Thursday, April 30, 2009
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Maybe it's the proximity to the windy city - or maybe I just found a love of hot dogs that I never had as a kid. Tonight, dinner was brought to you by H. and we're about to turn on the game. We enjoy cooking hot dogs for dinner - albeit a complicated Chicago Style dog. This is a great weeknight meal that provides at least a serving of veggies (I prefer to add a real salad to my plate - H just likes to have 2.) Feel free to read wiki to become an expert.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Today is the day - the half marathon race. It's the first race of the summer for me - so I'm a little curious about how I will feel, what my pace will be, and if it just MIGHT stop raining???
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
It is not a Trader Joe's. TJ's is a bit of a drive from my 'hood. So, when we were visiting and introduced to brand new baby Abby (6 weeks old!) we had to stop at the TJ's just a few blocks away.
Our focus: Easy yet interesting Weeknight Meals
Our Favorite: Pizza Dough
This dough is near the cheese and fresh pasta. It's in a bag - and is wet. Just warm it up at room temp for about 20 minutes and you can stretch it, top it, and bake it. It was faster and MUCH TASTIER than a frozen pizza. Not as tasty as H's homemade dough - but perfect for a weeknight.
H was in charge of making dinner - and made the following white pizza.
H's White Pizza
* Preheat Oven to 500
* Take dough out of fridge (20 minutes)
* Sauted Spinach
- we had a big bag that we needed to work through. Threw some olive oil and garlic in a big dutch oven and then threw in the spinach. It was done before the dough was done 'warming up'.
* Sprinkle counter with white corn meal (nice crunch on the crust and prevents sticking)
* Stretch dough into desired shape/size
* Top Dough:
- Olive Oil
- Artichokes (also from TJ's!)
- Red Pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan
* Bake until done. This will vary depending on the thickness of your dough. Our pizza took about 8 minutes.
Any other favorite TJ items or fast weeknight ideas? Please share!
Happy Earth Day!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday - Dinner party for 8. Scate bakes up a big batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti in the afternoon and set aside to "air dry." Then, I put on the uber tasty sweet Tomato with Onion and Butter sauce to slowly simmer and whip up a quick batch of pasta dough. H. prepared two chickens for the rotisserie and a fun celery/apple/walnut salad. The dinner was billed as a 'wine and scotch tasting' night - so the number of bottles on the table is real - and what we wanted for the evening. I don't know enough about wine to tell you much - we had some great bottles and a lot of tasting. I'm glad I didn't have far to go that night!
Appetizer/First Course: olives and spiced nuts
Pasta Course: homemade linguini with basic tomato sauce
Meat Course: Rotisserie chicken (rubbed with rosemary butter) and slow-cooked glazed carrots
Salad Course: Apple/celery/candied walnut/soft italian cheese salad
Dessert: Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti with assorted ice creams (coffee and vanilla hagen daz)
3.5 cups flour
*the trick is to hand knead for 10 full minutes, let it rest for at least 30 - then use a magical pasta roller to make your noodles. I rolled and cut the noodles while everyone was watching. It took a little longer than I had anticipated and got our guests to jump in and help with the noodles. This got flour everywhere - but added a little entertainment factor.
3 15oz cans of whole stewed tomatoes
15 TBSP butter
2 onions - cut in half through the root end
* let simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour until that fat seperates (you will see the fat "float" on top)
* throw away the onions before serving.
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
from epicurious.com - click title for recipe
* the skins took some time to remove from the hazelnuts. It also made a pretty big mess! I used the nuts with some skin left on them (I couldn't get them off!) to grind up for the dough.
* I threw in about 2 cups of chocolate chunks and mini chocolate chips that I had on hand. These stayed soft when eating - and was a great way to up the chocolate!
* the ground hazelnuts really added a nice flavor to the cookie.
* This recipe makes a lot of cookies! I should have made 3 logs instead of just 2 to keep them the size I like.
* I baked for 20 minutes on the second round because they were still "fudgy" looking after 10 minutes. These are forgiving - but i should have baked longer on the first round.
This batch of biscotti made enough for dessert on Sunday night too! The multi-purposed dessert allowed time to complete my 12 mile run on Sunday morning, visit a brand-new baby and parents in the afternoon, and go to dinner with friends that evening. These were even tastier when not preceeded by many hours of wine tasting - or maybe my memory is more clear... Either way - it was a great weekend! You know it was good when it's all gone!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This test can be taken by men or women. I wonder if my score would be different if H. took this regarding my mad wifey skills?? What's your score?
As a 1930s wife, I am
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Since this blog is written by SCATE - some research was done on upcoming recipe contests that will become the object of dreaming and planning.
So - share with the world. Are you a player? Do you have other favorite contests that you are willing to share? I've updated with Scate's thoughts and participation.
Better Homes and Garden: Monthly Contest, win up to $400
Contessa's Breakfast Recipe Contest: Deadline May 1st, win up to $250
Cooking Light Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest: Scate Entered! Grand Prize is $20k!, deadline May 25th
Canned Sweet Potato Recipe Contest: deadline is June 1st, grand prize $1k. This just sounds fun and silly.
Eating Well Holiday Cookie Recipes: deadline June 1st, chance to get published in the December edition of Eating Well and win $2k shopping spree at Cooking.com. I do love holiday cookies and already have some mean contenders...
Creative Casseroles for Country Woman: win up to $500, deadline June 1st. Living in the Midwest - i should enter this one. My neighborhood has a Hot Dish Cook-off coming up...
Pillsbury Bake-Off: Scate Entered! Win $1M - thats million... enter by April 20th or just check out great recipes from past winners.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Maybe i'm spending too much time on my high horse with "best ever" recipes... Well, this is the best veggie burger i've ever eaten - and the only one we (H. did all of the prep and cooking - i served stirring duty and commentary) have ever made at home.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
We are always seeking the perfect something, aren't we? I have 3 cookbooks that claim to be 'bibles' - or the authoritative text - of their subject matter. Today, I turn to one for some pie crust advice. But like most untrusting souls - I have to pull in advice from my favorite cookbook too. So - i have adapted 2 recipes to bring you my version of the Perfect Flaky Pie Crust infused with some graham cracker crumbs (made for a lemon meringue pie.)
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I love to collect them. Read them, and sometimes even try a recipe from them. I find that I go back to the same cookbooks over and over again and some books never get any attention after the initial honeymoon period is over. Due to the space constraints of a downtown condo - we only keep the best within reach. All others get banished to the bedroom bookshelf and even (gasp) a box in the storage unit... They have to be really bad to give away. I still go online and find recipes. Funny thing happened recently - I was looking for a recipe for Bucatini - and one review said that the recipe in the Silver Spoon was better than the epicurious.com recipe I was reading. So - the unknown online chef led me back to my first love - books.
Looking at this picture and trying to pick a favorite is a little like picking a favorite pair of shoes. It depends on the outfit! The most often picked: New Best Recipe, Bon Appetit, Cake Bible, Pie Bible, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 1, The Italian book, and the Finnish Cookbook.
What are your favorites?
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
9 days of vacation felt more like an early retirement. And guess what - we never got bored. I have to admit that I am refreshed and happy to get back into a nice productive routine - but wish it felt like summer in Minnesota already! After long days filled with knitting on the beach (me) or trying a new fish recipe (H.) - it is time to get back to reality and start baking again!
So - i have found some Spring-inspired goodies that are in the running for the next kitchen session. I'm keenly watching for new sources of inspiration - and keep finding more to add to the to-do list! What are you looking forward to making this spring? I'm looking for anything that will spread the sunshine and bring the temps above freezing!
1. To Bake: Apricot-Pineapple Cheese Braid
from piday on Bakespace.com
Besides looking beautiful - I like that this recipe calls for farmer's cheese. My grandmother always had farmer's cheese as a 'side' for breakfast. I've never purchased it myself, but think that it would be fun to try.
2. To Bake: Braided Easter Egg Bread
from Rose's Recipes
You have to check this out - complete with the dyed easter eggs nestled in the bread. My mom made this a few times for the Easter table. I also saw the greek version when visiting Tarpon Springs, Florida. It's called Tsoureki - and had white hard cooked eggs nestled in both a braid loaf and a braid crown.
3. To Read: Rose Levy Beranbaum's master's thesis “Sifting Flour Affects the Quality of a Yellow Cake”. Check out her blog posting and find the thesis that you can download. I can't imagine a world in which I could study sifted flour and cake baking... sounds like utopia.