Thursday, May 20, 2010

Southwestern Slaw

Tis the season for rummage sales.  I love to go rummaging but don't take the time to go nearly enough anymore.  I used to go quite often when my kids were little.  I would come home with bags of toys, clothes, sporting goods etc. for the family for only a few dollars.  It was very rewarding!!!  To think you could acquire all of this for little money.  That was important then as I was a stay at home mom raising 4 kids.  I still love rummage saling but don't take the time to go very often anymore, although I would love to.  Once or twice a year my husband and I will take a day and rummage.  We each get an allowance to spend that day (to keep us from over-doing).  We go out to lunch and generally just enjoy the day.  Well last Saturday was a day that we did that.  The weather was beautiful!!  There was a city-wide sale that provided plenty of goods to choose from.  My weakness is always kitchen gadgets and books.  I can't pass them up.  I always have to stop and take a look.  Well, again as usual I came home with a recipe book that I am quite excited about.  That book is "The Dinner Doctor" by Anne Byrn.  She has many ideas and tips that she shares in this great book.  I have been browsing through that almost 3" thick book to choose recipes to try.  One that I tried last night I liked quite well and will mark it to make again.  Here it is:

Southwestern Slaw

1 16 oz. pkg. coleslaw mix
1/2 c.  finely chopped red onion
1/2 c. ranch  salad dressing
1 t. ground cumin
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
Creole seasoning or salt
black pepper
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Place coleslaw mix and onion in a serving bowl and stir to combine.  Stir the cumin into ranch dressing and pour over the cabbage mixture stirring to combine all.  Add salt  to taste. (At this point I put in frig. to marry flavors until dinner, about 2 hours). At serving time I folded in the avocado cubes and sprinkled the top with cilantro.  I didn't have Creole seasoning so I didn't use that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cherry Rhubarb Jam

If you know me you know I love to make jams and jellies to give away as gifts.  We have apple, cherry and pear trees in our yard and red and black raspberries along with rhubarb.  These fruits are handy to experiment with and use to make multiple batches. During the summer when the fruit is ripe I pile up on jam to give as gifts for Christmas.  I have simplified this process by using my bread machine.  I have a West Bend machine that has a jam cycle on it and have started using that and it works wonderfully.  I still make some versions the old fashioned way, but found that I can make various versions quite simply by using this wonderful kitchen appliance!  With rummage sale season upon us, you should be able to find a bread machine someone foolishly wants to get rid of.  Just be sure it has a jam cycle on it and you are in business.
A few years ago, my husband Mark and I went for a weekend in Door County and ate breakfast in a cute little Swedish Restaurant. We ordered Swedish Pancakes served with (since Door County is known for their cherry orchards) Cherry rhubarb jam.  They were delicious!!!  We have talked about those pancakes many times remembering how great that jam was.  I have tried to replicate it and found something I think is quite close to what they served us.  Serve this with my recipe for English Muffin bread.  You won't be disappointed.

Cherry Rhubarb Jam

2 c. sugar
1 T. low-sugar fruit pectin
3 c. chopped rhubarb
1 c. pitted sour cherries, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Put these in bread machine pan in order given.  Select jam cycle.  When done pour into clean jars. Let sit out on counter 24 hours before refrigerating.  This can be stored in refrigerator or frozen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scalloped Rhubarb

 The butter and sugar carmelize to give an outstanding flavor which goes well with the rhubarb.  Yummo!!  This is a very simple yet delicious way to make rhubarb.  White bread works best for the flavor you are going for.  I have only made this as is, but I am sure you can use less butter to cut down on fat and calories but still keep the important butter flavor.  You don't even need ice cream or whipped cream with this, but if you prefer, go ahead.

Scalloped Rhubarb

4 c. cut rhubarb (cut into 1/2" slices)
4 c. white bread cubes
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter

Cut butter into sugar to make pea sized pieces.  Layer bread cubes in bottom of buttered 8'x8' pan.  Top with rhubarb, then with butter/sugar mixture. Place into greased 8"x8" glass pan.  Bake 325 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let cool slightly and serve.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bleu Cheese Dressing

I don't remember the first time I had Bleu Cheese Salad dressing, but I fell in love that day!  It is my favorite salad dressing---if made correctly.  There are some restaurants that make it wonderfully and some that just stir it into sour cream or something...not so great.  It is very high in fat and I don't eat it too often these days.  My family does not enjoy the flavor of blue cheese and get turned off by the fact that it contains a type of mold.  I however don't let that deter me.  If you are like me and need to have Bleu Cheese dressing in your life, try this recipe that I got from an episode of Elie Krieger's on Food network.

2 T. mayonnaise
1/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. fat free yogurt
1 T. vinegar
1/2 t. sugar
1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Drain yogurt 20 minutes.  Whisk with rest of ingredients and crumble in blue cheese.  Serve over your favorite salad greens.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marinated Salmon

Today I am not in the mood for small talk so I will just post this.  It is one of our favorite ways to make salmon.
I usually serve this with Golden Rice Pilaf and steamed broccoli.

Marinated Salmon

4 4-6 oz. salmon fillets
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. sherry
2 t. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T. canola oil

Measure soy sauce, sherry, lemon juice and oil into ziploc bag.  Put in crushed, peeled garlic clove.  Pat dry salmon fillets and add to bag. Shake around to cover salmon with marinade.  Marinate at least 1 hour or more in refrigerator turning occasionally to fully distribute the marinade.  The longer you marinate the more flavorful the salmon.  When ready, remove fish from marinade and grill skin side down on oiled piece of aluminum foil over hot coals 15-20 minutes or on preheated Foreman Grill about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Golden Rice Pilaf

The wonderful blend of flavors in this dish are amazing!  A great side dish paired with grilled fish or chicken.  I got this recipe off a radio show that you could call in and share favorite recipes.  I will give you the recipe the way it was given but I have adapted it somewhat by using less butter.  It still has great flavor but with less fat and calories.  I also make it now using 1/2 brown rice and half white, but the cooking times are more complicted that way so I will give you the original and you can adapt it to your own preference.

2 medium carrots, julienned**
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 c. butter
2 1/4 c. water
1 c. rice
1/2 c. raisins
1 T. chicken bouillon powder
1/2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. thyme
1/4 c. toasted, slivered almonds

Saute onion in butter until wilted and starting to carmelize a bit.  Add in carrots and saute 1-2 minutes longer. Add rest of ingredients but almonds.  Heat to boiling; cover and simmer on med-lo  heat 15 minutes until rice is cooked and water is absorbed.  Fluff; cover and let sit 5 minutes more.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve immediately.
**If you don't have a mandolin for julienne, just use the largest holes on your box grater to grate the carrots.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Turkey & Pesto Panini with Provolone and Roasted Red Pepper

Here is a great gourmet style sandwich which is impressive when served, but simple to make.  Change it up by using different pesto flavors and changing up the cheeses.  I don't have a panini press, I use my George Forman grill and that works just great.

Turkey Panini with Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper

1 Arnold Sandwich Thin or Foccaccia bread
2 oz. shaved deli turkey
1 slice Provolone cheese
1 T. of your favorite pesto
1/2 of a whole roasted red pepper from a jar (drain between paper towels)
baby spinach leaves

Spread bottom of sandwich thin with pesto, layer on cheese, red pepper, spinach leaves turkey and top of sandwich thin.  Grill on preheated grill about 3-6 minutes until nicely toasted with grill marks and cheese is melted.  This is a great combination that we like real well, but you can change up the sandwich by using roast beef or ham and changing the pesto and the type of cheese.  Try Swiss or Havarti cheese.  I like spinach pesto but you could use basil or cilantro pesto.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Focaccia Bread

This bread goes well served alongside a lasagna or spaghetti dinner or as a snack dipped in marinara sauce or cut into 1 inch x 6 inch "breadsticks" and baked till crisp.  I love to use the leftover bread for panini sandwiches.  Using the bread machine makes this an easy process.

Focaccia Bread

7 1/2 oz. lukewarm water
3 c. bread flour  (I use 2 c. whole wheat +1 c. bread flour)
2 T. dry milk powder
2 1/2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
2 T. ground flaxseed
3 T. olive oil
1 t. dried minced garlic
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
2 t. active dry yeast

Add all ingredients to bread pan in order given.  Select dough cycle.  When dough cycle is done, punch down dough and let rest 10 minutes.  Meanwhile spread a 15 x 10 inch pan liberally with olive oil.  When dough is done resting spread it into oiled pan stretching and gently pulling to make it fit to edges of pan.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in warm place about 30 - 45 minutes.  With handle of wooden spoon, make indentations in dough every inch or so.  Brush with olive oil then sprinkle with:
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. garlic salt or garlic powder.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until nicely browned.  Cut into squares for serving.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Peach Pork Picante

This is a recipe I got from a friend in our play group years back.  We made a cookbook for a fundraiser and she submitted this recipe to that book.  It is simple and quite delicious.  This is a quick and easy dish to make when you are short on time.  Serve over rice with a vegetable and you are good to go!  It also uses the "other white meat".

Peach Pork Picante

1 pound boneless port, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
2 t. veg. oil
1/3 c. peach preserves or jam
1 T. taco seasoning
8 oz. picante sauce or salsa

Coat pork cubes with taco seasoning.  Preheat a large skillet over med-hi heat.  Add the oil and brown the pork cubes for a couple of minutes, til browned.  Add picante or salsa and preserves, stir to combine.  Cover and simmer on med-lo heat 15-20 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Boy Strawberry Pie

Remember the Mark's Big Boy Restaurants?  Maybe they weren't a nationwide chain but we had a few in our area of Wisconsin.  They were owned by Bill Marcus of the Marcus Theaters.  They had the best burgers in town and also great malts and shakes.  Desserts there were fabulous too from what I am told. (I usually don't order dessert out).  This recipe is supposedly the strawberry pie recipe that they made at those restaurants.  It is delicious and I make a few every year during strawberry season and always get asked for the recipe!  This is also great with raspberries and raspberry jello!

BIG BOY Strawberry Pie

1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
Mix these three ingredients together and bring to a boil; cook until thickened.  Add 3 oz. strawberry jello.  Mix well.  Cool slightly.  Meanwhile bake a graham cracker crust 5 min. at 350 degrees.  Set aside to cool.  Layer 4 c. sliced strawberries in the cooled crust.  Pour jello mixture over.  Chill a couple of hours and serve garnished with whipped cream (no cool whip please)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Crustless Asparagus Quiche

Tis the season for asparagus.  Marvelous!!!  Spring is such a hopeful time of year.  With all the blossoms, singing birds, rain showers, green grass, warmer temperatures how can you not feel hope?  Along with all of those niceties comes asparagus.  I love asparagus and for me the season is too short.  The patch in our garden only feeds us for a couple of weeks and that is not at all long enough for me.  Sure I can buy it at the grocery store, but that is not the same as harvesting it from your own yard!  I received an email the other day that touted the benefits of asparagus as a natural remedy against cancer.  Taken daily it claims to get rid of cancer.  According to the article, asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidents.  Whether this is all true or not, I like feeling good about what I eat rather than the guilt that can go along with food.  I really don't need a good reason to eat asparagus.  So with that I leave you with the recipe for:

Crustless Asparagus Quiche

6 oz. lean ham, cubed
3/4 c. asparagus cut in 1" pieces
1 c. shredded Gruyere cheese, or Swiss
pinch nutmeg
8 large eggs,
1/2 c. milk or 1/2 and 1/2.
1/2 t. salt

Spray 9" pie pan with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Microwave asparagus pieces in 1T. water in covered microwave safe bowl 2 minutes just to soften a bit.  Drain.  Layer the ham, then asparagus, then cheese in bottom of pie plate.  Beat eggs, add milk, salt and dash nutmeg and beat until well combined.  Pour over ingredients in pie pan.  Bake 35-40 minutes until knife inserted into center comes out clear.  Let sit about 10 minutes, cut and serve.