Sunday, February 28, 2010

Horning in

My sister has started a blog. Gee, I guess some people think anyone can do this. She is even going to publish recipes! The nerve.

Her blog, The Joy of Gluten Free Living  is about, well, eating and living gluten-free. Sounds like a complete drag to me. Not the blog, the gluten free. Imagine, not being able to tear into a loaf of crusty bread, sizzle it in olive oil and butter and then top it with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. The horror!

But, I know there are many people, my sister included, who get violently ill when they eat gluten. Joy (get it, The Joy of Gluten Free Living?) has mastered this lifestyle and she looks and feels great. She is happy and healthy and has overcome not only this health issue, but another major one as well. (It's an amazing story, I'd tell it, but that would be violating HIPAA. Wait, I'm not bound by HIPAA. Hmm...)

If you face this challenge in your life, go read her blog.

I'll give you a great recipe to start you off. I think it's GF, but Joy can tell you for sure.

Pork with Peach Salsa

3/4 lb pork tenderloin
Olive Oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
3 ripe peaches (yes, this is a great dish for summer, but you can get peaches now, if you're willing to pay...)
1 T lime juice
1 1/2 tsp honey
2 T chopped cilantro
2 jalapeno chiles, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line a baking sheet with foil. Brush tenderloin with olive oil, sprinkle cumin and oregano over pork, roast 25 minutes.

For the salsa: Cut peaches into small dice. Mix in lime juice, honey, cilantro, and jalapenos, season to taste.

Remove pork from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Slice, plate and top with salsa.

I suppose to round out this meal you could serve some rice and salad. I'm no expert at the GF thing, If need that, go ask Joy. If you don't just make the pork anyway, It is awesome.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How to Economize on Food

It's tax season. In New York State, it's always tax season, but now is the double whammy, county property taxes (as opposed to school property taxes which are due in the fall, to the tune of $5K) along with income tax season. I could rant about taxes, but that is not the purpose of my blog. Instead, I will talk about how I pinch pennies to pay those damnable taxes. After all, everyone has to economize at some point.

I used to disdain stores like Aldi and Price Rite. Inferior quality, low-brow, ghetto, I thought. Then Priscilla beat me about the head and shoulders until I came to my senses. There is nothing wrong with going to the low-rent grocery store to buy basics. But that is it. Don't be distracted by cheap meat or frozen food. By basics, I mean eggs, sugar, oil, milk, cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, etc. The prices are significantly lower than stores like my favorite, Wegmans.

In the summer, I go to farmer's markets where the produce is better than anything you can get in a store. That's a no-brainer, I'm sure you all do that. Or at least you should. And if you don't, I will think you are foolish, or worse. And we all know we don't want that.

The other great place to grocery shop is at small, ethnic markets. The chinese grocery is great for buying really fresh produce in the winter. A bunch of cilantro will cost $1.99 at the big grocery, and .50 at the Chinese store. They also have the most wonderful mangos, atulfo, or champagne mangos. Weggies sells these beauties occasionally for $3.00 a piece. I buy a case (because my kids will inhale them) for $12.00.

I go to the Amish store for bulk items like the five different kinds of flour I told you must have. (I think I have more than that, but you mere mortals can content yourself with five.  It is good to have a freezer to store all this bulk flour in because it doesn't get bugs in it from sitting.

Oh Lord, I can't finish imparting my wisdom right now, those children think they need to do their homework. More later...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Boeuf Bourguinon Goes Teenage

So Hannah really wanted to cook for me for my birthday. She started thinking about it the day before. She asked what she should make and I told to go down and look in the freezer and see what kind of meat we had. She came back up and rattled off a few choices. Then she had an "Aha" moment. She asked, "What kind of meat do you make Boeuf Bouguinon with?" I was so impressed with the way she was thinking, I let it go by without even correcting her grammar. Why, a chuck roast will do, I told her. She brought one up and put it in the fridge to defrost overnight.

Here is a picture of Hannah with her girl scout troop she is third from the left.

The next day, I left around 11:30 to go to the New York State Ice Wine Festival. Now, I don't like sweet wine, at all, but a friend invited me to go and I decided to keep an open mind. I am really glad I did. Although most of the wine was dreadfully sweet, a few were actually complex enough for me to appreciate them. A Cabernet Franc was superb.

Ice wine is wine that is made with grapes that have been allowed to freeze on the vine and are then hand picked in the freezing cold. It is really expensive, mostly I'm sure because it is really a drag to pick grapes in the snow. Or worse, freezing rain.

The festival was actually quite nice. Vendors were sampling everything from wine ice cream and chocolate flavored cigars to microgreens and cupcakes. There was fake blackjack to be played and a guy throwing fire batons. They were serving cocktails outside on a bar carved out of ice. A jazz combo played  nice music. Then we went to lunch and had fabulous crepes. Thanks, Deb!

When I came home, Hannah had cleaned up from the pancakes I made for breakfast and she had done a really nice, thorough job. She started to make a cake and stew. (Is it alright to call Julia's masterpiece stew? Not really, but I'm tired of typing Boeuf Bourguinon every time. Oops, did it again.) It took four hours and two trips to the store. She got nervous along the way, but a little (nice) encouragement from me (this means I didn't call her a dork) and she did just fine. The cake was incredible. I don't even know what recipe she used and I was busy drinking champagne and cosmos with Meagan, but it involved melting chocolate chips and raspberry jam and then drizzling that into whipped butter. It was (and still is) yummy.

All in all, a great birthday, now back to reality.



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fantasy Birthday Dinner

Well, the Mendon Foodie is another year older today. Ugh! Not that I mind, really. I like myself so much better as a wise (okay, wise-ass) 40 something (okay, late forty-something) than I ever did before. When I hit forty, I left behind caring what other people thought of me, (to a large extent) and decided that what I thought about myself was most important. However, I still reserve the right to judge your bad cooking. You can judge me if you want, I just won't care.

I am taking a well-deserved birthday break from cooking today. I did make eggs and toast this morning, but only because I wake up at ungodly hours of the morning and I just don't think it would be humane to force Steve to get up at 5:30 to make me breakfast when he didn't come to bed until 2:00. A wonderful friend invited me to lunch today, at the restaurant of my choosing. I chose Simply Crepes. I prefer restaurants where they actually cook the food, as opposed to heating up something frozen. And don't kid yourselves, most of the national chains cook food that comes to them pre-done in some fashion. Do you think Pizzeria Uno could make the pizza taste the same at every store if they relied on the workers to make it from scratch? Hardly. I haven't written too much about restaurants as this is really a cooking blog, but I think I may have to delve into that topic with more frequency. I don't go out to eat very often, as I usually think what I can make at home is better, but a restaurant where they really cook, and care about the quality is a treat. I shall enjoy it today.

So breakfast is over, lunch is in the bag, what about dinner?

Well, if Steve could cook ( he thinks he can cook, mostly he stirs things. And when he tries to cook he makes giant messes. He can use every dish in the kitchen to cook some pasta and heat up some leftover red sauce.) I would have him make something along these lines:

First, I would want something to start that goes well with champagne. You all know by now how I feel about champagne, or rather, sparkling wine, since champagne is out of my budget, mostly. I love Perrier Jouet and would be exceedingly happy to start out with a bottle of it. To nosh along with it, perhaps Smoked Salmon with Crispy Shallots, since it is winter and we can't use the grill. Otherwise, I would probably want some grilled shrimp with a pistachio chutney or perfectly grilled flatbread or pizza with goat cheese and kalamata olives and basil.

Next, I must have a fabulous salad. Maytag blue cheese, glazed walnuts, korean pear, and artisan baby lettuces with a honey-red wine vinaigrette. Nothing better. Ever.

For a main course, I think I would have Steve make something meaty. You can't go wrong with a nice expensive cut of meat. I am partial to rack of lamb, rib eye steak, and veal chops. With no grill available until spring, my mouth waters thinking about the juicy, buttery meat sizzling right off the grill, with a mint chimichurri sauce to really bring the flavor alive. (And yes, I know the grill still works and I not too wimpy to stand out there and grill in the cold, but experimentation has taught me that the ambient temperature needs to be at least 40 degrees in order for the grill to get hot enough to sear meat properly.)

Dessert? Hmm, creme brulée maybe?

And so, I'm also not leaving you with any recipes today, just go cook something good. And send me the recipe. Think of it as a birthday gift to me. If I like it, I'll publish it. If I don't like it, well, just this once, I won't make fun of it.

You see, I think what it boils down to is that I think good food doesn't have to be complicated. Fresh, good quality food doesn't require fancy preparations, just some care and good techniques. So skip the romaine in a bag and wash the damn artisan baby lettuce once in a while. It's worth it. Let me know how it goes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pork and Porcini Ragout

I don't believe I can add much to Priscilla's fabulous guest post. I know you're not used to such a love fest here, but it is Valentine's day and we did drink Champagne. The Pork and Porcini ragout (circonflex over the "u", I'd put it myself, but blogger doesn't have it and I am too lazy to copy and paste from word) was one of the best I have ever made, thanks in part to the Benton's Country Bacon and Prosciutto that Prissie contributed to the collection of pork products. Pork is Prissie's one and only favorite meat, in its many forms. She can't stand beef, tolerates chicken, likes lamb a bit, but loves all kinds of pork. It's a good thing she is only nominally Jewish, she'd starve if she had to keep kosher. This recipe is really pretty easy to make and boy is it good, if I don't say so myself.

Pork and Porcini Ragout (yeah, yeah, circonflex and all that)

2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Italian sausages, cut into chunks
1 boneless pork loin chop, cut into small dice
3 slices bacon, cut into lardons
2-3 slices prosciutto, slivered
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 C dried porcinis, soaked in hot water until softened
1/2 cup mushroom, sliced
1 28 ounce can tomato puree
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 or so fresh basil, chiffonade
salt and pepper

Heat 2 T olive oil in a heavy bottomed, preferably enameled, dutch oven, or heavy skillet. Saute the bacon, pork loin, and sausage until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove from pan with slotted spoon. Add carrots, celery, shallot, and garlic and saute until slightly caramelized, about 3-4 minutes. Add white wine and scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add tomato puree, prosciutto, reserved meats, porcinis, mushrooms, and basil and simmer for about 30 minutes or longer. Add some of the porcini soaking liquid, but watch out for the sediment on the bottom, Yuck. Add a little water if it gets too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Add cream at the end. Serve over pasta.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Taking over for a Drunk Cook

Well, this is a true pleasure.  The Mendon Foodie has been undone by her own cooking and a little too much champagne. As June's NPLP (non-practicing Lesbian partner - aka BFF, part time wife, almost sister), I, Priscilla, have been allowed access to June's Blog site.  Of course it is the day before Valentine's Day -and I have declared  2/13 as NPLP night - the night that Best friends celebrate by cooking for each other and drinking way too much Champagne.  So ditch your husbands, boyfriends and one night stands and find a girlfriend you love and start cooking.

Here is what June and  I are having for dinner:  Champagne....(oh my God, she just kissed my forehead), some bruschetta thing that June made up, salad, and Porcini Ragout. First of all I want to thank June for preventing me from saying "ragout" it public.  Did you know, this word is pronounced "Ragu" ? -  something that I thought only Chef Boy-R-Dee made for my kids when no one was looking. (Wait, June just poured me more champagne.  God, I love her) Anyhow, June can give you the recipes - I'll just provide the ambiance.  June made the bruschetta with Wegman's Organic Miche Bread (NOTE:  there is a circonflex over the "i" according to the MENDON FOODIE).  As far as I am concerned it was just plain good bread.  She fried it up in olive oil and butter and somewhere she added a little garlic.  Once the bread was all fried up, she melted buffalo mozzarella and threw on a bunch of sliced cherry tomatoes with fresh basil, olive oil and garlic.  It was so good, I almost thought of leaving my husband and crossing to the OTHER side.  Almost. She just didn't make enough for me to have a second slice.   Anyhow, I will leave the ragout thing for her to write about tomorrow as June overcomes her 2/13 NPLP hanghover.  Likewise for the salad which the Mendon Foodie has asked me to inform everyone is incredible.  Here is the thing about being the NPLP of the Mendon Foodie.  IT IS GREAT.  I totally believe her when she says that the salad is AMAZING.  I mean you guys get to read her blog, but I get to eat her food.  So here is to you - all you readers - DON'T be jealous because I actually get to eat June's food.  Find your own NPLP - just make sure they know how to cook.

Yours Truely,

Miss Prissy.

Rack of Lamb-What I always cook for Valentines's Day

What a boring title for a post! My blogging mentor, Laura, instructs me that I must revise my titles- although she likes them, they are not good search engine fodder. I'll see how it goes, I'm not sure if I can have boring post titles.

But what, dear June, does that have to do with Rack of Lamb? Nothing, of course! So here's the deal: I think it is ridiculous to try to secure a reservation for Valentine's day weeks in advance to an over-priced restaurant which will be too crowded to get good food and good service anyway. I think the smart thing to do is to splurge on a nice, expensive piece of meat that you wouldn't ordinarily buy and cook at home for your Valentine.

Arghhh! (Laura also told me I have to keep my paragraphs shorter. Three to four sentences. I'm not liking it. I totally have more to say in the last paragraph. I'll continue below)

So, what are my choices, June, for good expensive meat that I can cook easily and not ruin? Well, I like rack of lamb. It is easy to cook, doesn't take too long, and you don't have to do too much to it to make it good. Other choices are: thick veal chops, filet mignon, scallops, and the obvious lobster and crab. Any of these are going to set you back a few bucks, but think of how much you would spend to go eat these in a restaurant! And you can make it better at home anyway!

Here's my super easy, can't screw it up rack of lamb:

(Oh, and lamb can be cooked to medium and not be ruined, it is very forgiving in a way beef is not.)

Heat oven to 450 degrees

Combine in a bowl
1 c fresh breadcrumbs, tear a baguette into small pieces or pulse in a food processor
1 green onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 T chopped fresh mint (I'll buy it even though it annoys me to buy it in the winter. It is an invasive weed. Everytime I see mint in my garden, I pull  it. And I still always have enough to make any recipe calling for any amount of mint.)
2 T toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

Combine above ingredients in a bowl.

2 T Dijon mustard

Coat roasting pan with 1 T olive oil. Put roasting pan in the oven and heat for about 5 minutes. Season lamb with salt and pepper and place fat side down in roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Take out of oven and spread 1 T Dijon on fat side of lamb. Press half bread crumb mixture onto lamb. Turn over and repeat on the other side. Roast for 15 more minutes until 130 degrees in center for rare.

You can roast potatoes alongside the lamb, even in the same pan. Cut them into small chunks and toss 'em in. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper. Baste them with some lamb fat when you take out the lamb to put on the breadcrumbs.

Serve with a mixed green salad with shaved parmesan, arugula, and a lemon vinaigrette. Maybe throw in some sauteed mushrooms with the salad. Roast some asparagus or baby artichokes to go with the lamb, too. Get a good bottle of red wine. Isn't this better and more fun than going out? Maybe your Valentine will be so appreciative, he'll do the dishes. Or something else.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Something funny happened on the way to the kitchen...

Funny cooking story of the day, from my cousin, Julie in Cali:

Tonight I tried a new recipe, Turkey Noodle Casserole from Rachael Ray, topped with gruyere and breadcrumbs. I put it in the broiler to melt the cheese/brown the crumbs. Had it too close to the heat so the breadcrumbs burned. I thought I 'd scrape them off. Hubby gets the idea to try the Shop Vac. It was working until ...he got "greedy" and sucked up a 4th of the cheesy topping.

This was so funny I almost cried. Of course there are more things wrong with this than just the visual of her husband sucking cheese with a shop vac, but that mental picture makes me laugh so hard. Shop vac and casserole do not belong in the same context. Almost any Rachel Ray recipe is annoying, mostly because she is annoying. Turkey Noodle casserole must be bad, just from the name. (I just googled it. I think I might gag just from reading the recipe.) Make it if you want to make something disgusting. I am still laughing so hard I can't even think of a good alternative to this vile concoction.

And a note to those of you who can't remember the definition of roasting (and you know who you are):Roasting anything is always done in an open pan in a nice, hot oven. Covering anything you want to roast results in steaming, not roasting, you dweeb. But hey, that's what I'm here for. Now to figure out what to do about my cousin... 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Filthy Spammers

I am sorry that I have had to turn on word verification for comments. I really didn't want to, but I have been getting a lot of spam comments lately. I also didn't want to moderate comments because it leaves the impression that a blogger may reject comments she doesn't like. I wouldn't reject them, I would just give it back as good as I got it!

So, the word verification is a compromise. I am moderating comments on posts older than two weeks as that is where a lot of the spam ones end up. Thanks for going along with the word verification.

And remember: leave a comment!

Quick Dinner

I had planned on making stuffed chicken breasts tonight, but lost my motivation. I still need to cook dinner, though, and those chicken breasts are still staring at me in the fridge. I also have no time tonight and dinner needs to be done by 5:00pm as we are being forced to go to a stupid "Wellness Night" at school where the administrators will all parade around in designer track suits and the gym teachers will act like they are important to our children's education. Oh, and they will promote their frozen organic low-fat baked chicken nugget lunches. I might want to puke. But I won't because we will have eaten a fabulous meal beforehand and I won't be tempted to eat their plain yogurt topped with granola and raisin snacks. I decided to pan-roast the chicken breasts with some sage and lemon and serve them with sauteed mushrooms and roasted carrots and sweet potatoes. Dinner's in the oven right now, it took less than twenty minutes. Here was my plan of attack:

1. I peeled six carrots and cut them into pieces. I cut two sweet potatoes into chunks. I threw all of it on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled salt and pepper, dusted it all with cumin, tossed it in the oven at 425.
2. I heated 2 T of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet. I removed the breast bone(the long white one) from the breasts that still had it, but left the rib bones. I will re-iterate for those of you who may have forgotten: BONELESS, SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS ARE THE STUPIDEST FOOD ON THE PLANET, if you don't count spam, or organic, low-fat, baked chicken nuggets. The skin and bones add flavor and keep it from drying out. Which it will, if you take them off. I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and put them skin-side down in the heated skillet and let the skin get nice and brown. While they were browning, I threw in some chopped sage. When the skin side was brown, I turned them over, squeezed a lemon over them, threw the rest of the lemon into the pan with the chicken, and then put the whole thing in the oven. It will be done in about 40 minutes. In a few minutes I will start sauteing the mushrooms in butter, making sure not to crowd them so that they brown so nicely, a la Julia Child. See you at wellness night. I'll betcha to get there in time you made organic, low-fat, baked chicken nuggets. Sucker.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Am I boring you?

My friend Priscilla told me yesterday that the reason she hasn't read my blog in a while is that I have become too tame. Priscilla is a great friend, a great erstwhile writer, and a great cook. Her Christmas letters are legendary. Her husband won't let her send them to his family, mostly because she can't write one without using the word penis. In a Christmas letter.

She said that my blogs were still good, informative, but I hadn't ripped anyone a new one in way too long. Mind you,  it's not that I can't find targets, but I live in a small town and I do want to be able to go to school concerts without running into ex-friends whom I have excoriated. And it's not that I don't like them, but really, after all, if you can't cook, don't pretend that you can. I don't pretend that I am a chef, but my standards rise slightly above the Sandra Lee school of take-it-out-of-a-box-and-doctor-it-up. I also think that if you use disgusting ingredients to feed your family, you should keep it to yourself.

Which brings me to my boss. Now, you might find it ironic, (I certainly do), that I work part-time at a church. I am the secretary.  My job as the church secretary is a welcome respite, a job in which they are always happy with my work, in fact they are delighted to have me. (As they should be. I am seriously underemployed in this job.) My boss, the pastor, is a really nice guy, with a sense of humor. He is easy to work for. But, you may ask, what does this have to do with cooking?

The pastor thinks he can cook. I have told him that I have a food blog. I have told him that on my blog I make fun of people who can't cook or cook stupid things. He has no self-awareness about his cooking choices. And that makes it really hard to make fun of him, because I wouldn't want hurt his feelings. Really, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I just want to lift you out of your dreary kitchens and bring some spark to your dinner table. And we have to learn from example, don't we? My good example, other's bad ones? I feel it is my job, my calling, to point out your shortcomings. And lift myself up as a role-model. (now, if you can't read those last sentences with a little humor, just go away.)

So, the other day, the pastor is chatting in the office with one of his colleagues who happened to drop in, and he mentioned that he had spent some time the previous evening with another friend. "We went back to my house and I whipped up some pâté."  I raised my eyebrows. "Really?" "Yeah, I opened a can of spam and added some pickle juice and mayonnaise and we ate it with crackers." My eye started to twitch. My tongue started to bleed because I had bitten it so hard. I inhaled deeply to suppress my latent urge to sneer. I looked at him and said, "You're just begging me to make fun of you on my blog, aren't you?" He gave me a blank look and went back to talking about his late night feast with no realization that it was the spam  pâté to which I was referring. I went back to typing. That is the kindest thing I have done in a month. But you can't say I didn't warn him....

In his honor, because after all, he is a good boss,  I  will make Chicken Liver pâté  with Pistachios today and I will bring him a ramekin of it tomorrow. This recipe makes a lot. And it keeps for two weeks. The first two local people who comment will receive their own ramekin of this treat. If  I like you.

2 sticks softened unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons melted
3 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 pounds chicken livers, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup dry Marsala
1/2 cup chicken stock
11/4 cups salted roasted pistachios, 1/2 cup chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped thyme

  1. In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the softened butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken livers, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning a few times, until firm, about 4 minutes. Add the Marsala and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer, turning the livers a few times, until the livers are light pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the skillet mixture cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer 10 of the livers to a plate. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender and puree. Cut the remain­ing 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter into tablespoons. With the machine on, add the butter and blend until it is completely incorporated.
  3. Scrape the puree into a large bowl. Cut the reserved 10 livers into 1/2-inch pieces and fold them in, along with the whole pistachios, parsley and thyme. Generously season the pâté with salt and pepper. Spoon the pâté into four 1 1/2-cup ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  4. Pour 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over each pâté to seal it, then garnish with the chopped pistachios. Cover the ramekins and refrigerate until the butter is firm, about 20 minutes
    The pâté can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Made this up yesterday

Last night I planned on making some Chinese dumplings for dinner, and I did. When one makes dumplings for dinner, one needs to augment the meal with some other vegetables, or rice, or something. I hadn't really planned beyond the dumplings, so I looked in the fridge and cupboard and came up with a few things. Here was the menu:

Japanese spicy cucumber pickles from a package (Oh Horrors!)
Rice, with Japanese rice Furikake
Tea eggs
Eggplant with Chili Garlic Sauce
Korean beef soup with shitakes and spinach

So, the one I made up on the spur of the moment was the soup. And boy was it good. Why did I call this soup Korean? Because I used a Korean beef stock base. I know, I know, I always tell you that buying stock is wrong and stupid and for lazy people who like to throw away their money. And generally, it is. You don't need another lecture on the evils of $3 cartons of stock. Okay, yes you do. Throw some bones in a stock pot, (I'll even let you do it in the crock (shudder) pot.) and simmer. How hard can it be? But in this case, the Korean soup stock base is something I probably can't duplicate. I tasted it first when we were down in DC and went to the fabulous H Mart, about which I have already told you. Remember? Are you paying attention?

The beef base and Japanese rice condiments

Korean Soup

Soak a handful of shitake mushrooms in hot water until soft, about 20 minutes.
Heat 3 cups of water and add two tsp of soup base. Simmer until base is disolved, about five minutes. Add shittakes and several handfuls of fresh spinach. Cook until spinach wilts. Add a tsp of sesame oil and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Eat. Yum.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spinach Salad

This recipe for Spinach Salad came from my sister. She used to own a little cafe and people would clamor for the recipe for the dressing. She wouldn't give it out. But she gave it to ME! Now that the cafe is closed, I feel she wouldn't mind if I published it.

I had planned on taking a picture of Hannah making the dressing, but I decided to shoot some impromptu video. It's not great, but hey, don't watch if you don't want to.

I filled the memory card on the camera before I finished the video. Oh well. We topped some lovely spinach with bacon, hard cooked eggs, red onion, and mushrooms and drizzled the dressing over the top. One of my favorites!  Hannah's, too!

Aunt Joy's Spinach Salad
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c wine vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp poppy seeds

We also made Roasted Garlic Pesto with shrimp and linguine. Really good. I pan-seared the shrimp instead of just sauteing them. I like the nice brown crust pan searing gives shrimp. Maybe that'll be my next video.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Turkey Leftovers, the sequel

It appears my dear cousin doesn't keep up with my blog, as she asked me on Facebook today for ideas for turkey leftovers. I am so utterly gracious, I will give her some new ones in addition to the ones here.

I am just going to link to a few recipes today as I don't have time to enter any. Here is green mole from Bon Appetit. I made this a few years ago and it was great. Just make the sauce and then heat the leftover turkey in it.

Another easy leftover turkey recipe: Get some Dinosaur Barbeque sauce and make some hot turkey sandwiches with cole slaw.

Here is my Grandma Toni's/ Grandma Foodie (my mom)'s recipe for cole slaw, It is the best EVER!

Thinly slice cabbage. Add chopped celery and red onion. Put in MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF sliced GREEN OLIVES WITH PIMENTO. This is the KEY ingredient. They used to put a bottled dressing on it that is no longer available. I find this recipe to be a good substitute.

  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt, to taste
Mix it all together and toss.

Monday, February 1, 2010

English Chicken Curry

Grandma Foodie is off in Florida visiting relatives and cooking dinner for massive crowds almost every night. She called and requested I put up this recipe from her dear friend in California, Sandy. Sandy is from the U.K. and this recipe is an authentic version of English Curry, which as you may (or may  not) know is the British adaptation of Indian food from Colonial days. While the Indians may turn up their noses at it, I would not. You'd be bloody daft not to try it, too. (Do you like my sly British vocab references? I find myself ever so clever. Simply brilliant.)

The point is: this is damn good stuff. I made it to take down to DC with us on our recent trip. It is a great dish to make ahead, you can adjust the quantity as needed, and everybody loves it. Even my mother-in-law. Which is saying something, because, hey, if it is not Italian, it is "so unusual".

As Sandy said, this is her own made-up recipe, so adjust the spices as you like. It also has no measurements. Sorry., but it will be good practice for you.

Sandy's Chicken Curry

Add plenty of sliced onions to pan and fry in ghee or oil for about 20 minutes, slowly until golden brown. Add lots of chopped garlic and fresh grated ginger. Fry for two minutes. In another pan, add ghee or oil and add garam masala, cumin, coriander, tumeric, red pepper flakes, and curry powder. Use them to your taste, but use a little at a time.

Add onions to spices after they have been fried. In another pan, brown chicken thighs for a few minutes, then add to onion mix along with a couple of chopped tomatoes, use canned if you like, half a cup of coconut cream, and salt and pepper. Sandy also adds some par-boiled, chopped potatoes, but you do as you like. Simmer with lid on for 20 mins, then with lid off for 10 mins. Add a little water or cream if it is too dry. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and over basmati rice.

There you go, Grandma Foodie, get cookin'.