Archive for April, 2008

Breaking in the Kitchen

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

I finished the bulk of the work in the kitchen today so I decided to make a real dinner – I actually made a real dinner last night, but it was largely on the grill so I didn’t thnk that would really count. ANYWAY. I decided to make fried shrimp, spinach rice and feta pie and baked sweet potato. Its not a hard meal – and a very tasty way to break the new tile countertop in.

For the shrimp – its a simple 3 step process:

Dredge in flour; dredge in egg, dredge in panko bread crumbs and then fry in oil

The spinach, feta, rice pie:

2 teaspoons margarine (I used butter)

3/4 cup of chopped onion

2 teaspoons of flour

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoons pepper

1 1/2 cup milk

2 cups cooked rice

3/4 cup of feta cheese (crumbled)

1 large egg (lightly beaten)

2 large egg whites

10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Bring mixture toa simmer and cook one minute until slightly thick.

Remove sautepan from heat and stir in cooked rice, crumbled feta, egg, egg whites and spinach.

Pour mixture into casserole dish (coated in cooking spray) – sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 minutes or until set. Broil for 2 minutes to brown top.

For the sweet potato – bake for about 25 minutes (I just put in in with pie and it seemed fine)

Then just sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Breaking in the Kitchen

Breaking in the Kitchen

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

I finished the bulk of the work in the kitchen today so I decided to make a real dinner – I actually made a real dinner last night, but it was largely on the grill so I didn’t thnk that would really count. ANYWAY. I decided to make fried shrimp, spinach rice and feta pie and baked sweet potato. Its not a hard meal – and a very tasty way to break the new tile countertop in.

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I Love Molasses!

As I have mentioned several times before, I read lots of food blogs. I have noticed that because the food blogging community is a pretty tight-knit group, topics tend to travel and multiply amongst blogs. Take for instance Anadama Bread. I noticed 3 or 4 blogs with posts about this, or about other “thirded” breads. Thirded refers to the fact that there are usually 3 different types of flours in the dough. I read a very interesting post about the history of thirded breads over at What Smells So Good? I was immediately interested in Anadama Bread because it includes one of my favorite ingredients- molasses. So I did a little digging….

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Anadama Bread.

I ended up over at the foodtv website, and that’s where I found the recipe I used.

Anadama Bread:

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
About 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Butter or vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl and loaf pans
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water, for egg wash
Combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the warm water in the mixer bowl or in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside for about 10 minutes, while the yeast “blooms.” When the yeast looks frothy, add the melted butter, molasses salt, flour, and cornmeal. Slowly add up to 1 cup more warm water, mixing with the dough hook or a wooden spoon. The amount of liquid may vary, depending on the flour, so add just enough water to form a soft, but not sticky dough. Knead by machine for about 10 minutes, or by hand for about 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Lightly oil or butter a large bowl. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, and turn it once so it is lightly greased all over. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and place in a warm, draft-free spot. (An oven that has been heated to 200 degrees and then turned off is a perfect spot). Let the dough rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Grease 2 (9 1/2 by 5-inch) loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut it in 1/2 and shape each 1/2 into a loaf. Place each in the greased loaf pans, return to the warm spot, and let the loaves rise until they are about doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of the loaves with the egg wash and bake for 1 hour, or until deep golden brown. To test for doneness, remove the hot bread from 1 pan and knock on the bottom of the loaf: you will hear a hollow sound if the bread is done. If necessary, return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn both loaves out of the pans and cool on a rack for at least 20 minutes.

The bread turned out beautifully- if not a little heavy. And I must admit that I did not follow the prep instructions. I kneaded it and let it rise in my bread machine. That could be why the dough was heavier. Had I bloomed the yeast like it says to in the recipe, it might have been a little lighter.

My favorite way to eat it is to toast it in a skillet with butter- then enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey tea. It makes for a very yummie mid-week breakfast.

Of course, I also made one hell of a good peanut butter and apple jelly sandwich with it this week, too. But you can do whatever you want with your loaf!

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Sneak Preview

Sneak Preview

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

This has been keeping me in the kitchen -but not so much to cook – I got the tile laid tonight – tomorrow I will tackle the back splash and then the grout – the wood work, I’ll paint the same color as the cabinets – after my friend Adam comes to rout the edges 🙂 Its been tedious and a learning process, and I have a black thumbnail from a hammer strike, but it will all be worthwhile – just promise me – if you come for dinner – don’t scrutinize things too closely 🙂


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I found this recipe in an old Bon Appetit magazine – thanks to my Dad who was cleaning out his stash of cooking mags. Most of the magazines were from the Fall so nothing really sounded good since we are in the midst of a beautiful Spring, but this recipe stood out and seemed like the perfect thing to take to my friend’s bachelorette party. SO – here’s the recipe, I made a couple of minor changes which I have in parenthesis.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of whole milk (oh – I used 2% – worked fine)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, halved, thinly sliced (I actually used 2 large onions)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese

For Crust: Preheat oven to 425. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Make well in center o dry ingredients. Whisk milk, olive oil, and melted butter in liquid measuring cup to blend. Slowly pour milk mixture into well in dry ingredients, stirring until just blended and smooth. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 10×13 inch rectangle. Transfer dough to rimmed baking sheet. Re-form dough into 10×13 inch rectangle and pierce dough all over with fork. Let dough rest while preparing topping.

For Topping: Melt butter with oil in large skillet over high heat. Add onions, cook until onions are soft and beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add rosemary, sugar, and salt. Reduce to medium. Continue to cook until onions are soft and dark brown stirring frequently, about 20 minutes; cool.
Spread onion mixture evenly over dough, sprinkle with blue cheese. Bake until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes, let cool, cute into squares and serve.

This was a great recipe and easier than the many steps make it sound – also you could easily buy a crust and cut the prep time in half. It was a big hit at the party and paired well with both the white and red wines.

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While still on the high from my successful flour tortillas, I decided to attempt one more round, flat food- crepes.

I found the recipe on foodtv, and followed it exactly. Here it is…

Basic Crepes:

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.
Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

I served them 2 ways. The pic shows them filled with minced ham and topped with hollandaise sauce. I also served them with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar.

Would I do this again? Probably not.

The first crepe was scary because it looked like crap. But after the first one, you kinda get the hang of it.

There just isn’t much to it. I would have to stuff them with something pretty spectacular to do this again.

But I’m glad I tried it!

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Chicken Kabobs

Chicken Kabobs

Originally uploaded by All Things Mimi

This is where my home made flour tortillas landed. I marinated some chicken breast (cut into chunks) in yogurt and red curry paste. Then I threaded it on kabobs with onions and mushrooms. I served the kabobs with Greek yogurt sauce, cucumbers, avacado, tomato and spinach. I used the tortillas to make it all into a wrap. Dev used them to mop up the sauce….

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Flour Tortillas

Flour Tortillas

Originally uploaded by All Things Mimi

You are looking at the very first ever batch of flour tortillas I’ve ever made. They came out pretty well.

I think next time I will sub whole wheat for some of the flour, and I will definitely add some herbs to the dough.

The recipe was simple. I found it on foodtv.com…

Flour Tortillas

2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. veggie shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 c. warm water

Put flour, shortening and salt in a mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until crumbly. The recipe said it would take 3-5 minutes, but it didn’t take that long for mine. With the mixer running, slowly add the water and mix until the dough is smooth. Take the dough out of the mixer and shape into small balls. Mine were like golf ball sized, but the resulting tortillas were small. If you want bigger tortillas, make the balls bigger. I think it is mostly trial and error. Put the dough balls on a tray and cover with a damp cloth. Let them sit at least 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured board (I actually used 2 pieces of parchment paper on a silicone mat) roll dough balls into discs. Mine were pretty thin, and most made 6 inch (or thereabouts) tortillas. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Make sure it is very hot before you put in the dough. Cook tortillas one at a time, about 30 seconds per side, but you will know when they are ready to flip because they will get bubbles in them and start lifting off the skillet bottom. But keep an eye on them- they go from pleasantly charred to unedible in about 2 seconds!
The article I read said they can be frozen after they are cooked. Layer them in ziplock bags between wax paper or parchment paper sheets.

Mine are bound for some red curry paste-marinated chicken pieces with greek yogurt sauce. I will try to remember to post a pic of the wraps before we dig in!

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Baked Tomato Pie

Baked Tomato Pie

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

I got some fresh tomatoes this weekend so I decided to try something new – I found a recipe for tomato pie and thought it sounded good – its Paula Deen’s – I tweeked it a little to suit my tastes – here it is:

4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced (I used about five roma tomatoes)
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion (I didn’t have green onion so I put in a handful of chopped sweet onion)
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar (I decided to use asiago)
1 cup mayonnaise (I used light sour cream)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

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zucchini bread

Sliced zucchini bread

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

In ridding my diet of high fructose corn syrup I have run into an obstacle; That mainly being breakfast. I used to grab pop-tarts on my way out the door as I have an hour drive and not much time for lunch cereal is not usually enough to fill me up, though I do enjoy it. So, I decided to make a couple of loaves of zucchini bread for breakfast and and pretty hearty/healthy snack.

I found a recipe on food network page I liked:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I didn’t have ginger – didn’t seem to matter much)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I was out of vanilla extract, but happened to have a vanilla bean – worked great)
2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
Turbinado sugar or other crystallized brown sugar, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Stir the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. When cominbed, mix in the oats. Make a well in the center of the ingredients. Whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together in a small bowl and pour the mixture into the well. Combine lightly, then stir in the zucchini. Do not overmix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, mounding it up in the center. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar if you wish. Bake for 60 or 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack covered with a clean dish towel to prevent indentations. Let the bread cool at least 10 minutes longer before slicing. The bread can be served warm or at room temperature. It keeps well and makes good toast, too.

I figured if I was making a mess in the kitchen I may as well make it worth my while so I doubled this recipe and made two loaves…turned out great!

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