Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Photo Recipe: Red Onion Marmalade

2 large red onions, sliced thin, 1/4 cup olive oil, covered, low heat, 30 minutes

Add 3 T cider vinegar, 2 T brown sugar, 1 t freshly grated ginger. Cook about 15 more minutes.

Serve on burgers, brats, grilled chicken, pasta, etc. A+

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Plum Torte with Almonds and Orange

I think one of my favorite things in all this world is that first cup of coffee in the early morning light. I never get tired of the taste, the smell, or the feel of that warm mug of goodness. Truth be told – I’m not even a huge coffee drinker, so it’s more than the actual beverage (although I do love that caffeinated rush it brings!)  I just love the ritual of making that first pot, sipping that first taste and knowing that a new day is before me.

Ritual. Maybe that’s it. Coffee means a new day and the chance to do some great things. Ritual. I like the sound of the word. It brings a sense of steadiness to a crazy world, doesn’t it? A world where too often people are rushing around doing their own thing, going their own way with little regard for …..well, ritual!

Here’s a ritual that I wish I observed more often – BRUNCH! It’s difficult to get my family together these days, so yesterday, when I had most of my clan at home, I had to have a meal together. Creating a little bit of ritual for them, you see.

On the menu:
 We all gave this 5 stars. We smothered ours in fresh avocado and salsa. (of course!)

Mango Pineapple Green Smoothie
I give it 5 stars. This lovely drink has been in my mind ever since Denise blogged about it.
My boys did not love this, but they are not huge smoothie people. My daughter and I LOVED it.

Plum Torte with Almonds and Orange
Tweaked from Cuisine at Home magazine (July/August 2012)
A total 5 star rating from all of us!
The recipe was very simple but added a nice touch to then end of our meal.

Here’s what you need for the torte:
¾ C sugar
½ C sliced almonds
¾ C flour
½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
6 T butter, cut into cubes
2 eggs
1 t vanilla (always use the good stuff – it does make a difference)
Zest of 1 orange
1 lb fresh plums – cut into eighths

Here’s what you need for the sauce:
½ C orange marmalade
Splash or two of dark rum
2 T brown sugar
Juice of 1 orange

Here’s what you do:
Process the sugar and almonds until finely ground. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and butter. Process a bit more. Add the eggs, vanilla and zest. Process about 10 seconds.

Spread the dough into a 9-inch springform pan which has been sprayed and floured. Arrange the plum slices, skin side up, in a pretty design. Bake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees.

While the torte is in the oven, make the EXCELLENT sauce by heating the marmalade, rum, brown sugar and fresh orange juice. Boil for a few minutes until desired consistency. Strain the sauce and set aside.

Cool a bit before removing the outer ring. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with pride. We ate our while it was still warm from the oven and the sauce was warm too - killer! 

(printable recipe)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

This is my all-time, very favorite way to eat potatoes. I almost didn't share this recipe (it's not really even a recipe, more like a method), but I thought some of you might be interested in this simple preparation. 

Here's what you need:
olive oil
salt, pepper

Here's what you do: 
Cut potatoes in wedges. Melt butter and oil in pan. Slather the melted butter/oil all over the potatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. That's it! 

Use an old-fashioned aluminum pan if you can – or baking sheets -  glass does not work well here. 

Keep your oven nice and hot (maybe 400 degrees) and check them every so often so they don’t stick.

Start with skin-side up until the potatoes are cooked all the way through, then turn them, one at a time, skin-side down and continue baking until nice and brown. Be patient and allow them to get kinda chewy and dark. Turn them a few times to get that perfect color.

I actually made 100 portions of these last year for my church’s Vacation Bible School. I baked them in the morning and kept them warm in crock pots for a few hours – they were perfect.

Bring on the ketchup!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Marry Me Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let’s play a matching game today. Can you name the person who said these love quotes? You may choose from the following people:

A. Elizabeth Barrette Browning
B.   God
C.  J. Geils
D. Plato
E.  Robert Frost
F. Ryan O’Neal  (in that corny old movie)

1. “At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.”
2.”How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”
3. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
4. “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”
5. “Love means not ever having to say you're sorry.”
6. “Love stinks.”

How did you do? Click here to see the answers.

If you need to propose marriage to someone in the near future, then you might be interested in making these cookies. Or if you’re like me and happily married (almost 27 years!), maybe you just want to make them for your sweetheart.

Supposedly, you bake them and you get a marriage proposal…..hmmmm…..anyone willing to try it? J They’re mighty good.

Here’s what you need: (I tweaked the recipe found on Cooking Channel website.)
1 C butter
1 ¼ C dark brown sugar
½ C sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 t pure vanilla
2 C flour
1 C oats
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
¼ cinnamon
2 C chocolate chips (original recipe called for a mix of both white and dark chips, but you will never find a white chip in this house.)

Here’s what you do: There are a lot of strange steps, so read carefully!

Melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the sugars. Stir until well blended. Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge.  There’s something so, so great about the aroma of melted butter and brown sugar, am I right?

Remove from fridge and add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.

Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.

Living dangerously up here in Michigan - cold enough to cool my cookie dough in the garage next to my hubby's tennis shoes. See the bike and the broom? Those are not actually needed to make these. And actually, neither is that boot.  

Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll by hand into 24 medium size balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 12-14 minutes

(printable recipe)

Friday, June 8, 2012

spinach quiche with gruyere cheese

You know what makes me weak in the knees? Cheese. Yes, cheese.  I have cut way, way back on my cheese consumption lately (I’ve told you, trying to keep it healthy around here), but that doesn’t mean I don’t crave it daily! Especially gruyere.  Ah, gruyere!

I posted my standard Spinach Quiche here on the blog a while ago (click here) – I make it all the time because it’s easy, cheap, makes a great simple dinner and is the best for leftover breakfast or lunch. But today I share the granddaddy of all Spinach Quiches. Good enough for company and perfect for every occasion. Indulge and Enjoy!

Here’s what you need:
1 pie crust (I highly recommend Pillsbury Brand)
½ T butter
½ C finely minced shallots
4 large eggs
1 ¼ C half and half
1/8 t nutmeg
½ t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 C grated Gruyere cheese
1 10 ounce package frozen spinach – thawed and wrung totally free of water.

Here’s what you do:
Pre bake the crust in a 400 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes (prick the bottom with a fork and check on it periodically so the edges don’t fall over on themselves). Lower oven to 325 degrees.

Sautee the shallots in the melted butter until soft. Whisk the eggs and half and half together.  

Stir the quiche ingredients together until all the spinach has become unclumped. Use two forks if you need to.

Pour spinach mixture over crust and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Watch carefully toward the end of the baking time. 

(printable recipe)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

College Kids Need Spices Too

What’s that old saying? Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame? Well, mine might have just arrived. Jump on my coattails and come along for a quick ride. It seems like someone out there appreciates my humor!

Click here to see what the heck I am talking about! SpicesInc.  Then be sure to make a generous purchase – I like that 1% of sales goes to Feeding America.  (None of the sales money comes to me).  I can attest to the high quality of the product and I think you, my dear readers, with your fine discernment for higher quality food products, will love the spices and seasonings found on Spices Inc.

Here at our house, we have fallen in love with the Bourbon Barrel Smoked Pepper and the Lime Pepper.  And the Smoky Citrus Salt? Nice.

Still wondering what I’m talking about? Check it out! SPICES INC.  

Here are our Memorial Day chickens turning away on the rotisserie, covered in  Honey Chipotle Rub, Kickin' Chicken and Smoky Citrus Salt.  Hubby and son #1 working on the boat.

Falling off the bone and flavored to perfection! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Salad Nicoise: minus the tuna

Can you imagine a prettier salad? 
Believe me, it tasted as great as it looks!
 Perfect for a light summer dinner.
This one is definitely in the rotation!
I could eat this every day. No kidding! 
(See Taste of Home, April/May 2012 for original recipe)

Here’s what you need:
1/3 C olive oil
¼ C lemon juice
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
1 t Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
Salt, pepper to taste
2 T water
Small red potatoes
Fresh asparagus
Fresh green beans
Dark red kidney beans
Bib lettuce or other soft leaf lettuce
Hard boiled eggs, quartered
Marinated artichoke hearts - drained
Best quality Kalamata or Nicoise olives

Here’s what you do:
Prepare the lovely dressing by whisking the lemon juice, Dijon, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. The best way to deal with the raw garlic is to peel the clove and grate it on a fine rasp. Just make sure it is minced or grated as finely as possible. Add water to taste, making sure the dressing is not too heavy or oily. I like mine a bit thinner and I find that by loosening the dressing just a bit with some water, I get the perfect consistency.

Boil the eggs. Cool completely and cut in pretty quarters.

Quarter and boil the potatoes until fork tender. While still warm, pour some dressing over them. The warm potatoes will absorb all the tangy goodness and increase in taste.  The potatoes taste much better if they are never refrigerated – keep them at room temperature.

Steam the beans and asparagus. I do mine in the same steamer, being careful not to overcook the asparagus. Cool under cold running water. Drizzle some dressing over the steamed beans and asparagus.

Drain and rinse the kidney beans. Drizzle some dressing over the beans.

Arrange the lettuce on a large serving platter. Drizzle some dressing over the lettuce. Arrange the remaining salad components around the platter – drizzling dressing over all.

(printable recipe)