Photos on Fine Fettle Kettle are originals taken by Miriam Latour and under copyright protection.
Recipes are the creation of Miriam Latour, unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mimsy's Swiss Chard with Black Beans & Egg

This makes one individual serving and is around 200 calories. It's a quick, refreshing hot lunch.

Mimsy's Swiss Chard with Black Beans & Egg

3 large Swiss chard leaves, diced
2 slices of onion, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup black beans, cooked
1 egg

Saute chard, onion and pepper in 1 tsp olive oil until tender. Add beans and heat through. Transfer to plate, add 1/2 tsp olive oil to pan and cook egg until soft-done. Top veggies with egg. Eat!

Dave's Ciabatta Bread and Acorn Squash Soup

Dave is getting to be more and more of an expert artisan bread maker as he works to improve his techniques and find the perfect recipes. His Ciabatta bread is absolutely divine. The texture is fabulous! Ciabatta has a rich, soft lacy center with a crisp crusts. It is never dry, and tastes wonderful dipped in infused olive oils or served with soup or used in panini sandwiches.

Dave's Ciabatta
Originally from Jason Molina with instructions by Jason "LilDice" on The Fresh Loaf.

500 g Flour
15 g salt
2 tsp yeast
450 - 490 g water


In Kitchen Aid style mixer: Mix all ingredients roughly till combined with paddle, let it rest for 10 minutes.

With the paddle (I prefer the hook to prevent the dough from crawling into the guts of the mixer), beat the living hell out of the batter, it will start out like pancake batter but in anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes it will set up and work like a very sticky dough. if it starts climbing too soon, then switch to the hook. You'll know it's done when it separates from the side of the bowl and starts to climb up your hook/paddle and just coming off the bottom of the bowl. I mean this literally about the climbing, i once didn't pay attention and it climbed up my paddle into the greasy inner workings of the mixer. It was not pretty! Anyway, it will definately pass the windowpane test.

Place into a well oiled container and let it triple! it must triple! For me this takes about 2.5 hours

Empty on to a floured counter (scrape if you must, however you gotta get the gloop out), cut into 3 or 4 peices. Spray with oil and dust with lots o' flour. Let them proof for about 45 minutes, which gives you enough time to crank that oven up to 500F.

After 45 minutes or so the loaves should be puffy and wobbly, now it's iron fist, velvet glove time. Pick up and stretch into your final ciabatta shape (~10" oblong rectangle) and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), and onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. Try to do it in one motion and be gentle, it might look like you've ruined them completely, but the oven spring is immense on these things.

Bake at 500F until they are 205F in the cnter (about 15-20 minutes), rotating 180 degrees half way through. Some people like to turn the oven down to 450F after 10 minutes, but whatever floats your boat. I usually bake in 2 batches.

Dave's tips:

"The key is to beat it and beat it to death. Also measure using grams instead of cups, because you can get the ratios better. Flour is dependent on the humidity and how long it's been sitting. A cup measurement is not a good way to measure flour.

It will be super sticky to begin with, and you beat it until it becomes shiny and elastic. The flip at the end is really tricky, so parchment paper is a life-saver. If the flip is too hard, skip it, because it's optional. A baking stone is a must for this bread.

Put water on your hands when touching the dough. It's really gooey and sticky and you don't want to add extra flour. Bread knives are helpful so you don't have to touch it with your hands at all.

Keep trying if you don't get it right the first time! It's worth it."

Dave will be trying out even more recipes for ciabatta and other breads that will hopefully end up on this blog.

Acorn Squash Soup
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri

3 whole acorn squash (about 8 cups)
6 shallots, 1 cup diced, 3 left whole and peeled
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper, freshly cracked, plus more for seasoning
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
4 cups chicken stock, low-sodium
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sage, dry
1 tsp savory
1 cup cream
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half on the equator and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut a flat spot on each end so the squash will sit flat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the squash, cut side up. To 3 of the squash halves, add a peeled shallot and to the other 3 add 2 garlic cloves on each. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with 1 tablespoon each of the salt and freshly cracked pepper. Roast in the hot oven until very tender and starting to caramelize and collapse, approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin. Reserve the roasted shallots and garlic with the squash. Can be done ahead.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat and when the butter is starting to foam, add the raw diced shallots and saute until they are starting to caramelize, about 5 to 6 minutes. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir to remove any fond. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the reserved squash, roasted shallots and garlic and then the remaining chicken stock. Stir to combine, then puree with a stick blender. The mixture will be very thick. Add in the cayenne, white pepper and the herbs. Stir in the cream and Worcestershire sauce and heat slowly over medium-low heat. When the mixture comes to a slow simmer, mix again with the stick blender and stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and turn heat to low. Serve with a fresh crack of black pepper, a nice drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a light sprinkle of remaining Parmesan. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

Banana Nut Oatmeal Whole Wheat Muffins

I came up with this recipe for muffins while in Vegas this last week, and they are so healthy and yummy that I've made them three times in one week.

Banana Nut Oatmeal Whole Wheat Muffins
Makes 18 largish muffins 250 calories each
Or 24 regular muffins less than 200 calories each

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
4 bananas, smashed
1/2 cup pecans

Pre-heat oven to 400ºF. Mix sugar and butter together, add milk, yogurt and eggs. Mix until smooth. Mix together salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, oats, flour, and baking powder in separate bowl. Combine with wet mixture. Stir in mashed bananas and pecans. Fill muffin tins nearly full and bake for about 18 minutes or until done.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mini Oatmeal Muffins With Fresh Cranberries

These are healthy, low-fat, whole-grain muffins with nippy, bitter little cranberries. Yum! I think I might start a series of mini muffins because my clients are always hungry when they come in for therapy, and I've been thinking of serving them mini muffins and coffee/tea/cocoa.

Mini Oatmeal Muffins With Fresh Cranberries
Makes 36 mini muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup applesauce
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 egg
1 cup fresh cranberries (slice the bigger ones in half)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce, milk, sugar, oil and egg. Add dry ingredients and stir until wet. Add cranberries. Distribute in greased mini muffin tin, then bake for 12 minutes or until done. Don't over bake. Remove instantly from tin and cool on rack.

Baked Eli Rice (Naked)

"Eli Rice" is the name we gave to rice frittata when my son, Eli, was young.... because at the time he was picky and it was something he actually liked. Rice frittata is a great way to use leftover rice, and this version is baked in a pie plate rather than in a skillet on the stove top. The slice in the photo is totally naked. This can be made so much more interesting and pretty with added veggies and/or meat. Get creative!

Baked Eli Rice
2 cups cooked rice
10 eggs, beaten
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Your favorite herbs and spices (to taste)
Chopped, steamed veggies (such as onion, pepper, tomato, spinach, squash, etc.)
Chopped, cooked meat/poultry/protein (such as ham, beef, pork, bacon, chicken, etc.)
1 cup grated cheese (your favorite)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix rice, eggs, seasoning and veggies. Pour into greased pie plate. Top with cheese. Bake until well-set (about 1 hour).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mimsy's Oxtails

Why throw away the good parts? Oxtail is rich and delicious and so coveted that what used to be scrap meat is now highly priced and sometimes hard to find. Oxtail is wonderful in stews and soups and makes beautiful stock, but it's also great rubbed with spices and baked in the oven on a broiling pan, like ribs.

Mimsy's Oxtails
2 oxtails, sliced at the joints
soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Place oxtail on a a broiling pan which has been filled 1/4 full with water. Sprinkle oxtail slices with soy sauce. Create a dry rub with spices and sprinkle over oxtail. Cover with aluminum foil and cook at 350ºF for about 3 hours or until tender. Remove foil and brown for 10 minutes. Serve with hot buttered rice and veggies.

Idea: Boil the leftover oxtail in the drippings from the broiling pan and additional water as needed. Throw in some onions, carrots, mushrooms, etc. for stew.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Holiday Clam Chowder & Dave's Sourdough Bread

My mom makes this clam chowder every year around the holidays. You'll want to save it for special occasions, because it isn't great on the waistline, but wow, does that hot, creamy, buttery chowder taste good on a cold November or December night. Especially when Dave makes fresh, hot sourdough bread to go with it!

Holiday Clam Chowder
(This makes a small batch, enough for 4 small bowls)

1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
2 cups potatoes, peeled (optional) and finely diced
2 (6.5oz) cans minced clams
Clam juice (optional)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half & half
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 -3 Tbsp of robust red wine (or more to taste)

Drain juice from clams and pour over vegetables in a sauce pan. Add enough clam juice or water to cover veggies. Simmer until barely tender. Drain vegetables. In a large soup pan, melt butter and flour and make a roux. Add half & half slowly, stirring. Heat and stir until thickened. Add vegetables, clams and vinegar. Serve hot. Sprinkle with cheese, green onions, and crumbled bacon (optional). My family likes to add a couple of dashes of aged pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) too.

Sourdough Bread
(From King Arthur Flour)

1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups luke-warm water
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Pour the cup of starter into a large mixing bowl. Add the arm water and 3 cups of flour. Beat vigorously. Cover with plastic wrap and set it aside to rest at cool room temperature for 4 hours. Then refrigerate overnight, or for about 12 hours.

Add remaining ingredients, kneading to form a smooth, soft dough. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise till very puffy though not necessarily doubled, about 5 hours.

Divide the dough in half, and shape into two oval loaves. Place on a baking sheet, cover and let rise till doubled, about 2 - 3 hours.

Slash the tops of the loaves, and bake in a preheated 425ºF oven for 309 minutes or until golden brown. (Dave cooks the loaves on a preheated baking stone in the oven.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Not-Really-Shakshuka with Potato

This recipe is based on the Israeli dish shakshuka, but with a Mimsy twist: potatoes. Okay, so I was born way out there in Idaho and something about being born in the potato state makes me crave potatoes once in a while. This time they ended up in the shakshuka. I like 'em there!

Not-Really-Shakshuka with Potato
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 a large sweet onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped and seeded
1 large potato, finely chopped (skin, okay)
5 - 6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (skin, okay)
Few handfuls of fresh spinach
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
Salt to taste
Parsley leaves
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil. Add the potato and pepper and cook until the potato is tender (add a bit of broth if you need to). Add tomatoes, spinach and seasoning and cook until tomatoes are stewed. Top with eggs, cover and cook until yokes are just the way you like them. Top with parsley and feta cheese and serve hot.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Soup

I'm still pulling dozens of tomatoes off the vines before the late October frost kills them. I created this simple hot blender soup on a chilly day and it was delicious in a bowl, but I also found that after the leftovers were chilled in the fridge it made a great cold sauce for chips or warm sauce over burritos.

Spicy Tomato Zucchini Soup with Garlic & Jalapeno

Fill up your blender about 1/2 of the way with fresh tomatoes (no need to peel or seed them)

1 medium chopped and peeled zucchini
6 - 8 peeled whole fresh cloves of garlic
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut in large chunks
1/4 onion peeled and chopped
Enough veggie broth to cover the veggies in the blender without spilling over
Salt & Pepper to taste

Blend until smooth. Transfer to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8- 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Crunchy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I'm not going to lie. I've never been a fan of Brussels sprouts. But I acutally ate these down and even enjoyed them. Simplest recipe and edible, besides. So why eat Brussels sprouts? Because they are one of those dark, leafy greens that are supposed to pump your body full of good stuff.Brussels sprouts have vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, E and K, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, folate, phosphorous, protein, copper and calcium. Wow, huh? And if that doesn't convince you, try cooking them this way and you might be surprised like I was by how good they taste too:

Trim the ends of about 1 1/2 lbs of Brussels sprouts. Mix them in a bowl with 3 - 4 Tbsp of olive oil, salt & pepper (to taste). Place on a cookie sheet in one layer, and cook in a 400ºF preheated oven for 40 minutes or until slightly brown-blackened. Most people like these better with lots of salt, so if you like salty, crunchy snacks and your blood pressure is good... sprinkle liberally with salt. Eat hot, fresh out of the oven.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tomato & Smoked Gouda Pie

This delicious recipe is from my friend Catherine Healey. It's so wonderful with fresh tomatoes from my garden! This is definitely going on my end-of-summer cooking list from now on.

2 cups shredded or grated smoked Gouda cheese
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/4 tsp of Nutmeg (or to taste)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
Tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
4 ripe medium tomatoes, peeled or unpeeled as desired, cored and
cut into small pieces
Single Pie Crust (your favorite recipe or buy an uncooked refrigerated crust)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh Basil (for garnish)

In a small bowl, combine cheese, flour and nutmeg, mixing well; set aside. In a small heavy skillet, saute onion in butter for about 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender, but not browned. Prepare pie crust for baking according to package directions and fit into a9-inch pie plate; flute edge of crust to form a standing ridge. Turn cheese-flour mixture into crust. Combine onion mixture and tomato pieces; spread mixture over cheese. Sprinkle salt and pepper over tomato mixture. Bake in preheated moderate oven (375 degrees) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender and cheese is melted. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mimsy's Fresh Salsa

One of the best things about having a garden? Fresh Salsa. I leave the tomato skins on. That's right. On. Right on. Because once they are blended or chopped up, tomato skins really aren't tough guys any more, and it saves a bundle of time. You can use any combination of tomatoes from your own garden. These are what I have the most of right now.

Mimsy's Fresh Salsa
1 quart grape tomatoes, measure then blend
5 - 6 large beef tomatoes, chopped
1 cup yellow pear tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
1 large jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T fresh lime juice
Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Combine everything in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving (to combine flavors). Stir and serve.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fresh Tomato, Pork & Black Bean Pizza

I have so many tomatoes in my garden, I'm having a great time putting them all over everything. Tomatoes just go with pizza, and they just go with beans, and beans just go with pork. This pizza was a hit with my kids... except the ones who don't like tomatoes. For them, I made a second one without the tomatoes on top:

There really isn't much to explain about this pizza. Use your favorite dough, or use one of mine.
Easy Pizza Dough
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Italian Pizza Dough

The toppings are simply these, in this order:
1 cup salsa (your favorite)
1 can black re-fried beans (I used Rosarita Lowfat)
Leftover Shredded Pork Roast (Or shredded beef or shredded chicken)
Shredded Cheese (I used Mozzarella, Colby, and Jack)
Fresh Tomatoes, sliced and lightly salted

Cook on a pizza stone preheated to 500ºF until dough is browned and cheese is melted. With heavy toppings like this, it's a good idea to pre-cook the dough for 10 minutes first. That way, it won't collapse as you transfer it from your pizza peel to your pizza stone. If you don't have a stone, cook the pizza on a large cooking pan that's been preheated in the oven.

Elijah's Crêpes

Crêpes were really popular in the late 80s, early 90s. I remember having crêpe parties with friends. It seems like the next generation likes them as much as we do, because Elijah asked for crêpes for his birthday party. Usually, I make the crêpes and fill them with hot food as I go, but to save time, I made them ahead, let everyone fill them to their liking and then heated them up quickly in the microwave. They didn't seem to suffer in texture, and no one complained.

Elijah's Crêpes
1 1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp oil
1/3 tsp salt

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl. Allow batter to sit at room temperature for an hour. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Toss in 1 tsp butter and move the skillet around to coat the interior. Add 1/4 cup of batter to the skillet, tipping the skillet in circles to distribute the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan. Set the pan on medium heat and leave undisturbed until edges are starting to brown. Flip crepe and cook briefly on other side. Top with desired toppings while in the pan. Fold the crêpes over gently, and remove it from the skillet.

Elijah requested ham, shredded pork, steamed broccoli and shredded cheese, topped with a white cheese sauce.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mimsy's Pork Buns

I just discovered that my offspring are gaga for steamed pork buns.  I don't think they knew it any more than I did.  I had fun experimenting yesterday with some leftover pork, and these were absolutely delicious.  Maybe not as pretty as some I've seen in photos, but the taste made up for the marred looks.

Mimsy's Pork Buns

1/2 lb slow-cooked, shredded pork
1/3 cup Chinese plum sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Combine in a bowl and set aside

1 cup warm water
2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour

Add yeast to warm water with a pinch of sugar until it bubbles. Add remaining ingredients (except baking powder) with the first cup of flour and mix for at least a minute. Add more flour until the dough forms a smooth, soft ball, not too sticky, but not firm.  Allow dough to rise until double.  Divide dough and shape into about 24 balls.  Flatten each ball into circle, fill with 1 Tbsp of pork filling, and wrap dough around filling.  Place buns on wax paper and allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Boil water in a wok or large sauce pan with a steamer and lid.  Place buns that will comfortably fit on the steamer, leaving 1 -2 inches between buns.  Steam over water for 15 - 20 minutes in batches until done.  Serve hot, or chill in fridge and serve cold.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bumper Crop Tomato & Pepper Pasta

When I arrived back from being on holiday for the week, I found that my vegetable garden was loaded down with various tomatoes and peppers. I was cooking for one, but when my family saw what I was eating, they started into chopping tomatoes and peppers too. 

Bumper Crop Tomato & Pepper Pasta
(One Large Serving)
2 strips thick peppered bacon
1 cup chopped tomatoes of all varieties
1/4 cup chopped bell peppers, seed removed
1/4 cup chopped mild peppers (all varieties), seeds removed
3/4 cup cooked shell pasta
1/4 cup Alfredo sauce

Cook bacon in frying pan until crisp.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Add peppers to the pan and cook until tender. Stir in tomatoes and pasta and sauce and stir until warm.  Crumble bacon in and serve instantly. 
Fresh from my garden!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kim's Quick Alfredo Sauce

My daughter's friend, Kim, made dinner for us the other night and shared her sauce recipe with me.  Something this rich and delicious makes a quick and perfect company dish.

Kim's Quick Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup butter
8oz cream cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups milk
8 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 tsp black pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add cream cheese and garlic powder, whisking until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan cheese and pepper. Remove from heat and serve immediately over favorite cooked pasta.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

I nab every chance I get to play around making different pizzas.  This one was a huge success with my teens.  It involved a tomato-based barbecue sauce, chicken, veggies, mozzarella cheese, and bacon.

Pizza Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups unbleached flour (I used 2 1/2 cups of unbleached bread flour)

Add yeast to warm water with a pinch of sugar until it bubbles. Add remaining ingredients with the first cup of flour and mix for at least a minute. Add more flour until the dough forms a smooth, soft ball, not too sticky, but not firm. Allow dough to rise until double. Stretch or roll dough to form a medium size pizza.  This dough is very soft, so if you use a pizza stone, you may want to pre-bake it for 5 minutes at 450ºF before adding toppings for easier handling as you transfer it to the stone.   If you bake it in a pan, there isn't a problem.  

Barbecue Sauce (your favorite homemade recipe or from a bottle)
8 baby carrots, finely diced
2 slices onion, finely diced
1/4 green pepper, finely diced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 strips extra-thick (good quality) bacon

In a large frying pan, cook chicken pieces until done (don't overcook).  Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Saute carrots, onion, and pepper in the same oil until tender. 

Preheat oven (and pizza stone, if you have one) to 450ºF.  Spread barbecue sauce over pizza dough.  Top with veggies.  Top with chicken.  Sprinkle with desired amount of mozzarella cheese.   Transfer to stone or pizza pan and cook until dough is done and cheese is melted (about 10 - 15 minutes).  In the meantime, cook the bacon strips in the frying pan.  Serve fresh, hot pizza with bacon sprinkled over the top.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dave's Oyster Beef with Snow Peas

I haven't been doing as much experimenting in the kitchen lately (even though I always cook), so I'm sharing a few dishes that Dave and other of my family members cook.  This recipe is one that Dave brought into our marriage 23 years ago.  It's been a long time since he made it, and I'd forgotten how yummy it is.

Oyster Beef with Snow Peas

2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry

2 Tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch

1/2 lb beef tenderloin, sliced thinly and marinated for 1/2+ hours in the following:
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp peanut oil

1 cup snow peas
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 can bamboo shoots
1 can water chesnuts
2 green onions, sliced
6 slices fresh ginger root

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat wok (or large frying pan) and add 2 Tbsp peanut oil. Stir-fry meat until almost cooked through.  Remove from wok and set aside.  Do not overcook.

Add 2 more Tbsp oil to wok.  Stir-fry green onion and ginger until fragrant.  Add remaining veggies and cook until barely tender.  Return meat to wok and add sauce while stirring.  Heat through.  Be careful not to overcook. Serve on a bed of cooked Napa cabbage or rice.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pumpkin Sauce with Garden Herbs and Veggies

Pumpkin isn't just for the winter holidays.  It combines beautifully with tomatoes for a light summer pasta sauce. 

1 cup finely diced veggies (such as onion, broccoli, carrots, etc.)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin
1 cup fire roasted chopped tomatoes in juice
Chopped fresh basil, rosemary, lavender and anise leaves (to taste)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Goat Cheese

Cook the diced veggies in the wine until tender.  Add pumpkin and tomatoes in juice. Sprinkle in fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Warm through and serve over pasta.  Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thai Pizza

Thai pizzas seem to be all over the place now, so I thought I'd come up with my own version. I scanned a bunch of recipes over the internet for ideas, and ultimately ended up using a combination of bits from here and bits from there with a little "me" thrown in. I've broken the recipe into steps, which makes it look complicated, but it's really not as difficult as it looks.

Marinated Cucumbers
3/4 cup cucumbers, peeled and julienned
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Drizzle cucumbers with honey and vinegar and set aside.

Garnish Toppings
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 julienned green onions
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Prepare veggies and measure topping then set aside

Pizza Base
Pizza Dough* (your choice)
1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce
Red pepper flakes
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Roll out and cook pizza dough on a pizza stone, cookie sheet or pizza pan for about 5 minutes until it just starts to bubble. Remove from oven, spread with Hoisin Sauce, sprinkle with red pepper flakes (to taste), top with red onion, bell pepper and mozzarella cheese. Return to oven and cook for about 15 - 17 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. While pizza is cooking, prepare the peanut chicken.

Peanut Chicken
1 Tbsp peanut oil
3 cups cooked chicken, cut or pulled into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp Thai sweet pepper sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce (to taste)

Combine everything but the chicken. Stir, and add water until it makes a very thick sauce. Add oil to a large skillet on medium high heat. Spread chicken over the bottom of the skillet. Top with peanut sauce and allow to heat until bubbly, turning over chicken carefully and heating through without breaking up pieces (otherwise you'll end up with a big glomp of shredded chicken in peanut goo.)

Once you remove the hot pizza base from the oven, top with the heated peanut chicken, the marinated cucumbers, and garnish toppings.

*I used this dough for the pizza in the photos:

Pizza Dough:
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1(+) cup whole wheat flour

Add yeast to warm water with sugar until it bubbles. Add remaining ingredients with the first cup of flour and mix for at least a minute. Add more flour until the dough forms a smooth, soft ball, not too sticky, but not firm. Allow dough to rise until double.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fire Roasted Beans

I don't like those sickly sweet beans that people make for barbecues covered in molasses and brown sugar. They taste like they should be a dessert or something, and are so sweet that the flavor is completely flat and boring. Baked beans are particularly horrible when they are canned that way or use cans of pork and beans in the recipe. However, I'm not entirely against doing a little creative can "dumping" if the right canned ingredients are used. I made up this recipe based on a bottle of Buffalo brand chipotle hot sauce that I found at the Mexican market. I later found this same sauce in the grocery store, so I don't think it's difficult to find:

As you know, chipotle is a smoked jalapeño pepper. In this recipe I used chipotle hot sauce and fire roasted tomatoes, which is why I'm calling these Fire Roasted Beans. The smokey flavor is not overwhelming, but adds an outdoor flair to the beans and makes them a great side dish for a barbecue.

Fire Roasted Beans

9 thick slices of bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 15oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
2 - 4 Tbsp Chipotle Hot Sauce (or to taste)
1 Tbsp Molasses (or to taste)
1/2 bunch cilantro

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove, but leave drippings. Cook onion, jalapeño and garlic in drippings until tender. Add beans and tomatoes, heat through. Add Molasses and Chipotle hot sauce to taste, drop in bacon and cilantro. Serve immediately. (I had these beans going on a hot plate all evening at a party and even though they still tasted okay, they were MUCH better when they were fresh a few hours earlier and not so overcooked.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pumpkin Rhubarb Muffins

This is a great combination. I can't take the credit for coming up with it, because I adapted this recipe from one I found here.

Pumpkin Rhubarb Muffins
(makes 12 rhubarb muffins)

2 1/2 cups whole wheat all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, yogurt, vanilla, egg, oil and gingers. Using a mixer combine for about 2 minutes on medium. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined, stir in rhubarb. Grease muffin tins and fill cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dave's Rack of Lamb with Chardonnay Sauce

Lamb is Dave's baby and he makes this fabulous chardonnay sauce that pairs perfectly with rack of lamb. If you enjoy being a carnivore, and love the refined flavor of chardonnay... this is to die for.

Chardonnay Sauce
1 1/3 cup cabernet wine
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
6 cups drippings from lamb
2 tablespoons lamb seasoning*
1 tablespoon garlic powder

In a bowl mix 1/3 cup of wine with flour, set aside. Put remaining wine, broth, parsley, lamb seasoning and garlic powder in saucepan . Bring to a gentle boil, then turn heat down and reduce about 4-5 minutes. Stir in flour mixture.

While you are reducing liquid, brown butter in another pan. Add browned butter to sauce.

*Lamb Seasoning
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary -- crushed

Mix and store in a airtight container in a cool place.