Friday, August 31, 2007

Raspberry and Vanilla Chill


Day 3, beverage with a buzz

I need a drink.

Okay, the dogs have been crazy all day, I've not had any time to think, read, write, or eat. It is now time for MY dinner and oh, hm, what is this? There is no meat. And while there are eggs, they were due to be thrown out two and a half weeks ago. Lovely. No protein for me. And the dogs STILL won't stop, with no meat, no eggs, no fruit, and barely any veggies, all I can come up with right now is this:

a sweet-ass drink with alcohol that will hopefully make me chill the hell out even if they don't.

Here we go.

approx.

Two parts Chambord
One part vanilla ice cream
Three parts Sprite

my drink was a small one, I used a very heaping teaspoon of ice cream, to give you an idea.

Pour Chambord into glass first, then mix ice cream in until it melts, then add in Sprite and mix. Serve over ice if you want. I didn't.

ps. this was pretty good and I was excited because I've never made up a drink before.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tortellini with Creamy Cranberry and Walnuts


Dinner, Day 2.

What happened to day 1, you ask? I was lazy/busy and I ended up having a corn muffin for dinner, as you do sometimes. Or at least, as I do sometimes.

Anyway, I poked around the kitchen and found some frozen cheese tortellini, Sarabeth's Cranberry Relish, a red onion, cream cheese, and some walnuts. I can work with this. Here's what I came up with:


serves 1

Ingredients:

1/3 c. tortellini
1 1/2 T. red onion, chopped
2 1/2 T. olive oil
2 heaping teaspoons of cranberry relish*
1 heaping teaspoon cream cheese
small handful of walnuts, pieces
salt
garlic powder
dried tarragon


1. Put water on to boil.

2. Heat up olive oil in small sauce pan over med-low to low heat. Add onion. Let cook until starting to get translucent. Add cranberry relish, stir with wooden spoon. Add a pinch of garlic powder, salt, and tarragon. Stir. Don't let mixture bubble.

3. When water boils, put tortellini in for directed time. Add walnuts to cranberry mixture and stir.

4. Take sauce pan off heat. Add cream cheese. Stir until melted and incorporated. When tortellinis are finished, strain them from water with a slotted spoon and put them directly into the cranberry mixture. Stir until they are covered.

5. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy.


*Sarabeth's Cranberry Relish lists cranberries, orange, and sugar as the ingredients, so you could probably use a homemade cranberry sauce and just add some orange zest.

You gotta love Presto Pasta Nights at Once Upon A Feast. They have me cooking pasta at the end of the week without even realizing I'm doing it.

Here We Go Again...Dog Sitting, the sequel

well, I'm at it again it seems. I'm just a girl who can't say no to a pool in August. So, the next few days is me cooking in a kitchen with food that I didn't buy but I am welcome to in a kitchen that isn't mine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pesto and Chevre Stuffed Squash Blossoms


I have been eying the zucchini plant-- yes the one surviving zucchini plant-- I gave my mother for months now. I'm amazing that it's living and that it has actually produced food, which in my family is incredible. However I have been stalking the blossoms. I keep hearing that squash blossoms are the IT food and I have been wanting to make some, but every time I come over the blossoms are too small or dying or some creature has beaten me to the punch and eaten them already. But today! At last, one lone male flower had clearly pollinated the females, and it was ready to pick! Yay!

Now, of course, I have NO IDEA what I'm doing, and as I tried to untwist and stuff the thing I tore it at least once (dammit!) and kept wishing I'd been born an elf or something else with nimble fingers. Apparently there are few things in this world that make you feel as oafish and clumsy as stuffing squash blossoms, and that includes walking into a room of fifteen year old fashion models. Squash blossoms have those waifish girls beat.

So here follows my adventure/recipe in making ONE stuffed squash blossom, which actually was pretty tasty. I really would like to make it again and try other fillings too. As long as I was alone in my kitchen when I did it. And maybe next time I'd wear heels.



Ingredients:

1 zucchini blossom
pesto
chevre
1-2 T. olive oil
1/4 t. garlic, minced
salt and pepper

1. Rinse off blossom and pat dry gently. Open blossom CAREFULLY and drop in a few crumblings of chevre and a little
(1/2t?) pesto. Wind blossom closed.

2. Heat up olive oil and garlic in a frying pan over medium heat.

3. Put blossom in pan, turning in direction you twisted the petals when you turn the flower. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until it seems done (2-3 minutes-ish).

4. Remove from pan. Enjoy the few bites!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ricotta and Salami Mini Pies


After seeing the ingredients in my fridge I really wanted to make a little calzone or something so I grabbed the recipe for the pastry from Martha Stewart (dot com, I suppose, though I took it from a magazine clipping), which is really good, and I recommend (nice and buttery and flakey!), sort of adjusted it to my needs and what I had, and then made these little pasties for dinner. And then had frozen berries with sugar for dessert. Because that is the sort of thing you can have for dinner when you are on your own, without a salad or anything to make other people think you're civilized. I just made pastry dough from scratch, for god's sake. I am civilized!

makes 4 little (2 1/2") pasties or 2 4" pasties

Ingredients:

pastry dough:

1/2 c. flour (plus more for later for rolling out)
1/4 t. sugar
1/4 t. salt
3 T. cold butter, cut into pieces (Martha says unsalted, but I say SALTED, and that's what i had and used and it was salty but
that's how i like it with a savory stuffing)
1/4 T. distilled white vinegar
1/16 c. ice water


filling:

2 slices genoa salami, sliced thin
3 heaping tablespoons fresh ricotta cheese
garlic powder
salt


1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor (mini. or you can just mix all this by hand). Add butter. Pulse (or squish with fork) until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour in vinegar, then water, little by little, pulsing a little bit after every add. After all water is added, pulse until dough comes together. Add more water a few drops at a time if still dry.

2. Form dough into small disk, wrap in plastic, refrigerate at least one hour and up to one day.

Thanks Martha!

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

4. Clean out food processor. Rip 2 slices of salami in half and place in (mini) processor. Pulse until mostly shredded. Add ricotta and pulse until combined. Add a pinch or garlic powder and salt. Pulse twice. Put in bowl and set aside.

5. Take dough out of fridge and let it warm up a little in your hands by squishing it a little. Should be workable and not break apart, but not too warm. Sprinkle flour on a work space, on the dough, and on a rolling pin. Roll out dough to be about 1/8" thick. Cut out as many little pie shapes as you can. (App. 4, 3" round). You may have to take the scraps and re-roll them to get as many pies as possible.

6. In each three inch round, place approximately 1 teaspoon of filling. Bring sides up and pinch closed around the edges. Place on a baking sheet. Poke holes with a fork on the side facing up on the baking sheet.

or ... in each rectangular pasty, put as much filling as you can, fold over and pinch the sides down with a fork. Poke holes with a fork on the side facing up on the baking sheet.

7. Let bake for 25 minutes.

8. Let cook for 5 minutes.

9. Enjoy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Penne with Fresh Pesto, Ricotta, and Tomatoes


As much as I want to deny, deny, deny, it is late August. And while I may pretend that the summer will go on and on my basil won't buy it so I thought I'd better make some pesto. I like mine cheesy and with walnuts, not pinenuts, so... here is my muggy summer night pasta recipe:

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 c whole wheat penne pasta

for PESTO: (you will have pesto left over- yay!)
1 1/2 c fresh basil leaves (I used a mix of sweet basil and Italian flat leaf basil)
1 clove fresh garlic
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
juice of 1/4 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

for TOMATOES:
5 grape tomatoes
2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. minced garlic
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1/4 t. dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

3 heaping T. ricotta cheese


1. Put basil, garlic, and walnuts in food processor (preferably mini). Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add lemon juice and parmesan. Pulse until combined. Add olive oil while processor is mixing in a steady stream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in separate bowl.

2. Rinse out processor. Put tomatoes, garlic, and lemon juice in processor. Pulse until tomato is very coarsely chopped. Add olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper. Pulse again, just until mixed. Set aside in separate bowl.

3. Make pasta.

4. When pasta is done, put it in a bowl and mix 1/4 c. pesto (or to taste) and 3 heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese though it. Top with tomato mixture. Enjoy.




I love Presto Pasta Night. You can see it here at: Once Upon A Feast

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lime-Mint Butter

This is really easy and really good, especially on fresh summer corn.


Ingredients:

1/2 stick (1/4 c.) salted butter, soft at room temperature
juice from half a lime
1 1/2 T. fresh mint, chopped


Put butter in a small, nice looking bowl. Mix lime juice and mint into butter with a whisk. Put in refrigerator and let solidify. Serve whenever you please.

Dog Days Summary


Alright, so dog-sitting is over, and here is breakdown:

Number of new dishes made: 5

They were: Scrambled Eggs with Cottage Cheese and Pineapple, Grilled Cheeses with Apple, Hummingbird Waffles, Fresh Summer Vegetable Tortellini, and Ham, Egg, and Cheese with Summer Veggie Toasts

Things the puppy ate besides dog food: a worm, ants, leaves, dirt

Things the puppy tried to eat but I stopped it in time: rocks, glass, a cicada (EW!!!)

Close encounters with deer: 5

Hummingbird sightings: 2

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ham, Egg, and Cheese with Summer Veggies Toasts


Day 4, Dog Sitting, Lunch:



I was so inspired by the texture of the grated summer squash yesterday that I wanted to make something with what I had left of them today in a way that would highlight it. So I came up with these little toasts which I had for lunch.

Serves 1

Ingredients:
1 egg
1/3 c. light green summer squash, coarsely grated
1/4 c. bright orange summer squash, coarsely grated
2 T red onion, coarsely grated
2 T fresh squeezed orange juice (right from an orange)
1 1/2 T olive oil

garlic salt
celery seed

1 slice of whole wheat (or other) bread
1 thin slice of honey deli ham
2 slices provolone
  1. Hard boil egg.

  2. While egg is boiling, heat oil in pan over med-low to low heat. Add onion, let cook for a minute, then add summer squash. Stir with wooden spoon. Add a pinch of garlic salt and celery seed. After a few minutes, when veggies seem almost done, add orange juice. Stir. Let cook for another minute. Set aside.

  3. Toast bread. Put ham, then cheese on toast. Put in oven at 300 degrees F for 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

  4. Peel egg. Slice off ends. Feed to dogs (optional). Slice into four rounds, lengthwise.

  5. Remove toast with ham and cheese from oven. Cut into quarters. Place an egg round on each one. Put a spoonful of squash mixture on top.

  6. Enjoy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fresh Summer Vegetable Tortellini




Day 3, Dog Sitting, Lunch:

Okay I cheated. Just a little! And only kind of. There weren't any veggies in the house, but I had noticed on my recent trip to get gas that there is a farm with a stand right down the road. So this morning I went and spent a whole fifty cents on these babies:



At first they didn't have any summer squash so they went and picked some right off the vine for me!

And that's not really cheating it, is it? Fifty cents?

All the rest of the ingredients were things they had here. And I'm glad I got the veggies too, because my lunch was great.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/4 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small tomato, chopped, seeds taken out
1/3 c. coarsely grated light green summer squash
1/4 c. coarsely grated bright orange summer squash

1 1/2 T olive oil

salt
dill

3/4 c. small frozen cheese tortellini


  1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over med-low to low heat. Start bringing some water to a boil.


  2. When oil heats up first add onions and garlic. Let cook for about one minute.


  3. Add squash first, stirring for about thirty seconds, then tomatoes. Add salt to flavor and a pinch of dill. Let cook, gently, until onions are translucent.


  4. When the water comes to a boil add the tortellini and cook according to directions. (I would use fresh tortellini here normally but the frozen were surprisingly good). Do not wait for the tortellini to cook to take the veggies off heat. Take them off the heat when the onions are cooked.


  5. When tortellini are done, drain them and add them to the pan with the veggies, tossing them all together for about a minute over low heat.


  6. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy.

**I'm trying something different today and letting the people at Presto Pasta Night know about my recipe. You can check out Presto Pasta Nights here

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hummingbird Waffles


Day 2, Dog-Sitting, Brunch:

Outside the window of the the room where I'm using the computer there is a butterfly feeder that as far as I have seen serves only hornets. Until this morning. When out of the corner of my eye I saw something bigger and I turned really fast and saw a little hummingbird who was there just for an instant and then zipped away into the trees. I felt as if I'd seen a fairy. I didn't even think we had hummingbirds around here. Now I'm hyper-sensitive, keeping an eye out for another one and consequently have seen every wasp and fly that has come near the baubled thing.

After that odd and unexpected event I wanted something sweet for breakfast, something nectar-ish, with a Puckish combination of "what the hell?!" ingredients that would nonetheless taste good together.

serves 1

Ingredients:

1/4 small onion, sliced
1T olive oil
1T butter
1/2 t sugar

1 plum, cheeked
1/2 banana, sliced

1/3 c. mango juice*

1 T. cream cheese
1 t. vidalia onion dressing

1 frozen waffle

*Apple and Eve Mango Passion

  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a small non-stick sauce pan over med-low heat. Add onion and sugar. Stir occasionally until onions are caramelized.
  2. Remove onions from saucepan with slotted spoon. Keep liquid in saucepan. Add plum cheeks, flesh side down to sauce pan. Remove after a minute or two. Set aside.
  3. Add banana slices to sauce pan. Let brown on one side, then flip. Let brown on other side, then remove and set aside.
  4. Put mango juice in sauce pan and turn heat up to medium. Mix the contents of the saucepan together, let reduce down to a syrup. Should take about five minutes.
  5. While this is happening, mix cream cheese with vidalia dressing. Also toast waffle.
  6. Put waffle on plate, spread with flavored cream cheese. Pour syrup over. Top with caramelized onions, bananas, and extra syrup. Serve with the cheeked plums.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Grilled Cheeses with Apple



Day 1, Dog-Sitting, Dinner:
I realize there is no meat other than cold cuts. Sadness. So instead I whip up some comfort food: a sandwich made with a duo of classic cheeses found in every American kitchen and the ever present apple. Melt it to gooey perfection. Who's homesick?

serves 1
Ingredients:

2 slices of bread (I had whole wheat)
2 slices American cheese
2 slices provolone
1/2 small apple, sliced thin
1 t. creamy honey
1 t. vidalia onion dressing (I had America's Choice)
olive oil*
*note: I am saying olive oil although as of today I cannot find their olive oil and had to make mine with butter. But olive oil would be better.

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

  2. Lay two slices of American cheese out to cover a slice of bread. Lay apple slices on top. Put two slices of provolone on top of apple slices.

  3. Spread creamy honey and then vidalia dressing on one side of the other piece of bread. Place that side against the cheese.

  4. Heat up some oil in a pan. When it gets hot enough put sandwich in pan. When one side is lightly golden, flip the sandwich over, give it a minute, then place it in the oven.

  5. Let bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.

  6. Enjoy.

Scrambled Eggs with Cottage Cheese and Pineapple



Day 1, Dog-Sitting, Breakfast:

Seems like a weird combination, I know. But it's really very good. The pineapple is not a dominant flavor, it just adds a little something. I came up with this while I was house sitting.

serves 1

Ingredients:

2 eggs
splash of milk
1/2 the cottage cheese and pineapple topping of a Breakstone's Cottage Doubles
OR
1/3c. cottage cheese with pineapple

pinch of garlic salt
pinch of dill
pinch of dried chives (fresh would be better, just 2-3 chopped fine)

butter


  1. Crack eggs in bowl, whisk with milk.
  2. Heat butter in skillet on low heat. When butter is melted add egg mixture. Stir regularly with wooden spoon or silicon spatula.
  3. When eggs are almost done add cottage cheese and pineapple. Mix through. Let heat through, allowing eggs to continue cooking, excess moisture to evaporate from cheese, and curds to melt.
  4. After a few minutes add garlic salt, dill, and chives. Mix.
  5. When the eggs are done to your liking, remove from heat and serve with toast.

Four Day Challenge

I've agreed to house/dog sit for the next four days and part of the deal is food. Which is awesome but it's their food, not mine. It's a four day challege of how to make food with ingredients bought by other people in kitchen that doesn't belong to me. This should be interesting.



Here are my helpers:







Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday's Lunch


I'm not sure what this is called, technically. It's sort of a bread salad, but it's heated through. It's kind of a bread pudding but it's not soggy and there's no egg involved. It's closest to stuffing I guess, and it could be used as a side dish. But I ate it outside on a mild August day for lunch. So maybe I was just feeling cubist and wanted to deconstruct the sandwich. I don't know. I do know it was pretty tasty.

Tuesday's Lunch

serves 1 (as meal) or 2 (as side)

Ingredients:

country roll (should be appx side of fist and fairly dense)
1/2 c. to 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 slices deli turkey
2-3 slices deli ham
1/3 c. sliced almonds
2 large fresh basil leaves

3 T. olive oil
1/2t. dijon mustard
1 T. Newman's Own Lite Lime Vinaigrette Dressing OR the juice of half a lime

salt
pepper
garlic powder
butter


1. Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees F.

2. Grease a two cup ramekin or other small oven proof dish with butter.

3. Cut roll into 1/2 inch cubes, put in a bowl. Shred turkey and ham into small pieces (just with your hands) and toss in with the bread. Put cheese and almonds in same bowl. Toss until well mixed.

4. Tear basil into small pieces and toss into bowl. Mix.

5. Add olive oil, mustard, and lime to the bowl. Stir until well mixed.

6. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Mix.

7. Transfer bread mixture into the ramekin. Let bake for appx. 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese it melted.

8. Serve in ramekin on a cool plate. Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Awesome Pasta Topping

That's what it's called because it's that awesome. I really love it with pumpkin ravioli. It would probably be good with butternut squash, chicken and proscuitto, or mushroom fillings too. Earthier flavors.

This is not a sauce, it's a topping to go on TOP of the pasta after it's cooked.

This is a recipe for one. But you all know how to multiply :)

Ingredients:

1 dipping strip red bell pepper
1 clove garlic
1/8 onion
2T olive oil
salt
cinnamon
1/2t- 1t brown sugar
thyme

1. Finely mince pepper, garlic, and onion (food processor works well)

2. Heat up olive oil in small non-stick pan, add pepper/garlic/onion mixture, pinch of salt, a sprinkling of thyme, 1/2 t. of cinnamon. Start heat on pasta at this time. Let saute over medium/low heat until water boils.

3. When water boils add brown sugar to mix. Let mixture saute until FRESH pasta is finished cooking (2-3 minutes).

4. Drain pasta, spoon topping on pasta, (if making for more than one, put pasta on individual plates and spoon topping individually).

5. Enjoy.