Friday, July 30, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes for Pasta

I have never been a big fan of pasta, not ever. Oh I know it is frugal and easy and quick, but still, I did not turn to pasta for a meal in times of need. But this simple dish of baked tomatoes with cheese may change all that. I did not plant a cherry tomato plant this year, but I shall from this year after. With no cherry tomatoes in the house, I turned to what we had in the fruit bowl. This was made with grown on the vine, standard size tomatoes, and you know what? It was still good. Actually better than good, good enough to share here.

Roasted tomatoes for pasta
 400 degree oven
4-6 fully ripe tomatoes cut into small chunks OR a pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c olive oil
1 T dry basil leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 c dry bread crumbs
1/3 c Italian Parsley leaves or chopped curly parsley

8 oz spaghetti- bring water to boil when tomatoes go into the oven, so that the pasta can be drained and ready when the tomatoes are done.

Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a 9X13 pan, sprinkle with the garlic. Add tomatoes in one layer. Sprinkle with the basil then salt and pepper.

Cover with the cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes.


Bring all ingredients to center of dish, add parsley and toss with the drained pasta.

Serves 2 or 3

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)
This will be made again, and again. Simple, frugal and easy. Love it!

As always, thanks so much
for stopping by. 

This post shared with:

12 days of Bloggie-mas - two tasty tomatoes @ a moderate life

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Brownie Walnut Bread (yeast)

This bread has such a sophisticated flavor that I wanted to share it with everyone,
therefore this is a repost!

As written this is not a sweet bread, it is delicious and with the sugar listed in the recipe it is a wonderful sandwich bread. This bread would make an unbelievable good chicken sandwich.

IF you want a sweeter bread, increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup. And it goes without saying, this would be wonderful rolled up with a spicy cinnamon swirl in the works!

I have noticed this bread in various places, and as it turns out in one of my own cookbooks! Honestly when I first noticed this bread, my first thought was meh. But one day I decided to try it, don't know why, so very glad I did. It turns out it is not only good, it is delicious and not at all like I thought it would be, it is so much better!

Yeasted Brownie Bread with Walnuts
adapted from: The All New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook
by Tom Lacalamita

1/3 c warm water
2/3 c milk, warm slightly
5 T butter, cut into small chunks
1 t salt
1/3 c brown sugar (1/2 c for a sweeter dough)
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa
3 c flour
2 1/4 t yeast

2/3 c chopped toasted walnuts

Layer ingredients into bread machine pan in order given. Leave walnuts for later. Process on dough setting.

When dough is done mixing and going into the final rise, add walnuts to side of pan, where they will warm to the same temperature as the dough.

 (I could not get my machine to turn back on to knead the walnuts into the dough, when the cycle ended, and worked them in by hand)

Restart machine when cycle ends to work in nuts, or turn dough out and work in my hand. Shape into a loaf, place in prepared pan, let rise final time.

When dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 350,

Bake 35-40 minutes or until done. Let rest 10 minutes in the pan, turn out to cool completely.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks so much for stopping by!

Don't forget to enter your favorite raisin recipe for the December Smackdown!

This re-post is being shared at:

Cookbook Sunday @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cheese Garlic Dinner Buns

Happy Wednesday, before we wander take a look here......

I had one cup of cottage cheese to use up and thought that I should play around with that little dinner bun recipe and see what might come from that. I love the combination of cheese and garlic and decided to make those little  buns a bit more festive, yet still very easy to make. A definite plus for those busy days.

Cheese and Garlic dinner buns
350 degree oven for baking

1/4 c warm water
1/4 c sugar
1 pkg (scant T) yeast
1 c warmed cottage cheese
1 t garlic salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 egg
1 c shredded cheese, I had a cheese blend on hand, but use what you have
1/2 c parsley leaves (about 12 stems) washed, plucked and rolled in a towel to dry
 2 1/4 c flour, you may use up to an additional 1/4 c if needed - for a total of 2 1/2 cups
additional cheese for tops, if desired
In a large mixer bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar, let set until yeast is active and foamy. Add remaining ingredients, beat well (a stand mixer is best for this recipe, it is a sticky dough that will climb the beaters on a hand held mixer) 2-3 minutes. Scrape beaters, and sides of bowl, sending dough to bottom of bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise 1 hour.

Stir down dough, divide into 12 prepared muffin cups. Cover and let rise 30 minutes, or until doubled. Sprinkle with the additional cheese.

If ready to bake preheat oven and bake 22-28 minutes or until done and golden brown. If desire, oil tops (if not using the cheese), cover loosely with wax paper and then a towel and place in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator while preheating oven, when ready to bake.
Serves/makes 12

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

My wandering was only food related this week, it must be because of all the great produce available. Or maybe I have been focused on my own crafts and have not been looking for a new project. In any case, lets take a look at these, I hope they offer something new to enjoy for you and yours.

We must be in the salad days of summer, I am finding some wonderful salad recipes to share. One is even a super-food salad. This salad contains no lettuce, parsley is the salad green used here.

Here is a Caesar salad that has no raw egg, but does contain bacon. It was the bacon that caught my eye!

And here is a wonderful grilled Panzanella salad. It is beautiful as well as delicious.

If your garden is giving up lots of zucchini, you probably have a lot of squash blossoms also. This is a tasty and different side dish.

Here is a delicious vegetable dinner pie. If your household follows meatless Mondays, this would work out nicely.

And of course something sweet......

Do you have rhubarb? How about some vodka? Look here......

Or how about making plum wine?

Have a great evening,
I appreciate your visiting here, Thanks!

this post shared with:
ultimate recipe swap @ life as mom

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cottage Cheese Dinner buns

I have posted this recipe here before. Before I had a camera and before anyone visited! It is another one from my old little black binder, splattered and made many times over. These are simple, easy and delicious. My three favorite categories! You know the reason folks love to cook, is because not every recipe they make and enjoy is difficult. Lets be honest here, if every meal was a big challenge or difficult, the fun would disappear. Learning about and enjoying these simple, easy and delicious recipes is what begins the journey to other more challenging recipes and fun projects.

If you are a bread lover, fresh bread can turn the most humble dish into dinner. And fortunately yeast doughs are not fussy at all and very forgiving. Yeast dough will wait in the refrigerator, to be baked right before dinner. And of course that wonderful aroma will call the family to dinner, you won't have to. But enough about my love of bread, lets make some dinner buns.

Cottage Cheese dinner buns
source unknown, in my little black binder
350 degree, for baking

1 package (1 scant T) yeast
1/4 c warm water
1/4 c sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1 c cottage cheese
2 3/4 c flour - divided

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water, add the sugar, stir.

Gently warm the cottage cheese,

and add to the yeast mixture along with the egg, salt, soda and 2 1/2 c of the flour.

Slowly blend the flour into the wet ingredients, then mix well until mixture leaves the sides of the bowl, adding last 1/4 c flour if needed. Scrape down sides of bowl, when completely mixed. NOTE: dough is sticky.

Cover and let rise until double in bulk.

 The rising will take about 1 hour.

Stir/punch down dough. Spoon into 12 prepared muffin cups.

Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

 If not ready to bake after 30 minutes, remove towel. Otherwise it may stick to the dough. If you need/want to store the dough, oil the tops lightly and cover loosely with wax paper and then a towel, put in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and done. Makes 12 buns.

As always thanks for dropping in,
I do appreciate your stopping by.

This post shared with:

12 Days of Bloggie-mas @ a moderate life

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Carrot Pie

I can just about hear what you might be thinking; Carrot Pie, oh come on now. But hear me out and I will tell you why I tried this pie, and I was so glad I did. Many years ago Family Circle magazine ran a series called The best of the best. Readers were invited to submit recipes for this feature, that series ran for the longest time. There are a lot of great cooks out there, and many wonderful recipes were sent in. The magazine staff would make up the recipes and the best of the best would be showcased in that month's article. The first article was apple pie. When that was published the invitation was for chocolate cake and then ribs and more was to follow. One month Carrot pie was the best of the best.

Now I had never heard of carrot pie, carrot cake yes, but carrot pie no. So the whole best of the best was lost on me, however I had been following the series and had baked the apple pie and the chocolate cake. These were and still are the best and I use those recipes to this day.  Only because I had made the other best of the best, was I even willing to try this pie. I will tell you this, the spice selection is the key to the great flavor. This is not a substitute for pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie, no indeed, this is carrot pie and it is delicious. And what a great way to eat your carrots! This looks like a lot of steps, but this is multi-tasking at it's finest. You must try this pie, how else will you get your carrots?

Carrot Pie
a part of the Family Circle "best of the best" series
makes 1 9" pie, serves 8-10

1 pound carrots, peeled, sliced and cooked - about 2 1/2 cups
1 3/4 c milk - I prefer a large can of evaporated milk and fresh milk to equal the requested amount.
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 t salt
1/2 t each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
1 9 inch pie shell - recipe follows or use your own favorite, assemble the crust while carrots cook

 Cook in plain water until tender, drain well. While carrots are cooking you can make the pie crust.

1 9" Pie crust
1 1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t sugar
6 T butter
2 ice cubes and 1/3 c water in a cup

Combine all ingredients except water, cutting in with a pastry blender (or 2 butter knives) until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Using a teaspoon, dribble ice water over the flour mixture and toss together with a fork. Continue dribbling water and tossing together until mixture begins clinging together, taking care not to use any more water than is necessary. Roll out, ease into your 9 inch pie pan and proceed with pie instructions. 

To finish the pie, in blender cup, combine the cooked and drained carrots along with the milk, buzz to combine. This will completely cool the carrots, add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until smooth. Pour into pie shell.

Bake 450 degrees 15 minutes, reduce heat to 300 degrees, continue baking 45-50 minutes, or until done. Let cool, serve with whipped cream and a fresh dusting of nutmeg.

Recipe rating: Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks so much
for stopping by. I enjoy your visits!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coconut Macaroons

Happy Wednesday to all! Before we start wandering, how about a delicious, chewy and easy cookie? I have been looking for a simple, have everything in the cupboard, macaroon recipe, and thanks to the MGCC ladies, we get to have these for dessert tonight.

Coconut Macaroons
from Mennonite Girls Can Cook
325 degree oven
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 c coconut
1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
 2 t vanilla or a combination of vanilla and almond
Combine, drop onto greased or parchment lined baking sheets, bake 18-20 minutes, let cool 3-5 minutes only, remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack. When cool, enjoy.

The perfect summer cookie, quick
 easy, and the kitchen does not get too hot. I hope you enjoy these as much as we will.

This is such a busy time of year, what with the nice weather finally here! But still the home and household must be tended to, especially if one is trying to stay true to a financial budget or newly adopted changes in meals or exercise.

One of the things I have wanted to do is make my own laundry soap. I have shared other links for homemade soaps here before, but have yet to make any of those. For me a drawback to some of the recipes was the fact that the finished product was a liquid. I have never liked using liquid soap on my laundry. For one thing, what does one do with the measuring cup? It was always in a constant state of drying or has a puddle in the bottom. Silly as it may seem, that always made me not want to deal with a liquid laundry soap. I know lots of folks that will pre-treat the laundry with the liquid soap, and it is true you cannot do that with a powder. But I also keep a bar of Fels Naptha right there and as the washer is filling, dip the end of the bar in the water and pre-treat those stubborn areas, works great for most stains.

Quite possible the link I will share today is basically the same recipe as the other links already shared on previous posts. So what would be the difference? Honestly it is only because my commercially prepared laundry powder is about gone, so it is really time to get serious. I will start with this one.........

Radishes are everywhere this time of year. I had never come across a radish recipe before. But this little salad looks fresh and crisp, also it would be easy to make a half batch or even smaller, for those with smaller  families. Take a look here........

The same is true for zucchinis, there is never a shortage this time of year. Ferdzy says this soup is good hot, but even better chilled. It is also a beautiful green color, take a look...........

I/We are a beef eating family, no doubt about it. This is a zesty marinade for steaks, but I also think it would be great with chicken thighs. MGCC also share a good tip for less expensive steaks. Take a look here........

Now for a couple of crafts. The first one is a great idea, especially for smaller children just learning to use a backpack. This is made from a fabric sample, take a look at this....

This would be great to partner with a loaf of homemade bread. A reusable bread bag........

As always,
thanks for stopping by, I love having visitors!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creme Anglaise, a dessert sauce

When I was about 12, I began selling Watkins products door to door. That was during a time when most women were still in the home working, and known as "housewives". It was also during a time when the use of packaged foods and mixes was surging. Paper towels were fairly new and affordable and almost everyone had a roll in the kitchen.

Watkins products were still old fashioned. The Watkins Company was trying to incorporate the "needs" of the modern day housewife. They were developing new products to compete in the marketplace. Yet it was hard to "sell" folks into buying. I did sell a bit to the neighbors and some to my Mother, but alas I knew from that day forward I was not a good salesman. In those days, job titles ended in "man", and to this day I don't like sales. I am pretty sure it is the reason I have been in a service industry for my working years.

Yesterday I headed out to do a bit of thrifting, and found a Watkins 100th anniversary cookbook, from 1995. And I had to have it. For many reasons, but mostly because it has a lot of recipes that showcase my favorite flavor of all time, Vanilla. I never tire of Vanilla, ever. If the only ice cream flavor in the world was Vanilla, I would be happy. Vanilla is so complex, and not plain at all. It cracks me up when people refer to Vanilla ice cream as plain old vanilla. To honor of my love affair with Vanilla, this morning I am making Creme Anglaise. Also known as Pouring Custard.

Lets get started, shall we.....please keep in mind, I am not a patient cook. It is something I am trying to learn.

Vanilla Custard Sauce
makes approximately 2 cups

1 1/2 c whole milk
4 egg yolks

1/4 - 1/2 c sugar*
dash of salt

2 t vanilla

Put together a double boiler, and set to heat up over a medium burner. In another pan, bring milk to a simmer over low heat, being very careful not to scorch, you may also complete this step in the microwave, if you choose.

Beat eggs, sugar and salt together in a medium size bowl, until glossy and the sugar starts to dissolved, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, slowly add hot milk in a thin stream, continue to mix until milk is  incorporated into the egg mixture.

Transfer milk mixture to the double boiler, cook stirring constantly until mixture coats a metal spoon.

Pour into a bowl, cover with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until very cold.

Before serving whisk in the vanilla.

* If serving over a sweetened dessert such as cake, use the smaller portion of sugar. If serving over unsweetened berries or fruit, use the full 1/2 cup measure. 

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

I will tell you right now, I am not drawn to recipes that require as much patience as this one. And this did not turn out perfect, in fact curdled. My guess is, I over beat the sugar and egg yolks causing too much foam. And cooked it over water, that was too hot. But it will still taste good, and such is the way of a new recipe or new technique, it might take a time or two to get it right. You can bet, we will still enjoy this over some fresh raspberries from our berry patch.

As always thanks,
for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate it!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Carrot Hummus

I usually have some, right there in the fridge. A two pound bag of carrots. They rest leisurely in the vegetable drawer, until I realize the tips are softening and they must be used. I guess you could say I am guilty of carrot neglect, because carrots are really healthy and very good for you. Carrots are harvested year round in certain warm climates, primarily a fall harvest crop, that stores well.

When you complete a google search for healthy carrot recipes, you will come upon a long list of links that will take you to lots and lots of recipes. What is the single most common listed recipe? You guessed it, Carrot Cake. Folks want to eat carrots, and should eat carrots, but usually don't unless it is cake. Why is that?
That's what I want to know.

I have been asking myself why I do not eat more of the healthier foods, for many years now. Recently having decided to eat better, I also now share some of my thoughts on Saturdays.  Truthfully carrots have not been my first choice in a vegetable, ever. Yes I do love carrot cake, but speaking for myself, I do not eat carrot cake to get a serving of carrots! No truth is, I eat carrot cake for the cake.

Now, what to do about carrots, and getting them into the  table to be enjoyed at meal time. That is the key here, enjoyed at meal time. It can be difficult to enjoy a food, often thought of, as an after thought......" well we could have some carrots.......".

Carrots stored for periods of time, can be dry and lacking flavor. I have made enough grated carrots salads, that were later dumped, to know, raw carrots are not (ever) going to be my first choice. For some folks raw carrots are not easily digested. Carrots need to be served with a bit of healthy fat to be digested and absorbed well. Many of the foods we eat, contain fat soluble vitamins, carrots happen to be on that list. There is a reason "buttered carrots" have been served across the country for ever and ever, you need that little touch of fat to get the most out of carrots during the digestion process.

So the task is to find creative and delicious recipes that use carrots, or a recipe that can be converted to use those healthy and delicious carrots. Lets see what we can do about that. Taking in account the heat wave that has come upon us, my first choice for carrot gingerbread muffins will have to wait. I know, lets make some hummus. It is quick, won't completely take over the kitchen and hummus is ready right there, right now when needed for a quick snack or sandwich spread.

Carrot Hummus, with toasted cumin seed garnish
inspired from about 1000 other recipes on the web!

2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled sliced and cooked till tender, drained well.
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained well
1 - 2 cloves garlic
1/4 t salt
2 T lemon juice
1 t toasted sesame oil (I do not keep tahini and this is a great sub)
1/4 - 1/3 c olive oil

Combine all ingredients and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of processor bowl as needed. Transfer to a serving/storing container. Garnish and enjoy.

Cumin & salt garnish: 1 - 2 t cumin and 1/4 t salt.  

Pan toast until fragrant, crush lightly.

Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top, add the cumin seeds, store in the refrigerator. 

Makes approximately 2 cups. Serve with assorted vegetable dippers and crackers.

Recipe rating:  Hmmmm. (thought this would be better)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello!