Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I stink at this blogging stuff. I just don't have enough to say that is worth putting out there. I knit, I cook, I go to work. Repeat. The thing is this... I keep having a dialog with myself.
Janis: You really need to do a blog post
Self: Why? It really doesn't matter.
Janis: Yeah, but it is good to follow through with the blog you started a million years ago.
Self: Really? No one reads it.
Janis: Can you just work with me here?
Self: Ok, for instance... look at the stupid title of this post.
Janis: What about it?
Self: You didn't even say what kind of salads. How can anyone know if they are interested or not if you don't say up front what the recipe is.
Janis: You mean I make them read this shit to find out what the recipe is and that isn't very "honest".
Self: Yeah, kinda like that.
Janis: Shut up.
This salad was so so so good. It really made me want to stick my face in the bowl. Dr. Food made the "I will eat this but I don't like it" face. What does he know. He is from Texas. Vegetables are optional to Texans. Being a California gal, I could eat these salads with no meat and have no problem with that. To me the meat is optional. We compromise. We only have a goat, pig, and lamb in our freezer. Not much left of any of it.
See? Meat. I made lamburgers. I even made the pita bread for them to go into.
Dr. Food liked these. I didn't. HEY! We are kinda like Jack Spratt... Oh, wait. No we aren't.
Beets! A rice salad with beets. Thing is that it is brown rice. The recipe said that it was a pretty color when done. I disagree.
I thought it was ugly but tasted really good. Dr. Food made THAT face again. Tell tell sign was that it was almost all left on his plate that he pushed away and said "Thanks for dinner, that was good." Liar. You hated it.
Don't let that sway you. If you are not a Texan and you love vegetables, or if you are a Texan that does like vegetables. Give these recipes a try. This Californian loved them both.
Fava Bean & Corn Salad with Fresh Mint
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (I used fresh corn)
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (about 1 1/2 lb.)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
8 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the corn and cook for 1 minute. Remove with a strainer and set aside.
Add the fava beans to the pot and cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Slip the fava beans from their skins.
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Stir in the corn, fava beans, radishes, mint, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grindings of pepper. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Serves 4.
Beet and Brown Rice Salad with Goat Cheese
1 cup brown basmati, or other brown rice
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 medium red beets (about 1 pound), without greens, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 ounces (about 3/4 cup) soft goat cheese, crumbled
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in rice, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cover. Reduce heat to low; simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered.
Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until nuts are just browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer nuts with a slotted spoon to a small bowl.
Reduce heat to medium-low; add onions and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add beets and 1 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until beets are tender, about 25 minutes (if beets stick to skillet, add up to 1/4 cup water).
Remove bay leaf from rice. Stir rice, half of pine nuts, the lemon zest, and parsley into beet mixture. Transfer to a platter. Top with remaining pine nuts and the goat cheese. Garnish with parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Dr. Food and I went to California for my birthday! It was awesome getting to see Annie, Tim and my Parker. We had plans and there was no stopping us.... well, or so I thought.
It started off on Friday by us heading over to Shoreline to visit Tim and for Dr. Food to hangout and see Lady Antebellum. No, I DID not marry him for his taste in music. We ate dinner there and people watched. Then Annie, Parker and I went home. Dr. Food stayed and Tim worked.
Next day was the A's game in a Suite. It was really amazing. Here are the three amigos enjoying the popcorn and the game.
God, I love this kid.
I can not tell you how much food we had in this suite. It really was amazing (ok, I know I said that already).
Mr. Parker was chowing down.
And there folks was the end. I woke up the next morning with the worse sore throat and earache I have ever had. I was down for the count. This meant that I dragged everyone down with me.
Parker watched Nemo with me though.
Next day Dr Food was down. He was barfing. What? TMI? Sorry. All plans were scratched. My birthday dinner was chinese food and a cake. Tim and Annie saved the day and made me smile.
Thank you Annie, Tim and Parker for making a bad situation still fun. I love you.
So, on the way home landing with and ear infection is fun. Nevermind I had taken a Xanax because I am a badass on the ground but a big ole baby on a plane. It hurt. But we got home and the weather was amazing. Um, that is a picture of my neighbors yard because I was standing on my back porch. Pretty huh?
Someone was happy to see us. So, I had no voice and felt like crap. We hung out at home this weekend and Dr. Food smoked some chicken thighs.
I have a dilemma here. You see, the recipe for the chicken is in a cookbook and online. It is by some BBQ dude. Problem is that BBQ dude doesn't give the recipe for the rub or sauce in the cookbook or online. He tells you that you have to buy the recipe separate from the book. WHAT? Never heard of such nonsense.
So, I snooped around and on some really weird forum I found a recipe for the BBQ rub and sauce. It was hidden in a discussion about a foot fetish. I am not kidding. So, I will take a picture of the thread. That means I am sharing a picture. Is it the real rub and sauce recipe? I don't know but it doesn't matter because it WAS that good.
I can't imagine a cookbook where many recipes call for something that you have to pay for the recipe for that component. Tacky.
Hmmmm. Then again I don't understand alot of stuff.
While he was at it Dr. Food smoked some Blue Fish that had been marinaded and dried.
This morning I made it into Smoked Blue Fish Rillette.
The recipe called for Scotch and for the life of me I can't remember why I put this "Good Scotch" in another bottle and labeled it "Good Scotch".
While I am sharing, did I ever show you the Moonshine that I carried back from Texas about 15 years ago? Yup, I still have it. It has mellowed with age. I got it from "friends".
Ok, carry on....
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
After all the horrible stuff in Boston was over we got to go into the city to see the play "The Book of Mormon". What a great play. It was good to see the city bustling again and people coming back out into the city.
They said no photos were allowed but I am a rebel. I needed pictures of the Opera House. Ok, so they were talking about pictures DURING the play, but I like to think that I am badass.
Love the detail in this building.
There was a game going on at Fenway. We parked right near there to go to Island Creek Oysters for dinner.
Then my car was broken into. My GPS and iPad were nabbed. They left their calling card on my floor mat (shut up, I know my car is filthy). After all the "We are Boston hear us Roar", and Neil Diamond singing, some dickwad ripped us off. So much for warm fuzzy feelings.
Despite the theft, we had a really fun time. What else has been happening in the last month that I have been too busy or too lazy to blog? Well, here is the conversation in my head about blogging
Janis: I should blog something. Nevermind that I haven't cooked in a month, and we have been surviving on some really bad shit like Rice a roni and other boxed foods.... I could make stuff up to blog. No one will be the wiser.
Head: No one wants to read that shit.
Janis: I will talk about myself. How uninteresting can THAT be?
Head: Very. Give up and just pretend you don't have a blog.
Janis: Yeah, I think you have a point.
What else has been happening? (afterall I get to talk all about me me me on my blog)
Dr. Food forgot his wallet at breakfast and I didn't have my purse with me. He left me at the table as collateral (oy) and went home. I drank boatloads of coffee until he got back. By this time I was shaking from a caffeine rush and was talking really fast. We went to Target and I got over it.
My friend Cathy made me go walking. I hate exercise but she yelled at me and got me to go. I love her for the encouragement (but I still hate exercise). We saw Turkeys. I illustrated where the turkey was in case you aren't too observant.
I had some beef shanks in the freezer. I never have made them before. I looked up a recipe and found one that sounded good. It was Portuguese Braised Beef Shanks. So good and not difficult at all.
I knew that the dog and Dr. Food would love the marrow. Wait, did that sound bad putting the dog and Dr. Food in the same category. I didn't mean it that way...
The dog put this recipe in her favorites list. Dr. Food liked it too.
Portuguese Braised Beef Shanks Recipe
by Karen Calanchini, Food Stylist and Photographer, of Redding, CA
1 teaspoon mixed color peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
6 ounces thin-sliced pancetta, cut into cubes
4 (about 3 1/2 pounds total) thick center-cut beef shanks (I had mine cut 1-inch thick)
Coarse salt or sea salt and freshly-ground mixed color pepper
Olive oil, if needed
2 large yellow onions, medium chopped
6 to 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 1/2 cups Beef Stock
2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoon dark molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 dried Guajillo chile pepper
1 dried Arbol chile pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position oven rack in lower third of oven.
Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves into a cheesecloth pouch; tie securely and set aside.
Heat a large oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-low heat until hot. Add the pancetta cubes and sizzle to render the fat and crisp up. When crispy, remove with a slotted spoon to a folded paper towel; set aside.
Place the beef shanks into the hot rendered fat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of each beef shank and sear until very brown (this step gives the dish more flavor). Turn the beef shanks and sear the other side. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the browned side. Once both sides are well seared, remove the beef shanks to a plate; set aside.
Lower heat to low (if the pot is dry, add a little olive oil). Add the onions, stirring until they begin to release their water. Using your spatula, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and stir into the onions. Sauté the onions until softened. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 1 minute.
Add the beef stock, wine, molasses, and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot. Turn off the heat, add the prepared pancetta, beef shanks, and any accumulated juices to the pot. Nestle the cheesecloth spice pouch and the chile peppers in the pot. Cover and braise the beef in the oven, for approximately 4 hours, turning once and using a spoon, scoop up the juices and the onions and pour over the top of the shanks. Meat should be falling off the bone when done.
Remove from oven and transfer the beef shanks to a serving platter, along with the bones (the marrow in the bone is excellent and some people love to eat it). Remove the cheesecloth spice pouch and peppers (unless you want to eat the peppers).
At this point, the juice may be reduced, if necessary, by cooking over high heat to the obtain the consistency or thickness you desire. Skim fat from the top, taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Divided meat and bones (with marrow) onto 4 plates and ladle the sauce on top.
Makes 4 servings.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
So, Dr. Food has been out of the country for weeks now. Ok, so it has only been 8 days but it feels like weeks. I was snowed in twice while he has been gone. Today being one of those days. First day of Spring tomorrow and I am stuck in the house because of the snow. Not really. Jeffie my neighbor snow blowed (is it snow blew?) for me. I tend towards being a little bit dramatic. What have I been doing? Well, working for one. That is when I am not stuck out in the wilderness snowed in. Yeah, Marlborough, Massachusetts IS the wilderness as far as *I* am concerned.
First of all I decorated the laundry room. Dr. Food rolled his eyes when he saw that I bought this to put up (not really but I can tell he wanted to). I don't think he thought I would get off my ass to do this but while he was away I did.
Someone really wishes that I would just chill. I think she hates when Dr. Food goes away because I do weird things like eat dinner over the sink and feed her things that I shouldn't. I think it makes her nervous. I think she really doesn't know what to think. I think she is a dog and was just sleeping on her blanket and I made a story up about it because I don't have much to say. I think you all may have left this blog post already... HELLO?
Ok, so the Cherpumple story. I awoke (awoke?) early in the morning to fufill the mission of making my coworkers a special cake. It is a pie/cake called a Cherpumple. Cherry, Pumpkin, Apple pies, baked into cakes. Stacked up and frosted. I used Peach baked into a white cake. Pecan baked into a butter pecan cake. Last but not least the noble apple pie baked into a yellow cake mix. You can do whatever you want. My cake/pie is called a Pecapple
So store bought pies and cake mix. You would have to be out of your mind even more than I am to make each component yourself. Afterall, it isn't fine pastry. It is over the edge Ew.
So I baked.
I destroyed one layer so between baking I went to the store for another pie (first one was cherry and new one was pecan) and another cake mix.
I stacked and frosted.
It took all day. Know what? It really was fun. Hard part was getting it 30 miles in the car. I did it though!
I think everyone liked it. If they didn't they didn't say anything because I think they knew that I may take my letter opener and bludgeon them if they didn't eat it and LIKE it.
At the end of this day that was St. Patricks day, I made myself cornbeef, cabbage, and tater tots. What?
Dr. Food comes home tonight. Please do not tell him what I have been up to.
Pecapple Cake Pie (switch pies and cake flavors as you wish)
1 8-inch Apple pie
1 box white cake mix
1 8-inch Pecan pie
1 box butter pecan cake mix
1 8-inch Peach pie
1 box yellow cake mix
eggs and oil according to the cake mix
Cream cheese frosting (from can or favorite recipe)
3 8½-inch-round cake pans (I used springform and made 1 cake/pie at a time)
Mix cake batter according to instructions. For each layer, pour about 1 1⁄3 cup of batter in the cake pan.
Carefully de-tin the baked pie and place it face up on top of the batter in the cake pan. Push down lightly to release any trapped air.
Pour enough batter on top to cover the pie. Bake about 45 minutes to 1 hour (test with toothpick at 45 min.)
Cool and remove from pans then frost it like you mean it
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Sometimes I feel like I find ways to get myself into "predicaments". Really. You looked shocked. NO, it isn't moonshine. It is sap from my maple tree. I had a tap sitting around and I decided to use it. I bought it about 2 years ago at the Maple Syrup Museum.
This museum is in Vermont (duh) and was really fun to go through. Little did I know when I bought that tap, that it would actually work.
After 2 weeks of emptying the mason jar (shut up! I didn't have a BUCKET) in the rain, snow, and all that, I collected enough to boil down.
I got this much from the first round. I have to filter it again. At this rate you all are invited over for that one stack of pancakes that this might cover. I am sticking to it (har har) until the end of April. Next year I will get more taps and I will tap all the neighbors trees in the middle of the night.
Lets move on. I was jonesing for some Israeli food. I really felt like an israeli salad. I also felt like a Israeli street food that is called a Mixed Grill.
The Israeli salad is just a bunch of vegetables cut up really small. I found this recipe on David Lebovitz's blog. I liked the idea that it had all kinds of seeds and nuts in it.
I also made Babaganoush. I roasted the eggplant and did my thing with it. I just realized that blogging about Babaganoush isn't really a good idea. It looks really ugly. Ok, but it tasted good.
Not that good though.
However, the Mixed Grill was fantastic and one of my very favorites. I made Tahini to go on it.
Ok, I am tired of writing now. I just did this because it is Julie's birthday tomorrow and I didn't want to disappoint her and not have a blog post. She loves me so much that she actually gets disappointed when I don't blog. Really. I mean it. Ask her. JULIE HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW. I didn't forget! I love you!
Adapted from recipe by Maya Marom
1 ripe tomato
1 medium cucumber, or 3 small ones
1 medium carrot, peeled
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
5 red globe radishes
half a small beet, peeled
half a small kohlrabi, peeled
large handful of arugula (lettuce can be substituted)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
2/3 cup mixed nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, sliced almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds – coarsely chopped)
1/3 cup crumbled Feta or firm goat cheese
2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more)
2-3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (or more)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Chop all of the vegetables into the tiniest cubes you can manage. Preferably 1/4 inch thick (or Brunoise, as the French call it). Gather the arugula into a tight bunch and slice into thin shards. This makes the salad fluffier and easier to chew.
2. Toast the nuts in an empty skillet (no oil required) over medium heat, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, taking care not to burn them (watch out for pumpkin seeds, as they tend to ‘pop’ while toasting). Toast until the aroma is released and the nuts take on the slightest bit of color. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. In a medium bowl, mix all of the chopped vegetables with sliced arugula, toasted nuts, and dress with the lemon juice, olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste (don’t forget that the cheese is salty).
Check for seasoning and add more lemon juice and olive oil to your liking. Top with the crumbled cheese and serve immediately.
Jerusalem Mixed Grill
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. allspice berries
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 lb. chicken hearts, halved and rinsed
1/2 lb. chicken livers, rinsed and
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh pitas, for serving
Amba and pickled peppers for serving
1. Combine turmeric, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder; set aside. Heat a dry 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add chicken breasts and cook, flipping once, until browned but not cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl; set aside. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add chicken hearts and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned but not cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Transfer hearts to the bowl with the chicken breast. Repeat with chicken livers.
2. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add the oil; add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and slightly charred, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved spices and chicken and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. To serve, cut slits in the tops of the pitas. Fill pitas with chicken mixture; top each sandwich with some of the amba and pickled peppers.
SERVES 4 – 6