Sunday, April 27, 2014

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies
If you must eat breakfast on the go, these cookies are a great option.  This recipe is from Penzy Spices.
1 cup butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups regular or quick oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup flacked baking coconut
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted 10
   minutes in 350 oven
Preheat oven to 350^ degrees.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs and extracts and mix well.  Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and oats and mix.  Fold in the remaining ingredients and stir until blended.  Drop by tablepsoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 14 to 16 minutes. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rosemary Roasted Pecans

Rosemary Roasted Pecans
2 pounds whole pecans
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 325^ degrees.  Divide pecans between 2 rimmed baking sheets.  In a 1 quart saucepan over low heat, melt butter with cayenne pepper, honey, and rosemary.  Allow rosemary to begin to sizzle in butter: then immediately pour butter over pecans, stir well and divide between two rimmed baking sheets.  Sprinkle with salt and toss with a spatula.  Roast pecans until crisp and brown, about 25 minutes.  Stir twice during baking.  OLet cool.  To serve, divide between two bowls or place in one large bowl (2 quart capacity).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fresh Ricotta Cheese

Makes 1 1/2 cups
Surprisingly, it takes half a gallon of milk (8 cups)to get 1 1/2 cups of fresh ricotta. For the moistest, lightest consistency, let the curds drain only as long as specified.
8 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Line colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth; set in sink. Bring milk and salt to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in lemon juice. Let simmer until curds form, 1 to 2 minutes.
Using finely slotted spoon or skimmer, scoop curds from pan and transfer to cheesecloth-lined colander. Let drain 1 minute (curds will still be a little wet). Transfer curds to medium bowl. Cover and chill until cold, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Carrot cake lovers, this one is for you! Refined-sugar free and packed with carrots, this baked oatmeal has all the taste of the popular dessert with a healthier whole-grain twist. Try it for a lazy weekend breakfast and enjoy the leftovers in the days to come. I love this served with a dollop of my coconut whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Heck, it even makes a nice snack or dessert too. Actually, there isn't a time of the day when I won't eat this oatmeal. Baked oatmeal isn't just for mornings anymore!  

Yield 6 Servings


2 1/4 cups rolled oats, certified gluten-free if necessary
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or try ½ tsp ground ginger)
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnut halves.
Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 10-cup/2 1/2 qt. casserole dish. I used an 8" x 11" rectangular casserole dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: shredded carrot, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and fresh ginger.

Add the wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into prepared dish and smooth out with a spoon. Press down on the oatmeal with a spoon (or your hands) so the oats sink into the milk. Sprinkle on the walnuts and raisins and press down lightly again.

Bake, uncovered, for 32-37 minutes (I baked for 35 mins.) until lightly golden along edge. The oatmeal will still look a bit soft or wet in some spots when it comes out of the oven, but it will firm up as it cools.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with Coconut Whipped Cream, a drizzle of maple syrup, or some non-dairy yogurt. When the baked oatmeal is fully cool, it will firm up enough to be sliced into squares.

Leftovers should keep for 3 days or so in the fridge or up to 2 weeks in the freezer. This is merely a guess because we tend to demolish all leftovers within a day. Enjoy it warm, at room temp, or chilled straight from the fridge.

Notes: For a nut-free option replace the almond milk with a nut-free non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk. Omit the walnuts (you can try sunflower seeds or pepita seeds for a crunch).

Read more:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Roasted Asparagus Soup

Phillis Careys Recipe of the Week.  Phillis is such a fun instructor.  I have a friend who formerly worked for my husband in the bank as head teller but now lives just a short distance from me.  We enjoy taking classes together and Phillis is our favorite instructor.  Any recipe Phillis offers has been carefully chosen.
1 lb. fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off 1 1/2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 T. butter, divided use
1 cup diced onion
2 medium-size Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced 4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
6 T. crème fraiche
12 (1 inch lengths) chives

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat asparagus lightly with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Roast for 16 minutes or until tender and slightly browned, turning after 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.
2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes or until tender. Add remaining butter, and stir until melted. Add potatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
3. Chop asparagus into 1/4-inch pieces. Add chopped asparagus to soup; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool 10 minutes.
4. Process asparagus mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor 8 to 10 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides (or use an emersion blender). Return asparagus mixture to Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. To serve, spoon hot soup into bowls and drizzle with crème fraiche and cross 2 chive pieces in the center of the bowl.     Serves 6 to 8

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ricotta and Pea Pasta

Ricotta and Pea Pasta
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound tube pasta (ziti)
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley
2 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas
15 oz. ricotta cheese  (1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup finely shredded parmigiano-regigiano cheese
Bring a lot pot of water to a boil.  Add salt to water and add pasta.  Boil until tender 7 to 9 minutes.

Meanwhile whirl garlic and parsley in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add 1 1/2 cup peas, the ricotta cheese, lemon juice and zest, 4 tablespoons oil, remaining 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper.  Pulse to coarse puree.

Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.  Drain the pasta and return to pot. Immediately add ricotta-pea puree and remaining 1 cup peas, stir until well mixed.  Add a little pasta cooking liquid if necessary to loosen the sauce.

Divide among 4 bowls.  Sprinkle each with pine nuts and parmigiano and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes With Easy Mushroom Gravy

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
With Easy Mushroom Gravy
The first time I prepared the mashed cauliflower recipe it was from the South Beach Diet.  My son remembered that dinner and recently requested the dish.  I am so lucky that all of our children are very diet conscious for healthy foods.
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
   and cut into one-inch chunks
1 small head of cauliflower (1 1/2 lbs)
   chopped into bite-sized florets (4 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly groun black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
 Place the potatoes in a very large saucepan and add water to cover.  Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes for 10 minutes uncovered.

After 10 minutes, add the cauliflower to the saucepan with the potatoes.  Boil both vegetables for 10 minute more, uncovered until the are fork tender.

Drain the potatoes and cauliflower and return them to the saucepan.  Mash with a potato masher until smooth, adding the butter, salt, pepper, and garlic as you mash.  Resist the urge to add more milk right off the bat.  As you mash the cauliflower, it will release some water and thin out the mixture.  If you feel the need to add more milk at the end, feel free to do so.  Serve topped with Easy Mushroom Gravy.                                                         Serves 6
Easy Mushroom Gravy
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 sweet onion. finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Fine grain sea salt 
Freshly ground pepper
3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour 
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoon low sodium tamari or to taste
In a skillet or saucepan, heat over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the sliced mushrooms and rosemary and raise the heat to medium-high.  Sauté for 8 to 9 minutes more, or until most of the water released by the mushrooms is cooked off.

Stir in the flour until all of the vegetables are coated.

Add the broth and tamari gradually and stir quickly to smooth out any clumps of flour.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cook stirring often to ensure that it doesn't burn, for 5 minutes more.

When the gravy has thickened to your desired thickness, remove from the heat and serve.                                  Makes 2 cups

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Energy Bars

Energy Granola Bars
This recipe is from the new cookbook of Angela Liddon whose blog "Oh She Glows" I have followed for several years.  Angela had challenges with diet in her years and today she offers very healthy recipes on her blog as well as in her cookbook.  This recipe in her book is titled Present Glo Bar.
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup pepita seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup roasted almond butter or 
   peanut butter 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300^F.  Line a 9" square inch cake pan with two pieces of parchment paper.  (one going each way.

Spread the pecans in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant.  Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, rice crisp cereal, pepita seeds, cranberries, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir in the cooled toasted pecans.

In a small sauce pan, stir together the brown rice syrup and almond butter until well combined.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture softens and bubbles slightly, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the almond butter over the mixture using a spatula to scrape every last bit from the pan.  Stir well until all of the oats and cereal are coated into a wet mixture.  The resulting mixture will be very thick and difficult to stir.  

Transfer the mixture to a prepared pan, spreading it out into an even layer.  Lightly wet your hands and press down on the mixture to even it out.  Use a pastry roller to compact the mixture firmly and evenly.  This helps the bars hold together better.  Press down on the edges to even out the mixture

Place the pan in the freezer, uncovered, and chill for 10 minutes, or until firm.

Lift the oat square out of the pan, using the parchment paper as handles, and place it on a cutting board.  With a pizza cutter or serrated knife, slice the square into 6 rows and then slice them in half to make 12 bars total.

Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap or foil and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Alternately, you can store them in the freezer for up to 1 month.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Burrata Cheese

Burrata Cheese in a Caprese Salad.

The curds placed in a pouch.

The finished logs of Burrata Cheese.

Two weeks ago at Surfas Culinary District, I purchased one pound container of Burrata cheese.  Since it did not have a rind and tasted like Mozzarella, I did a little investigating and found the recipe online.  When my daughter comes to visit, this will be our project for an afternoon.  It is so creamy and delicious!

Burrata Cheese 


1 gallon whole milk 
1/2 tsp calcium chloride (omit if using raw milk)
2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
1/4 tsp liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup water
2-3 Tbsp heavy cream 
1/2  tsp salt

Step 1: Pour gallon of milk into heavy stainless steel pot and add 1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride directly into the milk.  While stirring constantly, add the citric acid solution.

Step 2: Slowly heat the milk to 88-90 degrees (if using raw milk, heat to 100-105 degrees), stirring constantly.

Step 3: When milk hits 88-90 degrees, turn off heat and add the rennet mixture and stir 1 or 2 turns around the pot.  Then let the milk mixture sit for 10-15 minutes un-disturbed.

Step 4: When you see the curd pull away from the sides of the pot and seems firm (like soft tofu) cut the curd into 1 inch squares.  I use a long thin knife and cut vertical strips first, then horizontally to create cubes.

Step 5: Place pot back over medium-low heat and heat the mixture to 105-108 degrees while stirring slowly.  The curds will shrink and sink to the bottom of the pot as the whey (liquid) is released from the curds.  When mixture hits between 105-108 degrees remove from heat and continue to slowly stir for about 10 minutes.

Step 6: Remove curds into a microwaveable bowl (I use a metal skimmer.  Make sure mesh is not too fine or it will not drain).  For the microwaveable bowl, I use a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup because it makes it easier to pour off the whey.

Step 7: Take 1/4-1/3 of the curd mixture (depending on how much filling you want for your rools or balls) and drain.  Put in a small bowl and break the curd up with your fingers.  Add about 1/4 tsp salt and 2-3 TB of cream to mixture.   Stir the mixture.  It should resemble cottage cheese.

Step 8: Pour as much of the whey out of the microwaveable bowl, then microwave on high for 45-60 seconds.  Continue to pout off and squeeze as much of the whey out of the curd.  Tip: Do not throw out the whey.  I give mine to my chickens and have read recipes where they use whey instead of water for more flavor and nutrients.

When the curd is heated and stretchy add 1/4 ts of salt and knead it like you would bread.  If it is too hot at first you can use your wooden spoon.  Split the mixture into 2 balls.

Step 9: With your first ball, stretch into a flat circle.  If it becomes too hard to stretch, microwave it for 15-20 seconds more or dunk in hot water.  When it is pliable again, stretch into a round shape.  Put on plate and add 1/2 of the curd/cream mixture down the middle.  Fold the sides up, seal the ends and put the seal side down to seal the ouch.  Repeat with the 2nd ball and remainder of the curd/cream mixture.

Eat immediately or cover tightly with saran wrap and put in refrigerator to eat later.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ginger-Sesame Braised Chicken Meatballs

I served this dish at dinner last evening with our son and family and daughter and her husband visiting.  I received rave reviews.  This definitely will be a repeat by request when I visit their homes.  Not a morsel left behind.  I improvised the Ginger-Sesame Braising Sauce with Teriyaki Sauce and added grated ginger.
Ginger-Sesame Braised 
Chicken Meatballs
2 eggs
3/4 cup panko
2 teaspoons peeled and 
  grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds ground chicken thighs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, halved
1 jar Ginger-Sesame Braising Sauce
Steamed white rice and 
  snow peas for serving
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Toasted sesame seed for garnish
In a large bowl, combine eggs, panko, ginger, chopped green onions, garlic and salt.  Stir to mix well.  Add ground chicken; stir well.  Form into 1 tablespoon meatballs.
In stove top-safe insert of slow cooker over medium high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil.   Add 1/3 of the meatballs; brown about 8 minutes.  Transfer to bowl. Brown remaining meatballs in two batched, using 1 tablespoon oil per batch.  Brown mushrooms.
Add meatballs and braising sauce to mushrooms in insert; bring to a simmer.  Transfer insert to slow-cooker base.  Cover; cook on high for two hours, stirring once half way through.
Serve meatballs over steamed rice and snow peas, garnish with threads of thinly sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weed Killer

Weed Killer

With Spring comes the weeds.  This is a very effective weed killer.  Better than Round-Up and non toxic or poison. 

1/2 gallon of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup table salt
1/2 teaspoon Dawn liquid dish soap

Mix above ingredients in a spray bottle.
Spray weeds thoroughly.

1/2 gallon for around $6.40
Works better than Round Up - kills weeds on 1st application.

The Dawn dish soap strips the weed of its protective oils so the vinegar can work with deadly force. Safe for use in yards used by children and pets!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Foodies In "Heaven"

Foodies In "Heaven"
Today a group of nine foodies drove to Costa Mesa to Surfas Culinary Warehouse.  Oh my goodness!  It was like kids let loose in a candy shop.  We all bought items that are hard to find and then some.  I bought a book "Cheese Making".  Previously I made fresh ricotta with our daughter Barbara.  What a remarkable difference in taste.  From the cheese counter I purchase a mozzarella cheese called Burrata.   It is the creamiest mozzarella I have ever tasted.  I found many other ingredients that would require me driving miles to ethnic stores in several different areas.  Appliances, dishes, utensils, groceries, beverages, and books, if a cook could use it Surfas seemed to have it.  I can't wait to return!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
This is my tried and true recipe which I used for many years.  I still have and use my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I bought as a new bride.
1 pkg. yeast
1/4 cup water
1 cup milk, scalded
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 well beaten egg
3 1/2 cups sifted enriched flour
2/3 cup currants
Proof yeast in warm water (110 F^) with a pinch of sugar. 
Combine milk, shortening, sugar, cinnamon, salt; cool to lukewarm.  Add softened yeast, egg.
Gradually stir in flour and currants to form soft dough.  Beat vigorously; cover and let rise in warm place (82 F^) till double in bulk, about 2 hours.
Form in buns and flatten slightly.  Brush top with slightly beaten egg white or milk.  Let rise till very light.
Using a scissors, snip top of buns at right angles to form a cross.  Bake in moderate oven, (375 F^) 25 to 30 minutes.
While hot, frost lightly with confectioners icing.  Cool, then make cross with more icing. 
Yield 18 buns.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Scallops With Creamy Mascapone Polenta and Warm Roasted Pepper Salad

Bacon Wrapped Scallops With
Creamy Mascarpone Polenta
And Warm Roasted Pepper Salad

6 sea scallops
6 bacon strips
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly 
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled,
   and cut into thick strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup instant polenta
3 tablespoons mascarpone
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 large basil leaves, torn
Salt to taste
Wrap a strip of bacon around each scallop.  Slide rosemary twigs or bamboo skewers into the scallops to secure the bacon and make it easier when turn when sautéing.  Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Toast the garlic in the olive oil until light golden-brown, swirling the pan constantly.  Add the peppers and season with salt to taste.  Cook just long enough to heat the peppers through, then tip them onto a plate and set aside.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium sized saucepan.  Season with salt and paprika.  Whisk in the polenta and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone.  Adjust the seasonings and set aside until ready to serve.  If the polenta cools, it will stiffen up.  If this happens heat the polenta over a low heat as you vigorously whisk in a little more stock to restore the creamy texture.
Heat the skillet and when hot add the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan (until smoking).  Season the scallops with salt and pepper (leaving them on the skewers).  Sear the scallops (2 minutes on each side) and reduce the heat to medium high once they have begun to color around the edges.  
Shake the pan gently so the oil gets under the scallops; this helps them sear and color evenly.  Flip after 2 minutes and cook for another 2 minutes.   Remove the scallops from the pan and keep in a warm place loosely tented with aluminum foil.
Pour the wine into the pan and sinner for 1 minute scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the peppers, and cook until the wine has fully reduced.  Remove from heat and toss in the basil.
Spoon a pool of polenta onto heated plates.  Lay a skewer of scallops over the polenta and then pull out the skewer.  Serve the warm pepper salad on the side.   Serves 2 

Pair with Pinot Noir

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Uncle Martin

Uncle Martin Myers

I returned to Norwalk Ohio to pay my respects to an uncle who was so much to so many.  He was a loving husband, father, brother and uncle.  He at 95 1/2 years young still called his loving wife "Honey".  He would often tell her and others, he didn't know how he was so lucky to marry Jean.  It was a relationship that never lost its depth of love.

His love of family was exhibited in many ways.  He so often extolled the virtues of his wonderful mother who was so respected and loved by the entire family.  He longed for the taste again of her cooking.  The father of four daughters, Martin encouraged all of them to be the best educated as possible knowing the successes in life that would follow.  When Uncle Martin would tell he never spanked any of his daughters, his daughters reassured him that was because they were perfect.

On our visits to their home, Uncle Martin would lovingly tell of the achievements of their very successful daughters and sons-in-law.  I can see him with his right hand held and his index finger pointed upward and his head slightly tilted as he would say, "that is right, I tell you", and naming his daughters or sons-in-law, that Rand, Tim, or Bill as he would share their accomplishments and you knew the pride he had and love for their daughters or sons-in-law.  The grandchildren, nieces, or nephews were not spared with his generous love and compliments.  He was a great source to pass along family happenings and achievements keeping us up to date.

For many years as Aunt Jean and Uncle Martin resided on the family farm.  They so graciously opened their home for family and holiday celebrations.  Uncle Martin and Aunt Jean were such a cohesive factor keeping the family together.  Grandchild knew their cousins and from visit to visit on the farm, it was as if they were never apart.  This relationship continues today due to the generosity of Uncle Martin and Aunt Jean.

Uncle Martin had such a vibrant mind and was a very interesting conversationalist.  He kept abreast of the family, world politics and economy, the local government, and the farm prices and farming culture of today.  He used a computer and looked forward to reading his emails. 

We will all miss our dear uncle but know he is happily reunited with his heavenly family and friends.  Rest In Peace Dear Uncle.  You have so deserved your heavenly reward.