Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Green Bean Casserole REDUX

So yohboh asked for green bean casserole for dinner. Yohboh is generally just pleased that someone makes him dinner so his requests are rare and frequently honored.

I read the back of the can recipe for this and was astounded at how easy it is. It is literally opening a few cans and stirring. So being minjenah, I had to make it difficult, and hopefully taste a bit better. Yohboh was very excited about this casserole. And he says I have to make this for Thanksgiving.

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Green Bean Casserole REDUX

3 pounds of fresh green beans, ends cut off and cut into 1/2 inch bits, blanched and well drained

1 tablespoon of butter
1 pound of mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 soup can sherry
3/4 soup can milk
4 ounces cream cheese

1 can french fried onion things

Preheat the oven to 350

Melt the butter in a medium skillet and add the mushrooms until the mushrooms smell very, well, mushroomy. Add the scallions and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream of mushroom soup, sherry and milk until it just comes up to a simmer. Add the cream cheese and let it melt.

Put the green beans in a buttered casserole because all the recipes I read from the first Betty Crocker cookbook recommended this. If you cannot trust Betty, I ask you WHO CAN YOU TRUST? Add the mushroom soup mixture and toss to coat. Bake at 350 until it is bubbly.

Add the can of french fried onion things and bake another ten minutes. Makes a lot.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Take Out

Sometimes, you just want take out. And a stalk of broccoli to negate the golden brown that is your dinner.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cookbooks I like


This is a romance novel with recipes. And some of them are really great. The almond cake recipe in there is one that whenever I make it, people ask me for the recipe.



The New York Times cookbook is also by Amanda Hesser. It has recipes from as early as the late 1800's. What I really like is all the chatty bits that Amanda Hesser puts in.


Bill Granger is an Australian chef who makes healthy fresh food. I have actually given this cookbook as a gift. I like his sensibility about food. He is not going to make recipes where you have to brunoise an onion but he does make tasty food.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Breakfast Parfait

Normally, I pour some yogurt into a bowl, put some fruit salad on top and then sprinkle some cereal on top. I felt like making it pretty.

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The kidlet ate half of it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birthday Collards

My friend, N, loves collard greens. More specifically, she loves yohboh's collard greens. Between that and his potato salad, she would be in culinary heaven.

Well for her birthday, instead of baking her a cake (N. is not a sweets person), I made her collard greens.

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I adapted yohboh's recipe because his calls for smoked neck bones and I did not have any. I used bacon. Yohboh said they were perfectly acceptable but the best collards come from neck bones. I should add I picked these collards from our garden.

Birthday Collard Greens

6 slices of thick cut bacon, cut cubes
1 large onion, diced
1 Tablespoon chicken base

3 pounds of collards, thick stem removed and sliced into long ribbons.

In a large pot, brown the bacon until all the fat is rendered out. Add the onion and chicken base and let it cook in the bacon fat until the onions turn a touch brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add a cup of water and let it come to a simmer. The liquid should be fairly dark. Add all of the collards. There is not enough water, I know that. But you want the collards to wilt because better not enough pot liquor than too much. Cover the pot and let them be for about five minutes, all the while keeping the pot to a simmer. The collards will have wilted quite a bit. Fold the collards so that the bottom ones that are wilted will be on top. Cover and let simmer another five minutes. After all the collards are wilted, add enough water to BARELY cover. Let it simmer for about an hour until the collards turn from bright green to dull army green.

My picky godson ate this! It was because of the bacon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day

Today is Pi Day, so I made a blueberry pie. Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter of the circle. It is a mathematical constant. I actully know this because math was a religion in my house growing up.

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Blueberry pie was not part of my childhood. That seems a shame.

Blueberry Pie

4 cups blueberries, frozen
2/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Big pinch of salt

Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon butter

1 graham gracker crust

Take the blueberries, the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water and put into a three quart pot over medium heat. Stir contantly.

The cornstarch will make the liquid cloudy. Eventually, the cloudy liquid will turn clear and the liquid will get very thick. PAY ATTENTION!

Take it off the heat immediately and add the lemon juice and butter.

Pour into the prepared pie crust and let come to room temperature. Refrigerate for a few hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Arugula

So I bought 100 grams of arugula seeds for the same cost of a box of arugula at the grocery store.

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There is something so smugly satisfying about going into your garden and gathering some leaves for your dinner salad. Instead of fishing them out of a plastic box.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Country Captain

The kid told me, "That was a good dinner, mommy. I liked it a lot. The mushrooms were yummy. And the bacon too."

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Country Captain

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laissez les bon temps rouler

It is National Pancake Day. So we had some for dinner.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ranch Dressing

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I made some ranch dressing. It is pretty easy and does not have all those weird ingredients that are in commercially bottled dressing.

Ranch Dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of milk

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup soup cream
1 bunch of chives, finely minced
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons grated onion
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a small glass, combine the lemon juice and milk. Let this sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until well combined. Add the milk and lemon juice mixture (it will look curdled, that is okay).

Put in a container and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours for the flavor to develop.

Really good with carrots.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Soup Improv

So I woke up today and it was a windy blustery day. The kind of day that makes you realize that spring is not here YET. Spring is such a tease! She shows a little blue sky and sunshine and I get all happy. Also, I read Mark Bittman's soup recipes.

I really did not feel like going to the store so I used what I had on hand:
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Soup Improv

1 pound Italian Sausage

1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, smashed

1/2 cup dried field peas
1 Parmesan rind
1 quart chicken broth

1 can mixed veggies, drained
1 can chopped tomatoes

In a large soup pot, brown the sausage. Fish the sausage out, leaving the greasy bits in the pan. Drain the sausage on a plate lined with paper towels.

Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and let saute for ten minutes or until the vegetables are translucent. Add the field peas, Parmesan rind and chicken broth. Simmer until the peas are tender, 35 minutes for me. I also had to add about a cup of water during this cooking process because it evaporated during cooking.

Add the drained veggies and chopped tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes more.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and bread.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Garden Goodness

So our garden is chugging along.

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This is broccoli, arugula and kale.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

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I like to make macaroni and cheese with all the cheese ends in a white sauce. By cheese ends, I mean the bits and pieces of fancy cheeses that I like to buy that are just not going to get eaten. This batch has some REALLY fancy cheeses that I bought for Valentine's Day from Star Provisions. There is an aged extra sharp English Cheddar and a really great Wisconsin (shout out to my BIL) white cheddar and a block of cream cheese too. I mix some dry mustard in with the white sauce and lots and lots of pepper. Bake at 350 until there are crusty bits and it is bubbly.

The kidlet loves it.