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Rustic Shortbread

This is another easy recipe from my friend Karla! She finds the best recipes, and I have several from her. I’m thinking about making a “Karla” section in my recipe box.

This recipe comes from the book, The 150 Best American Recipes: Indispensable Dishes from Legendary Chefs and Undiscovered Cooks (150 Best Recipes) and is super easy and versatile. I hope you love it as much as I did. Make a batch and share it with friends.

RUSTIC ROSEMARY AND PINE NUT SHORTBREAD (adapted from The 150 Best American Recipes cookbook)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted for 30-45 seconds in hot pan
  • 1 stick (8 Tb. butter) cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (more for sprinkling)
  • 1 Tb. rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup flour

Method

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  • Add sugar, rosemary and pine nuts
  • Then stir in flour to make a stiff dough
  • Spread into an ungreased  8×8 inch pan
  • Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven
  • Cool on wire rack for a couple of minutes
  • Cut into bars or squares while in the pan
  • Cool for 10 minutes more
  • Sprinkle with confectioners sugar
  • Remove, eat, enjoy, repeat!

You can tell by the photo, that I didn’t follow the directions for making bars or squares. I was in a hurry (imagine that) and when I took my shortbread out of the oven, they actually had to sit for about an hour. By the time I got around to them, they had stiffened (plus, I baked them a little longer than I should have), and when I went to cut them, they crumbled slightly. So I decided to make them rustic by breaking them into pieces, and sprinkling them with confectioners sugar. They didn’t look perfect, but tasted great, and I’m going to make more today.

Raw Appetizer Cones

My husband was out of town this past weekend, so what is a girl to do but Pin favorite things on Pinterest and then cook them! I found a new favorite website called Golubka showcasing how to make raw food, even donuts. Yes, I said donuts…raw. I love that.

The recipe for these raw cones caught my eye, though. A few months ago I had an event and couldn’t figure out how to make a salad guests could hold. This would have been the ticket, and it will be next time. Of course, I didn’t have all the ingredients, and because I was so excited, I opted to use what I had on hand rather than go to the store. So the following is my improvised version.

Next time, for my kids, I’ll add more fruit to make them sweeter.  Here’s a link to Golubka’s recipe. I followed her careful instructions, and can’t wait to make more.

RAW KIWI COCONUT APPETIZER CONES

*You will need a food dehydrator for this recipes, as with most raw recipes

  • 3 cups kiwi, peeled and chopped (I had 2 cups of kiwi, and 1 cup of oranges)
  • 1/2 the juice of a freshly squeezed orange
  • Meat of 1 Thai coconut, reserve the water from the coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 3/4 flax seed, ground (I just had regular flax seed, and ground them in a coffee grinder
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (I’m going to grind these with the flax seed next time)
  • 1 handful of parsley

Place all the ingredients in a Vitamix blender, or a food processor. You will start to see a paste come together. If the mixture looks like it needs some liquid to help it blend more, add a drizzle of the reserved coconut water until everything looks mixed together.

Take the mixture and spread it out onto dehydrator sheets sprayed with cooking spray. Try to make it smooth, but as you can tell from the picture, I still had some bumps throughout. No biggie. Dehydrate for 3 or 4 hours. I used two dehydrator sheets, and put them in the dehydrator for 4 hours. One was thicker than the other, so it had to go another 30 minutes or so.

Take them off the sheets, and cut them in half lengthwise and crosswise. Using a round dehydrator allows you to make a perfect cone after cutting, because the bottom is going to be smaller than the top. You will get 4 cones per sheet.

At this point, roll up the cones, and dehydrate them longer if you need to. Most of my cones were pliable and easily rolled into a cone. Pinch the bottom of the cone with the reserved coconut water, so all of your ingredients don’t fall out. If your cones fall, put them back in the dehydrator for 15 more minutes, until they stay rounded on their own. I couldn’t do this in my dehydrator because of the way it stacks, but like I said, for the most part they all rolled and stayed. You can put them in the oven, but baking above 118 degrees destroys the enzymes, and preserving the enzymes is why you are cooking raw. But it is an option.

Now you are ready to fill these adorable cones, you’ve slaved over for nearly 5 hours!

EASY MANGO SALAD

  • 2 mangos, peeled and julienned (next time I’m going to chop them)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 mangos
  • Slivered red onion
  • 1 handful parsley
  • Juice of one freshly squeezed lime

Take the julienned mangoes and sprinkle with salt in a glass bowl. Blend the other 2 mangoes with the parsley and squeeze the lime juice in the blender until it comes together. Mix this dressing with the reserved mangoes in the glass dish, and fill up your cones. It sounds time consuming and fussy as I’m writing all of this down, but do it on the weekend if you have a long stretch of time. If anything, you will have tried something new, and that’s always a good thing! Enjoy!

Healthy Hash Browns

I first experienced a form of these hash browns on Orcas Island,WA at a bed and breakfast called Cayou Cove. When my husband and I got home, the first thing I did was email the owners and ask (beg) for the recipe so I could duplicate them at home, which is impossible.

Maybe it’s because I’m not on vacation, and therefore have to serve myself and hungry family members, instead of being served by a smiling B&B owner who loves nothing more than to bring in a beautiful tray of heavenly food to her guests. But even though food always tastes better when someone else is serving, I’ve been making my version of Cayou Cove’s hash browns ever since.

Today I decided to bake them in ramekins instead of frying. I learned from watching a documentary that 500 calories of oil barely fills up the lower portion of your belly, while 500 calories of raw vegetables nearly fills it right up. One is the healthier option and one is not. You decide.

So I modified the recipe slightly, and set about cooking them my way. I think this option is slightly healthier. I say slightly for one good reason: a tiny pat of sinful butter during the last 10 minutes of cooking. What’re ya gonna do?

First, you have to peel, shred and soak the potatoes in a large bowl of ice water before you get started on anything else. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes.

Healthy Hash Browns (adapted from Cayou Cove)- from today, which I’ll be modifying soon. Makes 6 light-portion hash browns

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tb. flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tb. of chopped parsley
  • Minced shallot to taste – 1 Tb.

After the potatoes finish with their soak, squeeze them by handfuls to get rid of the water. Place squeezed handfuls on top of a paper towel. When you’re done extracting all the water, place in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the eggs, flour, salt, pepper and shallot together and add them to the potatoes. Give them a stir ( I use my hands) to make sure all is incorporated. Now you are ready to fill the ramekins. Just make sure you’ve buttered and floured the ramekins so the hash browns don’t stick.

Earlier I said I was going to modify the recipe. I think I’ll use 2 potatoes instead of 1. I’d like to make them twice as thick, but for portion control, I did like the size. Although I ate 3, so my strategy didn’t work very well today. What’re ya gonna do?

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, and then…here is where they become slightly less healthy…

Those little sinful pats of butter. But they are really small, they barely even count. I think.

Put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Pop them out of the ramekins and enjoy!

Easy Crepe Recipe

In honor of my friend who is moving away for more sunshine in Colorado, I’m sharing her recipe for these easy crepes with you.

My family loves crepes, and with this recipe you’ll be able to add your own variation on taste. We add zest to the batter, sometimes brown sugar, or vanilla-flavored liquid Stevia. I’ve added Cognac or Brandy on special occasions. But however you cook these, make them and think of good friendships in your life.

You won’t believe how easy this is. Are you ready?

4-3-2 Easy Crepes

4 Eggs

3 cups of Milk (Almond, Soy, Rice, or Water)

2 cups of Flour

Well, that was easy don’t you think. Whenever I’m in a bind and need to get a quick breakfast on the table, this is my go-to standby. And the best part is, my kids love them.

Method

Place all ingredients in a blender or mixing bowl. Blend/mix until you have a nice batter without any clumps of flour. Heat a non-stick pan with a thin coating of oil, then pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into pan, and swirl until you have a nice thin layer coating the bottom of the pan. Wait a short minute or two, and flip over for another 30 seconds or so. Done.

Dressing Your Crepes

Because everything wants to look it’s best! We most often put confectioner’s sugar with a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and real maple syrup. But, we also use Nutella, peanut butter, almond butter, Agave, and jam. You get the idea. Use this recipe as a base, then make it unique!

Enjoy your 4-3-2 crepe creations!

How to Cook Eggplant

Sometimes I love the art in food, rather than the food itself, but Eggplant or Aubergine is one exception. If you’ve ever wondered what in the world to do with these purple globes, here are some quick tips on how to cook eggplant.

1.Select an eggplant by pressing your finger gently into the skin, if it bounces back like the under eye skin of your youth…it’s fresh.

2.Cut the top and end off and discard. Slice into 1/2″ disks and lay them on the cutting board.

3.Eggplant is packed not only with nutrients, but also a lot of water. It’s best to extract the water for roasting, sauteing or frying. Sprinkle Kosher salt onto each slice. Then take each slice and sprinkle the back side and stack in a colander over a bowl to catch the water. At this point you can place something heavy on top to help extract the water (large bowl with a bottle of wine in it), and leave for 30 minutes.

4.After thirty minutes, take out your eggplant slices and notice how thin and dry they are. I like to give them a rinse at this point to eliminate any salt, and then pat dry before cooking.

Roasting

Drizzle your slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or so.

Eggplant Parmesan

You are probably most familiar with this recipe. Take sliced eggplant, dip them in whisked eggs, then dip them in bread crumbs, and fry in olive oil and butter for a few minutes on each side, just as you would with chicken. Top with red sauce of your choice and parmesan cheese.

Sauteing

Eggplant goes well with other vegetables too. Dice them with onion, zucchini and tomato, saute in olive oil, top with feta cheese and basil for a healthy lunch.

Eggplant is not to be feared, and once you have them properly prepared for cooking, you’ll find the options are just about limitless. Also, play around with ingredients. Roast with curry powder, or add thyme to the breadcrumbs for eggplant parmesan. And in the summer, grill them with a baste of melted butter and herbs. And if you just don’t like eggplant after trying all of these options, you could always just keep them as art on your counter in a pretty glass dish.

Inspired by White Chocolate: Peppermint Bark

DRUM ROLL PLEASE! I’m so excited to introduce a good friend of mine to the blog this Christmas! The other day we got together and this is what she bestowed upon me. I had to ask her, “Did you make these yourself?” They didn’t look homemade! They were so perfect. She agreed to supply a guest post for me on these beautiful treats. I hope you enjoy!


I am truly inspired by easy, simple, yet yummy recipes. A few weeks ago as I was snuggling up with my December issue of Food Network Magazine, I was inspired by their ’50 Edible Gifts’ insert.  I mentally tagged at least 4 recipes I wanted to make for neighbors and family this Holiday Season.  The main one I was excited to make was the White Chocolate- Peppermint Bark.  I knew the kiddos would want to help in the kitchen and this seemed to be the perfect recipe for that.

My son was napping during the making of the 1st batch of Bark and upon waking he exclaimed, “Wow that is beautiful Mom, that looks so good”.  You know, he was right.  It was beautiful and it did look so good.  I was hooked.  We have made 4 batches since.  Chocolate and mints are a favorite in this house, so therefore the taste was great too.

May you be inspired by even the simplest of things this Christmas Season. ~Karla
*Click on the link to ’50 Edible Gifts’ to get this recipe; Peppermint Bark is #46

Organic Black Quinoa Salad

We (including my children) love Quinoa. The other day I got to spend an extended time (sans lovely children) at the grocery store, where I stumbled upon organic red and black quinoa. I decided to grab a bag of the black variety, and I’m happy to say it worked just as well for a simple side dish. Let me know what you think. And as always, use what you have on hand. Try rice wine vinegar or feta cheese instead of my choices here. Have fun!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cooked black quinoa
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced, then chopped red onion
  • 2 seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 segmented orange
  • 1 chopped avocado, thin slices for garnish
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

METHOD

  • Cook quinoa following instructions (so simple, like couscous)
  • Crumble, chop and slice the veggies
  • Whisk together the vinegar and oil
  • Put it all in a bowl and mix together

This can be served hot or cold. I had it for lunch today with cold chicken I roasted a couple of days ago. It was delicious and I’m sad that it is all gone. Time to cook some more!

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT QUINOA

  • 6g protein for 1/4 cup. Which is about 2 spoonfuls.
  • One of the best sources of protein and amino acids
  • Gluten free
  • Whole grain

Pastrami,Swiss Chard and Omega Sandwich

After a long and fun weekend of putting up the Christmas tree and catching up on chores, all I wanted was a pastrami sandwich. This is my version. I hope you try it!

INGREDIENTS

~1 demi french baguette

~1/2 Tb. Horseradish

~1/2 Tb. Mayonaisse

~1 Swiss Chard leaf (torn from the stalk)

~1 Tb. Essential Woman Omega 3-6-9 (Barleans)

~1 bunch clover

~ 5-6 slices pastrami

~1 thin slice red onion

~grated parmesan

~salt and pepper

METHOD

  • Slice open the baguette and spread one side with horseradish and the other with mayo.
  • Squeeze about a Tb. of the omega oil onto each slice. (You can find this at your local grocery store in the refrigerator of the health food section.)
  • Then build your sandwich the way you like it: pastrami, swiss chard, red onion, clover//clover, swiss chard, red onion, pastrami.
  • Grate some parmesan cheese over the whole sandwich and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

A NOTE ABOUT BARLEANS ESSENTIAL WOMAN OMEGA 3-6-9

I discovered it after my son was born. It has all three omegas together without the fishy aftertaste of some capsules. It’s also organic with omega sources from: flaxseed and evening primrose. Plus, if you’re a local Seattle residence, you’ll be happy to know it’s made in Ferndale, WA.

Enjoy!

Butterscotch Yule Log

This Yule Log was a delicious surprise! I decided to go to Handwritten Recipes while surfing the internet this Thanksgiving weekend, and found THIS recipe for a Butterscotch Yule Log. We all loved it, and while I’m not too excited about the photos, there aren’t any left to take photos of.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 CUP BUTTERSCOTCH MORSELS
  • 1 TSP. VANILLA
  • 1/3 CUP SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
  • 1/3 CUP CRUSHED PECANS

METHOD

  • MELT THE BUTTERSCOTCH MORSELS IN A DOUBLE BOILER (I USE A GLASS BOWL SET ATOP A POT OF SIMMERING WATER)
  • ONCE MELTED, TAKE OFF HEAT AND ADD MILK, VANILLA, AND PECANS
  • DUMP OUT ONTO A SHEET OF WAX PAPER TOWARD THE END, AND ROLL INTO A 1 1/2″ROLL AND REFRIGERATE FOR 1 HOUR
  • ONCE REFRIGERATED, UNROLL AND CUT INTO 1/2″ ROUNDS.

VARIATION

  • NEXT TIME, I’M GOING TO DUMP OUT THE MIXED “DOUGH” INTO A SMALL PAN WITH 1″ SIDES, AND CUT INTO SQUARES
  • I OMITTED THE EGG WASH IN THE ORIGINAL RECIPE, SINCE THIS IS NOT A “BAKED” GOOD
  • I’M ANXIOUS TO TRY WHITE CHOCOLATE, DARK CHOCOLATE OR NUTELLA

Please try this recipe! It is easy and delicious and will probably be a family holiday staple!

Sausage Apple Cranberry Stuffing

This stuffing is very easy, it just takes a lot of chopping and a good couple of hours. So put on some music, and enjoy the process of making this delicious Thanksgiving staple! There’s a short video that shows you a few steps (bear with me as I learn how to make instructional videos!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 cups bread cubes (I used sourdough baguettes cut into 1″ cubes)
  • Olive Oil (I’ll give instructions for this below)
  • 2 yellow onions chopped
  • 2 celery sticks chopped
  • 2 granny smith apples chopped ( I did them larger. Do what you like)
  • 1 package oyster mushrooms
  • Handful each of: parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
  • 1 Tb. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 lb. italian sausage (sweet or hot) I used a combination
  • 1 cup fortified chicken stock (I’ll explain below)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Method for Bread cubes

  • Cut 2 baguettes into 1″ cubes
  • Place them on a cookie sheet and mix them with olive oil (as much as you desire. you can also use butter)
  • Add salt and pepper or other secret spices
  • Brown in a 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes until browned but not too crispy

Method for Veggies

  • Chop the onion, celery, apples, leek, mushrooms and saute them together until soft
  • Meanwhile chop the herbs and add them to the pan when the veggies are soft
  • Add the kosher salt and pepper
  • Cook one more minute and then add contents of the pan to the browned bread cubes

Method for Prosciutto

  • Chop prosciutto into tiny squares and saute them in the same pan the veggies were in for about 10 minutes until cooked, but not too crisp. Add to bowl with bread and veggies.

Method for Sausage

  • Brown the sausage in the same pan, then add to the bowl with bread, veggies, prosciutto.

Method for fortified Chicken Stock

  • Take a carton of chicken stock (4 cups), and bring it to a simmer. Add ingredients to fortify your stock. I used gizzards, but you could use herbs, vegetables, or whatever spices you would like to make it taste special. Strain and reserve 1 cup for the recipe, then refrigerate the rest for another time.

BRING IT ALL TOGETHER

After you have added the stock to the bowl, add the cranberries and give it all a gentle mix, but make sure everything is incorporated. Dump it out into a 13×9 casserole dish and cover and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes!

You don’t have to follow these directions exactly…do what you can, use what you have!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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