Saturday, October 08, 2011

UPDATE: My Son's Top Nine Foods

My son will be 3 years old in early September. He's still a good eater.

1. Cheese, cheese and more cheese - definitely his favorite food. The sharper the cheddar, the better. He likes to eat it as is or in grilled cheese or in Stove Top Mac and Cheese.
2. Sweet potatoes
3. Bread
4. Dry oatmeal with brown sugar
5. Baked beans
6. Graham crackers
7. Steamed and raw carrots
8. Pureed parsnips
9. Potstickers

Some things have changed and others have stayed exactly the same.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Peach Oatmeal Cookie Bars

A friend of L's came over on Friday morning to play.  She and her Mom brought some raspberry oatmeal cookie bars made from a recipe at the following link:  She mentioned that they doubled the batch and replaced half the butter with oil but I forgot about her advice when I made them.  No worries, they turned out great.  I didn't have any any raspberry jam but I did have some fresh peaches.  I cooked them down to a jam like consistency (see bottom for more information).  In short, I had to stop L from eating them because he loved them so much. 

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup cooked peaches (see below) or other fruit you have in the fridge

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.

Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Cooked Peaches (or other fresh fruit)
Peaches, peeled and cut into small pieces
A few tablespoons of sugar to taste
1 teaspoon corn starch (if you have a lot of fruit you may need to increase the amount)

Cook over low heat until it is the consistency of jam.  I did not mash it but kept the pieces of fruit.  I think it gives a better texture to the oatmeal bar.

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Planning Meals Week 18: Friday, 4/29 through Thursday, 5/5

    Friday, 4/29 - Grilled chicken chorizo sausages on Portuguese buns, spiced grilled sweet potatoes
    Verdict: The sausages are always good as they're made fresh at the Whole Foods.  The grilled sweet potatoes had to be broiled as MTH was late getting home.  They were pretty good but I think that cooking them on the grill would be better.  Also, I'm not sure I like the cinnamon in there with the other flavors.  I may leave it out next time.

    Saturday, 4/30 - out to dinner at Boulevard Woodgrill
    Sunday, 5/1 - homemade pizza and sauteed asparagus and garlic
    Verdict: We used our new super peel from SM.  It's great.  It helps a lot with getting the pizza on and off the pizza stone. We were using the parchment paper method so now we're not wasting parchment paper!

    Monday, 5/2 - leftovers
    Tuesday, 5/3 - veggie stir fry with lo mein noodles
    Wednesday, 5/4 - leftovers
    Thursday, 5/5 - cheese quesadillas, veggie

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Planning Meals Week 17: Friday, 4/22 through Thursday, 4/28

    Friday, 4/22 - Broiled Salmon, Pureed Cauliflower and Bread

    Saturday, 4/23 - Easter Cookout with Visiting Friends - Burgers, Grilled Asparagus, Grilled Potatoes with Mustard Vinaigrette and Chips

    Sunday, 4/24 - Grilled Chicken and Pureed Parsnips

    Monday, 4/25 - Deviled Eggs and Pureed Parsnips

    Tuesday, 4/26 - Out to Dinner

    Wednesday, 4/27 - Grilled Cheese and Veggie

    Thursday, 4/28 - TBD

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Banana Nut (or without nuts) Mini-Muffins

    We hosted a brunch back in March for St. Patrick's Day.  As part of the menu, I made mini-quiches and blueberry mini-muffins.  I borrowed several mini-muffin pans from a friend.  But, I was hooked so I bought my own pan soon after.  I have now made two different versions of banana mini-muffins two weekends in a row.  The second batch turned out much better so I will only share that recipe here.  This recipe is adapted from two different recipes - Banana Walnut Muffins from my Totally Muffins Cookbook by Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham and Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.  The muffin recipe is from the muffin cookbook but with part of the flour substituted by the multigrain flour mix from the Good to the Grain cookbook.

    3/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) (optional)
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup multi-grain flour mix
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 stick butter, softened
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease mini muffin tin.  If using, spread nuts on a tray and toast in oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Note: I used a spoon for this step and it worked great - plus I didn't have to get out my mixer and then clean it up when I was done!  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add mashed bananas and beat until combined.  Stir dry ingredients into banana mixture just until flour disappears.  Lightly stir in nuts.  Spoon batter into muffin cups to the top.  Note: I use a mini ice cream scoop for spooning in the batter.  It is much easier than using two spoons.  Bake 15-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

    Meals Week 16: Friday, 4/15 through Thursday, 4/21

    Friday, 4/15 - Tartines a la Le Pain Quotidien

    Asparagus and Goat Cheese
    Turkey and Cheddar with Cilantro Pesto

    Saturday, 4/16 - Rice Balls with Sweet Potato or Carrot filling (made by Aunt SM and LTH)

    Sunday, 4/17 - MMH and Aunt SM out to dinner; MTH and LTH will probably have pizza

    Monday, 4/18 - Hashbrowns

    Tuesday, 4/19 - Irish Skillet Dinner

    Wednesday, 4/20 - Leftovers

    Thursday, 4/7 - Potstickers

    Thursday, April 07, 2011

    Meals Week 15: Friday, 4/8 through Thursday, 4/14

    Friday, 4/8 - Grilled steak and vegetable

    Saturday, 4/9 - Out to dinner with friends

    Sunday, 4/10 - Take out sushi

    Monday, 4/11 - Pan fried pork chops with onions and broccoli sauteed with garlic

    Tuesday, 4/12 - Ground chicken tacos with tomatoes, avocado, grated cheese and cilantro and leftover broccoli

    Wednesday, 4/13 - Leftover tacos and veggies

    Thursday, 4/14 - Potstickers

    Wednesday, April 06, 2011

    Multigrain Flour Mix

    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup oat flour
    1 cup barley flour
    1/2 cup millet flour
    1/2 cup rye flour

    Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated. I usually let the batter sit for a few minutes in order to let the flours absorb some of the moisture.  For the waffle iron, I only spray with a little oil before putting in the first waffle.  For me at least, I don't have any issues with sticking for the rest of that batch.

    Sunday, April 03, 2011

    Meals Week 14: Friday, 4/1 through Thursday, 4/7

    Friday, 4/1 - Grilled chicken bratwurst sausages on Portuguese buns, salad with tomatoes and cucumbers and broccoli sauteed with garlic
    Verdict: These sausages are made in house at Whole Foods. They were quite tasty although I wouldn't call them Bratwursts.

    Saturday, 4/2 - MTH and I went to Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria.  LTH had salmon, salad and broccoli with Grammie and Grandpap.
    Verdict: I tasted the salmon made by Grammie and it was yummy. She used the Scottish salmon instead of the Atlantic wild salmon I've been buying.  I may have to change over to the Scottish salmon.  Also, MTH and I enjoyed our dinner at Columbia Firehouse.  I would like to go back and try some more dishes.

    Sunday, 4/3 - Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Molasses and Mustard, Pureed Parsnips and Patatas
    Verdict: We were supposed to make the pastrami'd pork tenderloin but I was able to get whole coriander at Whole Foods on Friday. Then, I forgot to go to a different store.  I'll try it soon though!

    Monday, 4/4 - Leftovers

    Tuesday, 4/5 - Stovetop Mac and Cheese and Vegetable

    Wednesday, 4/6 - Leftovers for LTH and out to eat

    Thursday, 4/7 - Hashbrowns and Vegetable

    Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce (Adapted from

    I had some leftover pork a few weeks ago and wanted to make something different out of it.  BBQ sandwiches sounded like a good idea but I didn't have any BBQ sauce.  At first, all of the recipes I found required it to sit for days before it would be ready to eat. Then, I found this one that was ready within a few minutes.  Not only was it fast but it was also yummy. And, LTH dipped all of his foods in it for about a week.

    1/2 cup cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon salt (reduced from original recipe)
    2 tablespoons white sugar
    1/4 cup light brown sugar (original recipe called for dark brown sugar but I did not have any)
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup ketchup

    Mix the ingredients together and let sit for 10 minutes. If it seems too watery, add a little more ketchup.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    Meals Week 13: Friday, 3/25 through Thursday, 3/31

    Friday, 3/25: Broiled Salmon, Pureed Cauliflower with Nutmeg and a Touch of Butter and Whole Wheat Bread
    Verdict: For such a simple meal, it tastes like we've gone out to dinner at a nice restaurant.  I love this one! And LTH is eating more and more of the salmon each time we have it.

    Saturday, 3/26: Ground Chicken Tacos with Lots of Fixings (Lettuce, Avocado, Pico de Gallo, Cilantro, Cheddar Cheese) and Salad
    Verdict: The seasoning I used for the taco meat was too spicy for LTH but he enjoyed his baked sweet potatoes, cheese and stuffing his pieces of lettuce with those two items.  

    Sunday, 3/27: Chicken Taco Nachos with Salad

    Monday, 3/28: Leftover Pete's New Haven Style Apizza and Vegetable
    Verdict: Pete's Apizza opened on Sunday and we decided to try it out.  The pizzas are huge!!!  So, we had leftovers.  I also had it for lunch on Tuesday.  Overall, it was good for their first day but the crust was a little chewy for LTH even though it is extremely thin crust pizza.

    Tuesday, 3/29: Baked Chicken and Pureed Parsnips
    Verdict: One of the easiest home cooked meals.  
    1. Preheat oven to 375.
    2. Peel and cut up the parsnips.  Boil for about 10 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan.  Add chicken pieces that have been seasoned with your favorite herbs or spices and salt and pepper.  Brown the pieces on each side.  Transfer to the preheated oven until the chicken is done.
    4. Puree the parsnips once they are done cooking.
    5. Enjoy!
    For the chicken we were eating on Tuesday, I seasoned it with oregano.  I went ahead and seasoned 2 pieces with cumin for the BBQ chicken sandwiches we had on Wednesday.

    Wednesday, 3/30: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and Pureed Parsnips
    Verdict: Extra yummy with the homemade bbq sauce and cheddar cheese on waffle toast.

    Thursday, 3/31: Out of to dinner with a friend - LTH had leftovers
    Verdict: I had a great time at the wine tasting and eating at Lyon Hall.  Although next time I go out to eat, it will NOT be to Lyon Hall as I've been there quite a few times.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Pizza Monkey Bread

    I adapted this recipe to make this meal.  All who ate it loved it!  A few things to note for the next time I make this recipe (and I will):

    1. Make the dough pieces smaller
    2. Use more sauce
    I also plan to try out other versions including Mexican Monkey Bread and Middle Eastern Monkey Bread. I'll report back once those are done.
    Grated Mozzarella Cheese
    Grated Parmesan Cheese

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    Cut the pizza dough into 1/2 inch squares.  You'll see the picture below mine are too big.  I will change that next time!
    Grease a Bundt or angel food cake pan well.  Dip each dough piece into the pizza sauce and then place into the pan.  You may want to add a little more sauce to the pan after putting in the first layer if the sauce does not stick to your dough very well.  Now add a layer of cheeses. Repeat until you have no more dough.  

    Place in oven and cook for about 50 minutes, until it doubles in volume.  Remove from oven and then remove from the pan immediately. I added some cheese to the top of the bread so it would look the monkey bread had been glazed.  Enjoy!

    New York Style Pizza Sauce (Adapted from Serious Eats)

    I adapted the recipe below from the Serious Eats New York Style Pizza Sauce recipe.

    1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    Kosher salt
    1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half
    1 teaspoon sugar*


    Blend tomatoes in a blender until slightly chunky.  Set aside.
    Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, and large pinch salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, onion halves, and sugar*. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting (bubbles should barely be breaking the surface), and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/2, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and store in covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

    * I did not need the sugar in my sauce as the tomatoes were not that acidic but some tomatoes may need it.

    Pizza Dough - from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

    I have found that the Ratio cookbook's recipe is the best for me.  It requires a scale to make it as that is the whole point of the cookbook.  I would like to make it more multigrain but that will be a future project.

    20 ounces bread flour
    12 ounces water
    1 ounce olive oil
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon active or instant yeast

    Set your mixing bowl on a scale, zero the scale and pour the flour in.  Zero the scale again and add the water.  Zero the scale again and add the oil.  Add the salt.  Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water to allow it to dissolve. Fit the bowl into the mixer and, using the dough hook, mix on medium speed until the dough comes together.  Continue mixing until your dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  To test your dough, pull off a chunk and stretch it into a square.  If it's elastic enough to sallow you to achieve a translucent sheet of dough, it's ready.  If it tears before you can do this, continue mixing, either in the mixer or by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

    Remove the mixing bowl from the machine, cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise to twice its size.  Push a finger into the dough.  The dough should give some resistance, but not spring back.  If it springs back, let it rest longer.  If you let your dough rise for too long, it will feel flabby and loose when you press a finger into it and will be less eager to rise when you bake it.

    Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it to expel excess gas and redistribute the yeast.  Cover with a dish towel and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Shape the dough into a square for cutting into small pieces (see below for more information).  Cover the dough with a dish towel and allow to rise, or proof, for about an hour.  Or cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a day; allow the bread to rise at room temperature for at least 1 1/2 hours before baking.

    Meals Week 12: Friday, 3/18 through Thursday, 3/24

    Friday, 3/18 - grilled housemade sausages from Whole Foods in Portuguese rolls and steamed carrots
    Verdict: easy and tasty - we were having a St. Patrick's Day Brunch the next morning and I didn't want to spend too much time on dinner.

    Saturday, 3/19 - living room picnic of cheese, crackers and fruit
    Verdict: these were leftovers from our brunch that morning.  MTH had gone to the DC United home opener.  LTH and I had fun with a picnic on his Thomas quilt in the living room

    Sunday, 3/20 - monkey bread pizza
    Verdict: LTH loved this meal.  I will post the recipe soon and move these comments and the pictures below to that posting.  The main things I'd change the next time I make it are: cut the dough smaller and use more sauce.  Some other ideas I have for future savory monkey bread: Mexican monkey bread using corn meal in the dough along with cumin, chili powder, taco sauce and cheddar cheese.

    Monday, 3/21 - leftover monkey bread pizza

    Tuesday, 3/22 - Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese and Steamed Carrots
    Verdict: As said before, like all small children, LTH loves this meal.

    Wednesday, 3/23 - leftover mac and cheese, carrots and baked sweet potato

    Thursday, 3/24 - Carrot Tofu Pot Stickers, Apple and Sweet Potato Fries
    Verdict: These were the pot stickers that I froze a week or so ago.  They are perfect from the freezer!

    Saturday, March 12, 2011


    I made these for the first time today as topping for taco salad. Yummy and easy!
    From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

    2-2.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder
    1 T. cumin
    2 bay leaves
    4-5 peeled and slightly crushed garlic cloves
    1 onion, quartered
    Salt and pepper

    Mix all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat such that there is a small bubble. Cover and cook for about an hour. Remove the meat, onions and garlic with a slotted spoon. Cook the liquid down. Add the meat back to the pan and fry the meat so that you get some nice browned edges. Use in tacos, taco salad or as a main dish by itself.

    Tofu-Carrot Pot Stickers

    Using ideas from several pot sticker recipes, I made up this recipe using items from my refrigerator.  They were yummy.  Be sure to make the dipping sauce too!  Note that you can freeze these before cooking them.  Then, cook them just as described below although the cooking times will be longer.

    14 oz firm tofu, cut into small cubes
    2 carrots, peeled and grated
    1/4 onion, peeled and grated
    1 T. toasted sesame oil
    1 T. soy sauce
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    gyoza wrappers or egg roll wrappers cut into quarters

    Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl with a potato masher.  Put a small amount of filling in the middle of each wrapper.  Using your finger, wet the outer edge of the wrapper and then fold over to make a triangle.  To cook, place a pan over medium-high heat.  Add about a tablespoon of oil.  When the oil is heated, add the pot stickers to the pan and cover for about 5 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of water, turn to medium heat and cover for 2 minutes.  Uncover and turn to high heat until all water has been evaporated.  Enjoy with the dipping sauce below.

    Dipping Sauce:
    Mix together soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and vinegar to taste.

    Planning Meals Week 11: Friday, 3/11 through Thursday, 3/17

    Friday, 3/11: Tofu-Carrot Pot Stickers
    Verdict: Taste great and as mentioned in the link above, I made over 45 more that I put into the freezer for future meals!

    Saturday, 3/12: Carnitas Taco Salad
    Verdict: The pork butt was a hit as a taco salad. The two pounds of meat makes a lot 
    Sunday, 3/13: Date Night for MTH and MMH - Wine Tasting at Screwtop Wine Bar and Cheese Shop and Pork Dinner at Lyon Hall
    Monday, 3/14: Carnitas repurposed somehow, veg
    Tuesday, 3/15: Stovetop Mac and Cheese, veg
    Wednesday, 3/16: Meeting - LTH will have pasta and veg or leftover mac and cheese
    Thursday, 3/17: Covered hashbrown and veg

    Monday, March 07, 2011

    Meals Week 10: Friday, 3/4 through Thursday, 3/10

    Friday, 3/4 - Salmon with sauteed spinach and garlic with veggie broth risotto
    Verdict: Salmon and spinach were yummy as always.  Plus, these are simple dishes to prepare.  The salmon goes under the broiler and the spinach is wilted in a nonstick pan with some garlic and olive oil.  The veggie broth risotto is a bit more involved and was started first.  I just followed the directions on the box of risotto.  It was a nice side dish that provided leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

    Saturday, 3/5 - Homemade pizza and boiled carrots with a touch of maple syrup
    Verdict: Pizza is always a hit in our house.  The pizza dough is made from the recipe in the Michael Ruhlman cookbook, Ratio.  It's the best recipe I've found.  Our toppings were green peppers, pepperoni, mozzarella and capers.  LTH likes to eat the plain pizza bread with his cheese on the side.

    Sunday, 3/6 - Roasted chicken, fried potatoes, pureed cauliflower and biscuits with a touch of cornmeal
    Verdict: This chicken recipe is so simple.  Just rub the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook on 450 degrees until the breast is 160 degrees.  I used a little too much oil on the fried potatoes.  They were very good especially if you like the patatas bravas that you can find at most tapas restaurants!  We were only missing the garlic aioli.  For the biscuits, I add a little cornmeal to the recipe in place of some of the flour.  According to Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook, you can substitute up to 10% of the flour for corn meal.  It worked!

    Monday, 3/7 - Roasted chicken pizza with baked sweet potato
    Verdict: LTH actually had a piece of pizza bread again but my pizza was awesome!

    Tuesday, 3/8 - Chicken quesadilla and carrots and pureed cauliflower
    Verdict: Quesadillas are so easy that how can I rate it anything but exceptional.

    Wednesday, 3/9 - Chicken salad and sauteed broccoli with garlic
    Verdict: I like chicken salad every now and then.  Also, it was a nice way to have something different from that whole chicken that I was still eating from Sunday.  I really got my money's worth out of that chicken!

    Thursday , 3/10 - boxed butternut squash soup from the pantry - I can't make everything :)
    Verdict: It was yummy and it was two servings so I had it for my lunch on Friday too.

    Stove Top Mac and Cheese

    I've made this entree so many times and have never used a recipe but I thought I'd write it down for posterity :)  My mom taught me how to make a roux for gravy when I was younger.  And, in the end, a roux can be used for many different types of sauces including cheese sauce.  If you want baked mac and cheese, all you need to do with this recipe is put it into an oven safe pan and sprinkle with your favorite toppings - bread crumbs, more cheese, etc.  You could also add other flavorings to the stove top version like bacon, red peppers, onion, garlic, the list goes on.

    Unfortunately, I do not know exact measurements for this recipe as I just make it by adding the ingredients, watching how it goes together and then tasting it.

    Cooked pasta
    All purpose flour
    Grated cheese
    Worcestershire sauce

    Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of flour.  Allow the flour to cook a few minutes in the butter.  Continue to whisk to ensure that the flour does not burn.  Add 1 cup of warmed milk to start.  Continue to whisk to keep the sauce from becoming lumpy.  If the sauce starts to thicken too much, add more milk.  The cheese will make the sauce thicker so make it a little thinner than you might think it should be.  Add the cheese and Worcestershire sauce to taste.  Once the sauce is to you liking, add to the cooked pasta.  Voila - you have stove top mac and cheese.

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Meals Week 9: Friday, 2/25 through Thursday, 3/3

    This week did not turn out to be one of my best weeks for cooking as MTH and I were out of town from 2/25-2/27 for a wedding.  My Mom thankfully went grocery shopping for me and there were leftovers from her visit.  But, even after the leftovers were gone, I made things like pasta and spaghetti sauce.  I just was not in the mood for cooking.

    Friday, 2/25 - Stir Fry Vegetables and Chicken with Noodles or Rice
    Saturday, 2/26 - Meat and Potatoes Japanese Dish
    Sunday, 2/27 - Eating Out for Me and Aunt Shan and probably pizza for MTH and LTH
    Monday, 2/28 - Leftover Meat and Potatoes
    Tuesday, 3/1 - Pasta with Sauce and Veggies
    Wednesday, 3/2 - I don't recall
    Thursday, 3/3 - I don't recall

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Waffle Toast - How to get your kid to eat

    LTH sometimes wants waffles during the week but there's no time to make them.  One day, I decided to put some toast in the waffle iron to make "waffle toast".  It is now his go to breakfast almost everyone morning.  The downside is he isn't eating as much oatmeal as before but at least it's whole wheat bread.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Week 8: Friday, 2/18 through Thursday, 2/24

    Whole Foods One Day Deal this Friday was $1 off per pound on air chilled organic whole chickens.  I bought two!  One is in the freezer for another day.  Tonight, we'll have roasted chicken with roasted fennel and whole wheat bread.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to get into the habit of baking bread so this bread is from Whole Foods.  One of my goals is to bake our own bread but it just doesn't fit into my schedule right now. Note that the page numbers are for my reference and I do hope to post most of the recipes here at some point.  It's helpful later when I'm trying to quickly use previous weeks for future weeks!

    Friday, 2/18 - Simplest Whole Roasted Chicken (p. 644), Braised Fennel, Bread - COMPLETE
    Verdict: This recipe is the simplest for making a whole roasted chicken.  It's from my beloved cookbook, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  I also highly recommend the braised fennel (or as LTH says, "fendel").  It was simple but tasty (and different from our normal vegetables).

    Saturday, 2/19 - Chicken Tacos and Sauteed Broccoli and Garlic - COMPLETE
    Verdict: Great use of the leftover chicken from Friday's meal.  We also had chicken nachos for lunch that day that were very yummy.

    Sunday, 2/20 - Bean and Cheese Empanadas (p. 174) and Pureed Parsnips - COMPLETE
    Verdict: Very good and easy. I even made the refried beans myself (using canned pinto beans - next time I should make the beans from scratch too).  MTH commented on how good the beans were.  The good part is that reheated empanadas are also very good.

    Monday, 2/21 - Bolognese Risotto and Pureed Parsnips - COMPLETE
    Verdict: Same as before - yummy! I think I'll make another batch of bolognese just for making this dish.

    Tuesday, 2/22 - Leftover Bolognese Risotto and Pureed Parsnips - COMPLETE

    Wednesday, 2/23 - Macaroni and Cheese and Baked Sweet Potato - I made cheese quesadillas, green beans and baked sweet potatoes instead.

    Thursday, 2/24 - Bulgar Pilaf with Broken Vermicelli and Pureed Vegetable - I made the homemade stovetop mac and cheese standby as well as maple carrots instead
    Verdict: LTH loves mac and cheese and will eat carrots very easily.  Although it's definitely not as easy as making Kraft mac and cheese, homemade stovetop tastes so much better, it's worth the extra 10-15 minutes of preparation in my opinion.  Plus, you know what all of the ingredients in it are!

    Multigrain Waffles

    These days when I make things with flour, I like to experiment with different types of flours and whole grains.  My cookbook, good to the grain, has a nice multi grain mix that can be used in the place of some or all of the flour called for in other recipes.  I did just that in my old standby waffle recipe.  This recipe comes from my very first cookbook, The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook (copyright 1980).  It was given to me by my mother in 1988. A nice way to describe its appearance is well worn.  Not only did I learn to cook from my mother but also from this cookbook.  Every recipe in this cookbook has a picture to go with it.  That enabled me to envision what I was trying to make.  Anyway, that's a different story and maybe I should write about that in another post.  Below is my go to recipe for waffles these days.  One thing to note is that almost no published waffle or pancake recipes call for vanilla but in my book that is the secret ingredient that makes them taste so good!

    Dry Ingredients:
    1 cup multigrain flour mix (see below or click here)
    3/4 cup all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Wet Ingredients:
    2 cups buttermilk (you can also use plain yogurt thinned with some milk)
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil (make sure it is a neutral oil)
    3 tablespoons milled flaxseed
    2 eggs

    Multigrain Flour Mix:
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup oat flour
    1 cup barley flour
    1/2 cup millet flour
    1/2 cup rye flour

    Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated. I usually let the batter sit for a few minutes in order to let the flours absorb some of the moisture.  For the waffle iron, I only spray with a little oil before putting in the first waffle.  For me at least, I don't have any issues with sticking for the rest of that batch.

    Also, if we don't use all of the batter, I put the leftover batter in the refrigerator.  When I use it the next day, I whisk in a little more vanilla as it seems to evaporate while sitting in the refrigerator.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Week 7: Friday, 2/11 through Thursday, 2/17

    Friday, 2/11 - Lobster Tail with Lemon and Butter with Garlic Broccoli - COMPLETE - should have bought a small steak for MTH and I to share as well.  We didn't have enough to eat.  I ended up making a batch of brownies afterward!!
    Saturday, 2/12 - Black bean tacos with steamed carrots and corn - We made turkey meatball pizza sandwiches instead.  These were really good!  Pizza sandwich just means we used pizza crust as our bread for the sandwich.  These sandwiches also had yummy caramelized onions on them.
    Sunday, 2/13 - Out to dinner with MTH - We ended up not going out to dinner as LTH did not sleep well the night before.  We at takeout from a local sushi restaurant.  LTH and I shared the salmon teriyaki and MTH had the sushi.
    Monday, 2/14 -Couscous Casserole with Cauliflower and Ricotta (p.480) - LTH loved this meal; MTH was not come home the night we first had it.  On Tuesday, we had it for leftovers and he wouldn't taste it.  I think he would have liked it.  Maybe next time.
    Tuesday, 2/15 - Leftovers
    Wednesday, 2/16 - Macaroni and cheese sauce with sweet potato fries - LTH loves this meal always! It's definitely a stereotypical toddler meal.  But, I like it too.
    Thursday, 2/17 - Hashbrowns with cheese and baked sweet potatoes - LTH is not as into hashbrowns as I am but he does love his baked sweet potatoes plus he loves cheese.

    Thursday, February 03, 2011

    Week 6: Friday, 2/4 through Thursday, 2/10

    Friday, 2/4 - Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Pureed Vegetables and Spaetzle - COMPLETE - LTH loved the tenderloin but not the spaetzle
    Saturday, 2/5 - Ate at Tallula with a friend; LTH had macaroni and cheese and carrots
    Sunday, 2/6 - Super Bowl - grilled buffalo wings, blue cheese, guacamole, corn tortilla chips, celery and carrots - COMPLETE - LTH said no thank you to the blue cheese and guacamole but said yes to the celery and carrots
    Monday, 2/7 - Chicken and Celery Pot Stickers, Steamed Carrots with a touch of butter - COMPLETE - LTH loved these pot stickers.  He loved helping to make them!
    Tuesday, 2/8 - Leftover Pot Stickers - COMPLETE
    Wednesday, 2/9 - Celery Root and Parsnip Puree, Half Recipe of Cheese Biscuits - COMPLETE - As usual, LTH loved the puree.  He ate the biscuit but didn't devour it.
    Thursday, 2/10 - Leftover celery root and parsnip puree and biscuits - COMPLETE

    Week 5 - Friday, 1/28 through Thursday, 2/3

    Friday, 1/28 - Broiled Salmon with Cauliflower Puree - COMPLETE - LTH loved the salmon!
    Saturday, 1/29 - I was out of town so LTH and MTH ordered pizza
    Sunday, 1/30 - balsamic chicken with carrots and turnips cooked in marsala
    Monday, 1/31 - leftover balsamic chicken with carrots and turnips cooked in marsala
    Tuesday, 2/1 - bulgar pilaf with broken vermicelli and pureed parsnips
    Wednesday, 2/2 - leftover pilaf and pureed parsnips
    Thursday, 2/3 - hashbrowns with onions and cheese with pureed carrots

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Week 4: Friday, 1/21 through Thursday, 1/27

    Friday, 1/21 - Chicken Packages with Grated Vegetables - COMPLETE
    Saturday, 1/22 - Pizza, Broccoli - COMPLETE
    Sunday, 1/23 - Mushroom Barley Soup, Orange Pureed Carrots and Multigrain Sandwich Bread - COMPLETE
    Monday, 1/24 - Leftover soup, vegetables and bread - COMPLETE
    Tuesday, 1/25 - Kasha with onions, Pureed Parsnips - COMPLETE - not good!
    Wednesday, 1/26 - Don't remember
    Thursday, 1/27 - Tomato Soup with grilled cheese

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Homemade Cereal - Graham Nuts

    I loved the idea of making my own cereal at home.  It had never occurred to me that I could do such a thing until I saw it in the cookbook Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.  In her description of the recipe, she mentions that she found the recipe that inspired this one in an Amish cookbook.  The only thing I changed this time around was to use table salt instead of kosher salt.  I've tried using coarse kosher salt as she recommends in every other recipe but they've all turned out too salty.  MTH refused to eat the pancakes due to the saltiness.  I don't actually think they are saltier than other things I've made.  I just thing the big grains of salt give more of the salty flavor.  Next time I make these, I'll be using cane syrup (homemade in my hometown) instead of the honey

    1 cup graham flour
    1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt (she calls for 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt)
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350.  Spray a little oil on to a baking sheet and line with parchment paper.

    Whisk the dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.

    In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, honey and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together to form a batter.

    Scrape the batter onto the baking sheet and, using a metal offset spatula, spread the batter evenly across the entire surface of the sheet.

    Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and break off any areas of the cracker that are getting dark or dry, and set them on a rack to cool.  I didn't have any pieces to break off at that point.

    Turn the oven down to 250, return the baking sheet to the oven, and bake for 55 to 60 minutes more.  Every 20 minutes, break off any more dry sections and put them on the cooking rack.  While you are doing this, break up the rest of the dough into smaller pieces to encourage the dough to the dry out faster, and return the baking sheet to the oven for the remaining time.

    Remove the sheet from the oven when the cracker is mahogany brown and entirely dry.  The all the pieces of the crack cook on a rack.

    Set up a food processor with a large hole grate attachment.  Feed pieces of the cracker through the tube at the top and grind into nuts.  Serve with cold milk.  They will store in an airtight jar for one month.

    How to get everyone in your family to eat vegetables - Pureed Vegetables

    Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

    I'm on a pureed vegetable kick!!  We are all inhaling these things almost as fast as I can make them.  LTH likes pureed parsnips the best but he'll also eat without any complaint pureed cauliflower and pureed carrots.  With a little discussion, he also ate the pureed butternut squash.  I wasn't as crazy about it myself though.  We are on our second weekend of me making 3 different pureed vegetables at once.  Then, we had vegetables of the rest of the weekend and for the first part of the following week.  It only took about an hour!

    Most root vegetables will work here.  The ones I've tried are carrots, parsnips, cauliflower and butternut squash.  I want to try turnips and rutabagas.
    You can also add different flavorings for each vegetables.  The cookbook recommends the following:
    Carrots - ginger, orange juice and orange zest - VERDICT: makes the carrots almost like a dessert
    Parsnips - sour cream - VERDICT: not needed - just add a little salt and pepper and you're good to go
    Cauliflower - ricotta, nutmeg and Parmesan - VERDICT: I haven't tried the ricotta but they were great without it.  I do recommend the nutmeg.  It's an interesting flavor that makes the cauliflower have more taste.
    Butternut Squash - roasted garlic - VERDICT: it needed more!! They would have been more palatable with more roasted garlic.  You live and learn.

    Cut the vegetable into 1 inch pieces.  Put into pot with water just to the level of the vegetables.  Bring to a boil and cook for 5-10 minutes until cooked through but not mushy.  Although you can use a food processor or a blender to make these purees, I highly recommend investing in a food mill.  The food mill gets rid of any of the fibrous parts of the vegetables versus chopping them into smaller pieces. In the case of the parsnips, you will greatly appreciate the difference.  Once the vegetable is pureed, add the mix ins discussed above or come up with your own seasonings.

    We've been using them as our vegetable dish at each meal.  But, I've also heard they can be used as dips for other vegetables or for chips.  They could also be used as a filling for ravioli.  Please post any other ideas!

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Week 3: Friday, 1/14 through Thursday, 1/20

    1/14 - Baked Southwest Tilapia Tacos and Sweet Potato Fries - COMPLETE
    1/15 - Mac and Cheese and Pureed Parsnips with Homemade Oat Soda Bread - COMPLETE
    1/16 - Risotto and Pureed Cauliflower with Homemade Oat Soda Bread - COMPLETE
    1/17 - Grand arroz con pollo (rice with chicken and vegetables) and Pureed Cauliflower with Homemade Multigrain Bread - COMPLETE
    1/18 - Leftover grand arroz con pollo and Pureed Cauliflower with Homemade Multigrain Bread
    1/19 - Cleaned out the leftovers from the refrigerator as I didn't have time to make the Kasha due to being home late
    1/20 - Out to Firefly in Foggy Bottom for Restaurant Week

    My baking plans are:
    • More carrot muffins - VERDICT: did not get these done
    • Oat Soda Bread - another quick bread - VERDICT: not bad but best with butter and cane syrup or preserves - not your healthiest meal or snack
    • Graham Nuts - a homemade cereal in the spirit of grape nuts but hopefully much much better - VERDICT: I loved these!!
    • Everyday Sandwich Bread - I haven't decided if I'm going to go 100% whole wheat or add a portion of another flour - VERDICT: pretty easy and tasty although will add a little more salt next time

    Carrot Muffins

    Recipe adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

    Streusel Topping:
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons spelt flour
    2 tablespoons oat bran
    2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    1 tablespoon sugar
    pinch of salt (recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt but I found the topping to be too salty with those bigger grains of kosher salt)
    3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
    Dry Mix:
    1 cup spelt flour
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup oat bran
    1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon allspice
    1 teaspoon kosher salt (I think the kosher salt is fine here as it is dissolved into the batter; if you do substitute table salt, be sure to use less than a teaspoon; it is not a 1:1 substitution)
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrots, about 2 medium
    Wet Mix:
    2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 egg

    Preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Grease 8 muffin cups and the outer area with 1/3 cup capacity with butter.  If possible, fill alternate cups as these muffins bake out of the cup.

    For the streusel topping, measure the flour, oat bran, sugars and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add the butter to the dry mixture.  Rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits.  Continue rubbing until the mixture feels coarse, like cornmeal.  The more quickly you do this, the more the butter will stay solid.

    Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, puring back into the bowl any bits of grain and other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.  I also sometimes just use a whisk to mix up dry ingredients instead of putting through the sifter.  Stir the carrots into the dry ingredients.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk and egg and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

    Scoop the batter into 8 muffin cups, using a spoon or an ice cream scoop.  The batter should be slightly mounded above the edge.  Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the mounds of batter and press it into the batter slightly.

    Bake for 32 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.  The muffins are ready to come out when they smell nutty and their bottoms are a dark golden-brown.  Remove the pans from the oven, twist each muffin out, and place it on its side in the cup to cool.  This ensures that the muffin stays crusty instead of getting soggy.  I think I'll use a cooling rack next time instead.

    Also, the book says that these muffins are best when warm from the oven or later that day.  Although they did taste the best that first day, they still tasted good 2-3 days later.  They can also be frozen and reheated.

    Week 2: Friday, 1/7 through Thursday, 1/13

    Friday, 1/7 - Broiled salmon over pureed cauliflower with whole wheat baguette and sauteed garlic spinach
    Saturday, 1/8 - Multigrain pizza with assorted toppings (green pepper, cheese, mushrooms) along with pureed carrots, parsnips and butternut squash (eaten separately)
    Sunday, 1/9 - Mushroom barley soup with added vegetables and baguette
    Monday, 1/10 - leftover mushroom barley soup
    Tuesday, 1/11 - Homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese and green beans
    Wednesday, 1/12 - Cheese quesadilla and baked sweet potato
    Thursday, 1/13 - I had not planned anything and we ended up with Indian takeout.  LTH had bread, blueberries and banana and was quite happy.

    I also made some yummy carrot muffins using spelt on Saturday.  I will making more of these along with other recipes from my new cookbook, Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours.  I hadn't even heard of some of the flours mentioned in this book.  I'm excited to try them out!

    Friday, January 07, 2011

    Bolognese Sauce (at least 3 hours)

    Adapted from Lidia Bastianich's recipe in Lidia's Family Table

    Note that I halved the recipe and we had it for dinner two nights, two lunches and froze some!!  The recipe below is the halved version.  Also, I used my food processor for all of the processing and it is a huge timesaver for this recipe.

    Interesting side note: I work with a guy from Italy.  He told me that in Naples it's said that Bolognese is the perfect meal for doormen to cook as they have nothing else to do but sit and stir.

    1 lb ground beef
    1 lb ground pork
    1 cup dry white wine
    3 oz bacon
    3 garlic cloves
    1 T extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, minced in a food processor or finely chopped
    1 celery stalk, minced in a food processor or finely chopped
    1 carrot, shredded
    1/2 t salt, plus more to taste
    1 cup dry red wine
    1 T tomato paste
    1 cup canned tomatoes and juices, crushed
    4 to 6 cups chicken broth

    Put all 2 lbs of ground meat in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the white wine over it and mix it with your hands.  Next, make the pestata - cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and put them in the bowl of the food processor with the peeled garlic.  Process them into a fine paste.

    Pour the olive oil into a heavy saucepan (I used my big Le Creuset pot) and scrape in all of the pestata. Set the pan over medium-high heat.  Break up the pestata and stir it around the pan bottom to start rendering the fat.  Cook for at least 3 minutes, stirring often, until the bacon and garlic are sizzling and aromatic.

    Stir the minced onions into the fat and cook for a couple of minutes, until sizzling and starting to sweat.  Stir in the celery and carrot, and cook the vegetables until wilted and golden, stirring frequently and thoroughly over medium-high heat, at least 5 minutes.

    Turn the heat up a notch, push the vegetables off to the side and put all of the meat into the pan.  Add the salt.  Give the meat on the pan bottom a few moments to brown, then stir, spread and toss with a sturdy spoon, mixing the meat into the vegetables and making sure every bit of meat browns and begins releasing fat and juices.  Soon the meat liquid will almost cover the meat itself.  Cook at high heat, stirring often, until all of that liquid has disappeared, even in the bottom of the pan.  This will take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the heat and the width of the pan.  Stir occasionally, and as the liquid level diminishes, lower the heat too, so the meat does not burn.

    When all of the meat liquid as has been cooked off, pour in the 1 cup of red wine.  Raise the heat if you've lowered it, and stir the meat as the wine comes to a boil.  Cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Now drop the 1 tablespoon of tomato paste into a clear space on the pan bottom.  Toast a minute in the hot spot., then stir with the meat and let caramelize for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Stir in the crushed tomatoes.  Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring the meat and let the liquid almost boil off, 5 minutes more.

    Pour in 2 cups of hot broth, stir well, and add more if needed to cover the meat.  Bring it to an active simmer, cover the pan and adjust the heat to maintain slow, steady cooking with small bubbles perking all over the surface of the sauce.

    From this point, the Bolognese should cook for 2-3 hours.  Check the pot every 20 minutes and add hot broth as needed to cover the meat.  The liquid level should be reducing by 1 1/2 to 2 cups between additions;  if it's falling much faster and it takes more than 2 cups to cover the meat, lower the heat to slow the evaporation.  If the sauce level drops slowly or not at all, raise the heat and set the cover ajar to speed concentration.  Stir well at every addition.

    During the final cooking interval, you want to reduce the level of the liquid.  At the end, the meat should no longer be covered but appear suspended in a thick flowing sauce.  If the meat is still submerged in a lot of liquid, remove the cover completed to cook off moisture quickly.

    A few minutes before the end of cooking, taste a bit of meat and sauce and add salt if you want.

    Note that you'll want to spoon off the fat before serving.

    Salmon Rillettes

    Adapted from two different Epicurious recipes

    1 celery stalk, sliced thin
    1 onion, sliced thin
    1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup white wine
    1 lemon, halved
    6 oz salmon filet
    sour cream
    Dijon mustard
    extra virgin olive oil
    capers (were not in the initial round of rillettes)
    salt and pepper
    bread and/or saltines

    Bring a large pot of water to simmer.  Add the celery, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, wine and lemon.  Simmer for 25 minutes.

    Add the salmon, cover the pot and remove from the heat.  Let it stand for 10 minutes.

    Remove the salmon from the pot and chill it in the refrigerator.  Discard the vegetables and the water.

    By hand with a fork, mix the salmon with the sour cream, Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.  Keep chilled until you're ready to serve.

    I wanted to add capers as well but didn't have them on hand when I first made the rillettes.  I bought some the next day and added them to the leftovers.  I highly recommend using capers in your recipe.

    Week 1: Sunday, 1/2 through Thursday, 1/6

    Since I didn't start with the blog on January 1st but I did start the planning with the new year, I'm only going to post the actual menu for that week.

    Sunday, 1/2 - Whole wheat linguine with Bolognese Sauce, Butternut Squash with Balsamic Drizzle Sauce, Whole Wheat Baguette
    Monday, 1/3 - Leftover bolognese with pasta and butternut squash with balsamic drizzle sauce
    Tuesday, 1/4 - Mexican Chicken Soup with Rice and Sauteed Spinach with Garlic
    Wednesday, 1/5 - Leftover chicken soup and sauteed spinach
    Thursday, 1/6 - Vegetable Stir Fry with Whole Wheat Spaghetti

    LTH at some of these items but is currently stuck on cheese, baked sweet potatoes and plain whole wheat pasta.

    Cooking in the New Year

    As with most people, I have resolved to have a new beginning.  My new beginning is with cooking at home.  We're pretty good about eating at home most of the time but it's not always the most interesting or most tasty foods.  This year I want to take a little up front time to plan so that we can have healthier and tastier meals.

    Here's how I'm going to do it:

    1. Plan out a week's worth of meals
    2. Post the expected week's menu
    3. After the meals, post the recipes
    4. Update the week's menu with the actual menu

    Even if no one reads this blog but me, it will be an exercise that will help me to learn and hopefully become more efficient in my meal planning and preparation.

    Monday, January 03, 2011

    Graham Flour Recipe

    I couldn’t find graham flour at my local Whole Foods.  The people in the store didn't even know what I was talking about!!  I remembered an Alton Brown Good Eats' episode where he told the ratios for making your own graham flour.  The internet is handy for finding such information when you need it.

    A fully correct substitute for it would be a mix of white flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ in the ratio found in whole wheat. Wheat comprises approximately 83% endosperm, 14.5% bran, and 2.5% germ by mass[1]. For sifted all-purpose white flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ having densities of 125, 50, and 80 grams/cup, respectively, one cup of graham flour is approximately equivalent to 84 g (~2/3 cup) white flour, 15 g (slightly less than 1/3 cup) wheat bran, and 2.5 g (1.5 teaspoons) wheat germ.

    I will be using this flour to make Graham Nuts.  It's a recipe in a new cookbook I received for Christmas.  It's a homemade take on Grape Nuts.

    Saturday, January 01, 2011

    Sweet Potato and Leek Soup (with bacon)

    Adapted from Picnics by David Herbert

    4 slices bacon, chopped
    1 leek, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    1 carror, chopped
    1 clove garlic, chopped
    1 1/4 lb sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
    2 pints vegetable stock
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Sour cream

    Cook bacon over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the leeks, onion, carrot, garlic and sweet potato. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the leek and onion have softened.

    Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25/30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Purée the soup in a blender in batches.

    Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

    Makes a big pot of soup. I will be freezing for a future meal.

    New Years' Eve Dinner

    I previously posted we were planning to make a fancy dinner. We ended up ringing in 2011 with a dinner of appetizers. Yummy!!

    Final Menu:
    Salmon Rilletes (adapted from two epicurious recipes)
    Three French Cheeses with a sliced baguette
    Leek and Sweet Potato Soup (from the cookbook Picnics by David Herbert)
    Grilled Chicken Wings (marinade created by MTH)