Archive for the ‘From the Kitchen’ Category
Beef and cabbage and probably a beer.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
The holiday wouldn’t be complete without a little Beef and Cabbage. . . though, not Corned Beef because I just can’t bring myself to eat it. And interestingly enough, it’s not really an Irish tradition. Â So, I rolled up my sleeves and spent the afternoon making hand pies instead.
This is actually a German recipe called Bierocks. Â However, just about every culture seems to want to claim beef and cabbage! Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, we won’t tell anyone and just go with it!
I’ve had the recipe since I was a teenager, but it’s been years since I’ve made it. These were a staple in the early years of our marriage: being one of the few foods I walked down the aisle knowing how to make. There’s a bit of nostalgia involved — which is probably why IZ was so willing to pass on tradition this year! Clearly, I’m not that Irish—and trust me, if you read the foot notes this will seem the least of my transgressions.
These tasty pies are a time commitment, but well worth the effort. The recipe makes 24 pies and you can easily freeze the left-overs for later! Make sure you have some yummy mustard for dipping, and yes, they are amazing with a “pint”.
This is so easy, it’s practically cheating.
Our new go-to bread:
I love fresh baked bread. But I’ll be honest; I’m not nearly as good at baking it as I am at eating it! It’s a lot of time invested for a product that can be so quickly demolished. As in seconds at our house. Buying an artisan loaf is no solution, either—those need to be consumed quickly or they go stale. Never being one to waste bread, I pretty much use that as an excuse to eat. Portion control goes right out the window.
So, lately I’ve been cheating. Using this idea for Parmesan Knots from Pinterest as a spring board, I’ve been making these ridiculously good (and super easy!) rolls with soup and pasta. The recipe uses canned biscuits and while I’m not a fan of much canned, Pillsbury makes a biscuit called “Simply” that isn’t loaded with weird ingredients or trans fats. While a bit pricier than its canned biscuit counterparts, it’s worth it to be able to pronounce all the words on the label. Not to mention, these actually taste good. Not like homemade biscuits by any measure, but also not like that weird processed flavor you usually get with the pop-top biscuit.
So, the method is easy. All you need is 1 Tb of olive oil and 1-2 t of your favorite seasoning salts. I use steak seasoning because we like things on the peppery side and it’s colorful and marries well with soup.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees*. Pour your olive oil in a shallow dish and spread the seasoning salt on a separate plate. Simply roll out Â each biscuit in your hands until you have a rope of 6-8″. Â Lightly coat with olive oil and then dunk in the seasoning salts. I only coat one “side” of the rope because the salts I use are so peppery. Then tie your dough rope into a knot and plop them into a muffin tin. Yes, “plop” is a culinary term. You should totally use it to impress your foodie friends.
Now, bake for 14 minutes*. Â Once done, they’re ready to eat and trust me, you won’t regret making these. So simple. So tasty. And at 110 calories each, easy portion control if you need it like I do. (Oh how I need portion control!)
Of course, nothing stops you from making more than one batch at a time, but that’s all on you. I had nothing to do with that!
*follow the baking instructions on your tin of biscuits.
Do you have an easy culinary “cheat I should know about? Spill it!
Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup:
Poor IZ is sick. He’s still plugging away at work (the joys of working at home) but I’ve been taking up the cooking duties for the past few days. Monday, I did this dish on the side of the couscous box that was a hit. Hardly “cooking” as much as following directions. But I did add my own twist of walnuts and myzithra cheese—hanging out with IZ in the kitchen has clearly rubbed off on me.
But yesterday, he was feeling so poorly, I knew a “Chicken With” meal wasn’t going to cut it. “How about soup?” And with a snuffled nod we were on.
Now, I have a history with soup. I don’t make it. Ever. Â Not after a disastrous encounter with homemade acorn squash soup in 2007. How bad was it? Â Not even IZ could muster a pity bowl and he’s got a cast iron gag reflex. My child was not so diplomatic: “WHAT IS THIS . . . STUFF?! This is horrible. The worst soup ever. What are doing to us, MOM?” Â Or something to that effect because I rememberÂ promptly ordering a pizza and calling it quits. It was that bad. That night we Â all made a silent deal between us: the only soup Wende would be making from here on out was reheating IZ’s leftovers. Done!
That should give you some indication how sick IZ is presently.
I started with this recipe from 365 Days of Slow Cooking but then got serious about the modifications (though, it’s still plenty fattening). I’m sorry, but I blanch at two cups of half and half. SERIOUSLY? Um, no. Â So, I modified and tested Â and modified some more and served. . . and my teenager, who hates all things tomato, ate two servings. “Brilliant and thank you!”
I’m not sure what I’m more excited about. . . that I made soup or that the 15 year old said, “You can make this again.” Â His father seemed equally pleased. He’s still sick, so this soup won’t cure all that ails you. But, it comes pretty darn close.
Nutella No Bake Cookies. Or, Crack for short.
If you’ve managed to escape the scourge on modern life that is Nutella before today, you should stop reading this post right now. Really, walk away. I’ll be posting tomorrow, come back then. Because what I’m about to share is doubly addictive. . . You won’t be able to stop making or eating these things.
Consider this your “Dead Men Tell no Tales” amusement ride warning.
Somehow, until this weekend, I had managed to escape the clutches of Nutella. In part, because I was pretty convinced I wouldn’t like it. I’ve never been a huge fan of hazelnut anything. I figured that out with my first sip of Hazelnut Coffee. Swill! And then confirmed it with my first box of Godiva chocolates. Beautiful boxes, pretty little shapes, and luscious chocolates that are, sadly, mostly filled with hazelnut cream. There must be something wrong with me.
So, when a wave of Nutella freaks entered my social sphere, I gently pointed out with every enthusiastic recommendation, “But, I don’t like Hazelnut.”
“Well, there must be something wrong with you.”
But last week, for some inexplicable reason*, I bought a jar of the stuff. (*I blame Pinterest) IZ gave me that look as he often does when random food items sneak into our cart. Does that happen to you? Odd or exotic food stuffs just wander into your life via the shopping cart? Happens to me all the time.
Clearly, there’s something wrong with me.
And the rest is history. I’ve told twitter and facebook and now I’m telling you, “If you’ve never had Nutella before, you should avoid it like you’d avoid Crack Cocaine.”
As for these cookies? Well, they’ll keep you from eating the jar wholesale by the spoonful. At least until they’re gone!
I’m knocking these resolutions out of the park. . .
Dark Chocolate Oatmeal
3/4 cups Quick Oats (not instant oatmeal)
1 Cup milk (I use organic 1%)
1 oz dark chocolate (I use Ghriadelli 60% Dark Chocolate Chips)
Prepare oatmeal (with chocolate and milk) on cook top, bring to boil and then simmer until oatmeal is tender. Top with a few extra chocolate chips and raspberries. Share, only if you must. (technically 2 servings)
Rejoice: it’s chocolate for breakfast.
We’re expecting a major blow here on the coast tomorrow. Power outages are likely—for how long, is anyone’s guess. I’m frantically doing laundry, have baked a huge raspberry coffee cake, put fresh sheets on the bed, and when I hunt down that dog, she’s getting a bath. We’ve got gas, and fuel, and wood, and each other. I think we’re ready. Â So, I’m leaving you with a bit of sunshine in the form of lovely Meyer Lemons (my favorite!) and I’ll catch you on the flip side of this winter gale. In the meantime, if you’re feeling inspired, here’s a wonderful recipe for Lemon bars.
Together in the kitchen.
One of the ways I stayed sane living in a hotel this summer was to imagine us back in our renovated home. I kept a Pinterest board of all our design ideas because it kept me focused on the outcome, not the destruction! When the process became overwhelming, I would go pin something inspirational. Click, click, breathe, breathe.
Early in the process I found myself imagining cooking in our new kitchen.Â Um, yeah, you heard correctly. Me cooking. (no it’s not the 8th sign of the apocalypse, yes it’s a bit delusional) So I started a board of recipe ideas that looked both accessible to the uninitiated cook and appetizing. I labeled the board, “Domesticate Me.” And, well. . . the idea snowballed.
It’s not blackberry season yet, it’s not really raspberry season either. But when Safeway had a “buy one get one free” deal on raspberries, I tucked that nagging thought, “It’s kinda early for raspberries” into the far reaches of my mind with the unsorted laundry, and scooped up 2 pints of jewel toned beauty. I’m a sucker for beautiful things. And a deal.â€¨But what to do with slightly not ripe, but really pretty raspberries?
After yesterday’s post, baking is probably a bit counter productive to the whole weight loss thing, eh?
Point of clarification: after reading all of your lovely, well meaning comments I realize that I might not have been as clear as I needed to be. I’m shattered that the dress doesn’t look good in photographs. And that I haven’t found just the right dress to blend into the woodwork at the upcoming weddings. I’m actually feeling pretty good about the weight loss. Yes, I’d like it to move faster, but I know what I’m up against. And progress is progress. However, I will cop to being utterly frustrated with this haircut. I hate it. It’s not an inner beauty or self esteem issue, it’s a “I shouldn’t have let her cut that top layer so short so that I have to torture the heck out of it in order to get it to lie flat” issue.
Why didn’t I just say that in first place? I don’t know. Sometimes, I’m as clear as mud.
Anyhow, here I am with 2 pints of pretty and they’re kinda too tart to just munch. I’ve decided that they need to be in a baked-good, diet schmiet. So, I’m making up the ultimate in coffee cakes, “Marionberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake” with a twist. Because it’s not blackberry season, yet. But, it’s always coffeecake season.
Recipe after the jump.
There were three loaves… but, um, we kinda ate one right out of the oven.
I’m not sure what got into me today. But I woke up with that over-acheiver mentality that sometimes possesses me in my sleep. I swear, it’s IZ whispering to me as I snore, “Sweetie, you should really bake something tomorrow.” I wake up, a list drafted in my sleep, and it always contains more than I can achieve in one day—and apparently an agenda item to “bake.”
And evidently, bake something just as over achieving as my delusional to-do list. What is it about Nissua recipes? Three loaves… everyone one of them? How many Â Finnish babies do you think I have anyhow? (that’s a trick question, we’re Danes) Ok, so my teenage boy counts as two, but really, three loaves? What are we going to do with three loaves of Cardamom bread?
So I got productive today. Laundry and errands and even a Spiritual Direction meeting—all the while working the steps that is bread baking.
I have to tell you, I’m feeling pretty smug today. I have no business feeling smug, because only yesterday in my multi-tasking frenzy (it’s a trend this time of year) I over-looked a potentially embarrassing flaw in one of Mireio’s glasses. And then last Friday, on an equally “I can do it all” time warp of a day, I managed to bake under baked brownies—those darn things spent 45 minutes in the oven and still were slushy in the middle. So, really, I have no right being all “I can DO this!” But, I can’t really help myself. I baked bread, people. Three loaves of delightfully airy bread and I didn’t burn down the house. Or forget the laundry. Or mess anything up. I homeschooled the kid, flirted with the husband, signaled before turning, and managed to sit down for afternoon coffee and a slice of bread.
Of course, I totally forgot to put on mascara and the dog still isn’t bathed, but we won’t dwell on that.
As for three loaves of bread and what we’re going to do with them…. well, turns out, that’s not so much a problem. The first loaf is already gone, the second is iced for dessert, and the third? Can you say French Toast in the morning, baby? Yeah, IZ, I’m talking to you.
Because apparently, he loves his mother’s Apple Pie.
Recently I overheard IZ on the phone with his mother, ” I love two kinds of apple pie. Wende’s, of course, Â and yours.” Â This is news to me! Because whenever I bake apple pie the boy lies through his teeth and says, “This is the best apple pie! I wouldn’t eat anything but your apple pie.”
Let’s get things straight here, my apple is nothing special. In fact, I won’t serve it to friends. I draw the limit at tormenting family. IZ just has fond memories because I baked apple pie for him for months when we were first married. I was attempting to perfect my pie crust skills, so I baked an apple pie each week. I’m not partial to apple pie, (that’s southern for “I abhor it!”) so I could safely bake it and not also eat it. He gained 20 lbs. Love, I tell you, it makes you fat and happy.
However, I had no clue he had a soft spot for his mother’s pie. He never said. Not that I would have listened, I don’t think. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would have told him, “Are you married to your mother? NO. Is your mother here baking you pie? No. You will eat MY pie because I baked it, buster.” Ok, I wouldn’t have said it, but I would have shot him a look that summed up my position. My house, my pie.
These days, I’m old, er, and wise, er, and it’s probably time to stop tormenting the man with my apple pie. I stepped up and got the recipe from my mother-in-law. But, being resistant (I’m southern) and stubborn (southern) and wiley (southern) I wasn’t about to give in easily. Which is why I opened up our coffee time this morning with my big move.
Me: “I have a proposition for you. I want to bribe you.”
IZ: “With what?”
Me: “With pie. If you’ll make me a pdf recipe template for Evidently, I’ll bake you pie. I’ll bake you your mother’s apple pie.”
IZ: “Sounds fair to me.”
So today, he made a template and now you can clicky, clicky for a printable recipe card! And me, I baked pie. Apple pie. His mother’s pie. And you didn’t hear it from me, but it’s pretty good pie.
Click here for a printable recipe card :Â Kellie’s Brown Bag Apple Pie