Wednesday, December 26, 2012


If you want to feed a crowd a lasagna is the way to go.  You can make it ahead of time and then bake it when you are ready.

1 pound Lasagna noodles 
41/2 cups tomato sauce (I used a jar spaghetti sauce)
1 pound ricotta cheese
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 pound hot Italian sausage (Mine was in the sausage casings so I removed it and used the ground meat)
1 pound ground pork sausage
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Cook the sausage and beef together.  Drain off fat.  Boil 6 quarts of water, add pinch of salt, and cook pasta to almost done. Remove from water and shock in ice bath.  In a 10-by-14-by-3-inch baking pan or dish, pour 1 cup of tomato sauce in bottom and around sides. Layer lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan, overlapping by 1/2-inch. Add 1/3 amount of ricotta, 1/3 amount of mozzarella, 1/3 amount of sausage, then sprinkle generously with the Parmesan, add 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Repeat this 2 more times.   On the very top sheet, top with remaining ricotta, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and dust with Parmesan. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for approximately 45 minutes until cheese is nice and bubbly. Remove from oven; let sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately.  You can layer this however you want but it will still come out fantastic!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Spinach Chicken Salad

I wanted to do something somewhat healthy for an alternative to the holiday dinner so I opted for salad.

Spinach Chicken Salad
Chicken breasts, grilled
Spinach (from local farmers market)
Green lettuce mixture (from local farmers market)
Feta Cheese, crumbled (from local farmers market)
Dried Cranberries
Bacon, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
Hard cooked eggs, 1 per salad quartered (from local farmers market)
Poppy Seed Dressing

Arrange items on a plate or bowl.  Add dressing and serve.

Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup honey (from local farmers market)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh onion puree (I used the fine part of the cheese grater for this)
1 cup olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Put all ingredients into a small jar and shake until well mixed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Cocktails 2012

Well I had to do another post this year with Christmas Cocktails.  So here is what we made this year.

These recipes, except for one came from the Cocktail Flow app that I have on my IPad.

Holiday Almond
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 part gin
1/2 part Amaretto
1 dash lime juice
Ice Cubes
Place ice cubes into snifter glass.  Pour ingredients into the glass and stir together.

Holiday Hopper
1 part midori
1/2 part mint liqueur (I used peppermint schnapps)
1/2 part White Creme De Cacao (I only had clear which is what I used)
2 parts half & half (1:1 milk and cream)
Ice cubes
Add ice cubes to the shaker.  Pour ingredients into the shaker, shake.  Strain into a cocktail glass.

Peppermint Kiss 
This was my drink and my personal favorite
1 part vodka
1/2 part peppermint schnapps
1 part midori
3 parts pineapple juice
1/2 part lemon juice
Ice cubes
Ad ice cubes to shaker, pour ingredients into the shaker, shake.  Strain into an ice filled collins glass.  I added a candy cane for a garnish.

Silent Night
My husband's concoction
1/2 part creme de menthe liquor
1/2 part creme de cacao
1 part grenadine
1 part tequila
Place ingredients into a martini glass and stir.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning

I have found that I really like my homemade taco seasoning.  You can add some kick to it if you like but it has great flavor and I think tastes better than the store bought mix.

Here is the recipe for the taco seasoning:
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground pepper

There is enough seasoning for 2 different meals.  Use about 2 tablespoons per 1 pound of grass fed ground beef.  Brown ground beef and then add seasoning and about 1/2 cup of water.  Cook until seasoning and water is absorbed. 

The tacos are store bought organic corn tacos.  The toppings included vegetarian refried beans, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa and avocado.  

Here are some helpful tips:
I grind my own cumin, it has such a better freshness to it.  I place about 1 tablespoon or so of cumin seed into a coffee grinder (be careful not to use the same one you would make coffee in).  Grind seeds until it turns into a fine powder.  Remove cumin powder to a small spice jar.  To clean your grinder just add some rice (white or brown, doesn't matter) to it and grind.  Dump rice out and wipe out grinder, you may have to do this a couple of times to get the smell out and for it to be clean.

I like to slice the lettuce for tacos and the easiest way to do this is to use a plastic knife.  Using a plastic knife to cut the lettuce will help the lettuce to not turn brown.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Turkey Carcass Soup

I am sure that by now you have given up on me posting new recipes to my blog.  I am back after being away for a while and then getting a cold.

At Thanksgiving I knew I wanted to do something with the carcass but knew that I would not have time after Thanksgiving due to traveling, so we froze the carcass so that it could be used later.

My first challenge in trying to make soup with the carcass was to find a pan large enough.  The turkey was 17 pounds which makes the bones on the larger scale.  I ended up using a lobster pot, which was wide enough.

Add carcass to a pan and add enough water to cover.  Place on stove, cover and cook for a while.  A lot will depend on the heat that the carcass is being cooked.  Any leftover meat will fall from the bones. You will want to remove the bones from the broth.  Pick any meat off that didn't come off and add back to the pan.  The fat pieces and undesirable pieces (things you don't want in your soup) will float to the top, just skim them off with a small sieve or strainer.

Add to the broth the following:
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 small onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used Japanese sweet potatoes)
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
2 cups of rice
1 bag baby spinach
Add the vegetables and cook until tender, add spices.  Add enough spices to your taste.  Add rice and cook until soft over medium heat.   Once ready to serve add spinach and cook until wilted (this will not take very long).  Serve.

You can really add any vegetables that you want to this soup and you can use noodles instead of rice.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ground Beef Soup with Garlic Bread

Back in April I fixed this soup with Chorizo Sausage.  I am in my mom's kitchen helping out and thought it might be nice to make soup for dinner.  Full of lots of great vegetables and is a hearty soup.  I thought I would try this with ground beef and I thought it came out really nice.

Ground Beef Soup
1 package of ground beef (about 3/4 pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of chicken broth
1 - 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 can each of chickpeas and kidney beans, drained and rinsed, mix together
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
A small amount of crushed red pepper (depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1-1/2 cups pasta (I used chiocciole shaped pasta - looks like a large macaroni)
1 - 6 ounce bag baby spinach
Parmesan Cheese

Add ground beef to a (medium heat) 6 quart dutch oven that has the olive oil added.  Cook, stirring often breaking meat into bite sized chunks (don't make them too small, you want to get those bites of meat as you eat the soup.  Cook until brown.  It there is a lot of fat, spoon some of it out.  Add carrots, onion, and garlic.  Cook until onion is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add herbs and stir until fragrant.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes (with juice), add about 3/4 of the bean mixture and bring to a boil (you can add more of the beans but you want to make sure that you have enough liquid to cook the pasta in).  Bring soup to a boil, add pasta, cover and cook for 10 minutes until pasta is tender.  Stir in spinach (a little at a time) until wilted.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Also, if you want more place some more crushed red pepper at the table.

Garlic Bread
1/2 loaf sourdough boule bread, sliced
2 sticks of butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Place butter and garlic into a saucepan.  Let the butter melt and simmer.  Do not let the butter over cook and turn brown.  Place bread slices onto a baking pan and place into an oven that has been turned to broil.  Keep an eye on the bread, you want it to brown but not burn.  Flip bread over and do the same for the other side.  Take a spoon and spoon butter mixture over bread slices and place the pan back into the oven to brown.  Be careful, it can over brown very quickly.

I also served this meal with a side salad, consisting of lettuce and tomato.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Walnut, Raisin, Cranberry French Toast

I bought a loaf of bread at the bakery on Wednesday.  I thought that this bread (walnut, raisin, cranberry) sounded really good so I bought a loaf.

Decided that french toast made with this bread would be really good this morning.

Walnut Raisin Cranberry French Toast
Slice bread into 1/2 inch slices.  In a small dish add 2 eggs, add some milk and whisk.  Add a splash of vanilla and a teaspoon of cinnamon.  Add enough milk to make a the egg mixture smooth.  Preheat a pan to medium, add a little bit of oil if needed (I used coconut oil).  Add one slice of bread to the egg milk mixture, coat each side and place in pan.  Cook on each side until golden brown.  Remove from pan and place on a plate covered in foil until all bread is done.  Make more egg, milk, vanilla, cinnamon mixture as needed.  Serve with fresh sliced banana and maple syrup.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

I hope that as you read this that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yourself.  We had a nice day as well.  Below is everything I made with the recipes.  Hope you enjoy!

Our turkey has come from Auburnlea Farms in Gladys, Virginia.  The turkey is pasture raised and all natural.  The turkey is 17-1/2 pounds.

This year I decided to brine my turkey.  I borrowed a recipe from a friend.

Turkey Brine
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Place all ingredients into a pan and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until the sugar and salt dissolves.  Place brine into a large bowl and add 2 quarts of ice cold water.  Let it cool.  Once cool, place turkey (that has been rinsed off and gizzard bag from inside removed)  into brining bag, add brine and place in refrigerator 4 to 6 hours or overnight.  I left mine in the brine overnight.  Once brined and ready to be cooked.  Remove turkey from brine and bag, rinse off and pat dry.

Roast Turkey
3 carrots (rinsed and top end cut off), cut into large chunks
1 large onion, peeled and chopped into chunks
Small bunch of fresh parsley
Small bunch of fresh tarragon
Small bunch of fresh sage
Butter, softened
Place some of the onion, carrots and some fresh herbs into the cavity of the bird.  Pull the skin away from the breasts by taking a dull butter knife and carefully separate the skin from the breast.  Be careful not to poke the knife through.  Place some of the fresh herbs into this part of the turkey as well as some butter.  Place turkey into a large roasting pan.  Add some onions and carrots to the roasting pan around the turkey.  Rub the turkey with butter, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.  Add about 1 cup of water around the pan (don't pour the water over the turkey).  Place turkey into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven.   To reach the internal temperature of 165 degree Fahrenheit it took about 3-1/2 hours to cook.  I basted this turkey about every hour or so.  I added to the basting liquid 1 full bottle of chardonnay during the basting time.  Remove turkey from oven, place on large cutting board or platter, cover with foil and let rest.  Cut up turkey when you are ready.

While the turkey is cooking, take gizzards and add them to a saucepan add water and let simmer on the back of the stove.  Add more water as needed.  Once the turkey comes out of the oven, strain the carrots and onions from the juices from the pan and then add them back to the roasting pan.  Place roaster onto the stove top and bring liquid to a boil.  I added a quart of chicken broth (that I had in the freezer). To thicken it I use Arrowroot.

Corn Pudding
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
6 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
6 cups frozen corn (I am using the corn that we froze during the summer)

Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together eggs, cream and butter.  Gradually add sugar mixture, whisking until smooth; stir in corn.  Pour into a lightly greased oblong baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and set.  Stick a knife blade into the middle and it will be done when it comes out pretty clean.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Pecan Pie
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup pecans
1 - 8 inch unbaked pie shell
Cream butter, sugar and eggs.  Add molasses, flour, vanilla, and salt.  Stir in water and pecans.  Pour into unbaked pie shell.  Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes; then at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts 
This is a Jamie Deen Recipe that I got off the Food Network
1 strip of bacon, sliced into thin strips
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
6 ounces Brussels sprouts (2 big handfuls)
Pinch brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Cook the bacon until crisp in a large skillet.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.  While the bacon is cooking, cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts.  Then chop the Brussels sprouts in half.  Lay them cut-side-down and finely chop until they are all shredded.  Add the garlic and shallots to the skillet and saute until fragrant and the shallots are soft, 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the Brussels sprouts and saute until tender crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add a pinch of brown sugar.  Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice.  Saute for 1 minute more.  Toss with the chopped parsley and bacon.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons butter
Coconut milk
Place chunks of sweet potatoes into a pan, add water and bring to a boil.  Cook until tender.  Drain, add cooked sweet potatoes back to the pan and place back on stove, add butter and mash.  Add a small amount of coconut milk until you reach the correct consistency. Add a little bit of salt and pepper.

The finished dish.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sore Throat Remedy

I was doing a little searching online and came across a remedy that you can make ahead for a sore throat.  Once I read something about this I did some more searching and decided to make some of my own.

Sore Throat Remedy
1 lemon
Raw Honey (unpasteurized, unprocessed)
Slice a lemon in half and then each half again.  Thinly slice each section of lemon and place into a small mason jar.  Remove seeds as you go along.  You probably will not be able to use all the lemon, really depends on the size of your jar.  Add honey until lemon slices are coated.  Place in refrigerator. When needed, remove from refrigerator and place 1 heaping tablespoon into a cup of boiling water and drink, like you are making tea.  It is supposed to relieve a sore throat.  I have tried it, minus the sore throat, and it tasted really good.

I also saw a few people who had added fresh peeled and chopped ginger.  I may make another jar with ginger so that I have a choice when I need it. Also, I read that as you use it you can continue to top it off with more honey and lemon slices.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Burgers on the Grill

We were really hungry for burgers so we decided to have them for dinner tonight.  We got this meat from EcoFriendly Foods, who were at our local farmers market.  The meat is called bacon burger.  It is a mix of ground beef with bacon added to it.  The meat had a super wonderful smokiness to it.  It really tasted like you had bacon on the burger. We bought it and patted the meat into 4 burgers and grilled them to a perfect medium.  Served the meal with baked beans, tater tots, salad and all the fixin's for the burger.  

The burgers were cooked on a grill for 4 minutes per side at 500 degree Fahrenheit.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bratwurst Sausage Pepper Sandwiches

I haven't made this in a while and this made for a simple and easy dinner.

The Bratwurst is made by Niman Ranch.  I picked it up at the local store.

I bought this really cute bag of mixed colored bell peppers (yellow, orange and red) that contained small little peppers (peppers that didn't get big but had gotten their color).  I will never buy a bag like this again unless I decide to make some kind of pickled peppers.  They took forever to slice and remove the seeds.  To the sliced peppers I added a thinly sliced onion.  Place onions and peppers into a preheated skillet with a little bit of butter and olive oil.  Cook onions and peppers until tender.   Remove cooked peppers and then add the bratwurst to the pan and cook until done.

Add pepper mixture and bratwurst to a sub bun.  Serve.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pecan Waffles

This recipe comes from a cookbook that was published in 1959 called the Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking.  The book has some really great recipes in it.

Pecan Waffles
2 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1-1/4 cups milk
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans
Sift dry ingredients.  Beat egg yolks.  Add milk and melted shortening.  Beat thoroughly.  Add to dry ingredients.  Combine quickly by using a whisk.  Gently fold in eggs whites, beaten stiff but not dry.  Add chopped pecans.  Bake in a waffle maker for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Serve with a pat of butter and heated maple syrup.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Grilled Tuna with Rice and Salad

I apologize for being away for so long.  I have not been home and in my kitchen.  Tonight was the first time in a long time we actually had a chance to sit down at the dining room table and eat dinner, which made it very relaxing.

Marinated Grilled Tuna
The following measurements are approximate
1/4 cup tamari
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
juice of 1 lemon
Mix all ingredients together and place into a plastic bag.  Add tuna steaks.  Let marinate for about 20 minutes.  Place tuna on a preheated 600 degree Fahrenheit grill.  Grill for 3 minutes per side.  This was a little too long as we like our tuna a little more on the rare side.  The tuna we purchased from which always has the best seafood.

I bought this rice that is called Organic Volcano Rice.  It is made by Lotus Foods.  This particular rice is described as A colorful blend of prized traditional brown and red rice grown on West Java's mineral rich volcanic soil.  I can say one thing about this rice, it was really good.  I cooked the rice per the package instructions.

A side salad was served along with this meal which consisted of lettuce, tomato, carrots, green peppers with oil and vinegar for a salad dressing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Greek Avgolemono Soup

I made this soup tonight for a pot luck dinner. I just doubled the recipe to take tonight. I put the soup in my crock pot and carry it that way, it helps to keep it warm.

Avgolemono Soup
Avgolemono is a Greek word for egg - lemon.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, white parts finely chopped (4 cups) - save the larger green parts of the leek, freeze them to make broth with later
1 small onion, finally chopped (1 cup)
2 small carrots, peeled and diced (3/4 cup)
6 cups homemade chicken broth 
1/2 cup orzo pasta
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Lemon Wedges, for garnish

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add leaks, onion, carrots, and pinch of salt; cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are softened, stirring often.  Stir in broth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.  Add orzo and cook 11 minutes more, or until orzo is tender.   Remove from heat.  Whisk together eggs and lemon juice in bowl.  Add 3 ladles soup broth to egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Whisk egg mixture back into soup, and cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until soup is thickened but without letting it come to a boil.  Serve sprinkled with parsley, mint, and oregano, and garnished with lemon wedges.

**Note:  When reheating this soup, warm it over low heat without bringing it to a boil, to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Feel free to decide how finely chopped you want the vegetables.  I have done it many different ways.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beef Pasta Dish

I was trying to figure out what to call tonight's dinner.  I first goulash but I looked up the definition of that and it said that to be called goulash it paprika would be used, well I didn't use any paprika so I just went with beef pasta dish.

Beef Pasta Dish
1/2 package elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 pound ground beef sausage (this is what we used which comes from a local source Mountain Run Farm, but you can use just ground beef)
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large clove of garlic, pressed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar of homemade tomato sauce 
A small amount of tomato paste (see note below)
Dried oregano
Dried basil
Brushetta Herb mix
Salt and Pepper
In a large skillet, add a little bit of olive oil and heat skillet to medium high.  Add onion and cook until soft, add garlic.  Add beef and break into small pieces as it cooks.  Add bell pepper and tomato sauce.  Cook until beef is cooked through.  Add diced tomatoes with juice and a small amount of tomato paste.  Mix all ingredients together.  Add herbs (I used a couple of pinches of each but it will be really up to your taste) and stir.  Add cooked macaroni to meat mixture and stir. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Note:  When using a can of tomato paste, (usually you only use a tablespoon or two) I freeze the leftovers into a small snack sized ziploc bag.  Mash tomato paste so that it is flat in the bag, place in freezer.  The tomato paste won't stick to the inside of the bag once frozen, you will be able to remove it from the freezer and using a sharp knife cut off a section that you will need to cook with, place the bag back in freezer to use for next time.  That way you have no waste.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Steak Dinner with all the Fixin's

Okay so there is a storm barreling down on us on the east coast, in this part of Virginia I think we will make it through okay.  I am hoping that everyone else that Hurricane Sandy effects will be okay.  Even though for us it is really windy (which we could not have predicted when we decided to have steak for dinner) we cooked out on the grill anyway.  We bought this steak and bacon (which I used for this meal) from a local company called Eco Friendly Foods.  The steak has been aged for 60 days.  If you have never had an aged steak you don't know what you are missing.  Aged beef can be so tender and the flavor incredible.  Of course on the flip side it can be a bit pricey, so you may only want to do an aged steak every once in a while.  I was not disappointed at all on the flavor and tenderness of this steak. Along with a really wonderful steak, you have to have the perfect sides to go along with that.  For me it is a baked potato with sour cream.  In this house we don't eat too many white potatoes so this is a treat for sure.  Below is everything I made for tonight's dinner.

Grilled 60 Day Aged Steak
Aged Rib Eye Steak (we only had 1 which was plenty for the both of us)
Salt and Pepper
Place steak on a platter and sprinkle on both sides with fresh ground sea salt and pepper.  Place steak on a preheated grill, heated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook steak on each side for 3 minutes.  This will give you a perfect medium rare.  Don't cook it anymore than that because it will dry the steak out and make it tough.

Baked Potato with all the garnishes along with cooked asparagus joined this meal.

Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
1 package of bacon cooked (The bacon I used was a hickory smoked bacon)
Iceberg lettuce
Blue cheese crumbles
Blue cheese dressing (recipe below)
Remove the other layer of the lettuce (usually it is the one that doesn't look that nice), cut the root part of the head of lettuce, then cut the head in half and half again.  Place one wedge onto a plate.  Note: If you use a plastic knife to cut the lettuce it won't cause the lettuce to brown.  Crumble slices of bacon over lettuce, add salad dressing a few more crumbles of bacon and a couple of pieces of blue cheese.  Top with some fresh ground black pepper.

Blue Cheese Dressing
4 ounces of blue cheese (I used Maytag Blue Cheese, which I love for its flavor), chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
Snips of fresh chives
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Mix all ingredients into a bowl.  If the dressing is too thick, use more buttermilk or juice.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baked Salmon with Chipotle Smoked Sea Salt

Baked Salmon with Chipotle Smoked Sea Salt
3 - 4 ounce salmon filets (we purchase ours from
Chipotle smoked sea salt (we got this really awesome mixture of salts (6 in all) when we ordered from seabear)
Fresh ground pepper
Olive Oil
Heat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Place filets onto a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place into oven and cook for about 20 minutes.  Cook until fish gently flakes, don't overcook it.  When you go to remove the salmon from the cookie sheet use a thin metal spatula and wedge it in between the skin and the salmon.  The skin will stick to the pan.

Along with this meal was cooked fresh asparagus and a side salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, yellow bell pepper, dried cranberries,  sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, avocado, oil and vinegar).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Roast Chicken and Baked Sweet Potatoes

I am finally starting to get back into the groove of planning for meals again.  I gotten away from that and am finally getting back on track.  When you have things that you keep in the freezer you have to be able to plan to thaw things out.  I was thinking ahead the other day when I decided to do a roast chicken.

Roast Chicken
3 - 4 pound whole chicken
Onion, peeled and quartered
Fresh sage
Fresh marjoram
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Salt and Pepper
Place chicken into a baking pan (I used an oval shaped dutch oven), place onion and herbs into the cavity of the chicken.  Bend the wings backwards and down and tuck them under the main part of the bird.  This takes a little practice.  (My husband put the chicken into the pan and oven for me and didn't realize that he didn't know to do this, so the chicken wings are sticking up).  Drizzle chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place into a 350 degree oven and cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes.  Check internal temperature of chicken.  The internal temperature should be 165 degree Fahrenheit. If temperature of chicken is not up to the temperature that you need place back into oven and cook a little longer.

Baked Sweet Potatoes
The sweet potatoes I used for this are Japanese sweet potatoes.
Take washed sweet potatoes, poke holes into potato with a fork, roll up in foil and place in oven (on the lowest shelf)  at the same time you put the chicken in the oven. They should be fork tender when done.  If for some reason they are not done.  Place them into a bowl with lid (minus the foil) and place in microwave for 3 minutes to finish the cooking time. (Our sweet potatoes took a little longer to cook so I finished them in the microwave) Slice sweet potatoes, add a little bit of butter and some cinnamon sugar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pot Roast with Spatzles

Pot Roast
1 - 4 to 5 pound grass fed top sirloin roast (you could really use anything)
1/2 cup water
1 onion, coarsely chopped 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red wine
Place roast in a large pan (that has a lid).  In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients, pour over roast.  Place pan into a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour.  Spoon sauce over roast.  Raise temperature of oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit, place lid on pan and cook for about 1 hour more.  Depending on the size of your roast, you may have to cook it longer.  You will want it to get to an internal temperature of 165 degree Fahrenheit.  Remove roast from pan, tent with foil to rest.  Place pan with sauce in it on the stove top and cook until reduced.  Make sure that you stir it so that it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.  Serve  sauce over sliced meat. 

I make these without a spatzle maker.  I have one but don't use it because quite frankly, I hate to clean it.  So I drop the dough by uses spoons.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup water
Butter (to toss cooked spatzle with)
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a bowl; make a well in the center.  Add eggs and water to well and mix thoroughly.  Scoop up dough on a spoon and with another spoon cut off small little pieces of dough into a pot of boiling salted water.  As the spatzle rise to the top, remove with a slotted spoon and put into a covered bowl with a little bit of butter until all are made.  Toss with more butter if needed and serve. 

I served this meal with cooked frozen green peas.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beef and Bean Chili

I know you have got to be thinking, Has Sue been cooking in her kitchen at all?  The answer is no.  I have been out of town and Fall is a really busy time where I live.  There are several different outdoor activities to do.  I am ready to get back into my kitchen and start cooking once again, so please stay with me as I try to come up with new recipes.

I would love to hear from you, what is your favorite fall/winter food?  Is it an old family recipe? or something you have created on your own?  Please share with me, I would love to know.

The weather has cooled and a big pot of chili is so fitting.

Beef and Bean Chili
1 pound grass fed ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (I had this on hand, but a green one will do)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drainer and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
A couple of fresh tomatoes, chopped (these came from our garden)
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin (I always grind my own, so much fresher)
Dash of paprika
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of parsley
Cheddar cheese, grated
Sour cream
In a large pot, add onion and cook until soft.  Add bell pepper and garlic, cook until garlic is super fragrant.  Add spices, cook mixing in with onion and pepper.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans, stir.  Add a little bit of salt and pepper.  Let cook, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  (The seasonings above are approximate, I don't really measure - adjust for your taste, if you like it hot and spicy add more chili powder and maybe a little cayenne pepper).  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Serve with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Back in March I recreated a dish that I liked when we were in Alaska, Smoked Salmon with Cream Sauce and Pasta.  I am trying something different tonight and here is what I did, it is more like a kicked up grown up version of mac and cheese.

6 ounce package of smoked salmon, drained of any juices and chopped with a fork until you no longer have huge chunks of salmon (you want to be able to see that you have salmon in the pasta)

1/2 of a 16 ounce bag of pasta (I used a Fusilli pasta), cooked
1 tomato de-seeded and diced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
about a 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
about a 1/4 cup Romano Cheese, grated
Bechamel Sauce (recipe below)

Bechamel Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, blend in flour with a wooden spoon, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without turning more than a buttery yellow color.  Remove from heat, and when bubbling stops, vigorously whisk in all the hot milk at once.  Place back on heat and bring to a boil, whisking until thick.  Simmer, stirring for 2 minutes.  Season to taste.

Once the Bechamel Sauce is done, add a little bit of the parmesan and romano cheese. Stir until slightly melted.  Stir in artichokes and smoked salmon, add tomato.  Add sauce mixture to the pasta and toss until pasta is coated.  To serve top pasta with a little bit of  grated parmesan and romano cheese.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lemon Butter Black Cod with Sauteed Kale

This has been a crazy past moth and a half, I have been running here and there and have been out of town and away from my own kitchen.  Finally after almost a week a homemade dinner.  The fall seems like it always ends up being a little hectic, things that you want to do, things you must do to prepare for the winter, etc.  It has been this way for me, more of the things I have to do versus the things I want to do.  The area of Virginia that we live in has many fall activities and for some weekends it is hard to pick just one thing that you would like to do, but in reality sometimes that doesn't work.  Here is what I made tonight, you may have seen these down before but it is nice to make something that you know works.

Lemon Butter Baked Black Cod 
This is fish that we get shipped to us from a company called SeaBear.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.   Place a piece of foil onto a baking sheet (this will make clean up easier) and create an edge so that the lemon butter mixture you pour over the fish won't run off.  Place about 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a pan on the stove, add the juice of 1 lemon, stir while melting butter.   Add some fresh ground pepper and some salt to the butter mixture, stir and remove from heat.  Pour over fish.  Place fish in oven and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes until fish flakes with fork.  About half-way through baking baste the fish.

Sauteed Kale

This is a Bobby Flay Food Network Recipe
1-1/2 pound bunch of kale, washed/soaked, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water (I used water)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until soft , but not colored.  Raise the heat to high, add the water and kale and toss to combine.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all of the liquid has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste  and add vinegar.  Serve.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

The weather has turned cool all of a sudden (today anyway) and I thought it would be the perfect day to make a pot of soup.

I had a chicken carcass that I had put in the freezer from one of our leftover dinners.  Yesterday I placed the frozen carcass into the crock pot, added water and let it cook from yesterday until late today.  I used this broth for the soup today.  Just strain the liquid from the crock pot and place into a pan.  It measured about 6 cups give or take.  Here is the link on how I normally make chicken broth .

2 raw chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
Several small carrots (I used some that I got out of the garden yesterday)
1 small green pepper (from our garden), diced
1/2 half of a red pepper, diced
1 small vidalia onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and Pepper
The above amounts are estimates, adjust to your taste.  Also, I am allergic to celery so I used green and red pepper in place of it.  Add vegetables to the broth, add raw chicken.  Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or so, add herbs and let cook a little longer and adjust seasoning.  When close to the time you are ready to eat, bring the soup to a boil and add the noodles of your choice, cook until tender.  Serve.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Redo

I was at the grocery store yesterday and was looking around at what I might pick up for dinner.  I first picked up some chicken breasts, having no idea how I was going to cook them.  As I wandered around the store I thought what about chicken cordon bleu?  I could do my own version of it.  So here is what I did.

1 chicken breast split into 2
Small hand full fresh parsley
Couple of small sections fresh oregano
1 small stalk fresh tarragon
Sliced ham
Sliced Havarti cheese
2 eggs
Seasoned bread crumbs
Cooking twine
Finely chop parsley, oregano and tarragon.  Pound chicken flat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place a small amount of herbs onto both chicken breasts.  Layer ham and cheese over herbs.  Carefully roll up chicken breast and tie in 2 places with twine. Roll tied chicken into flour to coat, then egg to coat and then into seasoned bread crumbs.  Add chicken to a greased baking dish and place into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and cook for about 30-45 minutes.  Use a thermometer to check internal temperature, you want it to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Serve with vegetables.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grilled Eye of Round Roast

I have never grilled a whole roast on the grill before so this was a whole new experience.  It was my husbands idea to do this.  He is the grill master in our house.

Grilled Eye of Round Roast
I used a store bought barbecue seasoning rub that I used for this roast.  Rub roast with seasoning.  Preheat grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place roast on grill and sear on each side for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook to an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit, turning occasionally.  Remove from heat, cover, let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.  Cooked to this temperature ensured meat that was cooked to medium.

Grilled Potatoes and Onions
Slice new potatoes leaving skin on them.  Add to a packet of foil potatoes, sliced red onion and a pat or two of butter.  Seal up and place on grill and grill for 5 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit and moved to upper rack for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with a side of cooked spinach

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sweet Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon

Today there was a little taste of fall in the air.  This summer has been so hot and humid.   It is starting to cool off some and I really hope that it continues.  I am ready for cooler weather.  The fall and cooler weather makes me immediately think of soup, don't ask me why I don't know.  I thought a sweet potato soup would be great.  I dug through some recipes and found this one, it is from the Food Network, the recipe is called Nutty Sweet Potato Soup.  The only difference is that I added smoked salmon to the soup bowls.

Sweet Potato Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups_
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
6 cups homemade chicken broth 
1 (14.5) ounce can of diced tomatoes, with juice
2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion greens (about 3 scallions)
  • Salt to Taste
  • Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.  Add cayenne, black pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more.  Stir in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  
  • Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in 2 batches and return to the soup pot.  Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts.  Serve warm, garnished with the scallions.   Add salt to taste ( I use homemade chicken broth that doesn't contain any salt).
**Note:  I use a Vitamix blender which has a way of blending spices that really bring out their natural flavors.  Because of this I think I would add slightly less cayenne pepper.  I would also add the peanut butter and honey while some of the soup was in the blender.  The peanut butter, although it melted, didn't really become smooth.  I added smoked salmon from seabear (this is where we buy our seafood) to the bowls before adding the soup.  The salmon added a nice flavor and of course added some great protein. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grilled Salmon with Corn and Grilled Romaine Lettuce

We got this fantastic salmon from SeaBear.  The salmon is Copper River Coho Salmon.  It was delivered fresh.  Copper River Coho has an orange red flesh which is firm and slightly milder, and delicate texture.  This is our favorite of all salmon.

Grilled Salmon
I used a local made barbecue sauce which has a little bite to it.  Place salmon on a platter and brush with barbecue sauce.  Heat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, place a piece of foil (we used grilling foil) on the grill.  Place salmon on the grill skin side up, cook for 5 minutes and then flip, add a little more sauce and grill for 5-7 more minutes.  The size of fish we grilled weighed about 6 ounces each.

Corn on the Cob
I cooked my corn in a pot of water on the stove.  The amount you cook it will depend a lot on how long the water boils for etc.  You want the corn to be tender but not mushy.  Serve with butter, salt and pepper.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce
Take 1 head of romaine lettuce, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, sprinkle with garlic powder.  Place romaine on the grill over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Remove from grill sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve.  If needed add olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Asparagus

Okay you are probably thinking that the title of this post is pretty boring.  Well let me tell you dinner tonight was anything but boning.  My husband had errands to run today so I asked him to do me a favor.  I asked him if he would go to the grocery store while he was out and pick up some ingredients for dinner.  I told him to pick up a protein and then whatever else he wanted.  I would then do my own version of the show Chopped in my kitchen.  If you have never seen this show, it is where they give you a basket with some crazy ingredients and you have to make something from it.

Here is what he brought home:
Chicken Breasts
New Potatoes
Sliced Baby Portabella Mushrooms
As you can see it was a lot of different things.  When it was time to make dinner he said okay it is time, pulled the ingredients from the refrigerator, laid them on the counter and said okay here you go.  I stood back and took each ingredient in and thought, What in the world am I going to do with this?  After thinking for a little bit I started to do some things.  I decided I was going to mash the potatoes and cook the asparagus in water.  Other than that I had no idea.  It took me a little bit of time to finally come up with my game plan as I was thinking and as I had started to cook.  Everything came into place.  As I give the recipes for tonight's dinner I will highlight in bold where the purchased ingredient was used.
Here is what I did:

Sauteed Chicken Breasts
2 split chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch
bread crumbs
Lime Juice 
Spice Mixture (I used a spice mix called One Spice, it contains: Parsley flakes, pepper, lemon seasoning, garlic, onion powder, spices, sage, thyme, salt, cornstarch, paprika, sugar and canola oil)
Olive oil
Squeeze lime juice over chicken and make sure that each side of the chicken is coated with lime juice. In a small bowl add some bread crumbs and spice together (add just enough to add flavor, don't over do it).
Dredge the chicken breasts in bread crumb mixture and place on a platter.  In a skillet over medium high heat, heat butter and olive oil. Add chicken, cook on both sides until done.

Mashed New Potatoes
2 New potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 Leek
1 package Portabella mushrooms
Coconut milk
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper
Cut the root end off of a leek as well as the top.  Cut the leak in half longways and rinse under water.  The leek has many layers and you want to make sure that all the dirt is gone from each little section.  Dice the leek into small bite sized pieces.  In a skillet heat some butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and cook until soft and browned.  Transfer to a bowl to keep warm.  Add a teaspoon of butter to the same pan as the mushrooms and add leeks.  Cook leeks until just soft.  Remove from heat and set aside to keep warm.  In a saucepan add potatoes and water.   Place over high heat and cook until tender.  Remove from heat, drain cooked potatoes.  Add cooked potatoes back into pan and set over low heat to remove any excess moisture.  Add butter and mash, add cooked leeks and a small amount of coconut milk.  Continue to mash until smooth and the consistency you want.  Remove to a bowl and stir in cooked mushrooms.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cooked Asparagus
Asparagus, washed and snapped
Sea Salt (I used a bamboo scented sea salt)
Add asparagus to a pan of water and cook over high heat until asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from water to a dish, add a tablespoon of butter and some sea salt.

Roasted Blueberries and Figs
Ginger, very small piece peeled
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rinse and sort blueberries, add to a small roasting pan. Rinse figs.  Remove stem, cut in half and then in half again, add to roasting pan.  Grate ginger over fruit, only add enough to give some flavor, add a small amount of sugar (maybe 1 teaspoon) Stir fruit lightly with a spoon to incorporate everything.  Place pan in oven.  Cook for 5 minutes, stir and cook for 5 minutes more.  It won't take very long to get everything nice and soft.  Remove from pan to a serving dish.  Serve warm.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Standing Rib Roast with Horseradish Crust

Last Saturday we traveled to our local farm Mountain Run Farm to get some meats to fill our freezer.  When getting the items we wanted I found this magnificent looking rib roast.  We were having company this weekend and my thought went immediately to hum I think I could make this for our guests.  This is the meal I made last night.

I searched for recipes to make.  There are several out there but I came across this one done by Tyler Florence and it a Food Network recipe.

This is the recipe as written, I will leave my notes on the side of what I did)
Standing Rib Roast with Horseradish Crust
1 - (3-rib) prime rib beef roast, about 6 pounds.  (My roast was a 4 rib and was over 7 pounds)
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
Needles from 2 fresh rosemary sprigs (I used 3 large sprigs)
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup sea salt
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (I used 3 large carrots)
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks (I used 3 parsnips)
1 red onion, halved (I used 3 small ones)
1 head garlic, halved
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lay the beef in a large roasting pan with the bone side down.  (The ribs act as a natural roasting rack).
In a small bowl mash together the garlic, horseradish, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil to make a paste. Massage the paste generously over the entire roast.  Scatter the vegetables around the meat and drizzle with a 2-count of oil.  Put the pan in the oven and roast the beef for about 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours for medium-rare (or approximately 20 minutes per pound).  Check the internal temperature of the roast several place with an instant read thermometer; it should register 125 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare.  Remove the beef to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes.  The internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise by about 10 degrees.  Remove the the vegetable and set aside.
(I used a probe thermometer to help me keep track of how the roast was doing as it was cooking, I didn't want to continue to open the oven door.  Once the roast was close to the temperature, I used the instant read thermometer).  I served the vegetables with the meal, they vegetables had a nice caramelized quality.
Another Note: This is a great recipe to place into the oven and have fun with your guests.  I then got our guests involved in the rest of the cooking process which was a lot of fun for everyone.

Mashed Japanese Sweet Potatoes
2-1/2 pounds of Japanese sweet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup coconut milk mixed with 1/4 cup water or 1/2 cup half and half (I went with the coconut milk)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into large cubes and drop them into boiling water.  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain and return to the pan.
Shake the potatoes in the pan over medium heat until the excess moisture evaporates.  Reduce heat to low and add the butter to the potatoes; mash light with a potato masher.  Gradually add the coconut milk, mashing lightly between additions, until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
This is the same recipe I made the other night but I decided to leave the vanilla out of the recipe and just opt for salt and pepper.

Steamed Green Beans
We still have some green beans coming out of our garden so I made some steamed green beans to go along with this meal. 
Place green beans into a steamer and cover.  Place steamer over a pan with about 1 inch of water.  Place on stove and bring to a boil.   Cook until beans are tender.  Remove from heat, place beans into a bowl, add a little bit of butter and some sea salt.  Serve

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Citrus Glazed Black Cod with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans

I went searching the Internet for dinner recipes and ideas.  I found two recipes for tonight's dinner on the Internet, not the ton of cookbooks I have on my shelf (which I really need to use more often).  The first recipe for the Black Cod came from Martha Stewart and the second for the mashed sweet potatoes came from a fellow blogger, blog name Jan's Sushi bar.  I knew that I wanted to bake the cod and was looking for ideas when I came across the recipe.  The other, you know how we love Japanese sweet potatoes, so I looked for mashed recipes and saw this and thought this is perfect.

Citrus Glazed Black Cod
4 - 6 ounce black cod filets
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (I used the juice from the whole lime)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Tamari)
Thinly sliced mint leaves, for garnish
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish (I didn't actually have any fresh scallions so I chose to use some dried chives)
Coarse Salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray baking dish with cooking spray.  Season fish with salt and pepper and place in prepared dish.  Meanwhile, add brown sugar, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer until thick and syrupy, 4 to 5 minutes.  Spoon about 1 teaspoon of glaze evenly over each cod filet; reserve any remaining glaze.  Transfer baking dish to oven and bake until opaque and just cooked through, about 12 minutes.  Garnish with mint and scallions; serve with reserved glaze.
***I only used 2 pieces of fish but made the entire amount of glaze.

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2-1/2 pounds of Japanese sweet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup coconut milk mixed with 1/4 cup water or 1/2 cup half and half (I went with the coconut milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into large cubes and drop them into boiling water.  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain and return to the pan.
Shake the potatoes in the pan over medium heat until the excess moisture evaporates.  Reduce heat to low and add the butter and vanilla to the potatoes; mash light with a potato masher.  Gradually add the coconut milk, mashing lightly between additions, until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
***Since I was only cooking for 2 I cut this recipe in half.

Steamed Green Beans
We are still getting green beans out of our garden and so there is nothing better than fresh beans.
Place green beans into a steamer and cover.  Place steamer over a pan with about 1 inch of water.  Place on stove and bring to a boil.   Cook until beans are tender.  Remove from heat, place beans into a bowl, add a little bit of butter and some sea salt.  Serve

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spinach Tomato Quiche

Who doesn't love quiche?  Well okay there may be a few people out there that don't.   This is what I decided to make for dinner tonight.  

Spinach Tomato Quiche
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
1 - 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1 - 9 inch refrigerated pre-made pie crust (makes it quick this way)
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
12-14 grape tomatoes, sliced thin
5 eggs
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon dill weed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat, add onion and cook until soft.  Add spinach and stir until spinach is dry, about 3 minutes.  Cool slightly.  
Sprinkle both cheeses over bottom of pie crust.   Top with spinach mixture and layer the tomatoes over the spinach.  Beat eggs, cottage cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and dill weed in a large bowl to blend.  Pour over spinach.  Bake until filling is set, about 50 minutes.   Cool slightly, cut into wedges and serve.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Baked Salmon and Shredded Brussels Sprouts

I saw the Brussels sprout recipe one day when I was flipping channels and decided that I had to make them.

Baked Salmon
We had 4 ounce salmon filets and decided to cook three filets for the two of use.
Place filets onto a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  I used a sea salt that was infused with garlic. Place into a 275 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts 
This is a Jamie Deen Recipe that I got off the Food Network
1 strip of bacon, sliced into thin strips
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
6 ounces Brussels sprouts (2 big handfuls)
Pinch brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Cook the bacon until crisp in a large skillet.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.  While the bacon is cooking, cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts.  Then chop the Brussels sprouts in half.  Lay them cut-side-down and finely chop until they are all shredded.  Add the garlic and shallots to the skillet and saute until fragrant and the shallots are soft, 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the Brussels sprouts and saute until tender crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add a pinch of brown sugar.  Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice.  Saute for 1 minute more.  Toss with the chopped parsley and bacon.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pot Roast with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus

Finally remembered to pull a roast from the freezer to thaw.  I have wanted a roast for a while but kept forgetting to take it from the freezer.  Decided to make a recipe from the Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook.

California Pot Roast
1 - 4 to 5 pound rump roast (can use chuck or round roast)
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 cups tomato sauce, fresh or canned (I used fresh)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Rub roast with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil over medium high heat, brown roast for about 3 minutes per side.  Place the meat in a slow cooker with the water, tomato sauce, onion and garlic.  Cook on low heat all day, for about 5 or 6 hours.
About 1-1/4 hours before you are ready to eat, combine brown sugar, dry mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.  Pour over meat, and continue cooking for another hour until fork tender.
Remove meat, slice, and place on a warm platter.  Meanwhile, let the sauce thicken by simmering on the stove for a few minutes; pour over sliced roast and serve.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil
clove of garlic, peeled
Place cut sweet potatoes and garlic into a ziploc bag, add just enough olive oil to coat the potatoes.  Pour potatoes and garlic onto a cookie sheet.  Spread sweet potatoes out so that they have enough room and are not over lapped.  Cook in a preheated 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 30 minutes.  The time will depend on the size of the chunks of potatoes.  You want them slightly browned and tender.

Cooked Asparagus with Citrus and Caper Aioli
I got this recipe out of a magazine at a doctors office or somewhere there was a waiting room.  I find when I am looking at magazines in a waiting room I find all kinds of wonderful sounded recipes.  I use my cell phone to photograph the recipe.  Sometimes you have to photograph it in parts but as long as you have it you are good to go.  I wish I knew what magazine this came out of so that I could give it credit (if anyone knows please comment and tell me).
For less heat, omit the Calabrian chiles and add a pinch of dried crushed red pepper.
2 large eggs
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2-1/4 cups olive oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 Calabrian or other hot chile pepper, stem removed (I used crushed red pepper since I didn't have the others)
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until well blended.  With processor on, slowly pour in oil; process until smooth.  Add chile and next 3 ingredients, pulsing until well mixed.  If aioli is too thick, stir in water until it reached the desired consistency.  Makes 3 cups.
The recipe uses this over grilled asparagus.  Since we were not grilling out I decided to use this over cooked asparagus.  Place wash and snapped asparagus into a pot of salted boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.  The time make change depending on the diameter of the asparagus.  Drizzle aioli over cooked asparagus.
One note about this aioli:  I used extra virgin olive oil which has a strong taste so you may want to adjust your seasonings to your liking.  Also this aioli would be great for sandwiches.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chef Salad

I want to apologize for not posting for a while.  Last week we lost our home Internet for about 4 days and our mobile devices couldn't get a good enough signal to post anything.  It was very frustrating.  I was also away at a GFWC VA Conference over the weekend.  I didn't cook much of anything in the kitchen during that time, so you didn't miss anything.

The other night my husband roasted a ham in the oven so tonight I decided to use that ham in a large chef salad.  Here were the ingredients:

Ham (nitrate free)
Yellow bell pepper
Cheddar Cheese
Swiss Cheese
Ground pepper
French Dressing

Homemade French Dressing
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 cup ketchup
3/4 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients into a jar and shake until mixed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Summer Relish and Cataloupe Feta Salad

Last night we had a pot luck supper at a local farm.  It is where like minded people can get together, have good quality food to eat, share ideas, sell vegetables, jams, jellies etc.  The food is always great at these gatherings and last night was no exception.  I like to take things that can be easily transported and what I chose for dinner was just that.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Summer Relish
1/4 cup while wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved (Used Juliet tomatoes from our garden)
1 cup corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayeene
2 pork tenderloins, trimmed (we had a over 3 pound tenderloin that was used for this recipe)
Preheat grill to medium
Combine vinegar and sugar for the relish in a large bowl, whisking until sugar is dissolved.  Add tomatoes, corn, onion and herbs to the vinegar mixture; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Cover and chill relish until ready to serve.
Combine brown sugar, salt and cayenne; rub mixture over tenderloins.  Lightly coat each with nonstick cooking spray.  Grill tenderloin about 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, turning to brown all sides.  Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.  Serve with relish.

Cantaloupe Feta Salad
1 large cantaloupe, seeded, removed of outer peel and cut into bite sized pieces
4 to 6 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
Juice from 1 lime
Fresh Mint, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.  Add enough mint to add flavor but don't add too much.