Saturday, April 29, 2006

stale bread from doodles

I could never get into the low-carb craze for one simple reason: I'm a sucker for a really good loaf of bread. Of course, even stale bread has an inevitable expiration date; wait too long to put your not-so-fresh bread to use, and mold and other tiny nasties will stake their claim, leaving you with no choice but to chuck the bread in the trash. This is where the freezer comes in handy. If you find yourself with a chunk of stale bread and no immediate use for it, just freeze it for later. Those butt ends of sandwich-style loaves, the ones that have a tendency to get pushed around and ignored until there's not another slice of bread left in the house? Those get added to the frozen stash as well. Just make sure to slice up any bread before you freeze it, as it's a lot easier to do so when the bread's at room temperature than when it's a big frozen block. Keep a ziplock bag in the freezer, freezing extra bread as you accumulate it, and you'll find you may never have to waste a slice of bread again.

Now living in Florida you must beat the mold. Eeeeewwwww gross I know. What I mean is let it get stale but use it before the humidity gets it or do what I have done in the past and let it dry out in the oven.

To participate in Is My blog Burning's food blogging event hosted by An Obsession With Food
the first thing that came to my mind was Tuscan Bread Salad -- Panzanella, although it is not one of my favorites so I decided to pass. I love brunch on Sundays so I thought I would work on a strata…………there are so many whew!!! hard to be original in that area. But this one is an adjusted version that I have made several times…and in several variations……….. if you try it ~ do enjoy!!!

after coming out of the fridge from it’s overnite stay

1 lb. fresh asparagus or 1 pkg. frozen asparagus
1 c. shredded crab meat
6 slices ciabatta bread crust on
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar and jack cheese

5 eggs
1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. half & half
2 tsp. Onion powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes
3/4 c. jack & cheddar cheese, additional

Cut asparagus into 1" pieces, drop into boiling, salted water and cook rapidly for 4 minutes. Drain well. If using frozen asparagus, thaw and drain well. I use blackfin crabmeat from the seafood counter.If using canned crab meat rinse and drain. Fit bread into buttered 7'x11" baking dish. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese over the bread slices and distribute the asparagus and crab meat. Whisk the egg mixture ingredients together until blended. Pour over the layered ingredients, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Bake, uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Top with additional 3/4 cup cheese and continue baking to allow cheese to melt for 10 minutes or until center is firm. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Serves 6 to 8....well maybe 4 or 5 if you are really hungry
Serves this with a tossed salad like baby spinach, toasted pine nuts a good dose of salt and pepper leghtly dressed with a very simple vinegarette. And of course a glass of crisp white wine would be perfect.
A good variation would be with ham or bacon, asparagus and use swiss cheese or fontina.

stale bread from maltese parakeet

in searching for some food blogs to read regularly, i ran across an obsession with food. i quite like it; it's a pretty good read. but i was really intrigued when aowf introduced me to is my blog burning and its themed blog posts. aowf is hosting imbb 25: stale bread this weekend. since this is pretty much like the themes that we do here on peanut butter etouffee, i asked my blogmates if they would like to try and they enthusiastically agreed. so, here's my post and doodles' and mooncrazy's follow. i think i speak for the group when i say that we really enjoyed doing this and our husbands (or co-workers, in my case) , as the main consumers of the end product of our efforts, really enjoyed it too!

i initally thought i would make some bread pudding with the stale bread, but i recently made that, so i wanted to try something new. i came upon my stale bread idea from one of the podcasts that i listen to regularly, the podchef's gastrocast. back in march, he made a sicilian blood orange cake using bread crumbs and almond meal instead of flour. i'd never used this method before and i'd been dying to try it, so this was the perfect opportunity.

the recipe calls for four ounces of bread crumbs but seven ounces of almond meal. i found myself wondering if this would be judged like iron chef and worried that i would hear a japanese lower house minister say, "it's good, but i can't taste the theme ingredient." anyway, back to the bread crumbs... i used a few french sandwich rolls to make the crumbs, cutting them into cubes and letting them set out for a day or two to get stale. then i threw them in the food processor to get the crumb stage. since these bread crumbs were going to be used for a cake, i removed the crusts before i buzzed up the crumbs in the processor so that i would have a more delicate texture.

i didn't take any prep pictures, but here's the final product:

sicilian blood orange cake

a few comments on the recipe and the outcome. this recipe uses a lot of sugar and oil and eggs. it is not low fat or low carb in any way shape or form. that being said, who cares? it was really tasty. the blood orange syrup soaking stage made the cake really moist and flavorful. but i had some extra batter and made some cupcakes on the side, so i can confirm that the cake was moist and tasty even without the syrup. the bread crumbs gave the cake a nice texture and i believe made the cake sturdy enough to stand up to the syrup. the sugar in the recipe made for nice carmelization on top of the cake which looked good, tasted better and added a nice texture to the outside of the cake. however, that carmelization action also got the cake good and stuck to the sides of the pan; without the greased pan and the parchment in the bottom, i don't believe i would have been able to get this cake out of the pan. so, don't skip that step in the recipe and be sure to run a knife along the edge of the pan before you attempt to dislodge the cake. i only know this because the cupcakes all got stuck, but i've been eating them out of the cupcake tin with a spoon all week, so it's all good! i am definitely going to make this cake again. i am looking forward to playing with some of the ingredients, i think lemon might be a good citrus to use to counteract some of the sweetness.

sicilian blood orange cake 2

anyway, thanks to the podchef for this great recipe. i highly recommend this cake.

Stale bread from Mooncrazy

To participate in Is My blog Burning's food blogging event hosted by An Obsession With Food I needed to leave a loaf of French bread to get stale. Not an easy task in our house as darling husband loves bread and let's be honest, I do as well. I did manage to hide the loaf long enough to make Stale Bread Baked French Toast.

Egg mixture
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon or more nutmeg (none of that canned stuff)
1 small loaf stale french bread cut into 1" pieces or enough to fill a 9x13 glass baking dish

1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Butter baking dish. In a bowl whisk the egg mixture ingredients. Place bread in dish in single a layer with sides touching, really squeeze the bread in. Pour egg mixture over bread, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl combine topping ingredients and spread evenly over bread. Bake 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cut into squares or pull out the separate pieces of bread and serve dusted with powdered sugar.

The egg mixture turns the bread into a light and fluffy custard not unlike a savory strata. This is a great brunch dish because you don't need to deal with butter and syrup for each serving. We had leftovers and they are tricky to reheat. Try the oven rather than the microwave as the eggs get a bit chewy and that's not a tasty texture.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

spring is here

i never got around to doing a post on the farmer's market topic way back when, so here it is.

i did a little spring shopping in the farmer's market this weekend so i could make one of my favorite spring meals. here's the menu: fava beans with green garlic; fingerling potatoes with bacon and rosemary; and roast pork loin (or lamb is good, too, but i'm not made of money).

green garlic is available only in spring and is, basically, baby garlic. it looks like a green onion, but bigger with flat leaves and a more bulbous end. i like to slice it up and use it in recipes instead of green onions or leeks. it adds a mild garlic flavor, but is not overpowering and won't give you the dreaded garlic breath.

and fava beans are just yum. another spring favorite. they come in these giant pods that look like green beans on steroids. to prepare them, remove them from the pods and then blanch them in salty, boiling water for about a minute or two. then throw them in an ice bath to cool them down and loosen the husk. finally, pop the beans out of the fibrous husk and they're ready to use. it's a lot of work for a small amount of food; but it's definitely worth it.

after all that, i saute some sliced green garlic and salt in the pan with a generous amount of olive oil and add the fava beans when the garlic starts to get soft. keep everything on the heat until the fava beans are just heated through and serve.

the fingerling potatoes are simple, though. i make up a foil pouch with the potatoes, a few slices of bacon (chopped up into bits), some fresh rosemary sprigs and some kosher salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. i throw the pouch in the oven with the pork loin and they potatoes are done at the same time.

the pork loin is dead simple, too. i brine it for at least a few hours in some salt water in a covered dish in the fridge and try to bring to room temperature before it goes in the oven. if you want to get fancy, cut back on the salt and replace it with some soy sauce and add a few slices of fresh ginger, some peppercorns, some star anis and a little sugar (a ming tsai recipe). to cook, i dry off the roast, rub with a little oil, add some cracked pepper and bake in the convection oven until about 150 degrees internal temperature. brining produces the moistest pork loin ever. but be sure to give the meat a good 10 minute rest before cutting, because, as alton brown taught me, letting the meat rest helps keep all the juice in the meat where it belongs, not on your cutting board!

Monday, April 24, 2006

At long last, a cake

Ok, this is the last post about my cake fiasco. I scrapped the chocolate (see previous post) for the yellow cake with strawberry cream filling and white chocolate ganache on the left. I did not use the same ganache recipe as it had Karo syrup and I thought it would be too sweet with the white chocolate. Only problem it wasn't shiny like the dark chocolate but it was yummy. It is easy to spread and easier to make. Bring heavy cream and a few tablespoons of butter to a boil and pour over the white chocolate. Cool and then beat it to the consistency you need.

Worried the berries in the filling would "weep" I sliced and patted them dry between paper towels and they were perfect. The berries on the top were washed, chopped and tossed with a little sugar. They gave a nice "fresh" taste to the cake and to be honest, I can't write happy-anything with frosting.

The dinner party was very nice and the cake most appreciated as the last photo shows, not much left. This was a ten inch cake and in retrospect I'd have cut it different. Even though there was nothing left on the plates I thought the pieces were way too big. I did have help from our darling Teri, a culinary expert turned Starbuck's manager. I was ready to heat the knife with hot water and she just heated it over the gas burner, neat trick.

Like I said cakes aren't my forte but after this experience I might start making more.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

tea-themed chocolate truffles experiment

first, i apologize for not having a photo for this post. if i were a smart girl, i would have hidden a few samples for a photo session, but, alas, they were all dispatched quite quickly in a manner that suggested they were somewhat yummy. i gobbled quite a few myself.

so, i initially got this idea into my head after i got back from japan. i brought back a bag of that matcha tea, which, if you are too lazy to follow the link, is a powdered green tea that you mix straight into the water, no straining or tea bag required. you may recognize it as the flavoring responsible for green tea ice cream. anyway, i love the flavor of matcha. it pairs really well with sweet, creamy flavors, as i discovered when i soon found myself addicted to a uniquely japanese starbucks concoction, the matcha latte. this would taste really good with some white chocolate, i thought. hence the experiment.

so here was my first stab at matcha white chocolate truffles. the recipe for truffles is quite simple, just cream and chocolate, and flavoring if you wish (usually liqueur), blended together and then allowed to chill. i used 1/2 cup of heavy cream, about 3 tablespoons of matcha and 8 ounces of white chocolate, chopped. the process requires you to slowly bring the cream just up to boiling, then turn it off and add the chocolate. when flavoring with a liqueur or espresso, you can just throw that in at that step. however, if i used the matcha already "brewed," i thought i would not get the intense matcha flavor that i wanted and that i might throw off the recipe with too much water. so, i added the powdered tea straight to the cream and heated them together. that way, i got the heat i wanted to bring out the flavors in the tea but did not change the intensity or water down the recipe. (i got this idea from the other truffle i made, which i'll get to in a moment.) one tip i would add here about blending the matcha, is next time i would put the matcha powder in the saucepan first, then mix in a small amount of the cream to make a paste, then slowly and continuously incorporate the rest of the cream and then heat the mixture. the matcha has the consistency of powdered sugar and, as i learned, has the same annoying affinity for making lumps. so, after heating the cream, i took it off the heat and poured it over the chopped chocolate that i had waiting in a bowl. a few stirs and the chocolate was all melted and incorporated and now comes the hard part for me, being patient and letting it cool. after cooling for a few hours, i transferred the truffle mixture into a pastry bag and piped it into white chocolate lined candy molds.

the other experiment was earl grey tea and dark chocolate truffle. i had an earl grey tea infused chocolate bar once from a belgian chocolatier somewhere here in l.a. and i was instantly hooked. one of my favorite food experiences is the amazing process of tasting the different flavors as they develop in your mouth over the course of one bite. [i have re-written that sentence 17 times and it still sounds lame, but i can't keep doing this all day.] it's kind of the holy grail of food for me, i love it when it happens and i'm trying to get my cooking skills up to a level where i can create this effect. any foodies or professionals out there who know the technical term for this, please help me out. anyway, the earl grey tea infused truffle achieved this. yum. i tried a little bit of a different recipe for this truffle. instead of cream, i used 3/4 cup of creme fraiche, a tablespoon of earl grey tea leaves (i splashed out on a tin of really nice earl grey called kousmichoff), and 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (54%). i heated the creme fraiche and the tea together really slowly until it just boiled, stirring constantly. by that time, the tea had infused into the creme fraiche quite nicely, giving it a beige tinge and an amazing aroma. then i strained the hot creme fraiche through my trusty tea strainer over the chopped chocolate. again, a few stirs, some waiting around, and then straight into the pastry bag and some dark chocolate lined candymolds.

all in all, i really liked both of these, but the earl grey one was definitely my favorite. the matcha white chocolate truffle with white chocolate coating was very sweet, almost a little cloying and didn't have anything to balance it. i think it was too much white chocolate with the shell around it. i think i might try a matcha white chocolate mousse, that would tone it down a little, and the addition of something like a pie crust or cake element would cut the overall sweetness. anyway, the earl grey was just right and, as i mentioned, achieved that flavor change thing, which had me dancing around the kitchen. not to brag, but my friend mina tried the earl grey and said, "oh, why are you a lawyer?" i don't know, mina, i don't know.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Can you ever have too much cake?

In my previous post I was kvetching about producing not-so-even layer for my cake. That was the least of my problems. I checked with the hostess to make sure all this chocolate is ok--chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and vanilla filling--which it wasn't. Oops. I should have asked but who doesn't like chocolate? I guess the happy couple doesn't and after all, it is their anniversary.

I finished the cake because I wanted to try this new recipe for ganache and parceled all but two pieces out to the neighbors. Husband has already finished the two pieces which might be a compliment but this is from the man who when I met him was eating cold Franco-American spaghetti out of a can. I won't go into that now. I also decided not to put on a third layer.

I've just taken the new yellow cake out of the oven. I'll put a strawberry and cream filling with white chocolate ganache. Here is the ganache recipe. I little different but oh so easy to use. It stays shiny and it can be reheated in the microwave.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup light corn syrup
18 ounces chocolate, chopped

Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in heavy saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool. Can be made one day ahead.

My feeble attempt................

Cilantro Pesto
I have, over the years, attempted to grow cilantro several times. The hot, very humid weather of South Florida does fairly well for growing herbs. However each time the cilantro plants bolted before I got much use out of them. As the cilantro gets more mature, the stems thicken; the leaves get much bigger and brown. I hated tossing it because it seemed such a waste. So one year I promised myself to kept a close eye on the growing, after all I had a recipe for homemade cilantro pesto that I wanted to try. After a couple months or so I felt it was a good time to make cilantro pesto. Unlike basil pesto, this pesto doesn’t require parmesan cheese, I have seen some cilantro pesto recipes with parmesan cheese added, but for some reason in my mind it just didn’t click. The complimentary flavors are white onion, and serrano chile. Also, roasted pecans are used instead of pine nuts. Pecans seem to enhance the flavor of the cilantro, rather than compete with it.
Use this pesto with migas (tortilla and eggs), or with chicken or beef in tacos. Some of this batch got mixed in with a little sour cream for a tasty tortilla chip dip. Use your imagination in using this cilantro pesto, I know I have. This is a recipe I had found on line and once again I adapted it to my taste, just as you should. But most of all enjoy!

2 cups, packed, of cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 cup roasted pecans
1/4 cup chopped white sweet onion
2 peeled garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon chopped and seeded serrano chiles……….optional (high in the heat factor)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
a splash of lime juice adds a bit a sweet/tart flavor judge for yourself

In a food processor, pulse the cilantro, pecans, onion, garlic chile, and salt until well blended. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Add more oil as needed for your use. Makes about 1 cup.

BTW ~~~~~~~~~~~~~I buy my cilantro now because it is in such abundance in almost any market.

ETA.............check this out
he has a wonderful yet quirky site that is quite informative.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Please, let them eat the cake

I'm not a cake baker, nope, never have been. Can't even make decent cupcakes which is odd because I can cook most anything else. I'm doing a favor for my dear friend Ingrid. With her mom in the hospital she won't have time to fix a cake for a dinner party she's having on Saturday. It's to celebrate the anniversary of some out of town friends of ours, the Shranks. I offered because Ingrid is the kind of friend that would do this for you and I know she wants the party to be nice for Tom and Diane. Even though I don't bake cakes I thought I'd give it a try.

My problem is the cake layer comes out all humpity in the middle. I've tried everything and I know, I can trim it but there must be some trick I'm missing. I'm doing three layers and each needed a fair amount of time. I've even bought three new, straight-sided pans just for the occasion.

I'm freezing the layers and making ganache on Saturday. If anyone has a magic trick, even though it's too late for this cake, let me know. I might even get the hang of this cake thing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

French Fry woes..................

excuse me………………….Dubya……please I’m begging ya stay outta my fries.

Now I’m not saying that there isn’t an obesity problem in this country…….there is!!!! And I applaud many schools for stepping in and changing the menus to make them somewhat more nutritious. And warning us about trans fat is fine………..yep I think education is the key. But for the government to get involved, well let me just say I am a tad hesitant. Next we will see people suing for bazillion gazillion dollars because the fries they ate everyday for 20 years or so caused them to have health problems DUH!!!!!!!!!!!

Could we start our education in schools where we probably could use it the most…….in a nutrition 101 class? That doesn’t sound unreasonable does it?

I’m telling ya the government has just gotta stay out a my french fry bidness…..OK!!!

Now I’m sure there are both sides to every story, so let’s hear it……………

Stay tuna’d……………………………

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


My dear husband is addicted to this sauce...... it is the tomatillo sauce I made couple weeks ago. Fixed him a juicy burger today with some fresh farmers market tomatoes. Might add that this is about the end of local grown cause it is getting way too hot. Anyway while eating his juicy burger husband wanted to know if I had any of that "funny green sauce"? He is referring to tomatillos
He seems to think the word tomatillos is a funny word - that's my Norman.
I did have a bit left in the frig so I heated it up a bit for our burgers....can I tell you it was yummy on a really good sirloin meaty burger.

After lunch I had to clean up and I thought I should just replenish my supply of tomatillo sauce so I went at it.
Here is how I make mine and everyone does it differently.

about 10 small to medium tomatillos remove husk and wash well and dry cut in half
1 sweet white onion Vidalia preffered cut into chunks
4 cloves of garlic peeled left whole is OK
4 roasted pablano peppers or 2 small cans diced green chiles

put the above ingredients in a large skillet suitable for putting in an oven, sprinkle with some kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and a couple splashes of extra virgin olive oil. Roast uncovered in a 400 degree oven till some of the tomatillos and the onions look carmelized or charred, about 45 minutes. ETA...........the above mixture is not really spicey with peppers in any way but you may add your own such as a serrano chile for some extra added heat.

Remove from oven and let cool, the contents will look real soupy, not to worry. When the ingredients are put in a food precessor it thickens up. Don't forget the fresh cilantro put it in when ingredient are being blended in the food processor. Enjoy!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

food blogs & podcasts

well, after sufficient castigation from this blog's esteemed elders (double-teamed on the phone on a sunday morning, no less), the little bird has come to post. i've been a little busy, so i've fallen victim to this annoying little habit i have which entails me thinking about what i have to do and then thinking that i don't have the full amount of time that i think i would need to invest to do as good of a job as i want, so i think i'll just not do it at all and just lay here on the couch or look at a few websites. i am the world's best procrastinator. anyway, i do have a few things to write about, so i should have a few good posts coming up.

so, i've been into this podcasting thing for about the last year or so. (if you aren't on the podcast bandwagon yet, see here for my own rather feeble attempt at describing podcasting to the layperson.) anyway, as the universe of podcasting continues to expand, the number of subject matter topics seems to expand correspondingly and has expanded to include one of my favorite topics, fooooood. i'm always on the lookout for a new podcast to subscribe to and i have enjoyed kcrw's "good food" for some time (on the radio for a while and as a podcast more recently), so i decided to look for some food podcasts to add to my list a few months ago. here are a few that i found and really enjoy:

the food geek podcast: the food geek is the podcast that alton brown would make if he had a podcast. well, not exactly, but close. he is definitely "in the ab camp" when it comes to food. this is not just a recipe show, the food geek talks about a range of subjects related to food. the episodes are also not based on a certain theme, instead they have several segments per episode. he usually has one good rant per episode, which is funny. he seems to watch a lot of food network, as he does a bit of kvetching about their programming. note that he calls himself the food geek, not the food snob. he enjoys food in all its forms and seems to equally enjoy investigating the process of making it and educating people about making it. the food geek has a funny, self-deprecating sense of humor and the production values are very good, so the podcast is quite enjoyable. my only complaint is the episodes aren't released very regularly.

the podchef's gastrocast: i have to admit to having a love-hate relationship with this podcast. the podchef is doing something that i would love to do, which is go live in the sticks somewhere and raise/grow/cook really good food. he is very into organic food, local food procucts, sustainable and humane food production, and all sorts of other tree-hugger sorts of ideas, and his podcasts offer a lot of good information on these topics that you're not going to hear on the food network. however, don't be fooled: he is not one of those whiny vegans and he has really good taste in food. each show is based on a theme and always has a recipe section. he usually cooks the recipe on the podcast and then posts pictures on his flickr page. admittedly, i haven't had the chance to test any of them yet, but this one particularly is on my list. the downside with this podcast is that it is a little hard to listen to. also, the production values are fairly horrible, full of abrupt transitions between badly edited musical pieces and ear-shatteringly suprising volume changes. and sometimes the podchef gets a little whiny. all of that nothwithstanding, i really do like this podcast. episodes are faithfully released every week. the information about sustainability is very thought provoking. the recipes are interesting. and, annoying as they are, the production foibles are indicia of an indie podcast that is a true labor of love.

food podcasts i'd like to see: alton brown (which may be coming soon, according to his website.)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Snacks anyone?

While plunking around on my computer my darling husband brought in a plate of wine, cheese, and bread. Who could turn this down especially when someone else makes it.

Little review, the wine is Cline Zin, '03. Not bad, a bit oakey, the cheese, just plain old supermarket cheddar but when served by my darling husband, it's gourmet. It's not so much what you eat sometimes but whom you eat it with.

Dan's a sweetie and he washes my car, too. I'm such a princess.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Green Chile Souffle amended.........

My sister moon put together a small collection of recipes many years ago. The date is not known cause she didn't date the book but I can tell youfor sure it has been a long time cause mine is dirty with food stuff and dog eared and very well used.

In this collection is a wonderful recipe for Green Chile Souffle which I have made many, many times as directed. While at the Fresh Market the other day I got some pablano peppers and fresh tomatillos. I roasted the tomatillos with chopped vidalia onions and several cloves of garlic for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. After the mixture is cooled I put it in my food processor adding salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. I put the pablanos under the broiler for charring,let them get charred and keep turning them over till they are all fairly charred. Now I do this under the broiler because I have an electric stove. Once the peppers are charred put them in a clean plastic bag, tie the bag off and let them set for a half hour. You will be able to peel them easily and the charring/roasting gives them a tasty flavor.

Now the souffle..........

8 pablano peppers roasted, seeded and peeled OR 4 4 oz cans of whole green chiles
2 cups grated jack cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
6 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
salt and pepper

butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass dish. If using canned chiles rinse well of seeds and pat dry.
layer the chiles on the bottom of the dish then layer the cheese, reserve a handful for sprinkling on top when completed. Beat together the eggs, mix in the flour and milk. Then pour that mixture over the cheese and chiles. Pan should be about half full. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done in center. About 15 minutes before taking them out sprinkle that reserved cheese on the top. Serve with salsa or guacamole or both and maybe some heated corn tortillas. Now because this was just for two of us I cut this recipe exactly in half and used a square glass dish and it was perfect.

Pictured above is tomatillo guacamole and fresh salsa...........yummy!!!!

There are several wonderful recipes in this collection so stay tuna'd......................

Friday, April 14, 2006

Quick and simple can be tasty

Most of the time our food blog is about simple food. That's not to say we don't throw in a restaurant review or two from time to time but the bread and butter of this blog seems to be quite mainstream when it comes to cookin'. It's what we cook and eat everyday not unlike most of my friends and relatives.

We like to list other sites or products we've found that work great or don't work at all. Hopefully it will save some other busy woman a little extra time. I stumbled on Muir Glen canned tomatoes quite by accident at our Trader Joe's and now they are the only ones I buy. The tomatoes are always quite tasty, they're organic, and come in an enameled can. Don't know if the can has anything to do with it but they sold me but because TJ's doesn't always carry them I have to drive to Whole Foods.

What did I use tonight? A small can of whole peeled tomatoes; run through the blender, some ground meat, and the usual Italian herbs and garlic. Brown the meat with some olive oil; add the herbs, garlic and most of the tomato; simmer. I always reserve about 1/4 of the tomato to add at the end, it gives it a fresher taste. A little chopped Italian parsley and pour that over hot pasta, any shape. Top with a grate or three of pecorino romano; a salad and some bread and I'm happy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

grilled cheese.....has come a long way

I have no idea where or how I come upon certain web sites................but this one is pretty interesting and leads to other great ideas............which is what this cheese sandwich site did.

Wish I would have taken a picture but husband was starving so he was not going to see the amusement of me taking a snap of his sandwich.

But let me draw you a picure for your mind..............I used Ciabatta Bread fresh from the Italian market. I buttered the bread on the inside and out, used jack cheese I sliced, a slice of fontina cheese which is creamy, roasted red pepper and roasted pablano pepper I had roasted yesterday, vidalia onion I had carmelized, and on husbands I put sliced prosciutto. Put those babies on my trusty grille and voila.

I love grilled sandwiches, I love stay tuna'd...........................

put down that sleeping pill.........

and grab one or two of sister moon's delicious oatmeal and raisin cookies, and a glass of milk .

And I'll tell you why I say this.............first let me mention I do believe that sister moon and I are twins, we just happen to be born 7 years apart. OK go to that link just above at the beginning, yeah that one and you will read that tryptophan is contained in oatmeal.............there is a god!!!
You know what tryptophan is don't ya, it's that stuff that is in turkeys that make us fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner. You thought it was cause you ate too much. Nope it's the TRYPTOPHAN!!!! WOO HOOO!!!

OK now follow sister moon's advice and make your self a batch of these babies and you'll see you'll sleep better for says so.

Oh moon is not a raisin person so I believe she leaves them out, I on the other hand am a raisin person and slept like a baby last nite.............................stay tuna'd...............................

Monday, April 10, 2006

Gladly not a vanishing breed

I try to keep some homemade cookies on hand because they are so much better than the packaged varieties. Not that I'd turn down a Fig Newton or an Oreo if I had a big ol' glass of milk but I do love the good old oatmeal cookie recipe on the box of Quaker Oats. That recipe is one of those I could make in a coma because I've made it so often but I thought I'd look on the Quaker website for a link. Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Cook's tried to improve on this recipe and after months of testing they had something quite close to the recipe on the box. They replaced the baking soda with baking powder and eliminated the cinnamon. Philistines! Cinnamon and nutmeg are two of my "personal" spices but other than that the recipe is ok.

This may sound odd but I eat less of the homemade. I'm thinking it might be because the box variety are filled with empty flavors where you put fresh ingredients that are full of flavor in your own. Who knows, I do feel more satisfied with one big homemade oatmeal cookie than a whole box of the store bought, and I've eaten a whole box. Come on, you have too.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The fire in the belly is not from the chili

My Sister Weed found a link to the Cielito Lindo restaurant I mentioned is a past post, Sherman, set the Wayback machine for 1957. It was and still is one of the highlights whenever we all get together. The little bird grew up with this eatery and I'm sure she could throw a fond memory on this pile, as well.

Their site is interesting because it answers some questions we'd had about the early days, seems they started in the '30s. The story of how Aurora came to this country, as an immigrant with five small children, and made a life for herself is very inspiring and it got me thinking about this big ole immigration issue everyone is talking about. They should be talking about a war in Iraq but I digress.

So this is what immigrants do. Was
Aurora Guerrero's story different from thousands of other families? I don't think so. They come to this country, work hard, establish their family and create jobs for others not to mention the best damn taquitos in the world and they stay in business for 70 years. What a drab ugly country this would be without them.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Parchment; and to think they wasted it on the Magna Carta

Haven't felt like cooking because I've been a bit "punky" lately but since I still feel like eating I'll share a small tip for making frozen pizza taste a bit better. I subscribe to America's Test Kitchen and get Cook's magazine because I do love their methods for recipes, so here's one for pizza from the box.

Frozen pizza doesn't need to taste like the box it comes in, just cook it on a sheet of parchment placed on the oven rack. The parchment absorbs some of the moisture making the crust nice and crisp. Also, I always "fluff" the pizza up a bit. Fluffing includes adding more of whatever you have on hand but mainly cheese. They are all quite stingy with the cheese though they make up with the sauce. The pizza last night had four lonely black olives; four. Ever wonder how they figure that ratio out?

As a matter of fact, I'm quite the fan of parchment. If you don't have it in your cupboard you should, and now that Reynolds sells it in most every market, you've got no reason not to. This isn't a commercial for Reynolds, they just happen to market a convenient roll of the stuff and a decent price.