Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another delicious squash idea

We had this recipe for Winter Squash and Chicken Stew With Indian Spices and declared it the best use of winter squash we've discovered so far. I don't have any idea about it's authenticity, but it was sure delicious, and healthay and fast and easy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cauliflower Crazy!

My husband used to specifically wish to ban cauliflower from our dinner table. Well, we got a huge head in our farm box and I had to use it. Waste not, want not, right? Well, we struck it rich with this recipe for Roasted Curried Cauliflower. This was not just a tolerable way to use up the cauliflower. This was a dish we could not stop eating!!! Don't leave out the onion quarters or the cilantro garnish. The onions were just as good, if not better than the cauliflower and the bites with cilantro were totally different than ones without, also very yummy. I can't believe I'm crazy for cauliflower! Don't be scared by the "curry." This dish is packed with spices, but is not "spicy" - no burn, no heat, just delicious flavor!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Amazing Squash: I once was blind, but now I see

I used to think I didn't like Butternut Squash. I like it now! Try this recipe for Spiral Pasta with Roasted Butternut and Plum Tomatoes from the Seattle Times. You'll be converted too!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scallion-Chicken Noodles

Yum yum. That's all. Scallion-Chicken Noodles If you need this to go farther, bump up the chicken to 1 lb or thereabouts - however much came in your package. I also substitue canola oil for the peanut oil. Don't balk at the 1 cup of green onions. It doesn't take as many as you think. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beets in Vinaigrette

We have had a lot of beets from both the CSA and our own garden. This recipe for Beets in Vinaigrette is my favorite way to eat them so far. Substitute orange juice for the vinegar for another delicious variation.

Stacked Turkey Quesadillas

Someone stop me! I'm a posting machine this afternoon! Here is a favorite from my Pampered Chef Cookbook. No need to stick to the quantities listed.

Stacked Turkey Quesadillas

1 med bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
Vegetable oil
½ tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 flour tortillas (ww wraps from Trader joes are great!)
12 oz deli turkey
1 ½ c. co-jack cheese
2 T + 1 tsp snipped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400F. Heat oil in skillet. Add bell pepper, onion, chili powder and cumin; cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. On baking stone, layer 1 tortilla, half of the turkey, ½ cup of the cheese, 1 T of the cilantro and half of the vegetable mixture; repeat layers. Top with the remaining tortilla. Brush top lightly with oil. Bake 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and top begins to brown. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup cheese and 1 tsp cilantro. Continue baking 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges.

Full of Beans Salad

I really like this recipe for Full of Beans Salad. I hope you do too.

Smothered Beans with Leeks and Collard Greens

This is what we're having for dinner tonight with the leeks and collard from the farm. This is also good for lunch the next day.

Smothered Beans with Leeks and Collard Greens

1 cup dried Great Northern beans (or use 1 can of great northern or cannellini beans)
1/4 cup dried pinto beans
1 quart water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2 large)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound collard greens, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

Sort and wash beans; place in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain beans. Add 1 quart water and return beans to pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Cool. Drain beans in a colander over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid; set beans aside. Add enough water to cooking liquid to equal 3 cups; set aside.Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until leeks are tender. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer leek mixture to a large bowl; add greens. Toss well to combine.Place half of greens mixture in bottom of Dutch oven; top with beans. Spread remaining greens mixture over beans. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Pour reserved liquid over greens. Cover and simmer over medium heat 1 hour or until beans are tender, stirring once. Uncover and stir in tomatoes; simmer 10 minutes.

Salmon Club Sandwiches

It's also salmon season in the Pac NW. I served this to a friend's family and after dinner they told me they felt like they'd been out to eat at a restaurant. A restaurant with good service I hope!


6 tablespoons mayonnaise5 tablespoons minced fresh basil1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice4 5- to 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets (each about 3/4 inch thick)
8 bacon slices1 small red onion, sliced
4 ciabatta rolls8 tomato slices8 lettuce leaves

Mix mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons basil and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Mix remaining 3 tablespoons basil, olive oil and lemon juice in large glass baking dish. Add salmon to oil mixture; turn to coat. Cover; chill 1 to 4 hours.Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using tongs, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add onion to drippings in skillet. Sauté until onion is tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side (or bake in 350 degree oven). Slice ciabatta rolss and grill bread just until golden, about 2 minutes per side (or toast on low broil in the oven or even the toaster). Spread mayonnaise mixture over 1 side of bread slices. Top each of 4 bread slices with 2 bacon slices, 2 tomato slices, 1/4 of onion, 1 salmon fillet and 2 lettuce leaves. Cover with remaining bread slices.

Makes 4 servings

Curried Rice, Bacon, and Cabbage Pilaf

This is a new favorite at our house. We've had a lot of cabbage from our CSA so I've had to expand my repetoire of 2 cabbage-using recipes. You can use olive oil instead of the butter called for in this recipe for Curried Rice, Bacon, and Cabbage Pilaf

Pork Chile Verde with Posole

It's tomatillo season in Western Washington! Got some? Put 'em to good use in this hearty and oh-so-delicous Chile Verde. This does take at least 2 - 2 1/2 hours to make - but it's one of those where you just get it going in the midafternoon and then you can walk away until dinner time. Worth the trouble and provides great leftovers.

Pork Chile Verde with Posole

1 pound tomatillos, husked and washed
2 lbs boneless pork, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
flour, for dredging
2 T canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 Anaheim or poblano chiles
2 jalapenos, cored, seeded and chopped
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves (or 1 ½ tsp pre-chopped garlic)
1 ½ c canned hominy, drained
½ c chopped cilantro leaves
1 T dried oregano
2 tsps ground cumin
3 c. chicken stock


2 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
½ small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
¼ red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
Liquid hot sauce (optional)

Preheat the broiler. Set the tomatillos or green tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and slide them under the broiler. Cook, turning often, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are charred. Set them aside to cool.

Chop the tomatilllos reserving all juices.

Sprinkle the pork with the salt and pepper. Dust it with flour.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork in batches and brown it on all sides. Remove the pork from the skillet and transfer to a soup pot.

Using the same skillet, turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook it for 10 minutes, stirring often, until it is soft. Add the Anaheim or poblano chiles and jalapeno and bell peppers. Cook, stirring often, for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to the soup pot.

Stir in the hominy, cilantro, oregano, cumin, stock and the tomatillos and their juices. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 ½ hours, or until the pork is tender. Serve hot in deep bowls, with the salsa.

Meanwhile, make the salsa

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, cilantro and lime juice. Ad salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Set aside.

When ready to serve, pass the salsa to accompany the pork chile verde.

Pasta Piselli (or Pasta with Peas)

Another simple-looking dish when served, this will surprise your diners.

Pasta Piselli

1 lb pasta (mini penne or penne)
5 slices bacon, diced
1 ½ c thinly sliced yellow onions
2 t chopped garlic (not dry powder)
2 c. green peas (thawed if frozen)
½ extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ t. salt
½ tsp pepper
½ c. grated parmesan (not Kraft in the green bottle, use the good stuff!)
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf/Italian parsley
1 t. chopped fresh thyme

1. Heat skillet, med-hi, add bacon and cook ‘till golden.
2. Add onions and garlic, cook 4 minutes
3. Add peas and olive oil, cook 2 minutes, lower heat to med-low . Add salt and pepper. Start water heating. Cook pasta (keep peas mixture med-low this whole time stirring once in a while).
4. Combine pasta and peas. Add cheese and herbs. Toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Note – If you have the time start the bacon/pea mixuture and let it cook on low for up to an hour. When the Italians make this, they put the peas in a piece of crockery and stick in the side of the wood burning oven in the morning and leave it there all day.

Pasta with Lentils and Kale

Don't be deceived by this photo - this looks too healthy and simple to be delicious right? Like so many dishes, this looks plain, but is so flavorful!! My kids will ask: "Mom, do we have kale? Do we have lentils? Can we have Lentils and Kale for dinner?" And then cheer when I agree. Try this.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Caramelized Carrots's been a while since I posted. That's because I've been so busy trying to keep up with the stready stream of fresh organic produced that is pouring into my house from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture - see for more info) that we joined this summer. I have had to learn how to prepare many different vegetables that I've never eaten before! I've never prepared kohlrabi, bok choy, romanesco, cheddar cauliflower, dragon's tongue beans, italian roasting peppers and on and on. My serum phytochemical levels must be skyrocketing while my grocery bill is plummeting. Tonight we had a beautiful green salad with herbs, snap peas, cucumbers and hierloom tomatoes all from the farm as well as some boiled-then-sauteed-in-butter volunteer red fingerling potatoes from our own garden. But my favorite tonight was the carmelized carrots - some from our garden and some from the farm. Delcious! and easy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ditalini w/ Pesto, Beans and Broccoli Rabe

This recipe for Ditalini w/ Pesto, Beans and Broccoli Rabe is a winner! Cheap, easy, delicious and so, so nutritious! I can find Ditalini at Fred Meyer under the "Private Selection" label. While I normally prefer Barilla pasta, I can't find Barilla ditalini in any of my local stores. This "PS" label does an admirable job. Broccoli rabe (pronounced "Rob") is a green leafy similar in looks and taste to kale or swiss chard. It is also called rapini. It is easier and easier to find these days. Don't be scared of it - it's delicous in this dish!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

CC Salmon with Black Bean Salsa

I'm always looking for a new way to serve salmon. This one looks and taste like it's from a high-class restaurant.

Black Bean Salsa

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups corn, drained
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (1 tsp pre-chopped)
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
4 green onions, minced
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced, or 1/4 lime juice
1/2 c. olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

CC Salmon

2 lbs salmon filet
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 salt
2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Coat salmon with oil, sprinkle on salt, cumin and coriander. Bake for about 15 minutes

Mix together all the salsa ingrediants while salmon cooks.

Check fish for doneness. Serve topped with salsa.

Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella

I've blogged before about how much we like Caprese Salad (see earlier post). This pasta dish is like a caprese salad, but in entree form. It is delightfully quick and easy to prepare, and remarkably delicious for its simplicity.

Penne alla Caprese in Crud0 (Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella)

1 lb ripe and juicy cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp salt
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pound penne pasta
10 basil leaves, shredded
1/2 lb bocconcini (bite-size fresh mozarella; cut in half)

Toss the tomatoes, oil, salt and red pepper together in a large bowl. Whack the garlic with the side of a knife and toss it into the bowl. Let marniate at room temperature, tossing one or twice, for 30 minutes.

While the tomatoes are marinating, cook the pasta al dente (if you don't know what that means, send me an email).

Remove garlic from the marinated tomatoes and toss in the basil. Drain the pasta, add it to the bowl, and toss well to mix. Check the seasoning, adding salt and more crushed red pepper if necessary. Gently stir in the bocconcini and serve.

Garlic-Roasted Chicken Breasts

This is a fast and simpler way to get the taste of whole roast chicken, but well, faster and easier. This is delicious!

Garlic-Roasted Chicken Breasts

3 large garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 tsp pre-chopped)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
2 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 chicken breast halves with skin and bone (2 to 2 1/4 lb) (DO NOT use boneless, skinless)

Preheat oven to 500F with rack in upper third.

Stir together garlic, oregano, red pepper, oil, salt, and pepper.

Cut a 2-inch-long pocket (about 1 1/2 inches deep) horizontally in side of each breast half and spread 1/2 tsp garlic mixture into each pocket. coat chicken with remaining mixture (including under skin).

Roast chicken, skin side up, in a foil-lined large shallow baking pan until just cooked through (20 to 25 minutes).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hot Chocolate Reviews

Steve and I both gave each other new brands of hot chocolate to try for Christmas. I gave him a can of Schokinag's Mint Chocolate and he gave me a bag of Chocolat Vitale - European Style. Both of these were a change from the normal powdered hot chocolate's that we're all used to, but are rather composed of very small bits of chocolate. For the Schokinag you melt the chocolate in your mug first and then stir in the milk and for the the Chocolat Vitale you do the opposite. While both were delicious we both preferred the Chocolat Vitale. Both are expensive (about $10 for a decent sized can) and available at Whole Foods.

What's for Breakfast?

My husband told me I should expand my I am. I will no longer limit myself to the arduous question of "What's for dinner?", but also "What's for breakfast?"

Our favorite breakfast lately is steel-cut oatmeal - also known as pin-head or Irish Oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are oats that are chopped up into bits instead of smashed flat like classic oatmeal. They produce a hot cereal with a pleasing texture. You can pay way too much for these in one of those fancy tins or Bob's Red Mill, available nationally I think, sells a packet for a good price. The best option is to buy it from the bulk foods section. The best price around me is at PCC at $1.21/lb and that's organic to boot!

To cook for one person - place 1/3 cups oats, 1 cup water and 1/8 tsp salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low for about 10 minutes stirring occassionally. The cereal is done when all the water is absorbed and the cereal just starts to want to stick to the bottom of the pot. For 2 adults and 2 kids *(who don't eat a lot), go for 1 cup of oats, 3 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt.

Steve likes his with a touch of cream, dried cherries and turbinado sugar. I like just cream and brown sugar. Natalie likes her's loaded with golden fact she likes anything loaded with golden raisins.....

Let me know what you think! If you have leftover cereal, save it in the fridge and email me for a recipe for crackers or bread that will use it up!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This is not your Grandmother's Beef Stroganoff....

Unless of course, she made excellent beef stronganoff...

This recipe (that I put together from several others on is divine. No starchy sour cream sauce, no tough meat etc. - just flavor infused tender beef and mushrooms. While this may take a little longer than other stronganoff recipes you've seen, it's worth it, don't try to cheat and combine steps. The layering of the flavors in the sauce are the key to this dinner. I've included directions about how to get a side veggie and the noodles all done at the same time. Let me know what you think.

Beef Stroganoff

1 ½ lbs thinly sliced tender beef (flat iron steak is great)
Salt & pepper
2T olive oil
2 T butter
1 shallot
6 oz sliced mushrooms (crimini)
1 c beef broth
2 T sherry
¾ c cream
2 T chopped parsely
Salt & Pepper

1 large package egg noodles
Frozen peas or canned green beans or whatever

1. Thinly slice, pat dry and lightly salt and pepper the beef
2. Heat oil (2T) in saute pan, brown meat – remove from pan,set aside
3. Melt butter (2T), add shallot, cook till tender (2 minutes is good)
4. Add mushrooms, cook ‘till all liquid (it will come out of the mushrooms) is gone (about 12 minutes)
5. Add broth (1 cup) and sherry (2T), cook until almost all evaporated (about 14 minutes)
6. Start water boiling for egg noodles and pop a bowl of peas or green beans into the microwave, but don’t cook yet
7. Add cream (3/4 cup), any accumulated meat juice, cook for 2 minutes to thicken.
8. Press Go on the microwave, set the table.
9. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust. Stir in parsley and meat.
10. Serve over egg noodles