Archive for February, 2008

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

Blueberrys and Strawberrys are coming into season in these parts so I got some organic blueberrys at the local Fresh Market. Earlier in the week I topped a spinach salad with blueberries and it was delicious, but lets be honest, what better than pancakes to make use of these little juicy morsels gifted us by mother nature?

Mimi and I have both been affected by the reading of Barbara Kingsolvers Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – so expect more seasonal and fresh cooking – but don’t be surprised if you still see lots of things covered in gooey cheese, because, come on, a girl’s gotta eat 🙂

I digress – these were a great way to start the end of the week – I never get up and cook breakfast, but my cereal, I discovered, has high fructose corn syrup.

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Originally uploaded by All Things Mimi

I really like Rachael Ray’s magazine. The best part about it is you get the great 30 minute recipes, without having to hear her annoying voice and watch her ridiculous mannerisms.
This turned out really well. I tweaked a few things, and I’ll note them in the recipe. This soup paired very well with the salad and mayannaise biscuits I made. And the leftover Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake rounded off a pretty darn perfect meal.

Leeky Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Stoup
from Rachael Ray’s Magazine- March 2008

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and tender green parts split lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
5 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
32 ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream (I used half n half)
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into small chunks
2 packages fresh gnocchi (I used one pack vacuum sealed gnocchi from the pasta aisle)
1/2 cup chopped parlsey (I didn’t use it)
3 tablespoons dry sherry (I used quite a bit more chardonnay)
1 teaspoon paprika (I didn’t use it)

In a dutch oven heat olive oil and saute the leeks and celery until tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste. I then deglazed the pan with some white wine.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in cream, lower the heat and simmer until soup bubbles at the edges.
Add the chicken and gnocchi (and I added some sliced fresh mushrooms) and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and sherry (again, I used wine) and paprika.
I also mixed together a tablespoon of cornstarch and some water and thickened it at this point. I then let it cook about 5 minutes longer.

I would make this again. Actually, I will be eating it for lunch everyday the rest of the week. It serves 4-6.

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Originally uploaded by All Things Mimi

I know this is a horrible picture, but I tried several times and this was the best I could do.

I made Leeky Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Stoup for dinner and decided I needed to serve a salad along side- mostly because I was craving veggies again. So I cut up some romaine hearts and threw on some raw onion, cucumber, mushrooms and avacado. I then had to consider the dressing options. In my blender I threw a couple of globs of champagne honey mustard, some fig vinegar, a splash of white wine, salt, pepper and some olive oil. I whizzed it around for a few seconds and voila! Not bad for dressing on the fly.

The mayonnaise biscuits are an old family recipe. The recipe comes from an old church cookbook. It is ridiculously simple and NEVER fails.

Mayonnaise Biscuits
from the White Bluff Presbyterian Church Cookbook- 1988

1 c. self rising flour
3 tablespoons mayo
1/2 c. milk

Mix everything together and put in a muffin tin, half way up to the top. I made teensy little muffins to be cute, but Dev requested larger ones next time. He ate like 6 of them with dinner. Bake them at 400 degrees until they are golden brown on the top. Mine took maybe 15 minutes.

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Salmon Taco

Salmon Taco

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

This is just once again proof that even though we are 1700 miles apart, Mimi and I share a brain. I had these in the works before I saw her blog about the chicken tacos. My tacos are salmon, spinach, cucumber and sour cream seasoned with tomatilla sauce.

Season Salmon filet with kosher salt, pepper, chili powder and the juice of 1/2 lime. Grill until just done (mine took about 7 minutes). Slice the salmon and add to tortilla (mine are sun dried tomato) along with spinach and chopped cucumber and then drizzle with the sour cream sauce.

It was a delicious and nutritious dinner!

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Originally uploaded by All Things Mimi

At long last- I have finished my project for the Nigella Lawson contest over at one of my favorite food blogs, Foodie Chickie.
Basically I could choose any Nigella recipe I wanted. I have had this recipe for quite a while and I’ve always wanted to try it. Now I had my opportunity!

Let me start by giving you the recipe.

Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake by Nigella Lawson

1 2/3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 sticks soft unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 c. sour cream (I used full fat yogurt)
1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cocoa (I used raspberry preserves cuz I was out of cocoa)
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar

1 oz. dark chocolate (from a thick bar if possible) cut into splinters of varying thickness, for garnish- I skipped this and used powdered sugar

The recipe said to put oiled foil in a 2-pound loaf pan. Because I have a phobia about large cakes and loaves not ever setting up at this altitude, I opted for my small loaf pans- kind of like gift loaf sized. I also used a 6-muffin tin. I cut foil in squares, oiled it and put it in the individual loaf compartments. I used cupcake papers in the cupcake pan.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and put a large sheet pan in it.

Take whatever you need out of the ice box, because everything needs to be room temp when you begin.

Put the flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into the food processor and blitz until a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the feed tube. Switch it off, then remove the lid and the well scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into loaf pan and put into the oven, cooking for 1 hour. Because I used individual gift loaves, mine only took about 1/2 an hour. When ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake tester will pretty well come out clean.

Not long before the cake is due out of the oven (when it has had about 45 to 50 minutes), put the syrup ingredients of cocoa (or fruit preserves), water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes, to give a thick syrup.

Take the cake out of the oven and sit it on a rack, still in the tin, and pierce here and there with a cake tester. Pour the syrup over the cake.

Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Sprinkle chocolate splinters over the top of the sticky surface of the cake.

My smaller loaves did not come out very pretty. For this pic, I put a sprig of rosemary over a gaping hole in the cake. They taste amazing, however. I will make this again, and maybe even trust the loaf pan to see if it will set up.

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Originally uploaded by All Things Mimi

I had some chicken and onions, peppers, mushrooms and couscous left over from the red curry chicken kabobs last night, so this afternoon I heated the meat and veggies, made a spread out of Dev’s homemade yogurt and some greek seasoning, put that on a 6″ tortilla with the meat and veggies, added some feta cheese and a side of cracked black pepper potato chips.

Not a bad lunch considering all the other projects we’ve got going on around here today…..

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Originally uploaded by All Things Mimi

As soon as Dev finishes his math project board, these ingredients are going to go hurled together to make Nigella Lawson’s Quadruple Chocolate Loaf.

I will post again with the results!

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So Diane and I were talking the other day and she mentioned that she was reading this book. She said she was reading the part about seeds and seed catalogues and it was freaking her out.

I had read about this book, and had wanted to read it for quite a while, so after talking to Di, I looked at my local library. Lo and behold, they had it!

I brought it home and couldn’t wait to dive in.

Firstly let me say that I realize the average person could never do an experiment like this and pull it off. However, after reading this book, I now think about my grocery purchasing and eating habits in a whole new light.

The basic gist of the book is that Barbara Kingsolver and her family (husband and 2 daughters) leave their home in the Arizona desert to return to her ancestral home in the Appalachian region of Virginia. It just so happens that someone in her family (or her husband’s, I don’t remember which) has a small farm and the Kingsolvers are inheriting it. Must be nice, huh? Anyway, they move across the country and embark on an experiment of sorts. They are going to spend the next year subsisting solely off their land, with very little food coming from the store. They are going to eat regionally and only what is in season.

During the course of the book, Mrs. Kingsolver and her husband (a biologist) outline their reasoning for this choice- the horrors of meat and dairy production being chief among them.

I won’t say anymore, because I really think people should read this book. Now that doesn’t mean that I’m going to turn my back on my local Safeway and attempt to grow everything I need in my little apartment under a grow light, but it does mean that I might rethink some of my shopping.

I finished this book Saturday, and as a little experiment of my own, I decided to take my weekly shopping list and try to source as much of it locally/organically as I could. It was quite an education.

I started at our local food cooperative. I already love this place. I discovered it soon after my arrival as an inexpensive place to stock up on my favorite loose teas. But Saturday, I went in hell bent to buy local- or at least buy organic.

I succeeded in buying organic rolled oats (not local, but at least not full of pesticides). I use rolled oats to make my own granola. This isn’t really a food snob thing- it’s more an “I hate coconut” thing, and a lot of store-bought granola has coconut in it. Plus it is pretty easy to make your own, and then you can put everything but the kitchen sink in it. My last batch had pretzels, dried blueberries, dried cherries, whole pecans, oats, brown sugar and honey.

I wanted to buy some local goat cheese. Unfortunately, every piece of cheese I picked up was from Canada. I know for a fact there is a goat farm around here, I’m just going to have to do a little sniffing around to find it.

I did find local fingerling potatoes and regular baking potatoes. I also found local hot house grown tomatoes.

On the way home, I stopped by the Valley Meat Market. I asked the guy behind the counter where the meat came from. His answer was slightly less than inspired. He told me it all came from the Swift meat packing plant (which I believe is in Colorado Springs)- none of it was regional, much less local. Now I also know there are farms around here selling free range lamb and elk and stuff. Again- I just have to find them.

I have decided that although I can’t buy all of my groceries from local sources, if I’m willing to do some homework, and seek the sources out, I can do quite a bit of business locally. As the weather warms, prospects will improve. And if I can wait until July 4th, our farmers market will open and this whole thing will be much easier. Unfortunately, our growing season is short, so it will close again Labor Day weekend, but I’ll get as much as I can while it’s open.

So, everyone should go read this book. And think about trying to support your local growers. I know we can’t all change everything at once, but we can make a difference even if we do a little.

End of sermon…..

Oh- and if you want to check out other people’s reviews, here is the amazon info on the book.

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Yogurt Making

We are in the process of making our first batch of home made yogurt!  We took one quart of whole milk (not ultra pasteurized) and warmed it to 180 degrees.  Then we cooled it to 116 and added the yogurt culture.  The fun begins when you must maintain a constant temp of 116 for the next 6 hours.  Dev figured out that if we put the burner on very low- as in one milimeter from off, he could get the milk to stay at right about that temp. 

Within the hour we will have lovely plain yogurt.  I can’t wait to add some honey and granola and eat it for breakfast!! 

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Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

This week has been a long one and I was not on the ball enough to be creative tonight, but sometimes the best things are the simple things. Today was one of those rainy Savannah days…gross really, except I swear my grass is noticeably greener than it was when I left the house this morning. I usually make chili with turkey, but I didn’t have any so I used ground chicken – it was good – not quite as much fat in it as turkey so you need to season it a bit more, but its a good Friday night dinner especially on a rainy day.

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