Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Root and Stem Salad

One of the changes I have (unfortunately, very slowly) been trying to implement for our Sunday dinners is more vegetables. I have always respected vegetables, believed in vegetables and wanted to eat more vegetables. Simply stated however, I have failed.....

But as I look back there have been some delicious successes along the way and this salad is one of them. Probably because it is so simple. Simple to prepare, simple in the list of ingredients and very simple to enjoy! I found this on tasting spoons, Carolyn has a detailed eye for finding wonderful and different recipes among different cooking classes, cookbooks and publications.I often times look to her for inspiration for our Sunday dinners.

Root and Stem Salad
adapted from: tasting spoons
serves 8-10

Note:  While the original recipe calls for a small shallot, we did not use one and loved this salad. 

1 - 1 pound celery root
10 ribs of celery
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
1 small shallot, minced
1 lemon
1/2 c olive oil
prepared horseradish - 1 to 3 teaspoons, more if desire
sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Peel and cut celery root into match stick sized pieces, you may also grate using the large side of a box grater. Wash, dry and thinly slice the ribs of celery on a sharp diagonal. Remove the leaves only from the parsley, you will want at to fill a 1/2 cup measure, more is fine. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the juice of 1 lemon, olive oil and prepared horseradish to taste. Start with 1 teaspoon for flavor but not too much heat, adding more for your personal preference.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour over vegetables, toss to mix well.

Serve and enjoy!

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sharing the view....thoughts on our culture

Saturday's view.....

I was just an OK mom, and now I am just an OK grandma. I have probably also been just an OK wife, employee, sister, friend and daughter. Not one to feel the need to be in the spotlight, or have the last say. But today, now many years later, while I don't necessarily want the spotlight, I want and need to have a say.

The following commentary is my own, not meant to offend or be outrageous. But honestly meant to inspire a thought or two.

Thank you, and now.......

There has been a shift in our culture. True, it started many years ago, but it appears to keep establishing a new boundary for the day, only to have yet another boundary established, just a little further out from the last. People, please can we just stop?

Stop what?

In a nutshell, competing. Competing to be outrageous or get the most attention by displaying bad behavior or worse engaging others to prove your worth as being the most outrageous.

Can we as a group be content with being happy? Or must we be excited and entertained at all moments throughout the day and most of the night?

Can we have some modesty regarding how much of our lives we share in excessive detail? Or must we tweet, facebook and call the world constantly and let them know we just broke up again this week, ate half a burger and threw the rest away or even that we need to find a bathroom to hurl?

Can we simply wear clothes?  Or must we share our rude comments and jokes on our fabric billboards, for all to see and comment on, so that we can tweet, facebook or call the world to complain that someone actually took exception with our display?

Can we return phone calls to a private behavior? Or must we wear a bluetooth and talk to everyone while we do everything, looking like we are out of control with our own life?

Can we keep cell phones in a convenient, easily assessable location? Or must we have one hand always holding a phone while we have only a small portion of ourselves engaged in any other activity than texting, calling or gaming?

Can we be mature adults, who will need to be successful taking responsibility for ourselves?

Can we eat a meal and talk to each other instead of texting, calling or gaming?

Can we realize that we can have it all, we just can’t have it all right now because life come in stages so that you can master and enjoy each one?

Can we take a car ride or trip without the need to watch a movie instead of enjoying the journey, or reading a book?

Can we see that constantly being “plugged in”, outrageous and competitive actually interferes with observing, learning and being human?

Please, can we stop now? Pretty please........

As always, thank you for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Onion Gratin, Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Saturday September 4, 2010.

If you like onions, you will like this simple and delicious dish. I made this for the last Sunday Cafe and it was well received by all, even the non onion lovers. I do have to confess that I got a bit carried away with deleting the images from my camera and this is the only survivor. But it is simple to put together and, well what is done is done!

Onion Gratin
By the seat of my pants
400 degree oven

2 or 3 onions, sliced about 1/2 inch thick, you can ring out or leave in a solid slice
olive oil
dry bread crumbs (1/2-3/4 cup)
Parmesan cheese (same as above!)
salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of a large lidded pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Add onions, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with a layer of dry bread crumbs, then the Parmesan cheese. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

The onions may not be completely cook, they will be crisp tender. If you want completely cooked onions, bake for 30 minutes covered BEFORE adding the dry bread crumbs and cheese.

Serves 6-8

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday, searching for some sun!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
wordless wednesday @ create with joy

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Garden Tuesday, the one where there is darkness

We are itching to get out into the yard. But we are also dry weather gardeners, oh and a little sun would also be nice. Right now in the yard and garden are leaf buds on various bushes and weeds. Little weeds, invasive weeds, annoying weeds, weeds that need to be pulled.....

At this time, we are working on amendments to the soil With this being the first year to have a garden in this house, we thought it prudent to start off right and amend the soil. I don't think there has ever been a garden in this yard. One reason to add amendments is ease of weeding, which cannot be escaped. Soft fluffy if you will soil, is so much easier to work with as well as pull weeds, out of.

With that said, continuing along with our "freescaping", we have added a thin sprinkle of sand to the garden plot. I need to bring home another couple of 5 gallon pails full and that will be enough to finish it out. After the sand we have a couple of mini bales of straw to spread over the sand, along with leaves that have composted all winter. I would like to run these through the mover before sprinkling them on top.Then once everything is up and growing, I will gather some pine needles to mulch the blueberries.

As soon as the cold, wet rain stops...

The compost is cooking right along, having lost half the bulk. This also may need to be spread out on the lawn and picked up using the mover. Everything along with some rotted manure will be turned over before the actual planting. I only sound like I know what I am doing, I have to finally admit that I was not born with my father's green thumb. As much as I would like to be successful with gardening, I have not been.

My husband thankfully is. He grew up in southern Oregon on a 10 acre mini homestead where they grew most of their food. Big garden each year, a small orchard to gather fruit that was canned and jammed. Berry thickets to play in and pick from. A running creek to dam up in the warm weather to water the garden from.  He has said he had the very best childhood. And I believe him. While we are missing all some of that here in our own little backyard, we do want to grow what we eat, or at least some of it.

But right now, today the only thing growing in your garden is.........

mole holes.

As always, thank for taking a minute to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
garden tuesday @ sidewalk shoes

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Italian Potatoes and Beans

We are like many others, relearning about and enjoying real foods, rustic food if you will. My favorite style of rustic food (after our own countries specialties, of course) is Italian. They are among the best in simple ingredients, cooked well and served with pride.

Everyone is familiar with macaroni and beans, and this rendition is none the less delicious!

This small dish of leftovers was all I could get a photo of.......

Cooks notes and possible words of wisdom:  While this was originally a soup, I was in search of a side dish and the flavors as well as the rustic nature were right there.  For a delicious soup, add more water, it is that easy.

Potatoes and Beans
adapted from: Eat this it will make you feel better, by Dom DeLuise
serves 6-8

1 small onion, diced small
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 ribs of celery, diced small
1 large carrot, peeled and diced small
1 T olive oil

6 medium potatoes, peeled -cut in half lengthwise, set 1 piece (1/2 potato) aside, dice the remainder in large dice
2 c chicken stock
1 c water - only if needed
2 cans canneli beans drained or your own homemade white creamy bean, drained well
1/2 t oregano
black pepper

for serving: Tomato Serendipity

In a large flat pan, saute the garlic and onion until wilted and fragrant.  Add celery and carrot, saute for a minute more. Add all of the potatoes and the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer until potatoes are tender.

Remove the large piece and mash well, return to the pot and stir into the broth. Add the beans, simmer additional 10 minutes. Stir in the oregano and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

If the pan sauce seems too thin, boil off a few minutes to thicken.

Serve with the Tomato Serendipity on the side for each to flavor as wanted.

Recipe rating:
Oh Yes! Will make again.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

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hearth and soul @ premeditated leftovers

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tomato Serendipity

Yesterday we had a lovely family dinner. 
The occasion? 
Yes it was Valentine's Day, but no, that is not it. 

You see we chose that day, the day of love and caring to stand together again, before our children and repeat those same vows of commitment, love and dedication to marriage and this time include our children and grandchildren while creating a wonderful family memory. 

We prepared a lovely meal, and everyone including us, had a great time. One dish in particular that was a surprising hit was a rustic Italian pot of potatoes and beans. Delicious! This was topped with a savory sprinkle of dried tomatoes and cheese, which we call Tomato Serendipity, lets make some, shall we?

Tomato Serendipity
cafe created
makes about 1 1/2 c

Cooks notes and possible words of wisdom:  This blend is delicious! You can use this stuff just about anywhere tomato and/or Parmesan cheese are invited, Sprinkled over soups, pastas, vegetables both hot and cold (salad yes!). And don't forget sandwiches.....

1 c packed dried (not packed in oil) tomato pieces (use the julienne cut style for this recipe)
1/2 c dried Parmesan cheese or a Parm and Romano blend (yes the kind in the green can.....)

Buzz in your processor until all pieces are approximately the size of the cheese. Put in a serving dish, add a sprinkling spoon and enjoy!

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

Tomorrow I will share the potato and bean dish, trust me, you will want to make it.........

This beautiful celebration cake was made by my lovely daughter Jessica.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

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hearth and soul @ premeditated leftovers

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

May your day be filled with love, 
family and happiness. 

We are busy getting a wonderful meal cooked for family and friends, to celebrate this day. I hope to remember to take some photographs of the fun, the food and share some of both right here.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Green Olive Spelt Yeast Bread

I figured out fairly quickly that while making your own bread is wonderful, being tired and having to make it after a long day at the paying job, is not so wonderful. Yet we need bread, fresh bread, every morning for the two sandwiches that go into my husband's lunch.

And let's not forget weekends. There is toast with eggs, maybe a sandwich at lunch or bread and butter along side a bowl of soup. Yep, definitely we need a constant supply of bread. Enter cold storage dough.

Every known cookbook author has a knead-less, cold storage bread book. And I have most of them. But until now, not a pressing need for cold storage dough. Enter the husband, a first class bread eater! The man is total joy to cook and bake for.

But back to that tired after work and don't want to be tied to the task of bread making because I want to spend some time with the first class bread eater. This set of circumstances leads us to cold storage dough. Having one or even two kinds of dough in the fridge will add variety and leave my evenings free enjoy the evening meal and share our day with the other. Cold storage dough can rise for baking, while we enjoy our evening together.

Opps! This is a very "wet" dough, and I will reduce some of the fluid in future batches.

Most cold storage dough recipes are pretty much the same, mix it up, store in the fridge, remove a portion, let rise, then bake. Lets make some, shall we?

Green Olive Spelt Bread
adapted from:  Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes
makes enough dough for 4 loaves

Cooks Warning and possible words of Wisdom:  Our kitchen is interested in delicious and healthy food. Although I love looking at beautiful food, you will find that my chosen baking method is simplified and will produce an attractive loaf of bread, but most likely not artisan in beauty.

4 c spelt flour
2 c flour
2 packages yeast
1 T sea salt
1/4 c wheat gluten
2 T sugar
1 T lecithin

2 c lukewarm water
2 c whole milk yogurt - (next time I would reduce to 1 1/2 c)
1 c pitted green olives, chopped - (next time, I will use more olives!)

Dough Glaze

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large (5qt) bowl or covered container.  Separately, whisk together the water and yogurt until smooth, stir in olives. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, making sure to incorporate all dry ingredients and not leave behind pockets of flour. Cover and let rest 2 hours.

After the 2 hour rest/rise time the dough is ready to store or bake. To store, cover securely and place in the fridge.When ready to bake a loaf of bread..........

Prepare the dough and the oven.

Remove a portion of the dough, approximately the size of a grapefruit. Shape. Stored doughs for the most part are wetter than a standard yeast dough. Quite sticky actually. To shape a loaf of bread, toss the portion of dough that will be baked (approximately 1/4 of original dough mass) on a pastry cloth sprinkled with flour. Take the outside corner and of the dough and bring it up and into the center of the ball. Turn and repeat until all four corner areas have been pulled into the center, turn over and you will have a ball shaped loaf.

Place on a prepared cookie sheet or parchment. Let rise 90 minutes (for refrigerated dough). 30 minutes before baking, place a broiler pan on the rack below (this will hold boiling water, to set the crust) and a baking stone on the rack that will hold the bread. Set oven to 450 degrees and preheat for that final rising time.

To bake:

Slash the dough with a serrated blade knife approximately 1/4 inch deep. If desire, brush with dough glaze, see recipe below. Place the cookie sheet directly on the hot stone, pour 1/2 c HOT tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door.  Bake 20-25 minutes, carefully slide the bread off the cookie sheet onto the hot stone to finish baking and develop a crust on the bottom, baking addition 10-15 minutes or until done.

Remember, more or less dough than 1/4 of the recipe will require to adjust baking time. 

Remove from stone and place on rack to cool completely.

Dough Glaze

1 c water
dash salt
1 T and 1 t corn starch

Combine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and boil until thickened and clear. Store covered in the refrigerator until needed to brush on dough before baking. This insures a beautiful and shiny crust.

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

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Simple Roasted Pepper Salad - Two Ways

We love peppers, and we love grilling. It is no coincidence that we also love roasted peppers. When they hit the market in the winter and the price is fair, we roast up a batch of peppers. Frequently they are best, when dressed in a simple fashion.

Roasted Peppers dressed in lemon, olive oil and green olives
Cafe Created
serves 2 or 3

3 peppers roasted, peeled and cut into strips
1 - 2 T lemon juice
2-3 T olive oil
4-6 green olives, cut in half and sliced thin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Layer peppers in a flat dish. Add slices olives. Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with Salt and Pepper.

Serve at room temperature.

For this presentation, increase peppers to 5, olives to 12-15, double the dressing, tossing half with diced Mozzarella cheese. Serves 6-8

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

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hearth and soul @ premeditated leftovers

Friday, February 8, 2013

Whole wheat and Honey Sandwich loaf

This was not the bread I was going to write up, praise and post about today. But kitchen life has moments that one does not have control over, and when that happens, redirect, focus, use your resources and move forward......

I love bread. Love it! I have so many cookbooks about bread, I could write nothing but a bread themed blog. Years ago I baked all of our bread. We were a farm style white bread family at that time. And still I make that type of loaf today, especially at the holidays. You cannot beat cinnamon toast on rich egg bread, not to mention french toast or a bread pudding when the end of the loaf is in sight.

Always through the years I had a strong desire to use whole grains as the primary flour in bread making. But whole wheat flour in a bag, on the shelf, in the grocery store tasted bitter to me. This alone was a big factor in not baking from whole grains. But I never gave up on the desire to use whole grains, and I am so glad I did not.

The flour grinder was worth the investment. Also through the years I have purchased and played with just about every piece of kitchen equipment and gadget. But until now, never a grain mill. Why did I wait so long? Yes price was an issue, a good mill can cost hundreds of dollars, and my concern in the early years was that the investment would not pan out........

I am so happy I was wrong. Bread baking is a joint effort in this home. We enjoy the entire process and partner in the kitchen to get it done. Good times and great food. And now let me present this easy Whole Wheat and Honey Sandwich loaf, and next time I will use a longer loaf pan. These sandwiches would not fit in a standard sandwich bag.....

Whole Wheat and Honey Sandwich loaf
adapted from:  Noble Pig
makes 2 loaves

61/2 - 7 c whole wheat flour - divided (we use spelt flour)
2 1/2 c lukewarm water
2 T or 2 packages yeast

1/3 c oil
1/3 c honey
1 T salt
juice of 1/2 medium sized lemon

In a large mixer bowl, add 4 c of the flour, water and yeast. Mix until smooth.

Add oil, honey, salt and lemon juice.

Add 2 1/2 c more flour and mix until smooth, adding the final 1/2 c flour if dough seems too wet. Knead for 10 minutes.

Prepare 2 large loaf pans, divide dough (it is sticky) equally. Let rise 30-45 minutes or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake 30 minutes or until done in your oven.

Loaves should should sound hollow when tapped with a knuckle.


Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
foodie friday @ rattlebridge farms
gallery of favorites @ premeditated leftovers

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday, I wish I was there!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
wordless wednesday @ create with joy

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Garden Tuesday, the one where we see a "cookbook" for the garden

This week the garden is mostly just a new crop of rain. We are in the midst of our "not quite done with all that cold, but still having rain" season. If memory serves, I showed my crop of rain last week, and while we do enjoy leftovers for dinner, I don't see that working very well for Garden Tuesday.....

But look there is more, look what I found at the library on Sunday, yep that's right a cookbook for the garden.

This is NOT a book of what to do with your harvest from the garden, this is recipes for growing a garden. Recipes like,

You can skip this if you have no pests in your garden.


You can skip this if you have rich soil in your garden. 

The book is loaded, but you can skip it if you have been gardening a long time and are successful with it all, but me......................

I am going to read this book cover to cover!

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
garden tuesday @ sidewalk shoes

Tuesday's Lookingglass.....

Through the Lookingglass.....

Hello, such a long time between posts and saying hello. I will tell you this, straight up. It is easier to blog about food when there is a large family to cook for. With your family still at home, you always need food to feed someone and by the very nature of that, have blog material ready and waiting.

Oh yes we eat. We eat delicious food, like homemade bread, homemade jams, lots of fresh fruit, homemade granola, hot dishes for our evening meal along with a variety beans. We are big bean fans here. But with a small family or a couple like us, there are leftovers. We love leftovers, but alas leftovers do not offer "new" food to blog about.

As soon as space is available in the freezer, one of these will hit the stove!

What we have been doing is rearranging the house, both the living room and the family room. We replaced out standard couches (in each room) with reclining love seats. Ahhh, comfort is ours!

Morning coffee, is more delicious when seated, feet up, holding hands and slowly sipping.....

And we have been grinding our own flour to make our own whole wheat bread. I have pretty much found our everyday bread, so the fun begins as we move on to a little variety. I am thinking Whole Wheat Oat Maple Walnut bread sounds good too!

Also there were kitchen cabinets to retro-fit sliding drawers, on each shelf. Being organized is so much easier and lets not even mention retrieving that item in the "way back". Which is now not a problem. You just pull the "way back" out, where it is handy!

We also had to make the difficult decision to give up our dog. Not an easy one, to say the least. But best for all concerned. Sometimes not enough is known about a rescue shelter animal, and bonding simply does not happen. Hoping that all is wonderful for Copper with his new family.

I did start a fun project on January 1, my own version of PROJECT 365. Although I am not a photographer, I do love to look at my world and possibly see it in a different light. Terry and I are having fun with this and beginning to take our little camera with us when out and about.

And somebody, who is always begging for treats, has also been nibbling on my roses.....

There has been wood to stack.

And libraries to visit, my pile on the coffee table is of course cookbooks.......
Another change is the French Postcard inspired Slipper Chairs to the left. Not just for looks, they are also very comfortable. 

I am trying to develop new recipes, using my many years of experience and this has been fun. I have a couple in the works right now, Chicken Picadillo and a Zesty Green Olive vinaigrette over Roasted Red Peppers. When total success is achieved I will share them here. 

But this morning before leaving for work, I need to load the crockpot with chicken and vegetables, my menfolk are getting that awful virus going around and nourishing chicken soup is on our menu for tonight, with extra broth for sipping until better health is in sight.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!