Archive for August, 2007

I see Di has already posted her results from the french toast experiment.  I don’t even have a freakin loaf of bread in my fridge.  Perhaps if I survive my last week at the Chamber, I’ll make celebratory Mack Daddy French Toast Saturday morning.  In my defense….we have been eating the swiss/bacon quiche I made Sunday (knowing this was going to be a hellish week).  Oh- and I did make a pan of brownies after dinner tonight.

Yeah, I know- I’m still slack.

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Ok – so I did my part; I made the super-duper french toast from the Eating Well magazine – It was delicious and filling, but I am not convinced that its better than just plain old french toast, but none-the-less here it is. I guess it would be perfect for a brunch or something where you needed to feed a crew all at the same time. I followed the recipe more or less, I didn’t have skim milk so I used 2% and the recipe says to cut the bread into 1-inch pieces, I thought that a bit much, so I just tore the bread in to pieces all relatively the same size chunk.

Prepare through step three and refrigerate for a day
3 cups skim milk
2 cups pasturized egg whites such as egg beaters
3 tablespoons of honey
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1-pound loaf of whole wheat bread
1 cup chopped dried apple rings (3 ounces)
1/2 cup of raisins
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

1. whisk milk, egg whites, honey, vanilla and salt in a large bowl
2. Trim crusts off 8 bread slices and set aside (bread not crusts). Cut
the crusts and the remaining bread into 1-inch pieces. Toss the cut bread
with dried apples, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl
3. Coat a 9-by-13 baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the bread
mixture to the pan. Lay the reserved crustless slices evenly over the top
fo the casserole, trimming it to fit. Whisk the milk mixture one more
time, pour evenly over the bread. Press the bread down with the back of a
wooden spoon, making sure it’s evenly moist. Cover with parchment paper,
then foil, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
5. bake the casserole, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue
baking until puffed, set and lightly browned, about 20 minutes more. Let
stand for 10 minutes; dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.



I’d probably make this again – it made the house smell pretty great and it was a nice hearty breakfast to prepare me for a morning of yard work, but I will more than likely keep my regular french toast recipe in the more frequent rotation.


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Shrimp Creole

Tonight’s fare was shrimp creole – I made it in the crock pot so it didn’t heat the kitchen. It was delicious and super easy.


2 16 ounce cans of chopped tomatos

1/2 a medium onion (chopped)

2 tbls of red pepper

1 tsp of garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Let the sauce simmer for however long you want – about 1/2 hour before you are ready to eat – cook the rice. When the rice is done throw about 14-16 shrimp in the tomato mix – when shrimp is pink spoon mixture over rice….how much easier could this be? And it is really tasty! I served this along with a tossed salad and bread to sop up any left over sauce.


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So after yesterday’s eggstravaganza, I decided to do something different this morning.

We had orange sections and sliced bananas with vanilla yogurt (Dev had peach because he doesn’t like vanilla) and granola.  Then for a special treat, we had cinnamon rolls that I bought from the Mennonite ladies at the farmers market  yesterday.  

The rolls were very good, but I prefer the Cinnabon-inspired cream cheese glaze to the powdered sugar glaze they used.  Sorry there is no pic, but they didn’t last long enough.  🙂

Perhaps I will make a batch from my recipe and let Dev judge the results……

Oh and one more thing…. Di has issued a challenge via email concerning french toast.  I accept the challenge.  I submit only one possible change.  I have another french toast recipe I’ve been dying to try.  I propose that Di use the recipe she forwarded to me from “Eating Well” magazine (one of my faves), and I will try the recipe I have.  Then we can post and compare.  I will try to do my recipe at some point this week.  So will Di accept the amended challenge?? 

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Two meats and two sides

Tonight I promised my sister I would make her pork chops, I don’t eat pork myself so I had chicken.  I prepared them in the same way and served them along side roasted garlic mashed potatos and steamed brocolli. So for the pork chops/chicken – salt and pepper the meat on both sides – sprinkle with corn starch and pat so that it coats the meat evenly; dredge in egg whites and then coat with bread crumb mixture. I used:

1 cup bread crumbs;1 tbls each of garlic powder, paprika, and sugar; sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper

Place meat on a baking sheet; put in 400 degree oven for about 15-17 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.

For the mashed potatos I used red skinned potatos. I also put the  potatos together a few hours ahead to give the flavors time to gel (or as I like to say…fester).  Roast a head of garlic; if you have never done this – it is SO simple…cut the top off the head of garlic; drizzle with olive oil and put in a tent of aluminum foil in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes – while the garlic is roasting – bring quartered potatos to a boil (in salted water) boil until tender.  Drain potatos and set aside – in pot add 2 tbls of butter a chopped shallot and the roasted garlic cloves – heat until shallots are tender. Remove from heat, add potatoes and mash – the rest really depends on how many potatos you have – I added probably a 1/4 cup of milk and about 1/2 cup of sour cream then add about 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar. (YUM!) I then added steamed brocolli and the leftover biscuits from last night. I enjoyed this with 337 Cabernet Sauvignon.


It is not the most beautiful or colorful of dishes, but it was delicious and a nice preview for fall cooking 🙂


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Weekends are nice because you can take things at a more leisurely pace.  I appreciate that, especially as it applies to cooking breakfast.

Since shacking up with Dev, I have become a breakfast person.  I always like breakfast, I just never took time during the week to actually cook or eat it.  Dev, on the other hand, is a breakfast person.  So- I make breakfast every morning (not a mandate on his part- more a healthier habit on my part).  During the week it’s usually scrambled eggs and toast, or maybe cereal…

But on the weekends………BONUS!   We usually have waffles or pancakes.  But this morning I decided to do eggs- but with a twist.

I sauteed a little bit of finely minced purple onion and quartered cherry tomatoes and mushrooms in a small non-stick skillet.  After about 10 minutes, I added eggs (which were a mixture of egg, half n half, tobasco, chives and a pinch of salt) and scrambled my little heart out.  Right before I pulled them off the heat I added a small handful of shredded cheddar and a teensy bit of chopped ham.  I served the eggs with toast, half a HUGE naval orange and some yogurt.

That, my friends, is a stick-to-your-ribs weekend breakfast!  It gave me all the energy I needed to ride my bike to the farmers market for cinnamon buns….but that’s breakfast tomorrow!

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It has been over a week since I have cooked anything at all so when Friday came along and I didn’t have to work, I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things. I decided to cook Mahi Mahi and I still have a ton of basil so I thought that pesto would work well as a side – it was a pretty uncomplicated meal, served with a tossed salad and biscuits. Blackening is simple and it adds a nice flavor, especially to fish. You can make up your own blackening spices. I used salt and pepper, garlic, red pepper, and old bay seasoning. Coat the fish with the blackening spices and add to a hot saute pan – these filets took about 3 minutes per side. Cooking time will vary with the density of the fish and the thickness of the filets; The pasta is simple as well and there are, I am sure, millions of pesto recipes online; I used fresh basil, garlic, salt and pepper, pine nuts and parmesan cheese, and of course olive oil. All in all it is a simple dinner, but very tasty and a good meal for summer.


Serve with your favorite libation and you are ready to go.


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Week Night Dinner

Tonight I made “Clean Out the Refrigerator” pasta.  Here are the raw ingredients:

I couldn’t repeat it if my life depended on it. I started with sun-dried tomato olive oil and just kept adding things til my veggie drawer was empty. Here’s what it looked like when all the chopping was over…..

All in all it was very good dinner. I served it with buttered french bread. Just what I needed after a very STRESSFUL day.

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You know, sometimes your life just gets out of control.  That has been true of mine for the last month and a half.  I have not been blogging regularly (much less cooking) because I have had some big things on my mind and some big decisions to make.

I gave notice at my job today.  It’s amazing what doing that sort of thing triggers in one’s mind.  I am taking a position at a local primary school as a teacher’s aide.

I have been feeling somewhat relieved, because I made a decision and acted on it.  On the other hand I feel guilty for leaving my other job, because everyone there works their fannies off to get things done.

Anyway- I was feeling a little celebratory, so I cooked dinner tonight.  No pics, but it was pretty cool.

I cut the kernels from 3 ears of sweet corn and simmered them in 2 cups of cream for about 10 minutes.  Then I blended it up with my stick blender.  After that I stirred in 3 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, a little pepper and about a tablespoon of dried mustard (it could have used a dash or two of hot sauce as well).  I buttered an 8×8 pyrex brownie pan and poured it in.  I put the brownie pan in the bottom of a roasting pan (I removed the slotted top part) and filled the roasting pan with hot water from the kettle.  I put the whole thing in a 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes.  The recipe actually called for this being baked in little ramekins, but I didn’t feel particularly froo froo.  The brownie dish worked fine.  I found this recipe on a blog, but for the life of me I can’t remember which one.

As a main course, I thawed a big salmon fillet and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  I then brushed it with some “Bone Suckin” teriyaki sauce and popped it in the oven with the corn dish for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.  They were both ready pretty much at the same time.  Simple, but tasty.

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This is a great dinner and it impresses without being difficult. The risotto is not difficult, but it is time consuming so you have to plan for that.

3 cups vegetable broth
12 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup Champagne
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the vegetable stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken stock at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot (or sweet onion) and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. 


For the tuna steaks – salt and pepper both sides and create a marinade – I used honey, ginger, garlic and soy – marinate for about and hour – cook on grill or grill pan about 4 minutes per side. Pair with your favorite libation and enjoy!



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