Friday, April 29, 2011

Time for Bright Colors

It's time for some bright colors in our food, enough of these pies and roasted dishes from winter!  This past week in looking for a yummy lighter meal that also used up some roast turkey, I came upon this Asian Turkey.. Salad.  I based this on a recipe out of Ellie Krieger's, The Food You Crave cookbook.  Of course I used whatever vegetables I had in the fridge as my philosophy is the more vegetables the better!    First, gather the pieces of your salad.

I used these gorgeous orange slices, you could also use mandarin oranges, but I had fresh oranges that needed to be used.

Toasted some almonds I found in the back of the cupboard.

Chopped a bowl of Spinach, Red Cabbage, Carrots, Jicama, and Green Onions.

As I was doing the above, my mother-in-law was kindly clearing the meat of the roast turkey we'd had 2 nights before.  We set aside a portion of sliced turkey and made the following dressing from Ellie Krieger's recipe.

Asian Salad Dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. Canola Oil (I used a combination of flax and olive oil
2 T. brown sugar ( I used only 1 T of unrefined sugar)
1 1/2 t. chili sauce
1 1/2 t. toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. fresh ginger, minced ( I didn't have this so I used about 1/2 t. powdered ginger)

Mix all the ingredients and toss!  I had enough dressing left over for a salad the next day.

I served this with the Multigrain biscuits I've posted in the past and it was a perfect meal!  There may not be any trees or flowers blooming yet in our town, but I can put some bright colors on our dinner table!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Shall we count the number of times that I have eaten a good dinner only to think afterward - "Shoot!  I forgot to take a picture!"  Let's see there's the Onion and Blue Cheese Tart, the Halibut with Roasted Carrots and Rice Pilaf and last night the Roast Turkey with a Corn and Poblana Pepper pudding.  I even cut the backbone out of the turkey and flattened it before roasting; to help it roast faster.  Wouldn't that process have made a great story?  My father-in-law thought I looked determined with that knife in my hand like the scene in "Julie and Julia", where she is working with the duck.  But luckily there was dessert and I remembered before the dessert to take pictures, not great pictures, but pictures none the less. 

Last night we had Apple Pie with Cinnamon Ice cream for my hubbies official birthday dessert.  For the apple pie I followed the basic apple pie with Streusal topping recipe from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everythink".  The Cinnamon Ice Cream recipe came from Bruce Weinstein's "The Ultimate Ice Cream Book".  The key to cinnamon ice cream is a quality cinnamon.  I use Penzey's.  The pie was very good, but it didn't hold together really pretty.  I"m pretty sure that is my fault as it was not my day for pie crust and struggled in getting the pie crust rolled out.  Luckily, pie tastes good no matter what the shape....

The below picture is just crying out for more light and a steady hand. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chocolate Malt Ice Cream

I feel a lot of ice cream threads coming, it may even become a theme.  While the flowers won't open for awhile and we are a good month and a half from planting the garden, ice cream can make us feel like the weather is warming up, even if we are in our heated house eating it!

My favorite, and only, ice cream cook book is Bruce Weinstein's "The Ultimate Ice Cream Book".  So last weekend, when I was emptying out the fridge, as I'll be gone most of this week, I pulled it off the shelf when I had a little cream and 1/2 and 1/2 left to use.  Enough for a 1/2 batch of ice cream. Not wanting to go to the store, I wondered what to make.  Well, I always have some malt powder, as Joe is a fan, and chunks of unused chocolate, so Chocolate Malt Ice Cream it was!  It was to be a treat at the end of a dinner made up of leftovers.

A few things you should know about how I make ice cream.  I sub whatever dairy I have in the fridge.  I didn't have quite enough cream and 1/2 and 1/2 so I had about 3/4 cup of skim milk.  It was totally fine, it just means the ice cream will get hard and is best in the first couple days.  In the ice cream below I used all unrefined organic sugar, an extra 1 Tablespoon of coco, to take it up a notch, and I always use the max amount of malt, again per the hubbies preference.

Chocolate Malt Ice Cream (p. 42)

3 oz. unsweeteened baking chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons malted milk powder
2 cups half and half
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the chopped chocolate, sugar, malted milk powder and half-and-half in a heavy medium sized saucepan.  Place over low heat and stir until chocolate is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Slowly beat the hot half and half mixture into the eggs in a bowl.  Return mixture to pan and place over low heat.  Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens.  Be very careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.  Remove from heat and pour the hot chocolate custard through a strainer into a clean bowl. 

Mix in the cream and vanilla and cool the custard completely in the fridge.  Complete the ice cream in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instructions.

If you have an ice cream maker, or are thinking about getting one, I encourage you to get this book.  For every recipe, there are lots of alterations to make your perfect ice cream.

Weinstein, B. (1999). The ultimate ice cream book. New York, NY: William Morrow.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mediterranean - Yumm!

I've been in the mood for Mediterranean, and due to the fact that we do not have any such restaurant in town, it was time to take matters into my own hands.  Last night a friend came over and we had a very fun meal and considering I made every piece of it, it really didn't take that long to pull together. The pictures aren't great, but you'll get the idea.

First, one must have hummus and a mixture of olives, feta cheese, and roasted peppers to much on, throughout the meal.  These were not treated as an appetizer because the pitas weren't done yet!

Next, I made these whole wheat pitas.  They were pretty easy and fun. How can you not like something that bakes in 3 minutes and really does puff in the middle?  For this step, I found a wonderful new blog called Wild Yeast.  I used Susan's recipe, the only change being I added some spelt flour when I ran out of Whole Wheat, and it worked perfectly,

I was going to make fresh Falafel, but I couldn't find the recipe I'd seen just a day before, so I used the box mix I had in the pantry.  I, of course, didn't deep fry them, but I did lightly fry them in a pan.  We made them more of a patty versus a ball to cook better in the pan.  I enjoyed them very much.  I made a quick cucumber yogurt sauce to go with the Falafel.

 I made two salad sides. A quick salad made of cucumber, tomato, parsley, and scallions, with a little lemon juice and olive oil dressing.  It's been months since I've had cucumber and tomato so I enjoyed this little salad.  And, of course, a Tabbouleh.  Tabbouleh is traditionally a Bulgar, parsley mixture.  Other vegetables can be added and it just has a quick olive oil, lemon, sauce - salt and pepper to taste.  Well, not sure what happened but my Bulgar turned mushy - this has never happened before.  So I brainstormed and pulled some Red Quinoa out of the freezer and it worked perfectly!  Definitely, a substitution I will make again.

I can't wait for lunch today!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Roasting Rut

There is just no better way, in my opinion, to make meat and vegetables yum yum tasty - I love roasting.  It is my go to method of cooking.  Not only do good flavors develop, but it's so easy!  Joe would never complain as he loves roasted meat and vegetables as much as I do, but I fear I am in a roasting rut!  Should I do anything about it --- nah, I'm sure it will go away naturally when spring comes around - sometime in June.

That's not fair of me, Mother Nature has been very kind to us this year with snow.  The skiing has been great!  And we already received a whole warm Saturday on which to walk, open windows, and plant garden seeds, seeds which are safely ensconced in the kitchen windows, of course!  This day was followed by 2 days of snow in a row.  In Wyoming, you will be very happy if you love the excitement of seeing what weather is coming tomorrow, but you aren't too tied to the result!

Ok, back to roasting.  So I put some of my parent's natural raised chicken in the oven the other night and thought about my side dish.  I've do enjoy  good pilaf and I had a new rice blend and a wild mushroom mix to try, so I sauteed up some onion, garlic, and fresh wild mushrooms in a bit of olive oil and butter.  Then I added the rice and toasted it a bit before covering it all with some vegetable stock and letting it simmer for 50 minutes.  MmmmMmmm perfect!  What great earthy flavors to go with the roasted chicken and a good salad.

I tell you what - roasting is a great way to get a very satisfying meal on the table and when the chicken is cut up it doesn't take nearly as long!  This was a 1/2 chicken so I got three meals out of it, including: this meal, a great dinner salad last night for Joe and I'm making soup out of the rest today!