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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chris's Week Thirty Recipe: Renaissance Meatloaf

I've been reading Renaissance Magazine since the very first issue. Ever so often they have period recipes and one in the most recent issue caught my eye. Linda and Bruce were over for lunch before we went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Science Museum of Minnesota and they graciously volunteered to be my taste testers.

Renaissance Meatloaf

2 lb ground beef
1 c oatmeal
1/3 c red wine
4 eggs
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg (original recipe calls for mace)
1/8 t ground cloves

Mix all ingredients together, shape into a loaf or put into an 8x8" pan, and back at 350F for 50-60 minutes.

Would I make this recipe again? I might. We all liked it, but it is a much different taste than modern meatloaf. Bruce said it was 'fun' and I think that captures it best!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jennifer's Week Twenty-Nine Recipe: Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

Chad and I were left to our own devices for dinner one night and, in an effort to eat out less, I wanted to make a relatively easy dinner for us to share and this was what I discovered thanks to the wonder of the internet.

Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) Made a bit more than this and increased the other ingredients that I felt were necessary to increase.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes) - I added more chicken. 1/2 cup just isn't very much!
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Over all, it was quite yummy. Next time I may be more generous with the mozzerella, per Chad's request.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jennifer's Week Twenty-Eight Recipe: Pasta Shells with Spicy Tomato Sauce

A recipe for my continuing quest to introduce more vegetarian meals to my carnivores. This comes from The Occasional Vegetarian.

Pasta Shells with Spicy Tomato Sauce

4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
8 plum tomatoes, each cut into sixths
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 pound shells or other short pasta
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

In a medium skillet, saute garlic over low heat in the olive oil until it begins to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the jalapeno pepper and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper and cook, partially covered, until the tomatoes soften and begin to fall apart, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every few minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and the pasta. Cover until the water returns to a boil. Cook until the pasta is tender but firm, 7 to 9 minutes.

Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Toss to combine. Add the coriander and toss lightly again. Serve hot.

Will I make it again? Signs point to no. Chad and Erik did not like it and I was indifferent. The "spicy" sauce was not spicy and Chad did not like the chunks of tomato in the sauce. I'll have to try again!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tricia's Week 29 Recipe: Blueberry Struessel Banana Bread

This week I had 4 bananas that had seen better days and a pint of blueberries crying to be baked, but what to do with them?  Bread?  Cake?  Muffins?  Torte?  Tart?

After consulting my taste testers (coworkers), I have decided on bread.  I decided to use a tried and true family banana bread recipe, leave out the walnuts and try adding blueberries instead, and then use 1/2 the struessel topping from my rhubarb bread recipe on the banana bread.  'Will it turn out?' I ask myself.

Blueberry Struessel Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 250
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup ripe smashed bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk (I get out the liquid measuring cup, put in 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, and fill to 1/2 cup with skim milk and let sit for 5 minutes, this is quite a good substitute, since I NEVER have buttermilk on hand when I want nana bread)
1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt (I add a little less, since I use salted butter)
1 cup (heaping) blueberries

Pour into two greased, 8 inch bread pans.  Top with a breadcrumb consistency made of:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 Tbsp butter

Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center is clean.

This bread turned out SOOO moist!  I don't know what I did, but I will have to try to repeat for my next batch of banana bread!  It is different, having blueberries in banana bread instead of in a 'white cake' type background, but I think I like it.  The struessel topping pretty much baked right into the top of the bread forming a crust, so I think I would do a bit more of that next time so you have some crumbles on top.  Overall, I like it, but will have to find a second opinion.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Karin's Week Twenty-Eight Recipe: Chicken Stir Fry

Generally speaking, I do like to eat stir fry, but generally let others make it. Mainly because I never seem to get the oil temperature right, and it makes such a mess of my stove.  However, Nate had a hankering for chicken stir fry, so attempt it I did. I started with a recipe from the Joy of Cooking (I know, the true authority on stir frying :P) to at least get the cooking times right.  Here's what came out of the pan.

Chicken Stir Fry

2 T canola oil
2 heaping tsp chopped garlic
2 large chicken breasts, patted dry & cut into bite-sized chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into same size as chicken
3 carrots, ditto as celery
1 large onion, again chunked
1 lb pea pods, picked over, washed & drained

2 T Chinese Five Spice powder (Lunds brand? I can't read the label)
2 tsp powdered ginger, Penzey's brand
1 T powdered mustard, Penzey's brand
1 tsp red pepper flakes, Penzey's Medium Hot
2-3 T stir fry sauce
1 T fish sauce

Get everything ready before starting to cook, and have at the ready next to the stove.

Heat a heavy-bottom pan until almost smoking - I recommend non-stick if you're like me and make things stick. Add the oil and swirl around until pan is coated. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the chicken and sear until cooked most of the way through. Remove chicken to a plate.

Add in all veggies, and a bit more oil if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes until veggies are starting to wilt a bit. Add in all spices and stir thoroughly. Add partially cooked chicken, and saute for another 5-7 minutes until veggies and chicken are done.  Serve over rice.

This sounds good, but true to previous attempts, two pans were needed, as I burnt the garlic most spectacularly in the first. Once Nate got the garlic going and the chicken in, I could take over. This was tasty, but we both agreed that it turned out a bit spicier than we wanted, and really all you could taste was the Chinese Five Spice powder. The veggies were nice and crisp though. Would I make this again? Probably not in this form. I think I'd change up the spices and try something completely different. Maybe next time I'll look in my Chinese cookbook, rather than JoC.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Update #3: Olive Oil Cake

Miss Tricia was kind enough to get me some lemon and garlic olive oils from Oilerie in Door County. I wanted the lemon so I could try it in the Olive Oil Cake recipe from Good to the Grain. This latest cake was made to the recipe, using spelt flour, lemon olive oil, and omitting the rosemary and chocolate. I must say, the lemon really pops out of this cake!

Thanks, Tricia!

Update - Now posted: Tricia's Week 25 Recipes: Gingerbread Cake, Carrot Cake, and Homemade Brownies

Go here to read

Tricia's Week 28 Recipe: Salsa con Queso

I keep feeling like this is cheating!  I'm posting something so easy, but it's so delicious!

I love melted cheese dip for chips, and I have finally hit upon a winning dip that I will be making for a long time to come.  A warning to those of Minnesota Taste Buds....this is not for you!

Spicy Queso Salsa Dip

4 &1/2 inches of the larger Velveta cheese block (I have no idea what this translates too, sorry!)
1/2 jar Tostitos Hot salsa
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
1-2 teaspoons Penzy's Northwoods Fire seasoning

I put this into a mini crock pot ot keep it hot for the entire time I want to eat it.  I plug my mini in as I start prep so it's a bit warm by the time I'm ready to put the dip into it.  Cut the cheese into little 1/2 inch cubes and place in a largish microwave bowl.  Pour salsa over the top.  Add spices to top of salsa Shake a bit to integrate and microwave in 1 minute intervals , stirring after each minute until fully melted.  I cover my bowl w/ a plate to help the melting process.

I will definitely be making this again!  The Northwoods Fire spice added a smokey flavor that I've not experienced in a cheese dip before.  As mentioned in the intro, this is NOT for those who don't like spicy foods.  I'm sure you could use mild or medium salsa, if you needed to take it down a notch, but the other seasonings will still give a kick.  I think this would be a great way to make nachos, too.  As I also like a good cheese dip w/ meat in it, i may try this again and add ground hamburger to it....As it was, I had chips and this dip for dinner (twice!).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chris's Week Twenty-Nine Recipe: Radish Slaw

What do you do when you have too many radishes for your own good? Make radish slaw! This simple recipe is excellent without any marination. You can safely leave it sit for a couple hours in the fridge, but there's no need to do so.

Radish Slaw

Grate equal parts radish and carrot using a coarse grater

For each 2c of grated vegetables, add

2T apple cider vinegar
1T agave nectar (I assume sugar would work as well)

Mix and serve.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, it's the perfect solution for when you're tired of eating plain radishes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Karin's Week Twenty-Seven Recipe: Smoked Chicken

A few weekends ago we ventured 'Up North' to visit my Farm Grandpa and aunts/uncles/cousins and their various offspring. My aunt and uncle have a nice cottage on a lake which provides a wonderful gathering place for all ages and species (i.e. our dog, who was introduced to the fun that a 2.5yr old boy can be). As is always occurring in these family gatherings, the women sat in the backyard watching over the wee ones, and the men sat around the grill and smoker attending to the meat preparation. One of my cousins had brought a brisket to be smoked for lunch the following day, and all the men felt the need to give their input on how it should be cooked. Apparently this was much easier than either Nate or I had thought.

It was tasty, and on the way home, there was a discussion in our car concerning the smoker that has resided in our garage since who knows when. It had never been used by Nate in its smoker capacity, only as a grill, and he's had it since college. We decided that the smoked brisket was tasty enough that we could try and smoke a whole chicken in ours.

Smoked Chicken

1 whole chicken, about 3lb, with all innards removed
3 T Penzey's Tuscan Sunset seasoning
1 T kosher salt
3 twists of pepper grinder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 hunk of wood, soaked overnight - we used a piece of maple

1. Prepare smoker by lighting coals, or preheating if gas, and drip-drying wood.
2. Mix all seasonings together in small bowl. Loosen the skin on the chicken breast, thighs and legs. Rub spice mixture on chicken meat under skin. If you have leftover spices, rub inside chicken cavity.
3. Place wet wood piece into smoker, and then place chicken on rack just above.
4. Smoke chicken for about 2-2.5 hours until done, adding coals as needed to maintain even temp.
5. Serve either hot or cold.

This was a big hit, and made enough for dinner and several lunches. The chicken flavor tasted good both right out of the smoker, and straight from the fridge as leftovers. I think we'll be trying this again, and possibly with other meats now that we know how easy it is.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chris's Week Twenty-Eight Recipe: French Potato Salad

"What recipe is madame perusing? Why, it is French Potato Salad! If madame cannot make some-zing with us lentils this week, why zen, zis is the next best zing!"

French Potato Salad

2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
1/3 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 t dried oregano
1.5 T Dijon mustard
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper (or just grind until it looks like enough!)
1/4 t hot pepper sauce
1/2 red onion, sliced

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water about 10 min or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and spices. Pour over the sliced onion and potatoes and mix gently.

Would I make this recipe again? Yes! It's a nice alternative to mayonnaise-based potato salad and has a little zip. It's good when the potatoes are still warm, but even better after the salad has had a chance to chill and think about life a little.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jennifer's Week Twenty-Seven Recipe: Fruit Salsa

So, Tricia had a bonfire last night and I offered to supply some sort of food item to the cause. Hey, I could experiment on more than just my poor husband and son! I did not feel like baking, mainly because of the cookies I made earlier in the week and the fact that later today I will be making a German Chocolate Bundt Cake from scratch for Chad's birthday. Also, I was looking for something that would be refreshing - outside, heat, fire (more heat). Well, fruit is refreshing AND it's good for you! So I found a recipe for a fruit salsa on, altered it a bit and then I unnecessarily doubled it. Ah well.

Fruit Salsa (this is the recipe I doubled)

3 kiwis, peeled and diced

2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced

8 ounces raspberries

1 pound strawberries, hulled and diced

1/2 pint blueberries

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons fruit preserves (I used strawberry because that's what we had on hand)

Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix them together. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with cinnamon sugar chips. (The recipe from came with a recipe for these chips, however I ran out of time and just bought some cinnamon sugar pita chips which worked out just fine.)

Would I make this again? Yes! Very tasty, although I discovered that I don't have a lot of patience for chopping many, many things into tiny, tiny pieces. Considering that I made so much of it, I have leftovers that will go on waffles or pancakes (per Erin's suggestion) and ice cream.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tricia's Week 27 Recipe: Spicey Chicken, Rice, and Bean Quesadillas

This recipe was inspired by a type of pot pie I saw on the internet, that I will likely try in a few weeks and post.  And also by rice and beans - one of my favorite meals and posted this week in her version by Chris.  And also by the fact that I was too hungry to make this into a casserole and bake it - as was the original plan...

Quesadilla filling, Mix together in a bowl the following:
1 chicken breast spiced w/ Northwoods Fire and garlic and cumin (about 1/2 teaspoon each) (mine was .67 lbs) pounded flat, cooked in oil (chili) or grilled, and cubed.
1/2 to 1 cup corn, cooked and drained
1/4 to 1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup salsa (we used hot)
1 cup (ish) cooked rice
1 solid handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

Place above mixture between two tortillas (we used taco sized ones that are about 8 inches in diameter), and top with one small handful of cheddar cheese.   I heat a frying pan to medium heat, spray with pam and place tortilla on to brown, then I use a plate to flip it off on to, and slide back into regreased frying pan to minimize mess of flipping w/ spatula.  Heat til browned, cut, and top w/ sour cream and enjoy!

I would definately make this again!  In fact, the chicken breast above was delicious by itself and could make an excellent blackened chicken breast for a salad or sandwich!  All spices measurements are approximate because when I'm making up recipes, I never measure (bad self!)  Mixture above made two very hearty quesadillas with a bit left over for lunch for me (and we couldn't finish said quesadillas so I'll make the less hearty next time). It would probably make two burrito sized or greater shelled quesadillas or three of this size quite nicely.  next time I make it, i may leave out the rice, or I would increase the beans and corn and lower the rice content a bit - all up to the person making them!  I think I will also try a casserole version of this with those flat tater tot things on top!

Tricia's Week 26 Recipe: Spicey Chicken Tortellini Parmesan

I like Chicken Parmesan when I go to restaurants.  So I decided to make it at home, with a few twists.  Twist one - I had tortellini I needed to use.  Twist two, I like a lot of spice in my food.  So, this recipe was born.

Two chicken breasts - pounded flat (this part was fun!)
One package each (or a combo pack) spinich and regular cheese tortellinis (any brand will do)
One bottle marinara sauce (because I was lazy and didn't want to make my own) - I used bertolli
Penzey's Spices:  Northwoods Fire, Granulated Garlic, Red Chili Flakes (as you would put on pizza), Italian Seasoning, Pasta Sprinkle
Franks Hot Sauce
Parmesan cheese

Pound chicken breasts flat, and place in pan with olive oil to cook through (I used Chili Olive Oil).  Coat one side with Northwoods Fire, and when you flip, the other with Garlic.  Use as much or as little seasoning as suits your spiceyness needs.
Place marinara sauce in a saucepan and add about 1 tablespoon hot sauce, a few shakes chili flakes, and about 2 tsp italian seasoning and one teaspoon pasta sprinkle.  Let simmer while chicken and noodles are cooking.
Cook tortellini according to directions, drain.
Place in a bowl or plate w/ edges your tortellini, top with a chicken breast, top this with marinara and finally add Parmesan cheese. 

I would definitely make this again!  I would even try it with spaghetti or fettuccine noodles.  I made more tortellini than I needed, and more marinara, so I had lovely leftovers for lunch for two more. days!

Tricia's Week 25 Recipes: Gingerbread Cake, Carrot Cake, and Homemade Brownies

 The two cakes are from my new Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition cookbook.  The brownie recipe I found online in grams because I purchased a new kitchen scale and needed to try it out (and also a sifter).

Carrot Cake
Whisk together:
1&1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl, whisk together
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 lg eggs

Combine eggs mixture into above, and add 1 &1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup chopped walnuts.  Pour batter into greased 13x9 in pan, bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Frost with favorite frosting, I made a basic cream cheese frosting w 1 stick  butter, 8 oz cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla, and as much powdered sugar as it took to make it taste right :)

Gingerbread cake
Makes one 9x9 cake.  I had no 9x9 cake pan, so I used a 10 in springform pan.  It worked.
mix together:
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together in a small bowl
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup light molasses (I only had dark, and it worked)

In a large bowl, combine 1 stick butter, melted; 1 large egg; and 1/2 cup sugar.  Then add alternating dry and wet mixtures above until batter is thoroughly mixed and iff desired add 3 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger (I had none).  Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.  Frost, if desired, with basic milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar icing.

I decided I needed to use my new kitchen scale and found the follwoing recipe from cooking with chocolate (
170 grams butter, melted
330 grams sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
85 grams flour
50 grams cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt (I didn't use b/c I had salted butter)
100 gram chopped walnuts

Beat together eggs with sugar, add vanilla, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and melted butter.  If you would like to make this vegan, sub 3/4 cup med firm drained tofu.  Place in greased 13 x 9 in pan and bake at 350 for 200-30 min, until toothpick in center comes out clean.  Top with sifted powdered sugar.  Devour.

All three were great fun to make, but I really loved making the brownies because I could use a scale and be all geeky and nerdy in my kitchen.  I will enjoy making more dessert recipes from all my cookbooks, and bringing in the spoils to work.  Like right now, I'm going to go get on that!  PS - all three were delicious!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jennifer's Week Twenty-Six Recipe: White Chip Chocolate Cookies

I have wanted to make a reverse chocolate chip cookie for a long time and finally got around to doing it when I offered to bring dessert to Chez Olson for a play date.

And, yes, I know that some people think white chocolate is "unnatural"!


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies are very tasty. Dangerously tasty. And Cheyenne mentioned a way to make them even tastier! Macadamia nuts. I think next time I will reduce the amount of white chocolate chips and add some of those tasty Hawaiian nuts.

Chris's Week Twenty-Seven Recipe: Spicy Rice & Black Beans

It all started with a casual remark by Tricia that she had made rice & beans this week. Mmmm, quoth I, I love rice & beans! But I don't think I've ever made 'Spanish' style rice with tomatoes, not to mention adding beans to it. So I dug up this recipe and Tricia found this one, and I combined and tweaked to get the following:

Spicy Rice & Black Beans

1 c brown rice
2 c vegetable broth (I used Rapunzel bouillon)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced roughly
1 T olive oil
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t cumin

Cook the rice & vegetable broth in your favorite fashion - I use a cheap rice steamer. In a large saucepan, saute the onion & garlic in olive oil. When the onions are tender, add the diced tomatoes w/ green chilies, beans, oregano and cumin. Simmer while the rice finishes cooking. When the rice is ready, stir into the saucepan and let simmer another five minutes.

Would I make this recipe again? Mmmm... spicy! I used Muir Glen tomatoes and they had a nice bite. This will probably taste even better tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration & collaboration, Tricia!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Karin's Week Twenty-Six Recipe: Plum Tart

Yay! I've made it half-way through the year, and am still cooking strongly. Appropriately enough, this week's recipe is not one out of a cookbook or off a website, but one that I pretty much made up out of things that sounded like they might go well together. I had 4 plums that were past ripe, and needed to be used in some fashion. We were also having company over for dinner, and they like experimenting with food just as much as we do.  So, without further ado, I give you Karin's Plum Tart.

Karin's Plum Tart

Crust for 9in pie
3 T raspberry jam
4 very ripe plums
5 oz cream cheese, softened
6-7 T sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 400 deg. Place crust into 9 or 10 in tart pan (the one with the very short sides). Melt raspberry jam in microwave until consistency of syrup. Using a spoon, cover the bottom of the crust with the raspberry jam, making sure to cover evenly. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and 3 T of the sugar until cheese is of a spreadable consistency, rather like frosting. Spread cream cheese mixture into tart pan - this will take a bit of doing, as it does not like to stick to the jam. Slice plums into thin slices, and arrange over the cream cheese in a fan-like pattern, making sure to cover all of the cream cheese with the slices of plum. Sprinkle the tart with the remaining sugar, using enough so that it looks good, I think about 3-4 T was what was used..

Bake at 400 deg until crust is lightly browned, about 35 minutes. Let tart stand for about 4-5 minutes before serving.

This was something that I wasn't sure was going to turn out as well as it sounded in my head. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It smelled good, looked gorgeous (we even took a picture), and tasted so good, that my dinner guests wanted to know if we could just eat it all right then. I said why not, we're all grown ups, and so we did. A tart that lasted all of 20 minutes from the time I took it out of the oven to the time it was completely eaten is a good thing to have in my cooking repertoire. I may have to try this out with other fruits as I come across them. If you do, let me know how it tastes.

Karin's Week Twenty-Five Recipe: Marinated Chicken (& Grape Skewers)

This week ended up being a bit of a rush. We were both working quite a bit, which meant that lunch needed to be done quickly. I picked up this recipe at my local Piggly Wiggly while picking up some milk and veggies and cookies. (I know, I should've baked the cookies.) They have weekly recipes at the registers to give people ideas on how to cook in a healthier fashion. Anyways, the recipe is actually for chicken and grape skewers, but even though we had grapes, somehow grilled grapes didn't sound that great. The marinade looked pretty good, so that's what I used for my recipe.

Chicken (& Grape Skewers)

Marinated Chicken:
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest (I used more lemon juice, rather than the zest)
1 T lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb chicken (whichever parts you like), cut into cubes if you want skewers

For skewers:
8 - 10in skewers, soaked in water
1 1/2 c seedless grapes of any variety
cooking spray
2 T chopped fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Combine all ingredients for marinated chicken, except the chicken, in a bowl, and whisk until combined. Add the chicken and marinate for about 20 min. If making skewers, soak in water while marinating chicken.

If making skewers: Thread 4 pieces of chicken and 4 grapes onto each skewer, alternating them. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-heat, or heat an outdoor grill. Grill the chicken until cooked through. Sprinkle with mint and serve with lemon wedges.

We only used the marinade part, as grapes and chicken just sounded off to us. I also ended up pan-frying the chicken due to time limitations. I used some rather largish chicken breasts, and left them whole. The overall verdict was this marinade was really good, and 20 minutes of marinating time fit our schedules just about perfectly. I think I'll make this again, as it was a bit different than some of the other marinades I used, and with the Penzey's spices had a great flavor.

An Idea Involving Radishes

Last Sunday Linda, her gentleman friend Bruce, and I made an appearance at the Woodbury Farmer's Market near Central Park. I bought some green onions and radishes and Bruce mentioned that scrambled eggs were good with radishes.


He said to slice them up and add them to the scrambled eggs just before taking them off the heat. There were still a few radishes left this evening, so I scrambled up some eggs with the last of the green onions, and added sliced radish just as I took them off the stove.

It was delicious! Thanks to Bruce for the idea!

Jennifer's Week Twenty-Five Recipe: Pasta with Tomato and Peas

Yes, I am a week behind currently. Such things happen.

One thing I have been trying to do thanks to this blog is make dinner when I get home from work. Too often we take the easy route of just picking something up for dinner. If I can find quick recipes, why not make them? Would an extra 20-30 minutes on my feet really kill me? No. This recipe comes from and Giada de Laurentiis.

Pasta with Tomato and Peas

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. Stir to melt the tomato paste and create a sauce, adding more pasta water if necessary. Stir in the oregano, thyme, and parsley. Gently fold in the cooked pasta, peas, and the cheeses, adding more reserved pasta water if necessary. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

Would I make this again? Yep. The carnivores ate it! And liked it! Erik made a sandwich out of it. Whatever gets him to eat it. Chad did gripe a little about the peas, but he doesn't like them. I just told him to deal with them. He liked the sauce, but I think next time I will be a little more generous with the tomato paste. Overall a success!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chris's Week Twenty-Six Recipe: Tangy Slow Cooker Country-Style Ribs

In the spirit of culinary adventure, Erica came to dinner last night. Oh, we may have watched a couple episodes of Doctor Who as well.... I've never tried ribs in the slow cooker, so when I saw this recipe I made a few minor changes and served it up with brown basmati rice and green beans.

Tangy Slow Cooker Country-Style Ribs

1 large onion, sliced
2 lb boneless country style pork loin ribs
1 c hot water
1/4 c sugar
3 T red wine vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1 T tomato paste (recipe calls for ketchup, but I don't have any!)
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder

Arrange the onion slices in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the ribs on top. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the ribs. Cover and cook while you're at work (6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high).

Would I make this recipe again? Yes, I think so. It was a bit sweet for my tastes, so I'd cut or eliminate the sugar. The recipe also called for a dash of Tabasco, but I didn't see what that would for the taste in that volume of food. Leaving out the pepper and adding 1 t of Penzey's Black & Red might be more like it.