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Friday, May 27, 2011

Free download Martha Stewart - Summer Grilling Cookbook 2011

We love FREE!

Martha Stewart Living Radio is offering free download of her grilling cookbook 

Enjoy the holiday weekend and raise a flag for those who bravely served our country

~~Get ready for grilling season with recipes from top barbecue and grilling authorities with the Martha Stewart Living Radio Grilling Hotline Cookbook.

Download Now: Free Grilling Cookbook

Monday, May 23, 2011

Firecracker Wings Pressure Cooked and Baked

I am in trouble, I think.  My kids prefer Mom's cooking to going out.  My husband was out of town so I ask them,  "what do you want for dinner?"  Hoping for anything that does not involve a load of dishes and expecting the reply, "let's go out" or some frozen concoction from Trader Joe's.  But oh no, no rest for the wicked.  "We want firecracker wings, corn on the cob and artichokes," they shout out.  After a load of lip smacking and napkins, three messy faces smiled and said, "make again".

Firecracker Wings
from Sunny Anderson and Me

2 jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons allspice
5 teaspoons fresh thyme
3 teaspoon ground ginger
4 garlic cloves, chopped
5 chives, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
7 lbs chicken wings and legs
2t non modified corn starch 

~ put first 13 ingredients in  blender
~ put all of the chicken in a large zip lock bag and add marinate
~ marinate in the refrigerator 4 hours
~ pour marinate and chicken into pressure cooker
~ cook 6 minutes high pressure
~ natural release about 10 minutes
~ remove chicken and put on parchment paper lined baking sheet
~ preheat oven 450 degrees
~ add corn starch to marinate and whisk
~ whisk over high heat until marinate reduces and thickens
~ squeeze a small amount of honey on each piece of chicken
~ pour marinate over each piece of chicken
~ bake 15 minutes

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I need to start a garden blog

I adore my garden.  First thing every morning I walk my front and backyard.  Nature is the purest form - relaxation.  Seeing and hearing bees buzzing, humming birds stalking (yes, they follow me around), yellow and red birds collecting seeds, night owl wooing, Monarch butterflies and caterpillars, lizards and the all time favorite roadrunner along with the occasional squirrel, racoons, rat (my nemesis), snake, rabbit, doves...brings me joy.  So, I share with you my delightful little space on this earth.

Step into my garden...

this is my smiling dragon fly
who let me walk up to
flew up and down
striking a new pose for the camera each time

the stalker
at least one of the stalkers
these funny humming birds follow us around 
 often closely sitting and observing our every move
apricots are my favorite fruit
we planted this tree 12 years ago
lovely*amazing* wonderful* plentiful
the melon
we are not quite sure what kind of melon
until this melon appeared 
I thought it was a cucumber plant
we are semi successful here
last year leaf hoppers attacked
so this year we are on the look-out
we started with one plant 
the lazy little eaters
didn't throw away the left-overs
they just threw them in the planters
now we have many pomegranate bushes
last year I hit the seed bank in Petaluma Ca
I was intrigued 
Gobbo Di Nizzia
our favorite to look at
abundant for about three weeks
before the heat
birds get the top half
of the tree
we enjoy the lower half
the most under appreciated fruit
happy tree as you can see
fruit fruit and more fruit
aloe and cauliflower
two types of aloe
purple cauliflower
black raspberries
every year I search
for new berry plants
for our zone 9
grow staples
save seeds

One of the greatest gifts I have given to my children - appreciate and respect of nature
and my husband too

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hummus and Tahini

For the most fabulous taste and texture dried beans are a must.  I use my pressure cooker and do not pre-soak since I am a lazy cook.  The tahini in this recipe mmm mmm good.

Hummus and Tahini
from Andrew Weil M.D.
Eating Well for Optimum Health

2 cups dried chickpeas
5 cups water
1t safflower oil
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cold water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1t ground cumin
7 garlic cloves mashed
1/4t cayenne
reserved water to even our texture
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

~ rinse chickpeas
~ add chickpeas, 5 cups water and 1t safflower oil into pressure cooker
~ reach high heat and maintain 35 minutes
~ quick release pressure and reserve water
~ cool beans

Tahini Sauce
~ blend in food processor
~ tahini, cold water, lemon juice, cumin and 4 garlic cloves

~ process the chickpeas to a rough puree adding cooking liquid to your taste
~ add 3/4 or more tahini, 3 cloves of garlic and cayenne
~ process until just mixed
~ season with salt and freshly ground pepper

Middle Eastern Chopped Salad

The perfect summer salad - juicy vegetables topped with a cheese crumble, although, the little people would have nothing to do with it.  I tell them over and over again tomatoes are in ketchup and your favorite sushi roll is a cucumber roll, but I just can't sell it.  That is fine since we love it.

Middle Eastern Chopped Salad
from Andrew Weil M.D.
Eating Well for Optimum Health

1 organic cucumber diced
2 organic tomatoes diced
4 chives chopped
1 organic yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
5 or more Kalamata olives pitted and sliced
2T fresh parsley
3T fresh lemon juice
2T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

~ combine all ingredients
~ season with salt and pepper

from the garden: chives
and we finally picked our first tomato of the season

Friday, May 20, 2011

Curried Couscous

My kids love couscous, plain.  I love couscous because it is so easy to make.  We all love curry so when I saw this recipe, I knew we had to give it a try.  It was spectacular the day I made it as well as those that followed.  Spices what would we do without them?

Side note: I want to know how Ina Garten keeps her hair so beautiful and shiny.  When ever I watch her on TV I am not only envious of her delicious food but her hair too!

Curried Couscous
from Ina Garten
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1 1/2 cups couscous
1T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain organic yogurt
1/8 cup olive oil
1t white wine vinegar
1t curry powder
1/2t ground turmeric
3/4t sea salt
1t freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated organic carrots
1/2 cup mined italian parsley or 1/8 cup freeze dried parsley
3 chives cut into small pieces
1/4 cup diced red onion

~ boil water in pot
~ turn off heat
~ add butter to water and allow to melt
~ add couscous and cover for about 5 minutes
~ remove lid and fluff
~ put couscous in medium bowl
~ whisk together yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt and pepper
~ pour over couscous
~ add carrots, parsley, chives and red onion
~ season to taste
~ serve at room tempature

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I hate washing dishes!

I really hate washing dishes.  I refuse to buy anymore dish, pots and pans that are not dishwasher safe; no matter how beautiful or spectaculary awesome they are.  My ankle bares the scars of the chain that connects me to the sink full of dishes.  I paid my youngest $3 to do the dishes the other day and glee filled my heart.  The sink is full again, so I need to open my pocket book to lure the littlest dishwasher back to the sink, so I can begin dinner only to fill the sink up again.  oh, when will someone invent self cleaning dishes...

Tonight I hope to finally post and catch up since I am finish editing Li Po poetry essay, watching a bridge being built from manila folders, driving in 20 different directions, attending award ceremonies, and most important resolving the fight over the pink convertible tights...ah life is good...but I still have a sink full of dishes, honor band, dance performances, water day and book club (yeah!!!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tartar Sauce

I made tartar sauce before: however, it was a long process involving roasted red peppers.  It tasted delicious but I don't always have the time for my gourmet desires.  Enter Fannie Farmer one of the best all time cookbooks and quick and easy five ingredient tartar sauce. Yum!

Tartar Sauce
from Marion Cunningham
Fannie Farm Cookbook

1 cup low fat mayonnaise
2T minced scallion (white part and two inches of green tops)
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish rinsed
1 1/2t capers chopped
1/8t cayenne pepper

~ mix everything in a bowl until well blended
~ refrigerate until ready to use
~ done! how easy was that?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day weekend an unexpected cool day, we dined alfresco and gardened.  Find of the year, for the garden, a sprinkler add-on that gives you a drip line.  These wonders we found at Lowes.  Needless to say, I am the happy lazy caretaker of eight new fruit filled pots - blueberries, seedless mandarins, limequat and blood orange and my greenhouse now has a sprinkler system.  I resume my lazy gardening ways.

My youngest and I spent an hour pulling out mass amounts of mint that enveloped our blackberries.  As we peeled away the green wrapping, lovey dark rich purple berries spilled out.  I was deemed the picker since the barbs hurt and the little one became a walking wounded.  All in all, a wonderful day for all of us...

Fettucini Alfredo // Fettucine Alfredo

Many years ago, too many, my single at the time husband ate at Alfredo's in Rome.  For the last, too many years, all I have heard is, "that was the best meal", "I want fettucini like Alfredo's" and on and on.  Finally sick of waiting for me to find the recipe he, oh my gosh!, googled and discovered the "recipe" himself.  I am not sure if in fact this recipe really originates from the infamous restaurant since he retells his epic meal as a table side service.  As well as the parmesan is listed as fresh not reggiano parmigiano as I would imagine and used.  My friend Paulo, from Italy,  insisted the only parmesan is reggiano parmigiano and fed it to her teething babies.

We all enjoyed the meal and the reviews are in as a make again.

Fettucini Alfredo
from "Alfredo's" in Rome, Italy

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1T sea salt
2T heavy cream
5-6T water

~ fit food processor with steel blades
~ add flour to food processor, then salt and eggs
~ place lid on bin and pulse 4 times
~ slowly add the cream through the feed tube and then add water a tablespoon at a time until a ball forms
~ the dough should have the consistency of bread dough
~ if you over do it on the liquids add flour
~ remove from processor and cut into 4 equal pieces and cover with cloth
~ (now the tricky part. I use an old fashion Italian pasta machine) take one piece of dough at a time  and run it through at setting number 1 and fold in half
~ run through at setting number 1 five more times, folding in half after each run through
~ run through settings 2
~ running through setting 3
~ run through setting 4
~ run through setting 5 (this is the end for me because it gets to thin for me to handle at 6 or 7, ay call me American)
~ attach fettucini attachment
~ flour the large piece of dough
~ run through fettucini attachment make sure you use flour to prevent sticking
~ cover the cut noodles and repeat with 3 other pieces

 1/4 lb butter
1 1/4 cup reggiano parmigiano, grated
1 cup heavy cream
freshly ground pepper

~ place noodles into about 5 quarts boiling water with 1 tsp salt and cook only 1 minute and drain
 ~ melt butter in a saute pan over medium flame
~  place noodles (noodles should be dry and not dripping with water) into butter and toss to coat
~ add cream and bring almost to a boil
~ mix noodles to coat
~ add in parmesan cheese and toss
~ plate and add freshly ground pepper and reggiano parmigiano

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chinese Chicken Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette

Cabbage either you love it or hate it.  I happen to love it.  Memories of buttery cabbage and noodles at my Grandmothers house brings a smile to my face and a growl in my stomach.  Moving on to 2011 where butter means addition dimple on my thighs, but cabbage remains a healthy choice.

At the dinner table 3 very unhappy faces stared at me and groans filled my ears.  "What's in it?" they cried.  "Good stuff", I reply.  "Try it you'll like it" and they did.  After gobbling several servings they declared this was a make again.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette
from American's Test Kitchen
Family cookbook

2/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup safflower oil
6T hoisin sauce
3T low sodium soy sauce
1T grated ginger

~ put all of the ingredients in a tall glass and whisk to combine, whisk again just before using

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1T vegetable oil
1/2 head cabbage
2 organic orange or red bell pepper sliced thin
1 cup snow peas tips and strings removed cut into bite size pieces
4 scallions
1 cup chow mein noodles

~ season chicken
~ heat skillet medium heat and add oil
~ add chicken and cook 5-7 minutes per side or until they are no longer pink inside
~ allow chicken to cool and then shred into bit size pieces
~ toss the chicken with 1/2 the dressing and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
~ toss the chicken with the cabbage
~ add additional salad items
~ serve remaining dressing and noodles

Caesar Salad

One of the top salad's in my opinion is Caesar salad.  What a perfect combination of flavors without the egg.  So I search and try many a recipe seeking perfection and I think this recipe belongs in the top five.

Caesar Salad
from America's Test Kitchen
Family Cookbook

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk or non-fat milk and 1/4t lemon juice mixed
7 anchovy fillets
2t Worcestershire
2t dijon mustard
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4t salt
1/2t pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

~ blend all the ingredient except the olive oil in a blender on high speed until smooth
~ with motor running slowly add the oil in a steady stream

3 romaine hearts or fresh butter lettuce torn into bit size pieces
2oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

~ toss lettuce and Parmesan cheese
~ add dressing and croutons

loaf of day old bread cut into cubes
2 minced garlic cloves
2 or more olive oil

~ heat large cast iron skillet high heat
~ add oil and heat
~ add garlic and brown slight
~ toss in bread turning to brown

from our garden: butter lettuce

Corn Salad with Black Beans and Tomatoes

Everyday we wander around our garden and we are greeted by bunches of bright green tomatoes, anticipation!  We are on the cusp of garden greatness with many varieties of the juicy fruit.  So we sit and wait and watch.  In the meantime, we enjoy organic tomatoes from Trader Joe's.  This cheery salad can be a refreshing accompaniment to any summer meal.


Corn Salad with Black Beans and Tomatoes
from American's Test Kitchen
Family Cookbook

4T extra virgin olive oil
2T lime juice
1T red wine vinegar
1 jalapeno seeded and minced
1 garlic clove minced
1/2t cumin
1/4t sea salt
1/4t freshly ground pepper

~ combined all ingredients in a tall glass and whisk 

1 package frozen sweet organic corn
1 pint organic sweet cherry tomatoes
1 15.5oz can organic black beans drained and rinsed
6 scallions sliced thin
3T minced cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

~ heat cast iron skillet high heat
~ add the frozen corn and cook until slightly blackened
~ remove from heat and put in large bowl
~ add other salad ingredients to corn
~ add dressing and toss
~ season with salt and pepper

from our garden: cilantro and scallions

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fava Beans with Swiss Chard and Tomato ~ Scafata

Fava beans not an everyday item.  I discovered them at the farmers market and being the bean lover I am; I had to have them so, my next seed purchase would include fava's.  The flowers are beautiful and the leaves are edible.  We are enjoying our fava beans.

Garden magic occurs when seed blow in the wind and surprises appear.  Last year, I purchased a six pack of celery and it has been the gift that keeps on giving.  It seeded and now I have celery growing in several locations.  Fresh cut celery smells sweet, crisp and bright.

Fava Beans with Swiss Chard and Tomato ~ Scafata
from Viana La Place
Vegetables Italian Style

3T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion finely diced
2 small organic carrots diced
3 small stalks organic celery diced
1 1/2 pound fava beans shelled
salt to taste
1 bunch of swiss chard ribs removed leaves cut into strips
20 organic cherry tomatoes cut in half
freshly ground pepper to taste

~ heat skillet and add olive oil
~ add diced vegetables and fava beans
~ stir well
~ add salt to taste and a few tablespoons of water
~ cover and cook over low heat until the fava beans are tender
~ add chard and tomatoes and cook with lid partly on
~ cook until tomatoes thicken and water evaporates
~ grind black pepper over top before serving

From our garden: fava beans, swiss chard and celery


This month we are focusing on finding great salads.  The hot weather is here and what better way to cool down?  My carb loving kids will eat greens and discover just how great vegetables can be.  A great task in it self; however, our garden is their joy and they can't wait to eat anything freshly picked.  Time to plant some heat loving lettuce.

What is ready in our garden...
peaches (yum, picked the first one yesterday)
fava beans (we are going to try the leaves in a salad)
herbs galore

Our watermelon has blossoms!  We hope to have a melon or two, three, four or more this summer.

coming soon...

Food and Wine Annual 2010
* Tomato, Cucumber and Sweet Onion Salad with Cumin Salt
* Iceberg Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing   good
* Chopped Salad with Grapes and Mint
* Asian Pear Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese
* Spicy Chickpea Salad
* Green Goddess Chicken Salad
* Sobo Noodle Salad with Thai Red Curry Sauce
* Honey-Soy Sauce Chicken with Mache and Citrus Salad
**natchitoches meat pies eh would not make again
**mushroom soup with toasted bread

Celebrating Italy Carol Field
* Bread Salad Perfumed with Balsamic Vinegar
** pasta filled with ricotta and swiss chard very good
** gnocchi

Eating Well For Optimum Health Andrew Weil M.D.
* Middle Eastern Chopped Salad  very tasty
**hummus   good especially the tahini
**carrot cake
**frozen banana pie

The Fiddlehead Cookbook Nancy & John DeCherney, Deborah Marshall, Susan Brook
* Elizabeth's Chicken Salad great used freshly picked peaches

* Grilled Chicken Salad
* Warm Salmon Salad
**salmon wellington
**fettuccine alfredo
**saag panir
**onion buns wouldn't make again
**honey yogurt scones

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Ina Garten
* Curried Couscous excellent
* Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad
* Grilled Salmon Salad good, but my salmon was not so good
**roasted eggplant spread
**banana crunch muffin
**cranberry harvest muffin
**maple oatmeal scones
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