February 2013



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Feb. 19th, 2013

American Duchess shoes

American Duchess is having a giveaway of their beautiful Edwardian shoes.


Dec. 5th, 2012

Super-Easy Stir-Fry

Pinterest took me to a recipe for Super-Easy Stir-Fry at AllRecipes.com. I recommend the article, because it makes up a great meal, but I needed to reformat it to make it easier for me to follow. I need an ingredient list at the beginning! However, I highly recommend the article to get all the information on techniques you need.

Super-Easy Stir-Fry
From Pam Anderson via AllRecipes.com
Serves 4

1 pound of protein: chicken, tofu, pork tenderloin, sirloin, rib-eye, tenderloin, flank steak, skirt steak...
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sherry
1 medium onion
1 pound veggies, at least two types
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon minced gingerroot
*1 recipe of sauce (see below)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons chicken broth or water

1. Set a 12-inch skillet over low heat
2. Prep your protein by cutting it into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl
3. Pour 1 T soy sauce and 1 T sherry over the protein and mix together. Set aside.
4. Cut the peeled onion in half, pole to pole. Then cut into 8 wedges. Set aside.
5. Prep the veggies by cutting into bite-sized pieces. Keep them in two piles. Set aside.
6. Mince the garlic and ginger root. Set aside.
7. Make the stir-fry sauce. Set aside.
8. Mix together the cornstarch and broth or water. Set aside.
9. Turn heat in skillet up to high. Add 1 T of oil to the pan. Add half the protein. Stir-fry until well-browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat with remaining protein.
10. Drizzle another 2 Tbsp oil into the hot skillet. Add the onion and stir-fry until browned but still crsip, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir once, then add the vegetable that you think will take longer to cook. (If they're the same, just pick one.) Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the rest of the veggies and continue to stir-fry until all veggies are tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes longer.
11. Return protein to pan and stir in your flavoring sauce. Make sure all the ingredients are well coated with thesauce. Finally, stir in the cornstarch mixture until juices become saucy and glossy. If the wok juices look too thick at this point, thin with a few more tablespoons of chicken broth or water, then serve the stir-fry immediately with noodles or steamed rice.

*Sauces: Combine all ingredients for chosen sauce in a 1-cup measuring cup.

Lemon Stir-Fry Sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice plus 1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar

Soy-Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar

Fresh Herb Stir-Fry Sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup shredded basil leaves or minced cilantro leaves

Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry Sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp cider, balsamic or rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes

Dec. 1st, 2012

Roquefort or Blue Cheese Dressing

2 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried herbs (tarragon, basil, fines herbes, etc.)

Whisk together all ingredients, mashing roquefort as necessary. Chill.

Nov. 3rd, 2012

Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate Sauce
From Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, be Jeni Britton Bauer

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (55-70% cacao), chopped

Combine the cocoa, coffee, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Oct. 28th, 2012

Pumpkin pecan waffles

I promised the darling husband pumpkin waffles this morning, but without access to the internet, I had to go with recipes I had in print. I adapted this banana-pecan waffle recipe to the need.

Pumpkin pecan waffles
adapted from the Sunset Cookbook.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup low-fat (2%) milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans*

1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger,, and salt. In another bowl, mix egg yolks, milk, pumpkin, yogurt, and butter until well blended. Stir egg-yolk mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Stir in pecans.

2. In another large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.

3. Turn a Belgian waffle iron to high heat; brush both sides lightly with oil or melted butter. When hot, add about 1/2 cup batter per 4-inch square; close iron and cook until waffle is well browned (lift lid slightly to check), 6 to 9 minutes. Remove waffle; keep warm on a baking sheet in a 200° oven up to 15 minutes. Repeat to cook remaining waffles.

4. Serve warm with pumpkin butter or maple syrup.

*Toast nuts spread in a pan in a 350 oven for 5-10 minutes.

Oct. 7th, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

Smitten Kitchen always has such gorgeous pictures that I want to make every recipe, and this time of year, it's pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. These are actually called "pumpkin cinnamon rolls," but I felt like they were cinnamon rolls made with pumpkin. They were moist and rich and had a hearty enough flavor that they were perfect for autumn, but the pumpkin flavor was more of an aftertaste. If you want to have a pumpkin pie flavor, I think you'd have to fill them with pumpkin, as opposed to just in the batter.

My first rise wasn't the doubling that the recipe calls for. I stuck both pans in the fridge overnight. I pulled one out this morning and set it on the warm spot on my stove with a towel over it for about two hours, and they rose sufficiently. I added a dash of lemon to the frosting. I thought the frosting was a bit too sweet, but Shawn says I always say that. Nevertheless, when we have the second pan, I think I'll tinker with the frosting to have a little higher cream cheese to powdered sugar ratio. The second pan is going into the freezer for another lazy weekend.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

By Smitten Kitchen, Adapted from Baked Elements

Yield: 16 to 18 buns

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted melted butter, to be divided
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups (160 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl

3/4 cup (packed, 145 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons (5 grams) ground cinnamon

4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)

Make your dough:

Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.

Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; it should just about double.

While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t sweat it. It will all be delicious in the end.

Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).

Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.

If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and the aroma brings all the boys to your yard is like a snickerdoodle. Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with cream cheese glaze, then have at them.

Oct. 1st, 2012

Lemon Pepper Chicken

I used to make this recipe all the time, and I haven't made it in years. I've put it on this week's menu.

Lemon-Pepper Broiled Chicken Breasts
from 365 Easy Low-Calorie Recipes

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 - 7 ounce chicken breast halves, skinned
4 lemon wedges

Abbreviated instructions: Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl, add chicken breasts. Marinate at room temperature, turning once or twice, 30 to 60 minutes.
Broil or grill as desired. Serve with lemon wedges.

Sep. 27th, 2012

Juicy Burgers

Last week, I was looking for something to serve with a recipe for Salt & Vinegar potatoes. A quick google search for a burger recipe brought up Juiciest Hamburgers Ever Recipe.

I reduced the recipe to two servings, for our tiny family, and I formed them into 5 sliders, three for the darling husband and two for me. I pan fried them and served them up with a slice of heirloom tomato and some secret sauce (ketchup and relish).

As advertised, these burgers were really juicy, perfect for sliders! So good that I'll definitely make them again. Unfortunately, the vinegar potatoes were just potatoes. I'll have to give them another go with a little more vinegar. My recipe below serves two. Follow the link above for the original recipe, which serves 8.

Juicy Sliders
Serves 2

1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 egg, beaten (About a tablespoon; save the rest of the egg for scrambled breakfast)
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
2-1/4 teaspoons milk
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 clove garlic, minced

Preheat grill for high heat or a pan to medium high heat.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients using your hands. Form the mixture into 2 hamburger patties or 4-6 sliders.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill or pan fry the patties 5 minutes per side, or until well done.

Aug. 25th, 2012

Creamy Mushroom & Chicken Soup

Even though it's not even halfway through summer in Los Angeles, I've been feeling the pull of autumn lately. (It's probably all the great fall leaves and halloween pictures on Pinterest!) So tonight, I decided to make this decidedly fall-like soup. I made some changes to the Disney Family Fun recipe including knocking the number of servings from 15 to 5, so go check the link for the original.

This had a nice buttery, mushroom flavor, and the corn gave it little snaps of sweetness. The original called for mixing in the cream, but I found it had a nice flavor without the cream, so I used it as a garnish to give me more choice in my leftovers. And I left the yellow squash out of my recipe here. I used it, but I thought it was a little odd in the soup, so I won't use it next time.
Creamy Mushroom & Chicken Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
2/3 teaspoons salt
1/3 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped carrots
2/3 cups quartered baby red potatoes
1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2/3 teaspoons thyme
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish if desired
2/3 cups chopped cooked chicken
garnish with cream
  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper and mix until smooth. Gradually add the broth, then turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Add the mushrooms, celery, carrots, potatoes, corn, and thyme. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

  2. Add the Parmesan, and chicken. Heat the soup for an additional 10 minutes, but do not let it boil.

  3. To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and sprinkle it with more Parmesan or swirl in a dallop of cream. Makes about 5 cups.


Zucchini Rice Gratin

I thought this was just okay the first and second days. It really shines as a leftover on days 3 & 4. For the first days, my mouth kept expecting potato, instead of rice. I'd really like to see how it works with brown rice. I feel like the extra chewiness would help.

After it has a chance to sit, everything begins to taste of the rich tomatoes, so only use really flavorful ones.

Zucchini Rice Gratin
From Smitten Kitchen, Adapted from Gourmet, March 2008

My prior quibbles about this dish were that it always stuck to the pan (I try to alleviate this by having you oil your baking dish), was way too salty (and we are hardly salt-phobes, thus I’ve reduced the total amount from 1 1/2 teaspoons to 3/4 teaspoon; feel free to add more if you find it needs it), and that it used too many dishes. You can reduce your dishload by lining your zucchini baking sheet with aluminum foil (tomatoes are reactive with aluminum so I’d leave their tray bare) and hoping that you’ll consider using one skillet for the rice and onions. Despite the fact that I couldn’t reduce the moderate dishload further, we’ve never once felt that this dish wasn’t worth the extra suds.

1/3 cup uncooked white rice, long-grain is suggested but use whatever you prefer
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Table salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook the rice according to your favorite method. The package directions work in some cases, but check my notes above about adjustments I find I have to make. If you cook the rice in a large, wide-ish covered skillet, it might cook even faster but you’ll have the chance to use it again (and save on dirty dishes) when you need to cook the onions in a bit.

While rice cooks, coat two large (or, if you have the same pitifully small oven as I do, three smaller) baking sheets each with a tablespoon of a of olive oil (a bit less for smaller pans). Spread zucchini and tomato slices on the baking sheets in as close to a single layer as you can. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Roast tomatoes for 10 minutes and zucchini for 20. Flip zucchini halfway through; it’s not worth the messy effort for the tomatoes. Leave oven on.

Heat large, heavy skillet (such as the one you used to cook your rice) over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, heat oil, then add onions, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan. Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking onion until limp and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Combine onion mixture, rice, eggs, thyme, half of your grated cheese and a half-tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. Add a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Use the remaining half-tablespoon of olive oil to coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Spread half of rice mixture in bottom of dish. Arrange half of roasted zucchini on top. Spread remaining rice mixture over it and please don’t worry about being neat about this; dinner will be “rustic” tonight! Arrange remaining zucchini on top, then tomato slices. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and bake until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Each oven varies, but I find mine does the very best browning when the dish is on a rack near the top of the oven.


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