Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cooking Illustrated Stew

Can slimy little fish make a difference?

Yes!! The flavor of this meal was outstanding. My only regret is that I halved the recipe and didn't have leftovers.

Cooks Illustrated is amazing! I love their web site. You can get a 14 day free trail. I changed this recipe so feel I can post it as mine. I will not be including other cook illustrated recipes because I believe in subscribing to their wonderful site. It is so worth it.
Print Recipe

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

150- Cornbread with Sage Leaves and Feta

Another successful recipe from The 150 Best American Recipes. Easy and Yummy. Piano practice and baking mmm my favorite time.
We loved this and is now a science experiment in the corner of my kitchen. I am afraid to open the container it is in!! I am so glad I am married...thanks JT.

Cornbread (source)

1 Tb butter
Sage leaves for top

Smear butter on bottom of 9inch pie plate. Decorate with leaves. The original recipe calls for putting leaves around the edge..see photos.

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tea baking powder
2 tea sugar
1/2 tea salt

Whisk dry. Then whisk wet. Combine together.

2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup feta

Bake 25 min in a 400 degree oven. Loosen sides with knife and flip onto a plate. Serve.

150- Rigatoni all toto begats the blog purpose

The purpose of this blog...I have contemplated that.
I am always reading cookbooks. Finding wonderful things to try. I love blogs and online recipes...the problem stems from finding something wonderful and purchasing the ingredients then being unable to find where the recipe was!!! Was it in my cookbook collection, the library books, blogs, online subscriptions, or friends?? I sometimes, in my compulsion, spend hours trying to locate recipes. Poor hubby!

The second problem is that I have found wonderful recipes that I had marked (yes, I write in my cookbooks) "Our Favorite" only to have lost them in the pages and between the shelves. This wouldn't be a problem if we could eat 6 meals a day and I could live in the kitchen.
My hope is that this cooking journal will help me remember the foods we loved and keep the recipes all in one place-organized for us all. Plus, I want to share my culinary journey with my friends..who know my passion for food and cooking. And perhaps save them from the crazy mistakes I make!

Rigatoni Alla Toto (Source- The 150 Best American Recipes)
(print) With my changes

3 Tb olive oil
1 large onion, chopped Cook in oil 3-4 minutes.

1 lb sweet sausage Add to onion and brown on all sides.

1 cup white wine Add to sausage and cook 1 minute.

1/4 c Basil leaves
1 1/2 c heavy cream Add basil and cream to above and simmer 20 minutes.

16 oz rigatoni Cook till al dente in salted water. Drain. Add to sauce.

1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano Serve with cheese.

Monday, March 29, 2010

150-Senegalese Peanut Soup

Senegal is a country south of the Senegal River in western Africa. One of their exports are groundnuts or guessed it peanuts. I can not claim to know anything about Africa or Senegal. But, if this soup is truly from their country, then I do know one thing: They have great soup recipes. And did you know that March is National Peanut Month? I didn't either.

Peanuts are the only nut or seed that our middle child can eat so I felt safe in making this. I do so love nuts and miss them in my cooking. This was a nice reunion.

I am wondering as I do this...why not use peanut butter? And then I am amazed that I am making peanut butter. Wow, I didn't know I could do that. ( oh, I sound like Junie B. Jones!)

There is a recipe for this soup on the food network that uses coconut milk. I think that might add a little more of a zing. I have a soft spot in my taste buds for coconut.

The recipe I used is from The 150 Best American Recipes.

Mondays Menu March 29-April 3

I am going to attempt to actually make and stick to my meal plan this week.
On the docket this week:
  • Monday Peanut Soup
  • Tuesday Rigatoni and Cornbread
  • Wed. Stew
  • Thursday Asparagus Pasta
  • Friday Tacos and Indian Pudding
If you would like to join me, I am posting the needed shopping list. I do not like shopping and really like to get things all in one shot. Recipes will be included in the daily posts. Let's dine!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baby Bakes the Cake AKA Tiger Cake

This cake is from Bittersweet from Alice Medrich. It has the most amazing texture and it is lovely to look at. The recipe claims it is better the second true that is!! Our New York visitors even liked it-and they don't do sweets.

Baby positions rack in lower third of oven and preheats oven to 350 degrees- Okay, I did that part!! Baby does grease and flours the cake pan.

Look mom I can measure the olive oil!

And I know what to do with these!

Oops! That didn't go as I planned.

But, don't worry I know where this white stuff the garbage! Let me do it.

I need to make sure the sugar is tasty.

And I do love chocolate. I will just take a tad before measuring it.

Now, let me show you my way of using this tool!

Oh..will it come out. Someone once said that I had a great pan because it layered cakes for me!! Well, this is one cake I do not want layered...cross your fingers.



Tiger Cake or I like to call it, Olive Oil Cake. The flavor is not a typical American sweet cake. Be prepared for something very different. I love this as toast!! Great toast with butter.

Tiger Cake (print recipe)

Whisk and set aside:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

Sift on to waxed paper :
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tea baking powder
1/4 tea salt

In mixer with whisk attachment:
2 cup sugar
1 cup olive oil
1 tea vanilla
1/2 ground white pepper

Add and beat well after each addition:
5 cold eggs

Mix until pale and thick. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture just till blended. Add 1/2 cup milk until just blended. Add another 1/3 of flour, mix, 1/2 cup milk, and the last of flour.

Mix 3 cups of batter into the cocoa mixture. Pour 1/3 of plain batter into prepared pan. Then top with 1/3 chocolate batter. Repeat.

Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool on rack 15 minutes. Release cake and invert onto rack.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A blogger friend of mine made these for Purim. He is an inspiration in the kitchen..and uses a toaster oven! I think that is so cool. Check out Mendy's wonderful Greenstein's bakery.

The recipe for these cookies can be found here. The tradition is to use poppy seeds but this version uses chocolate and peanut butter. Yum.

Here we are cutting out the dough and working hard in our kitchen.

We had to keep the babe busy so....wonderful bread anyone? By the way, I didn't let her have the whole thing because it was so good. A gift from the bread master.

Plopping on the filling! My comment here would be to half the filling recipe because it makes enough for an army.
We ate these while watching our favorite Sabbath movie, Esther and the King. What a fun family activity on the Sabbath.
Crunchy and wonderful. Exciting and fun to learn about a new tradition and holiday. I hope it isn't offensive to cook these just for fun!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spaghetti Casserole for Jane

My little sister Jane is a newlywed. I have it from a good source that she needs easy and quick recipes. So, I am scouring my recipes for fast, easy and CHEAP food to pass on. I am also looking for spectacular tasting!!!
So, Jane this one is for you. It is super easy and we love it. Don't be afraid if the ingredients look plain..give it a go. Your man will love it.

Spaghetti Casserole
While cooking below cook 6 oz spaghetti:

1 lb browned ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 tea chili powder
1 half small can chopped olives
1 can tomato soup

Mix and simmer. When hot add:
1 Tb Worcestershire
1/4 tea garlic powder

Add cooked spaghetti. Place in 2 qt casserole dish.

1 cup shredded cheddar
1 can cream of mushroom soup
the rest of the olives

Spread on top of spaghetti mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Welcome Spring!! The birds are out and the weather is smiling. Say hello to wonderful simplicity..

Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes
(source: Family Fun Magazine)
  • 3 packages (15 tarts each) prebaked frozen mini pastry shells (we used Athens Mini Fillo Shells) I think that 4 packages is better!
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 2 cups (plus extra for garnish) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon (plus extra for garnish) pumpkin pie spice I like 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package cheesecake-flavor instant pudding and pie filling
  1. Remove the shells from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin, whipped topping, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl, whisking until smooth. Add the pudding mix and whisk until smooth and thick.

  3. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each of the shells (you can also pipe the filling with a pastry bag or a plastic sandwich bag with one corner snipped off), then top the tarts with whipped topping, a sprinkling of the pumpkin pie spice, and a mint leaf, if you like. Makes 45 tarts.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Artichoke Dip- The Quick Comfort Food

1 cup mayo
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts- not marinated
7 oz. diced green chilis

Mix all and bake 20 minutes, uncovered. Let stand 5 minutes covered. Best served with wheat thins.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Family Fondue Tradition

Knowing that I loath fruits and veggies, I adore our fondue tradition. What a wonderful way to consume fruits!
Before moving to Virginia, we had a monthly date with our friend Kim to have fondue. The kids referred to her as "Aunt Kim" and looked forward to her visits because we always painted our lips with chocolate. She was that kind of fun. She really is the reason that JT and I met and got married!

We had a date to have fondue with friends this evening..first time in Virginia!!! I was so excited. Sadly, due to sickness-public education, curse you!! My daughter is sick and we had to cancel. What to do with all this FRUIT!! Well, we can't have it taking up space in my kitchen. Who knows, I may want to bake and there will not be room. This kitchen isn't big enough for the two of us (me or the fruit)!! So, for our evening meal we had an assortment of wonderful and healthy things...with fondue!

And I want you to know that I handled the disappointment of missing a fondue party like any woman would: I masked, watched Julie and Julia, and finished off the fondue!

Nutty Chocolate Fondue
 This recipe is wonderful.

1 Toblerone Chocolate Bar
2 oz Dark Chocolate
3 Tb heavy Cream

Heat cream and broken chocolate over low simmering water (Double boiler or Fondue pot). Stir until Chocolate has melted. Serve with bananas, red cherries, strawberries, or cookies.

Ode to Mable Hoffman

This is what I would look like if I was Mable Hoffman, crockpot cook extraordinaire!

Seniorita Hoffman should I say, burritos!! How you can dump things in the crockpot and hours later come into a wonderful smell and instant dinner.
I LOVE the crockpot!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Colcannon

Now, I know this is a Irish Halloween Tradition but...I had to make it for St. Patrick's Day. I was wanting to try something new. My old stand by, corned beef and cabbage, we had just made last month. When I saw this recipe I thought...sounds gross. Sorry Mary, but it did. Boiled meat! I just couldn't do it. Other than that I followed the recipe to a tee. And it was mouthwatering!!!
Speaking of recipe, check out One Perfect Bite for the recipe.

How could it not be splendid...all that butter and cream?

And you serve it with a pool of butter..a wonderful pool of butter.

We added Leprechaun bread. When I was growing up my stepmother would make "fairy bread": cheap white bread, butter and colored sprinkles. So, I thought croissants and sprinkles-Perfect! We also had peas, arroz verde, and green noddles. All of our mix matched favorites...only one Irish delicacy in the bunch! Perhaps, next year the whole menu will be traditional!

Colcannon ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

1 pound unsliced slab bacon or ham
3 pounds boiling potatoes
2 sticks + 3 tablespoons butter, divided use
1-1/4 cups light cream or milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium head savory cabbage, cored and shredded
1/2 cup chopped scallions

1) Place bacon or ham in pot. Cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from water. Allow to cool. Dice. Refrigerate if not to be used immediately.
2) Scrub potatoes and place on a steamer rack. Bring water in steamer to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer potatoes for 30 minutes. Peel and force potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Add 1 stick butter, cut into small dice, into potatoes. Mash to combine. Add salt and pepper to milk. Slowly add hot milk to potato mixture, beating with a spoon. Cover bowl. Keep warm.
3) While potatoes steam, add 3 tablespoons butter to wok. Add cabbage and stir fry over high heat until mixture is crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4) Add cabbage, bacon and scallions to potatoes. Mix well. Place an equal portion of colcannon in each of six soup bowls.
5) Melt reserved stick of butter in a small pan or in microwave. Form a well in center of each bowl of potatoes. Spoon melted butter into well. Serve hot. Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If I were a cookbook designer-I'd wear green

If I was a cookbook designer: This is how I would have my layouts. With ingredients to the side....and photos of steps.

A half bag of spinach
A half bunch of cilantro
1 1/4 cup chicken broth

Whirl in blender

Then add to the blender:

1 1/4 cups milk
1 tea sea salt

Whirl until Grinch Green.

3 Tb butter
1 Tb olive oil

1 1/2 cups jasmine rice

Cook till brown.

1 tea garlic
1/4 cup minced onion- or green onions

Slowly add Grinch green mixture.
Bring to boil.
Cook, covered, 20 minutes.
Stir carefully and cook 5 minutes more.

Remove from heat and let steam in covered pot for 10 minutes more.

Enjoy! Happy Saint Patrick's Day, friends.

Source: The 150 Best American Recipes
noted on page 221 original source: Jim Peyton's New Cooking from Old Mexico