Pecan Honey Bunches of Oats and pumpernickel rye toast.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Oh broccoli, how I love you. When I was little (more little than I am now that is) I used to call broccoli "little trees." Well, here we have the amazing union of "little trees" and "little ears", which in Italian is orecchiette. Go ahead, impress your friends at a party with your knowledge of Italian. "My what orecchiette you have!" For some reason I can't fathom, recipes involving broccoli and pasta almost always call for using orecchiette pasta. Whatever the reason, it's tasty. Here, I'm going a wee bit traditional: just pasta, parmesan, broccoli, garlic and red pepper flakes.
You'll need 2 smallish heads of broccoli or 1 large one. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces (and I also do the same with about 1'' of the stalk).
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
|(*m.f.e.o: an amorous phrase, derived from Sleepless in Seattle meaning "made for each other")|
And if these ellipsoidal wonders are my favorite food, well then my favorite thing to add to them is potatoes. They just go together perfectly. So, this morning I decided to make my favorite thing (eggs) with its favorite thing (potatoes) in my favorite way of late: a frittata. With all those t's it has to be delicious. :) I'll walk you through how I make a frittata with plenty of pictures. It's very simple but has an elegance that regular ol' scrambled eggaroos lack. My recipe makes a medium-sized frittata: enough for 2. Let's get our frittata on, shall we?
Finely mince a small clove of garlic and add that to the potatoes and onions. Turn down to medium-low and saute just for a few minutes, until fragrant. (If you're thinking "Garlic? In eggs?!" fear not, it's amazing.)
Chiffonade (roll into a cigar shape and thinly chop) this much basil. Mmm, basil. You could also use thyme or parsley.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Driving an hour-and-a-half to Port Aransas, Texas just to appreciate the summery joy of the beach: worth it.
Driving an hour-and-a-half to Port Aransas to appreciate the summery joy of the beach AND eat amazing fresh seafood from waters right beyond the deck of the restaurant: really, really worth it!
There's nothing better than eating seafood while watching the water and hearing seagulls singing around you. I went with my parents to Port A for the day (our shared motivation really was the seafood), and I fully intended on this hot HOT Texas day to have some nice light grilled shrimp or fish, perhaps with a little wild rice or something and water. This is what I actually had:
An ice-cold Pacifico and...
...a massive crunchy basket of fresh fried shrimp and french fries.
And while grilled shrimp (ever grilled shrimp on rosemary skewers? a-maz-ing!) would've been healthier, this was just fantastic. Absolutely worth the trip! For those of you relatively near a beach this summer: make the drive and load up on fresh yummy seafood. For those of you who find yourselves a little land-locked these days, get to your grocery store and pretend you were just at the coast. Happy summer, y'all.
Monday, July 18, 2011
(yep, that's a well-loved cast iron skillet, y'all)
Fried rice and I, well, we go way back. My family tradition was/is always to go for Chinese after church on Sundays. While in seminary, I became so familiar with a delicious Thai place that when I would call to order my Thai fried rice, they would say (with a smile you could hear) "Whitney?" I love fried rice. But, as I said earlier, I've never attempted to make it. So, when I came across this recipe in my Rachael Ray magazine that included an whimsical story of a mother and daughter having it as a welcome reward after hiking up Machu Picchu, I had to make it. It has a strange-seeming combo of Mexican and Chinese flavors (I do believe that's what in the foodie world is termed "fusion"), but just tastes fantastic. Here's Rachael's recipe (with my slight variations):
FRAGRANT FRIED RICE
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs, beaten
- Salt and pepper
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 can (15.5 oz.) white beans, rinsed
- 1 cup frozen peas
and carrots mix,thawed (I prefer fresh diced carrots to frozen ones, but frozen peas really are best) 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cupchopped cilantro (I find that cilantro's like street preachers: a little bit goes a long way. I just used 1/4 cup)
- In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, cover the rice with water and
stir until the water becomes cloudy; drain and repeat twice. Return the
rice to the saucepan, add 1 cup cold water, cover and cook over
medium-low heat until the water has been absorbed and the rice is
2520 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until
set and just dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool; coarsely chop.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add the
scallion whites and bell pepper (and carrots) and cook until crisp-
tender, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the beans
carrots mixand cook until heated through; transfer to a large
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. oil and the cumin over medium-high heat. Stir in the cooked rice. Spread into a single layer
and cook, undisturbed, until the rice forms a crust, about 3 minutes.
Break up the rice and sprinkle with the soy sauce. Stir in the scallion
greens, cilantro, bean mixture and eggs and cook until heated
through.So fresh and (yes) fragrant. A great veggie supper. I also added extra
fresh chopped scallions at the end and an extra sprinkle of soy sauce
on my serving.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Sometimes, even a foodie gal needs a cooking break.
Delicious. Anyone have a good fried rice recipe? I'm ashamed to say I've never made it myself, but would really love to give it a try.
I'm thinking about this recipe from Rachael Ray. Seems to be a kinda Mexican twist with a bit of cilantro and beans. Different than traditional Chinese fried rice, but it looks amazing, with generous amounts of egg (my favorite food, y'all!), caramelized rice and delightful little peas. Yes, Mr. President, I like my peas. I think frozen peas are the best (frozen at peak of freshness with a nice little crunch intact). I would, though, use fresh carrots instead of the frozen the recipe calls for.
Friday, July 15, 2011
beware of the boil! Boiling veggies is just wrong. I don't care how much the cool kids pressure you to do it, don't. Be strong. Your brussels will thank you. Instead, roast them.
Roasting veggies is the absolute best way to bring out their natural flavor, add interesting texture and turn what could be scary into a delightful dish. (I'm thankful for this, because when I lived in Belfast, my "cooker" as they call them - oven/stove combo - was pretty old and pathetic. The only reliable heat came from sauteing or roasting...baking was a nightmare in it. I roasted everything: cauliflower, red peppers, zucchini, carrots mmm.) I'll walk you through the easy peasy steps of roasting brussels sprouts. The Barefoot Contessa's recipe here is pretty much the same.
First: apologize to your sprouts for years of misunderstanding and judgment: for feeding them to the dog when your parents weren't looking, for that disgusted face you make when you hear their name, for making a large arc in the produce section of your grocery store just so you can avoid them. Don't worry, brussels sprouts are forgiving little things. Reconciliation's always possible. Okay, moving on...
I used one package of brussels sprouts: about a pound. This makes enough for 4 skeptics or 2 adoring fans of brussels sprouts (you'll all wind up being adoring fans, I promise). Trim up your sprouts: cut off the very bottom and remove any dodgy-looking outer leaves. If you have larger sprouts, half them. Put them in a bowl with 3 tablespoons evoo (extra-virgin olive oil), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper. Toss together. Then let those brussels spread out on a sheet pan. Roast them at 375 degrees F/190 degrees C for 35-45 minutes, giving them a little shake every 10 minutes or so to help them brown evenly. They're going to get pretty caramelized: don't worry, you're not burning them. They're meant to get a good amount of color on the outside.
Once out of the oven, give them another little light sprinkle of salt (unless you need to go light on this) and get ready to have your world rocked.
Crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside. You'll never look at a brussels sprout the same way again.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
SUCH good collard greens.
Dawn (L) joining in for some of the Native American dancing
at the Multi-Cultural Conference.
We are very fortunate today, foodie friends of mine, because we have a guest post (yippee!) from my fabulous new friend, Dawn (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the Multi-Cultural Youth Conference at Mo-Ranch). She may also be referred to as Queen of the Collard Greens. Get excited, y'all.
Glad you enjoyed those collards. My recipe is very simple. As we were in Mo Ranch i didn't have the extra time to buy fresh collards, clean and cook them for almost 200 people, so I brought some already chopped and cleaned collards in the bag. The brand I purchased was Glory.
Smoked turkey leg or wing
Sea salt and pepper taste
one chopped sweet onion
one chopped red bell pepper
tsp. sugar or sugar substitute
Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste
Put smoked turkey in pot with water to cover the turkey. Added chopped onions/red peppers, salt, pepper. Brought to a boil and then added the rest of the ingredients, adding the collards last. Once all ingredients are in the pot, I let it simmer for about a hour or so stirring in between. When the turkey starts to fall off the bone i remove it from the pot and take only the meat and skin off the bone replacing it back into the pot of greens, throwing the bones away. Let cook under a low heat until the greens are tender checking the taste in between and adding any salt, pepper, cayenne to taste. Enjoy!
Thanks for sharing, Dawn! Can't wait to make 'em.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I'm enjoying a wee bit o' time in Houston catching up with family and friends and, of course, food's a big part of that. I enjoyed a quiet morning yesterday spent sipping (okaaay, chugging) coffee at Panera and munching on a delightful, fresh cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese while reading a fascinating book on interfaith relations by Volf. I love the combo of coffee and cream cheese bagels. My local coffee shop is great, but they really need to get some bagels in the place.
I met up with friends at Grotto, an Italian place with excellent wine and phenomenal desserts.
They give you this at the end of the meal. It tastes as good as it looks.
Of course, we had coffee. (Decaf, actually. It was late, I'm getting old ha!)
And here is that amazing tiramisu. The raspberries just made it lighter and divine. I've never tried to make this myself. Have you? Have a recipe/tips you want to share?
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I had the great pleasure of heading to what is perhaps my favorite place on earth this past weekend, Mo Ranch. Mo is a Presbyterian conference center nestled in the gorgeous hill country of Texas with the cooling Guadalupe river running through it. Sigh, the river...it's so relaxing to sit in the swirling waters with cliffs surrounding you and a blue sky overhead...okay, food blog, right. Back to the food.
The great thing about the hill country is that it's full of charming little towns with names like "Welfare" and "Comfort." Comfort is just the cutest little town with a historic downtown district full of local restaurants. I gave myself ample time for a wee bit o' antiquing and indulging in Comfort on the way, but when I arrived, I discovered that my favorite restaurant, The High Cafe that makes homemade jalapeno pimento cheese sandwiches that laugh in the face of ham sandwiches, was closed. Dang it, y'all. So I went across the street to a little deli and because it was 105 degrees outside (no exaggeration), I ordered their large house salad that promised bacon (note what I list first), baby greens, tomatoes, parmesan and an exciting-sounding hazelnut vinaigrette. Here's a pic of my first bite:
Looks amazing, no? The problem: no flavor (except the peppered bacon, which was nice). I wasn't thrilled. So I figured I'd take a little what-not-to-do lesson from my lackluster salad.
1. Hazelnut vinaigrette dressing that is clear and made from hazelnut oil, with no actual hazelnuts chopped up in it = strange. Like pouring flavored water on your salad. But, I am excited about the idea of hazelnut dressing, so I'll be playing with adding toasted hazelnuts to my vinaigrettes.
2. Second mistake: tomatoes that had clearly been kept in a fridge for ages and thus had no flavor left. Tomatoes are not friends with your fridge. I know, they keep longer there. But a tomato that you've had for 2 weeks perfectly preserved in your fridge has no flavor. They're like Texans: warmer is better, y'all.
3. Powdered parmesan dust in the green shake canister that lasts forever = blah. Pre-grated parmesan like the thin slivers on my salad = moving in the right direction. Buying a real block of parmesan and just shaving off generous pieces with a vegetable peeler = way better. Do this.
4. Final salad lesson: salt & pepper are your friends. Don't be afraid of them. I know, you're thinking "salt is the enemy" but seriously, it's a salad. Get over it. Season that baby.
After my thrilling-as-a-waiting-room salad, I was delighted to see that there was an ice cream parlor (from the early 1900s!) nearby.
After some vigorous and enjoyable antiquing where I acquired a quirky book from 1930 called "A Modern Lady" I sauntered across the hot, hot, hot street into the bliss of Sweet Comfort, the ice cream parlor. They had delectable-looking homemade chocolates which I eschewed to make a beeline to the ice cream counter. While debating what type I should get, the woman next to me ordered MANGO Bluebell ice cream. Whoa. Mango. Yes. I ordered a single (Texas-sized, y'all) cone and entered into cold mango sugar Bluebell bliss.
Such a charming place. I loved this sign. It might just be my motto for this blog. :)
After my ice cream miracle, I headed to Mo Ranch and had an amazing time with young people from many backgrounds as we celebrated the gift of God that is diversity. And what's the best way to celebrate God's gift of diversity? Well, food, of course. Part of the conference involved each culture represented cooking food common to their culture and sharing it with the rest of us. So you entered the room all of our large group gatherings were in and found yourself delighted by the sights and smells of food from the familiar to the unexpected. I made my way around and ended up with this:
Mmm. Let me give you a little tour of my plate-o-cultural-awesomeness. There was Korean kimchi and fried zucchini. There was a cup of charro beans fragrant with rich tomatoes, cilantro, pinto beans and broth. There was English trifle where fluffy whipped cream was folded around sweet pineapples and decadent morsels of cake, served with Earl Grey tea (that should've had milk, but no worries) and biscuits. There was fried chicken and collard greens. Yeah, you're going to want to see these close up...
It might come from living in the Atlanta area for a while, but I l.o.v.e. collard greens. Salty from the pork, a bit of a kick from something (cayenne perhaps?), comforting greens. I'm going to have to ask my new friend Dawn who made these (and yes, I was her friend before she gave me food...the food just, um, solidified our friendship!) for this recipe.
And now we have the most amazing tasty delight of all that comes from our Native American brothers and sisters: what they call an "Indian taco." It's made with fluffy fry bread (which I assume is fried) and then they top it with a delectable combination of beans and ground beef with perhaps a good bit of cumin. A bit of cheese, some crunchy refreshing lettuce and some (non-refrigerated) tomatoes and there you have it. The best version of a taco you'll ever meet. Now in the chaos of packing up, doing post-conference review and saying goodbyes, I managed to give Allie my roomie for the weekend, also known as the Queen of the Indian Taco, my email address requesting her recipe for this amazing fry bread. I'll be sure and give it a try when I get the recipe and share the results with y'all. And if you're a vegetarian person, fear not, you won't be deprived of the amazing fry bread. They gave vegetarians fry bread as a dessert with a generous side of golden honey to dip it in. Sounds pretty awesome, too.
What are y'all cooking these days? Thanks for stopping by this new lil' blog o' mine. I'm having fun indulging my foodie tendencies with y'all.