Thursday, December 30, 2010

Buttered Rum Spiced Cider

Cider boiling
6 c. apple cider
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks
6 Tbsp. butter
6 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. rum

Brown sugar, butter, and rum
Heat cider, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks to boiling in a saucepan over medium heat. Strain cider mixture to remove cloves and cinnamon sticks if desired. For each serving, place 1 Tbsp. butter, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. rum in a mug. Fill with hot cider. 6 servings.

From Betty Crocker

Monday, December 27, 2010

White Sauce

I use this all the time! It's good over pasta or vegetables.

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 c. milk (or cream)

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk (or cream). Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Sometimes I add Parmesan or Gorgonzola...

From Betty Crocker's Cookbook

Spinach and Feta Triangles

This recipe takes a little time, but it's worth it!

2 lb. English spinach
Spinach mixture
1/4 c. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
10 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp. dried dill
large pinch of ground nutmeg
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan
5 oz. crumbled feta cheese
3 oz. ricotta cheese (If I don't have ricotta on hand, I use more feta)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 oz. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. olive oil, extra
12 sheets filo pastry

Filo dough
Trim any coarse stems from the spinach. Wash the leaves thoroughly, roughly chop and place in a large pan with just a little water clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook gently over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted. Drain well and allow to cool slightly before squeezing tightly to remove the excess water.

Small portion of mixture on dough
Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, or until tender and golden. Add the spring onion and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the drained spinach, dill, nutmeg, Parmesan, feta, ricotta, and egg. Season well.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease two baking trays. Combine the melted butter with the extra oil. Work with three sheets of pastry at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp tea towel. Brush each sheet with butter mixture and lay them on top of each other. Cut in half lengthwise.

Just before going in the oven
Ready to eat!
Spoon 4 Tbsp of the filling on an angle at the end of each strip. Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and form a triangle. Continue folding the triangle over until you reach the end of the pastry. Put the triangles on the baking trays and brush with the remaining butter mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

From The 1000 Best Recipes

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Soba Noodle Soup

8 oz. packet soba noodles
64 oz. vegetable stock
4 oz. snow peas, cut into thin strips
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced
2 small carrots, cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 spring onions, sliced
1 in. piece fresh ginger, cut into julienne strips
1/2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. mirin, sake, or cooking wine
1 c. bean sprouts

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain.

Combine the vegetable stock, snow peas, mushrooms, carrot, garlic, spring onion, and ginger, and cilantro in a large saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the soy sauce, sake, and bean sprouts. Cook for a further 3 minutes.

Divide the noddles among four (or however many people you're serving) large serving bowls. Ladle the hot liquid and vegetables over the top.

From The 1000 Best Recipes

Sesame Pork

2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
3 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 1/4 lbs. pork fillets, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tsp. cornflour
1 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. sesame oil
8 spring onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
2 carrots, julienned
6 oz. snake beans, cut into short lengths

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the sesame seeds on an oven tray and bake for 5 minutes, or until browned. Heat a wok until very hot, add 1 Tbsp. oil and swirl to coat. Add half the pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes, or until browned. Remove. Repeat with the remaining pork. Remove.

Combine the hoisin and oyster sauces, cornflour and water, and mix until smooth.

Reheat the wok until very hot, add remaining peanut oil and the sesame oil, and swirl to coat. Add the spring onion, garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the carrots and beans, and stir-fry for 3 minutes, or until almost cooked but still crunchy.

Return the pork to the wok, add the cornflour mixture and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. Simmer until the meat is tender and the vegetables are just cooked. Toss through the sesame seeds and serve immediately. We served it over hot cooked rice.

Adapted from The 1000 Best Recipes

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Beef and Caramelised Onion Pie

1/3 c. oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
Flour covered beef
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 lb. lean rump steak, diced
1/4 c. plain flour
4 cloves garlic, crushed
7 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 c. beef stock
5 oz. stout (I used Guinness)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. thyme
11 oz. potatoes, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 1/4 lb. quick flaky pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes, or until light brown. Then add the sugar and cook for 7-8 minutes, or until the onion caramelizes. Remove from the pan. Wipe the pan clean. (Or just cook in a separate pan like I did)

Toss the beef in flour and shake off the excess. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and cook the meat in batches over high heat until browned. Return all the meat to the pan, add the garlic and mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock, stout, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Add the potato and carrot, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a pie dish. Pour in the filling, then top with the onion. Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper until it is 1 inch wider than the pie dish (We tried using wax paper, but that did not work). Cut a 3/4 inch strip around the edge of the pastry circle, brush with water and place damp side down on the rim of the dish.

Cover with the remaining pastry, pressing the edges together. Knock up the rim by making small slashes in the edges of the pastry with the back of a knife. Re-roll the trimmings and use them to decorate the pie. Brush with egg and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden.

From The 1000 Best Recipes

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mrs. Fields Cookies

These cookies are amazing. This recipe is for 4-5 dozen.

1 c. butter
1/2 c. margarine (if I don't have margarine, I substitute butter)
1 1/8 c. white sugar
cookie dough!
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 to 5 c. flour
2 bags chocolate chips (most times I only use one bag)

Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Mix the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add everything but the chips, then mix. Add the chips and stir in. Bake on wax paper on cookie sheets for about 12 minutes.

Right out of the oven!

Recipe courtesy of Aunt Jennifer Bolanos


1 c. Swiss cheese, shredded
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. chives
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp. Worcestershire
pecans, crushed

Mix all the ingredients together, except pecans, with an electric mixer until well blended. Pack into a large ball, roll in crushed pecans. Wrap in wax paper and put it in the fridge for a day or two before serving with bread, crackers, or veggies.

Recipe courtesy of Christie Gerow

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hershey's Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms

Hershey's Kisses (I used the meltaways, but the milk chocolate will work fine)
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
extra granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375 F. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into mixture.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in extra sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Butter Mint Candies

1 stick (1/2 c.) salted butter, softened
1 lb. confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. mint extract
2-3 liquid food colors

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. With mixer on low, beat in sugar, cream, and extract until creamy and smooth. Turn sugar mixture out onto a work surface lightly dusted with confectioners' sugar; knead until smooth and satiny. Divide mixture into thirds. Tint each a different color with the food coloring; if you want, you can leave one portion white. Cover each portion with a towel or plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Lightly dust work surface with confectioners sugar. Working with one color at a time, roll out 1/4 cupfuls of the mint mixture, using your fingers, into a 1/2-in thick rope. Cut rope into 1/2-in candies. Transfer mints to baking sheet with a spatula (be careful, they squish easily). Repeat with remaining mint mixture.

Let air-dry at room temperature for 1-2 days until firm enough to handle. Transfer mints to covered containers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beef Stir-Fry

2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
Beef Stir-Fry!
1/4 c. white wine
1 lb. boneless round steak, cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh ginger, minced (however much you like)
3 c. broccoli florets
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 package (6 oz.) frozen pea pods, thawed
fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can (8 oz.) water chestnuts, undrained
salt and pepper to taste
Hot cooked rice

In a bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, and wine until smooth. Add beef and toss to coat; set aside. In a large skillet, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in oil for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, broccoli, cilantro, and pea pods, and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes. In a different skillet, stir-fry the beef and marinade until meat reached desired doneness. Combine with the vegetables; toss to coat. Serve over rice.

I didn't have broccoli on hand, so I used a green pepper instead. I also added peanuts at the end. It was tasty!

From Quick Cooking Magazine

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Picnic Chicken Pitas

1 package frozen broccoli florets, cooked and drained (I used fresh broccoli)
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. mustard
Picnic Pita!
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
4 pita breads, halved
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (optional)
avocado, sliced into bite sized pieces (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, chicken, and cheese (avocado, if you want it). In a small bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper; pour over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Spoon about 3/4 c. into each pita half; top with bacon if desired.

Adapted from Quick Cooking Magazine circa 1999

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Banana Bread

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs, beaten
3 large, very ripe bananas
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Grease a bread pan. Set aside.

Cream sugar and shortening together. Then add eggs and bananas. Stir, and then add the flour, salt, and soda. If you want nuts, add them last. Stir, then pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 55-75 minutes. Toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Recipe courtesy of Trudy Lund

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

6 medium unpeeled potatoes, baked
1/4 tsp. of salt
pepper (the more the merrier!)
1 lb. sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 c. sour cream
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 green onions, chopped

Cut baked potatoes into 1 in. cubes. Place half in a greased 13 in x 9 in x 2in baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper, and bacon. Top with half of the sour cream and cheeses. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with onions.

Ready to serve!
If you want directions on how to bake the potatoes, I just used 6 small-medium russet potatoes, and put them on a baking sheet in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 F. I use a gas stove, so it heats quicker. For an electric stove, it will probably be about 50-60 minutes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Beef marinating
6 oz. round steak, sliced thick
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2-3 bunches of broccoli, cut into florets
1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. oyster sauce (more if you want)
fresh ginger, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
ground black pepper (lots and lots!)

Beef and broccoli cooking
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add beef to the marinade and let sit about 10 minutes. Heat oil in wok or frying pan on high heat. Add meat, cook until mostly done. Remove from pan and set aside. Add more oil to the pan, stir-fry broccoli and onion until cooked but still crisp. Add beef and perhaps a bit more oyster sauce. Stir to coat. Add more black pepper to taste. Serve over hot rice.
Ready to serve

When I make this, I will marinate the beef, but then put the marinade in the frying pan with the beef when I'm cooking it, which means it may have to cook a bit longer to cook the juices off. I think it's worth it.

Broccoli Beef

*Very quick and easy recipe!

1 bunch fresh broccoli, washed, trimmed, and cut into bite size
1 lb top round steak, thinly sliced
1/4 c. oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 green onion, sliced
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. sherry (or wine)
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger (or fresh!)
hot cooked rice

Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a wok or skillet. Add beef and saute; remove beef and set aside. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil to the skillet. Saute the garlic for about 2 minutes, then add the broccoli and onion. Saute for 5 minutes. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the water, soy sauce, sherry (I use a cream sherry), and cornstarch; add sugar and ginger (if you use fresh ginger, saute it with the garlic). Pour mixture over vegetables; add meat and  bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Cover the pan. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook until the broccoli is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Courgette Soup

Courgette = zucchini in British language

I'll post the recipe as it is in the cookbook, and then I'll write about the changes I made. It was delicious.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
5-6 rashers, diced (or if you live in America, then bacon will have to do)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium zucchini, sliced, and a few reserved for garnish
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 c. chicken broth
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
2/3 c. half and half
ground pepper to taste (that means a lot!)
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (I used cilantro)

In a stockpot or large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until nearly crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove a few pieces and reserve for a garnish. Stir in the onion, zucchini, and potatoes. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion and zucchini are soft but not browned. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, whisk in the cheese and half and half, and season with pepper. Simmer until heated through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved bacon and zucchini slices, and the parsley.

Okay, I do not usually puree my soups, and I don't boil the bacon because I think it tastes better crispy. So... I cook the bacon separately, and then set it aside. I cooked everything else the same as directed in the first few steps, except that I put the cilantro in with the zucchini, potatoes, and onion. And instead of letting the soup cool in order to run it through the processor, after the potatoes are tender, I skip ahead to the adding of the cheese and half and half. It turned out pretty well.

From The Irish Pub Cookbook

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicken with Lemon and Capers

I love this recipe! And it's fairly easy too!

olive oil, for cooking
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
3/4 oz. of butter
1 lb chicken, cubed
rind of 1 lemon, grated
2 Tbsp. baby capers, drained (I usually use a little more)
1/3 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. basil, dried
salt and pepper to taste

Heat wok until very hot, then add 2 tsp. of oil and swirl it around to coat the side. Add the red onion wedges and stir-fry until softened and golden. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Reheat the wok, add 2 tsp. of oil and half the butter, and stir-fry the chicken in two batches until it is browned, adding more oil and butter between batches. Return all the chicken to the wok with the onion.

Stir in the lemon rind, capers, and lemon juice. Toss well and cook until warmed through. Add the basil and season with salt and black pepper.

From The 1000 Best Recipes

Honey Chicken

oil, for cooking
1 lb. chicken, cubed
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/3 c. cornflour
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, cubed
2 carrots, julienned
3 1/2 oz. snow peas, sliced
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbsp. almonds, toasted

Heat wok until very hot, add 1 1/2 Tbsp. of oil, and swirl it around to coat the side. Dip half of the chicken into egg white, then lightly dust with cornflour. Stir-fry over high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and just cooked. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken, then remove all the chicken from the wok.

Reheat the wok, add 1 Tbsp. of oil, and stir-fry the sliced onion over high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the green pepper and carrot, and cook, tossing, for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the snow peas and cook for 2 minutes.

Increase the heat, add the honey and toss the vegetables until well coated. Return the chicken to the wok and toss until it is heated through and is well coated in the honey. Remove from the heat and season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkle with almonds.

You can serve it over rice or just on its own.

If you don't have a wok, use a frying pan, just reduce the heat and cook longer.

From The 1000 Best Recipes

Zippy Potato Soup

3/4 lb. sliced bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
8-10 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium carrot, grated
5 c. water
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion; drain and set aside. In a large pot, cook the potatoes and carrot in water for 20 minutes or until tender (do not drain).

Stir in the remaining ingredients and the bacon mixture. Cook for 10 minutes or until heated through.

If you want crispy bacon, you can cook the onion and bacon separately, and when you add all the ingredients to the soup, just leave out the bacon until you're dishing up the soup. Then garnish each bowl with the bacon. That's what I did because I prefer the crispy texture of bacon.

Adapted from Taste of Home Big Book of Soup

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chinese Fried Noodles

Just made this, and it turned out well!

16oz. package of Chinese noodles
1 lb. beef, cut into thin strips
4 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
1-2 tsp. ginger, minced
2 carrots, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 c. broccoli, cut into florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce (keep it handy in case you need more!)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
black pepper, to taste (aka: a lot)

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine 
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. white pepper 

Bring a pot of water to boil. Boil the noodles. Stop cooking the noodles when there is still a good chew. Drain. Rinse with cold water. Drain again. Set aside.

Noodles with sauce
While the noodles are cooking, combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the sliced beef to the bowl. Stir to coat. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.

When the meat is ready, heat a Tbsp of sesame oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the ginger, cook for a minute or two. Add the meat and stir fry until it's almost cooked through. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat another Tbsp of sesame oil over high heat and add all the veggies and garlic. Season with black pepper. Stir fry until the vegetables are cooked, but not mushy. They should still be a bit crunchy. At this point, add the meat and finish cooking with the vegetables. Set aside in a bowl.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in the cleared skillet over medium high heat. Add the noodles. Toss them around in the oil until well coated, breaking up any clumps. If it's too clumpy, add more oil. Pan fry the noodles, stirring and flipping them frequently until some noodles get a golden exterior. Season the noodles with the oyster sauce, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, and sugar. Toss the noodles and make sure everything is coated with the sauce. Add some pepper. Feel free to add more oyster or Hoisin sauce. Add the vegetables and meat to the noodles. Toss until everything is evenly distributed. Serve hot.

Here's a link to the recipe I adapted:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut butter mixture
1 c. creamy peanut butter, divided
4 1/2 tsp. butter, softened
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
4 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 oz. each), coarsely chopped (I used 2 regular sized Cadbury bars)

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 c. peanut butter, butter, confectioners sugar, and salt until smooth. Set aside.

In a pot over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, candy bars, and remaining peanut butter; stir continually until smooth.

Finished product. Mmmmmm!
Drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture into paper-lined miniature muffin cups (I put Crisco in the cups since I didn't have paper liners). Top each with a scant teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture; top with another teaspoonful of chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2-3 dozen, depending on how big you make the butter cups. =)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pasta Puttanesca

Also known as "whore's pasta," the name of this robust pasta dish originated in Naples after the local women of easy virtue.
I love this recipe!

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
dash or two of red pepper flakes
2 tsp. capers, rinsed and drained
12-16 pitted black olives, quartered
14 oz. diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp sea salt
ground pepper (lots!)
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
oregano, basil, dill, coriander, thyme to taste
cooked spaghetti or other pasta
Parmesan for the top (optional)

Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, capers, olives, tomatoes, salt, pepper, cilantro, and other seasonings, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta. Drain the cooked pasta into a colander and put the sauce in the bottom of the pot. Top with the hot pasta and reserved Tbsp of olive oil, and toss together gently to combine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. soft butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips. When well mixed, add in the chips and stir. Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Grandma Johnson's Lemon Scones

I don't remember where I got this recipe, but it's my favorite scone recipe.

1 c. sour cream
Before going into the oven
1 tsp. baking soda
4 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp. lemon zest

Fresh out of the oven
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and baking soda. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in butter with a knife or a pastry blender (I also hear grating very cold butter works great). Combine egg with sour cream mixture. Add the lemon zest into the flour mixture. Stir the sour cream mixture into flour mixture until moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly. Roll dough out into a 3/4 in thick round. Cut into 12 wedges and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. I used a scone pan, and made 15 scones with this recipe.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. pumpkin
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 c. raisins (optional)

Pumpkin muffins
Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat together sugar, oil, and pumpkin together in a large bowl. In another bowl, sift together flour, cloves, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Combine flour mixture with pumpkin mixture until all the flour and spices are evenly mixed in. Prepare muffin pans with liners. Fill cups 1/2 full with batter. Bake for 18-23 minutes. Inserted toothpick should come out clean when done.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Korean Burgers

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 Tbsp and 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1 slice white bread, finely cubed (or saltines)

Mix all ingredients together well. Press 1/2 c. portions into patties and grill or fry. Serve on buns with whatever you like to put on hamburgers (cheese and mustard is what I prefer).

Recipe courtesy of Trudy Lund

Mediterranean Soup with Mozzarella

2 c. eggplant, chopped
Halved eggplant
Cooking spray
olive oil
1 c. yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. zucchini, sliced
cilantro, chopped 
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
dill, thyme, coriander, red pepper flakes, and oregano (sorry, I don't measure!)
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
3 1/2 c. water
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
mozzarella, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place eggplant on baking sheet lined with foil and spray with cooking spray. Roast 10-12 minutes, stirring once to cook evenly.

Soup simmering
While eggplant cooks, put olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 4 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Add zucchini, bell peppers, cilantro, basil, and other spices. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and water. Stir to blend. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Soup with mozzarella
Stir in beans, sugar, and salt (taste test to see if you want to add any more spices too!). Cover and simmer about 3-5 more minutes or until beans are heated through. Remove from heat. Dish up into bowls; garnish with mozzarella.