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Category — Recipes

Anne is up to bat

We spent the day at the Del Mar Racetrack on Wednesday. The most that was bet by any one of us on any one race was $3. Big spenders or gamblers, we are not. But we had fun! Our seats were right in front of the finish line. If not for that pole in front of us, they would have been perfect. Darn structural engineering.

We arrived back too late to cook, so we had leftovers and watched a movie. The next morning, I woke up early and took a 5-mile walk up the beach, to the Oceanside Pier, while Peggy and Anne slept in.

I don’t generally find many shells along the beach in Carlsbad, but the tide was low and I filled my pockets. I wanted to go out again this morning, but with the internet getting busy in the late morning and constantly kicking me off, I decided to get this post up instead. I’ll go out again on Saturday and take a bag with me to collect more.

Since we hung around the resort all day yesterday, Anne had time to cook us up a delicious dinner! The recipe is one she found on allrecipes.com. But she switched it up and made it her own, in true Annie-style.

One great twist she made was switching out the regular pasta for a chickpea variety. It was fantastic!

She found the Banza brand pasta at Sprouts (in the Phoenix area you can also find it at Whole Foods and Target) and although we didn’t have wheat pasta available to do a side-by-side tasting, I’m certain I would not be able to taste the difference if we had.

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August 11, 2017   1 Comment

Peggy’s turn to cook

This deliciousness was Tuesday night’s dinner. Peggy not only manned the grill but was master of the kitchen as well.

Since it was my night off, it didn’t even cross my mind to take any preparation photos. Sorry, but I’m on vacay! I will try to do better when Anne takes over the duties tonight.

We spent Tuesday afternoon having lunch at Stone Brewery and wine tasting at Orfila Vineards & Winery, with a little T*J*Maxx on the side.

We were ultimate Maxxinistas. Peggy was looking for a swimsuit and I was looking for a barstool. The Carlsbad patio has only two stools. There are three of us. I had no choice but to find another stool!

I was successful, Peggy was not. I picked up this industrial style barstool for $29.99. I’m keeping the tag on it in case I decide to return it after the week is over, although I’m leaning towards keeping it for future visits. Decisions, decisions.

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August 9, 2017   1 Comment

Carlsbad and a brothy pasta situation

Peggy, Anne and I are at my timeshare in Carlsbad, CA for the week.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon.

Upon our arrival, I opened the hatch of my car … and this happened. We may have over-packed a tad.

My intention was to post daily. Turns out that the WiFi is easily overworked here at the resort. This is the first day I have not been kicked off before I could at least load the photos. I’ll post as often as the network will allow.

We had a planning session before we left town, each taking a night or two to cook dinner. I was up first with a ravioli dish that I was inspired to make from an Instagram photo my friend, Gwen, posted last week. Gwen has a gorgeous blog called Pen & Fork. You can always get to it over in the “Foodie Blogroll” on the right side of the page.

For the mushroom ravioli, I used the Trader Joe’s brand. It comes with truffle sauce, which you do not want to use in this recipe.

These are the truffle sauce frozen squares. They are easily picked out and removed from the ravioli squares. You can throw them back in the freezer and use for another pasta night or you can throw them in the trash. That’s what I do because I’m not a huge truffle fan. I’ll eat it if it’s served to me but I don’t go out of my way to put it in my mouth.

The spinach is cut into thin strips. When cutting leafy greens, the technique to do so is called chiffonade. It is easy to do, just stack the leaves, roll up tightly and slice. The word is French and translates to “little ribbons.”

“Brothy Situation” Mushroom Ravioli with Shredded Chicken

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms; cleaned, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pound package frozen mushroom ravioli
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, garnish
  • Roughly chopped fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and oregano)

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August 8, 2017   1 Comment

not borscht

This bowl of soup might look like beet borscht, but I guarantee you that it is not. You can search this site from top to bottom and you won’t find a single recipe using beets.

Never! My least favorite food in the world is … beets!  So what is in this soup turning it purple if it’s not beets?

You may remember when I bought purple sweet potatoes at Whole Foods for THIS 4th of July dish.

I had extra purple sweet potatoes, along with a handful of baby potatoes, that were beginning to sprout. In the fridge, there were a few cobs of corn. It was logical that potato and corn chowder would be a good way to use it all up.

What I didn’t count on was just how deep purple those few sweet potatoes would color the chowder. It started out a light lavender color, which was rather unappealing. But as it continue to simmer, it turned a deeper and richer purple until it looked like borscht. Honestly, if it had stayed lavender colored, I wouldn’t be sharing the recipe, no matter how good it tasted.

Feel free to use whatever potatoes, sweet or otherwise, that you prefer for this recipe. Just know that if you do choose to use sweet potatoes, of any color, they need to be cooked first because they take longer to become tender. The regular potatoes are added later since they are not as hard.

You’ll also note that I add the cleaned corn cobs to the soup when the broth was added. Adding the kernel-free cobs, lends an extra rich corn flavor to the soup.

Oh and I wanted to tell you something I discovered. Remember how I was complaining about the electric stove in my last post?

Believe it or not, I found one great advantage to electric over gas! It’s been so hot and muggy with the monsoons in full swing, that I must have an oscillating fan in the kitchen while I’m cooking to make it bearable.

There is no fear of the fan blowing out the flame… since there is no flame! See, I can appreciate the little things. 🙂

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July 27, 2017   No Comments

shishito

Shishito peppers are specialty peppers from Japan. They are high in vitamins A and C and are completely edible, including the seeds. Unlike other peppers, the skin is thin, so there’s no need to peel after blistering or roasting.

I like to serve blistered peppers as a nibble with drinks. Shishito peppers are also great in stir-fry and I even use them to garnish cocktails.

Shishitos have quickly become the new hot thing in the last year or so and are slowly showing up in the produce departments of grocery stores around the country. They are readily available in Japanese grocery stores.

I found 8-ounce packages of the peppers at Fry’s. They really are worth searching for. But if you can’t find them at your grocery store and are too lazy to go to a Japanese market, there is a substitute.

Use the sweet mini peppers that are readily available in produce departments and at Costco and Trader Joe’s

The peppers are sprinkled with flaky sea salt while still hot. My favorite salt is Maldon. It can be found at specialty food and kitchen stores. Or like everything else, on Amazon, which is where I get mine. I am obsessed with Maldon. I love it!

The other important ingredient for this recipe is shichimi togarashi. I first posted a recipe using shichimi togarashi, or Japanese seven spice, in the summer of 2014. I love this stuff and use it all the time.

Don’t be scared off by the long and complicated name of the recipe. It is the definition of easy-breezy and only has 6 ingredients, two of which are salt and olive oil.  See … EZ!

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July 12, 2017   2 Comments

caprese flag

Everyone loves caprese salad, or at least everyone I know love it!

There are many variations of Insalata Caprese, but the classic Italian salad consists of layers of ripe tomato slices, sliced mozzarella and basil leaves that are seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and sometimes drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It is made to represent the colors of the Italian flag.

I have made it as an hors d’oeuvre before, but this time I assembled it to resemble our American flag for a 4th of July appetizer. I wish I could take credit for coming up with the easy idea on my own, instead I saw a video on the Food Network Instagram page on the morning of the 4th. I immediately jumped in my car and headed to Trader Joe’s to pick up the ingredients. This was too clever and yummy to NOT make!

 

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July 11, 2017   1 Comment

Patriotic Kabobs

Independence Day has come and gone, but there are plenty more patriot holidays between now and July 4, 2018. Labor Day is only eight weeks from today. Columbus Day is a month after that and before you know it, Veterans Day is upon us! The point is, don’t wait a year to make these fun and easy dessert kabobs.

I whipped a few of these up for the grilling tips segment I did last week and then made them again the next day for a 4th of July party I was invited to. Technically, I may have invited myself. But I tried to make the hosts feel it was worth it by bringing these kabobs along with an awesome flag appetizer, the recipe for which I will post tomorrow.

When I made the kabobs for television, I used pound cake. I quickly discovered that pound cake is not the best choice. Angel food cake works better, so that is what I used on the 4th. The pound cake is too dense and has a tendency to break apart when skewered. The angel food cake is light and fluffy and stays in place. Large marshmallows would be a great choice too.

I’m not providing you with any quantities here. I made as many as I could until I ran out of one of the ingredients. The first thing I ran out of was strawberries, then I was done.

After making four or five, it was getting tedious, so I decided to make three at once. I held three skewers in my left hand and added the ingredients with my right. I was done in no time.

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July 10, 2017   2 Comments

Brandon’s Whiskey Lemonade

I am in Chicago this week helping my dear friend, Lori, pack up her Lake Shore Drive penthouse, in preparation for her move back to Arizona.

I came in a few days early so I could visit family before the pack-a-thon began. I first drove to my mother-in-law’s home in Rockton, Illinois and spend the night with her. We played games, went out to eat, went to church and had a lovely visit.

The next day, I was off to my brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Beth’s, home in Barrington to spend time with them. The three of us drove into Chicago on Sunday night for dinner with their two daughters, Katie and Maureen, and their beautiful families.

Our first stop was at Katie and Eddie’s home, where I had the pleasure and joy of meeting my newest grand-niece, 4-month old Emily. While Emily napped, her big sister, Kody, who is almost three, entertained us in the backyard. By the way, the weather here has been glorious! What a relief after enduring the heat wave, including the 120 degree day, I left back in Arizona!

Next, we  jumped into our cars and headed downtown to Mo (new mamma to be!) and Brandon’s loft condo. My other brother-in-law, Roger, joined us there.

Here is Roger giving baby Emily her bottle, so sweet!

Brandon, a YouTube-Self-Taught craftsman has been transforming their space. He bought himself a circular saw and went to work crafting barn doors, along with kitchen and bath cabinets, like a pro. Seriously amazing!

The other amazing thing was the signature cocktail Brandon served us.

He found the recipe on HERE. Brandon had visited the High West Distillery in Park City and brought home a bottle of their spiced syrup. The syrup is what makes the cocktail so special. How very generous the folk at High West are to share the recipe to make the syrup at home. Enjoy!

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June 28, 2017   1 Comment

Father’s Day cake

I made this cake for Father’s Day. Isn’t it lovely?

But, as usual, I had a problem while baking. Seriously, what’s new?

This time around, I took extra precautions and not only greased the pans but also lined them with parchment rounds and floured the sides.  I was sure that everything else would work out perfectly. Nope.

The original recipe, that I am not going to reference here because there were too many problems with it, did not indicate the diameter of pans to use. Much of my bakeware is packed away. I had two 8-inch diameter pans and three 9-inch diameter pans at my disposal, so I decided to go with the 9-inch. That was mistake numero uno. Since I wasn’t sure of the pan size, I should have checked the cakes much earlier than I did to see if they were cooked though. As it was, the original recipe called for the cake layers to be baked for 35 minutes. I checked them after 24 minutes and they were already overcooked and dry as the Sonoran desert.

Mistake numero dos was to not then soak them with some sort of orange liqueur or orange juice. I’m certain that would have helped. Instead, I figured that the frosting (there is a lot of it!) would be enough to compensate for the dryness. Again, no.

It’s a pretty cake and if you keep an eye on it while it’s baking, I’m sure it’s a delicious cake too. I served up the 5 pieces to my dad, Connor, Dave, Sloane and myself and then I tossed the rest of it in the trash (after I picked all the fruit off the top and had that with my breakfast the next morning).  I believe I’ve made the corrections and compensations for this to be a tasty cake. If you decide to give it a try – let me know.

In the meantime, let me say, this is just another example of why …

I Hate To BAKE

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June 22, 2017   2 Comments

onion jam

For a person who started out, nearly 8 years ago, blogging every day, these last couple of years sure have been hit or miss. Such is life.  I hope to be getting back on track now. I’ll probably never go back to posting on a daily basis, but most certainly back in a routine of regular and steady posts.  I want to thank you for hanging in there with me! xoxo

Enough chitchat, let’s get to a recipe!

This easy-to-make sweet-tart onion jam is currently my favorite thing in the fridge. I’ve made three batches since April.

For the most recent batch I used 4 pounds of onions. The house still smells of it … I am not complaining!

It is the perfect sweet-tart accompaniment to just about everything!

  • Serve with roasted pork, beef, poultry or grilled salmon. 
  • Thin it out with a touch of red wine vinegar mixed with water and use as a marinade for vegetables before grilling, broiling or roasting.
  • I mix it in with my ground turkey every morning before dropping an egg in the center.
  • For a more decadent breakfast/brunch dish – spread it on a warm biscuit with a slice of quality ham.
  • Pair it with blue cheese for the most amazing pizza!
  • Throw a heaping spoonful in a salad before tossing.

  • Or do what I do when you need a quick appetizer and toast slices of  baguette, spread with a layer of softened goat cheese, top with a mound of the onion jam and garnish with finely minced fresh rosemary. You’ve got a sure-fire hit on your hands!

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June 16, 2017   6 Comments