Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Casserole

Monday, March 29, 2010
Had a yummy crock-pot meal all prepared before having family come from out of town!  It was perfect!  That is, until at the end we decided to speed up the process and boil the crockpot insert directly on the stove. DON'T DO IT!  Unless you have a new model that says it is possible.  The crockpot insert made a lot pop when the base cracked off and we had sauce running over the side of the stove (even between glass panels). 

We were able to salvage enough of the sauce to enjoy it.  This meal was delicious, despite our kitchen mishap!

Pulled Pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup(s) ketchup
1/3 cup(s) cider vinegar
1/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup(s) tomato paste
2 tablespoon(s) sweet paprika
2 tablespoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon(s) yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
4 pound(s) boneless pork shoulder blade roast (fresh pork butt), cut into 4 pieces
In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker pot, stir onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Add pork to sauce mixture and turn to coat well with sauce. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting as manufacturer directs, 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender. With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly. While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and toss with sauce to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary.
* Recipe from Good

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk
½ cup melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned. Serves 6 to 8.
*Recipe from Diana Rattray, Guide

Pasticcio d'Italia

Saturday, March 27, 2010
We had this wonderful pasticcio (the word means "I mess up" in Italian, but the dish is similar to American lasagna) at our friends' farewell dinner in Italy.  We've tried for some time to recreate the beautiful flavor and simplicity of the dish.  We seemed to have gotten it right this time.  It was wonderful!  And it's actually a lot healthier than your typical lasagna.

Pasticcio d'Italia
1/4 c butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
2 1/4 c milk
pinch of nutmeg
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb lean ground meat
scant 1/2 c dry white wine
8 oz can plain tomato sauce
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pkg whole wheat egg lasagne (we used Gia Russa)
1/2 c water
Bechamel Sauce: Melt 1/4 c butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Pour in all the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil.  Season with salt, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for a least 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Taste and add more salt if necessary and season with nutmeg and pepper. 
Bolognese: Heat olive oil in pan, add the carrot and onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Add the meat and cook until browned, then pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.  Season with salt, add the tomato sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Grease an ovenproof dish. 
Arrange a layer of lasagne on the base of the prepared dish, spoon some of the meat sauce, then some of the bechamel sauce on top, sprinkle with some of the Parmesan and dot with some of the butter.  Repeat the alternating layers until all the ingredients have been used, ending with a layer of bechamel sauce & Parmesan.  Four layers of lasagne noodles is best.  Pour water around edges and cover.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Quick Kids' Tacos

Friday, March 26, 2010
Taco Night!  It was fun and we let Greysen build his own.  We've had tacos before, but he has always refused them.  This time he ate a whole taco! 

Quick Kids' Tacos
can of black beans (preferably with chili and cumin spices)
romaine lettuce
fresh pico de gallo
shredded taco cheese (usually 3 cheese blend with spices)
whole wheat tortillas

We put some black beans and cheese on a tortilla and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds, then added lettuce and pico de gallo.  Yum!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lemon & Pink Peppercorn Parsnip Cake

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Well, I'm a big fan of trying different things.  Things that sound strange like strawberry risotto, or lamb with blueberries or roasted pigeon.  So this recipe caught my attention.  We tried it with vanilla ice cream and another try with leftover cream cheese frosting from Red Velvet Cupcakes.  We were not huge fans. Allen thinks that we should try to cut the peppercorns.  They add an interesting flavor that neither of us is fond of.  We would try it again - maybe with walnuts or almonds. 

Lemon and Pink Peppercorn Parsnip Cake
Serves 10-12
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup olive oil
3 cups flour (I did half white, half wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablespoons freshly ground pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups parsnips, grated
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
juice of two lemons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 10" bundt pan. In a small bowl, mix eggs, honey, sugar and olive oil until sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, peppercorns and salt. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in grated parsnips and ginger and pour batter into bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden and toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Poke several holes in top of cake, and pour fresh lemon juice over the cake. Cool 15-20 minutes before inverting bundt cake onto serving plate. Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns.
* Recipe found in the Isthmus from Marcelle Richards, who writes about food at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Honey-Ginger Salmon, Rice Pilaf and Brussel Sprouts

Monday, March 22, 2010
This is a wonderful and not terrbily complicated meal.  The Salmon with Honey-Ginger Glaze and the Maple Syrup Brussels Sprouts were the perfect combination.  I'm not as sure that the Rice Pilaf worked with these dishes, but it was still good.  Everyone enjoyed.  Greysen ate three helpings of the rice pilaf along with a little bit of the salmon and brussels sprouts. 

Salmon with Honey-Ginger Glaze
4 four-oz salmon steaks
1/2 Tbsp peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 c honey
In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce and lime juice.  Stir in the honey and season with salt.  (will keep, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days)  * Recipe from Get Saucy.
In a little vegetable oil, fry the salmon steaks on low until a little pink in the middle.  Add glaze and take off heat.  Serve. 

Rice Pilaf
1 cup brown rice
1/2 stick butter
1 8oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 small onions, chopped
2 cans beef boullion or consomme (we used 2+ cups vegetable broth that we had on hand)
In a large casserole dish bake at 350F uncovered for 1 hour (or more as needed to fully cook rice).
*this is my family's recipe that I've altered a bit (using brown rice, Earth Balance oil butter, and vegetable broth)

Shredded Brussels Sprouts
12 oz brussels sprouts
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
Cut sprouts into thin ribbons (by first removing the core) or cut into quarters or eighths, depending on the size of sprout.  Put them and 1 Tbsp in pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in maple sytrup and saute until crisp-tender.  Serves 4.
*Recipe from Dinner Solutions in Parents magazine, April 2010.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Burgers and Polenta

Sunday, March 21, 2010
We had Allen's somewhat secretive Burgers - but I finally learned the ingredients!  We had them with polenta and pickles.  We used Earthgrains whole wheat thin burger buns - I think they're new - but they're wonderful.  We didn't, but we thought they'd be excellent toasted.  We also topped our burgers with muenster cheese.  Allen and I that it was a fun and delicious meal, but our picky boy wouldn't eat anything but the polenta!

Allen's Best Burgers
1 lb lean burger
He puts a little of each of the following in our Magic Bullet: olive oil, dash of worchestershire sauce, oregano, basil, rosemary, salt & pepper, Lawry's salt
Mixed it with the burger and made patties.  YUM!

Homemade Polenta
3 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
we also like to add Sale Roma (an Italian spice that's not too easy to find in the US)
Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly pour in a continuous stream of cornmeal, stirring constantly. Add the salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Shut off the heat and stir in cheese. Working quickly, grease 13x9x2 with olive oil and pour in cornmeal mixture, spreading it out over the whole surface. Let the polenta set and cool for at least 1 hour. When the polenta has cooled completely, cut into squares. Oil both sides and arrange them on a baking sheet, leaving space around each one so that the edges can crisp. Broil on the top rack in the oven for 15 minutes, or until browned.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

Saturday, March 20, 2010
We made Indian!  We tried to make Rogan Josh 4-5 years ago - that was our last attempt.  Although we had to buy a lot of new spices, this tikka masala was not terribly difficult.  And it was DELICIOUS.  Our toddler, Greysen, loved it and the garlic naan (from Trader Joe's) that we served with it. 

Chicken Tikka Masala
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup blanched whole almonds (I used 1/4 cup almond meal)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1.5 tablespoons garam masala
1.5 teaspoons pure chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 35-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
Pinch of sugar
1 cup heavy cream
In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the broiler and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape off as much of the marinade as possible. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and spread the pieces on a baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces. (I skipped the following portion and just used ¼ cup almond meal) Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and ground almonds and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and serve. The Chicken Tikka Masala can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving. Steamed basmati rice, rice pilaf or warm naan. *Recipe from Grace Parisi on

Oscar Pasta and Sesame Fish Sticks

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This was a perfect "kids night" meal.  The Oscar Pasta is a staple at our house and the Sesame Fish Sticks are definitely one to do again!  We thought it was all great and so did Greysen.  (note: fish sticks were still great re-heated days later - popped in the oven at 350F on a baking sheet for a bit)

Oscar Pasta
Any kind of pasta - Greysen prefers penne or rotini
a big container of fresh spinach
dash of nutmeg
salt to taste
butter and or milk
(I sometimes also stir in diced or minced carrots)
Cook pasta to directions. Steam spinach in a pot with a tiny bit of water. Put fully cooked spinach in blender or magic bullet, add a dash or two of nutmeg, a dash or two of salt and a good chunk of butter (or natural oil butter). Can add a little bit of milk to make creamier (and easier to reheat). Blend. Pour spinach sauce over pasta. Stir and eat.

Sesame Fish Sticks
1.5 lbs halibut, cod or other firm white fish fillets
1 c flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 eggs
1 c sesame seeds
¼ c vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, tartar sauce or ketchup for serving
Cut fish fillets into sticks measuring about 1 by 5 inches. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Pour the flour into a shallow pan. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the flour and stir with a fork until blended. Crack the eggs into another shallow pan, then beat the eggs with the fork until they are smooth and uniformly yellow. Pour the sesame seeds into a third shallow pan. Line up the pans of flour, eggs and sesame seeds in a row in front of you, in that order. Drag a fish piece through the flour, turning to coat it all over. Gently shake off the extra flour. Now dip the fish piece quickly into the eggs, letting the excess drip off. Finally, drag the fish piece through the sesame seeds, turning it to coat evenly with the seeds. Set it aside on a clean plate. Repeat until you have coated all the fish pieces. Place a layer of paper towels on another clean plate. Set a sauté pan over medium heat. Pour the oil into the sauté pan and let the oil heat for 1 minute. Using tongs or a metal spatula, put the fish sticks into the pan, one by one. The coating should sizzle when it touches the oil. Put as many fish sticks in the pan as will fit without crowding. There should be a little space around each stick. Cook the fish sticks until golden brown on the first side, about 5 minutes. Using the tongs or spatula, carefully turn the fish sticks over. Cook the fish sticks on the other side until they are golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the fish sticks to the paper towels to drain. Turn the oven to 200°F. Place the first batch of fish sticks in a baking dish. Slide the dish into the oven to keep the fish sticks warm. Fry the remaining fish sticks and keep them warm in the oven. Serves 4. Recipe from

Friday, March 19, 2010

March 1-14, 2010

Wednesday 3/3 - Once again, Oscar Mayer Naturals hot dogs and Hodgson Mills pre-packaged Mac N Cheese - we were going to do cooked and buttered carrots, but we got home late after visiting my cousin and their new baby at the hospital so we ate raw carrots while we cooked.

Sunday 3/7 - Risotto Primavera - very unusual, not what I expected at all. Good, but a bit too much lemon for my taste. Wouldn't do it again - keep searching on the risottos. Barbeque Ribs are not a favorite of mine - I don't enjoy the ketchup flavor of the barbeque sauce. But Allen loves them, so he cooked them and he enjoyed them!

Tuesday 3/9 - Bacon & zucchini pasta - a recreation of a favorite from Italy. Still scrumptious - this was perhaps our best attempt yet. Perfectly crispy bacon and nicely done zucchini.

Thursday 3/11 - Crockpot mushroom barley soup - fairly easy and delicious - definitely one to do again, although next time I would add carrots - could also add sirloin bites.

Friday 3/12 - Gnocchi pesto - the gnocchi is time-consuming, but well worth the effort. Homemade pesto - didn't have quite enough basil so I added thyme. Yummy! Cod with lemon brodetto was delicious - Greysen inhaled it! This is a rarity!

Baked Risotto Primavera
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup short- or medium-grain brown rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 14-1/2-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth or 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 cup sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced red bell pepper (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1-2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or ovenproof high sided skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in rice and garlic; cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in wine and simmer until it has mostly evaporated. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until the rice is just tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Shortly before the risotto is done, steam asparagus, peas and bell pepper until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Fold the steamed vegetables, Parmesan, parsley, chives, lemon zest and pepper into the risotto. Serve immediately.
*Recipe from from

Pasta con Zucchini e Bacon
Serves 7-8
1 box pasta, any kind
12 ounces bacon, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds zucchini, (about 2 large/4 small), diced
1/2 to 1 cup reserved pasta water
1 cup very loosely packed, finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and set aside. While pasta is cooking, in a large sauté pan, add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. Add the zucchini and cook until it starts to soften (covering with a lid will expediate). Place the cooked pasta over low heat. Add the reserved pasta water, cooked bacon, zucchini and the grated cheese. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Sophisticated Mushroom Barley Soup
1 cup boiling water
1 package (1/2 oz) dried wild mushrooms, such as porcini
2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
3 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 1/2 lbs button mushrooms, sliced
2/3 cup pearl barley
7 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup soy sauce
In a heat proof bowl, combine boiling water and dried mushrooms. Let stand for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve, reserving liquid. Chop mushrooms finely and set aside. In a skillet, over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Add onions and cook, stirring for 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, salt and peppercorns and cook for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to slow cooker stoneware. In same pan, heat remaining oil and cook button mushrooms over medium-high heat just until they begin to lose their liquid. Add dried mushrooms, toss to combine and cook for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to slow cooker stoneware. Add barley, reserved mushroom soaking liquid, stock, bay leaf and soy sauce. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours. Discard bay leaf.
*Recipe from Kelly Rossiter at Planet Green

Potato Gnocchi with Pesto
You can make the gnocchi up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerate them until 1 hour before cooking.
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (didn’t have quite enough so added ½ c fresh thyme)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more, as needed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 2/3 lb. baking potatoes
Kosher salt, to taste, plus 2 tsp.
2 eggs, beaten
About 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
In food processor or blender/magic bullet, add garlic and process until minced. Turn off, add pine nuts and pulse a few times to chop. Add basil and pulse a few times to chop coarsely. Then add the 1/2 cup olive oil and process until a smooth, moderately thick paste forms, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pesto for the gnocchi. Transfer the rest to a storage container, top with a thin layer of olive oil, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the unpeeled potatoes with salted water to cover by 1 inch, cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and rinse with cold running water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, shaking the pan often, to evaporate the excess moisture, about 2 minutes. Press the warm potatoes through a ricer or rub them through a coarse-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the eggs and the 2 tsp. salt. Gradually stir in enough of the flour to make a soft dough, taking care not to add too much. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently a few times until it is smooth, adding just enough flour to prevent sticking. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Lightly flour a rimmed baking sheet. Using floured hands, transfer 1 portion of the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using your palms, roll the dough to make a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1-inch lengths and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half of the gnocchi and simmer until they rise to the surface, then cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer, carefully transfer the gnocchi to a warmed serving bowl and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi, then scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking water and discard the remainder. Add the pesto and about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water to the gnocchi. Toss gently, adding more water as needed to make a creamy sauce. Serve immediately and pass cheese at the table. Serves 4 to 6.
*Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).

Cod with Lemon Brodetto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces cod or salmon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.
Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the fish pieces with salt and pepper. Sear until a golden crust forms, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish.  Add the tablespoon chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and divide between 4 shallow dishes. Place a serving fish in each. Serve immediately.

February 15-28, 2010

Wednesday 2/17 - Beer-battered Fish nuggets were shared with friends – fish that even the kids loved. Oscar Pasta is always popular with kids AND adults. Red velvet cupcakes were yummy, but I should have cut the recipe in half and the frosting recipe in a quarter (so I shrunk the recipe below).

Thursday 2/18 - Pork with blueberries - I enjoyed as much as the lamb with blueberry sauce in Italy, but Allen was not fond of the flavor this time. Brussel sprouts were yummy, however, the mashed parsnips we threw away (maybe they were overripe and too sweet).

Friday 2/19 - Homemade pizza for Greysen and his friends. They each got a small 6-7 in crust, spread spaghetti sauce on, sprinkled cheese and placed their pepperoni. Everyone ate well.

Sunday - Veggie lasagna was great, but VERY time-consuming. We loved the spices and all of the veggies packed in it.

Tuesday 2/23 - Cod with lentils was good, but Allen thinks he over-salted it. Very interesting flavors, but not sure it was worth the effort.

Thursday 2/25 - Sirloin pasta portobello was good and simple. Tasty, but unfortunately the sirloin was overdone.

Saturday 2/27 - Homemade pumpkin ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce that I always love, but unfortunately I forgot to mark on the recipe a key addition. So the essence of the enclosed ravioli was ruined, but it still tasted wonderful. Had this with chicken, but Greysen's favorite part was the fried sage leaves. They were quite yummy. We pan-cooked chicken breasts in olive oil and seasoned them with salt, nutmeg and clove to complement the ravioli.

Oscar Pasta
Any kind of pasta - Greysen prefers penne or rotini
a big container of fresh spinach
dash of nutmeg
salt to taste
butter and or milk
(I sometimes also stir in diced or minced carrots)
Cook pasta to directions. Steam spinach in a pot with a tiny bit of water. Put fully cooked spinach in blender or magic bullet, add a dash or two of nutmeg, a dash or two of salt and a good chunk of butter (or natural oil butter). Can add a little bit of milk to make creamier (and easier to reheat). Blend. Pour spinach sauce over pasta. Stir and eat.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 12 frosted cupcakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cocoa powder
¾ cups vegetable oil
½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ pound cream cheese, softened
½ sticks butter, softened
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers or grease each hole. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.
*Recipe from Paula Deen

Braciole ai Mirtilli (Pork Chops with Blueberries)
Serves 4
4 spare rib chops
All purpose flour for dusting
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
¾ c red wine
2 ¾ c blueberries
Scant ½ c clear honey
Preheat the oven to 400F. Dust the chops with flour. Heat the butter and oil in a small flameproof casserole; add the chops and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over. Pour in the wine and cook until it has partly evaporated, then season with salt. Pass the blueberries through food mill (or blender) and mix with the honey in a bowl. Spread this mixture over the chops, then cover the casserole, transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve.
*Recipe from The Silver Spoon.

Carmelized Brussels Sprouts
Cut in half with a little olive oil in a frying pan until they brown.   We seasoned them with Sale Roma or a Roman Salt (or a type of Italian seasoning).

Puréed Roasted Parsnips Recipe
Serves 4
2 lbs parsnips, peeled, stringy cores removed, chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds after removing cores)
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel parsnips, make a cut off the top of the fat end of each parsnip. This will show you extent of the inner core. Often this core is stringy and woody, especially at the larger end of the parsnip. When you are prepping the parsnips, cut around this core. Place chopped parsnips in a medium sized bowl, add the melted butter and stir to coat. Lay out the parsnips on a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, at 400°F, until lightly golden, turning the parsnips once half-way through the cooking. Put cooked parsnips into a blender or food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and pulse until puréed to the desired consistency. Add more water if necessary. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
*Recipe posted by Elise on

Vegetarian Lasagna
Marinara Sauce:
1 c chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
½ cup chopped, peeled carrots
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ c red wine
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
28 oz can peeled whole tomatoes
½ c chopped mushrooms
1 Tbsp honey or sugar
½ tsp salt or to taste
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 medium eggplant, sliced length-wise ½ inch thick
Salt to taste
Less than 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb spinach
5 oz goat cheese or ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Basic White Sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil 2 c warm milk
2 T unbleached white flour
¼ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c thinly sliced scallions or green onions
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
¾ tsp salt
12 sheets oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 c water
1/12 c mozzarella, shredded
10 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Make the marinara sauce: sauté the onion, garlic, and carrots in the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the red wine, oregano, and basil, and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the wine is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, honey or sugar, salt, and Italian seasoning, and continue to cook until the mushrooms become limp, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Broil the eggplant: Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil, salt lightly, sprinkle on a little cayenne, and lay on a baking tray. Broil for 3 minutes on the middle rack under the broiler until it turns brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Prepare the spinach: Steam the spinach for 1 minute in a pot filled with ½ c water. Remove from the heat and let cool. Squeeze the spinach, using clean hands, to remove excess water.

Put softened goat cheese or ricotta in a medium bowl. Add the spinach and mix together thoroughly with a fork. Put the olive oil, onions, and sliced garlic in a small sauté pan over low heat. Sauté for 2 minutes until the onions turn light golden brown. Remove from the heat and cool. Add it to the softened cheese and spinach and mix. Add the pepper and the fresh basil and mix again until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended in.

Make the white sauce: Pour the olive oil into a medium saucepan over low heat. Put the milk in a separate saucepan over low heat only until it becomes warm; do not let it boil. Gradually stir the flour into the warm oil, stirring constantly. Let cook for about 1 minute to make a brownish roux. Slowly add ¼ c of the warm milk and whisk it to blend it in. Pour in the remaining milk, continuing to whisk. Allow the sauce to simmer about 2 minutes just to thicken slightly, then turn off the heat. Mix in the cheese, spices, and salt. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 375F. To assemble the lasagna: cover the bottom of a deep baking dish with ½ c marinara sauce. Lay 4 sheets of the oven-ready noodles on top. Spoon the spinach filling over the noodles and spread it around until all of them are covered. Pour the white sauce on top, covering all the noodles. Lay 4 more sheets of noodles on top of the white sauce. Lay the eggplant slices lengthwise over the noodles. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top. Pour 1 c of marinara sauce over the cheese. Lay another 4 sheets of noodles over the sauce. Slowly pour the water over the lasagna stack. Pour the remaining marinara sauce on top of the noodles. Sprinkle the top with remaining mozzarella cheese and the olives. Cover with foil and cook for 1/12 hours in the oven. When it is completely cooked, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into squares.
*Recipe from The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil, M.D., and Rosie Daley

Baked Curried Sea Bass with Lentils (we used cod)
3 ¼ c water
1 bay leaf
1 c lentils
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 c sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 c sliced shiitake or button mushrooms
½ c broccoli florets
½ c yellow or red bell pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 c nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ water
½ c almond meal
1 tsp salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp curry powder
Four 6-pz sea bass steaks, cut in half
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the bay leaf and the lentils and cook for 40-45 minutes. Remove from heat when completely cooked and let cool briefly. Drain off any liquid and stir in the Cajun seasoning.

Sauté the onions, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, and bell peppers in the olive oil until the onions are transparent and limp, about 4 minutes. Add the yeast, salt, and curry powder and stir until everything is blended in. Add to the cooked lentils. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir it into the lentils and vegetables. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, until the mixture thickens, Remove from the heat.

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix the almond meal, salt, cayenne pepper, and curry powder on a plate and flip both sides of the fish steaks on it until they are coated with the mixture. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and lay the fish in. Sauté over medium heat, turning once, for 5 minutes on each side. Drizzle the lemon juice over the fish. If you aren’t using an ovenproof Dutch oven or pan, transfer the fish to a baking dish. Put the lentil and vegetable mixture around the fish, cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes to cook the steak through; when you cut into one, the flesh should be a pale white color, no translucent.
*Recipe from The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil, M.D., and Rosie Daley

Sirloin Pasta Portobello
1-1/4 lbs. boneless beef top sirloin steak, 1-inch thick
8 ounces uncooked linguine
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 ounces portobello mushroom caps
1 medium red, yellow or green bell pepper cut in 1/8-inch strips
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup grated romano cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm. Meanwhile trim fat from beef steak. Cut steak lengthwise in half and then crosswise into 1/8-inch thick strips. Remove and discard the dark gills from the underside of the mushrooms by scraping with a spoon. Slice the mushroom caps into 1/4-inch wide strips. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of the beef and garlic and stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until outside surface is no longer pink. Remove and season with half of the salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic. Remove and season with remaining salt and pepper. In same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil until hot. Add mushrooms and bell pepper strips. Stir-fry 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Return beef to pan. Add sliced basil and toss. Place pasta on platter and spoon beef mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese.
* Recipe from the Texas Beef Council’s website.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Serves 4
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree (I’ve used canned pumpkin – just as good, but then skip 10-15 min on baking sheet)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp dark molasses
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
wonton wrappers
4 Tbsp butter
6 diced sage leaves
4 large whole sage leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread squash puree on a baking sheet and place in oven to dry, 10-15 minutes. You want your puree to be at a mashed-potato consistency. Scrape into a large mixing bowl. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat until it begins to brown. Remove from heat, swirl in balsamic vinegar and molasses. Add to the pumpkin along with the ricotta, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Season to taste with the salt and pepper, chill for a couple of hours. At this point the filling can be refrigerated for 1-2 days. Lay out your wonton wrappers. Put a small mound (heaping teaspoon) of the chilled pumpkin filling in the center of a wonton. Using a small pastry brush or your finger, moisten all of the edges with a little cold water. Fold the wonton in half, firmly pressing the seam, forming either a triangle or a rectangle. Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling. You can freeze these uncooked raviolis, in a single layer, for 1 month. Cook the raviolis in gently boiling water for 2 minutes – do not cook too long. While the raviolis are cooking, melt the remaining butter with the sage and a pinch of salt until it foams and begins to brown. Remove whole sage leaves and drain on a paper towel (they will be a crispy, pretty garnish). Continue to swirl the butter sauce until it turns a rich chestnut brown. Add pasta to saucepan and sauté. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and a couple of fried sage leaves.
*Recipe from The Unemployed Cook (

February 1-14, 2010

Tuesday 2/2 - Saffron risotto - wasn't my favorite. Maybe a little overdone, but I wasn't fond of the flavor. Will have to try different kind of risotto next time. Asparagus wrapped in Chicken Breast with Mushrooms was a great recipe. Easy and yummy with great veggies wrapped inside. (Sorry, I can’t find the chicken and asparagus recipe. I will keep looking)

Wednesday 2/3 - Oscar Mayer Natural hot dogs are the best. Heated in pan with box of our favorite pre-packaged mac ‘n cheese from Hodgson Mills. And sweet potato pancakes. Surprisingly not a hit with Greysen, but we thought they were yummy.

Thursday 2/4 - Walnut pesto pasta was scrumptious. Definitely one to make again. Even Greysen loved it! And dessert of Molten Lava Cake was killer!

Friday 2/5 - Veggie shepherd's pie - another that I would do again, although we agreed that it is not good leftover. The parsnips on top are wonderful when crispy and fresh and go well with the bottom bean portion. Again, Greysen loved this!

Sunday 2/6 - Black Bean Chili was another hit with everyone! Yummy veggie version that rivaled our favorite canned Amy's Organic Black Bean Chili.

Tuesday 2/9 - Chicken & potatoes - Great chicken and flavors, but we should have cut the potatoes smaller. Minty eggplant was tasty, but we decided to alter the recipe and bake it so that it got crispy.

Thursday 2/11 - Salmon & beurre blanc was OK. Not outstanding, but certainly not bad. But the mashed potatoes with dill & carrots was TO DIE FOR - we all LOVE THIS DISH and it will be made again.

Risotto alla Milanese (Saffron Risotto)
Serves 4
1 pint chicken stock or broth
1 shallot or ½ small onion, finely chopped
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
12 oz Italian rice (Arborio)
6 Tbsp red wine
1 sachet (envelope) saffron powder or ½ tsp saffron threads, pounded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Bring stock to a low simmer. Put the shallot and 4 Tbsp of butter in saucepan, sauté until soft and translucent, then add the rice and stir until well coated with fat. Pour in the wine, boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, and then pour in scant 1 cup of hot stock. Cook until nearly all the stock has been absorbed and then add another 2/3 cup of the stock. The risotto should cook at a steady, lively simmer. About halfway through cooking (risotto takes about 15-18 minutes to cook), add the saffron dissolved in a little stock. When the rice is ready – it should be soft and creamy, not mushy or runny – taste and adjust the seasoning. Take off the heat and mix in the rest of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Serve immediately, with the rest of the parmesan.
*Recipe from The Concise Gastronomy of Italy.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
2 cups milk
4 teaspoons melted butter, plus more for greasing skillet
2 whole eggs
1 sweet potato, cooked until tender, peeled and pureed
Pecan butter, recipe follows
Maple syrup, for serving
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix together and whisk until smooth. Cook batches in buttered skillet on medium high temperature until bubbles form on the surface, then turn over and cook until dark golden brown. Serve with pecan butter and maple syrup.
*Recipe from Joseph's on

Pasta with Walnut Pesto, Sausage, and Broccoli Rabe
Serves 4
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
1 small clove garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1 pound rigatoni
4 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 pound), casings removed
1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough stem ends trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Preheat oven to 300°. Spread walnuts on a baking tray, and toast until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely. Combine 1/4 cup nuts, basil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process and, while motor is running, drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil to form pesto; set aside. Chop rest of nuts, and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook rigatoni until tender. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. When oil is hot, add sausage and cook, breaking up meat, until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a small bowl, and leave 1 tablespoon fat in pan. Return skillet to heat, and add rest of olive oil. Add broccoli rabe; cook until just crisp, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspooon pepper; return sausage to pan to heat through. Toss cooked pasta with pesto; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among 4 plates, and top each with sausage and broccoli rabe, a dollop of ricotta cheese, and chopped walnuts.
*Recipe created by Frances Boswell from O, The Oprah Magazine

Molten Lava Cake
6 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (or use your favorite 70% dark chocolate bar)
6 oz. Butter (diced, room temperature)
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt chocolate on low flame in a bain-marie (double boiler). When melted, take of flame, and stir in diced butter, until it melts. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar, until it starts to whiten. Stir in melted chocolate and then the flour. Butter 4 individual ramekins, and pour in chocolate batter. Cook for about 10 minutes. Tip ramekins upside down onto dessert plates and serve. Voilà!
* Recipe was passed on from my mom

Shepherd’s Pie
1 cup millet
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups cooked red beans
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Rinse and drain millet. Put into a pot with the diced parsnip and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, add salt and cover pot. Simmer on a low heat for 35 minutes. Mash millet, adding the minced parsley. While the millet is cooking, you can prepare your bean and vegetable mixture. Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the thyme, carrot, celery, sweet potato and sea salt and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle in about 1/3 cup of water and cover pan. Let the veggies cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the beans and tamari and continue to simmer for several minutes. Place the vegetable and bean mixture into a casserole dish and top with the creamed millet. Drizzle olive oil on top and place under a hot broiler for about 5 minutes until sizzling and lightly browned on top. Keep at least 6 inches away from the heat source to avoid burning. Alternatively, you can put into a hot oven for about 15 minutes.
*Recipe created by Aine McAteer found on

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
3 cans black beans
2 yellow or green bell peppers
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
5 to 6 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
two 4 oz. canned diced green chiles (or 1-2 medium-sized minced Anaheim or poblano chiles)
2 teaspoons dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 cup tomato puree
Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and all other seasonings, lime juice, bell peppers, and chiles. Sauté over medium heat until peppers and chiles are tender (about 15 minutes). Add sauté to beans and tomato puree. Simmer covered over low heat for about 20 min., stirring occasionally. Serve with dollop of light sour cream, sprinkle of cheese, or without any toppings. We served with taco chips.
*Recipe from

Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Serves 6–8
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
4 large cloves garlic, minced, plus 1 whole head garlic
2 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary plus 3 sprigs rosemary
1 (5- to 6-pound) whole chicken (large roaster)
Freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 pounds baby new potatoes, scrubbed clean
Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare a large roasting pan with a rack. Position oven rack to lower third shelf. Combine butter, minced garlic, and chopped rosemary. Set aside. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle cavity of bird liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff with garlic head and rosemary sprigs. Rub chicken on all sides with half the butter mixture. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Place chicken on prepared rack and roast 30 minutes. Toss potatoes with remaining butter. Arrange potatoes around chicken and baste bird with drippings. Continue to roast another 50 to 60 minutes, basting occasionally. Temperature of chicken should read 180° when meat thermometer is placed between leg and thigh. Remove chicken from oven and allow to rest 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
*Recipe from O, The Oprah Magazine

Marinated Eggplant with Mint
4 to 6 side-dish servings
1.5lb sm purple or white eggplants (about 3), trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes. Rinse eggplant, then drain, pressing gently on eggplant to extract any excess liquid. Pat dry. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir in garlic and mint. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant, about 8 slices at a time, until cooked through and pale golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer eggplant as fried to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a large shallow dish, overlapping slices slightly. Spoon some of vinegar mint mixture over each batch. Marinate eggplant, covered and chilled, at least 8 hours. Cooks' note: Eggplant can be marinated up to 24 hours.
*Recipe from Gourmet on

Pan Seared Salmon & Beurre Blanc (White Wine Butter Sauce)
4 four-ounce salmon filets
1 tablespoon olive oil
to taste salt and pepper
2 tablespoons onion, minced
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ pound whole butter, cut into pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper
Season salmon filets with salt and pepper and set aside. To a heavy bottomed skill over moderately high heat add olive oil, place salmon filets boned side down, or skinned side up. This makes it easy to serve the more attractive side of the fish to the diner. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for 2 more minutes. Using your finger touch the fish, if fish is firm it should be cooked through and still moist. Place fish on plate or platter and top with Beurre Blanc and chopped fresh parsley or dill and additional lemon wedge.

In a small saucepan over medium heat add 1 tablespoon butter then the onion and cook for 1 minute stirring, do not brown. Add wine and lemon juice and reduce mixture until almost dry. Reduce heat to very low and begin adding chilled butter a few pieces at a time whisking constantly and adding more butter as previous butter melts, season with salt and pepper. Strain sauce through mesh strainer and serve immediately.
*Recipe from WSBT-2 website.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Carrot Flecks and Dill
2 heads of garlic (rubbed with olive oil and roasted at 350ºF until soft, about 40 minutes) (we used store bought jar of roasted minced garlic)
1 C. chopped carrot (about 2 med. carrots)
6 C. chopped potatoes (about 2-3 pounds)
1/2 C. buttermilk
1/2 stick of butter (4 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. fresh chopped dill
Tons of salt and pepper (to taste)
Take the roasted garlic cloves out of their garlic paper and mash them altogether in a bowl, with a fork. Steam the carrot and potato together, about 15-25 minutes depending on how small you cut them. You can warm the buttermilk, and butter so that it isn’t cold going into the potatoes, but if you plan to serve them immediately, they’ll still be hot enough if you just add room temp. butter and buttermilk. So, however you do it, mash the buttermilk, butter, dill, mashed roasted garlic, salt and pepper into the potatoes and carrots. Taste for seasoning, adjust if you need to.
*Recipe from Figs With Bri (

January 18-31, 2010

Tuesday 1/19 - Hamburgers with Sweet Potato Pie was wonderful. We had pickles and used really good fresh ciabatta buns. Delicious supper ruined by Greysen getting the flu two hours later. Which meant that for the first week of our experiment we all ate a lot of soup – canned soup, because we didn’t have any of the homemade frozen kind just yet!

Thursday 1/21 - Coq Au Vin - while somewhat of a feat to make, was well worth the effort. Very interesting and different flavors. Paired this with homemade whole wheat macaroni with oil butter.

Tuesday 1/26 – Salmon pasta with cream sauce was as I had hoped - just like something I had at a restaurant in Italy! Delicious and light.

Sorry, this is Allen’s secret recipe, but we do use fresh, lean ground beef and a mix of spices & oil made in the Magic Bullet.

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk
½ cup melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned. Serves 6 to 8.
*Recipe from Diana Rattray, Guide

Coq Au Vin
3/4 c. dry red wine
1/2 tsp. salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, chopped
4 oz. bacon
3/4 c. finely chopped onions
3/4 c. finely chopped carrots
3/4 c. finely chopped mushrooms
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
Combine wine, salt, pepper, bay leaf and chicken in large shallow bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippins in pan. Add onions, carrots and mushrooms to pan and cook over medium heat, stirring browned bits from bottom, about 15 min. Remove vegetables from pan. Remove chicken from marinade; drain well, reserving marinade. Discard bay leaf. Toss chicken lightly in flour. Add 1-1/2 Tbsp. oil to pan. Working in batches, add chicken to pan and cook over medium heat until brown. Add remaining oil if needed. Add broth, tomato paste and reserved marinade. Bring to boil; add vegetables. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 min. Crumble bacon on top of each serving bowl. Serves 6.
* I believe this is from Julia Child – my mom passed it on to me.

Homemade Macaroni
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a mound on a counter. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Using your fingers, gradually incorporate the flour, then knead for about 10 minutes. If the mixture is too soft, add a little extra flour; if it is too firm, add a little water. Shape the dough into a ball and let rest for 15 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface or use a pasta machine to make a thin sheet, and cut out tagliatelle, lasagne, etc.
*Recipe from The Silver Spoon.

Salmon Pasta With Tomato Cream Sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 salmon fillets, skin removed, chopped (can cook from frozen)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cup cream
4 tablespoons tomato paste (or tomato sauce)
2 dashes of chili pepper
whichever pasta you like, cooked
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until slightly soft. Add the pieces of chopped salmon. Cook about 5 minutes, turning pieces often. Season with the salt and pepper. (At this point you should also start boiling your pasta). Stir in the cream. Add the tomato paste, and blend together. Simmer until salmon in fully cooked. Season again with salt and pepper (if desired). Serve over pasta and enjoy! Serves 4
*Recipe from Marisab / All my dishes on

January 16, 2010 – Fondue Night

Our first endeavor came at a Fondue Night party with friends. We made the following Polenta with Mushroom Ragu (we created it ourselves combining other recipes that we found). We were Runner Up in the appetizer competition!

Polenta with Mushroom Ragu
3 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
¼ cup freshly Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces any mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry Marsala
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly pour in a continuous stream of cornmeal, stirring constantly. Add the salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Shut off the heat and stir in the basil and cheese. Working quickly, grease 13x9x2 with olive oil and pour in cornmeal mixture, spreading it out over the whole surface. Let the polenta set and cool for 1 hour. When the polenta has cooled completely, cut into small squares. Grease a baking sheet and arrange them on the sheet, leaving space around each one so that the edges can crisp. Bake on the top rack in the oven for 15 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onion. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and sauté until the juices evaporate, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Add the Marsala. Cover and simmer until the Marsala has reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Stir the flour and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl to form a paste, then stir the paste into the mushroom mixture. Cover and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir the parsley into the ragu. Season the ragu, to taste, with more salt and pepper. Arrange the polenta squares on a platter. Serve the ragu on the side or spoon some on each square.