It's been weeks since my Sunday wasn't buzzing with business. I made sure I saved my kitchen duties until 2:00 so I could have an excuse to stay downstairs and listen to Splendid Table. And I didn't even care that it was a rerun!
My husband just sent me a link to Cook Mom Pics--ok, he actually sent it two days ago, but he claims I never feel his emails are urgent--about patterns for making felt play food. When I was growing up, we had the expensive stuff from Fisher Price. We had a lot of it! But with the felts, there are many more creative options than we ever had. I also suspect they will be easier to store because some of them would collapse.
We were very busy last week with the Hardinges, and I really appreciated being off on July 5 so we could spend the time with them at the beach. Now, my assignment is to mix-and-match all the leftovers into this week's meals.
There are no pictures to accompany this post. However, the meal really didn't look much different than our first trip. Unfortunately though, the situation was significantly more depressing than the first trip. And along with that, I must ask for sincere apologies for not pointing out previously that the rice is not vegetarian. I just found out myself.
Kraft sent me coupons to try out some products for free. Actually, it has nothing to do with my blog. Anyone can sign up for Kraft First Taste. Anyway, I decided to eat the individual deep dish pizza one day for lunch. I also have to share my opinions with Kraft. And I will be equally honest when I publish both reviews. I baked my pizza in the oven, and cannot imagine it coming out crispy in my office microwave, but might be acceptable in our more programmable microwave at home.
Lisa, a great inspiration to me as a chef and also to my aunt who has just been diagnosed with a wheat allergy, is here from Washington with her family. Naturally, cooking for her and two young-ens may be a challenge for me, but I'm totally up for it and am so excited that Brent, Lisa, Kyle, and Elena will be visiting us for the week! I wrote up a very detailed menu for my own benefit to make sure I don't forget anything in the hustle and bustle of our busy schedule.
How exciting! (And no, the marketing person did not tell me about this. It was just luck.) I just came across a coupon for Savory Choice Vegetable Broth on the $5 Dinners website. The value is $1/1, and you can print two coupons per computer. That makes these little gems $3.99 a pack for 12 cups worth of concentrated broth. Good thing I haven't gone to the grocery store yet!
The week was winding to a close. We had been having a blast. BUT I was doing my best to keep Nora on her schedule (which meant getting up at 0530 in Denver, 0730 our time, while keeping up with Paul, Brent, and Tim and their late hours. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just pointing out that it is a bit of a challenge remembering all the events of the evening when we dined here.
To make a really long story short, we misread our ticket and arrived only 40 minutes before our plane departed for Denver. Naturally, our bags didn't make it and we had to wait for the next plane from Orlando to deliver our clothes for the week and. . .more diapers. Paul did some research and found a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Denver where we could spend our time. Although the GPS took us an odd way through a not-so-nice area of town, we eventually got to Uptown and had no trouble parking near this amazing restaurant.
First I'll explain the photo as I'm sure it's getting more attention than the topic at hand. We were flying to Tennessee this past weekend, but we had to first stop off in Atlanta. The weather in Atlanta prevented us from even taking off from Orlando. We were delayed two hours, during which Nora was an absolute angel. She got lots of attention; plus the copilot asked Paul if he had a camera and let her visit the cockpit.
Mix flour and salt. Blend oil and cold water with fork (lots of bubbles). Add liquid mixture to flour and stir. Roll dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper. Place dough in pie plate. Flute if you have the talent. Poke 5 sets of holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork.
For this use, I pre-baked the crust just about 7 minutes. For other uses, it isn't always necessary.
Recipe for Zucchini Filling
1 good-sized zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup cheese, finely shredded and divided [my mom had the four cheese blend]
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
Saute zucchini and onion in olive oil about 5 minutes just to soften. Beat eggs, add seasonings, salt, and milk. Beat together. Layer onions and zucchini on pie crust. Top with half of cheese. Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees until top is golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.
As I mentioned last week, we sat with my grandmother over Memorial Day Weekend while my parents went away. My grandmother has difficulty chewing, and I was looking for soft foods that would pack on much of the summer flavor, but not be too difficult for her to enjoy. The zucchini tart and accompanying salad really fit the bill. I've even made the salad again since then. The key is to have the freshest ingredients. It helps when it comes out of your own garden! I believe the fresher the ingredients, the less salt and pepper you have to add.
Recipe for Tomato Corn Salad
2 ears corn
3 Patio tomatoes
2 Tablespoons chives, chopped (or more if you've got it!)
Dash lemon juice
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt
2 twists pepper grinder
Cook corn in microwave. My mom's took 1:30 for one. Peal the corn and stand the ear up in a bowl. With a good knife, cut kernals of corn off cob so they fall into the bowl. (This is easier than it sounds.) Dice the tomatoes. Add all ingredients together. Serve immediately or chill one hour before serving.
There have been a number of websites repeating this fascinating story from Time Magazine about creating a meat substitute with the taste and texture of chicken. It intrigued me, and I had to think on the story for a couple days before forming an opinion.
I knew this recipe would be a challenge. It looked hard. But the onions were on sale, and I was feeling ambitious. I had enough batter leftover from this tart that I remade the broccoli and cauliflower tart with it later on in the week. That was a great time-saver.
Congratulations to our friends, Garret and Joy, on the launch of their new blog Cobblestone Rue. It's about living life to the fullest when your days are packed full. I'm excited and humbled to be mentioned among the first posts. I'm also happy I can now share my side of the story of Graycen and me playing with food in the kitchen. I've been holding off posting the story--mainly because it is so much cuter with pictures.
Last week we dined on our first zucchini and hope to have another one this week. It isn't a large haul, but it's enough for the two of us to enjoy. (We did eat the first one in pasta mixed with other veggies to serve to my parents as well.)
I'm sorry to say, this week is a little crazy. I don't have any brilliant ideas for food, but Paul and his sister went to the Maitland Farmer's Market yesterday to acquire a beautiful eggplant and some giant tomatoes. We'll be having excellent sandwiches and perhaps baked eggplant parm in the next couple of days.
Currently, Nora is napping on my shoulder afteran exhausting, but fun swim. Paul is at an Orlando Magic game with a long-time friend, and I'm excitedly staring out the window at my zucchini. It seems my problem was that the high walls of the courtyard block the bees from being attracted. I hand-pollinated my male and female flowers carefully; trying to keep the pollen from staining my hands and clothes. I may invest in some Q-tips for more of that process. It's been positively amazing watching my one attempt successfully grow and how incredibly fast it has taken shape.
Tonight, I had great plans to have baked beans to highlight the fresh and cheap veggies, corn on the cob and cabbage. What I wasn't planning on, but am learning to pay attention to was the high fiber content. In the beginning, I was only imagining what would go well together and would take advantage of the seasonal items. Then, I decided to do a fiber count. But first, let's see what it cost us.
I should have tried this recipe much sooner, but broccoli and cauliflower were just three weeks ago on sale for a really good price in our little corner of the world. The recipe came from a book called The Vegetarian Bible, a gift from friends, Frank and Emily. Unfortunately, they gave me the book right before I started feeling sick from my pregnancy, and I wasn't interested in cooking for a long while after that. I'm glad I finally got the time, energy, and desire to pull it out.
I don't know how I took this picture sideways or how to straighten it out. I'm not so computer literate. In the photo, the tahini dressing is actually over my favorite couscous recipe.
I was looking for a dairy-free tzatziki dressing to go with the falafel a couple weeks back as two of our guests had milk allergies. This dressing was exactly what I was looking for. In fact, I preferred it over the Tzatziki.
My garden has not turned out as well as I had planned. But, I don't beat myself up. I'm new to this. It just kinda feels like a waste of money. I'm happy to hear advice if anyone wants to assist in my cluelessness.
Sometimes, our minds are willing, but nothing else is able. . .to do anything. This week started out like that. Yesterday, I didn't even make it to the grocery store. Dinner wasn't so bad, though. This is when frozen veggies come in really handy.
This photo is almost depressing. The first time I make a dish that looks almost exactly like the cookbook, and the photo turns out like this. However, I will not complain because Paul was taking care of Nora so I could get dinner on. You'll either have to find the magazine and see the real picture or wait because cauliflower is on sale again next week, and we'll have another picture taken.
It was the end of the week. We were leaving the next day to see Paul's family. I hadn't bothered to grocery shop for the week knowing we would live on what we had since we would be away for a long weekend.
Two years ago, we had some leftover pomegranates and served this salad dressing with that fruit substituting the strawberries at Christmas. The rich color and flavor was fabulous. I remembered that recipe contained basil. When planning Dinner Club two weeks ago, I knew it would highlight our prolific basil. The dressing appeared to go over well. Fely even added it to her pasta. (I hope that didn't mean the pasta was bad.)
We just got back from Memphis for a fun weekend where Nora got to meet her aunt and uncle and to experience her first tornado warnings. We spent some unfortunately unforgettable moments in the basement of Tio and Tia's apartment. We both seem to have picked up a bit of sinusitis from the events. Fortunately, mine is worse than hers. The bright side is that our seat mates on the airplanes going and coming were the envy of all other travelers because she was a perfect angel. We're so excited to not have to be afraid of flying with her.
We had an impromptu Dinner Club tonight with our friends in town. The theme was "Dips." Garrett Nudd's famous guacamole, my favorite salsa, the Kirkland brand from Costco; and this amazing non-dairy cashew dip that tastes just like a cheese sauce. The options for dipping were tortilla chips and pita chips. Dessert came before dinner in the form of "dipped" ice cream at Baskin Robbins' $0.31 Scoop deal benefiting Fire Fighters.
Recipe for Cashew Queso Dip
Original Source Unknown
1 small jar pimentos, drained
1 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
2 tbs nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can Ro-Tel (peppers and tomatoes) mild or original, reserve liquid
May substitute the reserved liquid for some of the water.
Combine all ingredients except the tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. [I don't think my blender did the creaminess factor justice.] Add tomatoes last. Bring mixture to a slow boil in a saucepan. Makes about 4 quarts.
You can easily reheat the leftovers by rewarming in a pot. Should keep a week in the refrigerator.
Last night before the Full Plate Diet lecture, we went to Dandelion CommuniTea Cafe. After we talked it up so much, Garrett had our favorite, The Giddyup. Graycen had the enourmous hommus, cucunber, tomato sandwich. It's definitely big enough to feed an adult, too.
We're very lucky. Dinner was rushed the night I made this veggie strudel because I had a date with Whole Foods. I thought I had missed the opportunity to photograph my finished product, but my darling husband surprised me just this morning with a photo of the finished product. It may not be perfect, but I'm glad to at least have something considering we were so rushed.
Recipe for Vegetable Strudel
1 Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheet
1 carrot, pealed and cut un thirds
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 small onion
1 cup broccoli florets
5 slices Jarlsberg or other mild Cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Preheat oven. Wash and peel necessary veggies. Place all ingredients in food processor. Chop thoroughly until veggies are mixed. Open puff pastry onto baking pan. (I line mine with a silicone baking sheet.) Place packed mixture on lengthwise on half puff pastry. Top with slices of cheese. Fold puff pastry over top. Press edges together with tines of a fork to seal. Bake according to package directions. Serves 2.
I was running dangerously low on cereal. I went to Publix and came across the Quaker Oats Squares on BOGO (buy one, get one free) with $1 coupons beside the boxes. (At my Publix, you can use a coupon on the purchased product and on the free one.) Although it was more than I would like to pay normally $1.25 for a box of cereal seemed like a good deal since I was about to be desperate for cold cereal and could review it for EatLikeaRabbit.
In food processor, puree ingredients until smooth. (I use a smaller food processor and make the sorbet in batches, adding four strawberries, 3 slices banana, and a dash of sugar at a time. Each batch is slightly different. When it's all blended, I stir all the batches together.) Pour into freezer-safe bowl, cover and freeze. Garnish with fresh mint.
Varieties: Use orange juice instead of water. Blend the mint right into the sorbet. Substitute lemon juice for banana. Take out any frozen bag of mixed fruit and blend away!
Can this possibly look as good on camera as it did in person? Moreover, can you possibly imagine how good it tasted from the photo?
Recipe for Pizza Patate
1 pizza dough recipe
1 medium baking potato
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 long sprig rosemary, leaves peeled off
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
With a mandolin or other shredding device, thinly slice the potato. I like to leave the skin on for color. My four-sided shredder has a long slit that slices the potato perfectly. Immediately put the slices in a bowl of water so they do not brown. When pizza is ready to assemble, brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Dry the slices of potato and layer them on dough. Next, spread onions out on pizza. Sprinkle with remaining olive oil and salt. Finish by spreading rosemary leaves around. Finish baking.
I was playing around with the concept of how much Paul loves roasted red pepper on Sunday. Being so near a cleaned-out kitchen food-wise, I came up with this little dish that would make for a nice appetizer or a "sampler platter" with other items for a light lunch.