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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Jun 30, 2011

Spiced Vegetable Soup

This is a great time of year for this soup - most of the vegetables are readily available from your local farmer's market.  Can't find kale?  Use Spinach.  Can't find yellow squash?  Use zucchini.  Got pumpkin?  Throw it in...mix and match to your heart's delight.

  1 Tbl Olive Oil                                                                        1/2 Tbl Ancho Chili
  2 Large Stalks Celery, Chopped                                               1/2 Tbl Hot Sauce
  4 Clove Garlic, Minced                                                            15 Oz Chopped Tomatoes
  4 Ounce Bell Pepper, Chopped                                                1/2 Cup Kale, Cut Into Strips
  6 Ounce Carrot, Chopped                                                        12 Oz Green Beans
  1 Tbl Hot Paprika                                                                    9 Oz Yellow Squash
  1 Tbl Turmeric                                                                        5 Cups Chicken Stock

Heat oil in a large pot over medium low heat.  Add celery and garlic.  Cook for a minute or two and add peppers and carrots and  sweat for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the spices and cook and stir until spices are fragrant.

If cooking on stove top:  Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours.

If cooking in a slow cooker:  Transfer to a slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 2  to 3 hours

Jun 29, 2011

Dilled Macaroni Salad

Recently, I found myself with an abundance of fresh dill and cucumbers.  My friend had made this macaroni salad on vacation last year and was willing to share her recipe with me.  Unfortunately, the Barilla Plus pasta that I had on hand was not a 16 ounce box - they come in 14.5 ounce boxes, so I had to play with the recipe.  This recipe is not as creamy as my friends, but I think it is still good.

  1 1/4 Cups Mayo                                                                     1/8 Tsp Pepper
  2.5 Tbl Vinegar                                                                        1 Cup Cucumber
  3 Tbl Fresh Dill                                                                        14.5 Oz Barilla Plus Pasta
  1 1/4 Tsp Salt                                                                          

Cook pasta to package directions, drain, set aside to cool.  Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over the pasta.  Refrigerate over night.

Jun 28, 2011

Hummus - So many options, so little sodium

I love to snack on fresh vegetables dipped in hummus, but the sodium content of commercially prepared hummus was not enjoyable.  This hummus recipe calls for dried chickpeas to be cooked.  You may feel free to use canned chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), but I would suggest draining and rinsing them well.  For a weekend later this summer, I will be making this for my three year old niece.

  1 Lb Chick Peas                                                                       4 Tbl Lemon Juice
  7 Cups Water                                                                           1/4 Cups Water
  1/4 Tsp Baking Soda                                                                1/3 Cup Tahini
  3 Cloves Garlic                                                                        1 Tbl Hot Sauce
  1 1/2 Tsp Salt                                                                           1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Rinse and pick through the dried chickpeas and put in a 4 quart slow cooker with 7 cups water and 1/4 tsp baking soda.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 9 hours.  Drain and cool.

When cool, put the chickpeas, garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse about 5 times.  Scrape bowl and pulse another 5 to 10 times.  Add lemon juice and water.  Process for 20 seconds.  Scrape the bowl, add the Tahini and hot sauce and process for  another 20 seconds.  With processor still on, drizzle in the olive oil and process until well blended.

If you want a flavored hummus, add 1 cup of your favorite roasted vegetable to the food processor at this time and process.

Transfer to a serving dish or a container for the refrigerator.

Jun 27, 2011

Pepper and Mustard Crusted Steak

My hubby loves Mister Mustard, I like steak, so this seemed like a good combination. 

  1 Lb Sirloin                                                                       8 Tbl Peppercorns
  1/3 Cup Canola Oil                                                            1 Tbl Sea Salt
  1/3 Cup Mister Mustard                                                          

Trim excess fat from steaks.  Mix the oil and mustard, set aside.  Mix peppercorns and salt and pulse in a coffee grinder.  Place them in a dish for dipping.  Spread the mustard mixture over both sides of the steaks and press them into the pepper mixture.  Put on a piece of waxed paper and allow to dry for 30 minutes at room temperature.  Grill steak to desired doneness, using tongs to turn.

Jun 26, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Zucchinin Bread

Chocolate, Cherries?  Two of my favorite things.  Add in zucchini for nutritional and fiber value and you have a great breakfast that is good and good for you.  There are 24 servings in 2 loaves.

  1 Cup Butter                                                                           1 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  4 Ounces Chocolate Chips                                                       1/2 Cup Dried Cherries
  1 1/2 Cup sugar                                                                       1 Tsp baking powder
  1 1/2 Cup Zucchini                                                                  1 Tsp ground cinnamon
  4 Large Eggs, slightly beaten                                                    1/2 Tsp baking soda
  1 Tsp Vanilla                                                                           1/4 Tsp Nutmeg

Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans; set aside.

Shred zucchini and set aside in a colander to drain.  Chop cherries and set aside.  Melt chocolate chips and 2 tbl butter over a double boiler until well melted and combined, set aside.  Cream together sugar and 6 tbl butter.  Mix in eggs, one at a time, until well blended.  Mix in melted chocolate and mix well.  Stir in zucchini and chopped cherries, set aside.

Combine all remaining bread ingredients in large bowl. Stir zucchini mixture into flour mixture just until moistened.  Spoon the batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10  minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Per Serving: 201 Cal (45% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 50% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 10 g Tot Fat; 6 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 25 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 15 g Sugar; 31 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 119 mg Sodium

Jun 25, 2011

These Brownies CAN'T be Beet?

I finally found a way to get my hubby to eat beets - I hide them.  This recipe makes 16 brownies.  If you don't have beet puree, use pumpkin puree.

  3/4 Cup Beet Puree                                                     2 Tsp Baking Powder
  4 Ounce Milk Chocolate Chips                                   Pinch Salt
  8 Tbl Butter                                                                 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
  1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour                                          1/3 Cup Sugar
  1/4 Cup Cocoa                                                             2 Large Eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.  Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, set aside.  Cream 7 Tbl butter and sugar together.  Melt chocolate and 1 Tbl butter over a double boiler, put into mixing bowl and cool.  When cool, add eggs, one at a time, until well mixed.  Add vanilla and beet puree, stir well.  Mix in flour mixture until just combined.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes.

Per Serving: 138 Cal (56% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 37% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 13 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 9 g Sugar; 56 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 124 mg Sodium

Jun 24, 2011

Tirimisu Cheesecake

The ladyfingers in this recipe are the soft kind, manufactured by Specialty Bakers in Marysville, PA.  

  12 Ounce Ladyfingers                                                            1 Tbl Brandy
  2 Tbl Coffee, Strong And Sweetened                                      1 Cup White Sugar
  16 Ounce Cream Cheese                                                        2 Large Egg
  16 Ounce Mascarpone Cheese                                                1/4 Cup Cake Flour
  1 Tbl Vanilla Syrup                                                                 1 Tbl Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with ladyfingers, sprinkle with coffee, set aside.

In a food processor, mix cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar until very smooth. Add vanilla syrup and brandy and mix well Add the eggs and the flour; mix SLOWLY until just smooth. Pour batter into crust.  Place pan on middle rack of oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Run knife around pan to loosen and let it finish cooling.   Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Right before serving, sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Jun 23, 2011

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cooking for two is not my strong suit.  Unfortunately, there are only so many times I can feed my hubby leftovers before he says "Let's go to OIP for pizza."  I am learning how to cook less and/or cook things that freeze well.  This soup is the former - it makes only two servings - but that is partially due to the fact that hubby usually won't eat asparagus.

  1 Tsp Olive Oil                                                                        1/2 Cup Half & Half
  2 Tsp Garlic, Minced                                                               1 Tbl Parmesan
  2 Cups Asparagus, Diced                                                         1/4 Tsp Pepper
  1 Cup Chicken Broth                                                               Salt, To Taste

Heat oil in a 2 quart pot, sweat the garlic.  Add the asparagus and chicken broth and simmer until the asparagus is tender.  Puree with a stick blender OR cool slightly and puree in a blender.  Return to stove, add half and half and Parmesan and reheat, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Per Serving: 176 Cal (53% from Fat, 21% from Protein, 26% from Carb); 10 g Protein; 11 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 4 g Mono Fat;  12 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 172 mg Calcium; 6 mg Iron; 481 mg Sodium

Jun 22, 2011

The Inside Track to new shoes

In the last year, I have address walking attire and the importance of spending money on proper shoes when walking for fitness.  What I did not realize at that time was the importance to getting professional fittings to ensure you get the proper shoes for your foot type and gait.  I recently replaced my shoes and purchased a half size larger - the actual size that my foot measured - and was rewarded with a HUGE blister in the center bottom of my heel.  Although the shoes were not cheap, I could not take the chance that I would continue getting blisters that would prevent me from walking, so I found myself at Inside Track

It was a great experience - just one look at the bottom of my old shoes told the salesperson that my shoes were pushing my foot out.  I then walked barefoot through the store so he could judge my gait.  14 pairs of shoes later, I had two styles that felt like I was wearing slippers.  I am still in Brooks sneakers, now I am wearing a shoe that is made for my foot and gait type.  So take the time, go to Inside Track (or find a store in your area that offers the same service) and get the right shoe.  You don't want the same issue I have - $100 shoes with less than 40 miles on that you can not use.  Anyone need a pair of Men's 9.5 Brooks GTS sneakers?

Jun 21, 2011

Coleslaw with Dried Cranberries

Happy Summer!  Just in time for picnic season, this coleslaw is different and refreshing and fairly low calorie if made with light Mayonnaise - I used Kraft Lite Mayo.

  9 Cups Cabbage                                                                       1 1/4 Cups Light Mayonnaise
  1/4 Cup Lime Juice                                                                  1/4 Tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika
  1 Cups Dried Cranberries                                                        1 Tsp fresh ground pepper corns
  1/2 Cup granulated sugar                                                         1/4 Tsp sea salt

Shred cabbage and stir in cranberries, set aside.  Mix all other ingredients and pour over cabbage mixture, stir and refrigerate for  at least one hour.

Per Serving: 130 Cal (36% from Fat, 4% from Protein, 60% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat; 21 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 13 g Sugar; 39 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 104 mg Sodium

Jun 20, 2011

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the green shoots that form on the growing bulb of garlic.  You can pull the whole bulb while it is small - for spring garlic - or you can just use the green stalk.  Either option you use, you can make wonderful garlic mashed potatoes.

Boil potatoes until soft, drain and put into a bowl.  Chop up the scapes or the entire spring garlic bulb and sautee in butter.  Add to potatoes in the bowl with butter to taste.  Whip with a mixer or mash with a potato masher until desired consistancy. 

Jun 16, 2011

Spring Vegetable Risotto

I had a lot of vegetables to use and this risotto became a catch all.  I used peas, peppers and carrots, but you can add whatever is on hand.

  3 Tbl Olive Oil                                                               1/2 Cup Bell Pepper, Chopped
  4 Tbl Spring Onion, Minced                                            1/4 Cup Carrot, Chopped
  3 Clove Garlic, minced                                                   3 Cups Spinach, shredded
  1.5 Cups Arborio Rice                                                   4 Tbl Parmesan
  2.5 Cups Chicken Stock                                                 2 Tsp Italian Seasoning
  4 Cup Water                                                                 8 Ounce Chicken Breast, Cubed
  1 Cup Spring Peas                                                         1/4 Black Pepper

Put broth and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and keep simmering.  Put 1 Tbl oil in a large pot, add 1 Tsp Italian seasoning and the chicken.  Cook until no longer pink, remove from pan and set aside.  In same pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender. Add the uncooked rice. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until rice  is golden.  Carefully add 1 cup of the broth mixture to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until liquid is absorbed.  Continue to add broth to the rice 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, waiting until broth is absorbed before adding more.  Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. When you add the last cup of broth, stir in the peas, peppers and carrots.  Cook and stir until the rice is slightly creamy.  Stir in the spinach, Parmesan cheese, remaining Italian spice, pepper and chicken and heat through.

Per Serving: 375 Cal (25% from Fat, 24% from Protein, 51% from Carb); 23 g Protein; 10 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 6 g Mono Fat;  48 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 225 mg Calcium; 5 mg Iron; 844 mg Sodium

Jun 15, 2011

Upside-Down Coconut Macaroon Cake

If you like coconut macaroons, you will like this cake.  The type of chocolate is yours to choose - I used semi sweet chocolate, but it would be wonderful with dark or milk chocolate as well.  If you cannot find macaroon coconut, process some flaked coconut through a food processor or, if you have no processor, use all flaked coconut.

  6 Large Egg Whites                                                                  3 Cups Cake Flour, Sifted
  4 Large Egg Yolks                                                                   1/2 Cup Macaroon Coconut
  2 1/4 Cups Sugar                                                                     1/2 Cup Flaked Coconut
  1/2 Cup Butter                                                                         3 Tsp baking powder
  1/4 Cup Canola Oil                                                                  1/4 Tsp salt
  3/4 Cup 1% Milk                                                                     1/2 Tsp cream of tartar
  1 Tsp almond extract                                                               4 Ounce Chocolate
  1 Tsp Coconut Extract                                                             1/4 Cup Half & Half

In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil and egg yolks.  Beat in milk and extracts. Combine the flours, coconut, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into egg yolk mixture until blended.  In another bowl, beat room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.  Gently spoon batter into an un-greased 10-inch tube pan. Bake on the lowest oven rack at 325 for 70-80 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.  Run a knife around side and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Cook chocolate and Half and Half until  chocolate is fully melted and smooth.  Cool somewhat and spoon over top of cake.

Jun 14, 2011

Chewy Fruit and Oatmeal Bars

Recently, while enjoying a granola bar, a coworker of my hubby wondered what I would make for breakfast as an alternative for granola bars.  This is my solution.  While this recipe calls for orange extract and dried cranberries, you can mix these up to make an assortment of health breakfast bars - Cranberry Orange, Cherry Almond, Blueberry Vanilla, Papaya and Coconut... at 207 calories per bar, when cut into 20, and 259 calories if cut into 16, they are a healthy addition to your morning.

  3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed                         2 Tsp Orange Extract
  1/2 Cup Sugar                                                           1 1/2 Cups Flour
  8 Ounce Greek Yogurt                                              1 Tsp baking soda
  1 Large Egg, lightly beaten                                         1 Tsp ground cinnamon
  1 Large Egg White                                                    1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  2 Tbl vegetable oil                                                     3 Cups Oatmeal
  2 Tbl 1% Milk                                                           1 Cup Dried Cranberries

Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13 x 9 pan with parchment and lightly spray the bottom of the pan only with non stick cooking spray.  Set pan aside.  In large bowl, combine sugars, yogurt, eggs, oil, milk, and extract; mix well. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix well. Add to yogurt mixture; mix well. Stir in oats and fruit.  Spread dough onto bottom of baking pan.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly  covered.

Per Serving: 207 Cal (16% from Fat, 11% from Protein, 73% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat; 38 g; Carb; 3 g Fiber; 14 g Sugar; 47 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 83 mg Sodium

Jun 13, 2011

Caribbean Stir Fry

Saturday night, my niece found herself with leftover pineapple and peppers.  I told her I was going to make a stir fry with just those ingredients today and, if it turned out well, I would post it on my blog.  Here it is:

I marinated 10 ounces of chicken in KC Masterpiece Caribbean Jerk Marinate (photo above from the KC Masterpiece website).

I then drained a can of water chestnuts and prepped about a cup each of fresh pineapple, spring peas and bell pepper.

In a hot pan, I cooked the chicken in the marinade until done.  I removed it to a bowl and then cooked the peas for a few minutes and then added the remaining vegetables until almost done.  When almost done, I added the pineapple to heat through.  I returned the chicken to the pan and stirred everything together.  I served this with black rice.

Jun 12, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

My hubby likes meat loaf.  He especially likes making sandwiches out of leftovers, so this was our Sunday meal to afford him the ability to make sandwiches for lunch this week.  If you don't have pumpkin puree, substitute ketchup.  The pumpkin just adds fiber and beta carotene.  Serve with ketchup and mustard.

  1 3/4 Lb Ground Beef                                                   1 Large Egg
  1/2 Lb Low Sodium Bacon                                            1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  1 3/4 Cups Extra Sharp Cheddar,  Shredded                   1/4 Cup Milk
  2 Tbl Onion, Minced                                                     1/2 Tsp Salt
  1 Cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs                                   1/4 Tsp Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Fry bacon until crispy and crumble into bits.  Combine all ingredients and press firmly into a 9 inch  loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 155 degrees.

Jun 11, 2011

The kitchen tool you never knew you needed

I never liked using fruit zest.  The pieces always seemed too long a stringy and chopping it was a hassle.  At an event recently, we got a fruit dip that had lemon zest in such large pieces that we had to chew it.  You should not have to chew a marshmallow fruit dip.

My feelings toward zest - the the essential oils and flavors it offered - changed when I learned about micro plane graters.  These tools are fabulous and can be used for zesting citrus fruit, mincing garlic or fresh ginger, grating chocolate - anything you need very small pieces.  I never knew how much I needed one until I had it, now I won't do workout.  I still have a zester for those few times that I want long strips for things like making essential oils or for decorations, but never again for cooking.

Jun 10, 2011

Beets in Spiced Sauce

I wondered recently if you could do something other than pickle beets, so I tried this.  The sauce really brings out the flavor of the beets.

  2 Tsp Butter                                                                          1/2 Tsp Ginger, Minced Fresh
  2 Cups Beets, Cooked And Diced                                           1 Tsp Brown Sugar
  1 Large Orange                                                                     1/4 Tsp Corn Starch

Melt butter in pan and toss beets in.  Remove zest from orange then juice orange.  Add enough water to make 1/2 cup.  Mix in ginger, brown sugar and corn starch.  Pour over beets, stir well and cook until just starts to thicken.

Jun 9, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream

There is nothing better than homemade ice cream - and strawberries are perfectly in season right now, so what a better mix?  When your ice cream make is done, put the ice cream in a container for the freezer.  Put a layer of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream under the container lid to limit ice crystal formation.

  2 Large eggs                                                   2 Cup pureed unsweetened strawberries
  2 Cup 1% milk                                                 1 Cup heavy whipping cream
  1 1/4 Cup sugar                                               1/2 Cup half-and-half cream
  1 Cup miniature marshmallows                         1 Tsp orange extract

In a large heavy saucepan, combine eggs and milk; stir in sugar. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until a thermometer reads at least 165.  Remove from the heat; stir in the marshmallows untilmelted.  Set saucepan in ice and stir or until cool. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Put a layer of plastic wrap over the top, cover and refrigerate overnight.  It may separate - that is okay.

When ready to freeze, pour into the cylinder of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker that is 1.5 quarts and I do half at a time - refrigerate other half of the Ice Cream mixture for the  8 hours or overnight that it takes the freezer bowl to refreeze.

Jun 8, 2011

Snitz and Cherry Pie

Snitz are simply dried apples.  You can get them at most farmers markets.  This pie recipe rehydrates them, as well as dried cherries, and makes an excellent filling.

  1 Box Pie Crust                                                                     2 1/2 Cups Water
  2 Cups Snitz                                                                          1/2 Cup Sugar
  1 Cup Dried Cherries                                                             1/8 Tsp Salt
  1 Small Cinnamon Stick                                                          1 Tbl Corn Starch
  1 Tbl Lime Juice                                                                    2 Tsp Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put Snitz, cherries, lime juice, cinnamon stick and water in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer.  Simmer until fruit is hydrated and tender - about 15 minutes.  While simmering, put bottom crust in a 9 inch deep dish pie plate.  When the fruit is hydrated, remove cinnamon stick and stir in sugar and corn starch.  Cook a few more minutes until mixture starts to thicken.  Pour into crust, dot with butter and top with second crust.  You can either cut holes in the crust or you can put a lattice top on the pie.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Jun 7, 2011

Homemade Stock

When cooking, anything homemade is usually better.  While I can, and have, cooked with canned chicken broth and/or stock, I now prefer to use homemade chicken stock.  It allows you to control sodium content as well as not pay for excess water.  It was recently suggested in one of my cooking classes that the use of canned chicken broth is perfectly fine, but buying twice what you need and reducing it by half makes it better.  This will, unfortunately increase sodium as well (even if you purchase low sodium broth).  The instructions below are for a clear chicken stock.  Beef stock could also be made, I just don't use enough of it to make my own and I rely on canned.   The reduction step at the end is not necessary, it just allows for easier storage because it takes up less space.


Mirepoix is a combination of onions, carrots and celery used as a base.  If you need 1 lb of mirepoix, you would need 1/2 lb onion and 1/4 lb each of carrots and celery. Cut the onion in half, then cut each half in quarters.  Rinse the carrots and celery and cut into 1 inch pieces - stems and all. 

In a large stock pot, heat a neutral oil or duck fat.  Add the mirepoix and sweat until the vegetables are soft.  You just want to sweat to soften them, you do not want to saute to brown them.

Once the vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes), add 6 quarts water and 8 lbs chicken parts.  I do mean parts.  Try and get chicken backs, gizzards, wings - things that you can break the bones and expose the marrow.

Bring this to a simmer and simmer for 4 to 4.5 hours - DO NOT BOIL.  Run through a strainer into another pot.  Put this pot over low heat and SIMMER until reduced to 8 cups.  Pour into a bowl that holds at least 16 cups.

At this point, I DO NOT throw away the chicken/vegetable mixture - I put it back in the pot and add another six quarts water and simmer for 4 to 4.5 hours - there is still a lot of flavor there.  When done, run through a strainer into the second cooking pot and reduce to 8 cups.  Mix this batch with the first batch.  Stir thoroughly. 
At this point, I put it in measure 1 cup volume into 1 cup freezer safe containers.  Once cooled enough to go into the refrigerator, I cool overnight.  I then freeze.  Each 1 cup container can be reconstituted to 4 cups stock. 

Jun 6, 2011

Track Your Steps!

I recently have opted to stop using a smart phone.  With that decision, I needed another way to track my mileage.  I found the Omron Family of pedometers.  The model I selected, HJ-720ITC, allows for PC connectivity in addition to its 7 day memory.  This allows me to save the data to my PC and track the mileage that I am putting on my shoes.  If you do not need PC connectivity, then the HJ-113 would be for you.  No matter what you choose, one of my favorite features is that they are quiet.  Other pedometers I have used in the past clicked while i walked.  When you are waking 5, 6, 13 miles, clicking can get old.  These are silent, accurate operation.  One note, if you only walk a few steps (ie, sink to stove) they may not register.  This is a 'smart' pedometer - if you don't take about 10 steps, it won't necessarily record them.  No matter what you use, just get out there and get moving...

Jun 5, 2011

Firewire - It's not just for computers any more

 During a recent cooking class, I was introduced to Firewire.  Silly me, I thought it was used for computers.  This Firewire is a flexible wire used for making kebabs.  It works very well, cleans up easily and you don't have to worry about soaking it before use.  ***Update***  The manufacturer notified me that these are made so you can let the loop and/or spike end hang off the grill for ease of turning - the ends don't get hot.  So go get some (I purchased mine at The Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle) and get grilling - try these kebabs.

  1 Lb Chicken Breast                                       1 Bottle KC Masterpiece Caribbean
  1 Fresh Pineapple                                                Jerk Marinade
  2 Medium Green Pepper                                                         

Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch cubes, put into a lidded container and cover with marinade (about 1/4 bottle).  Marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut pineapple and peppers into cubes.
When ready to grill, turn on the grill.  While heating, string the kebabs - 1 piece pepper, 1 piece chicken (against the grain of the meat), 1 piece pineapple - repeat until all chicken is used.  When the grill is 350 degrees, place kebabs on grill and cook for 16 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Jun 4, 2011

Shrimp and Spring Pea Risotto

If you like lemon, you can increase the lemon zest to 1 tsp.  

  3/4 Lb Medium Shrimp In Shell                                               1/2 Tsp Lemon Zest, finely chopped
  5 Cups Water                                                                        1/2 Tsp black pepper
  1/2 Tsp Salt                                                                           3 Tbl Butter
  5 Oz Hull Peas, hulled                                                            9 Ounce Arborio Rice
  1 Medium Spring Onion, green and white parts, minced            3/4 Cup Dry White Wine

Peel shrimp, keeping the shells, and put the shrimp in the refrigerator.  Put the shells in a lidded pot with the water, simmer.

Steam the peas until about half cooded.  Add the salt, pepper, and lemon zest.  Set aside.

Sautee the shrimp until just cooked, set aside.

Cook onion in butter in a wide 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Strain broth through a sieve and return to the pot, keeping just below a simmer.

Add rice to the butter/onion mixture and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Increase heat to moderate, then add wine and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup simmering shrimp broth and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until most of broth is absorbed. Continue cooking and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes total. Add shrimp and pea mixture and continue to cook, stirring and adding more broth as necessary, until shrimp are cooked through, about two minutes. Serve  risotto immediately.

Jun 3, 2011

Cooking Classes

If you like to cook, like to eat or just like learning, then classes at The Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle are for you.  From lunch and learn to partial hands on classes, they have a variety of participation options.  That, combined with varied food types (Pirogi, Dim Sum, Candy, Sweet and Savory, etc) offers endless options.  It doesn't matter if you are a beginning cook - just take the class "Help, my apartment has a kitchen" or any other class they offer.

When you take a class, you get 10% off any regularly priced items you purchase that day.  They have a nice selection of kitchen tools as well as food items.  Check it out - you will be happy you did.

Jun 2, 2011

Must Have Cooking Tool - can help with weight loss, too!

Every kitchen should have a kitchen scale.  My personal scale is a Cuisinart Perfect Weight Digital Kitchen Scale, KML - 10.  Originally, I purchased it to help me in my quest for weight loss.  30 grams per serving?  2 ounces per serving?  I had no idea what they were.  Now I find that I use it not only to track portions, I also find that recipes with weights - especially in grams - are easier to work with.  If you have everyone in your home measure a cup of flour, you will get all different weights.  Remember Home Ec?  If your teachers were like mine, you were to pack the cup and level it off with a knife.  Talk to a pastry chef today and they will tell you that you get too much flour that way.

So invest in a good scale, it will find it's way to everyday use.

Jun 1, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Feel free to use all strawberries or all rhubarb for this.  When preparing rhubarb, be sure all leaf is removed - it is poisonus.

  6 Tbl Unsalted Butter, Melted                                   2 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
  1 Cup All Purpose Flour                                           2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed                          1 Tsp Baking Powder
  1/4 Tsp Salt                                                             1/2 Tsp Salt
  1/4 Cup Almonds, Chopped                                      1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temp
  Cake                                                                       2 Cup Confectioners Sugar
  1/2 Lb rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces                     4 Large Eggs
  1/2 Lb Strawberries, cut into pieces                           1 Tsp Vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 pan with parchment and butter and flour the parchment.

Make streusel: Whisk together butter, brown sugar, salt and almonds. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form.   Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make cake: In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup flour - set aside.  In another medium bowl, whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time. With mixer on low, beat in vanilla, then flour mixture. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with fruit and top with streusel.  Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake from pan. Cut into 24 bars.