Monday, September 28, 2009

Spicy Shrimp Stir-Fry

Sliced onion, celery, carrot, water chestnuts, celery, diced ginger, dried red chili peppers (whole); saute in a small amount of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Add shrimp and red garlic chili sauce (you know, the one with the chicken), seasoned with 5 spice powder.
I also made a chicken chow mien: diced chicken, celery, onion, garlic, carrots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts. Seasoned with 5 spice, and a liquid binder of soy sauce, water, and cornstarch.
Can serve with rice, noodles.

German Chocolate Cake

A friend of mine needed to supply some cakes for an Oktoberfest celebration in our community. I volunteered to bake one. I followed a recipe that I got online, very similar to many recipes. The cake kinda sunk in the middle, I wasn't really happy with it. We gave it to some other friends (after having a slice to check it out, research dontcha know). I then went and got a cake mix and.... canned frosting.... yikes.... for the cake I sent to the Oktoberfest!

Parmesan Chicken Tenders w/Spaghetti

Chicken tenders were marinated for a bit in a simple oil and lemon juice combination, with oregano. They were pan fried in a small amount of vegetable oil, topped with parmesan cheese just before serving.
I used squash instead of pasta, steaming spaghetti squash in the oven. Cut it in half, seed, salt interior. Place cut side down in a baking dish, add about an inch of water. When done, use a fork to scrape the strands of squash into a serving dish.
Sauce: saute onion, garlic, diced carrots, diced mushrooms, crushed red pepper flakes, fennel seed; add peeled, seeded and dice tomatoes. Add beef stock. Simmer and reduce. Season to taste.


O.K., I succumbed to temptation. I basically followed the recipe on the back of a coconut package. These are very easy: coconut, sugar, a small amount of flour, eggs, vanilla (cuz I didn't have almond) extract. et voila!

Another Diet Breakfast...

Simply poached eggs with Canadian bacon on whole grain toast. Served with a steaming cup o' joe.

Pork Loin Chop w/Sweet Potato "Fries" and Spinach

Saute the boneless chop in a small amount of vegetable oil. Remove from pan, keep warm. Add diced onion and mushrooms to the pan, saute. Add some beef stock (home made), reduce. Serve over chop.
Saute onion and mushroom (hey, they were on sale and need to use them up!) in a small amount of vegetable oil, add bit of water, lots of fresh spinach; steam/saute.
Julienne a sweet potato; spray a sheet pan with canola oil, spread potatoes on the pan, spray them with a light film of canola oil; bake in a hot oven.
Serve it with a whole grain boxed rice pilaf.

Scrambled Eggs w/Vegetables

I am on a diet; this is brunch a couple of days ago. Saute spinach, mushrooms, red onion in a small amount of vegetable oil. Add two beaten eggs; scramble. Added one slice swiss cheese.

Beef Stock

I purchased some "bones for soup" this month, so made stock. Put bones, celery, carrots, and onion on a sheet pan; roast. Partway through roasting, smear tomato paste onto the bones and vegetables; continue to roast. When colored nicely, put into a pot and cover with cold water; simmer. I simmered this for awhile on the stove. Strain. Refrigerate, fat will rise to the surface and solidify. One can further strain the stock, but I didn't bother. I used it in a variety of of ways, with pork loin chops, spaghetti sauce, and as braising liquid for a piece of beef.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pizza Tomatoes

Yes, You read that correctly, this is a stuffed tomato, not a tomato pizza; I made it last night while making a "man pizza" for my husband. I have gone on a diet you see, and "man pizza" is not on it. This is what I made for myself.
One tomato, halved, seeded, sprinkled with sea salt and Parmesan cheese.
Hamburger: brown the burger with paprika, Italian seasoning, fennel seed, crushed red pepper flakes, dried onion; drain. Fill tomatoes.
Lay a slice of red onion and a low-fat mozzarella on top, bake in a hot oven. (alongside the pizza)
I served it with raw spinach. I forgot I had it, otherwise would have chopped it and added it to the hamburger as I filled the tomato halves.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Milk 'n' Cookies

Felt like making cookies, so here's what I did:
Spooned some natural peanut butter and shortening (O.K., these are half healthy) into a bowl, added brown sugar, creamed. Added two eggs, some vanilla. Mixed well. Added some wheat germ, white flour, and oatmeal. Added some salt and baking soda to the flour when mixing it in. Dropped by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet, baked at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Corn Chowder w/Spanish Shrimp & Chorizo

This was a dish that took a bit of time to prepare, with several components. Wondering what I should cook for dinner, this last week before payday, I looked in the cupboards, and freezer and came up with this. Using some frozen easy peel shrimp, and a link of some natural cured chorizo (used in the paella last month, stuck a link in the freezer), I thought that a nice bowl of hot, and spicy corn chowder would be in order. We had spent the weekend at the lake sailing, on the mountain hiking, enjoying the last of summer, and woke up yesterday morning to snow on the mountain. Yes, a bowl of something warm would be good.

I scoured the internet for some ideas and this is what I came up with:
Component 1: the "nice" veggies; small dice potato, celery, onion. Simmered the potatoes in salted water, then when partway done, added the celery and onion, and frozen corn. Towards the end of cooking, I crumbled up some red chili leftover from farmer's market, it had dried out sitting in a bowl on the counter. Cook until potatoes were just barely tender. (they will finish cooking later) Save the cooking water.

Component 2: pureed vegetables; package of frozen corn (from farmers market), clove of garlic, the rough cuts and ends from the nicely diced potatoes, celery, and the other half of the onion; covered with salted water, simmer. Added the cooking water from the diced veggies. Added oregano, marjoram. Simmered the "heck" out of it. Strained, saving the liquid, and put the solids through a food mill.

Component 3: Stock; let the stock settle, took the broth from the top. Cleaned the shrimp, putting the shells into the stock, simmer. Strain.

To make the chowder:
Diced salt pork, render. When crispy, add the nicely diced, parcooked veggies to the pot. Stir to evenly coat, let saute for a minute. Add the stock, add more water if needed. Stir, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the pureed vegetables, finish with whipping cream. Taste for seasonings.

Spanish Shrimp and Chorizo:
Made a paste with: garlic clove, oregano, dried chili flakes, salt. Added smoked and regular paprika to make a paste.

Heated oil in a saute pan, when hot, added paste. Tossed in sliced chorizo (cured, not fresh), and shrimp. Saute until done, this took just a few minutes.
Use to top chowder.
I served a crusty, buttery dinner roll I made earlier in the day, reheated in the oven while making the chowder.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peachy Pear Tarts

Easy peasy... diced canned pears, with a sauce made from the apple juice the pears were canned in, sugar, cornstarch, peach jam, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves). Made some pastry (just regular pie crust with a bit of sugar added), put in muffin tins. Spooned a bit of filling in, topped with a mixture of oatmeal, sugar, and butter. Bake. Was very good with a quality, plain vanilla ice cream.

Stuffed Peppers

I had a hankering for stuffed cabbage, and about the same time, a friend gave me some peppers from her garden. So, I made stuffed peppers, and had some cabbage on the side. The hamburger filling had partially cooked rice (kind of a porcupine meatball idea), sauteed onion, celery, and a sweet Hungarian pepper. The seasonings included oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. I was going for the "Eastern European immigrant of the upper Midwest" sort of flavor (at least that's how it reads in my mind!).
The tomato sauce also included the sauteed vegetables and same seasonings. I didn't want the stuff swimming in the tomato sauce so just topped each pepper/meatball with the sauce. Bake. Served it with sauteed cabbage/onions/celery seed, mashed potatoes, and corn.

Mexican Feast (made simple)

I recently made a Mexican feast, and it was yummy! Using simple ingredients, and having a coupe of meats and sauces really made for some variety in plating. Here's what I did:
Taco meat- just burger and a packet of seasoning
Pork Carnitas- pork stew meat (reduced cooking time), seasoned with cumin seed and smoked paprika; braised, put in oven to finish and caramelize.
Red sauce- can of Mexican red enchilada sauce, but "fried" it in oil. Put some oil in a pan, added smoked and regular paprika, then dumped in the sauce. The smoked paprika really added depth to the flavor.
Green sauce- sauteed onion, green chilies, tomatillos, cilantro: pureed in a blender.
I served it with green lettuce and canned, refried beans (with a spoon of each sauce, and butter added), corn and flour tortillas, cheddar cheese. I topped my enchiladas with a mixture of cilantro, red onion, and lemon juice.
My husband made a smothered burrito with his, I made enchiladas, one beef, one pork. I made a pan of enchiladas with the leftovers, using the hamburger and red sauce, with cheddar. We had it with Mexican rice (yep, from a box, the San Fransisco treat...). I may combine the pork and green sauce in a slow cooker and serve it with the leftover enchiladas tonight.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Apple Butter

Cut up apples, add water, and cook until mushy. Strain. Put pulp in slow cooker, add sugar (couple of cups, depends on sweetness of apples). I also used some spices in small amounts: cinnamon, cloves. I left it in the slow cooker overnight, put the lid on wooden spoons to allow the steam to escape, and thereby reducing the mixture, turned it on high this morning so it would come up to a boil. Then used a water bath to can. (I also used some crabapples from our tree out in front of our house; I like the color)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Preserving Farmer's Market Goodness

I made a relish today, never having done it before. I've made pickles, but never relish. I had some cucumbers, carrots, and onions from farmer's market that I needed to use up, so ground them up (using a processor), salted it, and let it sit for a couple of hours. The mixture is then put in a colander and strained. In another pot, I brought to a boil: apple cider vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard powder (didn't have seeds on hand), ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and curry powder. From what I've tasted, it's pretty good!
I bought a dozen ears of corn as well, so thought I'd better get them in the freezer. I blanched the cobs in salted water, then cut the kernels off the cob, scraping the cob after I cut the kernels off. I just put those in freezer bags.