Saturday, May 31, 2008

Red Wine Marinade for beef

By Saturday I am tired! I look forward to the work day ending so I can come home. Today after work we will go grocery shopping. I am lucky, my Honey likes to grocery shop. I appreciate that and he can choose the cereal that he wants to eat. Because I would buy whole grain, no added sugar, etc cereal; and he likes the sweet stuff!

Dinner and a movie sound (both at home) good to me on Saturday.

Then Sunday is for fun.

Monday is my home day, laundry and cleaning and some yard work.

Then back to work on Tuesday.

And the routine starts over again.

Sometimes I will cook something, or concoct something that is so very enjoyable; and forget to write it down. And that is the case with the marinade I threw together for the tri tip that went to camp and was grilled. It was delicious, and I wanted to write it down here, and share.

Marinade for beef

1 c dry red cooking wine
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
1 t thyme leaves, crushed

Pour over beef, turn to coat well. Refrigerate for 24 - 36 hours.

Grill beef as desired.

Notes: I cut the tri tip into approximately 1 inch pieces. We forgot the skewers and had to use a hamburger basket to grill it, and it turned out fine. A large piece could be grilled and then cut into thin slices to serve.



Friday, May 30, 2008

Spicy Beef Patties, these are delicious!

There is a red gum ball dispenser in the kitchen, it is filled with jelly beans. A penny is required to operate it and "purchase" your treat. Next to the dispenser is a small red bowl of pennies. My Granddaughter gets to have candy every time she comes to visit. She gets a pennyworth. A pennyworth is about 5 beans. Not enough to cause sugar overload, but one of the little rituals that has been established. And enjoyed.

That is what we do as families, make rituals that enrich and connect us together. That is the reason for the Sunday Cafe.

It is gray and cool again this morning, but again I have thoughts of blue.

Blue skies and warm sun.

Family and friends gather for BBQ, potato salad, jello salad and vegetable plates with dip/dunk. Corn on the cob, cole slaw, fresh rolls with butter and watermelon slices.

These beef patties are delicious. They can be served on a bun, but shine on their own as well. They are rich and delicious. They are great grilled or pan fried in the kitchen on those days when grilling outside is out of the question.

Spicy beef patties

2 c sliced mushrooms
1 pound lean ground beef
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 c shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper the better!)
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worchestshire sauce
2 "grinds" of pepper
1/4 t thyme leaves, ground in a pestle
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 t garlic salt

Saute the mushrooms, set aside to cool, chop slightly. Crumble the ground beef into a medium size bowl, add remaining ingredients. Combine gently incorporating all ingredients evenly. Shape into 4 patties 1/2 inch thick. Chill in fridge until time to grill or pan fry. Cook as desired.

Serves 4 generously or 6 as burgers on buns



Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meatball and Zucchini Stew

I am feeling the pinch of the lackluster spring we have been having here in Vancouver. More gray than blue and enough already is my thought. Don't get me wrong, I do not enjoy hot weather, but I do love blue.

Blue skies and warm sun.

There are blooms on the berries and tomatoes. There is rhubarb ready to pick. There are lots of birds singing in the trees and squirrels scampering in the yard looking for that already hidden peanut. The grass is green, (and needs mowing again) the bulbs are in bloom (some need to be dead headed) and the snapdragons are about an inch high in the planter box.

But where is the blue sky and warm sun? I am ready for blue skies and warm sun.

In the kitchen I am trying hard to master my crock pot. What is to master, you might think. Well here is my problem, food seems overcooked and flavorless. We had fairly good BBQ chicken thighs last night, but they were definitely over cooked. OK, but overcooked. As convenient as a crock pot is, some things don't take 8 hours on low. Or there is no one home at the right time to turn if off or unplug it! I am trying to find recipes or techniques that work well, so there is a hot meal ready when we get home. I will keep working on that and if anything really good turns out, I will share it with you.

This is a light and refreshing take on ground beef and zucchinis, and it would still make a nice dinner when the sky is blue and the weather is warm.

Meatball and Zucchini Stew
Crock pot

1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 c fresh breadcrumbs
1 t garlic salt
1/4 t pepper
1 egg

Combine ingredients throughly, form into 16 meatballs. Using a small amount of oil, brown in a skillet. Drain off excess fat.

1 16oz can tomatoes - diced
1/2 c dry red wine
1 beef bullion cube
1/2 t marjoram leaves
1/2 t thyme leaves

Combine in skillet used to brown meatballs. Heat to simmering making sure bullion cube is dissolved.

3 medium zucchini, sliced 1 inch thick
8 oz carton mushrooms, cut in half
1 large potato, cut into 1 inch cubes

Place vegetables into the bottom of the crock pot, add meatballs then liquid. Cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Serves 6 -8



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dimpled Kuchen

I have come to enjoy this blog.

It is something I started for me. I like the routine of getting up, bringing my coffee into the home office, and starting the day with another post on Mom's Sunday Cafe. I probably won't on Sunday however.

That is family day. It has always been family day, from the time I was old enough to remember. We had dinner on Sunday, supper all the other days of the week.

Dinner is special. It is served early, approximately 2:00pm. It is a large meal, a small celebration if you will. And always dessert. Sundays in my childhood home were, breakfast, dinner and if you needed a sandwich later. But usually just my Dad ate later. We were still stuffed when bedtime rolled around.

I have always had a desire for something sweet on Sundays. I am sure it is my memories of Sunday dinner. When I married and had a home of my own, I would bake a coffee cake for Sunday morning breakfast, I still do sometimes. But it was not until now that I realized where my desire for something sweet each Sunday morning came from.

I like a casual Sunday, nothing forced or rushed. Food that is enjoyable but not fussy. Let the day unfold, be enjoyed and provide for happy memories.

Soft music, fresh flowers from the yard, soft cloth napkins and food that satisfies the soul and the stomach. That is Sunday dinner.

This will satisfy that morning desire for a little sweet, don't let the length scare you off. It is very easy and can be done in 2 parts, first the yeast batter and then the butter topping the next morning before baking.

Dimpled Kuchen

In a medium size sauce pan:
1 c milk
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1 t salt

Heat and stir until butter melts, let cool to lukewarm.

In a small measure cup, combine to proof yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 T dry yeast (1 1/2 packages)
1 t sugar

When yeast foams, stir into cooled milk.

In large mixer bowl beat well:
2 eggs
1 c flour

milk mixture
2 1/3 c flour
1/3 c raisins, plumped in hot water drained well and chopped

alternately add milk mixture and remaining flour, beating well after each addition. Stir in raisins. Pour into a prepared 9X13 pan. Cover and let rise until doubled OR cover and place in fridge until next morning to finish and bake.

10 T butter ( 1 full stick butter and 2 T cut from another stick)
1 1/4 t cinnamon
3/4 c sugar

When dough is ready to bake, cut butter into 1 T sections. Cut each section into 8 pieces. You should have 80 tiny squares of butter. Scatter the butter over the dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter covered dough.

Bake 35 - 45 minutes or until tests done. Cool in pan 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 16 pieces.

Serves 8-16



Monday, May 19, 2008

Orange Caramel Sauce

We were outside almost all day yesterday. The sun was out, it was warm (hot almost) and little chores were done and fun was had along the way. It does not get better.

Front of the yard where the heather grows was watered and weeded. The lilac tree had a branch cut off, and it looks like it is standing up straight now. The flowers were clipped and taken into the house and put in a vase of water to be enjoyed. Took a drive to Battle Ground and purchased a coffee table for the front room. Stopped at a thrift store on the way back, got a great bread cookbook. Then stopped at Bi Mart for a steel garden rake and a new no slip tub mat for the shower. Swept the street where the pine cones fall, salvaged the unbroken ones for the unused flowerbed by the front door. It is now "mulched" with pine cones. Cleaned up all the other debris and put it in the pickup can.

It was a FFY* evening meal, my honey had canned chili and the left over corn bread. I chose a cold beer and then ice cream. Then showers and climb into a freshly made bed. I am very lucky, my honey is great in the kitchen, he is happy to get a meal on the table. He says he is a "one trick pony" and has cooked all the meals he knows, but it is just nice that I am not the only one to work the kitchen. I love cooking, especially for my loved ones. But FFY is his idea, thanks honey!

I like to keep vanilla ice cream in the freezer. First I love vanilla, never get tired of it and when I want something extra there is always a spoon of jam or chocolate sauce and even peanut butter to add a bit of extra flavor.

For those times that you want something special, and yet quick and easy,

Orange caramel sauce with bananas, over ice cream

1 T butter
2 T brown sugar
dash cinnamon
1/4 c orange juice, if using a fresh orange add a bit of the zest
1 green tipped banana
2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in small pan, add sugar and cinnamon, cook over medium heat until sugar melts. Add orange juice and simmer until sauce is bubbly and begins to thicken. Peel banana, slice diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Quickly fold into sauce and immediately serve over ice cream.

Serves 2



* FFY is fend for yourself

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fresh Cauliflower Olive Salad

When I look over my list of things to do, this is the one where I come up short... every time darn it!

I don't mean to, try not to.

But the whole vegetable drawer vs fruit bowl problem already discussed is still in the works.

I solved that a bit, I purchased a beautiful wire basket tiered tower from Costco. It is sturdy and beautiful, and holds a lot of fruit and vegetables. I have tomatoes there (yeah I do know, they are actually a fruit) an English cucumber and fruit. So OK really I have 1 vegetable there and well now, falling short again.

In the fridge drawer I have a cauliflower, and a bag of salad greens and carrots and green onions. Not a bad inventory really. But again it is hidden away. Today I will make a veggie list, and post it on the outside of the fridge. A gentle reminder that vegetables are waiting to be use, enjoy and not forgotten. Something not too cute, and something that will blend in with my kitchen decor.

Forget all that decor stuff, how about a bold handwritten block letter list that reads:


The red potatoes are actually in the garage, but I can be forgetful about that hide away spot also. When I am in the kitchen to prepare a meal, the vegetable inventory will be right there in front of my face, reminding me to use it, eat it and enjoy it. I hope that works, with a school teacher for a daughter in law, I sure do not want to be given a homework assignment of sentences!

In the spirit of eating more vegetables,

Cauliflower salad

1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1/4 c sliced green onions
1/2 c sliced celery
1/3 c sliced black olives
1/4 c mayonnaise
2 T buttermilk
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil, drop in the florets, count to 10 and drain in a colander. Cool and pat dry with towels.

Slice the florets add onion, celery and olives. Combine mayonnaise and buttermilk. Pour over vegetables and toss gently, salt and pepper to taste. Place in fridge until serving time.

Serves 6 or more



Monday, May 12, 2008

Cabbage and Meatball Soup

I have a cold and it is cold in the house.

I have come down with a spring cold. I have also been lazy today and have not made a fire in the wood stove. It seems a bit late in the year for needing a fire in the wood stove but, it is cold in here. I always want soup when I am cold and when I have a cold. I also seem to want vegetables at the same time, so soup fills that need also.

Since starting this blog I have come to realize the work and thought that a blog requires. I have also come to enjoy it and look forward to keeping it up to date with interesting recipes and some small talk. I have come to realize how boring our meals can be, that I would like to improve. I believe the blog will help.

For me homemade soup and bread could be served at each meal and I would be very happy. I love both. Soup is a wonderful way to be creative and frugal at the same time.

None of the recipes I offer here are set in stone, please feel free to make them your own as well. That is what cooking for your family or yourself is all about. Using todays recipe as an example. If you do not like beef, use ground turkey or chicken. If you do not eat pork, use turkey bacon.

Cabbage and meatball soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg beaten
1 slice bread, made into crumbs
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/2 t salt

Combine ingredients and shape into a 4X8 rectangle. Use a large knife and cut the meat lengthwise into 8 strips, cut it crosswise into 4 pieces. This will make 32 squares of meat. Roll each section into a small meatball.

4 slices of bacon diced
1 large onion diced
4 carrots diced
2 large potatoes diced
1 pound of cabbage chopped
8 c beef stock/broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 t garlic salt
1/4 t leaf thyme crumbled
1 T catsup

In a large stock pot, brown bacon, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In bacon drippings, brown meatballs a few at a time. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all fat leaving brown bits in pan. Place onions in bottom of the pan and let cook until golden. Add stock, seasonings and carrots. Bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes. Add potatoes and cabbage, again bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes. Add meatballs finish cooking 15 minutes.

Serves 8



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sweet Curried Hens and Mother's Day

I thought today about the association of chickens (behavior or reported behavior) and Mothers (behavior or reported/complained about behavior) You know things like......... she is acting just like a Mother hen. Or she is so busy she is running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. But I must say that my favorite is.....She is protective of her "brood".

My brood, although grown and out on their own, are very important to me. I still want to protect them. I am fortunate that my brood has grown, actually my brood doubled! And another generation brood is in the works.

Without them, all of them, I would not have had the best opportunity in life.

To be a Mother.

I am renewed each day at the joy of life, through my children. Each day for me has been Mother's day. I must say Thank you to each of you for the happiness that I feel each and every day.

In celebration,

Sweet Curried Hens

4 pounds chicken parts - I prefer skinned thighs

1 small onion, diced
2 T butter
1 t curry powder
1/2 c white wine vinegar
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T honey OR brown sugar OR real maple syrup

Melt butter in skillet, add onion and curry powder, cook over medium heat until onion is golden brown and the mixture is fragrant. Add remaining sauce ingredients.

Place chicken pieces in a large flat pan (9X13 is good) pour sauce over chicken. Bake chicken for 45 minutes, basting chicken with the sauce at 15 minutes and 30 minutes into the cooking time.



PS, this message was brought to you by the generous love and support of the following:
C & J with O and J & A.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chinese Spaghetti different than you might think

I have a little black book, it is full of recipes that I have hand written. These same pages have side notes added later and they have splatters. Splatter and drops that proves they have been made, enjoyed and enjoyed again. That little black book has been visited by my daughter and she has copied a couple of the recipes to cook in her own home as well.

Many years ago I made each of the kids a cookbook. It contained recipes of family favorites we enjoyed throughout the years. Gramma Jean's lasagne, Gramma Mary's apple cake and many more. It also contain a little bit of information regarding family lore. But I do not believe I put the following recipe in the cookbooks, because it is the one my daughter came to collect!

It is fun, unusual and can be made with ingredients on hand. It is also thrifty. Add a cooked vegetable and a fruit dessert and dinner is done.

Chinese spaghetti

2 c chicken broth/stock
1/3 c peanut butter
1 T brown sugar
1 t ground ginger
1/8 to 1/4 t crushed red pepper - your personal preference on this, like hot or not?
2 T soy sauce
2 T vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef

8 oz spaghetti - cooked and set aside

1/3 c sliced green onions
1/4 c chopped peanuts

Combine sauce ingredients, set aside. in large frying pan brown beef and garlic, drain off fat.
Add sauce ingredients, simmer 10 minutes. Add cooked spaghetti noodles, toss and simmer an additional minute.

Pour into serving bowl/platter, garnish with sliced onion and peanuts.

Serves 4-6



Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sweet and Sour Slaw

My work week is Tuesday - Saturday. I enjoy coming home Saturday evening and just staying in. My commute to work, 9 hour shift, and commute home equal about 11 hours, so I am glad when the week is done. A nice easy home cooked meal, some music, maybe a walk after dinner (if it is not raining, we have had a loooonnngggg wet season) and then the "weekend". As I continue to improve with age, I like home more and more!

We recently made a cooking station in the back yard. I had a portable awning that was put up again the house under the eve, and then anchored. The BBQ grill is now there and this weekend I want to move the smoker to the cooking station. My plan is to cook year round. And now this can be done even if it is raining, starting to rain or even threatening to rain. I won't care, put on a sweatshirt to keep warm and keep cooking.

I have become a fan of grilled foods and smoked foods. I have also come to enjoy the relaxation of the hands on process of cooking. I like taking the time to make something from start to finish by hand. It is calming to the mind after a week at work.

I have become a bit lazy however. You know the don't mean to kind of lazy, the this won't really matter kind of lazy. We will dish up from the stove or serve from the cooking pan. I know, not big sins really, but presenting food attractively is nice. And I like nice, I just need to not be lazy and let nice slip by!

Make this up before going to work, for dinner grill your personal favorite, add some fruit and dinner is done.

Sweet and sour slaw

1 t salt
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c vinegar
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/2 c milk

8 c shredded cabbage

Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl, beat until smooth. Fold in cabbage. Cover and place in fridge until serving time. Serve with a slotted spoon, the dressing will thin as the cabbage gives off liquid.

Serves 8-12



Friday, May 2, 2008

Marinated Tomato Slices

Vegetables, how can you love something as much as I love vegetables and yet "forget" to eat them?

Maybe it is the "grab and go" habit, or the fact that I forgot it in the vegetable drawer and it is beyond eating, or it is end of the week and the marketing needs to be done. What ever the problem is, I need to remedy it, fast!

Fruit is easy, it fits in with the "grab and go" of busy days, does not get forgotten in the drawer because it rest on the dining table in a fruit bowl, and there is usually a piece or two left over when marketing is completed on the weekends. But vegetables, sadly no. They do not have their own bowl, only a drawer in a dark fridge!

Here is a recipe that may help.

Marinated tomato slices

3 T oil
2 T vinegar
1 T fresh minced parsley
1/2 t garlic salt
1 t sugar
pinch of dried oregano leaves, crushed
dash of pepper

4 large ripe tomatoes

Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight lid. Shake well to mix.

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick and arrange on a platter or large plate. Drizzle the dressing over, making sure to get on each slice. Cover and set in the fridge until serving time.

Serves 4-6