In the summer, one of my favorite ways to have tomatoes
is Pan Am Tomaquet
- much simpler than the name sounds, but just as grand tasting. This morning I decided to try a twist on the original. I added a fried egg and slices of tomato. It was delicious.Egg Tomato Toast
1 garlic clove
1 slice of sourdough bread or French baguette
1. While the bread is toasting, fry an egg (I like mine with the yolk poked - gooey but not runny).
2. When the toast is done, rub the whole surface with a cut garlic clove.
3. Cut a tomato in half - cut one half into slices and set aside momentarily.
4. Press the other half into the toast all over the surface (like you're stamping), so the bread soaks up the juices.
5. Drizzle olive oil over the toast and sprinkle with salt.
6. Top with fried egg and tomato slices. Sprinkle with more salt (I used truffle salt).
Fry one large onion and a pound of chicken in butter w/s&p in cast iron pan. Move to baking pan. Add more butter to pan. Saute garlic, chard, mushrooms, potatoes, 1.5 cups rice, curry powder, garam masala, ginger, garlic powder, s&p, and chopped pickled jalapenos for a few minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth, bring to a simmer. Simmer with a lid for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, season chicken with all of the above spices. Mix veggie mixture in with chicken and add a cup of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake in oven at 450 for 20 minutes. Top with chopped cashews and broil for 3 minutes or until browned. (maybe you could skip the baking step if you simmered longer with more broth/water? or skip the simmering if you bake longer?). Posting for safe keeping - will post pics next time :)
Concocted a new way to make pork tenderloin - roast in the oven on 475 for about a half hour (still a little pink in the center), then put butter, maple syrup, and morello cherries (with some of the juice) into the pan and broil to finish off cooking. On my plate, I stirred dijon and habanero berry jam into the sauce (I kept it separate for the kids' sake). I served it with mashed potatoes and an invented salad of cucumber, cooked beets, avocado, gorgonzola, and onion, with orange-infused olive oil, cider vinegar, dried dill, and a touch of honey. Salt and pepper on everything. Posting for safe keeping - pictures next time :)
I concocted this vivid green soup in an attempt to use up vegetables that were past their prime, and happily, it resulted in one of my best "cream of" soups to date. The best part was that my kids actually ate it...and were shocked to find out it what was in it! I rewarded them with the shocking pink antithesis
to this :)
Creamy Asparagus Spinach Soup
1lb asparagus, tough ends snapped off, cut in 1-inch pieces, tips reserved
4 cups spinach
1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped4 cups chicken stock4 T butter (divided in 1/2)
1 cup sour cream
2 T lemon juice
4 T butter (divided in half)
1/2 t granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1/2 t granulated onion (or onion powder)
1. Saute scallions and asparagus pieces (not tips) in 2 T butter over medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add chicken stock and turn up heat to high.
3. When it boils, turn down to medium-low, add spinach and seasonings.
4. Simmer until asparagus is tender (about 10 minutes).
5. Turn down heat to low, and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
6. Stir in reserved tips, remaining 2 T butter, sour cream, lemon juice, and heat through.
7. Serve with freshly cracked pepper and grated parmesan.
*Disclaimer: amounts are approximate - use less, taste, add more, repeat...
Whenever I bake cupcakes for the kids' birthday parties, my husband always stuffs the inside with extra frosting...well, this time, I was determined to make them so moist, he wouldn't need to do that, and I finally succeeded! Serendipitously, I also perfected my signature frosting :)Strawberry Cupcakes
1 18oz Box Pillsbury Moist Supreme Strawberry Cake Mix
6oz Strawberry Jell-O (big box)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup strawberry jam
3 eggsCheesecake Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz butter, softened
1-2 cups powdered sugar (to taste)
2 t vanilla
2 T half and half
2-3 drops red food coloring (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the cupcake ingredients with a mixer until smooth (2-5 minutes).
3. Fill cupcake liners in muffin tin about 3/4 full (I used a 1/4 cup scoop).
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.
5. Repeat. You may have batter leftover (I froze it).
6. To make the frosting: combine all ingredients with a mixer until smooth.
7. Just before serving, frost cupcakes.
Optional toppings: sprinkles, shredded coconut, blueberries, morello cherries
*Keep unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container on the counter - frosted ones should go in the fridge if they are being stored for overnight.
**Disclaimer: I'm not much for measuring, so amounts are approximates - adjust as needed.
I go grocery shopping every two weeks (going just twice a month helps me stick to our $500 food budget): once at Costco and once at Trader Joe's. TJs is always my favorite. Towards the end of the previous millenium, I worked at the first Trader Joe's in Northern California. It was across the street from my high school, so I answered the call when they came to my hometown (San Rafael), because the idea of being a "cheese girl" sounded glorious. Nor was I disappointed when I landed that position - cutting, wrapping, slicing, tasting, and giving out samples of cheeses from all over the world - that was just over 20 years ago, and if it weren't for the physical aspect (I mean that two ways: mopping floors and putting on pounds), I probably could have done that for forever, but it was actually the rigors of my junior year that forced me into an early retirement from my dream job - turns out working until 10pm isn't such a good fit with learning chemistry, advanced algebra, etc.
Alas, the cheese shop is no more, but thankfully the cheese hasn't moved, so every month is is a trip down memory lane...or should I say aisle (better yet, Ile, as in Ile de France). This past week's excursion was especially exciting because it's the start of the holiday season. Which means more selection of two of my favorite things: cheese and chocolate. My husband is reading Sugar Nation, which I reserved for him at the library after he started reading a copy of the much older Sugar Blues that we found at a thrift shop. I'm kinda wishing we had held off on the sugar research until after Christmas, because it's kind of a downer, what with all the seasonal coffees and baked goods closing in on us. On the other hand (can you hear the music from Fiddler on the Roof?), maybe it will help us to be a little more restrained. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, chocolate and cheese. So I passed on the former and went a little nuts with the latter...so without further ado, here are the new (or new to me) items I tried and have, of course, already tasted, and now will unsuccessfully attempt to make them last throughout the month (especially the cheese):
Tintern Creamy Cheddar with Chives & Shallots ($8.99/lb)
Creamy Toscano Cheese Soaked in Syrah ($7.99/lb)
Port Salut Semi-Soft Cheese ($9.49/lb)
Decaf Candy Cane Green Tea ($1.99)
Dark Morello Cherries from Germany ($2.29)
I made my own "Cherry Garcia" with these sour cherries + other TJs ingredients: Midnight Moo (chocolate syrup), chocolate chips, vanilla ice cream and a splash of brandy (optional).
Good quality canned salmon (I get it at Costco) is healthier and less expensive than smoked salmon, and it can even taste like it...if you use the secret ingredient.* I developed this recipe to get my lox fix when the real thing can't be had - it's good on bagels, sourdough, or for dipping. If you want zing, add horseradish. If you want crunch, stir in chopped celery or pickles or olives. Hard boiled eggs could also work well. I generally put garlic and onion powder in everything, so if it seems to be lacking, try those.
Poor Man's Lox Schmear
2 7-oz cans of salmon, drained and flaked
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 C mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
1 T red onion, chopped finely
1 T capers
3 T fresh dill (or 1 T dried)
*1-2 t liquid smoke, to taste
1 t worcestershire sauce
Flake salmon with lemon juice. Stir in other ingredients. Mix in cream cheese last. Chill for at least two hours.
Amounts are approximate - I don't measure when I create recipes.
I confess to watching one reality show: Hell's Kitchen. Every summer my foodie husband and I eagerly await the next episode. Currently we are down to the final four chefs, so it seemed like the right time to share the recipe for Gordon Ramsay's Baked New York Cheesecake
(it's all over the web, but that links to my favorite cooking site), which I recently made for a family gathering. It was devoured by everyone, ages 3 to 69, and I got compliments all around.
I tweaked it just slightly: I added cinnamon and sugar to the crust, omitted the sultanas and lemon juice that were supposed to be folded into the batter, made a topping (sour cream + whipped cream + sugar + vanilla) and covered it with blueberries, rather than just dusting it with powdered sugar. Two techniques that worked beautifully:
covering the bottom of the springform pan with foil (kept it from sticking) and keeping it in the oven for an hour after it was done (kept it from cracking).