Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Clam Snack

Here's a great little snack or appetizer using only a few ingredients that is quick and easy to make.  Feel free to switch up the cheese if you like and omit the Aleppo pepper if you want or add more if you're into a lot of heat.

2  6.5 ounce cans of chopped clams, drained thoroughly (save and freeze the juice for another use or throw some into your Bloody Mary)
1  1/2 cups finely grated Swiss cheese ( I used a domestic)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper ( or a little cayenne)
1  12 inch baguette cut into about 20 rounds

Thoroughly combine all ingredients except the bread.  Spread the clam mixture on top of each bread round and bake them at 375F for 12 to 14 minutes.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Kicked" Up Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I took my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe (previously posted) and added a few extra ingredients to create a sort of "grown-up" chocolate chip cookie.  Ground ginger and cayenne pepper give it the "kick"!  Cut down or omit the cayenne for the little ones or faint of heart!

Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
8 Tbl (one stick) softened butter
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (you can omit this)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 egg, beaten
1 cup oatmeal (quick oats work well)
1/4 cup grated coconut ( sweetened or not)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a larger mixing bowl with a electric mixer, cream the brown sugar, butter cayenne and ginger. Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly with the mixer.
Stir in the coconut and nuts and then add the reserved flour mixture a little at a time until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  The batter will be quite stiff.  refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Shape each half into a log about 9 to 10 inches long.  Wrap each log in parchment or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably over night.
When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Slice each cookie log into 12 equal pieces.  Place the cookies on parchment or Silpat lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and let rest for about 3 minutes and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Note:  Once the logs are formed they can be wrapped and frozen until ready to bake.  Just let them thaw first.  The baked cookies also freeze well. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thank You!!

Many thanks to all of you who voted for my Coconut Quinoa Pudding in the Whole Foods Market-Boulder contest for Your Best Coconut Milk Recipe.  We won!! I've been told a Whole Foods gift certificate should be arriving shortly so I'll be able to find some exotic (or not so exotic!) ingredients to cook with soon.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Second Green Onion Update

Okay, so it's been about a week since the last update...today I cut off the tops of the second two green onions that I originally sprouted.  They're the short ones in the glass now.  I noticed that when trimming ,the white part of the onion had a layer of "papery" white so I trimmed that off, trimmed the roots, changed the water and put all back in.  The taller ones are those that I first sprouted and used to garnish the Beef and Wine.  The onions I snipped today are stirred into and garnishing our smashed redskins for tonight's dinner. Let's see how long this rolls!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coconut Quinoa Pudding Update

My pudding is a finalist in The Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder Contest for "Your Best Recipe with Coconut Milk".  I know I've been a bridesmaid a lot lately, but with your help maybe I can be the Bride.  Go here to vote and THANKS!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Fennel and Olive Gratin

This is a nice side if you have some time...the fresh fennel really mellows with the roasting and the kalamatas and parmesan give the casserole a little oomph!

2 large fresh fennel bulbs, cleaned and cut into 1 to 2 inch wedges
1/3 cup half and half
4 ounces mascarpone cheese (I think cream cheese would be just fine)
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1  1/2 cups grated parmesan, divided
 10 kalamata olives, halved

In a medium sauce pan, boil the fennel wedges for about 3 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
In a small sauce pan bring the half and half up to a simmer, add the mascarpone, fennel powder, salt and pepper and heat until the mascarpone melts.  Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup of the parmesan.
Arrange the fennel in a smallish baking dish (8x8 or 10x10) and pour the warm mixture over .
Dot with the olive halves and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of parmesan over.  
Cover and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.
Raise the oven temp to 400F, sprinkle with that last 1/2 cup of parmesan and bake another 15 minutes or so until you get a little browning.  Serve nice and warm.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Beef and Wine

Here's my revamped version of Beef Burgundy which I posted over a year ago...just a few changes, but oh so good!  And those green onions resting on top are the re-sprouted ones.

3 to 4 pounds beef chuck roast, cubed about 1  1/2 inches, seasoned well with salt and pepper
1 large onion diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 strips bacon, diced
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 bottle dry red wine (Merlot, Cabernet, etc)
Beef broth to cover
10 ounces fresh pearl onions
12 to 16 ounces button mushrooms, halved if really large
About 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed into 1/2 cup water for a slurry to thicken the stew
Salt and pepper to season
Thinly sliced green onions 
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (VERY optional)

Brown the beef cubes in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a good size pot or dutch oven.  Do this in batches so as not to over crowd the meat and get the pieces well browned.  Set the meat aside in a bowl.
Add the bacon to the pot along with that last tablespoon of olive oil if necessary and saute until starting to crisp.
Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion begins to soften and the garlic becomes fragrant, just a few minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir it around  for about a minute.
(Add the crushed red pepper here if you want a little spice)
Add the bay leaf and wine, stirring to scrape up all those browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Return the meat to the pot along with any accumulated juices and the add enough beef broth to cover the meat totally.
Bring the stew up to a boil and then simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat becomes very tender.
Meanwhile, prep your pearl onions by cutting off the root ends and then placing them in boiling water for a few minutes.  Drain, cool a bit and then slip off the onion peels.
Once the meat is tender, add the onions and mushrooms and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened.  Re season with salt and pepper if needed.  Serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes and garnish each serving with sliced green onion.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Green Onion Update

OK... so the two short onions are the ones I originally placed in the water when I first started this project.  I cut down the green and will use them to garnish my sort of revamped beef and wine sauce which I'll probably post tomorrow or the next day.  I also trimmed the roots on all four onions and placed them in fresh water.  Now time will tell if the first two will sprout a second time.  And I'll let you know how my green onion garnish tastes!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gingered & Curried Butternut and Potato Soup

Pam's at it again...and this time she created a butternut squash soup that sounds heavenly!  She served it up with a crusty Farm Bread from Zingermans!

8 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 large chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
7 cups chicken broth
1 entire bulb roasted garlic
1/2 pound bacon

Fry the bacon until very crispy, crumble and set aside
Preheat the oven to 450F

Cut the top off the bulb of garlic, drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly in foil.
Place it on a baking sheet with the cubed squash.
With the squash on the baking sheet, drizzle with 4 teaspoons of olive oil and toss to coat well.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Test for tenderness; cook 5 to 10 minutes longer if necessary.  Set aside with the roasted garlic.

Put the remaining oil and butter in a soup pot.  Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent.  Stir in the ginger, curry, salt and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes and saute for 2 more minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Add the roasted squash, squeeze in the garlic and stir.  Puree in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender.  If it seems too thick add a little milk or more chicken broth.  To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with bacon.  Don't forget the crusty bread!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Coconut Quinoa Pudding

As you know, I've been experimenting with quinoa for some time now and have thought of converting rice pudding into one using quinoa.  Using coconut milk in place of regular adds a new dimension.  This pudding has a nice backdrop of orange and the cinnamon flavored coconut topping makes for a nice little crunch on top. Makes about 6 servings.

For the quinoa and topping:
1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa
2 cups coconut milk (I used Silk original from the dairy case)
1/2 cup grated sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium size sauce pan combine the quinoa and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and then cover and lower the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed into the grain.  Set aside
Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and place in a 350F oven for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the coconut starts to slightly brown.  Place in a small bowl and stir in the cinnamon.  Set that bowl aside.

Putting it all together:
2 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup semolina flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
A pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup grated sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon grated fresh orange zest
Juice of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The cooked quinoa
The coconut cinnamon topping

Whisk the semolina, cornstarch, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the pinch of salt in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan begin slowly heating the coconut milk to boiling.  While watching the milk, beat the eggs with an electric mixer, add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating until thick and a little fluffy.
Once the milk comes up to a boil, whisk in the semolina mixture and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and just starts to boil again.  Take off the heat and let rest for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the egg mixture, cooked quinoa, orange zest,orange juice, coconut and vanilla.  Pour into a greased 8x11 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes.
Serve warm in small dessert dishes topped with a teaspoon or two of the cinnamon-coconut topping.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Re-sprouting Green Onions

This is really easy and a lot of fun.  I've been reading about re-sprouting green onions and decided to sacrifice four of them to see if it would workOn day one I took two green onions, used the "green" for something I was cooking and then placed the white bulbs in a glass.  A couple of days later I changed the water and washed the bulbs.  I then put two more bulbs in the glass.  The first photo shows the two day growth and the second two onions just placed in the glass.  The second picture shows the four green onions after three more days (today actually).  In a couple of more days I'll be able to use the green on the first two onions and I've been told that I can re-use those bulbs and start again.  I use these a lot and when I'm out I'm sad.  If I can remember to keep this going I can have them all the time.  I'll keep you posted on how many times we can use the same bulbs!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spinach and Feta Pasta

Here's a nice side for 4 or a huge dinner for 2...

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 shallots, finely
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
10 to 12 ounces dry spaghetti or linguini
Chicken broth to cook the pasta
9 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves (leave the stems on...they're good for you!)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a very large saute pan, saute the garlic and shallots in the olive oil until everything softens up
Add the oregano, fennel, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Give it all a couple of stirs and the add the wine.  Lower the heat while you bring the chicken broth up to a boil in a separate pot.
Cook the pasta just short of al dente.  Drain reserving about 2 cups of the broth for finishing the dish.
Turn the heat up to high on your saute pan and when everything starts bubbling add the pasta.
While stirring the pasta, add the spinach leaves a handful at a time along with some of the chicken broth.  keep stirring and alternating spinach and broth until the spinach has wilted.  Depending on how loose you want the dish, you may not need all the broth.
Stir in the feta and onions.  Serve immediately!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pam's Meyer Lemon Cake

Remember those Meyer Lemons I talked about last March and preserved?  Well, Pam got hold of some this past week and made this beautiful bundt cake.  Her granddaughter who normally wants pie for her birthday told her that this might replace pie this next time around!!  Pam says to butter and flour your bundt pan well for ease in removing.

Butter and flour for prepping your pan
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbl fresh Meyer Lemon juice
3 Tbl grated Meyer Lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease your bundt pan with butter and dust with flour.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
Cream together 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy in a large bowl with an electric mixer.
Add the eggs, one at a time and blend well after each addition.
With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.
Add the lemon juice and mix until blended.
Fold in the lemon zest.
Spoon the batter into the prepped pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes.  Flip the cake out onto a serving plate.
Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gingered Slaw

When Matt was in town over the holidays he mentioned The Rib Whip Truck which is a food truck in SF serving pulled pork sandwiches with slaw.  The slaw has ginger in it which gives it a nice bite.  I thought I'd give it a go.  Turned out darn good...Thanks Matt!

For the dressing:
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c rice vinegar
1/4 c sugar
1 Tbl freshly grated ginger
2 tsp ground dried ginger
S & P to taste
Whisk all ingredients together

For the slaw:
4 c shredded white cabbage
2 c shredded red cabbage
1 carrot grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 medium onion grated on the large wholes of a box grater

Toss everything together and stir in the dressing.  Park in the fridge for at least and hour before serving.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A No Knead Bread for Those of Us Who are Challenged

I'm sure you've realized by now that I don't bake much,  but I really want to.  I think part of it is that I don't have the patience to turn out a great loaf of bread...so many loaves take time and I'm the type that wants now!  I have the Chuck Muer House Bread down, thanks to my food processor, but I still keep searching for good, easy to make bread.  I think I may have found one!  This one is a no knead bread that you mix up in the morning, let sit all day,fold it up a bit, let it rest another hour and then bake.  The dough is loose and shaggy and looks like it won't amount to anything, but the results are remarkable.  The recipe calls for a first rise of 6 to 8 hours but I let mine go 9 and I think it could go even longer.  You could mix this up in the evening(it takes about 3 minutes) and let it proof all night and then bake in the morning.  The result is a very crusty loaf with all those great nooks and crannies inside.  Find the recipe here: