Thursday, December 30, 2010

who knew Falafels were this easy to make?

My health food store sells falafel mix in the bulk bins. Mr. Snowgoose and I have been on a greek food kick and after reading the directions I thought I'd try to make them.

Ingredients

1 cup falafel mix
3/4 cup water
2 tbsn oil

Directions

1. Combine mix and water in bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.




2. Shape into 12 patties or balls.

3. Fry them until they are crispy/ hardened.




See, so simple! And good. And cheap. I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot of these!

Fake out take out: spicy orange-ginger beef with broccoli

Usually as the month draws to a close, I get more creative with my cooking as I play "let's clean out the fridge/pantry/ freezer." Last night was no exception. We had beef and frozen broccoli and brown rice among other things and since my take out fake out cashew chicken was so well recieved I wanted to try another spin on faux Chinese food.

Ingredients

3/4 pound beef for stir fry
1 large package frozen broccoli
1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 tbsn soy sauce
2 tspn ginger
2 tbsn minced garlic
1 tbsn chili paste
1/3 c orange juice
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbsn oil

Directions
Note: If possible, marinate beef in 2 tbsn soy sauce for a few hours

1. Cook brown rice according to package

2. Saute onion and garlic for 2 minutes in oil. Add soy sauce, ginger and beef and cook until beef is done. Add broccoli and cook for 2 minutes before adding orange juice and chili paste. Cook 1-2 more minutes.

3. Serve over rice.

Cook's notes:

1. You can do the ingredients in any order and add more chili paste if you like it spicy.

2. Mr. Snowgoose loved it!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fake out take out: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Cashews

Mr. Snowgoose loves Chinese food. I do not, though I will compromise and make him fake out take out dishes from time to time. In the April 2010 issue of Real Simple I came across a recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken with Cashews. Last week I finally made it, though I made several modifications to make it easier (and healthier)

Ingredients
1 cup brown rice
18 ounces frozen chicken nuggets
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoons dried ginger
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 package stir fry veggies
1 tbsn chili paste
1/2 cup roasted cashews

Directions

1. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, cook the chicken according to the package directions.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the preserves, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veggies and chili past and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Add the chicken, sauce, and cashews and toss to coat. Serve over the rice.




Cook's Notes:

1. It was good, though even better the next day.
2. I love the use of chicken nuggets because they hold the sauce perfectly. Maybe next time we'll try sesame chicken or kung pao chicken with the nuggets.
3. This is going into our take out rotation!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

French onion soup for beginners

Ever since Mr. Snowgoose and I were in Paris this fall I've been craving French onion soup. Combine that craving with torrential rain last weekend and you have my motivation for making this classic dish.

I had made it about 4 years ago with disastrous results and haven't tried it since.

This time I opted to fly by the seat of my pants and make it American-style. Warning: it still took forever.

Ingredients:

4 cups beef broth

2 tbsp olive oil

4 large yellow onions, finely sliced

2 tbsp diced garlic

salt and pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or cheddar or mozzarella)

6-8 slices of slightly stale french bread

2 tbsp cornstarch

4 tablespoon red wine

Directions:

1. In large stockpot or dutch onion, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until onions have caramelized.

2. Add beef broth and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 1- 1/2 hours. Add red wine and corn starch to thicken soup.

3. Broil french bread with enough shredded cheese on top to cover it for 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

4. Serve in bowls with french bread and cheese on top.

Cook's Notes

1. It made about 6 large servings, though you can add more beef broth and water if you want.

2. We freeze wine in ice cube trays when we near the end of a bottle no one wants to drink. One cube= 2 tablespoon.

3. Full confession: we were out of parm cheese so I used mozz and cheddar!

my now famous candied almonds with rosemary

Special thanks to my grandma who sent me the recipe as a hint after I sent her dried rosemary for Christmas last year.

This tastes like a million dollars and like you slaved over a hot stove for hours. In reality, it takes 10 minutes. Thank you Martha Stewart!

Indredients:2 tablespoons sugar
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups almonds (raw or blanched)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together 4 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat butter and honey over medium-high heat in a large skillet until bubbling. Remove from heat. Add almonds and rosemary, and toss to coat.

2. Transfer almond-rosemary mixture to a rimmed baking sheet (do not scrape excess syrup from skillet). Sprinkle with sugar-salt mixture. Roast almonds until fragrant, 8 to 9 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Let cool completely.

Cook's Notes:

1. Of course when I made it I didn't measure anything, which comes as no surprise. The beauty of this simple recipe is that you can play around with it.

2. I used fresh honey from a health food store, but I imagine the honey that comes in pastic bears will work fine.

3. Also, Martha says not to scrape extra syrup from skillet, but I did and so far no one has died.

4. I'm gifting this to practically everyone this year. So far no complaints. It pairs well with granola if you're making your own food gifts (I don't mean combining the two in one container).

5. Since my yard is overrun with rosemary I imagine I will gift this forever. Also, check the bulk bins at stores for almonds, it's often cheaper than the packages!

Happy Holidays!

That mushroom/chicken/ rice dish your mom made in the 80's

Lately I've felt like I'm turning into my mother (in the kitchen that is). Over the past few years I've embraced the semi-homemade recipes she made from my childhood: homemade pizza, chicken and yellow rice, turkey soup, just to name a few.

Post-Thanksgiving I was cleaning out my freezer/ cupboard and I stumbled on a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. I tried in vain to remember what she used to make that involved chicken and mushroom soup. Google came to my rescue with Creamy Mushroom-Garlic Chicken, a no-fail recipe with stuff that you already have on hand!


Creamy Mushroom-Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup

1/2 cup milk



Directions:

1.Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides.

2.Stir the soup and milk in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Cook's Notes:

1. In a total 80's move I added rice and brussel sprouts, though I gave it a 2010 twist: brown rice and sauteed the sprouts in bacon, olive oil, garlic, and sprinkle shredded parm. cheese on top.

2. Mr. Snowgoose loved it. Adding it to my rotating menu. The best part? It took 20 minutes to make.

3. I don't even like brussel sprouts, but it's true. Bacon makes everything better.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crock pot classic: beef stew

Given that winter has set in here in the PNW, I've had the crockpot in heavy rotation. I was in the mood for beef stew over the weekend and after searching through dozens of recipes for this crock pot classic I opted to make it off the top of my head based on what I'd seen

Ingredients

1 pound beef, cubed
2 cups water
4 cups vegetable stock
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 carrots, sliced
4 russet potatoes, cubed
2 onions, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Throw everything into crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Eat it.

Depending on how stew-y you like it, add more or less veggies and meat.

Bacon mac and cheese

True story:

Mr. Snowgoose and I were driving home from the gym Monday night when I said, "I'm craving bacon mac and cheese. Mind you, I've never even had it, but I was craving some comfort food during our rcent windstorm. Mr. Snowgoose was like, "make it!" But I was tired and had already planned for us to eat leftover beef stew. I promised that if I had a recipe readily available and all the ingredients I would make it and only if it took less than 30 minutes.

Guess what? All the stars alligned and I found a recipe from a September 2009 issue of Cooking Light. Here is the recipe complete with our modifications.

Ingredients
3 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
12 ounces penne pasta
4 teaspoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup sliced green onions (we used some from our garden)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preparation
1. Preheat broiler.

2. Bring 6 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.

3. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add 1 cup milk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until it cools to 155°. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, onions, pepper, and bacon; stir. Add pasta; toss. Spoon into a 2-quart broiler-safe dish coated with cooking spray; top with 1/2 cup cheese (optional).

4. Broil 7 minutes.

Cook's note: The longest part of the recipe was cooking the bacon. Short on time? Use that weird already cooked Bacon.

Because this was a Cooking Light recipe, it's a little short on cheese and bacon. Mr. Snowgoose would have been happier if I'd added at least two more pieces of bacon (or the whole pack) and added more cheese.

But it was wicked good and we ate all six servings that night. It may become a comfort food staple in the Snowgoose household. I'm curious to add some pancetta instead of bacon and maybe some spinach next time.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fake out take out: Enchiladas

Stillme passed on a version of this recipe to me. I've made it twice and modifed it. It's delicious and quick and perfect for company. In fact, a bachelor friend of ours (who doesn't cook) asked for the recipe. He said it was comparable to the enchalada he had hile living in SoCal.

From my rusty memory

1 package (10) soft taco shells/ tortillas (note: you can use corn, but wheat works best)
1-2 14 oz cans enchalada sauce (red or green) if you like your enchaladas saucey use two cans.
4 oz can diced green chilis, drained
8 oz block of cream cheese
1 pound chicken breasts, cubed or cut into small pieces
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Cook chicken in oil in a pan until nearly done. Add chilis and cream cheese to chicken and cook until cheese is melted.
2. Add chicken, chili, cheese mix to tortillas. Roll and place tortillas seam side down in an 8x10 baking dish.
3. Pour enchalada sauce over tortillas and add shredded cheese to top.
4. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Serve with spanish rice, black beans, and corn.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mom's pico de gallo

I love salsa. We finally hit that part of summer (or fall as it now seems to be in the Pacific NorthWet) where our peppers and tomatoes are ready to eat. While on vacation my mom made this awesome pico. We tried to replicate it.

Ingredients

2 tomatoes chopped
1 bunch green onions, cliced
1 tbspn fresh cilantro
3 tbsn lime juice
1 tbsn olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tspn ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
chopped jalapeno

Directions

Combine everything, cool for 4 hours in fridge.

Yields 2 1/2 cups



Note: It was good, though I forgot the cumin. You'll want to double or triple the recipe.

Citrusy Shrimp with Asparagas

This is a Mr, Snowgoose favorite. From thw May 2010 issue of Health magazine. I've seriously made it half a dozen times. It's quick and easy.

Ingredients
2 cups water
1 cup dried couscous
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3/4 pound raw large shrimp (about 18), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 minced garlic cloves
Olive oil cooking spray
3/4 pound asparagus spears, trimmed (or use frozen)
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup chopped chives

Directions
Preparation
1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and stir in couscous; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; stir in 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

2. Bring another pan of water to a boil.

3. Meanwhile, toss shrimp in 1 tablespoon each lemon and lime juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Marinate for 5 minutes.

4. Preheat grill pan or grill. Lightly coat with cooking spray; grill shrimp, turning once, 3 minutes or until just cooked through. Cover and keep warm.

5. When water is boiling, add asparagus, and cook 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain, and cover.

6. Whisk together honey, chives, and remaining lemon juice and olive oil.

7. Arrange couscous and asparagus on serving plates, and top with shrimp. Drizzle with dressing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spicy sesame scallops

From Sunset magazine (I think).

Ingredients

12 large sea scallops (about 1 lb.), rinsed
1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian chili paste
Rice and steamed vegetables (optional)
Toasted sesame seeds

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix scallops, sesame oil, and salt. Let scallops marinate 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Arrange scallops in a broiler pan. In a small bowl, combine chili paste with 1 tbsp. water. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. chili sauce onto each scallop.

3. Broil 4 in. from heat until scallops are opaque and chili sauce starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables if you like. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Cook's Notes:
1. It wasn't until I had started dinner that I realized I had forgotten the seame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Needless to say, I skipped step 1.
2. It's pretty spicy, so watch out!

Grandma's coming to dinner, or spinach and ricotta stuffed shells

My grandmother was recently visiting the PNW from FL and we were hosting her for dinner. Mr. Snowgoose wanted to make dessert (buttermilk cake with blackberry/cream cheese frosting) and I needed to make something equally impressive.

I also hadn't made stuffed shells in ages. Now I remember why: I had to visit 4 grocery stores to find jumbo shells.

But the following recipe is ridicuously simple and is a perfect vegetarian meal. From the May 2010 issue of Real Simple.

Note: I used a whole 12 oz box of shells, and 36 oz marinara sauce (1 1/2 jars) and still had extra filling.

Ingredients

20 jumbo pasta shells (about half a 12-ounce box)
1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
2 15-ounce containers ricotta
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)
green salad (optional)

Directions
1. Set an oven rack to the highest position and heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and run under cold water until cool.
2. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large broilerproof baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spoon the mixture into the shells and place them on top of the sauce.
3. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake until the shells are heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve with the salad, if desired.

Note: the recipe called for me to broil the shells for 2-5 minutes at the end but I declined to do so.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mr. Snowgoose makes Pasta Carbonara

I am generally the cook in the family as I tend to have more time and motivation than Mr. Snowgoose. His cooking jobs usually involve doing the dishes, making pizza dough, and baking. Recently he came home from a long day at the office and annouced he wanted to make pasta carbonara. Great! Except that I'd already precooked dinner the day before (chicken and yellow rice) and the fact we had no eggs, bacon, or white wine in the house. We set off to a local market down the street with the dogs so that he could get ingredients.

The recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking (Mr. Snowgoose's cooking bible) and involves cooking everything in the bacon grease.

It was to die for. We barely had enough for lunch leftovers.



You can bet he'll be making this again, though probably not anytime soon. I don't know if it was the pasta or the fact all the animals sleep on the bed, but in the middle of the night that night, the wooden bedframe snapped.



The culprits?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Roasted Pork Chops with Peaches

Yes, this is another Real Simple recipe.

Ingredients
1 10-ounce package couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 bone-in pork chops (each 3/4 inch thick; about 2 pounds total)
kosher salt and black pepper
2 peaches, cut into wedges
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Directions
Heat oven to 400º F. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.



Add the peaches, onion, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper to the skilley and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Return the pork (and any accumulated juices) to the skillet. Transfer the skillet to oven and roast until the pork is cooked through and the peaches are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve with the couscous.


Cook's Notes:
1. The peaches were from the farmer's market, the basil from our yard. I also served a salad with lettuce, olives, feta cheese, and basalmic vinegar to round out the meal.



2. I used red wine venegar instead of white wine vinegar. It did smell slightly of vinegar, but tasted fine.
3. Mr. Snowgoose really enjoyed this. Me? Not so much (though the peaches were great). Turns out I only like my pork cured.

Coming soon: pickles!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Curried eggplant with tomatoes and basil (vegetarian)

Mr. Snowgoose loves Indian food. I did until I had an unpleasant experience at an Indian buffett a year and a half ago. He's been craving Indian for some time and since it is his birthday month I decided to induldge him with this recipe for curried eggplant. I think he was so excited to have Indian again he didn't notice it was vegetarian.

This was from the April 2009 issue of Real Simple

Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 15m
Total Time: 25m

Ingredients

1 cup white basmati rice
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (preferably Greek), optional

Directio
ns
1. In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine rice, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Stir once, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 18 minutes. (Do not lift the lid or stir!) Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork before serving.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the eggplant is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook just until heated through, about 3 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Serve over the rice with yogurt, if using.


Cook's notes:
1. I added yogurt to mine, Mr. S. did not.
2. The basil was from our garden.
3. I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand (the ones in our garden were not ready yet) so I drained a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes.
4. I liked it so-so. I think I'd rather make the Keema Matar or shrimp curry.

Garlicky baked shrimp

This is quite possibly one of the easiest meals I've ever made for Sunday dinner, though I did make it harder by toasting my own bread crumbs.

Adapted from a Real Simple Recipe:

In baking dish combine

package of thawed frozen shrimp (1 pound)
4 cloves sliced garlic or several tablespoons of minced garlic
2 tblsp olive oil
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbspn chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Bake at 425 15-18 minutes

Serve with a large salad and cooked broccoli.

Serves 4.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Orzo with spring vegetables and ricotta

Earlier this year I tried Weight Watchers. It lasted about 3 months before I gave up and got tired of counting points. The only beneficial thing from the program was that I found some new recipes, like this orzo and spring vegetable one.

Ingredients

1 cup orzo
1/2 lb asparagas, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen baby peas
1 tbspn olive oil
1 red onion thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup drained peite diced tomatoes
1/2 tspn salt
1/4 tspn black pepper
1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil

Directions

1. Cook orzo according to package, add asparagas and peas to pot during the last 3 minutes of cooking time, drain.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook, stirring until softened. Add tomoatoes, orzo, asparagas, peas, salt and pepper; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta, parmesean, and basil.

Cook's notes
1. I also sauted some shrimp in olive oil and garlic to add on top of the orzo as it was lacking meat.
2. It tastes good cold the next day. It'd make a good salad or dish at a potluck or picnic.

Pesto Vegetarian Lasagna

I've been wanting to try pesto lasagna for awhile. I love pesto, and since we have an abundance of basil in our yard, it made sense to try this recipe.

Ingredients

8 ounces whole wheat lasagna noodles
15 ounces part skim ricotta
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (toast in a dry skillet until golden)
1/3 cup pesto
4 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles as directed or use no boil.
2. In a bowl combine ricotta, basil, pine nuts.
3. Spray 11 1/2 x 7 inch baking pan with spray. Spread 1/3 pesto on bottom of pan. Cover pesto with 1/2 noodles. Spread half the herb-ricotta mix over noodles. Repeat previous steps and cover whole thing with pesto. Sprinkle with mozzerella cheese.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's notes:
1. Um yeah, this was mediocre at best. It was missing something (like tomatoes). The lack of tomatoes and filling made it dense.
2. I like pesto, but this was pesto overload.

Mr. Snowgoose ate it and didn't complain, though he did agree it needed some tomatoes. Would I make this again? No way!

It's all Greek to me: Steak and veggie kabobs with chickpea salad

A few weeks ago, Mr. Snowgoose and I had ourselves a Greek feast. He had been requesting it for months, so I sorted through my massive folder of recipes and found one from the September 2008 issue of Real Simple Magazine.

The recipe calls for cooking the steak in a skillet, but since it was so lovely out we wanted to grill. So we made steak and veggie kabobs (onion, red and yellow peppers, and mushrooms) and cooked the chickpea salad seperately. I also made my own yogurt/dill sauce and served everything with warm pitas, hummus, and cous cous.

For all you vegetarians, this is a great and filling veggie meal(just omit the steak).

Here is the original recipe from Real Simple

Steak with chickpeas, tomatoes, and feta.

Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 15m
Total Time: 25m

Ingredients


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1-inch-thick strip steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
kosher salt and pepper
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 plum tomatoes, sliced into half-moons
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup crumbled Feta (4 ounces)

Directions
1.Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steaks with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook to the desired doneness, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove from the skillet and let rest for at least 5minutes before slicing.

2.Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Pat the chickpeas dry with paper towels and add them to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
3.Stir in the tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to plates and sprinkle with the Feta. Serve with the steak.


Cook's note:
1. Make a double batch of the chickpea salad. It's fantastic! Also, you might want to make a double batch of the yogurt-dill sauce.

My Yogurt-dill sauce: (from the March 2006 issue of Sunset magazine)

1 cup low-fat Greek Yogurt
1 clove garlic (minced), or just use a teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon dresh dill, chopped
1/2 tspn salt
1/4 tspn pepper
1 tspn lemon juice

In a small bowl mix it all together.

Cook's Note:
The dill came from our garden!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Easy" fudge

During the holidays, someone brought a giant vat of marshmallow fudge to the library. It was wicked good. I made an offhand comment about fudge and my coworkers assured me it was easy to make and virtually foolproof.

You know what this means.

I found an easy recipe via carnation evaporated milk and it took me three tries to produce one batch. The first two came out like a fudge sauce. Here is the recipe:


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

LINE 8-inch-square baking pan with foil.

COMBINE sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

STIR in marshmallows, morsels, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.

FOR MILK CHOCOLATE FUDGE:
SUBSTITUTE 1 3/4 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.

FOR BUTTERSCOTCH FUDGE:
SUBSTITUTE 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.

FOR PEANUTTY CHOCOLATE FUDGE:
SUBSTITUTE 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels and 1/2 cup chopped peanuts for pecans or walnuts.

Cook's notes:

The reason my fudge refused to set in those initial batches was because I used double the amount of evaporated milk. I wasn't paying attention to the size of the can and dumped the whole damn thing in twice. Whoops.

This is a great gift to give once you master it. People assume you slave hours over it when in reality it's like a minute (or 10).

Easy granola

The October 2009 issue of Health Magazine had Jamie Oliver's easy granola as a feature and encouraged readers to "steal this dish." So I did and have been gifting it like crazy. I've since modified it to include whatever I have onhand. Here's the offical recipe!

Ingredients
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1 heaped cup mixed nuts
1/4 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, sesame)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons maple syrup
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups dried fruit


Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°. Put oatmeal, mixed nuts, mixed seeds, coconut, and cinnamon on a baking sheet. Stir well; smooth out. Drizzle with maple syrup and olive oil; stir. Bake 25-30 minutes. Every 5 minutes or so take out and stir, then smooth down with a wooden spoon and put back in oven. When granola is golden, remove from oven, mix in dried fruit (roughly chop any large pieces); let cool. Serve with milk or yogurt. You can keep leftover granola in an airtight container about 2 weeks, but it's so delicious we'll be surprised if it lasts that long!


Cook's Notes:

Triple this recipe. Trust me, everyone will rave about it and it is inexpensive to make.

In terms of dried fruit, I like the dried cranberry and pomegrante seed misture the best, but dried blueberries and raisins work well too. As for nuts, skip the chopping and buy walnut pices and sliced almonds.