Monday, April 30, 2012

Corn Grits with Collard Greens and Andouille

Corn Grits with Collard Greens and Andouille Sausage

What do you think of when you think of grains?  Rice?  Pasta?  Is pasta even a grain?  Well, there is a whole big world of grains out there that most of us barely even get past the top two or three.   I have set out to change all that.  Explore the grains.  Find new favorites and different ways to fix old favorites.  In my corner, I have, Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass.  This book and I are going to become fast friends. 

Even though it is spring here, we had a few cold days and I was looking for something that could use what was in season, collards, but still feel comforting.  This was perfect.  I didn’t have any grits, but I had coarse polenta, which is just about the same thing right?  And I didn’t have cook Andouille, so I just added it all in the cooking step and didn’t had any sliced at the end.

Corn Grits with Collard Greens and Andouille

  • GRITS
  • 1 cup corn grits
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • COLLARDS
  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 fully cooked Andouille sausages (mine weren’t)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • hot pepper sauce or crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Place the grits in a bowl, fill it with water and skim off any chaff that rises to the top and then strain in a fine mesh strainer.

Bring 4 cups of water and salt in a large saucepan, to a boil.  Slowly stir in the grits.  Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the grits to cook about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every so often to prevent clumping.  Lower the heat to low and continue cooking uncovered for about 40-60 minutes until the grits are tender.  Add more water if the mixture becomes too dry.  Turn off the heat, stir in the oil and cheese, add salt to taste, cover and set them aside until the collards are ready.

While the grits are cooking prepare the collards.  Wash them and drain them.  Stack them up and roll them into a log.  Cut the stems and the leaves into very thin slices.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for about 4 minutes.  Then add the sausage finely diced (use one if they are cooked, if not add all right now), garlic and oregano and cook for another minute. 

Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.  Add the collards and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the collards are tender, about 5 to 15 minutes.

While the collards are cooking, slice the remaining Andouille (if you didn’t already add it all).  Stir the sausage and tomatoes into the collards and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes.  Adjust seasonings and add hot sauce if you wish.

Serve the collards over the grits.

Serves 3 to 4

This will be my entry for Cookbook Sundays

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #105 Paul Valmer, 365 Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Paso Robles Chardonnay, 365, Paul Valmer, 2009, $5.99, Whole Foods.  We say:  light, bit of butter, a bit of citrus and melon, finishes short.  Buy again:  probably not.  Not bad, but nothing special.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Smudge

Smudge.  Contemplating world peace and tuna.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by again nobody.  This time there isn’t even a weekend listed on the schedule.  I really wouldn’t mind taking this over, if whoever is running it would just say the word.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lemon Frozen Yogurt

Lemon Frozen Yogurt

The other day I was craving a dessert.  I needed something that I could make right then and there out of pantry ingredients.  And since it was me, it needed to not include baking.  So much goes wrong when I bake.  Not to mention how messy my kitchen looks with flour all over it. 

Enter lemon frozen yogurt.  I always have the ingredients to make this.  Always.  If I don’t, it means I just ran out and haven’t made it to the grocery store yet.  I kind of cobbled together several recipes that I found on the internet and in books.  Removing any time consuming difficult steps.

Lemon Frozen Yogurt

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from one lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla vodka (I’m guessing limoncello would have been divine too)

Heat the sugar and water, to make a simple syrup, in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.  Refrigerate until well chilled.

In a large bowl (I use a big batter bowl because it pours so nicely), mix all the ingredients, including the chilled simple syrup.  Some people say to chill again, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  Pour into your ice cream maker and process according to directions. 

Perfect blend of sweet and tart!

 

 

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Sorbet

Chocolate Coconut Sorbet

I was stumbling around the blogosphere when I found Kavey Eats, or more precisely that Kavey Eats has a monthly ice cream challenge.  Since I love all things frozen, I am so up for this.   The challenge for this month was sorbets, granitas, shaved ice desserts, slushies, and spoom.  Having no clue what a spoom was, I decided to stick was something I’m familiar with…sorbets.  So, I turned first to where I always turn first for all things frozen The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments from David Lebovitz.  I was looking for something that I could make with ingredients that I had on hand.

Chocolate Coconut Sorbet

I always have chocolate (even though I don’t bake, I always buy unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate just in case I ever get the urge to actually bake) and since I love all things Thai, I always have coconut milk to whip up a quick curry.  So, Chocolate Coconut Sorbet was a go.

Chocolate Coconut Sorbet

  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces (230 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (500 ml) Thai coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, stir the water, sugar and salt together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the coconut milk and the vanilla.

Chill the mixture in a covered container until thoroughly cold, several hours. Whisk the mixture briefly before churning, and freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes about 1 liter.

 

This will be my entry for Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream from Kavey Eats.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Was it Wednesday

You’re looking at May 6, 2010.  I think Caesar salad.  Which reminds me, it’s been way to long since I’ve had one!  What do you think?

****What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Iris

Iris

My irises, from the lovely Jain, are blooming!  I don’t know their names even she wrote them on the leaves for me when she sent them to me.  All I know is they are pretty.

I’m also processing one for a Texture Tuesday Photo challenge at Pamela Greer Photography Blog if you want to see what a little texture does. 

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Carrot Sauté with Olives, Garlic, and Millet

Spring Carrot Saute with Olives, Garlic, and Millet

I think I have a new favorite grain.  New as in “new favorite” not new as in “new grain” because millet is actually an ancient grain.  If you see it, you’ll think it looks like bird food and that’s because in our country that is what it’s primarily used for.  And that is such a shame.  It cooks up so lovely and fluffy with a slightly nutty flavor.  It’s crazy easy to cook, just add it to water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  That’s it. 

Carrots

When I saw these sweet little carrots at the market with their bright greens still attached, I grabbed them without a clue what I was going to do with them.  After some web searching, I found Spring Carrot Saute with Olives, Garlic and Millet from 5 Second Rule.

Spring Carrot Saute with Olives, Garlic, and Millet

This was super easy and really flavorful.  She suggested some optional stir-ins (cooked shrimp, cooked beans or lentils, peas, any leftover vegetables).  I happened to have half a bag of cooked shrimp leftover from some recipe.  It was perfect.

Go check out the link above, and make this.  Seriously.  If you’ve never tried millet, give it a try, and if you love millet like I do, then you’re probably not even still reading this…you are already over there!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #104 White Truck Chardonnay

White Truck Chardonnay

White Truck Unoaked Chardonnay, Central Coast, 2008, $8.99, Trader Joes.  They say:  unoaked, showcasing crisp apple, fresh tropical fruits, and crisp citrus flavor.  We say:  Very light, a little citrus, little apple and peach.  Not bad, not great.  Buy again:  maybe.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #359 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Grimmy

Here is one last picture of our neighbor’s kitty.  It’s a long story, but he used to belong to our neighbor’s sister.  She moved into an apartment and couldn’t keep him and her other cat.  So, they went to stay with our neighbor.  Well, they pretty much adopted us, or we adopted them.  But now, she is able to take them, so she gathered them up last weekend and took them home.  Home, where they will get much love and attention.  But I miss them. 

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by NOBODY as of today.  I know people have requested to host, but they haven’t been added to the schedule.  Hopefully someone will work on the schedule.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon

Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon

As I mentioned yesterday, I made an entirely yellowish meal and served it on a yellow plate.  Not my finest plating moment.  But just pretend that it was bright and colorful, because it tasted bright and colorful.  Served with a salad, which of course I didn’t take a picture of because it was green and that would have added a bit of interested to my photo, it was a perfect meal.

Speaking of pictures, Android FINALLY got Instagram and I am beside myself with happiness.  Of course, then Facebook goes and buys it, so I don’t know what that means.  But anyway, come follow me and I’ll follow you and we’ll all be one happy Instagram bunch.  My instagram ID is @pamgreer. 

Alright.  Back to these potatoes.  They came from my new favorite cookbook, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp DinnerI’m sorry to keep harping on it, but really, she put “Quick and Simple” in the title – my two favorite words when it comes to cooking.  These were wonderful.  I had them for dinner and then leftovers for lunch.  I could eat them every day.  Really.

And guess what?  I found them online, Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon – so I don’t have to type it all in here!!!  Yay.  Go check it out.  Make them.  Come back and thank me.

 

 

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Broiled Tilapia with Mustard-Chive Sauce

Broiled Tilapia with Mustard-Chive Sauce

First of all, don’t let the picture distract you.  It is not easy photographing a white fish with a white cream sauce.  Plus, I then and went and put it on a yellow plate and as you’ll see tomorrow I served it potatoes.  I don’t think I could have made it more monochromatic if I had tried.  But even though we basically ate our way through one color on the same color plate, it was all wonderful!

Broiling fish.  I forgot how perfect that is for a weeknight dinner (Fridays actually, because growing up Catholic, it’s hard to take the fish out Fridays).  With my old stove, the broiler was gas and it had to preheat the oven before the broiler would kick on – that sometimes would take almost 10 minutes.  Then once it did come on, it was just a strip of flame in the middle.  It broiled so unevenly.  So, I pretty much stopped broiling.  My new stove has gas burners and an electric oven.  I love my electric broiler with it’s glowing orange coils evenly spaced out over the width of the oven. 

I told you about my most recent cookbook addition, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner.  Well, today and tomorrow I am sharing a dinner that I made that was fabulous.  First up was this fish.  It was so good, and unbelievably easy.  My only sub was regular yogurt instead of Greek, so my sauce was a little runny.  Get the book. Make this.  Really. 

Broiled Tilapia with Mustard-Chive Sauce

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 4 (5 to 6 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from one large lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the broiler and spray a baking sheet or glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Drizzle the tilapia on both sides with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place the fillets in a single layer on your baking sheet and broil for about 6 to 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, agave nectar, and mustard.  Whisk in the lemon juice and chives and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 

Serve the sauce over the tilapia.

Serves 4

This will be my entry for Cookbook Sundays

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at May 5, 2010.  Some sort of salad.  I think I see spinach, cheese, bread, cranberries?

****What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This Life is in Your Hands by Melissa Coleman

As someone who was a teenager during the 1970's  in love with all things hippie and now a self-proclaimed local foodie, This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family's Heartbreak by Melissa Coleman has it all for me.

It is a memoir of Melissa Coleman.  Well, really it is a memoir of Melissa's parents and family.  In 1968, Melissa's parents, Eliot and Sue set out to live off of the land.  They are inspired by Helen and Scott Nearing, authors of the homesteading bible Living the Good Life.  They purchase land next to the Nearings and begin the hard and laborious process of building a home and a life with the land.

It is a learn as you go experience, with Eliot becoming nationally known for his organic farming techniques. 

The memoir almost reads as a novel, with the lyrical phrases the author chooses, making me feel like I am there.  The book is full of detail and thoughtful insight.  Because it is more than just the story of a family living off the land, it is the story of a family.  A family with dynamic relationships.  Relationships that I at times found puzzling, but isn't that how it is with real life.

This book has it all..from details on organic farming, a look at the free spirit of the hippie movement, family dynamics, tragedy, hope, descriptions of fresh foods to make your mouth water, simple childhood memories...everything. 

I am hosting this for the TLC Book Tours, please check here to see all the other bloggers who are hosting and check out their reviews! 

For more information on the author, you can visit their website, here.

Usual disclaimer:  I received no compensation for this review, other than a copy of the book.  All opinions are my own. 

Garden Tuesday ~ The First Peony

peony

That’s it peeps!  The first peony of the season.  My favorites, the pale pink ones, should be opening soon!  So, what’s happening in your garden?  I love all the people who are starting to link up, waking up their gardens.

Also, I am scheduled to do a book review today, but I knew that some of you would want to link up for Garden Tuesday – so I am doing two posts today!!!  Am I a hard worker, or what?!  So I’ll post my book review a little later, stay tuned because it was a very good book!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio

From the title alone, Whole Latte Life  you might expect a frivolous chick lit read.  Which believe me, I have nothing against a frivolous chick lit read, we all need them now and then.  But this book was more.  So much more.

I realized that this book had really pulled me in when I found myself arguing to myself about something that the main character had done. When you care enough about a character, to sit and fret about her, like she is one of your flesh and blood friends, you know the book is good.

The story begins with Rachel and Sara Beth at a girl's weekend.  A special girl's weekend, a 40th birthday weekend.  Well, really the story begins with Rachel.  Rachel, going into the restroom to find out why Sara Beth is taking so long.  When she doesn't find Sara Beth, she begins alarmed, but not too terribly.  Certainly she just stepped out, or is getting a surprise ready, something.  But when a restaurant worker hands Rachel a note from Sara Beth, she realizes something is very wrong.  In the note, Sara Beth asks Rachel to let her walk away from her life for awhile, to give her this weekend, to not tell her husband Tom.

So, it begins.  Rachel's frantic search for her girlfriend in New York, helped by a mounted police officer, Michael.  Sara Beth's frantic attempt to get her life back, the life she dreamed of.

It is the story of both women, but mainly it is Sara Beth.  Sara Beth, who at times I found whiney and complaining, but then I realized she was a woman in crisis.  Unable to cope with the death of her mother, the loss of her dreams.  It's the story of friends and family who step in to help. 

I really enjoyed this book.  It makes you focus on your on life, the dreams you had when you were young

For more information on the author and the book, please visit the website, here

Usual disclaimer:  I received no compensation for this review, other than a copy of the book.  All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #103 Quinta de Ventozelo Qv Red Blend

Ventozelo

Quinta de Ventozelo QV Red Blend, 2008, Portugal, $8.99, Total Wine (Atlanta, GA). We say:  a little berry.  Not too complex, soft and light.  Very good. Would make a nice safe red wine for a party.  Buy again:  yes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Strawberry-Amaretto Frozen Yogurt

Strawberry-Amaretto Frozen Yogurt

This week, I stood in front of my cookbook bookshelves.  I paused and my eyes traveled over the shelves.  It was the history of my cooking, right there in front of me. 

There were hippie mother earth cookbooks from college, microwave cookbooks from the hurried twenty-something years, big general cookbooks from the I-just-got-married-and-need-to-cook-everynight-time, Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin to become more of a chef and less of a cook, bread baking, yogurt making, healthy eating, celebrity chefs, from garden to table, eat locally.  It was all there. 

It is comforting to select an old cookbook off the shelf and relive the time of your life when you purchased it.  What you needed it for, what you hoped to do with it.  This yogurt came from Great Good Food: Luscious Lower-fat Cookingby Julie Rosso.  A book that has been on my shelf since the early 90’s.  I was slowly switching us over to healthier foods.  What I liked about this book is that it was lower fat, not because it used fake low fat ingredients, but because it used ingredients that were naturally low in fat.  Now, even though I just said that, this particular recipe called for nonfat yogurt, which I think is vile.  So, I subbed full fat, but low fat would work too.

This quite possibly has become my most favorite frozen yogurt.  The amaretto really elevates it.  It keeps it creamy and the almond flavor totally enhances the strawberries.  I made this with frozen strawberries, so if it is not strawberry season at your house, don’t hesitate to use frozen.

Strawberry-Amaretto Frozen Yogurt

  • 3 cups coarsely chopped fresh strawberries (or frozen)
  • 1 cup sugar (can probably use less)
  • 2 1/2 cups plain nonfat  yogurt (or full or low)
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto

Place strawberries and sugar in a food processor and puree.  She has you then fold in the yogurt and Amaretto, I just added it to the food processor and gave it another quick whirl – didn’t seem to hurt it any.

Chill for one hour.

Transfer mixture to an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacture’s instructions.

Serves 8

 

 

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making yogurt.

Yogurt

On October 29, 2007, I originally posted about making your own yogurt.  And unlike some cooking phases that come and go, I am still making my own yogurt.  It is so cost efficient.

I have tweaked the recipe a bit finding what I can eliminate and making it even easier.  I don’t use the powdered milk, because several years ago I ran out and found that there really wasn’t that much of a difference. 

Homemade yogurt doesn’t get as thick as store bought, but that doesn’t bother me, as you’ll see with tomorrow’s recipe, I get mine nice and cold.  Really cold.  Frozen even.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at April 17, 2010.  I’m thinking maybe tuna nicoise?  Or something similar?

 

**** What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Azaleas

Azaleas

It’s that time of year.

Azaleas

When you can’t walk or drive more than a few feet without resting your eyes on some azalea love.

Azaleas

Makes me glad I live in the south.

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Farfalle Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Pearl Onions

Farfalle Pasta Salad

There are some cookbooks that I buy sight unseen.  Authors that I have so much confidence in that I don’t have to read the recipes or look at the pictures.  I know that I will find something to cook out of that book, and most likely, lots of things to cook out of the book.  One of those is Giada De Laurentiis.  When I received an email from Amazon that she had a new book coming out, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner I preordered it, without hesitating.  As usual, she did not disappoint. 

Some people have criticized the book saying that there are too many pictures of Giada and her family, and that it could be better filled with more recipe photos.  I guess as a photographer, I found them just as interesting to look at, so that didn’t bother me. 

Lemons

I was looking for a quick meatless pasta dish, and Farfalle Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Pearl Onions, fit the bill.  I didn’t have pearl onions, so I subbed a chopped onion.  What I liked about this dish is that I’ve had several pasta with broccoli combos before, and the addition of the beans here seemed to add substance.  I also didn’t have any cannellini beans so I used some cranberry from Rancho Gordo that I had cooked a big pot of and frozen in zip locks. 

Now, while this wasn’t freakishly outstanding, it was a good solid dinner.  It could easily be perked up with some hot peppers, maybe some shrimp, other veggies.

Farfalle Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Pearl Onions

  • 1 pound farfalle pasta
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used a little less)
  • 1 (12-ounce bag) of frozen pearl onions thawed (or sub one chopped onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound broccoli cut into small florets
  • 1 (15-ounce can) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • Grated zest and juice of two large lemons
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup chopped fresh chives

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook as directed on package, drain and place in a large serving bowl.

In a large dutch oven or saucepan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and season with salt and pepper.  Cooking, stirring every once in a while until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and saute for about a minute.  Add 1/3 cup water and scrape up any browned bits.  Cover the pan and cook until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the beans and warm through for a bout a minute.  Transfer this to the bowl with the pasta, add the cheese and toss with the pasta.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Stir in the chives.  Pour this over the pasta and toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve.

Serves 4 to 6

 

This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Gillian of So So Simple Life