Summer Vegetable Stew: Vegetarian Eats

I love taking advantage of the fresh bounty available in summer.  This vegetable melange is doing just that, and works hot as well as cold, and takes about 30 minutes to make.  This dish is vegetarian inspired (I am not a vegetarian) and I do suggest side dishes and garnishes that may not fit with your diet.  But, even the confirmed and rather stubborn carnivore in my house will eat this stew and not miss the meat.

Summer Vegetable Stew

Recipe to follow
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Spicy Grilled Shrimp

 

Anyone who is the “main” cook in their home knows that making healthy and interesting meals can be a challenge.  At least 4 times a week I try to mix up the food choices here, adding in an entree salad, a vegan or vegetarian option, trying to find different and tasty items.

The other night we had a Spicy Grilled Shrimp as the special element in an organic baby mixed greens salad, served with a lemon pepper vinaigrette.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

This is a really simple recipe, and you can get the pre-washed and packaged greens at the grocers.

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Pasta Carbonara

Have I mentioned I’m spoiled? Well, I am. Most of the time I do the cooking here – but occasionally my other half will step up, particularly when he decides he needs to recreate one of his favorite dishes from  his years in Italy.  The other day, he found a new “imported” grocer, and they had Prosciutto, Pancetta and Parmesan after having samples, he bought it all.  Now, a treat of prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears last night, with a bastardized bruschetta with parmesan, pancetta and olive oil, and tonight he  cooks.

Pasta Carbonara

 

 Recipe to follow

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Blueberry Coffee Cake

There is nothing better than this coffee cake for breakfast, as a snack, or a light dessert. Fresh blueberries with a touch of cinnamon are just so much more “blue” and this cake is moist and delicious.

Blueberry Cake

Recipe to follow:

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Best Rice Pudding with options

 

No one thinks of rice pudding as a wonderful dessert or snack – but there is nothing better and more unexpected for a touch of sweet.  All that is needed is leftover rice, add dried fruits, or for the purists, just cinnamon and some sugar.

 

Rice Pudding

Basic Rice Pudding Recipe (with options)

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Sunday French Toast

 

Sundays at my house were usually quiet without a ton of activities to rush off to in the early mornings.  So, when my daughter was little we started to plan a ‘special’ Sunday breakfast. One we could sit about in pajamas, with a movie on the television, and just be lazy for the morning.

Sunday French Toast Soufflé. This is a staple at my house for all “holiday morning” breakfasts, it brings a dramatic flair to the table and is absolutely delicious.

What you need:

Sunday French Toast

1 loaf of bread – preferably a “sweet” eggy bread like Challah or Portuguese Sweet Bread
6 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
½  cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
Cinnamon/sugar mixed (as you would have on toast) about 1/3 cup – set aside
Soufflé dish, buttered or a glass casserole no larger than 9 X 9
Cling film

Slice the bread into 1” thick slices, and then slice into quarters. You can remove the crust (if thick) or leave it on for added crunch.  Melt the butter; add into the milk and half and half in a medium bowl.  Mix well.  Add sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

In a small bowl – whip eggs until frothy, add into milk/cream mixture and incorporate well.

Into your soufflé or casserole, be sure to butter bottom and sides.  Lay the bread out in a single layer, fitting pieces in to completely cover the bottom and sides.  Sprinkle lightly with the set-aside cinnamon and sugar, repeat layering bread in another layer, filling in and covering any holes.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and repeat. Continue in this pattern until your bread is used, I usually have 5 layers.

Gently pour in the egg and milk mixture – a butter knife will help to move the liquid through the bread and distribute it evenly.  Cover tightly with cling film, and refrigerate at least overnight, but this will sit comfortably for 2 days just soaking.

On baking day: remove dish from the refrigerator, remove the cling film and let it sit and rest on the countertop as your oven is coming to temperature.  Set oven to 425°.  When oven is at temperature – put the soufflé in for 40 minutes WITH NO PEEPING.  At 40 minutes, check to see that the bread has risen and is puffy, it should be a darker brown on the edges and feel crispy on the top.  If it is still ‘spongy’ to the touch in the center – leave in for another 5 or 10 minutes, watching carefully.

Remove and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar, and serve immediately before it falls.

You can do the same with individual serving sizes – these bake for only 25 minutes and will make 4 individual soufflés. Use a measuring cup to distribute the milk mixture evenly.

Want a French Toast that your whole family can enjoy, without waiting?  See more

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Summer Shrimp and Pasta

 

The man in my life found some wonderful gulf shrimp to bring home the other day – at a great price too! And I decided to thaw one of the packets we had in the freezer to use for dinner.
This recipe is SUPER easy – and very quick.

Summer Shrimp with pasta

Recipe to follow

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A Challenge

A cloud speckled with light brown merengue shaped peaks, the tang of a salty component waft out to catch the breeze. Creamy in consistency, with a delicate and slightly sweet first taste, it can be served right from the oven, or cool to room temperature. Using the leftover turns mundane into a share worthy meal; breakfast, lunch OR dinner. Simple basic ingredients, little to no preparation and 40 minutes to cook, it’s my “go to” dish for every pot luck gathering.

That was the challenge: Create a description of a dish. See who could guess what you had made.

The Answer:   Hot Crabmeat Dip (recipe below)

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Brussels Sprouts – 2 ways

Honey Glazed Carrots & Brussels Sprouts

 

Everyone has a reaction, and usually it’s not “Oh Yum!”.  These are not the wilted, stinky steamed version, with the bitter bite: these are roasted and flavorful, slightly nutty and sweet with a punch of honey or zip from parmesan.

First, you want to choose bright green, tightly closed and solid sprouts.  They shouldn’t appear too light in weight for their size, they should be firm to the touch, and the outside leaves should be whole and not damaged dramatically.

 

Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All you need to do is decide whether you are having the honey roasted sprouts with carrots, or the roasted sprouts with parmesan.  Recipes are below:

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Sweet Potato Scones

 

Been having some rather ridiculous issues with computers the past few days: I’m sorting them out.

But, in the meantime I thought I would share my recipe for Sweet Potato Scones with a cinnamon/honey whipped butter.

Sweet Potato Scone with honey butter

Sweet Potato scones
1c flour + some set aside
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar (I prefer brown, but white will do)
1cup mashed cooked sweet potato *two med sized baked sweet potatoes will work
3 tbsp. melted butter – separated
1 – 2 tbsp. milk (will vary when mixing)

 

First the potato:  Take 2 or 3 medium sweet potatoes. Wash the skin, take off any stray ‘hairs’, cut a small slice that will vent the steam, and pop into a 350° oven for 60 – 90 minutes or until you see the caramel brown ooze of sugars escape from the vent slice.

Taking care not to burn yourself, scoop out the inside of the potato, mash with a fork to remove the big lumps, and set aside to cool.

My potatoes are baked and mashed, and cool enough to be handled.  To my mixer, I add flour, salt and baking powder and stir in sugar, setting the beater to low being sure to mix all ingredients.   To the potatoes, I add 2 tbsp. of melted butter, and stir well. Then I add the wet into my dry ingredients in the mixer and mix well.  I use the milk, adding a little at a time, to get a finished batter that is biscuit-like in consistency. Well mixed, not dry, not too sticky.

With floured hands, I then work the dough into a circle. It should fit into a greased  9” round tin or pie pan.  Then using a clean knife, I cut the dough into 8 triangular pieces. Brush the remaining melted butter over the top and then dust the top with a sprinkle of sugar, (brown or white) and bake at 375° for 20 – 25 minutes.

I always serve them with honey butter, or slice in half, reheated, buttered and served with a touch of cinnamon sugar.

Honey butter:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter – softened
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Put butter into mixer – whip and cream at high speed. When butter is whipped, add in the honey, mix to incorporate.  When that is incorporated, add in the cinnamon and the nutmeg and keep whipping for an additional 90 seconds to mix completely.  From there, I use a spatula to put the butter into a small lidded container. Seal it, and refrigerate so the butter will set up.  Want to get fancy? You could use a silicon candy mold in pretty shapes, or spoon out onto cling film and form a log roll – when chilled you just slice off pats to serve.

 

 

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