Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dukem DC

We went for Ethiopian food last night. First time. My daughter couldn't quite get that there would be no utensils. And after this platter she said she better save room for dinner. I said, "Darling, this IS dinner."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

DC meals

Incredible dinner at Sala Thai last night followed by yogurt parfait with vanilla Greek yogurt, store bought granola and fresh strawberries. Plus homemade hibiscus juice.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Easy Bake

It's rainy today and my daughter is using her Easy Bake oven without me to help. This might be an exercise in covering my kitchen with flour.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Parties, cakes & cukes

More work in the garden today, planting another batch of peas and the sole watermelon seedling that survived.

Yesterday was child's birthday so we ate lots of cake, saw lots of friends and got presents-- which included seeds for a butterfly garden. We planted that today too.

We had one locally grown cucumber left so we are making sun pickles. Child cut the cuke, we nabbed dill from the garden and we shoved them into a pint mason jar. I splashed in less than 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and filled the rest of the jar with water. We gave it a good shake and child set it in the sun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cherry Clafoutis

Today we made a clafoutis based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, listed here:

Apparently, a true cherry clafoutis would leave the cherries unpitted to change the flavor of the baked dish. I pitted mine because between my dental woes and my eight-year-old pits seem risky.

I am contemplating a gluten free clafoutis, using almond flour instead of the white flour, but first I have to research whether or not almond flour would set the custard. I also must make it a priority to get to the farm for eggs.

My daughter did 90% of the work for this as it is a belated Fathers Day treat for Papa.

So-- our recipe--

- 1 pound cherries, fresh, pitted
- butter, to grease a deep dish pie pan
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 eggs
- several generous splashes Fra Angelica
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Pit cherries and mix in some alcohol, let sit.

3. Grease pie pan

4. Combine eggs, sugar, flour, salt and extracts and whisk until smooth and homogeneous

5. Combine milks and heat over low to medium heat until simmering.

6. Pour into egg mixture and whisk together

7. Pour cherries and alcohol into pie dish, top with custard

8. Bake about 35-40 minutes until custard sets and edges pull away from sides, with some browning

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Quick cucumber salad

It's 90 degrees at the sun has not abated. I wanted something quick and cool since I was low on time and high on the heat.

- 1/2 cup store bought spinach dip
- 1 farmers market cucumber diced extremely tiny for my healing mouth
- about 1/4 cup bacon pieces (not bits, real pieces of bacon)

Stir and eat plain or in a wrap. Or with chicken salad. Or on crackers. Or with garden grown lettuce.

I liked it better plain than on a wrap. The wrap included some shredded mozzarella and Parmesan for added protein. Really didn't add anything.

I also had a side of leftover rice with spicy teriyaki sauce.

Summer Solstice

Yesterday I had asked my daughter if she could have anything for dinner what would it be.

She answered ice cream.

I said that was dessert. So I asked again.

She said toast and French fries, and starting eyeing garlic bread. I could worth with that. And then she told me she was just being silly.

I suggested French bread, garlicky vegetable covered pizzas. She liked my idea.

I spent $16 and got the goodies in the one photo, including a half gallon of half-and-half at a clearance price of $2.58.

As for the pizzas, we started with Archer Farm garlic-herb baguette, buttered it, piled it with black olives, leftover zucchini, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Then we added Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

I also bought cherries hoping to make a clifoutis but don't have eggs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Purple berry margaritas

- 8 ounces bolthouse farms berry smoothie
- 2 ounces triple sec
- 2 ounces blue curaƧao
- 3 ounces tequila

Urban Gardening

I garden and break all the rules. My backyard is extremely tiny and I shove a ton of plants in it and see what happens.

Sure, I'd like it to be productive but it never seems to work out this way.

Today we added another green pepper, another red pepper, a variety of pepper that's supposed to be zesty, sweet peas, and sweet corn. Yesterday we added basil and eggplant. And cantaloupe.

We have one section left, and it's reserved for watermelon. The seedlings are growing nicely and hopefully can be planted in the ground soon.

Zucchini Kale Cakes

A variation of the Imus Ranch crabiless zucchini cakes, which the original recipe is a huge hit in this house.

Now, this variation I have not tasted yet, but it's the what-have-we-got mix.

In a large bowl, mix and form into patties:
- 1 cup shredded wilted kale
- 3 cups shredded zucchini, frozen last summer, thawed, drained, squeezed dry in a towel and now about 1.5 cups
- 1 egg
- 3 stalks chives from the garden
- 1.5 cups cornflake crumbs
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- about 4 tablespoons ranch dressing
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tzayiki (sp) dressing
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 1.5 cups assorted shredded cheese: havarti, extra sharp cheddar, parmesan
- 1 teaspoon country herb seasoning


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Multi-bean burritos

Do you ever have those days when you convince yourself "there's nothing in the house to eat"? And then you look around the house and you realize you're just lazy and blind?

Or is it just me?

So, today we made bean burritos for lunch.

- black beans (reduced sodium from a can since I couldn't find dry black beans at the store)
- red beans? Or pinto beans? I'm not sure. I made them all from dried beans and froze them in individual packs and I didn't label them.
- extra sharp cheddar
- small tortilla shells
- archer farms raspberry salsa
- red leaf lettuce, organically grown in my garden

Now, honestly, these did not need the cheese. Would be an awesome vegan lunch without the cheese.

Served with a side of tropical fruit salad

And I thought we had nothing to eat...

Banana Breakfast Cake

I have committed a culinary crime. I have just noticed that I have had a Kitchen Aid big mixer for more than a year and I have forgotten to use it!

This recipe is based on a Betty Crocker Banana Bread recipe from the 25th Anniversary cookbook.

It can easily be made vegan by replacing the egg with applesauce and the butter with your favorite margarine.

I decided to try my hand at using the bundt pan, basically for the amusement of my daughter.

- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- about 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- about 3 tablespoons agave nectar
(OR use 1 1/4 cups plain old sugar, but I love to mix it up)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 single serve cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 5 medium ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk spiked with one tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk with the vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup unbleached white flour*
- 1 1/4 cup oats*
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
(* OR 2.5 cups flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground sea salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts plus whatever odds and ends are left in the bag

Preheat to 350. Grease bundt pan.

Cream sugar(s) and butter. Add eggs and applesauce and cinnamon. Stir well. (I had my daughter beat.) Add 'milk,' vanilla and bananas. Beat until smooth.

Add everything else except nuts, stir until moistened. Add nuts.

Starting with 60 minutes in oven...

60 minutes worked beautifully.

Now for a glaze I mixed 1/2 cup peanut butter with 1/2 cup JIF Mocha Cappucino hazelnut spread, heat in microwave, stir, add a tablespoon very vanilla soy milk to thin. Stir. Heat. Stir. Spread on cake with rubber spatula.

Dust with powdered sugar.

A masterpiece!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Super leftover pasta

Reheated spaghetti with red sauce and fried up the following in a skillet to beef it up:
- leftover broccoli
- 2 vegetarian sausages, torn into pieces
- 1 vegetarian meatball chopped

Add to pasta.

Top with shredded Parmesan and grated romano.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Garden 2012

This year's garden has been a bit of a challenge. Who am I kidding? Gardening is ALWAYS a challenge for me. I like harvesting. I hate the gardening part.

So, between the tortoise and the weather I lost all the tomato plants I raised from seed. I pulled out my back and haven't kept up with weeding. Oh, and speaking of weeding, I must have pulled out all my spinach thinking it was weeds. And the cats broke one of my nursery tomato plants. My daughter helped trample some other stuff.

But this is where we're at. Note photo. Oregano off to a great start. Mint and chives as always are fine. Recently hacked back by sorrel hoping to stimulate fresh growth. Dill and parsley reseeded themselves though not the healthiest looking plants.

In the egg cartons along the fence are watermelons and fancy Italian red peppers. The big pot are pickling cucumber seeds. The pavers are next to my three tomato plants, with a green pepper on the other side.

That clay flower pot bottom is a watering bowl for the tortoise with red leaf lettuce, green leaf and spinach to the side of it. Not the big bunch. That's the sorrel.

Once I get healthy watermelon plants and/or cukes, I'll plant inside the pavers.

Child planted wildflowers in the wheelbarrow.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pork sandwich

Before daughter's dress rehearsal for dance I made this awesome sandwich:

- toasted English muffin
- leftover pork chop
- grilled peppers
- homemade apple jam

Salad and kale chips

Salad today with cucumbers, leftover chicken salad and sunflower seeds with a side of kale "chips."

I made the chips by breaking the kale into chunks, putting the kale on a no-stick-sprayed cookie sheet and preheated oven to 350. I drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fresh ground salt and black pepper. Bake 15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Strange-O Pizza

We made a multigrain pizza crust today with:
-1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1/2 cup rye flour
- 1/2 cup wheat flour
- 1/4 cup corn meal
- 1/4 cup flax seed
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
From the garden:
- 2 teaspoons shredded French sorrel
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons chives

Mix, let rise. When double, punch down and spread across large cookie sheet with olive oil and a pinch of cornmeal with some cooking spray on the corners.

Spread with Wegmans chunky pizza sauce.

Top with toppings and cheese.

We used:
- Leftover grilled peppers, pineapple and black olives
- fresh broccoli
- provolone
- Parmesan
- sharp cheddar

Bake at 425.

Monday, June 4, 2012


So, the meal with the layered basket of chopped potatoes, then red and green peppers, then black olives, and finally pineapple turned out awesome on the side of the grill that actually lit on this windy, rainy afternoon.

Gayle came over to burn economics books and make s'mores. That worked out deliciously. We had regular AND chocolate mint marshmallows, graham crackers and get this-- chocolate Ghiradelli squares filled with caramel.

Chickenless salad


Got home from Bottom Dollar and chopped the following for chicken salad:
- 1/2 a large cucumber
- about 1/4 cup each green and red pepper
- about 1/2 cup mandarin oranges
- almost 2 teaspoons country herb seasoning
- enough mayo to moisten

And I realized...

PS-- this story has a happy ending. I ran to the store to fill out child's makeup bag for the recital and got some chicken, too.

Finally marinaded the pork

Last week, I posted an idea for a meal. Finally started it today. Now, it's raining and I fully expect to not be able to grill it. But here's what I did in prep.

- 5 thin pork chops
- black olives
- 1 red and 1 green pepper
- 1 can pineapple slices.

I layered the meat in the bottom of a large bowl, then I added the olives. Next I arranged thick long slices of pepper. I poured the juice from the pineapple over all of it and placed the pineapple on top.

I covered and put in fridge.

Will update when I finally cook it.

Grocery trip on foot

I had a coupon for $10 off a $20 purchase at bottom dollar.

Before we left the house, I started some dry pintos and some dry small red beans to boil and then sit.

I went outside in the rain to plant what my mother-in-law said were two tomato and two pepper plants, but they looked like three tomato and one pepper. Daughter helped me plant them.

We (husband took the day off) walked the neighborhood kids to school and headed to Bottom Dollar. On foot.

We bought:
- pineapple chunks, 98 cents
- pineapple slices, 98 cents
- mango nectar, 1 quart, $1.38
- 6 inch flour tortillas, 2 packs, $1.18 each
- water chestnuts, 99 cents
- 2 ounces pure vanilla extract, $4.78
- 2 small cans tuna in water, 69 cents each
- 9 ounces chili powder, $2.66
- almost one pound of fresh broccoli crowns, $1.42
- bunch of fresh kale, 98 cents
- strawberries, quart, $1.98
- cucumber, 64 cents
- half gallon of half-and-half, $3.56
- three pounds of butter, $6.87
- English muffins, $1.28

Total: $22.33

When we got home my husband made me a vegetarian sausage sandwich with harvarti and buffalo blue cheese dip on an English muffin.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meal idea

So, last week I bought thin pork chops on sale thinking they would be perfect for the grill. I have green pepper, red pepper and potatoes left from an earlier meal.

I thought I'd slice the peppers in big pieces, mix them into pineapple, add black olives and throw the meat in there to marinade.

But all week, life kept thwarting my plan. Today I finally put the pork in the freezer. I still hope to prepare this meal. In my head, I have it all figured out.

I'm going to chunk the leftover potatoes and line the vegetable basket with them. Then I'll top with the pineapple-pepper-olive mixture and grill the chops outside of the basket.

If you try this before I do, let me know how it turns out.