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Posts from the ‘Entree or Main’ Category

More From Teagan, Comfort Food For Pip- Souffléd Macaroni And Cheese

I absolutely love working with Teagan, and admire her and her wonderful work. This is another snippet from Teagan involving her feisty character Pip. We wanted to do something involving comfort food and when I think of comfort food one of the first things that come to mind is macaroni and cheese. In keeping with the 1920’s flapper theme of the story this recipe is from that era from another feisty and very talented woman named Clemantine Paddleford. Enjoy, and take it away Teagan!!

PS: The recipe is fantastic, light and flavorful really a wonderful change from the traditional macaroni and cheese.

Pip Arrives in Savannah
Thanks for letting me visit again, Suzanne!  Here’s another little vignette from the “universe” of my character Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip.  This would happen after The Three Things Serial Story It’s inspired by Suzanne’s macaroni and cheese.

Pip’s dad didn’t appreciate her escapades in that novella. So now she’s been sent to her grandmother, to learn to cook!  I hope you’ll enjoy this tidbit.

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Pip Arrives in Savannah

The breeze that rustled through the fronds of tall palm trees was tinged with salt.  I inhaled deeply as I walked out of the tall arched door at Savannah’s Union Station.  I heard the bell of a streetcar, which had gone past a moment before.  I stretched to see the trolley, but barely got a glimpse of its back-end.

With a loud Bronx cheer I dropped my suitcase to the curb of West Broad Street.  I thought the Jazz Age slang for the rude noise I made was appropriate, since my Pops was continuing on the train to New York City.

Pops said I needed to be reigned-in, and Granny insisted that I needed to learn to cook.  Neither of them would admit that I was a modern woman.  No self-respecting Flapper needed to cook!  Anyhow, Pops had unceremoniously dumped me off the train, saying he’d visit with Granny and me on his way back.  I blew another raspberry at the streetcar that I had just missed — and at my wretched situation.

Union Station Savannah, GA

The ringing of the streetcar’s bell faded into the distance.  The first time I ever saw a trolley was during a visit to my grandmother, there in Savannah, when I was a very little girl.  I slipped away from her and Pops, and scampered onto a streetcar.  I didn’t get far, but Granny Phanny was mad enough to spit. 

This time, I had done the opposite.  Instead of getting on a trolley when I shouldn’t have, I had missed the one I was supposed to ride to get to her.  Now Granny would be waiting to meet me at some Chinese restaurant downtown, but I wouldn’t be on the trolley.  Horsefeathers!  She would be in a lather.

A nearby news vendor walked away from his stall, probably headed for a bite of lunch.  I called out and waved as I hurried toward him, my suitcase bumping along at my side.

“Hey Mac!  Was that the trolley that goes to Pearl Street?” I called out, but he didn’t hear me over the blast of a train whistle.  “Enjoy your lunch,” I grumbled and my empty stomach answered in kind.  “I sure could do with some of Granny’s macaroni and cheese.”

“Did you miss the trolley, sweet cheeks?” a clear tenor voice asked.

I didn’t see him until he moved forward.  He had been leaning against the opposite side of the newsstand.  He wore a suit and hat, but they had flair.  He cast a furtive glance over his shoulder, but then tilted his head back and blew a smoke ring into the air.

Applesauce!  He looked pos-i-lute-ly like the kind of character I had always been told to avoid, but he was as sexy as the Sheik of Araby.  Then his cigarette smoke drifted to me and I sneezed.  So much for me being a sophisticated Sheba.  I had to agree with Pops that smoking was a nasty habit.

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“You’re new in town, huh?  I’m Floyd.  I can take you where the giggle water flows aplenty.  It’ll be a real blow,” he said with a smile and a wink that made him even handsomer.

“Says you,” I countered coyly, thinking he was joking around.

“At least let me drive you over to Pearl Street.  Stick around until my pal gets back.  He’s picking up something for me,” he added gazing up and then down the street, as if looking for his friend.  Stay right here and I’ll get my machine.  It’s a sweet ride.  You’ll love it,” he called over his shoulder as he rushed away.  “Don’t move.  Promise.  I’ll be right back.”

I stood baffled, gaping at Floyd’s retreating form.  I was also feeling flattered by his interest.  There was an intensity about him that I found exciting.  Not to mention the fact that I was relieved that I might avoid Granny’s wrath over me missing the streetcar and leaving her waiting.

Signorina, do not be going with that man.  It would be a bad thing for you.  Trouble comes,” a voice, heavily accented with Italian, said from behind me.  “There will be other transportation.”

Turning, I saw a portly man in odd looking chef’s clothes.  He lifted his brimless toque and bowed.  A jalopy backfired so suddenly and so loudly that I jerked around to face the noise.  When I turned back, the chef was gone.  I didn’t see him anywhere.  It was as if he disappeared into thin air.

I quickly forgot about the odd occurrence when a wooden crate fell off a passing truck.  The driver pulled to the curb beside me.  Without thinking I went to help.  He had not been traveling fast, so little damage was done.  A few oranges rolled from a broken crate.  I started picking up the wayward fruit.1920s delivery truck

An Asian looking guy with a quasi-British accent jumped out of the driver’s door, apologizing even before his feet hit the street.  He gingerly hopped over the tailgate and began re-positioning the crates.  A couple of them looked ready to fall.

I noticed lettering on the truck proclaiming Wong’s Chinese.  Was that the name of the restaurant where I was supposed to meet Granny?  I was so resentful about being sent to Savannah that I hadn’t even paid attention to what she said.  I knew there wouldn’t be more than one Chinese restaurant on the street.

“Your place isn’t on Pearl Street by any chance, is it?”

“Yep, that’s Wong’s,” he replied with a grin, stopping his work.  “Hey, are you Pip?  Miss Phanny will be looking for you.  I’m Alastair Wong,” he bent from the truck bed and shook my hand.

I sighed with relief.

Then a brand new Ford stopped and gave a long blare of the auto’s horn.  “Hey! Move it,” my Sheik of Araby from moments before shouted angrily, and followed that with a racial slur.

Floyd got out of the automobile, moving toward us in a menacing posture.  I stood up, a smashed and dripping orange still in my hand.

“This cake eater’s bad news, Pip.  You don’t want to have anything to do with him,” Alastair Wong whispered as he stepped in front of me protectively.

In the distance a police whistle trilled.  The guy’s eyes widened and he looked over his shoulder.  Before I knew what was happening, he had hit Alastair in the head with the butt of a pistol.  I shrieked as he dragged me into the open Ford, my arms and legs flailing.

I could hear the coppers coming toward us, shouting and blowing whistles.  Suddenly the Ford was blocked between the delivery truck and police vehicles.  Alastair lay unconscious on the street.  The busted orange dripped juice all over my skirt.  The guy waved his gun around excitedly.  A maniacal gleam came to his eyes when he looked at me.

1920s Police car

An over eager copper fired his gun.  I heard the whiz of the bullet pass by my head.  Startled, Floyd jerked toward the policemen.  Movement from the delivery truck caught my eye.  A catawampus crate started to wobble.  Suddenly that crate and another one tumbled down to land on the windshield of the Ford.  Floyd started screaming and cursing, waving his pistol even more.

When he turned back to me, on sudden impulse I stuck the busted orange in his face and smeared it into his eyes.  By then the coppers had reached us.  They grabbed him before he could do any damage with the gun.

A copper helped me out of the Ford.  I ran to Alastair as another cop helped him stand.  Across the street I saw Floyd’s pal, the news vendor being held by a policeman.

“What just happened here?” I demanded.

A paddy wagon rolled up and the policemen pushed Floyd into it, along with his pal.

“Bootleggers,” a copper told me.  “As if we didn’t already have enough of those around here.”

“So Pip,” Alastair said while he held a handkerchief to his bloodied forehead.  “How do you like Savannah so far?”

I chuckled despite everything.  At least he had a sense of humor.

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“Well, I was afraid I would be bored to tears here,” I told him with a dramatic sigh.  “But I suppose it will be interesting enough.  So far I’ve learned three things.  Don’t take any wooden nickels.  Don’t get into Fords with handsome men.  And Wong’s Chinese is the right place to go.”

Alastair laughed.  “That’s a good slogan, doll face.  Mind if I use it?  How about we get you to the restaurant.  Miss Phanny will be getting impatient.”

And so began my adventures in Savannah.

The end

***

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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Souffléd Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 4 servings

Recipe by Clemantine Paddleford

1 1/2 cups scalded whole milk

1 cup soft bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese Note: I used 2  cups cheddar cheese

1 cup cooked macaroni

3 eggs separated

1/4 cup diced pimentos

1 tbs chopped parsley

1 tbs grated onion

1 tsp salt

3 tbs butter melted

Pre heat oven to 350 degree’s Grease a casserole Note: I baked at 375 degree’s

Pour milk over soft bread crumbs, add cheese. Cover and let stand until cheese melts. Add macaroni. Combine and add beaten egg yolks, pimento, parsley, onion, salt and buttter. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into the mixture. Note: I sprinkled the top of the mac and cheese with breadcrumbs and grated some cheddar and gruyere on top.

Pour into prepared casserole. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes.

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Beef And Eggplant Ragu

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I love a good meaty pasta dish, it’s rich and perfect cold weather fare. This recipe couldn’t be easier, and has a surprise ingredient, eggplant which adds an amazing flavor and texture, it’s similar to a bolognese but not your traditional recipe.  I have posted recipes from Windy before, well, it was a few years ago and I posted her recipe for turkey meatballs in a cream sauce.  She doesn’t have a food blog but I think she should. Her recipes are delicious, nutritious and budget conscience. Whether making this for one or a family (it tastes even better the next day) you should give this recipe a try. You can use whatever type of pasta you like, whether long noodles or a substantial pasta like rigatoni it is wonderful, gnocchi would be great as well.

Beef and eggplant ragu

Serves 4 generously

4 garlic cloves chopped
1 shallot chopped
1/2 small onion (red or yellow)
1 lb 80% Lean ground beef
1 small Eggplant  peeled and cubed
1 28 oz can Tomato Puree
1 cup red wine
Salt
Pepper
3 Bay Leaves
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Dice and sautée garlic, shallots and onion for about 3 min. Add ground beef. Cook until ground beef is browned then add eggplant and cook about 4 min longer. Add canned tomato, wine, salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for about 20-30 min.
Cook pasta of your choice. I used fettuccine. Toss pasta with sauce and sprinkle pecorino Romano on top. Also good with a dollop of ricotta. 😋

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Thanksgiving

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Every year I make the same meal for Thanksgiving, there is little to no variations year to year because everyone loves it that way. It makes things easier sort of, the only planning involves the shopping and of course the preparation. I try to make as much in advance as possible to save myself work on the big day. This will be Percy’s first Thanksgiving with me and I plan on giving him a plate of food along with the rest of my guests. I am excited that this year my two cousins will be joining me as well. My menu is very basic, nothing fancy but everything is homemade and has withstood the test of time. The dishes on the menu are linked to former posts so that you can see the recipes. Mashed potatoes, well, no recipe required, so my potatoes have not lumps I use the food mill and then simply add sour cream, butter and salt and pepper, thats all, the same goes for the pumpkin pie, I used canned pumpkin and follow the instructions on the back of the can, I’ve tried other methods and quite honestly the results are so similar it’s not worth the extra effort. The meal is always served with wine, this year a Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Sparkling blanc de blanc and I am still undecided on whether to serve a Chardonnay or white bordeaux.

Thanksgiving Menu

butter and herb roast turkey

dressing

mashed potatoes

oven roasted brussells sprouts

corn

cranberry sauce

dinner rolls

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Dessert

Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Happy Halloween, Cheesy Cauliflower Puree With Roasted Vegetables And Pear With Poire William Creme Anglaise

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Halloween is a big day in our neighborhood, our community group the Society for Clinton Hill sponsors a Halloween Walk and other events, there are months of planning that go into this. Last year there were over 3000 children and adults that participated and this year I think there will be more, judging from the response we have gotten so far. We have a halloween map showing houses that hand out candy, a theatrical production at 313 Clinton Avenue, the Dead Zombie Band puts on an incredible show and everyone looks forward to it. Because we are a not for profit organization local business donate to help us defray the expense of putting this whole thing together. I am on the board of directors for the community organization and am in charge of the PR, social media and the website as well as helping to coordinate.  It’s a tremendous amount of work but very rewarding. I will post photo’s this week. Happy Halloween to all!!

Sorry about all the cauliflower recipes, as I said in the last post it’s an obsession of mine and a filling and delicious sub for carb laden rice or potatoes or pasta. In this case I probably would have served over polenta but instead served with a cauliflower puree made rich with a little creme fraiche and grated comte cheese. The vegetables are simple, a small graffiti eggplant roasted with whole cherry tomatoes and shallot. For a textural diversion I sauteed some fresh bread crumbs in garlic, butter and olive oil and sprinkled over the top.

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth and still stay away from refined sugar and flour I created this simple dessert by poaching pears in Poire William (pear liquor) with a touch of maple syrup to sweeten and served with a créme anglaise again with a little maple syrup to sweeten and some Poire William.  Créme Anglaise is a custard sauce made with eggs, milk or cream, sugar, vanilla and rum or some sort of spirit or liquor. Because I am not really eating refined sugar I chose to lightly sweeten with maple syrup, this was adapted from Julia Childs recipe in her book, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom”.  I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t thicken properly because there is no sugar but it worked just fine.

Cauliflower Puree with Roasted Vegetables 

Really no recipe required for this I made enough for 2 servings

Cauliflower puree follow instructions but use creme fraiche rather than cream.

1 small eggplant cut into bite size pieces

cherry tomatoes

1 shallot peeled and cut into quarters

cheese of your choice I used comté and didn’t measure- grated – add as much cheese as you like

olive oil

salt and pepper

fresh breadcrumbs

1 small garlic clove thinly sliced

butter

Make the cauliflower puree and set aside. Clean and cut your eggplant and shallot, heat the oven to 400 degree’s. Place parchment on sheet pan and lay the vegetables and whole cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes. The eggplant and shallot should be soft and the tomatoes nicely caramelized.

Heat a little olive oil and butter in a skillet on med high heat, add garlic and sauté until soft. Add the breadcrumbs stirring so that the fat is absorbed by the breadcrumbs. Toast in the skillet until crisp and browned.

Heat cauliflower puree in saucepan add grated cheese. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables spooned on top, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and garnish with a little parsley if you like.

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Créme Anglaise

2 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Child

3 egg yolks

2-3 tbs maple syrup

1 cup half and half or whole milk

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbs Poire William (you can use the juices from the poached pears for this)

Whisk egg yolks with the maple syrup until the yolks are thick and pale yellow. Heat milk to scalding and add in a slow steady stream to the egg yolks whisking constantly. Pour into the saucepan and cook on medium to medium low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon, using your finger swipe a line and if it stays intact it’s done. Remove from heat immediately, pour through a fine sieve to remove any bits of egg that may have cooked and add the vanilla and pear liquor.  Refrigerate until ready to use, since this is best served warm heat over simmering water (bain marie) until warm to the touch. The créme anglaise which is usually a light yellow because of the maple syrup and vanilla is more beige in color.

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Poached Pears

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Peel, cut in half and core the pears,  place in a buttered baking dish adding some Poire William, pear nectar or whatever liquid you like. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until pears are soft when gently poked with the end of a sharp knife.

If your créme anglaise is cold you can warm over simmering water. Spoon onto a plate and top with the pear.

You can add a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pod or whatever spice you like to the pears and this will infuse with a gentle warm spice that would be delicious as well.

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Count Dracula

Percy as Count Dracula

Ottolenghi’s Cauliflower Cake And Apple Pear Crumble With Creamy Cider Syrup

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I just have to say what a lifesaver it has been to have the guest posts. I have been so extremely busy I really haven’t cooked much of anything and most of what I have cooked is not noteworthy enough to blog about. Thank you so much to everyone who has submitted guest posts, you truly are amazing. I also have been delinquent in reading and commenting on your blogs. I will not be able to catch up there are just too many, once Halloween is done I should be able to breathe and get back to my routine.

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Searching through the hundreds of cookbooks I have (and rarely use) I happened upon this recipe from “Plenty More” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Since my latests obsession is cauliflower this immediately grabbed my attention, the list of ingredients sounds delicious, I decided this is a recipe I have to try. It does contain some flour, one cup of all purpose flour but I subbed spelt flour making it lower in carbs and more healthful. It’s a simple recipe, easy to put together and with my current crazy busy schedule this was a must. I really do love Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, the photo’s are drool worthy and recipes are not complex they use simple ingredients but how they put it all together is genius.

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Cauliflower Cake

from Plenty More- Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 6-8

1 small head cauliflower broken into 1 1/2 inch florets

1 medium onion (recipe calls for  a red onion)

5 tbs olive oil (I didn’t measure)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

7 large eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup all purpose flour (I used spelt flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 cups grated parmesan or your favorite grating cheese

melted butter for brushing – about 1 tbs

1 tbs white sesame seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds (I misplaced them so just used sesame)

salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 degree’s

Place cauliflower florets in saucepan filled with salted water, simmer for 15 minutes until the florets are quite soft, they should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Cut 4 round slices approximately 1/4 inch thick from one end of the onion and set aside. Coursely chop the rest of the onion and place in a pan with some olive oil and the rosemary. Cook for 1o minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onions to a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and basil and whisk well, then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, cheese and 1 tsp salt (I used less salt) and plenty of ground pepper stir to combine and add the cauliflower stirring gently so as not to break up the florets.

Line the base and sides of a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them in the pan and swirl the pan around so that the seeds stick to the buttered sides. Pour the cauliflower mixture in the pan smooth the top and arrange the onion rings on top ( I sprinkled some of the grated cheese on top as well). Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and set. A knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It should be served warm or at room temperature rather than hot.

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For Dessert was an apple Pear crumble using no refined sugar and almost no flour. To sweeten the fruit and crumble I used a little bit of maple syrup and served it with a creamy cider reduction, again made completely without sugar. The natural sweetness of the cider when cooked down into a syrup is intensely sweet, I softened it with a little heavy cream (to make even more decadent you could add a little butter also) and the end product was amazing on this simple crumble. The cider syrup would be great on oatmeal, pancakes or waffles also, instead of adding cream just add a little butter.

This dessert is great and you don’t feel badly eating it, you could even use a little less maple syrup because the cider syrup is sweet enough that you would never know that this is not loaded with sugar.

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Apple Pear Crumble

Made 2

Crumble topping

1/4 cup whole oats

1/4 cup spelt flour

2 tbs toasted hazelnut flour (or any nut flour)

pinch of salt

2 tbs softened (not melted) coconut oil

1 tbs cold butter

2 tbs maple syrup

Mix everything together with your fingers until it is blended completely (it will look more like a cookie dough). Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s

2 -3 apples  (if you don’t have pear use 3 apples)

1 ripe pear

1 tbs maple syrup

pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

Peel and slice the apples and pears. Oil or butter the baking dish, mix the fruit with the maple syrup, spices and salt, lay the fruit in the pan. Add the crumble topping and pour a little apple cider over it. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crumble is browned and fruit is soft.  Note: The crumble topping was patted into place rather than dropping in crumbles, after baking I broke it up  kind of like a cookie crust.

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Creamy Cider Syrup

Apple cider

Heavy cream

Pour about 1 cup cider in saucepan  over medium high heat until reduced to a very thick syrup, it took about 20 minutes. One cup of cider reduced to about 1/4 cup of syrup. The more cider you use the longer it will take to reduce of course. One cup of cider in a saucepan took a little over 20 minutes on medium high heat.

Reduces to almost nothing

Reduces to almost nothing you can see my hand reflected in the pan, LOL.

Add some heavy cream about 2 tbs and continue to cook another 30 seconds approximately. The sauce will be thick.

Spoon over the crumble and enjoy.

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Guest Post – Keralas Creative Kitchen

The next guest post comes from Sumith whose amazing blog Keralas Creative Kitchen is a compilation of delicious recipes and artistic food styling. I was so thrilled that he agreed to do a guest post for me. Thank you so much Sumith this is a gorgeous dish and everyone please visit his blog you will be inspired and amazed because it is about much more than just cooking.  Sumith takes you on a journey of the senses, an artistic romp with food. I hope you enjoy, follow the link below to see this post.

Thank you Sumith!!

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Spiced Stir Fried Sirloin Steak- Sense of touch in cooking and eating food

 

Roasted Chicken And Vegetable Dinner

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The method I use for both chicken and turkey is pretty much the opposite of the way most people prepare it. The usual method is to start out in a high oven temperature for a short time and then lower the temperature to finish cooking, the chicken or turkey is also roasted uncovered. For turkey I use my black and white speckled enamel graniteware pan which is where I learned about steam roasting. The poultry turns out moist and delicious every time and also cooks in record time. Today I made a small chicken, about 4 1/2 lbs, my graniteware is huge so that wouldn’t work for this little bird. A cast iron pan is great to roast chicken in, everything just seems to turn out perfectly. The chicken was done in a little less than 2 hours (this includes both rounds in the oven and resting time),  I then roasted the potatoes, shallot and carrot in the same pan with the drippings. My Mom made chicken like this and always added the vegetables in with the chicken,  I remember it being one of my favorite meals that she made.

I have been a bad girl and have not gone to the party at Angies for a few weeks so this week I am bringing this chicken and roasted vegetable dinner with me to the party. Fiesta Friday #140 is co hosted this week by the talented and beautiful Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Linda @ Fabulous Fare Sisters

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Chicken With Pan Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4 generously

1 whole chicken 4-5 lbs

1 whole shallot

1/2 lemon

3-4 sprigs thyme

handful of parsley

olive oil

salt and pepper

potatoes (I used micro potatoes)

carrots

shallot or onion

Heat oven to 375 degree’s. Coat the bottom of your cast iron skillet with olive oil. Wash and pat dry the chicken.  Place in the pan and drizzle olive oil on the skin of the chicken and rub so that it covers the entire chicken. Sprinkle a little salt in the cavity, had lemon half (cut in half) shallot, handful parsley, 3 sprigs of thyme.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle a little more olive oil, squeeze the other half of the lemon in the pan. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 50-60 minutes. Take chicken out of the oven and remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Put the chicken back in the oven uncovered for approximately 20-30 minutes, just until nicely browned. Remove from oven and place the chicken in foil on a sheet pan,  spoon some of the pan juices on the chicken and cover it to keep the chicken warm.

Put the potatoes, carrots and shallots in the pan with the drippings, stir around to coat the vegetables, season if you need to but I didn’t. Place another sprig or two of thyme in the pan and roast uncovered at 425 until vegetables are browned and tender approximately 20-30 minutes.  At the end I put the chicken back in the pan with the vegetables, place back in the oven (after I turned it off but it was still hot) for about 10 minutes to heat through. Serve immediately.

 

Cauliflower Mash

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My food choices lately are really pretty uninteresting and I apologize for that, my food repertoire is not that varied. Right now I am eating what works for me and my schedule and my taste and maybe later I will do a little more experimentation. This is not a recipe, and I am sure that many of you have made or tasted cauliflower as a subsitute for potatoes. It looks just like them, and really tastes very close but doesn’t have the high carb count that potatoes do. I put butter and sour cream or cream in the cauliflower just like I do potatoes. I don’t really count carbs but as a comparison I wanted to see what the difference is. One cup of cooked or raw cauliflower is 5 carbs and 1 medium size potato is 37, big difference. If you have leftover mashed cauliflower you can make soup with it, simply add some vegetable or chicken stock or even water, heat it up and you have creamy cauliflower soup.

Request: I would love to have some of you do guest posts, if you would like to please let me know in the comment section and I will contact you, or you can email me directly my email address is listed on the site. I would love to schedule several guest blog posts. Thanks so much.

I don’t know how cauliflower mash is usually prepared but here is what I did and it worked great.

Cauliflower Mash

Makes approximately 6-8 servings

1 large head cauliflower cleaned and cut into florets

3 tbs softened or room temperature butter (2 when you blend or process and one on top when serving)

approximately 1/4 cup hot cream, milk, half and half or sour cream (that has been brought to room temperature)

salt and pepper to taste

Place cauliflower florets in pot of salted water and boil until tender. Drain. Turn oven to 200 degree’s and put the cauliflower on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes so that it dries out.  The reason for this step is that Cauliflower absorbs liquid almost like a sponge and if you process the cauliflower straight from the boiling water it will be more like soup.  NOTE: Alternately you can steam the cauliflower which would prevent it from absorbing so much water so the time in the oven to dry would be less, maybe 15 minutes.)

Put the cauliflower straight from the oven into the blender or food processor breaking it up into small pieces. add the butter, salt and pepper and a little cream or sour cream. Blend or process until smooth adding more cream as needed so that it’s the right consistency.

Dinner of roasted chicken, cauliflower mash and oven roasted asparagus

Dinner of roasted chicken, cauliflower mash and oven roasted asparagus

Percy is going to go to a Pug Meetup Halloween party next weekend and I am working on his costume, the cape was made by one of our Instagram friends at Fauxpaws Accessories. I am trying to find him a white tuxedo type bib to go underneath the cape and an amulet as well, I won’t push my luck with vampire teeth.

Notice a similarity?

Notice a similarity? Bela would be proud!

 

Block Party, Tofu, And It’s Finally Autumn

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It has been a crazy few weeks, the last week especially. Saturday the 24th our block association (I happen to be President)  had our annual block party and the planning and preparation was non stop,  I was so nervous, hoping and praying that it did not rain. The last block party was cancelled because of heavy rain and one thing for certain is that you cannot control Mother Nature.  I watched the weather report every day and was so pleased that the weather was beautiful, we started out with some rain in the morning but it cleared to a bright, sunny slightly cool day. Everything went well, a few technical issues but our neighbors all banded together and the problem was solved. The block party is carefully orchestrated and members of our block all work together as a team. I started in June by filling out all the paperwork for a city permit which includes closing our street to cars, getting a sound permit from the police, getting insurance for the day among other things we have to do to prepare. We always have a blow up bouncy castle for the children to play in, this year we were so lucky that the local police precinct brought their rock climbing wall, the police supervise the children and make sure they are safe. We hired a DJ so there was great music and we collaborated with the local elementary school which is on the block and they provided a rock band comprised of students who attend after school programs at the Brooklyn Music School, they were amazing. When they played Nirvana’s great song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” the crowd went wild. All in all a great day for our neighborhood, we grilled burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and fish, there were assorted beverages and we had a bake sale.

rock climbing wall

rock climbing wall- not our block but thats what the wall looked like

It is starting to feel like Fall, up until a few days before the party it was almost 90 degree’s, humid and pretty miserable. All of a sudden, there is a slight chill in the air and the telltale signs of Fall are slowely becoming apparent. Today walking to the store I noticed they were setting out beautiful  Mums, I love the colors and when displayed with pumpkins it makes such a beautiful Fall decoration, some local shops have painted fall scenes on their windows, our neighborhood seems to come alive at this time of year. The days are shorter and I am so happy to not be using my air conditioner which has run non stop the entire summer, it was so unbearably hot. I am looking forward to Halloween, a favorite holiday of mine, there is nothing about this time of year that I don’t like.

I’ve barely had time to cook or post on the blog, and have been absent on all social media as well. I continue with the change in my eating, avoiding sugar, grains, flour etc… but have not cut dairy or fats and I’ve lost weight. This is going to be a life style change for me, it’s not a diet, of course there will be times when I indulge but I plan on staying on this course for the long run. For the block party I had a bake sale and made cookies and cupcakes, I gave some to neighbors and the police and sold the rest. I love making cupcakes and made vanilla and chocolate using my favorite chocolate cake recipe from Hershey’s Cocoa can and my Tender Yellow Cake recipe for the vanilla cupcakes. The frosting is a simple vanilla buttercream using butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, vanilla and cream.

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My meals are small and consist of mostly vegetables and protein. I recently made a quick and easy stir fry using tofu shirataki, noodles made from tofu and Japanese yam, they are wonderful and so easy to prepare. I used what I had on hand, kale, red bell pepper, zucchini, egg and garnished with peanuts. This is not really a recipe you can use whatever you have on hand.

Tofu Noodle Stir Fry

Made 2 servings

red bell pepper sliced into strips

zucchini chopped or cut into strips

kale, leaves only, no stems chopped

2 scallions, white and light green parts chopped

1 tbs minced ginger

1 clove garlic chopped

soy sauce

toasted sesame oil

neutral vegetable oil to cook the vegetables

tofu shirataki noodles

1 egg beaten and cooked into a thin omelette, cut into strips

chopped roasted peanuts for garnish

First pour the noodles (they are fresh and are packaged in liquid) into a strainer and rinse well several times. Set aside to drain.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet and add the ginger, scallion and garlic, cook until it’s fragrant and soft. Add the vegetables and cook until the vegetables are cooked through. Cook the egg either in the microwave or skillet and cut into strips. Add the tofu noodles to the vegetables and stir to combine, add soy sauce and a few splashes of sesame seed oil to taste. Stir in the egg and serve with some chopped peanuts.

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Tofu is a great source of protein and I think of it like white walls, a blank pallet waiting to be transformed and enhanced. I bought a package of firm tofu the other day and made a marinade using white miso, soy sauce, mirin, honey, ponzu, rice wine vinegar, ginger and garlic chili sauce. I patted the tofu with a paper towel to remove excess liquid, cut into bite size pieces and added to the marinade and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day I oven roasted at 425 degrees after drizzling with some sesame oil.  The tofu absorbed the flavor of the marinade and became crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and was delicous with some broccolini steamed first then finished in the oven drizzled with the marinade from the tofu and some sesame oil.

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Crab Cakes

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I make crab cakes once a year, not sure why only once but it’s sort of a tradition with me although it’s at no particular time but whenever I think of it or feel like having them. This recipe is from one of the older Martha Stewart cookbooks and is the only recipe for crab cakes I have ever used. It calls for jumbo lump  or lump crabmeat, has very little filler and is really delicious. As an aside I recommend lump not jumbo lump it makes it easier to form into patties and stays together better.  You can make your own bread crumbs by first grinding bread in a food processor then drying in the oven or use dried breadcrumbs from your supermarket. This is a super simple recipe that comes together very quickly.  They are not coated with bread crumbs although you could if you wish,  they have a nice amount of vegetables in them and are delicious served with cole slaw.

The recipe made exactly 12 nice sized cakes so my friends got a crab cake sandwich on fresh ciabatta rolls slathered with a dressing made from mayo, sriracha, pickle relish and ketchup then piled high with a homemade traditional cole slaw. I made a few changes in the recipe to suit me, Martha calls for 2 lbs crabmeat, I found 1 lb was sufficient and if I did use 2 lbs I would add an additional egg, more mayo and breadcrumbs.

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Crab Cakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookbook- Collected Recipes for Every Day

Makes 12 crab cakes or 22-24 appetizer size

1 cup dried breadcrumbs

2 large eggs lightly beaten

1 lb jumbo lump or lump crabmeat (picked over for cartilage)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley (I use parsley)

3 scallions  finely chopped

1 small red bell pepper- seeded and diced

1 small yellow bell pepper – seeded and diced (I didn’t have yellow so used green)

1 jalapeno pepper – seeded and diced (I used pickled jalapeño)

2/3 cup mayonaise

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Vegetable oil to fry

Gently mix all the ingredients together, you don’t want to break up the crab meat to much.

Form into patties, you can choose the size but make them quite thick. Heat some vegetable oil in  a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the crab cakes until browned on each side. Place them on paper towel or paper bag to drain. Serve hot. NOTE: Because there is very little filler you have to work a little to form into patties. If they absolutely won’t hold together add a little more mayo and breadcrumbs.

I happened upon a photo that the media outlet Pop Sugar took of Percy and put on their site. I was tickled to see this and thought he looked so cute smiling. This was taken at Pugs Take NYC event which by the way was a huge success raising $4150 for Pug Nation Rescue of LA and the little pug Bella has had the surgery and is being fitted for a wheelchair.

Photo from popsugar.com

Photo from popsugar.com