Monday, November 30, 2009

Mulligutawny (II)

I've made Mulligutawny before, but today I'm revising slightly for the use of leftovers... I will place in crock pot on low...

  • About 1.5 cups shredded turkey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
Sauté in skillet.

  • one can petit diced tomatoes, drained
Cook about 30 minutes on low, stirring occasionally. While that cooks, in crock pot combine:

  • about 20-25 ounces Thai broth
  • 14 ounces low salt chicken broth
  • about 3/4 cup brown rice (I used instant)
Then put everything in the crock pot on low...

The original post on this soup:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fruity Baked French Toast

I can't find my recipe for baked French toast, but this won't stop me. I'm combining the vegan recipe for French toast, my imagination and my leftover homemade bread from Thanksgiving...

  • 8 slices homemade white bread
  • 8 slices homemade multigrain bread
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup homemade applesauce
  • 1 banana
  • juice of 1 clementine
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Okay, so the jury is out on whether this one will "work." In a bowl, I mixed: the eggs, applesauce, banana, juice, milk, honey and vanilla. I dipped the bread into the mix and layered it into my greased (with butter) 11x 7 casserole dish. Then I added the cinnamon and the nutmeg to the egg mix and poured over the bread. (I had two layers of bread.)

I'm baking and 350 and then I figure I'll broil it depending on how much of the liquid gets absorbed.

After 20 minutes at 350, most of the liquid absorbed, but it was still mushy, so I rearranged it a bit and increased heat to 420, for another 10 minutes...

As the pieces got crispy, I served with cream cheese and my mother-in-law's blueberry topping.

Now, if you'd rather try a recipe for vegan French toast, here you go (from Eileen Bresslin):
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 10 slices stale bread
  • vegetable oil
  • cinnamon
Mix soy milk and orange juice, dip bread in mix lightly (do NOT let bread get soggy) sprinkle with cinnamon and fry in oiled skillet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Spinach Omelettes

So, for the last 24 hours I have thought about the omelette I wanted to make with the leftover white meat of turkey. I made it for dinner tonight and served with Nana's homemade applesauce.

Angel's Turkey Spinach Omelette with a hint of curry
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • about 1.5 cups turkey, white meat, shredded
  • about 1.5 cups cheese, cheddar, shredded
  • about 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground four color peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
In a skillet, not a huge one, melt the butter, add the olive oil and the two peppers. Add the spinach, sauté about one minute, add about half of the curry. Add the turkey. Add the other half of the curry to the turkey. Stir. Let sauté, stirring ocassionally, until the liquid begins to disappear.

Pour the hot turkey/spinach filling into a bowl and set aside. Pour eggs into the hot skillet. Let cook on medium or medium high depending on your cookware about one to two minutes. Add the turkey spinach filling. Let cook until the eggs are almost "solid." Add the cheese. Let sit another minute, probably would work best if you covered it to help melt the cheese. Then fold the omelet in half and press down to make sure nothing runny comes out. If it does, let the omelette continue cooking until the runny stuff hardens, as long as your frying pan is not hot enough to burn the eggs.


Yesterday we survived on leftovers! Delicious and magnificent!

Pie for breakfast (healthy, I know.)

I had a salad with hot bacon dressing, leftover spaghetti from Wednesday, a bit of corn bake and a broccoli mini-pot pie.

My husband took Wednesday's leftover rice and vegetables and mixed in some dark meat of turkey and lots of butter; he's skinny, he can do that.

Then for dinner we had big plates of the other Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mini broccoli pot pies

The last item for pre-prep is broccoli pot pies... I put little aluminum foil discs in the bottom of cupcake tins to keep them from sticking and rip ready-made pie crusts into pieces about the size of my hand.

We made WAY more filling than we needed. So we made a broccoli cheese calzone kind of thing for another day. And froze it. We started out with 24 cupcake tins with the crust in them.

In a bowl, we mixed:
  • Three crowns fresh broccoli cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cans broccoli cheese soup
  • about two teaspoons garlic pepper
We scooped a large heaping tablespoon into each tin, pinched the crust closed and then baked at 375 until brown (about 20 minutes.)

Sweet Potato Crunch

My husband's Aunt Carolyn makes a variation of this dish, so I thought the recipe came from her. It appears the one I have came from "Janet Muchoney" in the Weis Recipe Exchange...

Sweet Potato Crunch
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
For the crunch:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cupped pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine, melted
In a large bowl, mix the first set of ingredients. Pour into 9x13 inch greased pan. Mix remaining dry ingredients. Layer on top of creamed sweet potatoes. Pour melted butter over topping.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

My modifications:
I didn't use fresh yams (and Gayle is mad at me for this, or perhaps disappointed). I used two 29 ounce cans of Taylor Yams in syrup, drained. I also reduced the white sugar to 2/3 cup. I upped the pecans to 1.5 cups because I like pecans...

And I used an 11x7 dish not realizing how small it is...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Apple Bread Stuffing

I'm prepping for the holiday tomorrow and I keep staring at the pile of bread cubes wondering if I'll have enough for stuffing. The 2-quart round casserole dish is full...

The Betty Crocker 25th Anniversary Cookbook offers this basic recipe for "bread stuffing."
Bread Stuffing
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1.5 cups celery (chopped with leaves)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 9 cups soft bread cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Heat margarine in dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook celery and onion in margarine about two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Now there's two pertinent variations to note from the cookbook:
Casserole Stuffing (the kind I prefer, baked not 'Stove Top') and Apple-Raisin Stuffing

Casserole Stuffing: Place stuffing in ungreased 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake at 375 until hot. About 30 minutes.

Apple-Raisin Stuffing: Increase salt to 1.5 teaspoons. Add 3 cups finely chopped apples and 3/4 cups raisins with remaining ingredients.

What I plan to do:
Angel's Baked Apple Stuffing

I hate onions and celery... so those are gone...
Using the basic ingredients from the list for Bread Stuffing... I will put the butter in my (Le Creuset) skillet and sauté about three cups apple with all the herbs/spices and four color pepper. I'm going to skip the raisins. I'm going to use fresh herbs I have in the freezer (some from my garden): hopefully sage, thyme, a pinch of rosemary and cloves if I have them.

I will mix my homemade bread (cubed) into the sauce and press into a baking dish, unless it's a small enough amount I can bake it right in the skillet...

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

I clipped this recipe from a Vegetarian Times in November 2000. I tried it because I was intimidated by a real cheesecake and liked the healthy aspects of it. What I didn't count on was A. The deliciousness and B. My family giving me a reputation for a "pumpkin custard" almost as good as Memmy's.

The crust is a cookie crust, which they suggest a graham cracker crust made with canola margarine. My husband made a ginger snap crust last night... (See earlier post.)

And I realized this morning as I began to type this recipe that I forgot the tofu! Last minute trip to the grocery store at 7:45 a.m...

Pie filling:
  • 1 pound silken tofu (I use Mori-Nu, silken, firm. Although this year... I think I bought soft. Poop.)
  • 15 ounces solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup soy cream cheese (Better than Cream Cheese); I'm not making it vegan this year so I'm using real cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice (I rarely use all spice)
  • 1/4 ground cloves
1. Position oven rack in the middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. If you haven't already, make a pie crust.

3. Combine ingredients in a food processor, starting with the tofu, then the pumpkin.

4. Add filling to a cool crust and bake 45 minutes.

5. Turn oven off and let pie rest without opening door for an hour. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least eight hours.

So... because I bought soft tofu instead of firm:
I used 12 ounces of silken soft tofu and the whole block of cream cheese, hoping that would help it firm.

And for some odd reason, I added 1/4 teaspoon ginger to the recipe. I thought the recipe called for it. Don't know what I was thinking.

I also reduced the sugar to about 2/3 cup because I ran out and didn't feel like opening the new bag. Maybe this blog should be "lazy cooking."

Apple Crisp Bread Pudding

This is a recipe from Ginger Creek Cooking School if I remember correctly... Again, I typed the recipe for a friend looking for bread pudding recipes. I haven't made it in years.
  • 4 apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brandy or 1 Tablespoon good quality extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 16 ounces of soft French or Italian bread
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
Thinly slice the apples. Melt butter in large skillet. Add apples and remaining ingredients except bread and sugar. Toss the apples six to eight minutes to soften slightly.

Slice bread about 1/2 inch thick and no larger than three inches in diameter. Butter an 11 x 13 baking dish and sprinkle with the sugar. Layer half the bread, then the apples. Repeat and set aside.

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2.5 cups light cream, whole milk, or no-fat cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Whisk together all ingredients. Pour evenly over the apples/bread. With back of spoon, press down so the bread absorbs the custard. Sprinkle with crumb mixture.

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
Combine all ingredients until they're a coarse crumb texture. Sprinkle onto bread pudding. Place bread pudding in preheated 350 degree oven. Bake about 40 minutes until 'just set.' Serve warm.

Yield: 12 servings

Pumpkin bread pudding

This recipe is from a veg*n parenting recipe group I was a part of many, many years ago (ironically, before I had a child). I don't have plans to make it today, but a friend is looking for bread pudding recipes so I thought I'd type it. If we have bread leftover from Thanksgiving...

Original recipe as posted by Amy:
  • 4 cups cubed white bread
  • 3 cups vanilla soy milk (or milk)
  • 1 16-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar or other sweetener
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Press half of bread crumbs into bottom of lightly oiled 3.5-4 quart slow cooker. In medium sized sauce pan, heat milk until hot but don't let it boil. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients except the bread. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Pour half the mixture over bread in crock pot. Push in more bread, add more mixture, repeat until finished. Cover and cook on low three hours until firm.

Turn off crock pot and leave sit (covered) for 20 minutes before serving.

Daddy's pie crust

My husband made a pie crust last night while I was in class. He is responsible for my cookie crusts for certain pies. I believe it started because he didn't approve of the size of my crumbs.

Today I will make a variation of Vegetarian Time's Non-Dairy Pumpkin cheesecake. We favor two types of cookie crusts for pumpkin: either ginger snaps or oreos.

My husband made a gingersnap crust last night. This required:
  • About a sleeve and a half of spiced wafers (not quite half the box) reduced to crumbs
  • Most of a stick of butter, about five tablespoons
Take room temperature butter and mix with the crumbs in the bottom of pie dish. When dish is covered, bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cauliflower Spinach Gratin

Ah, Wegmans... This week we're making Wegman's Cauliflower Spinach Gratin again. Once again, I deviated from the recipe (I don't use their Alfredo sauce but make my own sauce with basil, heavy cream, organic ranch dip mix, and butter).

Fresh cauliflower, about 8 ounces of frozen chopped spinach...

I added about 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg to the top of the gratin and added some romano cheese and garlic powder to the breadcrumbs.

And of course, today I baked it in my Le Creuset skillet.

The original post for the gratin is here:

or click on Wegmans or cauliflower.

Thanksgiving Shopping List

So, my husband did go to the store for the Thanksgiving shopping list. He only mixed up a couple items: He got one tiny can of pear halves in syrup instead of several big cans of pear halves in juice, he bought jellies made with high fructose corn syrup, and because it was the only can of the only pumpkin related item left in the store, he bought Libby's pumpkin pie mix instead of plain pumpkin. And technically he bought the wrong baking powder. I usually get Rumford in the red can, because it doesn't have aluminum in it. He got generic. But that's okay. He spent $57.03 and he didn't leave anything important behind...

He bought:
  • Wegman's Chocolate Soy Milk, $2.79 for a half gallon
  • Silk Unsweetened Soy Milk, $2.99
  • Wegmans Sour Cream, $1.19 minus 20 cents shopper's club discount
  • Two pounds of Wegmans butter, one unsalted and one salted, $1.49 each
  • Two bars of Wegmans cream cheese, $1.19 each minus 40 cents each for shopper's club bonus
  • Two packs of Pillsbury prepared pie crusts, $2.29 each
  • Half and half, $1.39
  • Wegmans large eggs, one dozen, $1.29
  • Frozen cut leaf spinach, 89 cents minus 10 cents for shopper's club discount
  • Taylor Sweet Potatoes, 2 cans at $1.79 each
  • Wegmans light brown sugar, $1.49 minus 50 cents shopper's club
  • Wegmans baking powder, $1.39
  • Wegmans strawberry jelly, $1.79
  • Pear halves in syrup, 15 ounce can, 99 cents
  • canned corn, 39 cents
  • Wegmans evaporated milk, 79 cents
  • Campbell's broccoli cheese soup, $1.25
  • Wegmans red raspberry jelly, $2.29
  • Wegmans creamed corn, 39 cents
  • Food You Can Feel Good About Shells and Cheddar dinner, 4 boxes at 79 cents each
  • Wegmans Woos Original (generic Oreos), $1.99
  • Nabisco Oreos, $2.99
  • Wegmans bagged salad, Italian Escarole Blend, $2.50
  • Wegmans bagged salad, French blend, $2.5o
  • Bananas, 82 cents
  • Pink Lady Apples, three apples, $2.75
  • Cauliflower, one head, $2.50
  • Broccoli crowns, three average-sized heads, $2.4o
And he also stopped at the bagel shop and got a dozen bagels for $8, plus we had a coupon to get six free, so with the normal baker's dozen, we ended up with 19 bagels. Yesterday when my friends came, we all had bagels with brie and raspberry jam...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Plotting for Thanksgiving

I am finally preparing a shopping list for Thanksgiving... and I hope to send my husband for some of it since I have a fairly busy weekend between commitments and homework. My friend Gayle brought a coupon for the Bethlehem Aldi, which may save us $5... if we get over there to use it.

I am very excited... I don't think the menu has changed much since my original plotting. My mother-in-law will do the turkey, mashed potatoes, apple pie and greens with hot bacon dressing. My grandmother-in-law has already sent her homemade apple sauce and will bring her famous cranberry sauce. That leaves me. I'm making my mini broccoli pot pies, ironically I'm making my mother-in-law's corn bake, her sister-in-law's sweet potato crunch, a pumpkin custard, and homemade stuffing (with homemade bread).

I have a list prepared for my husband so...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hot Lunch Again

Okay, choke one up for the doofus category.

I thought I made the spring vegetables with the citrus sauce. I didn't.

I made the steam-in-bag stir-fry vegetables from Giant.

So, I opted to try and make my own citrus sauce. Totally off the cuff.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flax seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds
Toast seeds and nuts in skillet. In a small bowl, mix:

  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Stir until corn starch is dissolved. Add to skillet, raise heat, stir, and bring to boil. When sauce is reduced and thickened, add vegetables and reduce heat. Stir well. After about a minute, add rice (about 2 cups cooked brown rice) on top but don't stir. Stir after another minute. Then, serve with chow mein noodles.

It turned out well, some bites were very zesty and citrusy, others salty, others a nice blend.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chômeur Pudding

I had a crushing blow today. A professor whom I respect very much vetoed a paper idea I had calling it "too complicated" and "too difficult." I guess this is an instance where having an undergraduate degree already hurts me in this process, as the papers I'm sure he deems more acceptable and "doable" feel like grade school to me... But, as a consequence, I decided to say phooey to the French and go Quebecois tonight and drown my sorrows in "Chômeur Pudding" or literally "unemployed man's pudding."

I originally nabbed this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen, an all vegan recipe site that I adore.

Chômeur Pudding

For the cake:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 cup "milk" (soymilk if you're vegan)
  • 4 tablespoons melted "butter" (margarine if you're vegan, gotta love Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
For the syrup:

  • 2 cups brown sugar (I use more like 1.5, and I use half light and half dark)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon flour
In a large glass baking dish (tonight I used my Le Creuset skillet), place brown sugar and flour from the syrup ingredients in the bottom. Add the water.

Mix dry cake ingredients. Add melted butter and milk. Mix gently. Plop in about six lumps in water. Bake at 375 degrees, 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Italian Potato Casserole?

So I'm experimenting with hot lunch today.

I'm layering some sliced potatoes in the bottom of a hot skillet (with a decent amount of extra virgin olive oil). My plan is to fry them as crispy as possible, then layer Aldi's steam-in-bag Italian blend vegetables in sauce (season choice? I think that's the brand name). I will thaw two Morningstar vegeterian sausage patties and crumple into veggies. Then I will mix some bread crumbs, pasta and pizza seasoning, romano cheese, four color peppercorns and basil with a tablespoon of butter and drop those on top and heat in oven.

Right now, I've got the skillet heating, sliced potatoes in the microwave (we pre-cut potatoes in different shapes and freeze) and the steam-in-bag vegetables cooked. The oven is preheating to 400.

Okay, so for those who like an actual recipe:
  • 2 morningstar vegetarian breakfast patties
  • 1 bag Italian blend steam-in-bag vegetables (Aldi, Season's Choice, with some sort of tomato/olive oil sauce)
  • About 2 cups sliced potatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 2 teaspoons pizza and pasta seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon four color peppercorn fresh-ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons romano cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook vegetables and sausage patties. Also precook potatoes a tad. Mine were frozen and I thawed them in the microwave and drained liquid. Crumble sausage patties in preparation. Pour several tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in large skillet. Heat, on low. Add a nice layer of potatoes, with a second layer to fill in the thin spots. Increase heat to medium. Cook until potatoes start to change color and absorb oil. Should look like starting to brown.

Add vegetables over top, spread with spatula. Reduce heat to low. In bowl, combine spices, romano and breadcrumbs. Add butter and blend with fingers.

Add crumbles of sausage across the vegetables. Then, with a spoon, sprinkle breadcrumb mix across the top of everything. Cook at 400, in entire skillet, 15-20 minutes...

Hopefully this is edible when I'm done...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spinach dip

Since we made bread today, it made sense to get the last frozen pack of spinach out of the freezer and whip up some crockpot spinach dip.

Today's version is a tad milder than usual. First in the crockpot on high for about two hours I placed the following:
  • one package frozen chopped spinach, thawed in the microwave
  • about one cup water reserved from the cooking of the spinach
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh ground four color peppercorns
  • less than one clove sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons Inglehoffer sweet hot mustard
  • herbs and spices: parsley, basil, It's a dilly
About a half hour to an hour before serving, add cheese and reduce heat to low:
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • a few ounces monterey jack cheese
  • about 1/2 cup shredded mozzerella
I might add romano and cheddar if the flavor doesn't come out 'enough' for me, but I was trying to use up some open cheese from the fridge.

Bread, bread, bread

We need bread. Bread to eat (we have cream cheese and brie in the fridge), bread to freeze (Thanksgiving approaches) and bread to let get stale (homemade stuffing... Yeah, I make the bread and let it get stale for stuffing, which is more like make large loaves instead of small and let the family munch until it starts to get stale, then freeze until the day before Thanksgiving).

If you follow my link to my bread baking, it will take you to various shapes, sizes, experiments and successes. I base my bread on a recipe found on the internet, in the French style for its relative simplicity.

The ingredients as stated are simple:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1-2 tsp salt (I use iodized sea salt)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Oil for the bowl
Now this morning, I have already attempted a HUGE batch. Step one is to mix the salt and the flour in a bowl. In one bowl I have:

  • 4 cups unbleached white flour from Wegmans
  • 1 tsp iodized sea salt
In bowl two, I have a multigrain sort of experiment going. This is a fun way to experiment because failures simply become Thanksgiving stuffing. This bowl contains:

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour from Wegmans
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • about 1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • about 1/2 cup flax seeds
Step two is to mix two cups warm water with the yeast and half the flour. I started a big bowl with 2 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon yeast, and 1 tablespoon honey. In a second bowl, I added 3 cups water, two tablespoons yeast, and 1.5 tablespoon honey and I'm letting it sit while I type this...

Now to add the flour. The recipe calls for mixing half the flour into the liquid and incorporating with your hands into a dough. Then, cover with a dish towel and set at room temperature for three hours. I always add more than half the flour mixture. Half the flour mixture seems to make soup. I add and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to transform into more of a sponge, then a runny dough, and I stop there. This usually takes about 3/4 of the flour.

More in three hours...

Three hours later... I have four large bowls rising now. I had an incident with my multigrain batch. I had divided it in half because it was too big for the bowl and I forgot to incorporate the rest of the flour... Traditionally, you take the very wet dough and incorporate the rest of the flour and then some and need for ten minutes, aiming for not sticky, supple and elastic. But my last loaf, I got it perfect and then realized I had forgotten the last multigrain batch of flour. Adding some warm water allowed me to get this flour in, but now I worry that I handled it too much and it won't rise nicely.

Once you have some nice dough balls, you place them in a clean oiled bowl, cover them and return them to a nice warm spot to rise for an hour. I stick everything inside the oven to protect them from drafts.

In an hour, we'll do the final knead, shape, preheat the oven and do the final rise.

Time to shape... The knead at this point takes about five minutes, then you shape and put on cookie sheet, cover and let rest about 20 minutes while the oven preheats to 450 degrees. You also need to place a bowl of water in the oven to try and get the crust 'right.'

Now today I made all that dough and got not quite the yield I expected: 3 small loaves of multigrain, 1 not quite medium loaf of multigrain and 2 fairly nice sized medium white loaves. I even did a very diluted egg wash on them, more wash than egg (and cooked the remaining egg and water for the tortoise. So, we'll see how it all turns out.

You bake the bread for about 25 minutes, and you're supposed to remove the bowl of water after the first 15.

**This multigrain bread is as good as the bread I like from the bakery that I call 'magic bread.'

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Très grande tarte tatin

Went to start my tarte tatin and as usual as soon as I went to open the can of pears, our cordless electric can opener died. And we don't have a manual one. The odd thing is, as soon as it dies, it's done. When you plug it in, you have to wait about twenty minutes before you can use it plugged in.

Then I started working on the sugar syrup and I was working on this blog entry at the same time and the sauce reduced down to the point where I thought I had burned my pan. Interestingly, I think this is how it's supposed to work. The color is perfect and it's reduced by about half. And my tatins are always a tad runny so this may explain why... I am too impatient with the syrup and use it prematurely.

After an irate phone call from a friend and a facebook message from another friend experiencing some career difficulties, I can still only get the can half open...

For my syrup, I used about a half cup of the pear juice from the can of pears (I used a church key to extract it) and less than 1/4 cup sugar. I swirled and boiled this until it reduced and turned vivid amber. I poured it back in the pyrex measuring cup and it seemed to be about 1/4 cup syrup. I added another 1/4-ish cup pear juice to the hot pan and used a silicone rubber spatula to scrap the stuff from the bottom of the pan. It all turned amber about immediately though it did not reduce. I pour it into the measuring cup and stirred.

Next, while waiting for my pears:
  • Cream 12 tablespoons room temp unsalted butter
  • With about 1 cup granulated sugar
Lower speed and beat in one at a time:
  • 5 large eggs, also room temp
Now at this point, the Ina Garten's recipe calls for 2/3 cup sour cream. I have a nice amount more than 1/3 cup but no where near 2/3. This is also when you add 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Since sour cream is like a liquid, maybe I'll add a teaspoon of lemon juice. Yeah. I'll do that as I don't have lemons to zest. Oh, and cool... upon closer review of the fridge I found sour cream from the tacos I got via take-out last week... 2 ounces... awesome!

Sift together in separate bowl:
  • 2 heaping cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized sea salt
At this point, I'm going to fight more with my can opener and try to get my pears... I got one 29 ounce can open but it stalled (AGAIN) 3/4 of the way through the 15 ounce can... And I think I'll need another 15 ounce can. UGGH.

Okay, so once that last can is open... (In pried open the nearly open one, like Popeye and his spinach) I can finish nicely arranging my pears, cover them with syrup, combine the dry and wet ingredients pour over the pears and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. This project has already taken 90 minutes and normally, I would have eaten a slice of tatin by now. This is almost too frustrating to bring to International Poetry Night.

Update... 2 hrs later from when this project started and the tatin has finally made it into the oven. I had exactly the least amount of pears as I could get away with. I arranged them nicely and then poured the batter on, only to realize when I got all the batter into the pan that I forgot the syrup.

So I very carefully poured the syrup into the spouts on my Le Creuset skillet and tilted the skillet in hopes of the syrup making it to the pears on the bottom, a slow and steady process. The syrup all disappeared so I can only hope it was successful.

Now we wait for it to come out of the oven and see... fingers crossed.


So we did order a pizza without Jesse and we've been living off that for the last several days. And leftovers. And yogurt. My daughter is with my mom and we have International Poetry Night tonight at Moravian College.

I'm thinking of making another tarte tartin in my Le Creuset pan, this one with twice the cake... I know I'll be dickering with the recipe so I'll post the results...

I wish I had a lavender bush so I could make some of my homemade lavender syrup. Lavender syrup as the liquid for a poire tarte tatin would be heavenly... but alas, alack, no lavender.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Leftovers with cheese

This morning our daughter requested oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch is leftover pot pie with slices of cheddar and monterey jack cheese on the side and apple juice... Tonight was supposed to be pizza night with a friend but that friend now has a high fever.

Do we pizza without her?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Orange (or Blue?) Metropolitan

So, I take the same approach with my home bar that I do with my groceries. I try to make things last. I like to cook with alcohol I also like to drink (wine, brandy).

One of my preferred 'manly' drinks is a Metropolitan. According to my bartender's guide that's 4 parts brandy, 2 parts sweet vermouth, 1/2 tsp bar sugar, and a dash Angostura bitters.

Now the bitters are supposed to have some sort of orange or citrus flavor. So when I noticed I was out of sweet vermouth, I thought it might work to use the extra dry and add some extra sugar. I opted against this and added blue curacao instead.

I mixed the following and served over ice to my husband and I:
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • about 1/2 teaspoon bar sugar
  • 1 ounce extra dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce blue curacao
  • dash bitters

Broccoli pot pie

So, I never did get to eat that broccoli pot pie, but I did get to make it and we'll have it for dinner tonight.

I used a ready made pie crust, layered some V8 cream of broccoli soup, some frozen broccoli, some hearty doses of garlic pepper. I sliced and cooked two potatoes. Added more soup, the potatoes, more garlic pepper, then the rest of the soup.

Covered with the second pie crust. Broccoli cheese soup gives more cheesy flavor, but I wanted to try the V8.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday morning

Nothing exciting on the menu yet... I'm contemplating some sort of broccoli potato pot pie for dinner...

For breakfast, the daughter had Stoneyfield Yo Kids Strawberry yogurt with graham crackers, bananas, and chocolate soy milk. (I had a banana yogurt.)

I started stressing about lunch, and I do mean stressing, because I spend way too much time thinking about if my kid eats enough fruits/vegetables/colors every day. And her father made pasta with red sauce and Morningstar vegetarian sausage last night so my brain screams, "Have red. Need orange and green. Green for dinner."


So, for lunch I served three Morningstar Vegetarian Chik*n Nuggets with ketchup AND ranch, plus a side of commercial Swiss-style trail mix with a ton of extra raisins and some whole cashews.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend summary

So, right now I'm drinking a very sweet cup of dessert tea because my daughter convinced me to have a honey-rock candy thing in mine...

Yesterday we took it mellow on the food. My husband went to the warehouse club for pet supplies and came home with tuna, Cool Ranch Doritoes and Brie for us. He toasted some tortilla shells in the skillet and made tuna wraps with melted cheese for lunch.

For dinner, he also swept in and made pasta with an olive oil/butter sauce, grated romano cheese and the last of the fresh broccoli that was starting to look a tad flimsy. It was yummy.

Not much gourmet this weekend, but we have full bellies.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup (from a can)

Thursday night was cold and rainy, so we had Italian Wedding soup out of a can with a side of cheddar and Ritz. The soup was from Wegmans, from a can.

Improvised Lo Mein 2

After that huge breakfast (plus popcorn at the theatre I hear) my daughter says she's not hungry. My husband says he is. I'm honestly not sure.

But I do know we could use some veggies...

So I plan to recreate "improvised lo mein" which my daughter and I had for lunch one day in August, using some leftovers in the freezer from my mother-in-law's asian pork dish. As it's November, we probably need to use those up anyway.
The original post:

Let's gather some ingredients:
  • Sandwich size freezer bag with my mother-in-law's frozen Asian-style pork.
  • spaghetti
  • sesame oil
  • sesame seeds
  • chow mein noodles
  • steam-in-bag stir-fry vegetables, Giant store brand
  • low sodium soy sauce
  • One clove garlic sliced thin
  • Le Creuset pan (cooking Asian style in the French skillet, weird, n'est-ce pas?)
Craving for egg rolls... Okay... egg rolls not on the menu... move on...

Step one: prepare veggies in microwave, set aside. Thaw frozen leftovers in microwave set aside. Boil water for spaghetti. Heat about 1.5 tablespoons sesame oil in large skillet to toast generous amount of sesame seeds.
Step two: When water boils, break a handful of spaghetti in half and add to the water. When the skillet is hot and oil is even across bottom of skillet, add about three tablespoons sesame seeds and cook them until a tad browned and reduce heat. Add garlic and cook on low heat.
Step three: when spaghetti is desired 'doneness,' add to skillet and drizzle with another tablespoon sesame oil. Stir into sesame seeds and garlic, then spread in even layer. Cook on low or medium heat until the noodles fry a little and get slightly brown/crispy. Then add vegetables and leftovers sitting in reserve. I would do the plain veggies first so they have a chance to get some of that sesame oil before you add the seasoned leftovers. I did add about two teaspoons of soy sauce when I added the veggies.
Step four: now, this is the tricky part. You may need to add sauce if the mi xture is dry. What kind of sauce? That's a personal preference.

I didn't end up making sauce. I simply stirred well and served with the chow mein noodles.

Diner 248

Well, I don't think I'll be cooking today as our friends came down to take our daughter to see "Where the Wild Things Are."

I bought everyone breakfast at Diner 248, a 'new' diner where Jack Creek Steakhouse used to be on Rte. 248. 

It was fabulous. My husband had chipped beef that was yummy as part of his 'belly buster' breakfast. I ordered an egg and cheese on a bagel sandwich (with bacon) and was thrilled when it included homefries. PLUS the waitress brought water with our coffee without us requesting it.

Our daughter has French toasted "stuffed" with blueberries and vanilla cream cheese. This is something I will have to replicate at home. Imagine 4 slices of French toast creating sandwiches with cream cheese and blueberries as the filling in the sandwich, and piles of whipped cream on top. 

AND they had a choice of sausage links or patties.

The place has been mobbed everytime we've driven by... now I see why.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Broccoli omelettes

For dinner last night, I was starved. I called my husband from the office and said, "Make Food!"

He took the remaining everything bagels from the freezer, buttered them and layered them with frozen vegetables in cheese sauce and real cheddar cheese and baked them and topped them with bits of Morningstar vegetarian chicken nuggets. It was awesome! (And for dessert we had more pineapple tatin.)

For lunch today, I made a huge omelette of broccoli cheese and some cheddar, sprinkled with romano cheese. I served with sliced dates, tea and my 'flea shampoo potatoes' (sliced potatoes from a can cooked in oil, soy sauce and parsley).