Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can food heal?

Chris at Mele Cotte is hoping it can. This is her second annual event, Fighting Cancer 2 and how could I help but participate. With so many being touched by this stinking disease maybe what we put in our bodies can help. If you make it healthy and tasty it can't hurt.

After seeing this interesting article about broccoli having an ingredient that may fight bladder cancer I set out finding a new recipe. Broccoli has been a fav at our house for ever but most of the recipes were heavy with fat and that's a definite no for someone with cancer. I needed to find something different. I tried a few different recipes but kept coming back to just good old steamed broccoli. Stumped I tried some sauces. Cheese, too much fat. I needed something lighter. While picking some lemons off my tree it hit me. Broccoli goes great with lemon. Here is a nice light sauce for steamed broccoli.

Soy Lemon Sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons soy sauce. ( I used a reduced salt variety)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons salad oil
toasted sesame seeds

Place all the ingredients together in a small jar with a cover, shake well to blend, and let stand one hour. Shake sauce again and pour over two servings of steamed broccoli. Toss to coat and serve. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds.

My photo was crummy but the broccoli was yummy. None left. Serve up someone you love some healthy cancer fighting foods and visit Chris' blog to get some good ideas.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Taste and Create

Myamii's Taste and Create event pairs up participating food bloggers randomly and they get to taste-test one recipe from each other's blog.

This month, I was paired up with a blogger from One Hot Stove. When you go to her blog you too will be overwhelmed, as I was, with so many various tastes to create that are new to me and maybe new to you as well. Nupur features her ongoing fascination with Indian regional food, as well as little tastes of new flavors from around the world. One Hot Stove comes to you from St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Hummus happens to be a favorite of the family and since PBE is a family blog I thought I would try her recipe ...
roasted garlic hummus to be exact.

We did a few adaptions to the recipe one was chopped ciliantro to scatter on top, did not remove the skins from the beans, whisked the oil and the tahini together before pouring into the mixture. That seemed to emulsify and make the hummus a creamy texture. Also used cumin powder instead of cumin seed.

But this is a very creamy hummus that is sure to be a keeper recipe ... thanks Nupur.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

It's Earth Day and because we at PBE care, we are sharing a super idea to recycle t-shirts. If you use your own bags at the market–and you should–this is a great way to make them and recycle something else, as well.

Here is our recipe for a great market bag:
  • Take an old t-shirt and cut a half-circle out of the neck
  • Cut out the sleeves
  • Sew the bottom
Because of the knit in the t-shirt there is no need to hem any of the edges.

Need a small bag? Don't forget to recycle those kid's shirts. This is almost too easy. It would be a great project for kids especially if they hate getting rid of a favorite shirt.

Make up a few and keep in the trunk of your vehicle and be part of the solution, not the problem. There are way too many plastic bags in the landfill each day.

Here are some other ideas for Earth Day. It really is easy to get involved.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

You know it's Spring

Aren't they beauties … no the lime is mine for my Corona!

My sweet sister Moon's lemon tree is bearing fruit and this spring I was able to take advantage of the beautiful lemons. This is not a young tree ... I think it's been decided that this lone tree is about 40 years old. For awhile sister and dear brother-in-law thought it was a gonner; like all things living it was showing it's age. It might have missed them when they took their hiatus to Bakersfield.

Luckily, they happened to have a landscape gardener that knew what to do; low and behold he whacked that tree way back to almost nothing. I believe that was about three years ago and now look what is coming around.

Nothing like fresh lemonade all summer long. Think of all the foods to prepare with a squeeze of lemon. My mouth is watering just to think about these gems.

Just in case you find yourself with some fresh lemons, here are some friend blogs lemony recipes.

Lemon Bars from Just Baking
Simply Recipes Meyer Lemon Sorbet
and from us, Lemon Pound Cake

Brought to you by Doodles and Moon

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Carrot Cake/Muffins

Oh my word to me there is nothing better in the morning than a carrot cake muffin along side a cup of my favorite tea......well maybe a really good bagel

A couple a weeks ago I made the mistake of buying already made carrot cake muffins.....bad, really, really bad. They were greasy and that overpowered the carrot taste which was none, no taste of carrot at all. And they had raisins which I am not fond of in my carrot cake muffin. Then I found this recipe over at Baking Bites

One-Bowl Carrot Cake
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
(I did not have allspice but I did add some fresh ginger)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded carrot (from 2-3 large carrots), well drained

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and eggs until smooth. Beat in melted butter, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, spices and salt. When combined, sift in the flour and baking soda (sifting helps evenly distribute the baking soda) and gently stir it into the batter until no streaks remain. Stir in shredded carrot, then scrape into prepared pan. Bake for 36-42 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Since I made muffins I started keeping an eye on the baking time about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe
8 oz. cream cheese
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add melted butter until absorbed. Add vanilla, then sugar one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The usual suspects

The weather in Southern California has been interesting this week. Sunday was in the 90s and yesterday it barely broke 70. Today should be somewhere around 90, again. So, what to cook with roller coaster weather like this?

I had planned to BBQ chicken thighs on the grill but I really wanted something to warm us up. Yeah, I know, 70 isn't ice skating weather but when you drop more than twenty degrees it but a body into a tailspin. Here is what I did.

Chicken stew

Drain and rinse a can of cannellini beans. Mash half of them with the back of a spoon.
Brown the seasoned chicken breast in some olive oil then remove from the pan and let cool enough to remove the skin. Next go the onions and celery. There should be enough fat left in the pan. Toss in the mushrooms, don't forget to salt them a bit. When they get a bit limp add the rest of the cast of characters including the mashed beans and add some chicken broth. Reserve the unmashed beans for later. Adjust the seasonings and add the thyme. When I braise I want the liquid not to cover but to leave about a third of the thighs showing. Bring to a simmer, barely, cover and cook for about an hour until the chicken is done and the veggies are tender. Toss in the unmashed beans and stir to heat.

I served this with a mound of rice in the bowl and ladled the stew over top. The mashed beans thicken the broth a bit and add a nice texture. This is most colorful and quite tasty and you can really add whatever fresh veggies you have on hand.

Because I can't cook for only two I'm making soup from what was left. Shred the chicken, add more chicken broth and we've got soup for lunch.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Free is our favorite flavor*, **

For curiosity, we track how many people come to PBE. We use a nifty little free app called Site Meter. What I've noticed lately are where our visits come from.

Food Porn Watch
Blogs of Note Archive (we are eternally grateful for that mention)
Some other blog who have listed our link on their site; cool

Play with food
Refining Life
The Big Fat Indian Dream
Femme in the Green Sneakers
Carbs and Diet Coke
Joanna's Food
Kaylyn's Kitchen
C is for cooking
Mixed Salad Annie
Laura Rebecca's Kitchen
Soul Fusion Kitchen

Sorry if I missed mentioning anyone, these are the referrals that came up recently. We do appreciate the advertising and will reciprocate by adding addition blogs to our list, just e-mail us.

Editor's note:*"Free is my favorite flavor" is a quote attributed to lil bird and I've used it quite freely.

** note from lil bird: actually, i usually say "free is my favorite four letter word that starts with f." and if you know me, you know how liberal i am with the f-bombs! ;)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

lazy sunday mornings

lazy sunday morning

ah, a lazy sunday morning. was perusing my favorite food blogs and ran across kitchen wench's yummy looking scones but the pumpkin spice just wasn't doing it for me. lest we forget, ellie's smack in the middle of fall down there in oz, so pumpkin spice certainly fits the bill for her. here in (not so sunny) southern california, we're all spring-like and i wanted something a little, well, springier. what to do?

to the internets!

i found a nice little recipe for scones in the joy of baking and then found some dried bing cherries in my cupboard to mix in. i omitted the jam and, upon reflection, i also should've skipped the sugar carmelizing step as well. these scones were flaky, tender (as my boy alton would say, don't over mix!) and flavorful. the simple egg wash with some sugar sprinkled on top would've been sufficient as i think the carmelized sugar took away from the texture of the scone, which was the star of the show.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Blog hopping finds

can be very beneficial to foodies and I am truly one to search and find.

Now I have my favorites one of which is
Baking Bites I have said this before that I'm not a baker by any stretch of the imagination, however Nic does review some products, some of which I have actually gone out and purchased. While poking around on Baking Bites the other day I came across this regular feature she does on Bites from other blogs This one caught my eye

Any time I see pecan pie I must take a look and oh Lord I am so glad I did. WOW!!! are these good. Although, they reminded me more of a muffin than a cupcake. These taste very much like pecan pie and are so incredibly easy to make. I made them in my silicone muffin pan and baked for 20 - 25 minutes.

Next time I'll make the mini size. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I can see making these for a gift during the holidays or a pot luck that requires a dessert. You'll get rave reviews I tell ya.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This year's Pullet Surprise goes to …

We put out the hunt for egg recipes for our second annual Pullet Surprise and here are our participants. We still haven't gotten many entrants but that makes the people who did enter all that more special. Thanks to them and with all the "events" in the food blogging world we do understand.

First up is Fab Grandma's entry is a Mushroom and Sausage Fritatta. This recipe is not only yummy, it's gluten free.

She has a fun site so do visit. Her and her husband are full time road travelers and have been since 2000.

Now here is an Indian recipe, Egg Biryani but Maybelle's Mom from Feeding Maybelle has a different twist. She makes a curry sauce to flavor this "pot pie" in a pastry. I checked some of her other recipes and she's quite adventurous.

Mechele has entered her BLT Fritatta and it can be found on her "What we eat …" section of her blog. She serves this one with a healthy handful of arugula splashed with oil and vinegar. Great photo. You can see more of her work on her blog and don't miss the vacation shots.

Irma's Rose Cottage is next and we have a recipe for Breakfast, Lunch or Supper. Migas is a dish that includes eggs, cheese and corn tortillas and was a favorite of our father/grandpa Gene here at PBE. This variation was prepared by Irma and served some some pretty fancy garage sale finds. Nice touch.

Sweet Pea's Posts did send us an entry and even though it had no photo or link back to use she tried real hard with this. She is new to food blogging so I'll link to her Sausage Brunch Bake. It's a variation on a strata and I love dishes you can prep the night before. Great for a large gathering. She says she'll be getting a camera soon but it looks like a large golden soufflé. Nothing wrong with that description.

Without further ado, here is what we chose for this year's Pullet Surprise.

Chris from Mele Cotte has made a fantastic Chicken and sun-dried tomatoe soufflé and one great photo. She's also having a second anniversary of her event Cooking to Combat Cancer. You've all got time, check her site for the rules.

As your "prize" you'll be able to use this banner on your blog for as long as you wish. We hope you weren't expecting a real Pulitzer.

Thanks to our submitters and all of our loyal readers. Next time, we'll be expecting something from you folks, too.

PBE makes breakfast egg soufflé

If you've ever eaten something in a restaurant and decided you could make that at home; read on.

When sister Doodles and I get together one of our favorite places for breakfast is Panera Bread. This tasty little breakfast-cafe-franchise seems to be popping up all over the country. I've only been interested in their bread and bagels but lately noticed a hot seller, baked egg soufflés, and thought what a great challenge for Doodles and myself.

The egg dish looks pretty simple. A soufflé/quiche like mixture baked in a puff pastry dough. Sounds easy enough but we did run into some difficulty. Here is our attempt.

Because there were only three of us for Easter brunch we used three two-cup oven proof bowls. I might adjust this to six 6 ounce custard cups next time.


2 eggs
1/4 cup lite sour cream
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped ham or sausage
3/4 teaspoon chopped chive
3/4 teaspoon chopped thyme
salt and pepper
one sheet puff pastry dough

Pre-heat oven to 400 Cut pastry dough in five-inch square or to fit your baking cups. Divide cheese and ham between the three cups. Divide herbs and sprinkle on top of ham. Beat eggs and add half and half. Whisk in sour cream. Pour egg mixture over ham and cheese and bake in middle rack for about 35 minutes until eggs are lightly set. Don't overcook.

What we had was a lovely eggy soufflé with underdone pastry. That afternoon our darling Chef Teri stopped by and we asked her. She's worked in the food industry for quite a while and is a wealth of knowledge. She knew where we went awry. To get the puff pastry to "puff" you need to blast the heat in the beginning, then turn it down and cook your soufflés until the eggs are done. Also, she suggested using some paper soufflé that are sold at Sur la table. This is why we revere her so.

What did we learn? It's fun to try something new even if the results are not exactly what you intended. Try something new!