Monthly Archives: February, 2016

Cauliflower a.k.a. Potatoes in this House

I haven’t been cooking much, at least nothing worthy of talking about here – until yesterday.  I did make some chicken and waffles Saturday morning that turned out to be pretty photogenic, but it was nothing homemade.  Just some Bisquick waffles and some cut chicken breasts dipped in egg, flour, salt & pepper and some cut up strawberries to make it perty-er.  The worst part of this breakfast is the clean up, flour and grease are not my friends.

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The real magic happened yesterday.  I bought two heads of cauliflower on sale and other than throwing it in a pan and steaming it with salt & pepper or roasting it in the oven, I haven’t ever done anything experimental with it.  Nowadays it has such a reputation of being a versatile vegetable, I figured this would be a perfect time to do some testing.

It took me a couple days to pick a recipe that sounded easy and that I thought the kids would actually eat, not to mention, I’m in that – I don’t really have a whole lot of stuff in the fridge so I’m trying to make do – zone.

I came across this recipe for Cauliflower Tots from SkinnyTaste.com, I knew I had at least a variation of all the ingredients so I gave them a shot.  And boy, I am so glad I did, these were so good!  The most awesome thing about this recipe was that the girls liked them, so much so they ate more than one and wanted more afterwards!  My oldest said, “Don’t tell me what they are or I won’t eat them.”  I, of course, laughed and said, “ok”.  My youngest said, “what is it?”  My answer was, “you know how you whip potatoes into those cute little puff things called Duchess potatoes?”  She doesn’t have a clue…and I never actually said it was potatoes, but I never said anything different either.  Whatever it takes to get some vegetables in them!  Even the better half liked them – this was a WIN!  This is my version of the recipe as I made them:

Cauliflower Tots

2 cups cooked cauliflower*
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup onion, minced
3 T. minced fresh parsley
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c. italian bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste
cooking spray

*I cooked the cauliflower florets in the microwave about 5 minutes until soft.  I chopped it with a knife into small pieces and placed the pieces on a paper towel and patted them to dry.  I mixed all the ingredients together and put it all in the food processor.  I pulsed it a couple times just until the ingredients would stick together better.  Make sure you only pulse it and not puree it, don’t know how that would work out!  LOL

Preheat the oven to 400*, spray a nonstick cookie sheet with Pam.  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.

**I used a cookie scoop and scooped 18 “tots” onto the cookie sheet.  I put the cookie sheet in the oven for 18-20 minutes and they turned out perfect!

Next time I would add more onion, but that’s just me.  Delicious!!  Hope you all had a terrific weekend and a fantastic Monday!

There’s a First Time for Everything

Oh my gosh!  I’ve done absolutely nothing all day but bake.  Well, ok, I did go to the dollar store and I picked up some powdered sugar from the grocery store but other than that did nothing but bake cookies, all day.

I used a recipe for sugar cookies that my cousin gave me and then decorated them for Valentine’s Day.  Take a look!  It’s the first time I’ve ever made these cookies.  The first time, the girls made them!

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups flour
½ t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla

Combine the flour, soda and salt and toss together. Set aside. Cream the butter on high until pale yellow, scraping down the bowl frequently. Add the sugar and turn to medium speed. Beat for 2 minutes, until soft and almost white. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low about 30 seconds.

Form 2 separate pieces and wrap in waxed paper. Freeze for 20-30 minutes. When you’re ready to roll the dough, sprinkle surface lightly with flour and sprinkle top of dough lightly as well. Roll out, add flour if you need it to keep it from sticking. Cut out shapes, place on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Bake at 375* for 8-10 minutes or until barely brown on edges. Cool on rack.

I iced them with a Simple Cookie Glaze from kingarthurflour.com.

2 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 T. light corn syrup
1-2 T. milk, plus 1 t. milk
Food coloring
(And I used a little vanilla in the icing as well)

Mix all ingredients together.  Stir until smooth.  Glaze should be thick but soft enough to set.

 

I can’t wait for the girls to come home and try one.  I’ll let you know the outcome!  Have a great Thursday evening!

*These cookies were a hit and were polished off post haste!!

Sunshine Rice

I like yellow rice, I always have and I’ve always liked it better than long grain and wild rice.  I think that stems from when I was a kid, I didn’t like how crunchy and hard the wild rice was.  I’ve grown to enjoy the crunchy rice but I think I still like yellow rice a bit better.

For dinner last night, I cooked pork ribs in the crock pot and boiled some green beans.  I found a bag of Vigo saffron rice in the cabinet and decided to try to find some add-ins to spice it up a bit.

I found the recipes below here and although I don’t have much experience with Indian food, I wound up liking it more than I thought I would!  I will say that not everyone agreed with me about this side dish, the better half didn’t want to eat the nuts, but he said it was “ok”, and the kids don’t much care for rice anyway, so they weren’t that thrilled.  They agreed with the better half’s assessment.  If you like rice, I’d give it a shot. The flavor of the cashews and the rice were enough to sell me!

Saffron Rice with Peas and Cashewsserves 4-6

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups Basmati rice, well-rinsed and washed
1/2 teaspoon (2 pinches) saffron threads
1 cup unroasted, lightly salted cashew halves
1 cup frozen organic peas
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Wash and drain rice. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 4-quart pot. Add the rice and fry a couple minutes. Add the saffron threads and cashew halves and fry for another minute. Add the peas, fry for a few moments, then add the water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 18-20 minutes.

Take off the lid and turn the heat off. Stir in the garam masala and salt to taste. Let the rice sit to “dry” for a few minutes. Serve.

Since I already had the pre-packaged saffron rice, I cooked my rice without oil or butter until done then I stirred in about 3/4 of a cup frozen peas and 1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews. I followed the ingredients in the recipe for the garam masala, but only used a teaspoon of each to test the taste.  I must say, it was really tasty!  I’m not by any means a spice connoisseur but I’m certainly not against using more herbs and spices either.  I just seem to use the ones I’m already familiar with and the ones I know I like.

Garam Masalamakes about 1/4 cup

2 sticks of cinnamon
10 green cardamom pods
8 black cardamom pods
15 cloves
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
2 dried red chiles

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until fully heated and slightly smoking. Add all ingredients and shake and stir for about a minute, or until the spices smell toasted, are slightly darker, and give off just a slight bit of smoke. Remove from the heat and let cool. Grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

So Much To Do(nut)…

…so little time to do it.  I know that’s a lie, at least most of the time.  I somehow have found the time today to Yelp, move cat furniture, download a ton of apps to my new electronic toy, eat – twice, talk to the better half – three times and finish almost all of the laundry.  I still have loads of stuff to do like vacuum and finish the laundry, not to mention plan tonight’s dinner, which I believe will be something like ham fettuccine or something close to it.

I was going to exercise but instead I’m going to vacuum, lol, that’s exercise isn’t it?  Yesterday I spent some time playing with a new site – here’s the link if anyone would like to take a minute to check it out, Frankie Goes to Greenwood.  I didn’t want to flood this page with kitty photos, even though he is the most adorable little thing!

Since I don’t have a lot of time to gather a coherent thought on the weekends usually, I’ll go ahead and share a recipe that I made a few days ago.  I’ve been talking about making doughnuts for a while now but I just felt so intimidated – so many steps and not to mention I’m not a huge fan of frying but I bit the bullet and went for it.  I have a “library” in our basement and I had seen a doughnut cookbook down there, so I pulled it out and gave it a shot.  I have to admit, they weren’t that difficult.  I’m sure if everyone had been home and I had been talking to them, I would have messed them up somehow, but it went pretty smooth!  I was pretty happy with how they turned out.  I did try one before I put the glaze on, but I much preferred them with the glaze.

The original recipe is called Fresh Jelly Doughnuts and it can be found in the book 150 best donut recipes – fried or baked by George Geary.  Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Glazed Doughnuts with Store Bought Lemon Curd

For the Doughnuts:

3/4 c. plus 1 t. whole milk, warmed to 110*

8 g. quick rising yeast

1 large egg

1 large egg white

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 3/4 c. flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

canola oil

2 10 oz. jars of Dickinson’s Lemon Curd

For the Glaze:

1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar, sifted

3-4 T. milk

2 t. vanilla

In mixer bowl, sprinkle yeast over milk and stir with a fork. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Attach bowl to mixer fitted with paddle attachment and add egg, egg white, butter, vanilla, 1 cup of the flour, sugar and salt to yeast mixture. Let stand in bowl for 10 minutes. On low speed, mix just until blended, then gradually add just enough of the remaining flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

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On floured work surface, roll out dough to slightly thicker than 1/4″. If dough is tacky, dust with additional flour. Cut dough with cutter into 12 doughnuts, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Place at least 1″ apart on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, in a large, deep pot or deep fryer, heat about 4″ oil over medium heat until temperature registers 360*. Deep fry 4 doughnuts at a time in hot oil, turning once with wooden chopsticks until golden brown, about 15 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Fry remaining doughnuts, adjusting heat as necessary between batches to maintain oil temperature.

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Let doughnuts cool completely then fill with pre-made lemon curd using a pastry bag with a Bismarck or plain tip. If desired, ice with glaze or dust with powdered sugar.

Whisk together ingredients for glaze and dip doughnuts in glaze.  (I dipped mine twice to make sure they were covered as the icing was thin so it kept running off – I think the kitchen was too warm.)

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These were really good.  Shoot for making 12 doughnuts.  I did, but I made mine kinda big and some weren’t as thick as I would have liked.  My better half wanted glazed only so the thin ones I didn’t fill with the curd.  Both, I thought were delicious and they did too.  Next time I’m filling them with some type of cream which are my favorites!  Have a delicious weekend!

xoxo

Oh So Good Marinated Flank Steak

Oh my gosh!  I must share this!  Yesterday I thawed a flank steak for dinner and I searched the internet for a marinade recipe.  I found one that was pretty basic, red wine vinegar, soy sauce and garlic, but that didn’t seem like it was going to have enough flavor for us.  So I threw together a few ingredients and came up with the most flavorful and delicious flank steak!  Everyone loved it.  I served it with garlic roasted broccoli and garlic flatbread.  Dinner was a success!  Here’s the recipe:

Marinated Flank Steak

1 1/2 lb. flank steak

1/2 c. soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)

1 T. olive oil

1-2 T. dried or fresh parsley (I used dried)

1-2 T. red wine vinegar

3 T. minced garlic (I use the jarred)

2 T. minced dried onion

2 t. stevia

splash of Worcestershire sauce

I make a seasoning with equal parts salt, pepper, garlic powder & onion powder and I added that to taste

I put all ingredients and steak into a 9 x 13 baking dish, flipped it over a couple times, covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge for about 5 or so hours.  Approximately an hour and thirty minutes before I was to cook it, I took the meat from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.  I took the meat from the marinade and placed it on a broiler pan and broiled it approximately 8 minutes per side about 3″ from the broiler.

The kitchen was a little smoky once I opened the oven, but not bad enough not to make this again!  It was perfect!

I Don’t Think So Mister!

When we were driving home from downtown this past Friday, the better half whispered under his breath, “Wanna stop at the animal shelter?”  Eh sure, why not, should help me focus on something else for a while.

We walked in through the cloudy double doors into the entrance and then through to the main lobby.  There’s a fishtank, a large screen TV, colored paw prints with children’s names attached to them and approximately six double cages with cats, all awaiting their new homes.  H. headed over to the cage housing four three month old kittens in the top cage and one four month old kitten in the bottom cage.  She kept saying, “they’re licking me” and she was mesmerized.  I don’t think she moved away from the cage but once to see the others and then she headed back to the kittens.  We petted every one of them and in the back of my head I selected the ones that, if had the chance, I’d put in the car and rescue this very second.


While we were there a young girl came in looking for her dog.  She gave a description and they took her to the back where the dogs are kenneled.  She came out crying and nodding, yes, they had her dog.  She was so relieved.  It’s wonderful that places like this exist, but it’s a shame they aren’t a higher priority on the government’s must fund list.  They simply don’t understand the hope and goodness these places provide to animals, animal owners and animal advocates.

I spoke to the lady behind the counter about fostering.  I told her about our Queen Bee resident cat and our issues in adopting another until we “try” him or her out.  She told us we had 30 days and that they don’t encourage the adoption as a trial period.

The girls oohed and ahhed over the cats and after twenty minutes or so, the better half pointed to the two cages and said, “let’s get Mister and Gracie”.  I laughed and said, “no”.  Then for some reason, I said “one”.  The next thing I know I was filling out paperwork and someone was handing us a cardboard carrier!

We adopted Mister and changed his name to Frank or Frankie or Franklin or Frankie Doodle or Franklin Fish or just Fish as the youngest calls him.  He’s just now getting his pilot’s wings dealing with the noises of the house and all the chaos and love it offers.  He’s blending right in and although he and The Queen haven’t exactly bonded, they’re doing ok.  I’m hoping and praying that within the next week or two they’ll tolerate one another.  Baby steps after all.

Little Frank

 

Ha!

 

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