Monday, December 28, 2009
If you do, what machine do you use? Also, where do you buy your wheat in bulk? And, last question - what differences do you notice in baking?
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I've heard a lot about eating locally, and the benefits for both myself and the community certainly outweigh any inconveniences. Our progress here has been gradual, but once the new year hits, I plan to go full steam ahead with it. Looking in my pantry and fridge, I've frequently sacrified quality for quantity or convenience, but at what cost? I would describe my health as fair-good - not phenomenal, but not awful. What can I do to improve my own health outcomes, as well as that of my family? More importantly, how do I develop a sense of healthy eating in my child, so that he craves fruits and vegetables, and not cookies or soft drinks?
Yesterday I received the book The Jungle Effect by Dr. Daphne Miller. 30 hours later, I've read it cover to cover, and it appears to be life-altering. Inspired by patients with chronic diseases, Dr. Miller traveled the world to visit disease cold spots - places where there were incredibly low incidences of the diseases we face in our modern world - heart disease, diabetes, various cancers, colon issues, etc... She found interesting things in the diets of all of these cultures, and shares them in this book. She shares recipes and tips for finding good quality products.
The best part? None of this sounds terrible. None of it sounds boring. In fact, the types of food are exciting and full of flavor and nutrients. I can't wait to start trying the recipes, and then working with the knowledge from this book to find other native recipes and to create our own recipes using these principles and ingredients. She also focuses on the importance of buying local products whenever possible and really reading those product labels to ensure what you're buying isn't full of chemicals.
All that to say - if you're interested in eating locally and eating quality food, this book is a fantastic jumping-off point. Next up - something by Michael Pollan, although I haven't decided what yet.
What do you do to buy locally? Especially in the winter when the Farmer's Markets aren't necessarily available. Also, if you're in the MidSouth area, where do you buy free-range meat?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
2 lbs pork tenderloin
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 - 1 cup white wine
2 Tbsp apricot preserves
zest of 1 orange (I used a clementine, since it was what I had)
splash of balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In an oven-safe skillet, heat up 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Salt and pepper the tenderloin, transfer to skillet, and brown on all sides. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast 15-20 minutes, or until meat is done (I heated mine to 150, but the powers that be recommend you heat it to at least 160). Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board/platter at this point.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in another skillet on medium high heat. Add the sliced onions, and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low, and let the onions continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Once you have removed the tenderloin from the skillet, place the skillet over medium-high heat, and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the apricot preserves, onions, zest, and balsamic, and let cook on medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes (until sauce reaches desired consistency).
Slice tenderloin and top with sauce. Serve immediately.
One thing we're doing now is planning next year's garden. We put together this year's garden rather haphazardly, and ended up with cantaloupe growing in the yard (still tasted great!). I've been watching the sun, logging hours in each spot of the yard, and figuring out what we could and couldn't logistically grow. I'm not sure we'll really have any yard left once all is said and done.
I received the most gorgeous seed catalog in the mail this week from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and am really excited about the seeds I ordered. Assuming everything grows, we should have a fairly large garden with plenty of variety. I had to majorly reign myself in in the tomato section - I was astounded at the varieties! I could have an entire garden of just tomatoes.
If you're interested in planting heirloom, non-GMO seeds, they have a ton of beautiful veggies, fruits, herbs, and flowers to choose from, and many have interesting stories/histories. I can't wait to get everything in the ground!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
*I like more bread than meat with mine, so I tend to skimp a little on the meat filling. I usually have enough filling left over to make at least another half batch of dough.
Searching around the Web, it looks like these can be "pirogs," "pirags," or "piragis." Not a clue which one is most appropriate. Anyone else know?
I know. I really need to get a decent camera. It's just sad how bad these photos are.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
These came out perfectly. They're light and fluffy, with just enough sweetness to keep them from being bland. They would be just as good next to a hefty steak as they would alongside a bowl of chicken noodle soup. I could imagine using a lovely herb butter just as easily as something sweeter such as honey or strawberry butter on these rolls.
I think this will become my wheat roll go-to for now. It also makes 24 rolls, so there are plenty to go in the freezer - I can make a batch one weekend, and with the other breads I make, they would likely last us at least 3 weeks before having to make them again.
Next up, I've been trying to find a good wheat bread recipe (and so is Nancy). Got any suggestions? Let us know!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Not so with alcohol sales in the state of Tennessee, however. We have some of the most backwards laws in the country with respect to the juice of the vine, and none of them benefit the consumer. Not one. They all benefit the wholesale liquor lobby and liquor store owners, but they most certainly do nothing to protect the consumer.
I'm over 21 years of age. I'm legally able to purchase alcohol. With the caveat that I can only purchase that which is available at my local liquor stores. Do they supply wines from all those great little vineyards in Sonoma or France or Italy? No. Can I get something special ordered that isn't already available from their wholesalers? No.
There seems to be a simple solution to this problem, right? Just order it. Yeah, that doesn't work here. We're not allowed to receive or bring any alcohol across state lines. So, we're limited to what's available through the wholesalers. Pursuant to this interpretation of our current laws, we also can't send back any tokens from our travels, either.
This is wrong. It's not fair to the consumers, and it's certainly not fair to the small vineyard owners who don't have the same bargaining powers of the larger vineyards. They should be able to legally sell their products to those who are legally able to buy them, and not be stopped because of our wholesale lobby. It's also unfair to small wine producers here in TN - because of the Supreme Court's decision regarding shipping reciprocity, not allowing consumers in our state to order out of state wines means that our producers cannot ship theirs out, either.
I've heard arguments all over the place that this would make it easier for underage kids to get their hands on alcohol. Phooey. Don't even try to tell me that a grocery store clerk (who already checks IDs for beer) or UPS driver is any less qualified than a liquor store clerk to check IDs. They all have to go through training about fake IDs and the like. Also, most underage kids I remember were looking for instant gratification - not that fabulous pinot that they can only get through the mail or the wine of the month club. They're not going to wait for something to be delivered to them, and again, the delivery person should be required to check ID on any shipments of alcohol.
The arguments against changing the laws for the benefit of the consumer are hollow and not backed up by available data. If you're also fed up, check out two sites working to change things.
Free the Grapes
Red White and Food
Yes, I realize that there are more important things happening in our country than whether or not we have choice of where and from whom to purchase wine in TN. However, a change in the laws adds better price competition for consumers, gives our producers more places to send their product, and allows TN consumers to purchase from smaller producers who can't or won't go through the wholesalers.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I wasn't all that excited about sales this week, so I'll be going with stuff in the freezer as far as meat goes.
Saturday: Pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, roasted new potatoes
Sunday: Tuscan Vegetable Soup, Harvest Grains Ciabatta
Monday: Chicken Marsala (cutting recipe in half), couscous, glazed carrots
Tuesday: Soup and bread leftovers
Wednesday: Vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
Thursday: Baked ziti, asparagus, green beans
Friday: Ziti leftovers, corn, peas
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The recipe I use now is an adaptation and merging of several different recipes I've had over the years. Chicken and rice is one of those individual dishes - some people like it creamier, some with lots of butter, some with lots of chicken, some with more rice - there are endless variations. The general backbone is chicken, rice, some sort of cream, a little butter, and maybe some cheese.
This meal also freezes easily, so I usually make it in two 8 X 8 disposable pans - I can pull one out to take to a friend when needed, and it's great to have on hand for those nights that you just can't get a meal together but don't want to do takeout.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Meat from 3-4 chicken breasts, or 1 rotisserie chicken
3 cups of minute rice (measured in uncooked rice)
1/4 C butter
2-3 ribs celery, diced
8 oz shredded cheddar or colby
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of celery
up to 1 can chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook minute rice according to directions on package.
3. Once rice is cooked, combine all ingredients except stock in a large bowl and stir to combine. Gradually add stock until you get a gooey mixture, but not overly soupy. Keep any leftover stock in case the casserole gets dry while cooking (you can just pour a little over the top to bring it back to life before you take it out of the oven).
4. Transfer mixture to 2 8x8 pans or another casserole dish/cake pan that will hold all of the mixture.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until casserole is completely set.
Sorry that the directions aren't overly detailed - this is just how I do it every time I make it. Some people like to make them in bigger pans so that the casserole is thinner and a little drier. I tend to like it a little more on the gooey side, so I make it in a smaller pan so that it's thicker. This will yield 8-12 servings, depending on appetites and what else it's served with. Enjoy!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Pork butt is on sale at Schnucks for $.87/lb this week, so that's what we're having! And, by roasting it simply (seasoning with the basics - salt, pepper, onion, and garlic), it's versatile enough to use at least 3 different ways. Also, Schnucks has their split chicken breasts on sale for the same price, so I'll be picking up a couple of packages of those for the freezer.
Friday: Grilled chicken, baked potatoes, asparagus
Monday: Big chopped salads, garlic bread
Tuesday: brown rice pilaf with two mushrooms, roasted broccoli, steamed carrots
Wednesday: Roasted pork butt, green beans, bruschetta
Thursday: Pork tacos, spanish rice
Friday: BBQ sandwiches (using above pork), baked beans, corn
One thing I did do differently from the recipe was to bake them at 450 for 20 minutes or so (I liked a little bit of crunch on the bottom of them, though). There was just enough fat left in the pan that I didn't need any extra olive oil once I got to the step with the onions. I also cut the meatball part of the recipe in half because with only 2 of us, I knew we'd never eat all of them. I'm also a huge garlic fan, so I added about 50% more garlic than what the recipe called for in the sauce part.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
But - and this drives me nuts - it always makes a huge mess of my oven and stinks up the house. You'd think I was frying chicken based on the smell. Grease gets all over the inside of the oven and it gets smoky.
So, any ideas on how to roast chicken so that it's less messy (and smelly)? I'm clueless! *This is actually after we reheated the leftovers, but it was still amazingly juicy the next night. I reheated it on lower power in the microwave for about 5 minutes, then put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to make the skin crispy again. And I have no self-control when it comes to twice-baked potatoes. I also had one for breakfast.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Split chicken breasts are on sale at Kroger this week ($.97/lb), and I've already stocked up on some that I boiled and shredded for soups and casseroles. I'm going to get another package to make a recipe I found that looks divine. Other than that, since I'm trying not to buy too much processed food, it's hard to shop sales/coupons. Most of the good sales are for something out of a box.
Friday: Provencal Chicken (enough for 2 meals), zucchini, twice-baked potatoes
Saturday: Pizza (for lunch), grilled halibut, macaroni and cheese, roasted broccoli
Sunday: Taco soup (lunch), leftover chicken, twice-baked potatoes, green beans
Monday: Real Meatballs and Spaghetti, steamed asparagus, french bread
Wednesday: Grilled chicken, salad, corn
Thursday: Grilled chicken panini, salad
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I'm also frustrated with myself - we had our first cooking club last night, and I completely forgot to take pictures for the blog! It's a surprise as far as what everyone is making, so you have no idea what you're going to get. We're currently working through the Jr. League of Birmingham's Tables of Content, and I think it's going to be a blast! Last night we had Hot Feta Cheese & Artichoke Dip (p 54), Edamame Salad (p 100), Grandmother's Texas Barbecued Brisket (p 184), Cheesy Beer Bread (p 130), Artichoke Broccoli Casserole (p 252), Butternut Squash with Apples and Bourbon (p 271), and Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (p 296). It was delicious! We have a Tex-Mex theme for next month - so excited!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I stumbled upon this recipe at Allrecipes.com. Most of the time, if a recipe is rated highly by a large number of people on Allrecipes, it's pretty good. This one was rated highly by a large number, and I had all the ingredients I needed on hand, so I gave it a try.
The first batch I made tasted good, but didn't really wow me. I had read through the comments and done some of the things suggested, which included adding extra flour, and I think that ended up making that batch somewhat dry. I made them again today and followed the recipe exactly, and they came out moist, chewy, and delicious - there's just enough chocolate to get a chocolate fix, but it's not overpowering. They're also not insanely sweet - I like sweets, but I can't stand cookies that just have too much sugar in them.
One thing I did have to do was cook them 16-18 minutes, rather than the recommended 12. I have an oven thermometer, so I know it was at 325 degrees, but they were still gooey when I checked on them at 12 minutes.
I did all of this in the stand mixer (even the chocolate chips and walnuts) with no problem. Using a regular spoon to drop them onto the cookie sheets, I got 33 cookies out of the batter.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Saturday: Baked salmon, french onion soup, asparagus
Sunday: Stuffed Shells (subbing ground turkey), green beans, zucchini
Tuesday: Mexican Pizza
Wednesday: Chicken Fried Rice
Thursday: Chicken and rice casserole, corn, lima beans
Friday: Chicken and rice casserole, peas, roasted carrots
This second of this month's BB recipes was Easy Sticky Buns chosen by Melissa of Made By Melissa. I had noticed these in my BC Back to Basics cookbook, so I was excited to finally try them!
These were super-easy to make (once my puff pastry FINALLY thawed enough to work with - it took forever). But, seriously, this doesn't require much more work than popping open a can, and it tastes so much better. They were light and flaky, sweet and buttery and cinnamony. Bliss on a Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, we had a slight emergency when the cinnamon rolls were coming out of the oven (let's just suffice it to say that hands should not touch oven doors when hot), and don't have a picture. We were in running to the doctor crazy mode, so pics didn't happen. But when we got home, those rolls were still waiting for us and helped us come down from the adrenaline high.
I'll definitely make them again. In fact, they're so easy that they might just become somewhat of a tradition around here!
Easy Sticky Buns
From Barefoot Contessa's Back To Basics
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
for the filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
This has been a very helpful tool for me - I no longer have to bookmark every recipe I find online, or store recipes on various sites (allrecipes, Food Network, Epicurious, etc...). I just copy and paste, and it's all stored in one place.
There's also a fantastic feature called the "Grocery List." Many food websites have this, but if you've saved recipes all over the web, you have to do this in several places. With this site, you just pick the recipes you want, they populate your grocery list, and then you can categorize them further if you wish. It's very handy.
Give it a try!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
2 lbs beef stew meat
Friday, January 9, 2009
I'm also making a lot of things that aren't too spicy this week. A lot of what I tend to cook has a kick of some sort (or wine), and I really want to start feeding the kiddo from the same things we're eating. So, this is also stuff I can (try to, anyway) feed him. I'll probably be sticking with things like this for a while - or things where I can add the spice in at the end, so that I can take his portion out early.
Saturday: Dinner out. Without kiddo. Yippee!
Sunday: Beefy Bello Soup in homemade bread bowls (if I have time) or French bread, salad
Monday: Pork Tenderloin, potatoes, zucchini
Tuesday: Leftover tenderloin
Wednesday: Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches, salad
Friday: Homemade pizza
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Thanks to Karen of Something Sweet By Karen for choosing such a yummy recipe!
Banana Sour Cream Pancakes
Cookbook: 2003’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: Back to School
1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk
2 extra-large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.
Ignore the brown eggs. I'm freaky about not having any runniness in my scrambled eggs, so mine are always cooked to oblivion...