Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pecan Crêpes

I finally got a chance to revisit pumpkin crêpes.
I forgot the thing I always forget. When I make crêpes, they work best if I get the Le Creuset skillet and grease in lightly but completely with butter, get it good and hot- a hair over medium, and then do not add more fat as I could. Dry and hot seems to be the secret to keeping crêpes from sticking. At least for me.

Today, I made half the recommended sauce for these crêpes, and added about 1 or so cups of chopped pecans. I also reserved some extra pumpkin from the can to substitute for one of the eggs in the traditional crêpe recipe. So where my traditional crêpe recipe calls for two eggs, the pumpkin recipe only has one. More details in the second link below. 

The pumpkin filling and sauce:

The pumpkin crêpes:

Envious of my daughter's lunch

I want my daughter's lunch.

I packed her a juice box, an apple picked from a local orchard, a snickers mini, and the entrée is a special salad:
  • romaine
  • organic ranch dressing
  • sunflower seeds
  • dried pineapple
  • smoked pork
  • sharp cheddar

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What we've eaten and what we're plotting

Breakfast lately has been multigrain toast from Target, with real butter, apples from the local orchard, chocolate soy milk and cashews. Do I need to say mornings have been hectic?

My husband has been eating a lot of peanut butter, because when he doesn't come home for lunch he prefers not to heat up his lunch since they removed his preferred microwave.

My daughter has grown enamored with school lunch, so that's why you haven't seen any posts on that.

My culinary genius is going under-used.

The leaves have turned. Halloween is just around the corner.
I want pumpkin.

Maybe these:
or these:
or these:

I had planned to make a white pizza with spinach for dinner tomorrow, a frozen one from Target I got on clearance, since tomorrow is dance, but I may have more time to cook then and be able to make some sort of pumpkin crêpe... Stay tuned

Monday, October 25, 2010

Provolone and pork mac and cheese

Tonight I made a quick mac and cheese with some smoked pork chops my mother-in-law brought over from the butcher.

The mac and cheese sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • about three tablespoons heavy cream (all I had left)
  • about 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • about 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • about 5-6 ounces extra sharp provolone
  • 2 cups two percent milk
I heated one fairly large smoked pork chop and cut the meat into chunks and added that and about 1.5 cups frozen peas into the cheese sauce. I also included about three tablespoons pork drippings from the skillet in the sauce.

I used a regular box of rotini, mixed it up in a pyrex casserole dish and baked it for 30 minutes at 375. Because I wasn't home to watch it, it got a tad crispy on top but the bottom was juicy so mixing it all up before serving solved that problem.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Target shopping

Okay, so I spent $26 on groceries and $10 on an 18-pack of double roll Cottonnelle and $2 on cat food at Target today. My TargetRED debit card came today and I had to try it out. The RED card, either credit or debit, allows anyone to get 5% off all Target purchases everyday. I also have my 10% employee discount which allowed me to buy:

  • Archer Farms Organic Tortilla Chips with Flax Seeds, sale price $2.50 minus an additional 15%
  • Archer Farms General Tso's Potato Chips (damn impulse buy!), sale price $2.50 minus an additional 15%
  • Dole Romaine Lettuce with carrots (bagged salad), $2.24 minus an additional 15%
  • Hunts small cans of tomato sauce with oregano, basil and garlic, two cans at 37 cents each, minus an additional 15%
  • Market Pantry 16 ounce cans of tomato sauce, three cans at 57 cents each, minus an additional 15%
  •  Market Pantry multigrain sandwich bread, $2.75 minus an additional 15%
  • Diet Coke with lime, the 12-can pack I think, $3.66 minus an additional 15%
  • Two percent milk, half gallon, $1.84 minus an additional 15%
  • Eggs, 18 large, $1.94 minus an additional 15%
  • Archer Farms soymilk, half gallon, $2.44 minus an additional 15%
  • Silk Almond Milk, vanilla, half gallon,  $2.69 minus an additional 15%
  • Market Pantry cheddar cheese, two eight ounce blocks, at $2.19 each minus 50 cent Target coupon, minus an additional 15%
  • Frozen pizza, white with spinach, $4 minus an additional 15%
  • Morningstar vegetarian breakfast patties, two boxes at $3.34 each, minus an additional 15%
  • Sauve kids, 22 ounce of shampoo/body wash, $2.51 minus an additional 15%

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crazy Carrot 'Taters

Comfort food with a twist...

On the plane to France I had a special purée of potatoes and carrots. I liked it. So, tonight when I was faced with some potatoes at the end of the line and a plethora of carrots, I decided to mash them all.
  • six potatoes, sliced and cooked (skins still on)
  • 1 pound carrots, cleaned and cooked
  • About 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream (decadent I know, but I ran out of milk)
  • 1 teaspoon organic four color peppercorn
  • 2 containers of Papa John's garlic sauce
The cream and garlic sauce probably contradicts the healthfulness... but they were yummy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lessons at a diner

Wednesday night is dance class for the little one. She does her homework, gets her dance gear on, we pick up Daddy at 4:30 and head to the dance studio for 5 p.m. class.

The original process was one parent got dropped off at home while the other went to dance. That way, dinner could be on the table when dance class dismissed.

But Wednesday is a CrAzY day in this house. I have two classes, E has school, Dad works and when we finally get homework done and dinner eaten, it's time to collect the garbage and sometimes I have meetings.

So, I decided to try eating out on Wednesdays. Especially now that I have a job. It takes some stress and craziness from our lives and creates a new family night.

Tonight, we went to Williams Family Restaurant on William Penn Highway, a place we typically go to for late night snacks or breakfast. Husband and I both got burgers (which were disappointing) and E read her menu carefully. It had lots of pictures, and one photograph caught her attention. We couldn't ascertain what it could be.

Our six-year-old asked the waitress. She answered that it was chicken stuffed with broccoli, topped with raspberry sauce. Daughter announced she'd like that. It came with bread, soup and salad bar. Daughter had a feast.

The chicken breast was stuffed with large pieces of broccoli, swiss cheese and proscuitto. It looked incredible, smelled even better and when she let me have a bite, I was totally impressed.

Goes to show that asking questions can yield nice surprises.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Avocado Recycle: Green chicken salad

I made some chili for dinner tonight and when I went into the cupboard for the roasted tomatoes, I noticed a can of chicken. I received the canned chicken as a gift, and I like having it around for impromptu batches of chicken salad (cravings do happen).

So yesterday, since I didn't have avocados firm enough for the avocado salad, I mashed them into a dip which my husband enjoyed snacking on with crackers. I commented that it would make an awesome topping for a turkey breast sandwich on a big bun.

Enter can of chicken. Remove last loaf of English muffin bread from freezer and toss in oven. Mix chicken and avocado-mustard dip and pile on bread with romaine.

So, I mixed:
  • the can of chicken
  • the avocado dip made from two avocados
  • about 1 teaspoon it's a dilly
  • the remaining dressing from the attempt at avocado salad
  • about 1 teaspoon four color organic peppercorn
  • about 1/4 cup cucumber
And what I've created is some really green chicken salad!

I love it! It's fabulous.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Avocado Salad

This is my first shot at replicating the avocado salad I had at a French household.

This sounds similar:
At least in terms of dressing... so...

I made a good dressing of:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed
  • almost 2 tablespoons lemon dijon mustard
  • 1 TBS champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsps. fresh parsley
I like the way the dressing turned out, but my avocados are overripe and mushy. I threw them in the fridge to chill will the dressing, but it's a futile attempt. I have a feeling I'll be mashing them and making avocado mustard dip. 

Vegetarian Provolone Garden Club Wrap

I made yummy vegetarian garden wraps today with Morningstar breakfast strips (bacon) and extra sharp provolone. I layered in them:
  • Romaine lettuce
  • carrots
  • cucumber (from the garden)
  • one strip Morningstar vegetarian bacon
  • extra sharp provolone
  • sunflower seeds
  • organic ranch dressing

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ethnic food in Paris

First night in Paris. Evening meal was Algerian. Soup and couscous Merguoz (sp?).

Second day in Paris. Roasted corn on the street corners. One Euro for an ear of corn that's been cooked over an open fire in a metal can inside a shopping cart until it's crisp and chewy.

Last night in Paris. Dinner at a random Arab restaurant. Fast food-- Paris style. Lamb chawarma dripping with Harissa (according to google it's a Tunisian chili pepper sauce).

Most of these items were so delicious they disappeared before I could photograph them.

Two weeks! (and Paris)

It's been two weeks since I wrote in this blog, in part because of my trip to Paris. Ah, what culinary delights. I'm going to tease you now, by sharing some of my adventures and starting with my first lament.

Why can't Americans make a decent breakfast pastry? And a good cup of coffee? Starbucks exists in France now, and that confounds me. Why on this green Earth would you need Starbucks in France?  In the land of warm croissants, brioche, pain au chocolat, pain au noisette, pain au raisin, brioche au chocolat... Really, Starbucks?

Today I attempted my own café crème. My research suggested a tablespoon of warm cream in coffee brewed like espresso would do it. I pulled the cappuccino machine out of the basement and gave it a thorough cleaning. Then I prepared some Trader Joes whole coffee beans via the grinder. I measured out a guess of how much coffee I would need and brewed some Trader Joes coffee in my Krups machine. I warmed up some heavy cream, spooned it into demi-tasse cups and added the coffee and sugar.

It was good, but it felt thin. I'll keep trying.

Before I reflect more on Paris, I have to let you know I have completed two shifts at the Target café, my new part-time job. I purchased two of the turkey clubs I made and served with leftover Asian-style salad from dinner last night. Our Target is a "PFresh" which means it carries groceries and fresh produce but isn't a full SuperTarget. My employee discount is 10% and as soon as I get my Target Debit card, I'll get an additional 5%. This is cool news since some of the "splurge" items we like (like our blueberry cobbler coffee) are available at Target.

Avocado salad chez Célia's grand-mère
But on to food... in Paris. Some of these meals you will see me try to replicate. Like Célia's grandmother's avocado salad. I believe this is a vegan dish, if the recipe they told me is complete. It was very simple: avocado cut in chunks and a dressing of oil, vinegar, mustard and parsley. Good stuff. Really good stuff. I bought avocado and an Archer Farms lemon dijon mustard to try and do this.

frog with escargot in the background. I had already eaten one leg.
Something I won't be replicating really soon is my "tourist dinner" from Saint Michel. I ate escargot in this fabulous green sauce, frog, and rabbit in mustard sauce.

Pot au feu, so tender...
I would love to make pot-au-feu as succulent as Célia's grandmother prepared hers, but I have always viewed this as a dish for real chefs with lots of meat products that I'm not ready to deal with.

We'll call that post one from France. My next post will have to recount the ethnic foods I enjoyed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Crazy Zucchini Cakes

Crazy Zucchini Cakes and mango slices
The Crabbiless Crab Cakes from the Imus cookbook are a favorite in this house, but no one -- until today -- has shared zucchini with me.

Clicking on the Imus link should take you into the recipes from that cookbook.

Tonight, I'm nervous as my mixture is feeling too wet and I mixed up some ingredients big time. Using up leftovers.

So, instead of regular cheese (they recommend soy cheese), I mixed cottage cheese, cheddar and smoked gouda.

Instead of breadcrumbs, I used homemade bread crumbs, cornflakes and wegmans whole grain breadcrumbs.