Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Menu Finalized!

Thanksgiving 2009
A Southern Twist

Demitasse of Butternut Squash Soup

Baby Romaine and Cajun Shrimp
Parmesan Herb Biscuits

Roast Turkey with Garlic, Sage, and Lemon
Cornbread Sausage Dressing
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Maple Glazed Carrots
Jellied Cranberry

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Vanilla Ice Cream and Carmel Sauce

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cozy Food

November is a bit dreary. Daylight sayings time has kicked in and it starts to get dark at 5 PM. The leaves are down. It’s time to open a bottle of red, turn on that gas fireplace and eat some cozy food. The following two dishes fit the bill:  Pasta Bowties with Jalapeño Chicken Sausage and Pork Picadillo.

Pasta Bowties with Chicken Sausage

½ box bow tie pasta
Pkg of chicken sausage-I used Trader Joe’s Chicken Jalapeño Sausage-sliced
1 onion chopped
1 portion of roasted tomatoes (see  Sept. 7 blog entry)
Italian spices (oregano, basil and thyme)
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta
In the meantime, sauté onion and sausage, throw in the spices. When pasta is cooked, drain and throw into skillet with meat and onion, add roasted tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Yum!

Pork Picadillo

Leftover pork loin roast chopped (see pork loin Oct 28)
1 medium onion diced
1 28 oz can tomatoes
2 chiptole peppers (in adobo sauce), minced
1 T sauce from chiptole peppers
3 garlic cloves, minced (I use bottle minced garlic) I’m lazy
1 t ancho chili powder (or regular chill powder)
½ t cumin
½ t cinnamon
2 bay leaves
½ cup raisins
Toppings: chopped green olives, chopped cilantro, toasted slivered almonds
Cooked brown rice
Some olive oil

In large skillet, heat 2 T olive oil, brown onion, adding chili powder and cumin. Add chopped meat, garlic, and tomatoes. Chopped chilies, bay leaves, cinnamon, some black pepper. Simmer partly covered about 45 minutes. Stir in raisins, fish out bay leaves. Serve over rice, with toppings. Quite tasty and great use for leftover pork roast!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Farewell Autumn-You were too short!

I love the months of September and October in Michigan but they fly by way too fast. I took this picture of a tree in all its glory just outside my living room window the other day and now there’s not a leaf clinging to that tree! I love the colors, sights and smells at this time of year. I’m ready to turn my thoughts to heartier fare—roasts and stews. Here are three recipes to get you into comfort food mode as we hunker down for another winter. Buon Appetito!

Pot Roast
4 lb. pot roast
Can of diced tomatoes
Pkg. of dry golden onion soup mix
Can of chicken broth
Oregano, garlic, basil
Chopped onion
Baby carrots
Small red skin potatoes-cut in half

Brown meat in ovenproof casserole, remove, brown onion, garlic. Mix in tomatoes, broth, and spices; add meat back to pot spooning sauce over the meat. Bake 350 for about 4 hours. Last 1 and ½ hour add carrots and potatoes. This sauce is so good I might add another can of tomatoes and broth next time.

Chicken and Chickpea Stew

4 boneless sinless chicken thighs
Olive oil
Large onion chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
1 can no salt chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cans diced tomatoes (used 1 plain and one with green chilis)
½ t salt and some pepper
2 cups water
1 t turmeric
½ t cinnamon
½ ground ginger
1 t paprika
Cooked lentils, or brown rice
2 T chopped parsley

Cut thighs into 12 large pieces
Brown thighs in olive oil, remove to plate
Sautee onion and celery in olive oil about 5 minutes
Add chickpeas, tomatoes, salt, water, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and paprika—return chicken to pan.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer stew to about 45 minutes-stir occasionally.

Meanwhile prepare lentils or rice.

Ladle stew on bed of lentils or rice (pasta) and sprinkle with parsley

Spice-rubbed Pork Loin with Acorn Squash
From magazine Every Day Food

1 boneless pork loin 3 to 4 lbs. I tie the roast with twine at 1-inch intervals.
4 T olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
½ t ancho chile powder
¼ t cinnamon
½ t cumin
1 large acorn squash
Kosher salt and pepper

I precook squash in microwave because otherwise I can’t cut it!! I nuke it for 8 minutes, then cut in half, scoop out seeds and slice into wedges.

Preheat oven 425. In large bowl combine 3 T olive oil, sugar, spices, and 2 T water. Add squash slices and coat with this mixture. Set aside

Generously season pork with salt and paper all over. Heat 1 T oil in heavy skillet and brown pork on all sides about ten minutes.

Place pork on rimmed baking sheet; pour oil from skillet onto sheet. Arrange squash around pork. Brush pork with remaining sugar mixture. Bake until pork is cooked through (135 degrees) –baking about 40-45 minutes. Tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sara's Potatoes

Have you ever noticed that if you make a dish that a lot of people like and bring it repeatedly to parties over the years, the dish becomes yours? Hence, Sara’s Potatoes!  When I reach back into my cooking archives, I see that the first time I made this dish was 1986!! It was an “assignment” dish given to me to make for a progressive dinner party we were attending. The recipe was then called Potatoes Fontecchio and was taken from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks, I think. I liked the dish then and I like it still. It does not disappoint. Of course, if you don’t like garlic then maybe this isn’t the dish for you. The surprise combo I believe is the garlic with the mint and it will tickle your taste buds.

This recipe makes the dish for a crowd (16) You can easily downsize for your own purposes.

9 lbs. baby red skin potatoes
Bunch of fresh mint (chopped) if fresh mint is not available don’t make this dish
Chopped garlic (I use the jarred-it’s easy)
Freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt (a must)
Olive oil

Wash red skins and prick with fork.  Place on baking tins and roast for 1-¾ hours at 350. While still warm slice each potato in half and layer in bowl with each potato layer receiving a healthy drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, sprinkle of garlic and fresh mint. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our Baby is 30!

Our Baby is 30!

How can it be that one minute you have a little one and then before you know it that baby is turning 30? Obviously, he’s aging but not me! Ha!  Birthdays most often involve food of some kind—snacks, ice cream and cake and the like. Our son’s various birthdays often involved parties with friends sometimes at home with games on the driveway and treats in the screened in porch or sometimes in exotic places like a bowling alley or the local movie theater. For quite a few years I made a checkerboard cake for his birthday that he seemed to love! Aside from the parties with friends, I would often ask him what he wanted for his birthday dinner. Over the years I had a lot of fairly predictable responses except the year he turned five. That year, my husband and I knew he was no ordinary kid. When asked what he'd like for his special dinner, he didn’t miss a beat and said, “scallops, wild rice and peas, please.” I have to admit I was somewhat stunned. I just wasn’t expecting that response. I think I was expecting chicken nuggets or mac and cheese. So, to mark this milestone birthday, we’ll be having scallops, wild rice and peas, please. We can’t dine together since we’ve so many miles between us, but we’ll savor our meal along with the sweet memories of raising our son who I might add has grown into an extraordinary 30-year-old man! Happy Birthday, Kiddo!

Birthday Dinner

Wild Rice (see revision)
Peas with Tarragon


1 lb sea scallops
Salt and pepper
Dried marjoram
Olive oil
Unsalted butter
½ cup dry wine (I like Sauvignon Blanc-which you can then also enjoy with the dinner)
Balsamic vinegar

Heat a T of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Pat scallops dry and add to skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side. While each side is cooking sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and marjoram. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add wine and vinegar to pan and cook about 3 minutes stirring with whisk-add the scallops back and stir around and plate! Yum

Wild Rice (revised)

So, have you ever gone to your pantry shelves right before it’s time to cook a certain item and realize oops, thought I had that-guess I don’t? Happened to me and I luckily did spot some whole-wheat orzo while digging around in there for something worthy of my scallops!

Wild Rice morphed into Whole Wheat Orzo with Feta and Fresh Basil

Cook 1 cup whole-wheat orzo in boiling water, drain and mix with feta cheese and fresh basil and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Peas with Tarragon

Cooked frozen peas, drain, dot with some unsalted butter, salt and pepper and tarragon.

Bon Appetit and Happy Birthday!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tomato Fever!

Plain and simple-the tomato is just about perfect food in my humble opinion. The tomato gives garlic, onion and mushroom a reason to exist. During the summer we can relish in consuming real tomatoes and during the winter we can consume vast quantities of tinned tomatoes. My mother always said that anything (even luggage!) could be improved with a fresh coat of paint and I sort of feel that way about tomatoes. A tomato improves most any dish. That being said, I did get a little carried away at the Farmers Market on Saturday when I impulsively purchased a very LARGE basket of plum tomatoes. They just looked so cute that before I knew it they were in the trunk of my car. Now what? After cruising through my cookbooks, various blogs, and the Food Network, I have a PFMT (Plan for my Tomatoes!)

I’ll straight away make a grand gazpacho to capture their immediate great tomato taste. I decided against using my tried and true recipe and am rolling out a new version authored by Wolfgang Puck, well-known chef, restaurateur, and television personality. Actually, I like to think that “Wolf” and I go way back since my husband and I ate at his newly opened first restaurant, Spago—Italian slang for spaghetti—in 1984. Situated in the heart of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the bistro became a hot spot for celebrity clientele (visiting from Ann Arbor!) while Puck was credited with rejuvenating California cuisine. So, with a nod to Puck, let’s get this tomato party started with the following:

Wolfgang Puck’s Gazpacho

• 2 pounds, about 10 Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
• 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
• 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
• 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
• 1/2-cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 2 cups tomato juice
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
• 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the soup. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until almost pureed, leaving a little texture. Season with salt and pepper. Return to bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Prepare topping mixture. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients (not avocado) until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed. To serve: Ladle 10 to 12 ounces into chilled soup plates. On a large serving spoon, place 1/4 cup of the topping mixture, top with 2 shrimp, and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Carefully place in the center of the plate of soup. Place a wedge of lime or lemon on the rim of the plate.

Topping Mixture
• 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
• 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
• 1/4 cup red onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
• 1/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
• 4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
• 3 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
• 1 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper

• 12 to 16 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied, poached, and chilled
• 6 to 8 sprigs fresh cilantro
• Lime or lemon wedges

The gazpacho hasn’t even made a dent in this box of tomatoes so let’s get cookin’ with the following recipes to make and freeze:

Roasted Tomato Sauce
• Large quantity plum or slicer tomatoes
• 1/4 large onion per quart (dry measure) tomatoes
• 1 clove garlic per quart tomatoes
• Salt
• Ground black pepper
• Olive oil
Wash and trim tomatoes of anything you wouldn’t want to eat, such stem scars. Halve small tomatoes (such as plums) or cut large tomatoes into chunks. Let’s say 1-inch cubes, but larger is fine.
Distribute tomatoes in large ovenproof pans with a lip to catch juices. Tomatoes don’t have to be in a single layer, but don’t mound appreciably above the height of the pan’s lip, as the tomatoes will give off juice.
Peel and trim onion and garlic and distribute among tomatoes. Generously sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper, and drizzle oil over all. I stirred the mixture a little to distribute the oil
Place pans on racks in 350-degree oven and roast about 2 hours, or until the tomatoes have cooked down considerably, and the onions and garlic are soft. Expect the tomatoes to be sitting in some liquid.
Cool, then transfer tomato mixture in batches to the bowl of food processor and puree, skin and all. Marvelous! Transfer to freezer containers and freeze, or use as desired. Yield: A lot of tomato sauce.

Spaghetti Sauce Base

Step 1 Wash and core 25 tomatoes and cut into chunks. Remove as many seeds as you feel like—I don’t go nuts with this. Place tomato chunks in large stockpot. Chop up a few onions and a huge green pepper and add to pot. Throw in some garlic and fresh parsley if you have it, 3 T sugar, 2 T salt, and ½ T pepper.

Step 2 Bring to a boil on stove. Lower heat and leave the sauce to simmer for an hour stirring it once and a while.

Step 3 Cool sauce and pour in food processor and blend. Pour into quart freezer bags leaving ½ inch at top to allow for freezing. Seal and freeze.

Bon Appetit!

Tribute to Sheila Lukins

Recently a good friend mentioned that she had made ratatouille in remembrance of the late Sheila Lukins, cookbook author and founder of Silver Palate Foods. Over the years I have referred to one of her first cookbooks, The New Basics Cookbook, many times. In fact, one of my all-time favorite recipes for garlic roasted redskins was adapted from a potato recipe in that very book. I decided to use both the New Basics book and her USA cookbook in tonight’s meal preparation. In honor of Sheila Lutkins we enjoyed:

Asian-Style Barbecued Pork Tenderloin
Asian Ratatouille
Marinated Cucumber Salad

Asian-Style Barbecued Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from a recipe in U.S.A. cookbook

½ cup soy sauce (low sodium)
2-½ T sesame oil
1 ½ T minced garlic
2 t fresh lime juice
2 t rice wine vinegar
1 ½ t ground ginger

Pkg. of pork tenderloins

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place pork tenderloins in a zip lock bag with marinade and refrigerate for 3 hours

Asian-Style Barbecue Sauce

¾ cup of your favorite Barbecue Sauce ( I used D L Jardine’s Killer Sauce)
2 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T rice wine vinegar
½ t minced garlic
½ ground ginger

Mix all the ingredients in small saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

When ready to cook dinner:

Heat grill to high.

Place tenderloins on grill, close cover and turn heat down to medium/low. Grill for 7 minutes

Turn tenderloins and grill for 7 more minutes. Place on platter and cover with foil and let meat rest for ten minutes, then slice thinly on the diagonal. Pour some of the barbecue sauce over the meat and pass extra.

Asian Ratatouille
Adapted from a recipe in the New Basics Cookbook

1 small eggplant peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
6 T sesame oil
2 ribs celery cut diagonally into ¼ inch slices
1 onion cut into slivers
1 red pepper julienned
2 small zucchini halved lengthwise and cut into ¼ inch slices
¾ cup chicken broth
2 T soy sauce
1 T dry sherry
1 t cornstarch
1 t minced garlic
½ t ground ginger
2 t hoisin sauce
1 T chopped cilantro
2 T chopped scallions (I used chives)
2 T toasted sesame seeds

Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes

Preheat over to 350

Heat 3 T sesame oil in large flameproof casserole or dutch oven (with lid). Sauté the celery, onion and red pepper five minutes. Remove veggies and set aside.

Add the remaining oil and sauté the zucchini and eggplant for 5 minutes. Add the reserved veggies back to the pot and remove from heat.

Combine the broth, soy sauce, sherry, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl and blend well with wire whisk. Pour over vegetable mixture, cover and bake 40 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro, garnish with chives and sesame seeds.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Maple Sugar Salmon

Maple Sugar Salmon

Okay, so the summer is ending and school has begun and my postings will probably begin to dwindle. However, it’s Labor Day Weekend and the weather is gorgeous so it seems only right to fire up the grill once again! Tonight we had a wonderful piece of salmon and I decided to try a new topping. I had some seasoning that I had purchased from a trip to Maine: Pure Maple Sugar with Italian Black Pepper from Sunnyside Maples made in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. I rubbed the fillet with olive oil and liberally sprinkled the maple sugar mixture all over and put it on the grill—first on high then turned down low for around ten minutes. In the meantime, I sautéed some baby sliced portabellas in sweet butter and then added a bag a spinach, some chopped garlic, pepper, sea salt, and balsamic vinegar to finish. Delish I must say and well, I guess the summer still isn’t really over ☺

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Salad Days of Summer

The Lettuce Lady at the market had the most gorgeous red and green romaine this week. I love making salads because it gives me a way to clean out my refrigerator! I make salads for lunch a lot and they are usually a bed of greens that cradle the previous night’s leftovers!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tasty Food-Lousy Picture

Have you heard that expression, “We eat first with the eyes”? The picture of this dish will not inspire salivation but I’m here to tell you that it was mighty tasty nevertheless.

Vietnamese Pork Rolls

Make dressing:

2 T Asian fish sauce
2 T fresh lime juice
2 t minced ginger
1 clove garlic minced
Pinch red pepper flakes

Whisk together in small bowl.


1 lb really thin cut boneless pork chops
1/2 head Savoy cabbage shredded (or Napa cabbage)
1 small red pepper cut in strips
4 scallions chopped
8 large Boston lettuce leaves for wrapping

Heat skillet sprayed with Pam or whatever, quickly sauté pork-2 min each side or so) Remove and slice into thin strips, toss with 2 T sauce

Combine cabbage, red pepper, and onion and remaining dressing. Lay lettuce leaves out and divide pork among the leaves. Toss with cabbage mixture and roll tightly, tucking in as you go. They are a bit delicate and fall apart easily and don’t photograph so well but they are yummy!

My New Best Friend

I love this time of year when the Ann Arbor Farmers Market begins to burst with all matter of great tasting produce. I also feel downright virtuous because I’m buying “local” and stimulating the pathetic Michigan economy. The one thing that I don’t particularly relish about my trip to the market is lugging all that produce around from stand to stand! Because our market is so popular scoring a close by parking space is not always a given. Also, is it my imagination or are the vegetables getting a lot heavier and bigger? Sort of like the rest of the population—we also have obese veggies!! No more sore arms and aching back for me—I have a market buddy thanks to Crate and Barrel. This market cart is a dream come true with plenty of space inside (there’s even an insulated bag in there too). There are outside pockets shaped perfectly for the requisite market bouquet, baguettes, and bottle of wine—be still my heart. I also have to say you feel so darn smug gliding around the market watching all the other folks schlepping what they think are their cool market baskets but hey, they weigh a ton. I’m not interested in anything unless it’s got wheels! PS it folds flat for storage-just in case you were curious. I bet I know what else you'd like to know: 49.95

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Good Bye Ann Arbor News!

So you’re probably asking yourself why is there a front page of a newspaper on this cooking blog? Well you’ll see that’s it’s the farewell edition of our hometown newspaper, the Ann Arbor News, which after 174 years of getting out the news (such as it sometimes was) has now been shuttered and we have gone 21st century with Ann I have to say it was a sad day for me even though the paper was not all that exemplary. It was still my welcome friend each night after work and I’ve happily and sometimes unhappily read a lot of pretty important news over the 33-year span that this paper has appeared in my mailbox. So, I figured how best to mark the passing of the News but with a commemorative meal!

Many years ago my husband, son, and I made yearly pilgrimages to The Sunshine State to celebrate the holidays with both sets of parents—we had them on the East and West Coast. My mother was always trying new recipes that she was learning from her snowbird southern friends. One, in particular, was delicious and had one necessary ingredient: NEWSPAPERS!

Tonight we bid adieu to the AA News with the following:

Low Country Shrimp and Sausage Boil

A T of sliced jalapeno peppers
2 celery stalk, halved
1 medium onion quartered
1 t chopped garlic
2 T Old Bay Seasoning
1 lb new potatoes
2 ears corn, quartered
1 lb andouille sausage cut in 1-inch pieces
1 lb large shell on shrimp
2 T melted butter
1 t hot sauce

In large pot combine, peppers, celery, onion, garlic and 1 T Old Bay and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and reduce to simmer. Cook until potatoes are almost tender, 10 minutes

Add corn, and sausage to pot-cook another 7 minutes. Remove pot from heat, stir in shrimp and let stand about 1 1/2 minutes until shrimp are opaque. Reserve 1/4 cooking liquid. Drain shrimp mixture and return to pot. Add butter, 1 T Old Bay, reserved cooking broth and hot sauce and toss to combine. Spread lots of newspapers on the table and spread the whole mess out for folks to share! Yum! So long Ann Arbor News Snooze!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ribs R Us!

It’s not summer without at least one night of spare ribs on the grill. Since ribs are not the most heart healthy this will be our one time indulgence and indulge we did!


Honey-Chipotle-Glazed Ribs
Bleu Cheese Slaw
Pesto Green Beans

Honey-Chipotle Glazed Ribs

¼ cup minced canned chipotle chilies in adobe
½ cup honey
¼ cup dried mustard powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 rack of spareribs

Oven: 400

In small bowl, combine the chilies, ¼ cup honey (save a ¼ cup for later)
Mustard powder, 2 T salt and 2 t pepper.

Place a large double layer of foil on a big cookie tin. Place ribs on top and coat with chipotle mixture. Wrap ribs tightly in foil and bake on sheet for 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium. Remove ribs from foil, brush ribs with ¼ honey and grill until lightly charred—2 to 3 minutes each side. These are quite tasty! (and no dirty pan)

Bleu Cheese Slaw

1 small pkg of cabbage slaw mix from grocery
Several heaping T Marzetti Bleu Cheese Salad Dressing
A few splashes of champagne vinegar

Mix it all up and refrigerate several hours before serving

Pesto Green Beans

Microwave some whole green beans and toss with sliced cherry tomatoes and homemade pesto (see earlier post-July 25,2009)

Sublime Lime

Recently, on two separate occasions two different friends have mentioned how using lime had added that je ne sais quoi to a dish they’d created. So, given their inspiration I concocted this chicken salad recipe in their honor and we will be enjoying it today for lunch.

Sara’s Grilled Somewhat Healthful Chicken Salad

2 grilled chicken breasts (I always grill more chicken than I need for this purpose alone)
½ onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
Hardy handful of walnuts


About 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Heaping T of mayo
Some sea salt
Some ground pepper
A couple shakes of dried tarragon
½ lime

Whisk all the ingredients up—taste and correct to your liking

I chopped up some romaine and dressed it lightly with olive oil and champagne vinegar and used that for a bed for the chicken salad.

Gently fold dressing into the other ingredients. Refrigerate to let the flavors mingle. Enjoy with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Drinking at lunch?? Remember, it’s always 5’clock somewhere!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chicken Tonight!


Grilled Chicken
Best Ever Ratatouille
Roast Sesame Broccoli

Best Ever Ratatouille

2 zucchini, chopped medium
1 yellow squash, chopped medium
½ red onion, chopped small
a couple t chopped garlic
6 plum tomatoes, chopped medium
1 orange pepper, chopped medium
1 red pepper, chopped medium
3 T parsley, chopped
3 T summer savory (dried)
1 T oregano (dried)
1 t sugar
olive oil for sautéing
s and p
½ cup fresh basil in slivers

Do in this order:

Heat olive oil in large deep skillet and sauté zucchini and yellow squash for 5 minutes—Remove and set aside

Next, sauté the peppers, onions, garlic for 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté some more

Add squash back into pan with parsley, savory, sugar, oregano and s and p. Reduce heat to very low and let it cook for an hour. Take a look every now and then—it shouldn’t be burning—heat should be really low.

Add basil and some sea salt and enjoy!

Grilled Chicken

I use boneless breasts

Marinate in some kind of salad dressing—tonight I used Kraft Sun-Dried tomato vinaigrette for several hours.

Heat grill to high

Put breasts on for 5 minutes, then turn and lower heat for about 5 more

Roast Sesame Broccoli

Oven: 450

1 head of broccoli, broken into florets
Toss these with olive oil and spread on cookie tin and roast for 20 minutes
Juice a lemon. Toss roasted broccoli with lemon juice, 1 T soy sauce and some sesame seeds. Roast broccoli rocks!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What's for Dinner?

I'm too lazy to shop and I need to make dinner with stuff I can find in the fridge. So, what can we do with leftover flank steak, some carrots and some onions?

Tonight's menu:

Leftover Flank Steak Sandwiches
Carrot Salad
Roast Potato wedges (from freezer)

Recipe for Sandwiches:

Cut leftover flank steak into narrow strips
Slice up to two small or one large onion
Bleu Cheese Dressing
Worchestershire sauce
Two panini rolls or hoagie rolls-cut in half and remove some of the soft bread inside to make room for the meat mixture

Heat oil in skillet, caramelize onions for about ten minutes-throw in the beef strips and salt and pepper and W sauce. Stir around then mound on rolls—drizzle bleu cheese dressing on and enjoy!

Carrot Salad (this is GOOD!)

3 cups carrots shredded in food processor
½ cup raisins
¼ mayo
¼ Greek yogurt
1 t salt
¼ small red onion chopped
2 T lemon juice

Whisk the mayo, yogurt, salt, and lemon juice in bowl-add carrots, raisins, and onion and mix well-refrigerate.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dinner on the Deck

Dinner on the Deck

Menu for tonight:

Grilled Anhco-Rubbed Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan
Baked Roma Tomatoes with Homemade Pesto

Early in the day I harvested basil from my “Deck Step” garden, and made the pesto.

1 ½ cups basil leaves
1 t of garlic (I use the jarred)
some salt, some pepper
a handful of walnuts

Put in processor and blend up and then add olive oil to your desired consistency.

Also early in the day I made the chimichurri sauce for the meat:

1 cup parsley
¼ cilantro
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
½ t salt
½ cumin
1 t garlic (I use jarred)

Whirl it all up in the processor and let it sit on the kitchen counter.

Dinner on the Deck

Ancho-Rubbed Flank Steak

1-½ lbs. flank steak
2 t ground ancho chili pepper
2 T olive oil
1 T lime juice

Season steak with chili pepper and salt. Combine oil and lime in a shallow dish. Add steak and turn to cover. Let marinate at room temp for 15-30 minutes.

Grill steak on high heat about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Let stand five minutes before cutting into thin slices and garnishing with chimichurri sauce.

Roasted Cauliflower
Oven: 425

I head of cauliflower broken into small florets
Some garlic salt
1 lemon
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Preheat over. Put cauliflower on cookie sheet. Squeeze lemon juice over all, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes, turn and roast another 20—Turn into serving bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Pesto Baked Tomatoes

8 plum tomatoes
Homemade pesto or some from jar
Progresso Italian breadcrumbs

Oven 425

Half plum or Roma tomatoes lengthwise. TIP: slice off a sliver from he skin side so that the halves lie flat in the baking dish,

Spread some pest on each cut side and sprinkle on some Italian breadcrumbs/ Bake 20 minute or so.

Ancho Steak dressed with the chimichurri Sauce

Bon Appetit!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sara's Sammies and Grilled Mexican Corn

Decided to try my own version of salmon tacos and grilled corn. An upside down muffin tin makes a great "filling station" for the tacos. Next time I will use soft, not hard, taco shells. Soft flour tortillas would complement the fish better.

The grilled corn is awesome!

Make sauce first: 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t garlic powder
ground pepper

Mix together.

Garnishes: chopped cilantro, chili powder

Heat grill to high, coat rack with cooking spray. Grill corn 8 to 10 minutes turning. Corn will get brown in spots-yum! Coat with sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with chili powder--and prepare to eat more than one ear!

I grilled the corn and salmon at the same time. I put the salmon on a grill rack with smaller holes so as not to lose any fish down the grates!

To make the tacos make the sauce ahead:

Chipotle Crema- this stuff is GOOOOOOD!

8 oz sour cream
1/2 t lime zest
2 T lime juice
a couple minced chipotle chilis in adobe sauce
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t salt

Combine all ingredients

Garnishes: lime wedges, shredded cabbage, and chopped cilantro

Assemble and devour!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Night on the Deck


Grilled Veggie Skewers with Orzo Salad
Whole Wheat Baguette with Roasted Garlic

Grilled Veggie Skewers

Cut the following veggies in fairly uniform pieces:

Red onion
whole mushrooms (leave whole)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
Cut veggies up and put in bag to marinate for an hour or so:

Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
black pepper

Thread on skewers and grill about ten minutes turning once

Orzo Salad

1 cup whole wheat orzo cooked according to pkg (I cooked with combo of water and veggie broth)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, minced
some olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
fresh basil--cut in ribbons (I use scissors)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 can garbanzo beans
cherry tomatoes, halved
black pepper

Cook orzo and drain

Saute garlic and scallions in olive oil, add chopped onion and saute more more then throw in the basil, the drained orzo and the vinegar and beans and tomatoes--stir add pepper to taste

Roasted garlic

Cut tops off the tops of the heads and drizzle on olive oil, any spice you like and some s and p. Place in garlic cooker or wrap in foil. Roast at 400 for 45 minutes---Yum on whole wheat baguette

Refried Bean Tostadas with Summer Corn Salad

Refried Beans

2 cans no salt pinto beans, drained
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 cup no salt salsa-I like Enrico's
juice of 1/2 lime
bunch of cilantro

Puree beans in processor-add to bowl with remaining ingredients and mix well-taste and adjust seasoning--may want to add a bit of salt

To assemble:

tostada shell
layer of beans
shredded romaine
some shredded cheese
Enrico salsa
dollop of greek yogurt
black olive garnish

Summer Corn Salad

Thaw bag of frozen corn
1/2 can of diced tomatoes with chilis
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
2 T chopped green pepper
3 T white wine vinegar
1 1/2 t dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
ground pepper

Combine the veggies in bowl. In small bowl whisk up the dressing and combine with veggies and toss well.

Cauliflower Garbanzo Curry

Cauliflower Garbanzo Curry

Need skillet with lid

serves 2

1/2 can no salt garbanzo beans
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
Bottle of Trader Joe's Red Thai Curry Sauce
Half head of cauliflower broken into small florets
ground pepper

Drain beans and reserve juice. Heat 2 T juice in skillet, stir in onion, garlic, jalapeno and cook for 5 minutes--Add Red Thai sauce (about 1/2 cup and cauliflower, cover cook 10 minutes. Add beans and pepper and cook another 10 minutes--add more bean juice or water if liquid is needed.

In rice cooker make this curry rice:

Make whatever white rice you prefer but add a t of cinnamon, 1/2 t turmeric and 1 t curry powder and 2 T raisins

To plate:

Serve with the following condiments: chopped almonds, tomatoes and cucumbers