A few weeks back, I had a pretty nice supply of fresh spinach. I started looking for some recipes, and this one was quite out of my comfort zone, but I chose it because it could be made ahead and served at room temperature. This is a great recipe to help you fool your husband. It looks like you slaved away all day, but your kitchen is perfectly clean when he gets home because the food was made earlier in the day. I served it with a sandwich and hardly had any dishes to clean after dinner.
1/2 cup shaved Pecorino cheese (original recipe calls for feta)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried mint, crushed
1 teaspoon dried dill
Sallt and black pepper to taste
In your largest pan, saute onions on high until beginning to soften. Add zucchini and heat until cooked through and getting soft. Add sugar snap peas to defrost. Stir in rice and seasonings: lemon juice, herbs, and black pepper. Serve warm or place in bowl to serve at room temp. Top with shaved cheese.
Orlando Family Magazine sent out a coupon for Freshfields Farm in their July issue. It's a well known fact that coupons for produce are rare. So, when you find this, grab it. The value is $5 off $25. It doesn't expire until August 31. (The magazine is well worth getting for its family-related stories, too.
No more mangoes to photograph. Boo hoo! But luckily, my husband has agreed to let me order more! Today is the last day to put an order in to pick up mangoes being delivered to the Orlando Area this Wednesday, July 20. I promise, you will not be sorry to invest in them!
8 oz. (one medium) Zucchini, shredded (medium hole)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
4 slices Fresh Mozzarella, 1/2 or less thick
2 Campari Tomatoes, sliced
4 or more Basil leaves
4 Ciabatta Bread squares
Salt, Pepper, and Balsamic Vinegar to taste
Slice ciabatta in half to open and make two sides for the sandwich. Warm if necessary.
In medium skillet on medium-high heat, cook zucchini in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil until zucchini is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pull the zucchini into the middle of the pan and place mozzarella slices evenly apart on top of pile. Lower heat to medium or medium-low. The goal is for the mozzarella to melt and hold the zucchini pieces together to limit the messy-ness of the sandwich. The zucchini should brown nicely on the bottom, but not burn.
With a spatula, divide the zucchini into four parts and place on sandwich bread. Dress as desired with tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, remaining olive oil, and more salt or pepper.
With all the zucchini we had lying around the house for two weeks, I immediately was attracted to this zucchini cornbread recipe from the July Bon Appetit Magazine. I liked that it had some whole wheat flour in it. And I'm learning to really appreciate cornmeal for the extra iron and little crunch. I immediately started telling friends about it.
Gelatobaby had a very interesting June. It seems that she had bad allergies and learned that a vegetarian, even vegan, diet could lessen her symptoms. She tells a great story in her latest post. I highly recommend reading the story and reading the comments. If you are new to vegetarianism or just trying it out and don't know what to tell people, Alissa understands. She's been there.
There's a group of mommy-bloggers who have coined the term "Eating from the Pantry Challenge". It means that they skip the grocery stores for the week and just focus on eating what they've stored up in their pantries, freezers, and refrigerators.
We are eating from the pantry this week, mostly. We have cheated, though. I have purchased one cantaloupe and one small block of cheese. We also picked up two big boxes of mangoes that we ordered last week as part of a church fund-raiser. Many will be shared.
This was better than I imagined. And Nora devoured it. . .and Paul's. I originally made this dish for a dessert for guests. But Nora got a fever, which called off dinner plans. We (Paul's sister and brother-in-law were here.) ate the sorbet, anyway, and got two meals out of it instead of one!
Recipe for Tropical Fruit Sorbet
2 cups Bananas, mashed and frozen
2 cups Pineapple, diced and frozen
1 cup mango, diced and frozen
4 Tablespoons Lime Juice
10 Mint Leaves
4 Tablespoons Water (or more based on your processor)
Note: The pineapple and mango should total about 24 oz.
Minus the water, combine ingredients in food processor and puree. Add water gradually to help "cream" the fruit, but not to make it too runny. Originally, the fruit will just looked chopped. It will eventually smooth out. Pour sorbet into freezer-safe pan, cover and freeze. Let sit out 5-10 minutes before serving.
This recipe can be done in batches in a mini-processor, which is what I have. But a warning, it works the motor hard. My processor is still going, but it certainly got warm and a little smelly by the end of my preparation.
I'm no authority on this. I'm just sharing my journey.
While many moms do a great job of cooking ahead and freezing their food, I can't do it. Cooking is my outlet. When Nora naps, it's my time to play in the kitchen. I am the type of person who thinks all day about what we're having for dinner. After dinner, I start thinking about tomorrow's dinner. And with all that thinkin' ahead, you'd think I'd actually do some prep work ahead. Cause cleaning up the kitchen isn't so fun. And it's greener to just use that knife and cutting board once.
After our yummy dinner out, I convinced Paul to take us to Yogurtland in Winter Park for dessert. He'd also had lunch dessert there. He had been there once before when his department was interviewing for a new team member. He very much enjoyed it. And I was quite happy with the tasty menu and restaurant design myself.
I'm posting this in lieu of a Menu Plan for this week because I'm still waffling on the menu. We're expecting visitors, and I have been negotiating menus with Paul, but even this morning, I was changing my mind. Anyway, I just can't wait to share this recipe.
Recipe for Ciabatta Bread (For Bread Machine)
Recipe from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
20 oz. High-gluten Flour
12 oz. water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoons yeast
Put water in bottom of bread machine. Top with flour. In one corner of the machine, add salt. In opposite corner, add yeast.
Set machine on dough cycle, which should include the first rise. When the machine is done, knead dough again, let rest 10-15 minutes before shaping. Shape by pulling dough until it is about 12 inches long and 1 inch thick. Allow to rise, covered, for one more hour.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 375 and bake another 30 minutes.
Mr. Ruhlman does a fabulous job of explaining the details for using a regular stand mixer instead.
Tre Pupazzi or the Three Puppets is close to the top of my favorite Roman restaurants. It was a big deal when I learned we were planning on going there. I had very fond memories of my food. And for some reason I also remembered the decor, which hadn't changed.
This is polenta, a traditional, Italian peasant dish. It can be served creamy or sliced in this fancy fashion pictured above, possibly even rewarmed on an oiled skillet producing a great brown crust. In America, we'd just call this grits. Or cornmeal. The polenta in Italy generally is very similar to yellow grits. I make it at home with cornmeal for two reasons. For one, cornmeal is reasonably cheap. For two, if I just change the recipes to cornmeal, that's one less item that gets lost in my pantry.
Based on Soft Polenta from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
3 cups water or vegetarian chicken-flavored broth
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt if not using broth
1/4-1/2 teaspoon celery seed (original recipe calls for fennel seeds)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, topping
Black pepper to taste
Bring water or broth to boil in a large pot. Slowly pour in cornmeal, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. A whisk works best for me. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until polenta is thick. Season. Serve topped with cheese.
Moosewood adds a note that the grind and variety of cornmeal influence the cook times. Be prepared to add hot water to cooking if necessary. However, I don't recall ever needing to.
I've spent a little more time researching zucchini recipes than I had planned. The ones on the list are just the ones that appeal to me tonight. Who knows what I will want to do tomorrow and the remainder of the week!
We do have family in town, which means I will be dining with them for most lunches and will possibly not be home early enough to have dinner on the table before Paul gets home. So, I'm thinking fast and simple meals for dinners.
Can you believe these peacocks? Combined with the view and the gardens, the afternoon was breathtaking.
Honestly, I have no idea what's going on this week. And I just have one child! There's evening meetings for work, evening meetings for church, birthdays x3; and at the end of the week, my aunt and uncle are coming in. So truthfully, I have no idea how many meals we're actually eating at home. Good thing we always have ingredients for burritos or cereal!
I made this for a lunch with friends last week, and since one of them called for the recipe yesterday, I thought I'd better make up the recipe and show the picture. The beauty of salads sometimes is that you can through anything into it and make it work. Moreover, it's very forgiving provided you have a great dressing. Also, I've loved having banana peppers on my patio because I can just cut the hot ones and add them to the salad instead of using crushed red pepper, which feels so "coarse" in what is mostly a soft and simple salad.
Recipe for Cucumber Couscous Salad
1 cup cooked whole wheat couscous
1 small-to-medium cucumber, thinly sliced (like on a mandolin)
2 banana peppers, sliced
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced (Green onions may work well, too.)
1 tomato diced
2 tablespoons dehydrated parsley
1 tablespoon fresh mint (or about 10 large leaves)
1/2 teaspoon herbed salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Drizzle olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
Combine ingredients in serving bowl. Stir carefully. Serve immediately or chill to marinate flavors
OK, after breakfast being the most important part of your eating in Italy comes Gelato. Truly, you only need to survive on gelato in Italy. There's nothing like it anywhere else in the world. It's ice cream, only better. There's a variety of flavors that you aren't likely to find even at Baskin Robbins.
Ah! It's summer! OK, it's felt like summer long before this in Florida. But we've had a fabulous weekend so far, including but not limited to: swimming in the pool while clouds created shade, watching Nora eat corn-on-the-cob successfully, spending a few extra moments together while we aren't focused on work (Well, I did get up and grade this morning. Didn't want to have to do it all tomorrow.), and enjoying a couple of shorter bike rides on our new-er tandem bike. We're quite the parade with the trailer hitched on the back.
When I was working full time, we'd spend $5 a week at Costco for the Rosemary Olive Oil Bread. I'd have all kinds of sandwiches with it. Well, I don't have the slightest idea why I didn't figure it out before, but last week when Paul trimmed up the rosemary bush, I decided to try my hand at a rosemary bread recipe.
This week ends with a big holiday weekend. We love holidays even if summer is way ahead in Florida. That being said, we are in the heart of corn season and loving it. Much of this week will revolve around yummy corn.
Also, we'll be spending time with my grandmother. And some of my meals will have to be significantly softer for her to munch on. I enjoyed reading through a few cookbooks on Friday looking for inspiration. I hope my list won't disappoint any of us.
In my research and from the recipes I've tried, I've come to the conclusion that graham crackers seem to have a wide definition. I really don't see why you can't call these graham crackers. But if it bothers you, just call it honey-sesame crackers.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. I recommend using a mixer or food processor to evenly distribute the honey and oil. Then, gradually add water and mix or hand kneed until dough forms a ball.
On lightly floured parchment paper or on a Roul-pat (or between two Silpats), roll the dough out. Mine became roughly 9 x 13 in size. Cut into shapes. Place on lined baking sheet close together, but not touching. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes per tray. (The original recipe says to do 15-20 and rotate the trays throughout the processes. It's easier on me as I chase Nora to just do one tray at a time.)
Ever since my nutrition class (that happened longer ago than I care to think about) told me how important sesame seeds were to the vegetarian diet because they are high in iron, I've liked them. Not that I didn't love sesame hamburger buns before. But I really had interest in them after that. Which is why this very recent recipe from the New York Times food blog got my attention.
I have to say it's very advised to find a hotel when you travel that includes breakfast, especially in foreign countries that don't often concentrate on breakfast as a meal. My parents skipped the hotel breakfast one day to go out with some friends. It cost €24 (about $36) for four Danish and two coffees.
Last week, we returned from a wonderful family vacation with not just one set, but both sets of Nora's grandparents, plus some friends and a second cousin. While I won't bore you with the details of a diary like I did in Paris, I would like to blog a good deal on the foods. Because Italy can be very inspirational! In fact, I'm even thinking of tweaking my garden in the very near future thanks to my observations of the Italian ways.
Well, I've sure missed menu planning. Starting tomorrow, I'll tell you where we've been vacationing. Meanwhile, has your area enjoyed a great bounty of fabulously fresh produce like ours? It's on sale, and it tastes great! Nora has, with little help from us, eaten two cantaloupes in two days. Somewhat in her defense, they had larger centers than I expected. But they still tasted really good, and she still ate them. In addition, we have some great harvesting from our garden that keeps us happy.
Disclaimer: The bread in the photos has rye and flax seed in it. It makes two smaller loaves instead of the one big loaf discussed below. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the big basic loaf. And since I have no idea what my mother-in-law paid for the rye and flax seed, I'm waiting until I go to the store again to calculate that total.So, the story goes that we bought my mother a Cuisinart bread machine for Christmas a number of years back. She never used it. She couldn't get it to work like her old Dak, which they don't make any more.
Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
This recipe has been passed down and around. Unfortunately, I don't know the original source. Please feel free to tell me if you know.
Put ingredients in bread machine in order. Put salt in one corner and yeast in opposite corner. Turn machine on mix only setting (My machine goes through the first rise.) or on full bake, but I've learned with this recipe the crust gets too hard in the machine. When first rise is finished, remove dough onto floured surface. Need dough for about 30 seconds. Roll into oval shape with ends under the loaf and pinched together. Place dough in pan. Cover and keep in warm place for 45 minutes-1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 about 20-30 minutes before rising is completed to ensure it is the correct temperature. Bake 35-40 minutes. Bread should be a nice brown color and should give a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom of the loaf. Remove to cooling rack, cooling loaf on its side.
You can see a picture of the adorable rabbit-cut crackers I made. They were so cute, but they took so long. I figured I would save such energies until Nora really cares about the shape of her food. Meanwhile, I'll just make cheese sticks. And I've updated the recipe slightly, which has made a huge difference to me. Feel free to say otherwise.My big move was to add 1/2 a teaspoon paprika for nice color.
Adjusted Dilled Havarti Cracker Recipe
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoonsunsalted butter
6 oz. (3/4 block from Aldi or 1 1/2 cups coursly grated) Havarti cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon herbed salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
I learned the last time that I don't have to pre-shred the cheese. I just throw it in the processor with the butter. Just cut them into a few cubes. Because I just have a mini food processor, I don't wait for the dough to form a ball, I just get two halves of the batch well mixed and then mold them together myself. I've learned that they cook far better when spread apart instead of in a full sheet like I originally made them.
Um, yeah, minor problem here. Can't exactly remember the recipe for the curried cauliflower. I kinda threw it together in a hurry and on my own cause I didn't like what my cookbooks said. What I remember was my complete shock when of all the meals my dad ate with us while my mom was out of town, this was the only one he deemed "good". . .or at least the only one he commented on. And when given the choice of leftovers for lunch, he chose this one.
Recipe for Curried Cauliflower with Quinoa
1 large tomato, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, more or less to taste
1 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 salt (more at table)
Raisins to taste (and if you're Paul, that's a lot!)
Cook Quinoa according to package directions. (Better yet, cook enough for the entire week at one time and just pull some out of the fridge for this recipe.)
In a large pan with a lid, saute onions in a touch of olive oil on medium heat until they become translucent. Add the cauliflower and stir. Season with salt and curry powder, add water and cover to steam the cauliflower so it softens a bit, about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking. Add quinoa to rewarm if necessary; stir. Serve topped with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and/or raisins--especially golden ones!
I love the potato quinoa pancake recipe from Vegetarian Ireland. And I wondered if I couldn't add lots more food value to them and make them great toddler finger food if I added some spinach that I stocked up on when it was on sale at Aldi. So I did.
Spinach Potato Quinoa Pancakes
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups mashed potatoes
4 cups tight-packed spinach (Cut the pile in half if it's not baby spinach.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup cottage cheese (optional)
2 cups quinoa
2 eggs, beaten
Saute onions in a touch of olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and other seasonings, Add spinach and cook down. Stir in potatoes and quinoa, lastly cottage cheese and eggs.
Heat a griddle to 350 degrees. Use two soup spoons or whatever devices you prefer to spoon mixture onto griddle and shape into patties. Mine were about two inches in diameter.
I'm sorry to say I read another vegetarian blogger's negative Twitter comment about Extreme Couponing. And it made me think it was time I share my views, especially as a health-conscious newly-on-one-income family that's learning to feed a third stomach. I'd also like to point out that I have not actually seen the TV show because we don't have a TV. (That's a whole story all its own.) But I assure you I've heard many stories from people that do watch it.
Simple and quick, I loved this mint pesto recipe from The Thin Chef. I can imagine a few ways to use it. Even the original concept, on pizza, sounds quite yummy and unusual. But the busy day I served this, a good coat of pesto on orzo-shaped pasta made the most sense. Nora was just learning to grasp slippery pasta. Next time, I'd love to try this on whole wheat pasta because it isn't as delicate as a tomato sauce. It can handle the extra grain of the heavy pasta.
1 box Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix with necessary ingredients to bake
1 cup Kraft Cooking Cream, Original Flavor
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Flavoring
Bake the cake according to package directions for two 8 or 9 inch round pans. Meanwhile, with mixer on lowest setting, blend together cooking cream and powdered sugar, adding sugar slowly. Add vanilla and mix completely. Keep glaze chilled until ready to assemble cake.
When cake is done and completely cooled, place bottom layer of cake on serving dish. Spread about 2 tablespoons of glaze gently over the top as the glue for the second layer of cake. Place the top layer over the glaze. Gently spread glaze over top of layer of cake. Keep cool in fridge until serving. Garnish just before serving.
1/8 cup red onions, diced just large enough to appreciate the color
1.5 teaspoons cumin
.5 1 teaspoon herbed salt
3 T Olive Oil
1 T lemon juice
Parsley or cilantro garnish
Slice carrots equal size and put in microwave safe bowl. Add the cube of frozen celery instead of additional water. Microwave on high 4-5 minutes until carrots are easily pierced with a fork. Remove bowl from microwave, add half the cumin and all the garlic. Stir. In serving bowl, put quinoa, add carrots scraping liquid and flavors out, too. Add olives, onions, and peppers. Stir. Drizzle olive oil, lemon, and sprinkled and remaining cumin salt over top. Stir. Serve room temp to warm. Garnish if desired.
Put beans, carrots, and garlic in a food processor and chop. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Grease a jelly roll or similar pan. Form falafel into half-dollar-sized patties and place on pan. Brush olive oil on top of falafel. Bake at 425 degrees 10-14 minutes, turning once. (I generally do 7 minutes on each side, but the original recipe says 10 minutes.)
Serve on pitas with vegetables and a yogurt dip of your choice.