Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Apple fritters

Back in the day, my family would often go to Eat-N-Park for Sunday brunch after church. For the most part, I filled my plate with their apple fritters. I realized it's been quite awhile since I've had something similar, so I did a little research and made my own:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk (I used almond)
1 egg (I used flax seed)
1 cup apple, finely chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
~1/2 cup vegetable oil (3-4" deep in a pan)

1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl thoroughly. Add milk and egg (or equivalent). Mix until smooth.
2. Add in the apple and mix.
3. Drop the batter by the tablespoon into hot oil. Fry until browned on each side, ~4 minutes.
4. Remove fritters and place on paper towels, to soak up excess oil. Then roll in powdered sugar, or sprinkle on top.

Monday, May 30, 2011


This is a fairly complex recipe, but well worth the effort! You can use this as you would an Alfredo sauce on pasta.

The first step is to prepare the squash.

  • 1 large or 2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • cracked pepper
Heat the butter or oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When ready, add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is barely translucent (a couple of minutes), then turn the heat up to high for a moment and add the squash.

Let the squash cook at high heat for a few moments, tossing to coat it with your cooking fat of choice, then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, until soft.

Remove from heat, let cool. Blend the squash/onion/garlic mixture until smooth. Set aside.

Next, prepare the roux, which will thicken the sauce.

  • 2-3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Heat a dry, empty pot (stainless steel or enameled - don't dry-heat your nonstick pans) over medium heat. Toss in your flour, shake the pan to spread it around. When the flour turns slightly brownish, add the butter and whisk furiously, until the mixture is a paste.

Now you are ready to make the sauce!

  • 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • blended squash
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Turn the heat up to medium-high, begin whisking the roux, and slowly pour in 1/2 cup of milk.

When the mix begins smoking/scalding, turn the heat to medium and stir in the cheeses. Keep whisking, or maybe switch to a wooden spoon to stir, until the cheese is melted.

Add salt, turmeric, coriander, oregano, basil, and squash mixture from earlier.

Stir until mixed, and add more milk if the sauce is too thick.

Served immediately, or allow to cool and then stick it in the refrigerator overnight for greater flavor melding.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stir fry rice noodles

Another attempt to broaden my horizons...

From Vegetarian Times:

6oz rice noodles/sticks
Olive oil
2 eggs
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups asparagus, sliced in 1" pieces
2 1/2 cups snow peas, 1/2" strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup veggie broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 green onions, sliced

1. Soak rich noodles in a large bowl of hot water until soft and drain.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Whisk eggs in a bowl with pepper. Pour eggs into skillet and cook 1-2 minutes and flip. Cook 1 minute, then tranfers to a cutting board. Cut into strips.
3. Heat more oil in the skillet. Add asparagus and snow peas. Cook 3-4 minutes and add garlic. W
4. Whisk broth and soy sauce in a bowl and add to pan. Bring to a simmer.
5. Add rice noodles and cook until liquid is absorbed. Mix in egg strips and onions.

I found this dish actually a little bland, but I guess it was ok for a newbie to Asian cuisine like me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Green Eggs & (Parma) Ham

This recipe is a wonderfully simple way to add fun, color and nutrients to an already-great breakfast.

First, the ham:
  • 1 pkg sliced prosciutto or serano ham
Peel the ham from the paper backing, spread on a baking sheet
Bake at 300 degrees until crisp.

Now, the eggs:
  • 1 or 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed up
  • 6-8 fresh eggs
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves or cilantro, plus more for garnishing
  • dash of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (the ham will add a lot of salt, so if anything, undersalt the eggs)
Blend the eggs, avocados, basil, and milk in a food processor or blender. Cook as you would scrambled eggs, or make into an omelet or frittata!

Arrange the eggs and ham side-by-side on your plate, top with chopped cilantro or chiffonaded basil.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wine of the Week - AM/FM 2009 Grenache Blanc


AM/FM wine is produced in cooperation with Saarloos & Sons, one of my favorite wineries from up in the Solvang area.  (I enjoy Saarloos & Sons so much that I have three pricey bottles of theirs, each on hold for a very special occasion; that's how good they are.)

AM/FM seems to be more widely available than Saarloos wines, and a bit more affordable... and they still taste great.  This one has the scent of apples and pears, along with a hint of strawberry.  To taste, it's thick and full-bodied.  There's a bit of tobacco up front, which is rare for a white.  This is followed by caramel and golden apple flavors that coat your mouth.  Then a lime finish.

Delicious and a great value.  Seek this one out.

14.5% alcohol

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Israeli couscous

A great sidedish. I served this along with my Hummus and Lentil Wrap

From Vegetarian Times:

1 cup Israeli couscous
8 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Cook couscous as directed. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Transfer couscous to a large bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sunflower oatmeal cookies

It's been awhile since I've baked any sweets, so I scoured the internet and found this interesting recipe from Sparkpeople.com:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sunflower butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
12 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sunflower butter. Add the sugar and egg. Mix until very smooth. Add vanilla, salt, baking soda, oatmeal, and flour and stir well.
2. Add spoonfuls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Using sunflower butter instead of peanut butter seems to give the cookies lighter nutty taste, and is great for those who aren't big fans of peanut butter!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Breakfast Sandwich on Sourdough Rolls

I made a couple tasty breakfast sandwiches out of sourdough rolls, New York sharp cheddar cheese, and a couple fried eggs. All I had to do was cut the rolls (purchased fresh from a local bakery) in half, cover the bottom half with cheese, put a bit of butter on the top of the rolls, and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees while I fried the eggs. When the eggs were ready, I pulled out the melty cheese rolls and assembled the sandwiches. Delicious!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wine of the Week - Terrazas de los Andes 2007 Malbec


This wine starts off with tastes of caramel, continues into a rich, deep mid-palate, and has flavors of blackberry throughout.  Very enjoyable and highly recommended for people who like their wines bold.

13.9% alcohol

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew

If you know me, you know that I tend to be a picky person. It used to be if it wasn't American or Italian, I wouldn't eat it. But in the last few years, I've been expanding my food horizons - some successfully, some not so.

I thought this would be a good trip into a new food destination. And I liked it! From Sparkpeople.com:

Olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 cup veggie broth
2 tomatoes, diced with juices
1/2 cup water
1 cup lentils
1 large sweet potato, 3/4" chunks
2 small zucchini, 3/4" chunks
1 cup couscous

1. Heat oil in a pot. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and spices for 30 seconds.
2. Add tomatoes, broth, lentils, and potato. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and cook covered for 10 minutes.
3. Prep coucous according to package instructions and stir into the soup.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sauteed Veggies with Angel Hair Pasta

I feel like I haven't posted here in FOREVER! I haven't been very imaginative with cooking the past few months, but I'm hoping to be more inspired with the coming of warmer weather! Today I made a delightful vegan dish that had a light, delicate flavor and was nicely filling. Also not difficult to make, which is always a plus!

  • 1 glove garlic, diced
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of chili pepper
  • 1/4 onion, chopped (or more, if desired)
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 7-10 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (or more, if desired)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (or more, if desired)
  • 1 lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • Angel hair pasta

  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add onion and garlic to the warm oil and cook 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the squash, celery, mushrooms, ginger, chili pepper and balsamic.
  • Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the skillet. Add salt as desired.
  • Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  • Saute vegetables on medium until they are soft.
  • Cook 1/2 package of pasta according to instructions, then drain.
  • When the pasta is drained, toss it in the vegetables to coat the noodles in the sauce.
  • Serve warm.
This serves two.