Entries Tagged 'general interest' ↓

Parsnips – who knew?

As a child I was granted by my parents one, and only one, food item I would not have to eat.

I picked cooked carrots.
I still dislike them intensely. So when we received parsnips in our CSA box this week I was suspicious. They seemed entirely too carrot like for my comfort. But since CSA was overly generous with this last box of the season and our refrigerator protests by icing up when the crispers are too full, I needed to move some product in last night’s dinner – quick.

One of my standard go-to’s these days is roasted vegetables – super easy aside from the washing, peeling and chopping. Oven around 400°, toss with olive oil, herbs and spices and roast with a toss or two for about 30 – 45 minutes depending what’s in it. Cut hard dense things (beets, potatoes, radishes,  parsnips!) a bit smaller than light wet things (mushrooms, onions, peppers, broccoli)  and they’ll all get done around the same time. It’s a pretty much fail-safe non-recipe.

I figured that if the parsnips were nasty, at least we had plenty of other veggie nuggets to eat. Well, man was I surprised – they were the best of the bunch. Their texture is like roasted potatoes, crispy on the outside, dense by fluffy on the inside. And the taste (at least to me) is nothing like what happens to poor carrots when they are subjected to heat. There is something spicy and a bit sweet about them that combined with that texture could get addictive.

Just goes to show that it pays to be open to new tastes and experiences.

Why I don’t use recipes…


And especially not ones from Weight Watchers circa 1974 »

Too funny and sad. Thanks for the link Jan!

Asparagus Quesadilla

Hunger & no time is the mother of invention…

Asparagus Spears, cut into 1″ pieces, leftover from last night’s dinner

Cheese, I had Mozzarella


Sauce, I used Pesto

Make a quesadilla the usual way & consume.

ABC = Apple Banana Compote

ABC = Apple Banana Compote

ABC = Apple Banana Compote

Last weekend my darling husband woke up begging (yes begging) for pancakes. I started ’em cooking and opened the fridge (like a good multitasking cook) to grab the syrup and put it on the table. Instantly it turned into one of “those” mornings when “invention becomes the mother of necessity.” The real maple syrup container was–empty! I started scanning the kitchen. Let’s see…what have I got instead?

1 organic Fuji apple, peeled, cored, sliced and diced
1 organic and overly ripe banana, peeled, sliced and diced
1/4 cup (or more?) brown sugar
4 small tangerines, juiced
1 organic lemon, juiced
2-3 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the apple and saute for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and cook over low heat until the pancake are done being made. Pour it over freshly cooked pancakes and Voila’. Instant delicious!

And the best part of the morning was Zena helping me in the kitchen. Here she is pushing the pots and pan drawer back in after I pulled the saute pan out.

Zena Helping in the Kitchen

And here she is after breakfast. We washed our hands. She licked hers. Yumm!

Zena after breakfast.

And here’s Queen Zena lounging on her favorite blanket after breakfast.

Queen Zena Lounging.

Another New Author

zenaWhile celebrating the one year anniversary of Zena, the warrior kitty’s, new home with our neighbors Kassy and Victor we were served Martha Stewart style Hors d’oeuvres that Kassy concocted on the spot from what she had on hand. The tiny bites of dates, avocado and cheese toasted on crackers were delish.

This led to my bringing up this blog, at which point Kassy whipped out the cutest little handwritten recipe book just chock full of made up food goodness. Well, you can draw a straight line from there to officially welcoming our newest made up foodie, Kassy Daggett.

I can’t wait to see what she posts!

Sunset Gin Cocktail

An original gin cocktail made in the desperation of a late-night kitchen cleanup

Wife’s out of town on business. Kids put to bed, after cooking up what should have been a simple one-pot meal–that turned into a five-burner affair. Staring dumbly at the cooktop, full of scrub-mandatory cookware. This calls for a cold beer.

No beer? Agh. Home alone: what would I say to the cops? “Oh, I just left the kids in bed to go get some beer. It’s alllll good, right?”

Tired of red wine. Too warm for that anyhow. What’s in the pantry? Gin? Ok. Not a G&T, though. Hmmm. Here’s some Aranciata. And some Grenadine. Here’s what I ended up with: a refreshing, delicious, light cocktail. Almost tastes like an Orange Julius, surprisingly. There’s a slice of lime to cut the sweetness of the grenadine, too. I think it’s a keeper, especially for summertime. But as you can see, it works fine in January. too.

Sunset Gin Cocktail

put into a Highball glass:

  • Crushed ice
  • 2 shots Hendricks Gin
  • 1/2 shot Grenadine
  • 6 oz. Pellegrino Aranciata

Stir. Serve with a slice of lime. Enjoy!

Sweet & Sour Tilapia & Rice

IMHO sweet chili sauce needs to be in everyone’s fridge. Just because the bottle says “For Chicken” shouldn’t stifle your creativity. This easy combo sounds icky, but it’s delicious. Trust me…

1 C Rice
2 Frozen Tilapia Fillets
Sweet Chili Sauce
Sour Cream

Set up your rice cooker the way you usually do for the rice. I usually put a little salt in my rice. About halfway through the cooking time, toss the frozen tilapia on top. Close the lid & finish cooking the rice as if nothing happened.

When the bell rings, put your rice & steamed fish in a bowl & top with the sweet chili sauce & sour cream. Yumm!

Cheddar Soybean Bake

cheddarsoyI was talking with my brother on the phone the other day and he was reminiscing about a side dish my mother used to make that we loved as kids. It was basically a casserole made up of tater-tots, mayonnaise and cheese and it was all kinds of brown and bubbly goodness. Now that he has been diagnosed with Diabetes those kind of carbs are off the menu so he has adapted it to use high protein soybeans instead. It sounded intriguing, so I took his idea and ran with it adding some sausage and eggs for a complete one dish meal.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 9 glass baking dish or any medium sized casserole. Layer the following in the bottom:

  • 1 can organic soy beans drained but not rinsed
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 pre -cooked chicken sausages, 1/4 in slices – mixed into beans

In a bowl combine:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1-2 Tbsp Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp garlic (or whatever herb/seasoning you like)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or other real cheese
  • salt and pepper

Pour mixture evenly over ingredients in the baking dish and top with an additional 1/4 cup of shredded cheese pushing it down into the mixture a bit.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and top is golden brown and bubbly.

I used eggs and sour cream instead of the larger amount of mayo originally called for because I was scraping the bottom of the jar, but I think the eggs especially added a nice heft to the dish and maybe even upped the nutrition a bit. The end result was a bit watery in the bottom and next time I will drain the beans much more thoroughly before adding to the pan.

Although it could never be the same as the tater tot version this is a really tasty dish in its own right and one I know we’ll be making again – especially since its so adaptable, fast and easy. If you try it and create your own variation please put it in the comments and let me know how it comes out.

Too good not to post: Asparagus and Israeli Couscous

So this may be breaking a bit from the philosophy of this blog (no real recipes followed to the letter) but since I made some additions/substitutions I feel like I can sneak it in. Plus as the title indicates, this is just too easy, fast and delicious not to share.

The original recipe (8 Minute Asparagus Couscous Soup – Quick and Easy) is on Recipezaar, which is really a great resource if you haven’t checked it out yet. Its so simple I hope they don’t mind me paraphrasing it here.

1 cup israeli couscous
1 bunch asparagus
3 cups broth – I used 1 Tbsp Better than Boullion Chicken & 2.5 c h20
parmesan cheese – I didn’t have any so I used a TBsp of leftover Parsley Pesto

Start the broth boiling and snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. Chop into bite size pieces. When the broth boils add couscous and cook 5 min, then add asparagus and boil for 3 minutes more. That’s it. I added the parsley pesto at this point and ladled into bowls. It smelled so good I burned my tongue because I couldn’t wait for it to cool down to taste it. I did end up adding a dash of fresh ground pepper as well but really the asparagus and couscous didn’t need much help and worked perfectly together in this simple dish.

I really wish I had taken a photo because it is truly beautiful with a gorgeous green hue. I was really pleased that the flavor of the fresh asparagus came through and the texture was perfect. This is the first time we have used Israeli Couscous (we bought a couple cups on a whim from the bulk foods aisle) and I have to say we are now big fans and will be using it a lot more. Its more like orzo than traditional couscous with a bit of pearl tapioca mouth feel. I plan to try this approach with other veggies and maybe even some meats. If you experiment with the recipe please let me know in the comments.

Green Tomato Salsa

green tomato salsaThanks to fellow blog author and master gardener Julie, I found myself with 4 absolutely beautiful but mysterious green tomatoes. I decided to see what the nets had out there on green tomato salsa. Turns out there are quite a lot of recipes, but of course I decided after reading 4 or 5 to wing it and just sort of make it up as I went along. Besides, I am low on supplies right now so was out of most ingredients they called for. Here’s what I ended up doing:

4 medium green tomatoes, seeded and chopped fine, salted and put under a weight for 30 minutes,
4 small pickled jalapeno chili peppers, seeded and chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
1 small roasted red pepper (from jar) chopped fine

Mixed these together in a hot dry skillet then I heated mixing continually until tomatoes were softened and changed color and some roasty-ness appeared on everything. I didn’t have an onion in the house but would have added some minced red onion here if i did.

Added 2 tbsp limeade, since I didn’t have fresh limes in the house and wanted the extra sweetness to counter the tart tomatoes anyhow.

I let this cool slightly and added 2 tsp chopped cilantro (little frozen cubes from where else? Trader Joe’s), a dash of cumin, 1 tb olive oil, another 2 Tbsp limeade, a tsp of brown sugar and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. I used a handblender to mush this up and some of the liquids added above were mostly to get it loose enough to blend.

It turned out amazing – and addictive – and HOT. That kind of creeper hot that keeps you coming back for more. Next time, if there is a next time I will use less salt (I added a bit more than a tsp in the beginning) and less hot peppers – maybe 3 small to 4 med tomatoes. And I am really really wishing I had that onion around. Since its so spicy I am thinking of using this sauce, thinned out a bit for enchiladas with melty cheese. That is if it lasts long enough. Thanks for the inspiration Julie!