Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Edamame Toasts

I had a little Craft Day here at my house a couple weeks ago and invited some friends over. We made a few things then had some lunch.  I made a few appetizer type things so people could get picky.  This here appetizer was one of the offerings.  I liked it but I would have omitted the lemon rind.  I find that in most savory things (especially the uncooked variety) I don't like lemon rind.  In baked goods its a totally different story.  Other than that I thought these were pretty good. 

Edamame Toasts

3/4 cup edamame (partially crushed)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 of a lemon rind
s and p to taste
1/2 cup parmesan
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut baguette into slices and toast in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes at 350F.

Mix all other ingredients together and spoon over toasts.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cream of Vegetable Soup, No cream necessary

I usually have my shopping done by October.  Ah, not this year.  Just started today.  But hey I am not going to be shopping on Christmas Eve that is for sure.

Matter of fact I need to go shopping now... gotta run.

Cream of Vegetable Soup

3 cups of chopped celery root
1 potato, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
3 big cloves of garlic, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
10 cups vegetable broth

Saute onion and celery in a soup pot.  Add in the remainder of the ingredients and let simmer until everything is falling apart.  Blend and return to pot.  Add a little cream if you like but honestly it is creamy all on its own.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Penzeys and Spices

While I was away a few weeks back we went to the Palisades Mall in Nyack, New York.  I was so excited to discover the Penzey's Store there.  I bought a few spices and then the sales lady redeemed some coupons I had.  I left the store one happy customer with lots of spices!
I have ordered from Penzey's before.  I love their catalog and I love their products.  (Why did I forget some epazote while I was there?)
Since I have been home I already used the Rosemary, Ginger, Taco Seasoning and the barbecue 3001.  All insanely delicious.  I usually make my own Taco Seasoning mix but this one I would buy.  Its just that good.

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed in any way to say any of this.  This is all  of my own accord.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Almonds

This is something our family usually has on Thanksgiving.  My mother either saw a recipe or made it up, can't remember.  I do know we have been making it for a long time now and it has come to be somewhat of a tradition.  However, when we have a lot of guests over who don't like brussels sprouts, it usually gets opted out for green beans.

Most of the cooking for this dish could actually be done the day before.  Then you just throw it all in the pan for the final mix and heat.

Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Almonds

6 cups brussels sprout, end cut off, large ones cut in half
2 cups green grapes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons butter

Bring brussels sprouts to a boil in a sauce pan with about 2 cups water and a teaspoon of salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender.  Remove from heat and drain. Set aside.  At this point you could put them in the refrigerator if you are doing them a day in advance.

In a large skillet melt butter and add in cooked brussels sprouts.  Make sure brussels sprouts are heated through.  Add in grapes and heat until grapes are warm.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.  Sprinkle almonds over top and serve.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Apple Coffee Cake

We have been away from home for two weeks.  Crazy, right?  I feel like I have been gone forever.  I am a homebody for the most part so this was kind of a big deal for me.  Where did we go?  On a cruise.  Oh, swoon, on a cruise.  Strangely enough I just realized I did not take one picture of the food we ate.  Which, if you been on a cruise ship, you know, is pretty amazing. Beef Bourguignon, London Broil, Steak, Crab Cakes, Gnocchi, all kinds of shrimp dishes.  The desserts, pretty amazing too. There were a lot of good ones.  Linzer Torte, Fruit Tarts, Chocolate Crepes, Souffl├ęs... One of my favorites was a beet root chocolate cake.  If you are not a fan of beets, you would never know.  It was a really rich chocolate cake. 

How much did I gain?  Yes, this was a concern before I went.  But miracle of miracles, I stayed the same.  Must have been my time in the fitness center that balanced out the desserts.
While the food was very good, it was actually refreshing to have home cooked meals.  Fanciness aside, my meals are pretty good.  I am not trying to be boastful.  But one thing I found lacking was vegetables.  Would have like to see more vegetables with all these amazing dishes they serve. 

On the stove when we returned home was a pot of soup and an Apple Coffee Cake, compliments of my Mother.  Thank you Mom!

Here it is in all its glory.  Very delicious.


 Beat 1/2 cup shortening until light and fluffy.

Add in:  1 cup sugar
              2 large eggs
              1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat until throughly combined.

In a separate bowl combine

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1/4 teaspoon salt

Add flour mixture to batter along with  8 ounces sour cream.
Stir in:   1 1/2 cups chopped apple

Pour into greased 9 x 13. Sprinkle topping over batter.

1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Bake at 350F for 35 minutes.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cranberry Port Gelee

I am not use to cooking with juniper berries.  Though I am sure use to drinking them in my day.  I use to love to have a gin and tonic when I was out with friends.  It was one of my favorite drinks.  Gin, if you don't know, is made from juniper berries.  Juniper comes from a type of pine tree called, Juniperus communis.  All juniper bushes grow juniper berries, however most are too bitter to eat.

I saw a recipe similar to this on Food 52, which is quite a stellar site.  Lots of great recipes from various sources.  I had a bit more cranberries than it called for and I had some Lingonberry Preserves that was not getting eaten. 

Cranberry Port Gelee
The jumping point for this recipe.

1 cup port
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 jar of Lingonberry Preserves
6 cups cranberries (fresh)
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all except sugar together in a saucepan.  Cook until heated through.  Add sugar and cook until berries are popping. Mash with a potato masher and strain pushing some of solids through.  Pour and refrigerate.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Collection

Thanksgiving in the USA is quickly approaching.  You ready?  Much to get ready if you are preparing this massive dinner.   So many things can be done ahead and the internet is rich with how to's and ideas for making life easier on yourself.  Do your research, it will make it so much easier.

I just want to share a few things I have done for Thanksgiving in the past.

One of my all time favorite ways to prepare a turkey is Alton Brown's, brined turkey.  Some people swear by brining and some thing dry brining is sufficient.  Some don't know what it is and others are sold on other ways of preparing turkey such as deep frying or in a bag.  I personally like the brine method best.  It always gives me a moist turkey.  Of course one year, we had a lot of company and I used the dry brined method.  Really bad idea.  It just want as moist.

A nice appetizer recipe that we have nearly every year is cranberry salsa.

A nice side- sweet potato casserole.
As far as pumpkin pies go- my two favorites are the recipe on the can of Libby's Pumpkin and this one from Food Network.
In case you want to learn more about Thanksgiving, click here to go to The History Channels collection of videos about various aspects of Thanksgiving.  Its pretty interesting.

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