Monday, November 30, 2009

Chicken and White Bean Chili



It's time once again for frugal tips from Auntie Pam. What better time for frugal tips than the holiday season, where money can get stretched in a billion different directions?

Whenever I find a recipe that calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I don't buy them like that, because they cost a bazillion dollars a pound. Nope, I buy bone-in skin-on split chicken breasts. Then I bone them myself.



It's really easy. The breast meat sort of separates, right above the chicken tenders part of the breast. After I separate the boneless portion, I then have the option of removing the tenders, to be bagged up and frozen until I have enough for a crunchy chicken tenders dinner. Or more than likely, I leave the tenders on the bone use that for chicken soups.



That's what I did for this recipe. I bought 4 bone-in, skin-on breasts. Separated the boneless portions, and froze them for another recipe, and then took the 4 bones with plenty of tenders meat still on the them and used them in this soup. It's almost like getting free meat for your soup. I mean, I know it's not, but it feels like it!

I modified the recipe for Chicken and White Bean Chili to use my slow cooker. What was unusual about this recipe is that the sour cream and the cheese are stirred into the chili instead of being used for a garnish. This makes the chili really rich, and really good!

Chicken and White Bean Chili
Makes 10 to 12 servings

1 pound dried small white beans
8 fresh Anaheim chilies* (about 1 pound)
2 large onions, chopped
6 cups water
4 split chicken breast bones with tenders still attached
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
1 cup sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro
Purchased tomatillo or green chili salsa

Soak beans over night in the slow cooker. Drain, and add back 4 cups of water.

Char chilies over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop chilies. Set aside.

Add the chilies and the next 8 ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. 30 minutes before serving, stir in the half and half, cheese, and sour cream.

Ladle chili into bowls and garnish with cilantro and green salsa. Serve.




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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cheating Gone Wrong

Some students got a copy of the teachers answer key for their science worksheet. Not my students, the grade before me. These sweeties will be mine next year.

How do we know? What gave it away.

Was it surprising abundance of correct answers?

No.

Was it the suspicious lack of misspelled words?

No.

It was their answer to number ten:

9. Photosynthesis
10. Answers may vary
11. Cell wall

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #234

Patchouli knows that some kitty cats prefer the modern clean style of IKEA. But she prefers antiques.


This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Othello at Paulchens FoodBlog?!

And Patchouli would like to remind you to vote for Smudge, he is her very favorite senior kitty cat.
Vote for Smudge

Don’t forget to vote for Smudge for the Cute Cat Contest. You can vote once a day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Salmon Bulgogi with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

Salmon Bulgogi


I figured that the foodie blogland would be inundated with turkey leftover posts today, so to be different, I've gone to the opposite end of the spectrum.

Salmon Bulgogi


What do I consider the opposite end of the American Thanksgiving turkey leftovers? How about a Koren inspired salmon recipe?? Pretty opposite, don't you think?

Salmon Bulgogi


But really, I'm helping you out here. Around this time of the year, we could all use a few lighter recipes to offset the massive amounts of cookies, pies, and casseroles that are going to be consumed.

Salmon Bulgogi


This recipe, Salmon "Bulgogi" with Bok Choy and Mushrooms, is a winner on so many levels. First of all, it's fantastic. The marinade has to be my new most favoritest marinade ever. (and yes, the regular ed English teachers that I work with, are probably printing this off to show our principal, while exclaiming, "see what I have to work with!") Second, it's pretty. Third, it easy. There you have it: fantastic, pretty, easy. What more could you want?

Salmon "Bulgogi" with Bok Choy and Mushrooms
Serves 4

2 large garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
1 3/4-inch cube peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce*
4 6-ounce center-cut skinless salmon fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large bok choy, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 7 cups)
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced

Blend 1 garlic clove and next 7 ingredients in mini processor. Arrange salmon in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon marinade over. Let marinate 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500°F. Arrange fish, with some marinade still clinging, on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer any marinade in dish to small saucepan. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. Bring marinade in saucepan to boil; set aside and reserve for glaze.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add bok choy and mushrooms; using garlic press, press in 1 garlic clove. Stir-fry until mushrooms are tender and bok choy is wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide vegetables among plates. Top with salmon. Brush fish with glaze.


Vote for Smudge

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What Was It Wednesday?

Roasted Potatoes


You're looking at 12/25/2007.

Yep, Christmas day, 2007. Obviously some sort of roasted potatoes, served with my standard Cranberry Bourbon Glazed Ham. With the little bits of stuff clinging to them, I'm guessing that they were maybe a garlic herb roasted potato.

By the way, this whole cleaning out my pictures folder (even though I've only gotten rid of a couple of pictures), is so liberating. It's kind of like when you take a load of stuff to Goodwill. It feels good to be finally doing something with it!

Vote for Smudge

Don’t forget to vote for Smudge for the Cute Cat Contest. Remember, wait a full 24 hours and you can vote once a day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Garden Tuesday - Property Line

Sometimes it's hard to know just where the property line is between our house and our neighbors.

line


Other times, not so difficult.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pasta with Roast Sweet Potato and Pasta

Roasted Sweet Potato Pasta


Thanks to my CSA I have something like 20 pounds of sweet potatoes, which since they last so long in our cool garage (holder of sweet potatoes and junk, but not cars), is not a bad thing to have. While they make a lovely side dish, for a weeknight dinner, I am all about one plate meals. Pile it on a plate, slice some bread, and call it dinner.

So, I turned to Donna Hay. She never lets me down, especially when it comes to simple dishes that look much harder and fancier than they are. I'm all about things that make me look like I worked harder than I did. How else am I going to justify the fact that I need individual gratin dishes. I want some cute ones, maybe in red. It's all your fault, I've seen them popping up in blogs all over, and I have become obsessed with finding some.

Sweet Potato Pasta


Anyway, I looked through The New Cookby Donna Hay and found Pasta with Roast Sweet Potato and Fetta. You know what it is even better about this simple pasta dish??!! It comes with it's own salad, built right in. You serve the pasta over some fresh baby spinach, which sounded kind of weird, but totally worked. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes, the tang of the feta, the bitey sweetness of the leeks and the rosemary, all wonderful!

Pasta with Roast Sweet Potato and Feta
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (peeled and diced) (only I didn't peel)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
3 leeks, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
14 oz pasta
2 tablespoons butter
6 oz marinated feta, chopped (I just used regular)
8 oz baby spinach leaves
cracked black pepper
grated parmesan

Toss the sweet potatoes with one tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 for 30 minutes or until soft and browned.

Place 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and the rosemary and cook for about 7 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water per directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add the sweet potatoes, leeks, butter and feta. Toss to combine.

Place piles of spinach on plate and top with pasta, sprinkle with parmesan and a generous grinding of fresh ground pepper.

This will be my entry for this week's Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.

Smudge


P.S. I've entered Smudge in a Cute Senior Cat Contest on Facebook. He would be ever so appreciative if you would vote for him.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend Wine Reviews #10

Lindemans
Lindemans Chardonnay, 2008. South Africa, $5.00. They say: rich melon, grapefuit and tropical aroms with a rounded finish. We say: we agree with everything they say. Excellent! Buy again: Yes definitely! Espcecially for $5.00!

Gnarled Vine
Gnarled Vine, 2005, Zinfandel. Lodi, California. $7.99 We say: light bodied, blackberry, very drinkable and pleasant. Not an oustanding zinfandel, but for $7.99, not bad. Buy again: probably.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #233

Smudge
Smudge was a little disgusted with Patchouli's flower pictures last week.


Smudge
He says that he was posing for pictures with flowers before Patchouli was even born.


Smudge
He also says that he used to walk 10 miles to school in the snow.


Smudge, setting the younger generation straight, will be my entry for this week's Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Samantha Black & Mr Tigger (whom we hope comes back soon) at Life From a Cat’s Perspective.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce



Lunchroom envy. I love it. Not having it. Giving it. You know, when everyone around the table starts sniffing the air and asking what it is your eating. And you smile smugly and say, "Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce." And then, unless they cook a lot, or are familiar Vietnamese foods, they look at you blankly. Good times.

Do you want to give lunchroom envy? This dish will do it for you. The aroma of the ginger is intoxicating. I found this recipe in Quick & Easy Vietnamese: 75 Everyday Recipes a book which I've sang the praises of many times. If you haven't gotten you a copy yet, you really don't know what you are missing.

Everything in the book is easy, and unbelievably tasty. This dish was no exception. My chicken didn't come out as dark and caramely as the pictures in the book. I think it's because I used more chicken than what the recipe called for and my chicken steamed a little more than it browned. Didn't matter it was still delicious. The slight heat from the ginger with the sweetness of the sugar and the earthiness of the fish sauce...perfect.

Chicken Simmered in Caramel Sauce
Serves 4 - 6

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped shallots or onion
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar or palm sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1/4 cup water
3 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

Chop the chicken into big chunks by halving each thigh and then cutting each half into quarters. In a large, deep skillet or a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until a bit of garlic sizzles at once. Add the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes, tossing once or twice.

Push the meat out to the sides of the pan and add the ginger, shallots, and garlic to the middle of the pan. Cook for about 1 minute, and then toss well. Add the fish sauce, both kinds of sugar, the salt, pepper, and chili flakes and toss to mix everything well. Let the sauce come to a strong boil and begin to thicken, and then add the water. Adjust the heat to maintain a lively simmer and then cook the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing now and then, When the sauce is a reddish brown syrup and the chicken is cooked, add the green onions and toss well. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or warm.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Knockwurst with Braised Cabbage and Apples

Braised Cabbage


Raise your hand if you can make braised cabbage look good in a picture? Oh really. Would you kindly tell me how. See how in my photos I've distracted you from the overall beige colored meal with my cute and quirky vintage dish towel. Pretty clever, don't you think?

Braised cabbage. How can something that smells so funky, taste so good? Speaking of smelling funky, every time I make braised cabbage I remember house hunting in St. Louis. We went to look at a house right around dinner time, and the family was just sitting down to eat dinner. They had obviously been cooking some cabbage. You wouldn't think that you would have to tell someone to not cook cabbage when you are having people come look at your house, but apparently you do. Fresh baked bread aroma - yes, cooked cabbage - no. Pretty simple.

Braised Cabbage


When my CSA gave me some adorable heads of cabbage, I knew what I wanted. What immediately popped into my mind was cabbage, apples, and sausage. In some sort of combination. Since I am creatively cookerly challenged, I turned to someone who can create anything from anything, and of course, that would be Martha. Her Knockwurst with Braised Cabbage and Apples was just what I was looking for.

It was wonderful! I mean really, really good. I've made versions of this before and this was definitely the best. I think it was the apple cider and the vinegar. I made the recipe pretty much as written except that I subbed Bratwurst for Knockwurst. Hey, they're both wursts...whatever that is. I'm not going to post the recipe here, since you can just follow the link above to Martha. Tell her Pam said Hi!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Was It Wednesday?

WWIW


You're looking at November 4th, 2007. It's a shame I didn't post this. Just look at the trouble I went through to gather the props: the fall tablecloth, the small pumpkins artfully arranged in the background. Even with the extra effort, it has languished away in my food photos for over two years. I'm thinking it's roasted sweet potatoes with pears (or maybe apples).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup


What's not to love about fall? There's the bright orange and red of the leaves in stark contrast against a deep blue sky. The crisp clean feel of the air that makes you feel exhilarated and energetic. The sounds of children giggling as they frolic in piles of leaves. The smell of soups and braises bubbling away on your stove.

I know that by the end of winter, I am craving the bright, fresh colors and flavors of summer, but right now it is all about the soups. This past week we had two soups, and I was perfectly okay with that. I've started making a big pot on Sundays and then heating up a mug of it at school for my lunch through the week. There is nothing nicer to a weary educator then a big cup of soup and chunk of homemade bread.

This Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup from Bon Appetit was a real winner. I mean just look at it, doesn't it look like fall in a bowl?! I used chorizo sausage and I subbed kale for spinach. It was excellent.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
8 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguiƧa sausage or chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach (or kale, stemmed and cut into 1 inch strips)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

A Girl Named Zippy


First of all, I must admit that just as I am not above buying a bottle of wine because of a cute label, I am also not above buying a book for it's cover. But I didn't buy this book for it's cover (though I actually love it), I bought it as an audio book, because I needed another nonfiction book to listen to. That's what I do, I read fiction, listen to non-fiction. It keeps me from getting plots and characters mixed up.

Do you want to know how much I loved this book? I loved it so much that I bought the book, A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indianain paperback form too. That's right, I have it in audiobook and paperback. I wanted to be able to go back and reread favorite passages, share lines with friends, and all that other stuff you must do when you have fallen in love with a book.

In this book, Haven Kimmel talks of growing up in Moreland, Indiana. Her childhood stories are charming, engaging, funny, sweet, and every other positive adjective that I can think of. The writing is beautiful, the descriptions so complete you feel as if you are there. I literally just spent about ten minutes trying to find a favorite part to include here. It's almost impossible. I love every part. A small sample will not really do this book justice, but I'll try:

There were identical twins in my class, Anita and Annette. By any standard, Anita was the sweetest person available, plus she could turn the best cartwheel and bake in an Easy Bake Oven. Annette was quite diverse. She could play any sport and could also draw very handsomely. I sometimes got them as best friends; not together, one at a time, although having one was like having both. I considered them a real best friend coup.

And...

When we were all invited to a party at Julie's house in the fall of our fourth-grade year, I assumed that my naturally superior relationship with animals and farm implements would be revealed, and in the ledger in which our talents were recorded, I would finally have one little tick in my column. I no longer hoped to beat Dana at anything. I just wanted to be able to say that once, in the wretched life that followed her arrival, I had proved good at something.

I highly recommend this book both in audio and print. The audio is nice because it is read by the author and I think she sounds like Peggy from Mad Men. The print is nice because you can reread and share favorite parts. When I ordered the paperback, I also ordered She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, IndianaI haven't read it yet, but I expect it to be every bit as wonderful!


Five out of five stars.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #232

Scraps and Smudge


There is a very special event that occurs at my house every morning. It is the serving of the "milky water". See, every morning I have granola. And every morning, I leave a little of my milk in my bowl. I then fill it up with water and serve it to the waiting kitty cats. Scrappycat is especially fond of this. She usually sits a few feet away from me staring at me while I eat my cereal. She gets it first, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. She even muscles in front of Smudge who outweighs her by about 10 pounds and is several years her junior.

Smudge waiting patiently for old lady cat, Scraps to finish her drink is my entry for this week's Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Breadchick and LB at The Sour Dough.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash

Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash


There are certain foods that would not be gracing my table if it were not for my CSA. Okra and lima beans are tops on that list. Kohlrabi would also have to be included, simply because I would have had no idea what it was. I still really don't know what it is. Some sort of cross between a cabbage, a turnip, and a radish??

It's an unusual vegetable, sort of pretty. I've posted a couple of recipes, Cabbage, Apple, and Kohlrabi Slaw and Kohlrabi Slaw with Asian Style Pork Chops. Since, I had obviously been stuck in a slaw rut with it, I started searching for another way to use it. I found Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash from Epicurious.

This was good. The kohlrabi added a sort of "bite" to the sweet butternut squash. I don't know that I would go out of my way to buy kohlrabi, but if you like it, then you probably would really enjoy this recipe.

Roasted Kohlrabi and Butternut Squash
Serves 4

4 medium kohlrabi (2 1/4 lb with greens or 1 3/4 lb without)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 lb butternut squash
Special equipment: a 17- by 12- by 1-inch shallow heavy baking pan

Put oven rack just below middle position and put baking pan on rack, then preheat oven to 450°F. (If roasting vegetables along with turkey, preheat pan for 15 minutes while turkey roasts, then roast vegetables underneath turkey.)

Trim and peel kohlrabi, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Toss kohlrabi with 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Transfer kohlrabi to preheated pan in oven and roast 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel butternut squash, then quarter lengthwise, seed, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Toss squash with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in same bowl.

Stir kohlrabi, turning it, then push it to one side of pan.

Add squash to opposite side of pan and roast, stirring and turning squash over halfway through roasting, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes total (after squash is added).

Toss vegetables to combine and transfer to a dish.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spiced Beef Cornbread Cobbler

Spiced Beef Cornbread Cobbler


When you purchase a half a cow, you end up with a bazillion pounds of ground beef. Now, true, it is wonderful grassfed, lean ground beef, but still, that's alot of ground beef. You start collecting ground beef recipes the same way you used to collect salt and pepper shakers. You begin to wonder if there is anything wrong with having meatloaf and spaghetti bolognese several times a week. When you find a recipe called Spiced Beef Cornbread Cobbler at Epicurious, you make it.

And you like it. You don't follow the directions exactly, because they have you dirty a skillet and a pie plate. You decide to do it all in cast iron skillet, which possibly makes the meat a little drier than if it was transferred to a pie plate. You like the subtle flavor of the cinnamon, the spice of the cayenne. You think that your dumplings would have been a little lighter if you hadn't used the coarse ground cornmeal that you use for polenta. You smile as you erase one pound of ground beef from the list hanging above the freezer.

Spiced Beef Cobbler
Serves 4

1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef chuck
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
2 ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 1/2-inch (6-cup capacity) pie plate.

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons oil in a deep 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef and cook, breaking up large lumps, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and briskly simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes.

While beef simmers, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, egg, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl, then stir into cornmeal mixture until just combined. Fold in 1/2 cup cheese.

Spoon cooked spiced beef into pie plate with a slotted spoon, reserving juices in skillet. Skim off and discard fat from juices if desired, then pour juices over beef in pie plate.

Spoon 4 mounds of corn bread batter over beef, then sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons cheese over batter. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of corn bread comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes.

Serve cobbler warm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Was It Wednesday??

Something chocolate


Food bloggers, I have a question. How many pictures of food do you have in your food picture folder? Too many to count, if you are anything like me. In an effort to clean up and organize, I have officially announced "What Was It Wednesday". Truth be told, some of my pictures are so old, I have no idea what they are. Or if they were good.

Mystery frozen chocolate


This lovely chocolate something-or-other is my first entry. I made it on October 11, 2007. It looks good, doesn't it? With it's pretty dark color, I am guessing a sorbet. I probably liked it. I probably liked it alot.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Big Bowl of Japanese Dashi Noodles

Noodle bowl


I love Asian food. My favorites are Thai and Vietnamese. The other day I realized that I have never tried to cook anything with a Japanese influence. I decided to remedy that, and I decided to begin with dashi.

Dashi stuff


I had read about dashi and I thought that it would be a good starting point. I made the dashi broth following the directions on the back of bonito flakes package. It had a light pleasant flavor, slightly salty and seafoody.

Noodles


Keeping it simple, I added some soba noodles, some sliced mushrooms and some sort of dried seaweed called wakame. This ended up being a nice light bowl of noodles. I think, though, if given the choice I would prefer the pop of the flavors of Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.

Anyone out there experienced in cooking Japanese? Anything that I should try?

Dashi
(from back of bonito flakes)

Boil 5 cups of water with a 4-5" piece of Kombu. When it boils add 1/2 cup of Bonito Flakes, remove from heat and strain the Kombu and Bonito. Add soy sauce for a flavor enhancing noodle broth.


This will be my entry for Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Chaya of Sweet & Savory.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekend Wine Reviews #9

Last weekend was an important weekend. Middle daughter was bringing home the boyfriend to meet the parents. Youngest daughter came home, I think to observe, and hope for some excitement. Well, if she was hoping for drama, she was disappointed. Because said boyfriend came in bringing two bottles of wine for us! Apparently I am completely shallow and you can totally win me over with a couple bottles of wine.

Crios
Crios de Susanna Balbo, 2006. 50% Syrah and 50% Bonardo. Mendoza. (This is the wine boyfriend brought, so we had to look up on the web to see approximate cost - $15) They say: very juicy and enticing with lushly layered plum sauce, black licorice, fig cake and boysenberry notes that glide over round tannins. We say: full flavored, creamy, fruity. Buy again - definitely. Boyfriend - a keeper.


Paso A Paso
Pasa A Paso, 2007. Tempranillo. $11.99. We say: a little fruity, tangy, a bit of vanilla. Buy again - yes!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging #231

Which do you prefer?


Patchouli
Patchouli?


Flowers
Or the flowers?


Patchouli
Patchouli?


Flowers
Or the flowers?


Patchouli
She is sure you will make the right choice.


This will be my entry for this week's Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Diamond & Tristan at Digicats.