Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pasta and Meat Sauce

On Sunday in addition to the soups and breads I made on Sunday I also made a large pot of meat sauce. It was of course my mom's recipe. I used ground beef and ground pork. I had some sausage from Stew Leonard's that had Provolone cheese and parsley in it. I also had some meatballs in the freezer that I had made last month. This sauce is a good base. You can add any type of meat. My mom use to add everything from ribs to chicken legs.

1 large onion, chopped

olive oil

ground beef
crushed tomatoes, canned

tomato paste





Method - Heat oil and saute onion until translucent. Add the meats. Cook until meat begins to brown. Drain off any fat from the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours, depending on the type of meat that is used. If the sauce is thin add tomato paste. Season with parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.

I usually use 4 cans of crushed tomatoes and end up with 4 to 5 freezer bags of sauce.

The result was a perfect sauce, of course we had not had homemade meat sauce in quite some time.

Also the recipe from the
Giambotto that my brother-in-law made is posted on the entry from September 6. And the photos from our Re Sette dinner are up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Yesterday, in addition to the other things I cooked up, I made a Butternut Squash Soup from Cooking Light magazine. It was so simple. The grilled cheese sandwiches were made on the bread I made yesterday, of course. Nice thick slices. American cheese and mustards on the side. Also has some Pita Bite Crackers from Trader Joe's (impulse buy). They are now my new favorite cracker. They are crispy with just enough sea salt.

The soup recipe called for half and half. I did not have half and half and had no use for any leftover so I did not add it and it was not needed. It had a nice silky texture without it. Here is the recipe without the half and half.
1 tablespoon butter

3 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, carrot, and onion; sauté for 12 minutes. Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt. Place squash mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.

We had it with Feta Cheese sprinkled on top.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reuben Bread, Rye Bread, White Bread and Apple Squares

Yes it was a rainy day so I made bread. Actually 2 kinds or technically 3 kinds. I love carbs. I was looking through some of the blogs I follow and found two recipes I could not resist. The first was from Noshtalgia. The recipe was No Knead to Thank Me. I had planned on making the No Knead bread that takes 18 hour to proof but I did not have time to start it yesterday. So when I saw her photos I was in. It was so easy and the dough came out with a great texture. And the taste. Wow.

Next on My Food and Life Encounters I found Reuben Bread. It starts with a Rye Bread recipe and than you just add the filling. That is what we had for dinner tonight. The recipe made a lot of dough so I just made half the recipe for the filling and with the extra dough I made a loaf of rye bread.
Lets see... I felt like Apple Squares. It is a recipe that I got from my mom.
1 cup of butter
3 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
Crumble ingredients in a bowl.
1 3/4 apple sauce
grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grround clove
Mix last 4 ingedients.
Place 1/2 of flour mixture in bottom of greased 9x9 pan, I use pyrex glass pan.
Spread apple sauce mixture over bottom layer. top with remaining flour mixture. Bakde 350 degreess for 45 - 60 minutes.

Homemade Pappardella with Portebello Mushrooms and Bolognese Sauce

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Now before you start thinking that I made this meal the answer is no. We ate at one of our favorite restaurants in New York City,
Re Sette last night. We were in the city to see a play. We have eaten there a number of times and have never been disappointed. If you click on the link for the restaurant the table you see is where we sat!

We started with the Fried Calamari and a small pizza, the Del Re. It was Fig Jam, Prosciutto, Caramelized Pearl Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese all on a perfectly crisp, thin crust. Photos will be posted as soon as that darn replacement cord is delivered. The next time we make pizza on the grill we will make this one.

For dinner I had Homemade Pappardella with Portebello Mushrooms and Bolognese Sauce. I was going through pasta withdrawal and boy was this good. The sauce was delicious and the pasta was homemade so it goes without saying that it was good.

My husband had the Baby Pork Loins, Dried Craneberries, Grappa, Cranberry Reduction, Homemade Mashed Potato. He enjoyed it. I tasted it and it was good. My sister had an Apple Ravioli and I was so taken by my dish I forgot to ask for a taste. But she cleaned her plate so I assume it too was good. My brother-in-law had Grilled Filet Mignon with sauteed Onions, Barolo Wine reduction, and roasted rosemary potato. My husband has had that dish a couple of times and it comes highly recommended.

For dessert we shared a Pistachio Gelato with coffee.
What a wonderful meal.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

While the cats away...

No the cats were not away. I was out for the night. Went to hear Frank Bruni speak about his book Born Round. It was a very good book. It is about family, food, overcoming overeating and the life and times of a New York Times restaurant critic.
I ate out at Malone's, Spinach Salad with Creamy Parmesan Cheese Dressing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mom's Chicken Soup

When I was little and the doctor came over because I was sick, yes Dr. Harrison made house calls, my mom asked her she should be giving us vitamins. At the time my mom had her chicken soup on the stove. Dr. Harrison took one look in the pot and said, "Mrs. Lombardi if this is what you are serving your family they are getting more than enough vitamins!" Well this is my version of her soup. She probably made the fresh stock where I opted for canned.

Chop onion, 2 stalks of celery and 2 peeled carrots. Heat oil in pan and add vegetables. Cook until tender. Add chicken stock and heat. Add chopped up cooked rotissierie chicken (another short cut I know my mom did not use). Next add some cooked pasta, something like a noodle is best. Add fresh spinach. In another pan add some broth and heat to almost boiling. Beat and egg and slowly add to broth stirring vigorously. Cook the egg through. Add the egg to the soup pan. Serve with Parmesan Cheese.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Leek and Spinach Tart

I bought some leeks and spinach and wanted to make a tart. Could not find a recipe that I liked and ended up doing a stir fry of the leeks and spinach, thyme, salt and pepper. I made a pie crust using the recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I put a layer of Mascapone cheese on the bottom of the crust and topped that with the leeks and spinach. Folded the crust over to make it more of a rustic tart and baked it 35 minutes at 375 degrees.
Somebody went back for seconds! I went for seconds also but it was the crust was after. I had some nice photos of the tart but I have to question the cats as to where the cord for the camera may be hiding...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Roasted Chicken Purses

Yesterday I watched Everyday Italian on the Food Network. The recipe I made was Roasted Chicken Purses. The result was so cute.

Speaking of cute. This is Kramer, the world's cutest cat. But back to dinner. So the recipe was from Giada De Laurentiis. And it was fun to put together.

The finished product was light and the flavors of the chicken and lemon and thyme were a perfect blend. The butter and Parmasan cheese were good but I think it needed Crushed Red Pepper. But that's just my opinion.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Went to Stew Leonards for the first time today and it was love at first sight and bite. There was a display for fresh Mozzarella cheese. I picked up piece and noticed the price was less than what I usually pay. Than I notice the man behind the counter with a large pan of water making the mozzarella. He asked would I like to try a taste of the cheese he just made. Oh My God. Never have I ever tasted anything so delicious. It was soft and smooth. It was love.
It made me think of food that I have eaten over the years that has left a memory of the taste that has I have not forgotten. First would have to be my mom's stuffed artichokes. The breading and olives... Then there was her stuffed veal pocket. Again the stuffing was something I really wish I had the recipe for. Next would be the soup my sister and her husband make on Christmas Day. Then there was the Salmon I had when I was in Seattle. It was so long ago but the still I remember the taste. I found something that sounds close to in on the internet, Tillicum Village Salmon Bake, not sure if this is the same spot we went to but the salmon is cooked the same way. And last but not least the stuffed calamari my brother-in-law made last Christmas Eve. Again it is a stuffing thing...
Tonight as a surprise appetizer I made brushetta with the fresh mozz and tomatoes and basil. Well the surprise was ruined by my burning the first batch of bread under the broiler. : (
Even my husband was amazed at the taste of the cheese.
I picked up a few other items there and they will appear at some point on this blog.
For dinner I made breaded pork cutlets with rice and green beans. What I like best about pork cutlets is the apple sauce!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chicken with Thyme

So I worked at home today and was able to make dinner. I picked up chicken breast on sale. I cut them into Scaloppine. Mixed flour and fresh thyme leaves. Dredged the chicken. Heated olive oil and a knob of butter. Sauteed the chicken and seasoning it with salt and pepper. Added lemon juice and white wine and heated until reduced.
Sliced zucchini and yellow squash and sauteed that in olive oil and a knob of butter. Added parsley and cooked until browned.
Bought twice baked potatoes at the market.
The chicken was really good. The sauce was lemony but not too lemony. I really stood by the stove and said what the heck am I going to make for dinner and it came out quite good!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Steak Pizzaiola

I walked in the house tonight and was greeted by a smell that was so delicious. I felt like I walked into a small Italian restaurant. My husband made Steak Pizzaiola. I know we had beef last night but that is another story. He seared the steaks and then mixed diced tomatoes and canned tomato sauce with herbs and olive oil. He added Fontella cheese to the dish. He baked it in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. The sauce was so good. He used a bit of crushed red pepper so it had a little spice to it. It was such a flavorful meal. We had a bottle of Coppola Classic Rossso and some Italian bread. My husband can cook any night he wants to!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Autumn Minestrone Soup

A friend at work let me borrow her copy of Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special: More Than 275 Recipes for Soups, Stews, Salads, & Extras. There are a number of recipes that I want to try. So many that I will be purchasing the book. I made the Autumn Minestrone Soup this weekend and we had it tonight for dinner. When I was making the soup my husband came into the house and declared that the soup smelled delicious! And yes I forgot to copy the recipe. It had onion, butternut squash, potato, celery, carrots, kale and cannellini beans. The recipe called for vegetable broth, but I used chicken broth.
The soup was delicious. It did need parmasen cheese. We had some toasted Italian bread and Fontinella cheese. A perfect meatless meal.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Seared Scallops with Peas and Potato Dominoes

The scallops were a delicious Gordon Ramsay recipe from Healthy Appetite cookbook that I made back in June. This time I followed the recipe more closely. The original recipe calls for fava beans which unfortunately I could not find.

12 sea scallops
coarse sea salt
thyme leaves
green peas, if frozen thawed
olive oil
mint, roughly chopped
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Put the thyme leaves on cutting board and mix with sea salt. Sprinkle the salt mixture over one side of the scallops. Heat skillet and add olive oil. This part is directly from the Ramsay recipe - "Pan-fry the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness-they should feel slightly springy when pressed. Make sure you turn them in the same order you put them into the pan to ensure even cooking." Remove from pan and add peas to skillet and add a splash of water and a little butter. Heat to warm through and season to taste and add the mint leaves.
Spoon veggies onto a plate. Top with scallops and drizzle with olive oil.

Now about the Potato Dominoes. I found out about these potatoes on the Proud Italian Cook blog. The photo looked amzing so of course I had to try the recipe. On that blog was a link to the Steamy Kitchen blog. Here you will find a step by step recipe. I used Proud Italian recipe with the olive oil and rosemary. I did not use a mandoline. It is the one kitchen item I just have hard time operating. My husband said his only comment would be that next time I make more!

Friday Night = Zhangs

Friday, September 11, 2009
Granted it was a 4 day work week but gee it seemed longer. So when Friday night rolled around the last thing I wanted to do was to put a single dirty dish in the sink. "Meet you at Zhang's!"

Next time I have to bring the camera. We started with Scallion Pancakes and Szechuan Ravioli. I also had the Dragon Rolls. Fried Eel, yum.
For Dinner I had my favorite, Ma Po Tofu, and my husband had something different, Tonkatsu, which was a fried pork cutlet with a sauce that was really good. And the meal had the easiest of clean-ups!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Potato, Leek and Feta Tart

One of the newsletter I receive is from Real Simple magazine. Always a good source for recipes. Tonight's was quite good. I had some pie crust in the freezer so the crust was real perfect and the tart filling was nice and light. We had a salad to go with the tart.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into half-moons

2 small zucchini, cut into half-moons
kosher salt and black pepper

1/2 cup crumbled Feta (about 2 ounces)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 Red Bliss potatoes (8 ounces), thinly sliced

1 store-bought 9-inch piecrust

Heat oven to 375º F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, zucchini, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Feta and dill. Add the potatoes and toss to combine.
On a piece of parchment paper, roll the piecrust to a 12-inch diameter. Slide the paper onto a baking sheet. Spoon the potato mixture onto the piecrust, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the edge of the piecrust over the edge of the potato mixture. Bake (covering with foil if the crust gets too dark) until the piecrust is golden brown and the potatoes are tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Found a New Chicken Pot Pie Recipe!

I have been using the recipe on the back of the Cream of Potato Soup as my recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. It was always good but recently I was at the Real Simple site and found a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie that seemed easy enough. This way we are not using another processed food. Determined to weed them out of our diet... but we do enjoy hot dogs. I also usually use a crust on the top and bottom of the pie (we are crust fans). But what the heck a few less calories can only help.

This will be the new go to Chicken Pot Pie recipe of our house. It was light and quite tasty.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups 1 percent milk
1 10-ounce package frozen peas

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 9-inch store-bought piecrust, thawed if frozen

Heat oven to 400° F.
Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stir-ring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.
Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I had found this recipe for white beans and leeks a while back and I had some leeks so... I love the way Jamie Oliver writes his recipes. It is very close to a pinch of this and a bit of that. It is refreshing because his style is very relaxed. And on Labor Day it fits the bill. This is the white bean and leeks part of the recipe for Grilled Fillet Steak with the Creamiest White Beans and Leeks. The leeks and beans were delicious. My husband grilled a skirt steak to be the feature part of the meal. Grilled to perfection, as always. Sorry about the lack of a photo... trying out a new camera... stay tuned...

4 leeks, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
olive oil
a knob of butter
a wineglass of white wine
500g/1lb 2oz good-quality tinned or jarred butter beans, drained and rinsed
a small handful of freshly picked parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon crème fraîche (I used Sour Cream, found that it was a suitable substitute)
good-quality peppery extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sweat the leeks, thyme and garlic with a splash of olive oil and the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a low heat for 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. Turn up the heat and add the white wine. Let the wine come to the boil, then add the beans and a splash of water, so that the beans are almost covered. Allow to simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes until the beans are lovely and creamy. Add the parsley, crème fraîche and a good glug of the extra virgin olive oil and taste for seasoning.

Potato, Leek and Feta Tart with Salad

One of the newsletter I receive is from Real Simple magazine. Always a good source for recipes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into half-moons
2 small zucchini, cut into half-moons
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 Red Bliss potatoes (8 ounces), thinly sliced
1 store-bought 9-inch piecrust

Heat oven to 375º F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, zucchini, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Feta and dill. Add the potatoes and toss to combine.
On a piece of parchment paper, roll the piecrust to a 12-inch diameter. Slide the paper onto a baking sheet. Spoon the potato mixture onto the piecrust, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the edge of the piecrust over the edge of the potato mixture. Bake (covering with foil if the crust gets too dark) until the piecrust is golden brown and the potatoes are tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dinner at my sister's house

We were invited to my sisters for dinner tonight. I brought an appetizer which was the rice balls from Simple Italian Snacks. Made a fresh tomato sauce for dipping. The sauce was just fresh plum tomatoes that were seeded, a clove of garic and a 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Put the ingredients in a processor and chopped. It was a nice sauce. My sister made these eggplant meatballs, recipe is below and also spanikopta. I did not take a photo of the Eggplant Balls. But the recipe is from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook. The restaurant, Claire's Corner Copia, is in New Haven and serves the best vegetarian food. My sister baked the eggplant balls instead of frying them. Here is the recipe-

Eggplant Balls

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 eggplants, peeled and diced

2 tbsp water
2 cups bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
4 oz shredded mozzarella, optional

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup flour or more for rolling the eggplants balls

Soybean or vegetable oil for frying (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the diced eggplant and stir to coat. Add the water, cover and cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is very soft. Remove from the heat and turn into a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, basil, mozzarella if using, eggs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Taste for seasoning. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.

Form the mixture into balls, bite-sized for appetizers or larger for entrees. Carefully place the balls in a cookie sheet while you form the rest. Measure about 1/2 cup flour into a shallow bowl. Gently roll each ball in the flour to coat evenly.

To fry the balls, heat the soybean or vegetable oil in a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Arrange the balls in the hot oil, allowing a little space in between. Fry each side about 1 minute, until golden brown, turning carefully. Drain on a cookie sheet lined with a double thickness of paper towels while you fry the remaining balls. Heat additional oil if necessary.
If you prefer, you can bake the balls in a preheated 350 degree oven about 30 minutes, turing once after 15 minutes.

For dinner my brother-in-law made a dish which has a name I can not even attempt to spell. It sounds like giambotto. It is made with chicken and ribs and potatoes and sweet potatoes and red peppers and celery... It was delicious. He said it was my mom's recipe. I remember her making it and her saying that it used every pan in the kitchen but it was worth it. I have requested the recipe and will share when it arrives.
Well here it is... this is from my brother-in-law but it is just the way my mom would have given it to me -

Quantities are determined by number to be served or as your mom would figure the fourth infantry could show up unannounced.

Veggies are cut into larger than bite sized pieces - onion, carrot, celery, red pepper, potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano. Mix into a large bowl with olive oil. Place in pans and put into oven at 425. While that is going season meats - salt, pepper, oregano - chicken, ribs, sausage mix with olive oil. Sear on grill three/four minutes each before turning for an additonal three/four minutes more. When completed evenly distribute meats and vegetables in pans to continue baking until cooked at 325/350.

Recipe is not fixed as to ingredients other vegetables and meats could certainly be incorporated.
Individuals here cannot tolerate any mild heat, but I would certainly add some peperoncini flakes.
Thanks Ralph.

My sister-in-law made this awesome salad. It was the perfect ending to a filling meal. It had
jicama in it which I don't think I have had before. There is also rum in the dressing...

Mojito Salad
For the salad:
1/2 cup red onion, halved and thinly sliced crosswise and juice of 1 lime
1 Medium jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks or small cubes
1 Cucumber, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 Seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise (substituted cantaloupe cubes of 1/2 cantaloupe)
1/3 Cup packed fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

For Dressing
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/3 cup of honey
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 1/2 limes)
1/ 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons of Rum (optional)

To make the salad soak the onion in the juice of 1 lime for at least two hours
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl
Whisk together Dressing ingredients and add to salad.

Dessert was a Vanilla Nut Italian Ice. Delicious.

It was an enjoyable meal where each part could have been a stand alone meal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

County Style Ribs, Cous Cous and The 4 Egg Cake

Before we get to dinner we had some visitors this morning. The male deer's antlers are just starting to grow. They have eaten every plant my husband has put in but they are so cute.

Holy cow or I guess that would be holy pig? What a delicious meal. Again I went to the freezer and grabbed a package of Pork Loin Country Style Ribs. I found a recipe on recipe.com. My only changes were to not add liquid smoke (no I don't have that in the pantry) and I did not add the garlic. The pork was so tender ans the onions were so sweet.

Country - Style Ribs
3 to 4 lbs. country style ribs
1 med. onion
1/4 c. brown sugar

1 c. ketchup and 1/2 c. water

1 tbsp. liquid smoke
4 tbsp. vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Place ribs in roaster pan. Lightly salt. Top with slices of onion. Sprinkle brown sugar over
them. Mix sauce and put 3/4 of it over ribs. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Uncover and put on remaining sauce. Set oven to 400 degrees. Bake 1/2 hour longer.

As a side I found a recipe on foodbuzz for
Pearl Cous Cous Salad with Fresh Mango and Cucumber. It uses pearl (israeli) cous cous which is now going to be the only cous cous I will use. I like it more then the Near East brand I have been using.

I did not add the
star anise pods. I will have to do some searching for that ingredient.I did not add the mango, not ripe enough yet. But I will use it the next time.

Pearl Cous Cous Salad with Fresh Mango and Cucumbers
Serves 4 to 5

1 1/2 cups pearl (israeli) cous cous
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 shallots, minced

2 star anise pods

1 3/4 cups vegetable broth

1 large cucumber, slices (about 2 cups)
2 cups fresh mango chunks (about 2 average sized mangoes)
1 cup diced red pepper

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Turmeric dressing

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 cup fat free or low fat sour cream

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1. Set a large pot over medium heat. Add vegetable oil, ginger, shallots, and star anise. Saute until shallots soften, about three minutes.

2. Add the cous cous and stir well to thoroughly coat each bead with the shallot mixture. Cook for an additional two minutes, until the cous cous browns slightly. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until all of the liquid as been absorbed, an additional seven to eight minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the turmeric dressing by combining all of the ingredients. Refrigerate until read to use.

4. Once the cous cous has cooked, discard the start anise pods. Toss cooked cous cous with cucumber, mango, red pepper, cilantro and turmeric dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now about that cake. The 4 Egg Cake was the go-to recipe my mom used whenever she needed a basic cake recipe that could be adjusted. By adjusting I mean add whatever she felt like putting in the cake. We needed a sweet in the house and instead of making cookies I thought this cake would be more practical. My plan was to cut the cake in quarters and freeze 3 pieces and just keep out one at a time.... We will see if that works. As for add ons I added a 1/2 of chocolate shots and a 1/2 shredded coconut. Also added a teaspoon of coconut extract.

The Four Egg Cake
1 cup vegetable shortening, like canned Crisco
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 3/4 cup sifted flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Grease and flour a 9x12 pan. Preheat ove to 350 degrees.
Mix shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time beating each for at least 3 minutes.
Stir in dry ingredients alternating with the milk and vanilla.
Pour batter into greased pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Of course Frittatta

If anyone reads my blog and I say I am cleaning out the fridge and freezer you know there will most likely be a frittatta showing up on the weekly menu.

I suppose the frittatta is my idea of the perfect food. It has veggies, sauteed to perfection, eggs, enough said, and cheese. It can be prepared ahead of time and can be served as a sandwich or just alone.

This frittatta was made with zucchini, yellow squash, onion, cauliflower, corn and potatoes. The cheeses were Fontina and American. It was delicious.

On a different note I am presently listening to Born Round by Frank Bruni. If you like food, if you grew up in a home were food was an intregal part of the family you will love this book. Last night I almost had to pull over because I was laughting so hard. Tonight I cried as I listened. It is about family, food and love in no particular order. I am glad I have memories similar to Mr. Bruni. I feel very fortunate.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Green Beans and Sauce

I had a couple of small containers of sauce, homemade and store-bought in the freezer.

The beans were from one of the batches we got from Pete, the broccoli rabe guy. They had been cleaned and blanched and frozen. Thawed the sauce and green beans, heated the sauce and added the beans. Grabbed a couple of hot dogs out of the freezer (my husband would have been looking for the meat in the dish).

When the temperature was hot I dropped in 4 eggs and poached them. I heated up baguette which was in the freezer and poured some wine and enjoyed the meal.