Sunday, December 31, 2006

knitting instead of cooking

i've been knitting instead of cooking recently, so i'll admit that i haven't been posting too often. i've made a sweater for max, though, so it's perfect for sweetnicks' weekend dog blogging:

squinty mc squintersons

do be sure to stop by sweetnicks' to check out all the other food hounds.

there are pictures in the works from christmas dinner (can you say 12 pound prime rib?), so, as doodles would say, stay tuna'd...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve lite

Not the best photo I have ever taken ;~(

Soup is a good thing to have for a Christmas Eve, meal because you know darn well you are gonna eat a ton the next day.

So for Christmas Eve I made for the two of us the family Potato Soup recipe that has been around for quite sometime now.

As usual I put a twist to the Creamy Potato soup. I made the basic recipe that sister moon found ages ago.

BUT I kept a few of the bite size pieces of potatoes out, sauteed them in a bit of butter and a dash or three of smoky paprika, then added them at the last minute.
Tasty if I say so myself. And served with fresh sourdough rolls and a glass of wine you are good to go for that Christmas meal that you know you will over indulge.
This recipe my sister printed up in a small cookbook that was amongst many of her other favorites that she compiled and sent out for Christmas gifts. I think it was about 15 +/- years ago because of a particular reference.
Potato Soup
1/4 C butter
1 C celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 C parsley (I forgot the parsley)
3 - 4 white potatoes chopped (about 4 cups)
1 qt milk (I used half milk and the other half was half & half)
1 qt low sodium chicken broth
3 Tbls cornstarch
salt & pepper to taste
In a kettle melt butter, add onion & celery cook till limp. Add all but about a cup of the potatoes, parsley and broth. Cook until tender. Stir in milk and cook til soup is hot, DO NOT BOIL. ***This is where I get out my mini boat motor AKA hand held blender to blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Once smooth blend cornstarch with a little water to make a slurry and stir into soup, continue to heat until soup thickens. If you find it a bit thick to your liking add a bit more broth. Add the parsley at the last minute. This is where I steamed a few of the potatoes and sauteed them in a bit of butter and a few sprinkles of smoky paprika. Love the flavor it adds.
***not a necessary part of the method but something that I do.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It has been awhile BUT

Like all of you it's a busy, busy time.

Just wanted to share with you something that we received yesterday from a friend. Now this friend is spending the winter in Telluride or they would probably be here with us. Glad they are in Telluride cause they are having a wicked White Christmas.

Anyway they sent a care package of fruit. My husband says that's like sending coal to West Virginia! But after opening the box and seeing the contents we were quite excited. Among other unusual fruit there were six pommelo fruit I did not mis spell the name it seems it is spelled a variety of ways.
Think I'll make a salad plate with the various goodies take pictures.

Wanted to say Hey!!! and share this information with y'all ~ stay tuna'd.....

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

weekend dog blogging

i haven't posted a weekend dog blogging a while. heck, i haven't posted on pbe at all in a while. chalk it up to being busy celebrating the ucla bruins' upset victory over our crosstown rivals, u$c...or, as we like to call it, fairfax high. check out a celebratory photo of four very happy bruins in front of the scoreboard here.

anyway, here's a cute little snap that mooncrazy and doodles took of my pup multy when they visited over the summer. i'm not sure if they put multy in the basket for the picture or if he just hopped right on in there hisownself (which is actually quite likely). either way, it's cute and since multy has not been feeling well recently (ear infection), i thought i'd put this up and ask people to send some good vibes his way...

multy in a basket

don't forget to check out the other cute foodie dogs on weekend dog blogging over at sweetnick's place.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


This recipe I found in Cook's Illustrated last year and it's been a favorite. It should be called Ya Gotta Like Lemon Pound Cake but I've never had leftovers so it must be good. Melting the butter and adding it with the food processor is a neat shortcut and I want to try different flavoring but so far have always used the lemon.

Lemon Pound Cake
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter plus some to grease pan
1 1/2 cups ( 6 ounces) cake flour plus some for the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons grated zest plus 2 teaspoons juice from 2 medium lemons
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Grease 9x5 loaf pan and dust with cake flour.

Melt butter, stir to incorporate separated milk solids.

In food processor, process sugar and zest until combined. Add lemon juice, eggs and vanilla; process until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, add melted butter through feed tube in a steady stream (about 20 seconds). Transfer mixture to large bowl. Sift flour mixture over eggs in three steps, whisking gently after each addition until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325 and continue to bake until deep golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes; rotating pan half way through baking time. Cool in pan for ten minutes, then turn onto wire rack and brush with glaze. Cool to room temp. Cooled cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temp for up to five days.

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup juice from medium lemon
Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened slightly for about two minutes. Poke holes in baked cake and brush top and sides of hot cake.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It wouldn't be Christmas without …

Before Jimmy Carter was pounding nails for Habitat or sitting in the oval office he was a peanut farmer. After he became a little more famous by getting that seat in the oval office his mother was asked for a favorite recipe for peanut brittle. I've been making this just about every Christmas since and sometimes, like candy is apt to do, it has been a disaster.

Once the whole batch was green, not pale green but a bright St. Patrick's Day green. My father had a friend in the candy business and asked him about this phenomenon. Seems if you don't cook the peanuts long enough that's what happens. Lucky it was only one batch.

Another time I used a glass candy thermometer and when cleaning up I noticed it was broken. Now did it break after I took it out? Don't know, had to toss that whole batch in the trash. I now use a digital thermometer and you have to watch them too. One year it seemed to come to temperature very quickly and I didn't bother to check it with anything else, that year it wouldn't set up. Yeah, trash.

Helpful Hint: You should always test your thermometer by taking the temperature of boiling water, it should be somewhere close to 212 depending on your altitude. My darling air-conditioner mechanic told me that one.

Yikes, why do I go through all this? This is the best you've ever eaten, bar none. It has a honeycomb texture that makes it kind to all dental work and if you follow the directions it will be a holiday favorite of yours too.

If you've never made candy this isn't too difficult but watch that hot syrup--it burns. It just doesn't burn it sticks to you and burns until you can get it off--so be very careful.

Miss Lillian's Peanut Brittle
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup white corn syrup
3 cups raw peanuts

1/2 stick butter, cut in about 8 pieces.
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons baking soda, yup, that right two TABLESPOONS

Please read the entire recipe before attempting this candy.
Grease two large cookie sheets and sit them on trivets or rack as they will get very hot when you put in the cooked brittle.

Boil sugar, water, and syrup in a pan three times the volume until it spins a thread (234 degrees). Once the sugar is melted you don't have to stir it. It has to boil a while to get to temperature, I think about ten minutes or more.

Add peanuts and stir continuously until syrup turns a light golden brown. Think a nice medium lager and if it isn't golden brown, the peanuts will turn green when they cool.

Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir until it melts. Add the soda all at once and stir for about 30 seconds. The mixture will foam up quicker than you can imagine but don't be scared--this is what creates the honeycomb texture--stir it down but don't beat out all the bubbles.

Quickly pour into prepared pans and spread out the mixture with the back of a spoon. Don't flatten too much.

Cool and break into pieces. Store in an air-tight container.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

another odd pairing

Where I live we are still running the air conditioner. The electric company loves those sun gods and then the humidity is bad so the A/C is a must if you care to get sleep at nite.

So I am standing in my kitchen contemplating a healthy lunch and I see in my fruit bowl the following granny smith apples, a couple of banana's and some perfectly ripe Haas avacado's.

Doesn't that make an attractive picture. So being the odd duck that I am or can be I'm thinking how would they taste together??? Now I peel and chop, place said ingredients on a plate. OK dressing, they need something, yep something lite. Aha ha how bout that lime I have, squish the lime juice out and I have a tasty lunch. After a couple of bites I added some fresh gound pepper and a tad shake of salt. I also could have added some cilantro.

Let me know what y'all think, and try it if you dare.