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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Huevos and Potatoes Rancheros

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Who knew you could bake a potato in 15 minutes?

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Obviously the trick is to slice it.

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I think I needed a bigger plate; my egg whites runneth over.

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Just add fat-free cheese and enchilada sauce and top it off with cilantro.  Voila.  You will have an amazing healthy under-400-calorie breakfast, or in my case late lunch.  I did leave out the scallions, as suggested in the recipe by Christine Avanti.

I finally finished Sharon O’Connor’s Wine Tasting series and I’m ready to move on to a new book.  It took me a while to decide.  I was considering Martha Stewart’s American Food, or maybe something southern-centric.  I finally settled on Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads.  As you can probably tell by all the baked goods around here I need all the healthy stuff I can get.  Besides, the last time I made a CA recipe she kindly posted it on her facebook page.  Let’s just say I’m still waiting to hear from Martha.

In other news:  Today is my one-year blogiversary.  Sorry.  I don’t have a speech prepared or anything.  I do appreciate every view and like and comment and follower.  I really enjoy seeing where those views come from.  When I started this little venture it never occurred to me that someone in France, or Australia, or even Angola would read my words . . . and you have!   I hope I’ve encouraged just one of you to get into the kitchen.   If I can cook then so can you.

Eat Well and Savor.

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Smoked Paprika Potato Chips

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And Triple Onion Dip

I love the idea of making my own chips.  The reality is that they look better than they taste.  I have a mandolin, so the slicing is easy enough, once you get the right setting.  I just have a hard time getting the right level of crispness, even though the coloring is great.  I didn’t take pictures of the black ones.

This is an Ellie Krieger Comfort Food Fix.  I’m sorry to say that nothing beats Lipton onion soup mix.  A for effort, though.

EK’s recipe calls for some real mayo, but the rest is Greek yogurt.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake

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As you may know, I usually like to make the title of my post the title of the recipe.  It keeps me from having to be creative.  Well, I just made up that title.  The actual title, as best as I can tell, is as follows:  I’ve Felt Better but it Took Longer and Cost More.

Seriously, I can’t make that up.

For tonight I guess I have to step aside as the Queen of the house.  This recipe is from Jill Conner Browne, otherwise known as a Sweet Potato Queen.  It’s been a long time since I read her books, but if I recall correctly you can find them in the humor section of the bookstore.  I also vaguely remember that she has a firm belief in the four major food groups being salt, sugar, butter, and bacon.  I might be off a little.  I think I’m supposed to have cheese in there somewhere.  You get the idea.  In case you don’t, I should tell you that this recipe comes from her book which is two-sided.  One side is the Wedding Planner and the other side is the Divorce Guide.  I totally get that.  I often say that I never believed in divorce until I got married.

Let me tell you about this cake.  I really thought I was going to get a chance to redeem myself with last week’s sheet cake mess.  This is pretty much the same idea, except it’s in a 9×13 pan, and it has coke in it, and marshmallows instead of nuts.  Well, it’s the same in the sense that you frost it while warm.

I thought I needed proof of the marshmallows.  Note to self:  next time make sure there are no spaces in between these little guys.  This is a situation where more is better.

Back to my redemption.  Maybe you can tell that it doesn’t really look like there’s any frosting.  With the sheet cake I made the frosting too thick and with this one — you guessed it — it was a little too thin.  Here’s the silver lining:  once it soaked in there and cooled, this cake had the perfect texture of a chocolate glazed crueller from Dunkin Donuts.  Jake declared this the best ever and said that whenever we go somewhere or have company I should make this cake.  I’m not sure that he realizes that that means he has to share it with other people.

It’s been awhile since I read these books, but I do remember one thing clearly that I learned from JCB.  She introduced me to the concept of the running-over teaspoon of vanilla.  The concept is that vanilla is so good you should not stop short on the pour.  I have been drinking from that well ever since.

Eat Well and Savor.

Ohio Buckeye Candy

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Isn’t this perfect timing?  Buckeyes are my go-to Thanksgiving treat AND the Buckeyes jut beat Michigan and are undefeated!

I have seen many variations on this recipe and I am always tempted to try them, but I stick with the original.  No pun intended since my copy is on a refrigerator magnet.  It’s the same one my mom uses and it saves me from having to dig out the book.

Mix together 3 cups of creamy peanut butter, one and 1/2 sticks of softened butter and 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar.  Form them into small balls.  The recipe doesn’t say this, but it’s best to chill them in the fridge for a half an hour or so.  That will keep them from slipping off the toothpick when you dip it into the melted chocolate.  The magnet says 16 ounces of dipping chocolate.  I can never remember if I prefer dark or milk.  I think this time around I’ve come to the conclusion that dark is better.

You can melt your chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler.  I actually saved this old slow cooker and use it expressly for buckeye dipping because the shape of the lid is perfect for keeping a grip on the peanut butter balls.

Speaking of the peanut butter balls, I was a little too tired to do the dipping so I left them naked in the fridge overnight.  It was a joy to be greeted by the lovely aroma of peanut butter the next morning.  Why aren’t there peanut butter scented candles and air fresheners?

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving.

I’m quite proud of my little table for two.  Especially the centerpiece.  I saw it in the Pottery Barn catalog and had to recreate it.  Here’s the things:  those little corn cobs are individual pieces.  Let’s just say I had to dig out the glue gun while the turkey was cooking.

I always hear this talk about centerpieces.   Many of them are elaborate and huge.  They’re usually beautiful, but I always wonder about those.  Growing up in our house the food was the centerpiece.

Everything came out great, except my stuffing was a little too moist.  I put it  back in the oven, spread it out on a cookie sheet, and promptly forgot about it.  That’s a recipe for charcoal.  I’ll try not to repeat that next year.

In other news:

This pumpkin had a little too much turkey, and she will do anything for a patch of sunshine.  In case you can’t tell, she climbed up onto a folding chair.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

 

 

Lamb Shanks with Orange and Star Anise

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This was my first adventure with lamb shanks, or any kind of shank for that matter.

No offense to Elizabeth Bard, but I think this might be my last.

The preparation wasn’t the problem.  Unless you count the fact that I had to go to three different stores.  Even then I could only get five when the recipe called for six.  That part was actually okay; five would barely fit in my pan.  Is there a shortage on lamb that I’m unaware of?

This did make a lovely autumn dinner.   Personally, I’m always willing to try lamb, it’s just been a while since I’ve found a version I really like.

In other news:  If you live in an area where you have a chance to see any Cirque du Soleil show then I highly recommend that you do.  If you are in Atlanta you should go see Totem now!  I’ve seen a couple of different shows, but they never cease to amaze me.  The acts are incredible and there’s always a little comedy too.  I don’t want to give anything away, but where else can you go and see Indians on roller skates?

Eat Well and Savor.

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Basil Pesto

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Well, I didn’t exactly get fresh basil from my garden, but this was still worth it.  Pesto is such an easy thing.  I have to wonder why I don’t make it more often.  This is from Giada’s Everyday Italian.  Her directions say to use a blender.  I knew I shouldn’t , but I did it anyway.  And then when the blender didn’t do the trick I had to transfer it all to a food processor.  What was Giada thinking?

I hope that’s not too much of close-up for you.  It’s just beautiful.  I love tuna steak.  Of course I never had this growing up.  I remember getting hooked on it when I lived in Florida.  Back then I used to order it well done.  All of those servers should have warned me on what I was missing out on.

Two minutes on each side and rest for five = perfect.

For those of you unfamiliar with pesto and reluctant to glop some green goop on your tuna (or your pasta, which I suggest) I thought I should point out that this is what I know as the traditional version.  It’s basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan.  I like my parm a little chunky.   There are many variations on the nuts and the greens.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

 

Quiche Lorraine with Spinach

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Today I’m wondering if I’ll ever learn my lesson about reading the recipe before I start.

I pretty much lounged around all day yesterday and was so proud of myself when I started to make dinner at 6:00.  Unfortunately it was at that point when I realized that the dough for the crust, of course, had to chill at least an hour.

All’s well that ends well.  Quiche for breakfast is probably more appropriate than dinner anyway.

Love this crust.   What a difference a little cream cheese makes.  Speaking of the crust, greatest invention ever:  metal rim to cover the edges instead of using foil.

This is the classic combo of ham and cheese with a splash of spinach and onion.  I was surprised that the cheese was actually the standout flavor.  And since this is from Ellie Krieger and Comfort Food Fix it’s only 310 calories and six servings in  a 9-inch pie plate.  I highly recommend a deep dish.

Eat Well and Savor.