamb ribs after a while. Definitely!

Here's the link at Blue Kitchen, but I'm copy-pasting it so that it's here, too! Also, note to self - have Mr. Kluges print it out, so I have it forever. The caraway in it is brilliant! I agree that 1 1/2 lbs serves 3 well, or 4, as it is so rich (& still a bit fatty, but only in a good way!). The garlic didn't flavor the lamb a whole lot, but it did turn into delicious little garlic chips on the top, so yum anyway!

Roasted Lamb Ribs with Rosemary and Caraway
Serves 3

3 large cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 carrot, peeled
1-1/2 to 2 pounds lamb ribs
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional
1 generous tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried caraway seeds
freshly ground black papper
olive oil

Peel two of the garlic cloves and bash them lightly with the side of a knife to break them open and release their oils. Place them along with the onion, carrot and ribs in a into a lidded stock pot or pan large enough to hold them easily and add water to cover. Add bay leaf and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and skim off any scum that rises to the surface during the first few minutes of cooking. Cover and simmer for about an hour. Transfer ribs to plate. Discard the remaining solids and cooking liquid. Ribs can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated for up to 2 days before roasting.

Roast the ribs. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thinly slice the remaining garlic clove and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season ribs on top with some salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Sprinkle chopped rosemary and caraway seeds over ribs and arrange garlic slices on them. Place ribs on a rack in a lightly oiled roasting pan and place in oven. Roast ribs until nicely browned, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Slice into individual ribs and serve.

Mr. Kluges found that because he did the roasting right after the boiling step that they were still hot and so needed less time roasting - more like 40-45 minutes instead of an hour.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

Yes, yes, I know - another recipe from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002. I can't help it - it has a lot of yummy ones in it. I needed a recipe for soup that used chicken broth and leftover chicken from a whole one I'd made earlier in the week. As a bonus, I used up the leftover not-crispy-like-it-was-supposed-to-be Potatoes-Anna I'd made the day before instead of chopping & peeling new potatoes. AND I happened to have a package of 3 bacon slices in the freezer, which totally isn't enough for a meal, but perfect for this recipe!

Cheddar Chicken Chowder

2 [or 3!] bacon slices
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces [or sub in leftover chicken or turkey]
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 1/2 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth [I used broth from our basic one-pot chicken, which had been cooked with sweet potatoes so it was especially lovely and rich!]
1 3/4 c. chopped peeled red potato [or if you've got leftover cooked potatoes, chop them up and use those.]
2 1/4 c. frozen whole-kernel corn
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. 2% low-fat milk
3/4 c. (3 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese [sharp gives more flavor]
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble; set aside. Add chicken [if raw], onion, bell pepper, and garlic to drippings in pan; saute 5 minutes. Add broth and potato [if raw], and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Add corn; stir well. [If you're using leftover chicken and/or potatoes, I'd add them at this point.]

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheddar cheese, salt and black pepper. Top with crumbled bacon.

Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 c.)
[If made as originally described...]Calories: 306 (22% from fat); Fat 7.5g (sat 4g, mono 2.2g, poly 0.6g); Protein: 25g; Carb 33.7g; Fiber 2.9g; Chol 58mg; Iron 1.6mg; Sodium 376mg; Calc 193mg

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beaujolais nouveau release week

Hey all, this week is the release week for the Beaujolais nouveaus! go pick one (or six) up for some delicious juicy drinking. Get them now and drink them soon... would go well with many Thanksgiving and X-mas meals. If you want something that will last longer and have more complexity then do a Cru Beaujolais, these are some great wines that rarely top $20.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tidbits about Lamb Cuts

Now that we've gotten our lamb meat back from the butcher, it got me wondering about the different cuts. I mean, a lot are the same as pork - you've got your chops, and your ribs, and your roasts - and "leg of lamb" is obvious, but are there other cuts of meat specific to lamb and/or mutton?

So I did a little searching and found some charts.

Here's one from Treasure Valley Sheep Producers. It looks like it's a scanned in copy from the National Live Stock and Meat Board. (Who knew there was a National Live Stock and Meat Board? Not me.)

(You can click on it to have it bigger.)
If that's a little too "butchery-y," check out this link over to American Lamb's "Lamb 101 - Cuts" page. It breaks it down a little more basically, and has photographs of some of the different cuts.

And if you want to start from the "ok, it's called THIS; now, what does that mean?" side of things, here's a page at The Nibble that's a glossary of lamb terms.

Ok, my question's answered & I hope you've had a chance to learn something new, too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lamb Shish-kabob

Simple marinade that's delicious on lamb.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano

2 lbs. lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
Onion, mushroom, bell pepper, whatever other veggies you like on a kabob

Whisk all marinade ingredients together and pour into a gallon ziplock bag. Add lamb, smoosh it all around, and throw it in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours. When it's done, slice your veggies, put everything on skewers and grill or broil. I like to go nice and high with the heat; a little char is delicious against the richness of the lamb and acidity of the marinade, and I like lamb a little rare in the middle. Serve with basmati rice and your favorite Middle Eastern sides — pita and hummus, tabouli, etc.

Irish (Lamb) Stew

I have been assured that what makes Irish Stew so awesome is its simplicity. So this is really straightforward, and I must say, it's pretty damn good that way.

3 lbs. lamb, cubed
1/2 cup onions, sliced
6 medium potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 or 3 white turnips, peeled and cubed

Lightly dredge lamb in flour, salt and pepper. Brown in cast iron pan, transfer to soup pot. In same cast iron, cook onion until softened and golden, transfer to pot with lamb. Add boiling liquid just to cover. (If I get a bone-in piece of lamb, I do a quick stock for this part by breaking the bone open and boiling it with onion, celery and carrot then straining; otherwise you can use broth or even — per the recipe — water.) Cover pot, simmer on low for two hours. Add veg, cook 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thicken if necessary, but I just try to adjust the heat on the veg-cooking part to reduce the liquid to the appropriate thickness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WW - Me, giant! You, itty bitty lamb chop! NOM NOM NOM

(c) 2010 Ms. Huis Herself at

(Well, "NOM NOM NOM" after I cooked it, anyway.)
Cross-posted over to Musings & Mutterings.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shepherd's Pie (and some basic mash)

I first made shepherd's pie, perhaps not surprisingly, when we were living in Ireland. We liked to watch a show called "The Restaurant," where each week a guest chef would have the chance to design & prepare a menu for a restaurant full of people and several critics. These guest chefs were tv personalities, sports stars, politicians, journalists, radio announcers, etc. Good fun, both for the food as well as for the insights into Irish food and culture.

One time the guest chef made Shepherd's Pie, and I said, "I could make that! I should make that. Let's have that next week!" And so we did.

Now, whenever I want to make shepherd's pie, I always pull out my print-out of her recipe... and never, ever, ever follow it. :) I don't even have any notes written on it. But it does remind me of how generally to make it, that I need to remember the thyme & rosemary, and how it should taste at the end. Which is yummy.

Shepherd's Pie
  1. Make mashed potatoes from scratch. For me, that means wash & cut-up some red potatoes & boil until soft. No need to peel them first, just cut out any iffy bits. Drain & mash with butter. Lots of butter. And some salt. If you've got sour cream or plain yogurt or cream cheese, go ahead and add some of that - it'll just make it yummier. Set aside. You're better off making too much mash than not enough, 'cuz it makes fine leftovers, but not enough to cover the pie looks scanty. If you're really fancy, you could peel your potatoes and whip them and later use a pastry bag to pipe them all pretty on top & then sprinkle with parsley to garnish, you overachiever, you.
  2. Peel & dice or slice some nice carrots. I like carrots, so I do 3 or 4 of them. Saute in olive oil or a mix of butter and olive oil until they're just starting to get a few brownish bits. Set aside.
  3. Peel and dice some onion fairly finely. Red is milder and what I prefer, but whatever you have on hand is fine. Saute to your preferred level of softness/translucence & set aside.
  4. Cook up some ground lamb (aka lamb mince) and/or ground beef, about a pound & a half total (A pound is 454 g. Ah, the memories. *grin*) until it's browned, but not crispy. This last time I did half of each.
  5. Add a good splash of red wine, maybe a dash of Worchestershire, and some beef broth. (Have I mentioned my love of Better than Bouillon lately? 'Cuz it tastes so much better than the granules and is just as convenient!) The amount will depend on the leanness of your ground meat, but you want it to have enough gravy that it doesn't get dry when/if the potatoes soak up some of the sauce. Too soupy is not great though, so find a happy medium.
  6. Sprinkle in some salt & pepper to taste and about a teaspoon each of thyme & rosemary (a bit more if you're using fresh). Let it simmer for a while - 15 minutes? - enough to let the flavors meld.
  7. Stir back in the onions & carrots. I add some thawed frozen peas in at this point, too. Taste & adjust the seasoning, gravy amount, etc. if it's not awesome.
  8. Put it in a pretty casserole and level it out. Carefully spread the mashed potatoes over the top evenly, then pop it in the oven & broil it until the top has some nice color to it. If your broiler is on the fritz, don't worry your pretty little head about that step - it'll still taste just as good, as long as you make sure it's heated though. You could do this up into biggish ramekins if you'd like individual servings, or if you want to make a bunch & freeze them. Not that I've done that, but you could. ;)

Enjoy, especially with a nice stout (Murphy's or Beamish if you can find them) or a glass of red wine!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November's Theme - The Other Red Meat(s)

Welcome to November - a new month & a new theme. I hope you enjoyed last month's Pumpkins & Other Hard/Winter Squash, and remember, you're ALWAYS welcome to post a recipe whether it fits the current month's theme or not.

This month we're focusing on The Other Red Meat(s). That may very well be because Mr. Kluges and I bought a lamb through our neighbor (story here at House of 42 Doors) & now have a fair amount of lamb chops, lamb roasts, lamb ribs, ground lamb, and one remaining leg of lamb in our basement freezer. Maybe. I'm not telling.

Sure, it's pretty young, mild lamb, so I could probably sub it in for a lot of recipes that call for beef, but I'd rather hear/find/read/create some recipes that actually call for and highlight the tastiness of lamb. So far we've made leg of lamb studded with garlic and wrapped in rosemary and sage, threw a lamb roast in the crockpot along with a beef roast, and used some ground lamb mixed with ground beef for some delicious shepherd's pie.

But I got a lot of lamb left!

So, if you've got any good recipes for red meats besides beef, say lamb or goat or venison or moose or bear or squirrel or elk or buffalo or ?, please share them here or point us to them. I'd link to ones that are already posted, like usual, but we don't have any... yet!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Fun: Pumpkin Art

What is Halloween around these parts without some creative pumpkin carving? Wander around your neighborhood or do a search on the web & you can find TONS of interesting (or gory or silly or elaborate...) ideas.

You might be a devotee of the classic jack-o-lantern face with its triangle eyes & nose & simple mouth with a couple of teeth. Or maybe a simple variation on that theme.

Maybe you are keen on making a set of pumpkins in a theme or using props to create a scene with pumpkins.

Using well-known art as inspiration?

How about designing a pumpkin based on the light inside of it?

Or you get out the wood-carving tools and go for the three-dimensional approach. (Man, are some of these impressive!)

Whatever sort of pumpkin art you enjoy (or toward which you aspire), I hope you enjoy seeing and/or carving some this October! If you've got links to some great pumpkin art, leave them in the comments because we'd love to see them!

Addendum: Want to make your pumpkin last? Check out this science experiment where 5 methods of pumpkin preservation (plus a control pumpkin) are put to the test!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Frost Pumpkin Pie

For Pumpkin & Other Hard/Winter Squash month, I'm pleased to share with you another one of my mother's recipes. It's refreshing and unusual and a great way to have "pumpkin pie" on Thanksgiving if your oven is just too dang full, but your freezer's got some room. Or maybe if you're living in a warmer climate than Wisconsin and Minnesota! Basically, it's pumpkin pie filling swirled with softened vanilla ice cream, refrozen into a graham-cracker pie crust. Yum!!!! Thanks, Mom, for a delicious recipe!

Frost Pumpkin Pie
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Beat the above together until smooth, then stir in
1 quart softened vanilla ice cream

Pour into a 9-inch graham cracker crust.*
Freeze 8 hrs or more.
Remove from freezer 15 min before serving.

Optional: sweetened whipped cream, walnut halves or candy corn for garnish.

* To make your own graham cracker crust:
1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
Combine and press into 9-inch pie pan.
Optional: bake for 10 min at 350, then cool before filling.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Fun: Tidbits about Pumpkins

Did you know...

At one time, pumpkins were believed to heal snake bites as well as to remove freckles.

Many people think the pumpkin is a vegetable but in actuality it is a squash fruit. Pumpkins consist of 90% water and if you fill a pumpkin with milk and then bake it, you will have a pudding.*

Pumpkin flowers are edible.

Pumpkin takes its name from the medieval French word 'pompom', meaning 'cooked by the sun.' (Ultimately, probably from the Greek 'pepon.')

Besides making a delicious snack, pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, and essential fatty acids. I think they're totally worth the yick of pulling them out of all the pumpkin guts. REALLY want to know exactly how healthy they are? Check out the USDA's nutrient listing for 1/2 c. of them.

Take a wild guess as to the size of the 2010 World Record Pumpkin. Then go here and see how close you got. HUGE, isn't it?!

*I have not tried this, but I think somebody should!

Sources: Pumpkin Trivia Tidbits, Food Facts & Trivia: Pumpkin, USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Pumpkin Nook.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October's Theme - Pumpkins and Other Hard/Winter Squash

A new month and a new theme! You know I love Halloween, right? And fall? And we're members of a CSA? And (ok, you might not know this one) we have several volunteer squash-y type plants in our garden & yard, one of which appears to be acorn squash? So, yeah, I'm all about this month's theme being Pumpkins & Other Hard/Winter Squash.*

I didn't think we had very many recipes so far, but it turns out you could probably make a meal of all squash dishes.

For starters, there'd be Butternut Squash Soup with Curried Horseradish Cream.

It would be followed by Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots. It's so autumn with the oven, and the smell of the squash, and the comfort food of the noodles... YUM!

For your bread, you've got Nectarine's Pumpkin Bread. Or, make her Pumpkin Spice Muffins! Ooh, choices!

For dessert, don't forget the classic, Pumpkin Pie, as Pusher makes it from a real pumpkin! :) Now that's dedication. Or, if you're not a fan of the crust, try Diplowhat's No-Crust Pumpkin Pie!

Of course, to keep your strength up while you make all that, the day before you should make AllKnowingJen's Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Squares so that you've got them to snack on while you're all busy creating your squash-y meal! :)

So there you have it! Lots of recipes already. But looking through to find these, I noticed a few request/longings for a good butternut squash ravioli recipe, so if anybody's feeling up for a challenge, maybe you could go searching & recipe-testing for us all! :)

*To paraphrase from my old Joy of Cooking, in general, winter squash have hard-shelled skins and include acorn, Hubbard, and butternut. Summer squashes are all thin-skinned, such as zucchini, pattypan, and yellow summer squash.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Fun #140 - Autumn is here!

The seasons have changed. No more is it a millionty degrees outside, in my house, or, most importantly for this blog, in my kitchen. I can imagine cooking something again! Something beyond throwing some brats on the grill, frying up bacon for a BLT (of which I did not have nearly enough this past summer!), or mixing up a salad.

How about you? What's this fall weather got you cooking? Turned on the oven yet? I have! While I would have loved some of that do-nothing artisan bread this summer for tomato bruschetta, I couldn't stand the thought of turning on the oven for that long. That has changed! Hooray!

So let's hear it? What are you now willing to cook, thanks to the change into the cooler weather of autumn?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple Waffles

We went to the apple orchard yesterday, so I've got a million apples (ok, "just" 32 pounds...), so for Sunday brunch I was looking for something delicious & different & that preferably used apples! We hadn't done waffles for a while, so I flipped through our copy of Waffles from Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan & found "Apple Waffles!" Perfect! It was yum & so very seasonal that I thought I'd better share. Also, my kids LOVED them. To make them even more apple-y, I'd recommend adding an extra half-an-apple, cut into tiny chunks*.

Dorie Greenspan's Apple Waffles

Makes about 5 waffles

3 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
pinch of grated nutmeg
1/4 c. granulated sugar [You know that's 4 Tbl., right?]
1/4 c. firmly packed, but lump-free light brown sugar [...and again, you've got the measuring spoons out anyway, don't you?]
1 1/2 c. milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 medium-sized apple, peeled & grated
[I'd recommend peeling & cutting up another half an apple into tiny chunks and adding that, too.*]

  1. Preheat your waffle iron. If you want to hold the finished waffles until serving time, preheat your oven to 200F. [Mine heats so fast, I have to wait until I'm about to mix the dry & wet ingredients, so consider your own waffle iron.]
  2. Melt the butter; reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and sugars. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until very well blended. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with the whisk until just combined. Fold in the grated apple and the melted butter.
  3. Whether or not your iron's grids are well seasoned or made of a nonstick material, it's best to light butter or spray the grids of your waffle iron since this batter is very soft and can stick. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.
  4. Spoon out 1/2 c. of batter (or amount recommended by your waffler's manufacturer) onto the [hot] iron. Spread the batter evenly over the grids & close the lid. When the underside of the waffle is lightly browned, carefully turn over the waffle and brown the other side. [If necessary for your iron. Mine was fine.]
  5. Serve the waffles immediately or keep them, in a single layer, on a rack in the preheated oven while you make the rest of the batch.

*That's because when I ran into tiny chunks of too-small-to-grate apple, I really liked the extra texture & apple-i-ness.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Fun: The Return is Foretold!

Hello, all! I hope you had a great summer. I was nearly buried under the weight of tomatoes from our garden, but managed to pull through. :) Thanks for bearing with me during the summer hiatus. Life just got too busy & hot to think about cooking much, but now that it's cooling down again, I'm raring to go.

Let me tell you my thoughts...

I like themes. They make it easier for me to come up with ideas instead of sitting down with a blank page every week. So, October's theme is going to be "Pumpkins & Other Hard/Winter Squash." NOT THAT THE THEME SHOULD LIMIT YOU!!! Got a good recipe or link or question? Post away!

The first Wednesday of each month, I'll start with the theme & links to prior recipes, like I've done in the past when we begin a monthly theme. I like seeing and highlighting what treasures we've already got here. Other weeks might have tidbits/trivia about the theme, a recipe related to it, or maybe some links or pictures or something.

Polls, especially theme-related ones, will likely run two weeks long to give folks more of a chance to weigh in their opinions. I might throw in an extra one here and there for fun and curiosity.

Looking forward, November's theme will be "The Other Red Meat(s)." (Yes, it may have something to do with us soon to be getting some lamb for our freezer, as you might have read over at House of 42 Doors. Feel free to start coming up with some good lamb/mutton recipes for me now, ok?) I'm thinking "Traditional Holiday Favorites" for December, but do speak up in the comments if you've got ideas/suggestions for themes, please. For a list of a lot of the previous themes, go here.

Ok, looking forward to seeing you all back here on Wednesdays! Hooray!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Palak Paneer

The second recipe I promised from GAW, finally. :-)

Palak Paneer

4 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1.5 lbs. fresh spinach
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
2 dried red chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups cooked basmati rice

In a medium, heavy saucepan, bring milk to a boil. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice. (I add a dash of salt at this point.) Stir until milk curdles and separates. Let stand 5 minutes, then pour through fine-meshed sieve lined with at least a double layer of cheesecloth. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then pull the corners of the cloth together and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Flatten the curd to a thickness of 1/2 to 1 inch. Set on a plate, top with another plate, then top that plate with a weight and let stand for half an hour. Remove from cheesecloth and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Wash, stem, drain and coarsely chop spinach. Thinly slice onion and garlic, and either slightly crush or add a couple slits to dried peppers.

Heat canola oil in a nonstick pan and lightly toast cumin (about 15 seconds). At this point I remove half the seeds with a slotted spoon. Sauté the cheese cubes until golden brown. Remove cheese and set aside on a paper towel.

In remaining oil, sauté red peppers and onions with until translucent. Add and sauté garlic. Add spinach by the handful and cook until it's all wilted. Add salt, cook until all liquid is evaporated. Add cream and boil until thickened to desired consistency. Gold in fried cheese, remove red peppers, and serve over rice.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tandoori Chicken

Here's the first of the two recipes I promised from GAW. (This one is easier, because it's from Emeril on I'll try to get to the palak paneer in the next day or two.)

Four bone-in chicken legs with thighs, or eight thighs, skin removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 tablespoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


With a fork, prick holes in the chicken pieces. Using a knife, cut diagonal slices 1-inch apart, and 1/2-inch deep into the larger pieces. Place the chicken in a baking dish.

In a food processor, combine the oil, onion, garlic, ginger and pepper, and process on high speed to a paste. Add the spices and process until well blended. Add the yogurt and lemon juice, and process to a smooth sauce, scraping down the sides to combine all the ingredients. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Turn to coat evenly, rubbing the marinade into the holes and slits. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Grill or bake in a preheated 425 degrees F oven on a baking sheet for 35 minutes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Fun going on Hiatus

Ok, gang, I love y'all, but it's too hot to cook. It's too hot to THINK about cooking. It's especially too hot to try to be creative about food and cooking.

Therefore, Wednesday Fun is going to be taking a bit of a summer hiatus (and sanity break). If you've got comments about what you like about WF, what you'd like to see come the fall, or would like to volunteer to take a month or a monthly series (like ShoNuff's restaurant reviews, but whatever you'd like), please let me know.

OF COURSE, please do feel free to keep posting recipes, questions, cool food links, etc.!!!!

See you in the fall!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fresh Corn Sauté

I am usually not one to mess with fresh corn, because I love it just how it is, but the thyme in this recipe makes it very tasty!

Fresh Corn Sauté

1 bacon slice
(recipe calls for "Applewood smoked", but I think regular is fine)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon slice from pan; crumble.

2. Add onion and bell pepper to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add corn and next 3 ingredients; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in crumbled bacon.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1/2 cup)
Per serving: CAL 104; FAT 3.5g; PRO 3.4g; CARB 17.5g; FIB 2.8g; CHOL 3.3mg; IRON 0.6mg; SOD 184 mg; CALC 16 mg

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Fun #139 - Very Many Veggies!

Ok, gang, in honor of July's theme being "Vegetable Side Dishes," I'd like to hear how many vegetables you can name! I mean, there are a LOT of vegetables in this world! Don't forget that you get extra bonus cool points if your veggies all relate in some way - all orange, start with the same letter or sound, all stalks or roots, whatever.

Name (at least) 3 vegetables!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July Theme - Garden Bounty

Happy July to you all! I don't know about you, but my garden's finally starting to produce some yummy food. My tiny green beans are stretching out, the peas are flowering, the tomatoes are growing! I know the season's marching on for our CSA as well, since the boxes are getting fuller and heavier.

Now, you might get your summer garden goodies from your own garden, the farmers' market, your CSA, or even the grocery store, but they are on their way! Hooray! So for July, our theme is Garden Bounty. What do you do with your veggies? "Real" recipes or just hints & tips - it's all good!

No big list of current recipes - instead, just click here or on the "Vegetable Side Dish" tag over in the right side bar.

Now, let's see those recipes!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Fun #138 - I scream, you scream...

Happy Official Summer to you all! And it wouldn't be summer around here without the ice cream truck comin' 'round. With its song. And the resulting excitement and begging. :)

That's ok - growing up in the country, an ice cream truck is still an exciting novelty to me. So we do sometimes get ice cream (even though, oh, the prices!) Penguin almost always gets the same thing - a Dora-shaped ice cream bar with gumball eyes. Pumpkin usually gets something new - an ice cream sandwich, a crunch bar, a chocolate brownie cone... Me? Well, I usually just take a taste of the girls, but I'm a die-hard ice-cream-chocolate-combo girl, so I go for the classic ice cream sandwich, or drumstick, or similar.

How about you? If the ice cream truck
comes calling, what might you get?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Fun #137 - How well do you know your spring veg?

Last Thursday we got our first CSA box of the year! Hooray! As always, the first boxes tend to be lighter, so it's about what we expected. Now that it's our third year with this, we can often identify everything in our box right away, but I wonder how many you can get. Granted, we can touch, taste & smell these all & you're going from a picture, but I wonder... many of these items can YOU name?

(Bonus points for #4 possible since there are several kinds here.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Fun #136 - Memorable Matrimonial Meals

This past weekend Mr. Kluges and I attended a wedding. It was a very nice wedding with the reception held at a fancy golf course & country club. Main dishes were sea bass, chicken stuffed with crab, or prime rib. Nice!

So when I got to thinking about this week's WF, I was wondering about what outstanding or memorable wedding reception meals you've had. Any real stand-outs? Maybe extra fancy or creative & fun or incredibly thematic or even amazingly awful... Let's hear about it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Maple Dressing and Poppy Seed Dressing

Ok, this doesn't fit the theme this month or last month or really anything, other than I was typing these up for someone else and I thought, "Hey! I could post these recipes too!" And you know, it's summer now, you might want to eat a salad. :)

Maple Dressing

1/4 C. Mayonnaise (do not use miracle whip*)
1/4 C. Pure Maple syrup
3 Tbs. White Wine Vinegar
3 Tbs. Sugar
1/2 C. Vegetable oil
+ Salt & Pepper to taste

Blend first 4 ingredients. Then slowly whisk in the vegetable oil last, then season to taste. Keep in a container you can shake to mix before using. Makes 6 servings.

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 C. Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 C. White Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp. Dry mustard
1/2 C. Olive Oil
1/2 C. Canola Oil
3 Tbs. Mayonnaise
41/2 Tsp. Poppy Seeds
1 Tbs. Onion Juice

Mix: Sugar, Salt, Mustard, and Vinegar until blended
Add: Olive oil, Canola oil and onion juice mix until blended
Add Mayonnaise & Poppy seeds last - you will have to stir a bit to incorporate the mayo

Throw in some cooked chicken and grapes and the Poppy seed dressing makes for an interesting sort of chicken salad as well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Theme - Starchy Side Dishes

Hello, all & happy June! As I was pondering a theme for this month, my eyes wandered along the tags over there to the right, and I noticed that we've only got about 10 things tagged as starchy side dishes.* Now I know we've got more than 10 potato or noodle or rice recipes that we make. Not that they are usually as glamorous or exciting as a fancy main dish, but it's sure nice to have some good staple side dishes to be able to round out a meal, or bring to a potluck (or Thanksgiving dinner), or just eat for a meatless/meat-light supper.

Currently, we have

So, how about it? Can you find a starchy side dish recipe to share this month?

*I know it's kind of a funny name, but that's how I divide it up in my own recipe box - "starchy side dishes" like Potatoes Anna, rice pilaf, stuffing, etc. vs. "vegetable side dishes" like green bean casserole, roasted beets, brown-sugar carrots, and so forth.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Garlic Fries

Back in April, this recipe inspired my Wednesday Fun question about your favorite French fries. Well, I'm finally getting around to posting it. My kids don't like garlic, so I made it without step 4 & it was still delicious. I think the Yukon Gold potatoes are totally the way to go & make these especially wonderful. From Cooking Light magazine, April 2002.

Garlic Fries

3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips [I made these with Yukon Gold potatoes and they were way better than any other kind I've tried.]
4 tsp. vegetable oil
3/4 tsp. salt
Cooking spray
2 Tbl. butter
8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 tsp.)
2 Tbl. finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbl. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Combine first 1 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, tossing to coat.
  3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400F for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes. [Don't turn too soon, or the crispy part will stick to the cookie sheet instead of the potato. If they don't want to turn after 20 minutes, leave them 5 more & try again.]
  4. Place butter and garlic in a large nonstick skillet; cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, parsley, and cheese to pan; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Oven-Fried Chicken

Ok, back in April, I mentioned I'd post two recipes. Well, here's finally one of them! It's from Cooking Light magazine, April 2002, and I think it's delicious. The recipe says you can use ground chipotle pepper in place of the ground red pepper for a smoky taste.

Oven-Fried Chicken

3/4 c. low-fat buttermilk [approximately]
2 chicken breast halves, skinned
2 chicken drumsticks, skinned
2 chicken thighs, skinned [Ok, basically, just use a cut-up chicken.]
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. white pepper [I don't keep this on hand, so it's just regular black pepper here.]
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Cooking spray

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients [chicken & buttermilk] in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 450F.
  3. Combine salt, peppers, and cumin in a second large zip-top plastic bag. Remove chicken from first bag, discarding marinade. Add chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture, shaking bag to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour.
  4. Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with cooking spray. Bake at 450F for 35 minutes or until done, turning after 20 minutes. [Don't try to turn them too soon or the yummy coating will stick to the pan instead of the chicken.]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Fun #135 - Recipe Round-up

Ok, y'all, May's theme was a Cookbook Challenge - to make a new recipe out of a favorite cookbook. I did mine already (and I'm so glad I did! YUM!!!), and it sounds like ShoNuff did, too. How about you? If so, let us know how it went! If not, why not this week? You've chosen your cookbook already (right?), so go grab it, look though the index OR the table of contents OR the pretty pictures and pick one. Leave the name in the comments, and you'll be that much closer to making it happen!

(If you're really feeling on the ball, go ahead and put the ingredients on your shopping list and you'll be golden!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Fun #134 - Gonna Garden?

Alright, I was working on my weekly fun post, but got a little long-winded, so I just cut-pasted all that and moved it over to my poor, sadly-neglected Musings & Mutterings. I don't know what it's going to think of actual words, not pictures, but it'll manage. So if you want my preliminary thoughts & lead-in to the question, look there! :)

The meat of the matter
(or the vegetable of it, more accurately), is...

Are you planting a garden this year?
If so, what's going in it?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Balsamic Chicken with Grapes and Almonds

For May's Cookbook Challenge, I decided to make something out of Cooking Light's Annual Recipes 2002, since we've got a bunch out of there we like. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale this week at our local grocery store, so that helped narrow down the choices. "Balsamic Chicken with Grapes and Almonds" sounded good the first look though, so I put it on my weekly menu. The day came to make it and I was a bit doubtful, but went ahead and made it anyway.

I'M SO GLAD; IT'S SO GOOD!!!! Plus, while my girls don't like their food all mixed up, they do like spinach AND grapes AND chicken AND couscous all separately, so with a little forethought (and nonsaucing theirs), it was easy to please us all. I'd totally make this as an impress-the-guests meal since it's not hard, but Mr. Kluges took a look and said, "That looks gourmet."

Balsamic Chicken with Grapes and Almonds

Serve with wilted spinach [mine was sauteed in a bit of bacon fat] and couscous. [The couscous is perfect for soaking up the yummy sauce.]

4 (4 oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1 c. seedless red grapes, halved
1/2 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl. brown sugar
1/4 c. sliced almonds

  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, saute 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  2. Remove chicken from pan. Reduce heat, stir grapes, broth, vinegar, and sugar into pan drippings. Bring mixture to a boil, cook until reduced to 1 c. (about 6 minutes) [or until it seems saucy and nicely-coating].
  3. Return chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done, turning to coat. Sprinkle with almonds immediately before serving.
[I thought it took longer took cook the chicken than they said, so keep that in mind if you're in a hurry.]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Fun #133 - Which Cookbook?

Ok, y'all. I'm challenging you to make something NEW out of your favorite cookbook during May. Now, I know that it can be a daunting prospect, but you gotta start small. How 'bout this? Just pick your cookbook! So, today's Wednesday Fun question is...

Out of which cookbook are YOU picking your new recipe?

Me? Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002. I think I've even chosen one!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday Fun #132 - May's Cookbook Challenge

Ok, gang, I know I'm a little late getting this week's WF out, but it's my only day this entire week when I don't have house guests! (In-laws left yesterday, my folks arrive tomorrow late.) But that's ok! Because I really like my idea for May's theme/today's WF!

It's a Cookbook Challenge!

Sometime in May, I'd like you to take your favorite cookbook (or one of them anyway) and choose a new recipe out of it you've never done before. Maybe you're like me and get stuck in a rut. Maybe you've always wanted to try this one recipe but it seems too expensive/challenging/you're-always-missing-one-key-ingredient. Maybe you've just never ventured past a certain page or out of "main dishes" or whatever.

But you know, you love this cookbook. You might as well try a new promising recipe out of it, don't you think?

If it's awesome, post the recipe here on Recipeeps. If it's not, well, then just leave a comment here or post us a "Tales from the Kitchen" story.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Fun #131 - Grocery "Get Me"s

Wednesdays (as we may have discussed earlier) are my normal shopping days. I write up my list and all that, keep an eye on the specials, maybe even have some coupons along. Virtuous shopper, right?

Cheetos are never on the list, yet somehow they manage to sneak into my cart a higher-than-my-scale-would-like percentage of the time. As do Sun Chips (do I thank Nectarine's husband or curse him for introducing me to the Garden Salsa variety? YUM!). And every now and again maybe some donut holes...

You get the picture. Make me feel better - tell me YOUR grocery "get me!" items!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cous cous salad

1 box whole wheat cous cous
1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
2 medium scallions
1 cup fresh broccoli
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/3 c. tomato juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil

Prepare cous cous per instructions. When cous cous has cooled to room temperature, mix with beans (strained), scallions, and broccoli. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Pour over salad and toss lightly.

The vegetables and beans can be varied for different flavors.

Wednesday Fun #130 - Favorite French Fries

Last night's recipes were both a big success! Hooray! Now, one was for oven-fried chicken and the other was garlic fries (minus the garlic step considering my audience!), so nothing too exotic or complicated, but both were delicious... and both were from Cooking Light.

It got me thinking... I'm usually a big ol' fat potato-y steak fries lover, or those Ore-Ida Crispers, but these were excellent (and yeah, I'll post the recipe), and maybe my new favorites. Who knew Yukon Gold potatoes, oil & salt could be so delicious?!

How about you? What's your favorite French fry?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wednesday Fun #129 - Go Get Good Groceries!

Wednesdays are my grocery shopping day currently. That'll change once our CSA deliveries start up again this summer, but for now, that's the routine. Then, my menu planning will have to become a lot more flexible depending on what we get in our boxes, and with nobody in school and nice weather, we'll probably bike to the local store a few times a week and do smaller amounts each time. ('Cuz not that much fits in the back of the bike trailer!)

As I was putting away the groceries & pondering this week's Wednesday Fun, it got me wondering how you all do your shopping. Are you a once-a-week-big-trip? A pick-up-on-the-way-home-what-I-want-for-supper-tonight? Do a monthly big shopping trip, then only milk & such until the next month? Do all the shopping for your household yourself or share the duties? Shop early, shop late, shop on the weekend, shop during the week? Live for double-coupon day?

Lemme know - what's YOUR shopping routine?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Recipeeps Accolades

Maybe this doesn't belong here. I don't have the recipe or anything. But if any of you have the opportunity to bribe, beg, or otherwise convince Veggie to make you a small jar of her tomato jam this year, TAKE IT.

I've been eating it on baguettes with chevre, and I'd just like to say, YUM.

Wednesday Fun #128 - Moscow on the Hill Review

Well this is going to be the end. I've exhausted the TC restaurants I needed to mention... except for one. Moscow on the Hill is located in a great old neighborhood in St. Paul. The area (in driving and walking through it) really has the feel of an area you don't feel the need to leave to be entertained. However, I don't think I could live there because Moscow on the Hill would be the end of me... but what a great way to go!

I've only tried a few different dishes there because I can't stop getting the Czar's Medallions. These are so creamy and delicious... yum, yum, yum. I've also had the Beef Stroganoff which is also fabulous. I've really enjoyed everything I've had there though none of it is what I would call "light". Everything is rich and heavy and complex flavored. Great comfort/winter food.

One of the really cool things... They do Vodka Flights!!! I haven't had the chance to try one of these yet (no designated drive when I've gone) but I really want to. They are also one of the places I've heard about as a great Martini bar. Wow I want a drink.

The thing I think is coolest about Moscow on the Hill is the ability to make everything and everyone seem welcome and fun. I mentioned the Martini bar... well it has that hip feel... it also totally work for me to go to with my mom and a number of my friends (we would probably not be call hip in most groups). Of course I have also seen large families there, with three or four generations represented. The best recommendation I can give is that I've heard a number of older (grandma + aged) women speaking Russian (and drinking lots of vodka) and enjoying time at Moscow on the Hill.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Fun #127 - More Eastery Sweetness!

Ok, I've been enjoying hearing from all you 'peeps re: peeps. I knew there were strong opinions out there! Now all this sugary talk has got me thinking about another Easter goodie... the traditional, ubiquitous jelly bean. I myself ADORE the black ones, enjoy quite a lot of the Jelly Belly brands, will eat the more flavored (as opposed to just sugar-tasting) regular ones, but HATE HATE HATE the wrongness of Jelly Belly's buttered popcorn flavored ones*. Just, no. Yick. No.

How about you? Are you a black-jelly-bean-eater, too? Only like the pinks? Adore those disgusting buttered-popcorn* abominations? Make it a habit to eat your jelly beans one color at a time? Grab 'em by the handful from your Easter basket and only pause to pick out the strands of Easter grass that've come along for the ride? Tell us about you and the beans!

*I think it's the texture. Buttered popcorn flavor & squish DO NOT go together! Yuck!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Fun #126 - Pro or Con?

There are some subjects about which people often have strong opinions. Religion, politics... peeps. To some, they are small, sugary delights, once available only at Easter, now available practically year-round. Sure, their devotees might divide into the stale vs. fresh camps, but that's merely a small matter of orthodoxy. Then you've got the people who find peeps absolutely disgusting and can't imagine why anybody would voluntarily ingest those overly-colored, sugar-coated, marshmallow gut-bombs.

Now, you won't find me bringing up either politics or religion much on my blogs, but yeah, I wanna know what you think about this one...

Manna from Heaven
Tool of the Devil?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Thanks to my wonderful Wednesday Dinner friends, I had corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day last night! The Sexy Blonde made this corned beef dish from Wow. The glaze is amazing, and it all seemed to come together very quickly.

Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze


1 cup sweet orange marmalade
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard plus more for serving

1 2- to 2 1/4-pound piece lean fully cooked corned beef
12 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
Fresh parsley sprigs


Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil marmalade, whiskey and nutmeg in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze; place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat; place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Fun #125 - Name Three Irish Beverages

And a happy St. Patrick's Day to ye all! Whether you're wearing the green today or not, I still want to hear from you!

Name (at least) 3 Irish beverages you've had.*

(Not necessarily today... but I guess it might be if you're getting an early start!)

*Ok, to get you started, you've likely had Guinness, but what about any Irish whiskeys? or other Irish beers? or any fizzy drinks there - Cidona or Club Orange? Maybe black currant juice like Ribena? or good ol' Barry's Tea?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Fun #124 - Hell's Kitchen Review

Welcome to Hell...
Hell's Kitchen is an experience... You enter by descending the stairs under a chandelier made of knives and then are greeted by the friendly staff. That staff is as likely as not to have tats or piercings showing. All this while you are surrounded by Gonzo Art in a place that used to be a fine Italian restaurant but now has all kinds of interesting things written on the wall where the art doesn't hang.

I should probably mention the food eh? Think comfort food with an upscale twist... and they are not shy with the flavorings. You'll recognize many of the dishes but you probably haven't had them this way.

The breakfasts are the thing I first heard about them for and they didn't disappoint. The Huevos Rancheros are awesome and the Corned Beef Hash is really made up of big chunks of corned beef that was cooked in a big chunk in the back... yum. I've been told (not just by the menu) that the peanut butter they make in house is delicious but I haven't tried it yet.

When you order one of the lunch sandwiches that ask if you want fries or Sweet Potato Fries. These are so rich and intense I would say you can't eat that many but I've proven this to be untrue. They are really good. The Walleye Fish and Chips should be called Parmesan Walleye Fish and Chips... they had enough cheese for Pusher... The French Dip and Bison Burgers really worked for me.

I haven't done dinner there before but I really should... then maybe I could get a bit of use out of the huge old bar...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beef and Guinness Stew

I made this recipe from the current (March 2010) Cooking Light magazine last night. It was good, but I got a little much oil in when I was going to cook the onions, so it was a tish oily. The raisins add a touch of sweetness, I think, but it is a bit of a surprise when you come across one in your stew. I didn't cook it as long as they recommend (and didn't boil the meat at all - doesn't that make it tough/dry?) and it was still great. I like my vegetables not completely mush, so didn't boil the last 10 minutes either. Still, allow for the afternoon to make this, then just turn it down to low and let it simmer 'til you want it.

Also, I'd bet you could saute the beef, then throw it all in the slowcooker & leave it cooking low & slow for a long time. If you try that, let us know how it turns out.

Also, who'd'a thunk my girls would go nuts for raw parsnips! I gave 'em a taste so they could see what it was like & they begged for a bowlful. *shrug* Go, nonstandard veggies! :)

Beef and Guinness Stew

2 Tbl. canola oil, divided
1 Tbl. butter, divided
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. salt, divided
5 c. chopped onion (about 3 onions) [I did 2 small-med ones & it was less than 5 c., but fine.]
1 Tbl. tomato paste [Thought I had some in freezer, but couldn't find. Squeezed in a little ketchup instead.]
4 c. fat-free, less-sodium beef broth [For me - 4 c. hot water & ~4 tsp. beef Better-Than Bouillon - it's great stuff!]
1 (11.2 oz) bottle Guinness Draft
1 Tbl. raisins
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 c. (1/2" thick) diagonal slices carrot (about 8 oz.) [about 4 good-sized carrots]
1 1/2 c. (1/2" thick) diagonal slices parsnips (about 8 oz.) [1-2 parsnips, discovered my girls love raw parsnip, so I had less for stew!]
1 c. (1/2") cubed, peeled turnip (about 8 oz.) [1 medium]
2 Tbl. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley [Oh, guess I forgot this one.]

1. Heat 1 Tbl. oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tsp. butter to pan. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef w. 1/2 tsp. salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 Tbl. oil, 1 1/2 tsp. butter, and beef.

2. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, sraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return meat to pan. STir in remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil.

3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. [I skipped this boiling step for time & because I thought it would make the meat tough.] Add carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minute or until vegetables are tender. [Again, I didn't boil mine as I don't like veg that are completely mushy.] Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 8 servings (about 1 c.)

Calories: 365; Fat: 19.4 g (sat 6.8g, mono 8.6g, poly 1.7g); Protein: 25.3g; Carb 18.8 g; fiber 3.6 g.; Chol 62 mg; Iron 2.6 mg; Sodium 454 mg; Calc 52 mg

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Fun #123 - Irish Pubs are Everywhere

Look at me planning in advance for this one! :) I figured, since St. Patrick's Day was coming up, that a few of us might be planning to bend an elbow with a pint or two. And what better place to knock back a Guinness (or a Murphy's or a Beamish or a Smithwick's or a Bulmer's (or Magner's, as it's called around here)), than a good ol' Irish pub.

And Irish pubs are everywhere. I mean, really, everywhere. Now, I've not found anyplace that can complete with an off-the-beaten-track, peat-fire-burning, locals-wonder-who-you-are-when-you-walk-in, fresh-poured-pint-of-Murphy's REAL Irish pub in Ireland, but gosh, don't places try hard to get that atmosphere? In addition to the real deal throughout Ireland, I've been to "Irish pubs" in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Germany, and even Reykjavik, Iceland. (It was a really good one, too.)

So let's hear it from you...

What's your favorite Irish pub and/or most unusually located Irish pub you've been?

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Theme - Everybody's Irish on St. Paddy's Day!

It's a new month, and therefore time for a new theme. Now, unlike last year (and a bit of 2008), when I'd planned out all of the themes in advance, I'm doing these a little more off the cuff. So, you know, if you do happen to have a request for a type/style/sort of food (say, quick & easy main dishes, Asian-style side dishes, stuff that uses cream-of soup, finger foods for a fancy tea party...), please, let me know & I'll happily, happily make it a monthly theme. And probably very soon! :)

March, of course, holds St. Patrick's Day. Which, in this country, is really more of a celebration of Ireland & Irish heritage & anything green. So let's fly with that. Have you got any Irish, Irish-themed, or, you know, green recipes you'd like to share?

  • You could make some of these delicious Orange Butter Scones, which come from a real Irish cookbook, even though they're not a traditional scone at all.
  • This Brown Soda Bread is much more traditional, especially if you do remember to score it deeply into quarters, then prick each quarter with your knife "to let the fairies out."

Ok... is that it? Have we not got any recipes for Lamb Stew or or Shepherd's Pie or Beef & Guinness Stew or anything with Guinness? Well, we'd better fix that, wouldn't you say?! Have at it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Discuss: Cast Iron? (aka WF #122!)

Do you have a cast iron skillet? Dutch oven? Do you love it? Do you use it as much as as you thought you would? Do you like cooking with it? What about the enameled kind? Is Le Creuset the only way to go?

(AKJ, I'm totally hijacking your discussion question to be today's WF. I hope you don't mind. Hooray for not having to think up my own! :) Also, I'll do double polls on the side to see if that helps gather the info you want. Thanks! - MHH)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

After making the Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken recipe from over at A Year of Slow Cooking, it was where I went when I was looking for a new chicken crockpot recipe. I decided to try the Slow Cooker Orange Chicken Recipe and it was yummy! Head over there for her original post with pictures and all, but here's the basics with my comments.

I cooked up the chicken, mixed up the sauce & threw it all in the slowcooker in the early afternoon, but if you were going to be away from home all day and wanted to make this, I think you could easily cook up the chicken the night before (while doing other stuff since it doesn't take a whole lot of attention, but a fair amount of time, esp. if doing it in batches) and mix up the sauce, too. Refrigerate them separately overnight, then throw in the crockpot together in the morning on low.

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 2-inch chunks (Since the taste is so covered up, I used the IQF kind in a bag & did the whole 3 lbs.)
1/2 cup flour (or more)
olive oil, for browning the chicken
kosher salt - she calls for 1 Tbl., but I found 1/2 tsp. plenty for us, maybe because if the IQF chicken.
6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup

1. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Toss the leftover, chicken-germy flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating. Doing more chicken, I ended up doing this is several batches. Since my girls don't much like things all mixed together, the last batch I cooked thoroughly & set aside for them to be plain.

2. Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat. I found her recipe as is to be enough for the 2 or 2 1/2 lbs of chicken pieces I put in with it.

3. She says to cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4, but I found that since I'd already mostly cooked the chicken, I don't think it would necessarily need that long. I think I did 3 hours on high because I threw it together in early afternoon.

Serve over white or brown rice or couscous. I microwaved a bag of Asian-style vegetables to go with it that the girls ate separately (sense a theme here?), but I stirred in with the chicken & sauce.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Fun #121 - Maybe not so fun...

Ok, today's the first day of Lent, and I suspect some folks who observe it are using it to work on a food goal. How about you (whether or not you observe Lent in a Christian/religious context)? Are you giving something up for the next 46 days? (Ok, 40 days, plus the 6 Sundays within Lent.) Maybe no caffeine for you? No sugar? No booze? The money you spend in the vending machines every afternoon going in the collection plate on Sunday instead or to your local food bank?

If you're doing a food-related Lenten goal, let us know. Or even if you've done a good/interesting/yay-you-successful! one in the past that you want to share, let's hear about it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Fun #120 - NALAPAK review

Nalapak vegetarian Indian Restaurant. This is the place I would recommend to anyone that claims vegetarian food is tasteless. They have great curries, breads, and everything else.

I really wanted to have their food again before I wrote this but I didn't make it... I'll have to correct that soon. I was trying to correct a health issue and couldn't eat much meat and boy was I glad to have Nalapak. Whenever I was craving rich and fulfilling food, this was the place to go... and I didn't have to feel guilty.

This isn't a place where I have one dish I go for, I've had lots of different things and they have all been good. The one thing I would always advise getting it the Channa Bhatura. This bread is great... puffed up and oily in a good clean way.

If you need some good tasty food this is a great place. Enough said.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Fun #119 - Kitchen Cuteness

We haven't done a "Name 3" for a while, and I'm feeling a little dry for ideas & it's approaching suppertime. So how 'bout this? Tell us 3 things you like about your kitchen. I think we usually get stuck on the negatives or wish lists like more counter space, a dishwasher, I-hate-the-traffic-flow, dated whatever. Turn it around and focus on the positive. Maybe you love the view out your window when you're doing dishes. Relish the color you've painted it. Treasure your favorite container for oft-used utensils right by the stove. (Mine's one I made in a pottery class and it makes me feel accomplished every time I look at it!) ...Are glad there's beer in the frig?

What DO you actually enjoy about your kitchen? Tell us 3 things.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Fun 118 - Key's Review

First let me say there a number of Key's and I have not been to all of them. I have been to at least four of them and they all have some things in common. Though this review will be most accurate to my "local" one, the Spring Lake Park location.

Key's is comfort food to the max. Portions are big and tasty with not much concern for making the food "Healthy". Most of the meals ring in for under $15 and if you leave hungry you are a very special person. I'm very fond of the Biscuits and Garvy (for breakfast), Meatloaf, and Apple Pie. I have tried lots of other dishes though and they've all been quite good.

The biscuits and gravy have fresh biscuits, like all their baked goods, and a salty fatty sausage white gravy. Maybe it's just cause it's a bit tough to find here or maybe it's good sausage available but flavor is on the level of good quality from down south. I'm adding weight just thinking about it.

I should probably reiterate, Key's isn't the place to go if you are looking for elegance and refinement. The meatloaf is smothered in brown gravy, moist, tender, and with a hint of sweetness. The only thing that could be considered a drawback is the side vegatables are cooked old school style, till they turn mushy. I actually like this, it fits with the style of the place, but if you like your green beans crisp that won't happen here.

Apple pie, made fresh. Need any more? They also have great cinnamon and carmel rolls and other great pies and cakes. Dessert is not a problem.

I went twice this past weekend and I'm ready to go back.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with a Chili-Garlic Remoulade

I made this for our progressive dinner on New Year's Eve. I had appetizers and we loved this. We had extra sauce and used it on hamburgers which we almost liked even more!

I got this from The Noble Pig's blog. She has GREAT pictures with things done step by step!

I cannot get a link to work again!! Here is the link

For the shrimp:
24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared garlic-chili sauce
1 teaspoon salt
6 strips bacon, quartered
Wooden skewers

For the Remoulade:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon prepared chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 green onions, finely chopped (both white and green parts)

In a non-reactive bowl, marinate shrimp for 15 minutes with wine, lemon zest, garlic-chili sauce and salt.

For the Remoulade, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, chili-garlic sauce, green onions and salt. Cover and chill until serving time.

Quarter 6 strips of bacon in half lengthwise and then again across the middle. In other words, one piece of bacon will be cut into four strips.

Soak wooden skewers in water for twenty minutes before skewering shrimp. Wrap each shrimp in a piece of bacon, securing bacon with wooden skewer, neck to tail in a half-moon. Add three to four shrimp per skewer.

Position oven rack so the food will be 3-4 inches from the heat. Preheat broiler. I broiled the shrimp on low for about twelve minutes and I turned them three times for even browning. DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE BROILER. Watch your shrimp very carefully. All ovens are different. My cooking times could be very different from yours. Just make sure shrimp are opaque and bacon is cooked through and crisp.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 jar salsa (I use a medium jar of medium salsa)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese

Place beans, corn and half of salsa into crock pot. Add chicken and rest of salsa. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. Top with cheese and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Personal preference of serving - layer on a tortilla with lettuce and sour cream! Other ideas - serve with rice... make a taco salad. YUM!

We have used this is tortilla shells. I usually just put the cheese on in our tortilla!!

Chicken Enchilada Ring

I am making this one for the football game this weekend!! We really like it and am hoping it goes over good for a group. I had it at a Pampered Chef party years ago and am now getting around to post it!!

Go Vikings!! (For those of us from MN!)

2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken (about 12 ounces)

¼ cup chopped pitted ripe olives

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Pantry Southwestern Seasoning Mix

2 plum tomatoes

1 lime

2/3 cup finely crushed corn tortilla chips, divided

2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls

1 cup salsa

1 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop chicken and olives using food chopper; place in bowl. Add cheese, green chilies, mayonnaise and seasoning mix.

2. Seed and chop 1 tomato. Slice lime in half. Squeeze juice from one half to measure 1-teaspoon juice. Reserve remaining lime for garnish. Add chopped tomato and limejuice to chicken mixture.

3. Reserve 2 tablespoons crushed chips; add remaining chips to chicken mixture and mix well.

4. Sprinkle reserved crushed chips cupboard. Unroll crescent dough. Place dough sticky side down, onto crushed chips; press down lightly so chips adhere to dough. Separate dough into triangles. Arrange triangles; chip dies down, in a circle on round stone with wide ends overlapping in the center and points toward outside. (There should be a 5-inch diameter opening in center.) Using large tablespoon scoop chicken mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle. Bring points of triangle up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. (Filling will not be completely covered.) Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

For garnish, cup remaining tomato into 8 wedges. Cut remaining half of lime into 4 slices; cut in half. Arrange between openings of ring. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

White Chocolate-Candy Cane Cheesecake

I just made this. My sister-in-law made it for Christmas and I could not stop thinking about it. I have been wanting to try making cheesecakes and tried this one first. Brought it to the Vikings Game on Sunday and it was GONE!! Have been asked to make another one this weekend. (I might try another kind.) Will post if it is good.

What you need

1 cup HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs

3/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided

3 Tbsp. butter, melted

3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

3 eggs

4 squares BAKER'S White Chocolate, melted

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

1/2 cup chopped candy canes

Make It

PREHEAT oven to 325°F if using a silver 9-inch spring form pan (or to 300°F if using dark nonstick 9-inch spring form pan). Mix graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. of the sugar and the butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 min.

BEAT cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup sugar with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Stir in chocolate and extract; pour over crust.

BAKE 45 to 50 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Top with the whipped topping and chopped candy just before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator. (I topped with the whipped topping and put Andes peppermint candies on top.)