Thursday, May 13, 2010

A few food moments this month

#1 Went to a close friend's for dinner for an Indian themed dinner.

I decided to tackle curried shrimp as an appetizer. What's not to love about coconut milk, curry and shrimp!

Turkey burgers with grilled vegetables, spinach and feta...almost time to light the Weber Grill again!

#3 An oh my weeknight dinner--chicken with mustard sauce topped with chives, served with grilled veggies, sauteed spinach and accordion potatoes.

The hard part was the potatoes and they took 10 minutes to prepare and had to cook for an hour.

I wanted to lick the leftover bowl, but I was eating at my desk in the office and decided to spare my colleagues.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ok, let's try this again

So I fell off the blogging wagon for a while, but now that seasonal food is starting to crop up again I'll try to write more.

Last night's feast was Mexican. Here are the recipes.

Home made tortillas--I made them small--maybe 4 inches across
2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
a teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1 1/4 cups hot water
mix together first three ingredients until crumbly texture then add in water and mix, knead, rest 10 mins
roll into small balls and roll out
cook ~ 30 seconds each in hot pan--no oil needed (store under damp warm cloth to keep soft)
Re-heat in microwave with cloth on them if they harden up on you

Shrimp with chipotle sauce
marinate 1 lb shrimp in 1/4 cup lime juice with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper
I used homemade enchilada sauce from my freezer, but you could use store bought or just tomatoes
Put in blender, add two chipotle (more if you like things hot) peppers in adobo sauce, garlic, pepper, puree until smooth
Toss shrimp + marinate in hot pan with a little oil until just pink (2 mins), remove shrimp, add sauce and heat through, add shrimp back for 2 more mins

Spread each taco with goat cheese, place two grilled asparagus on one half, place 2-3 shrimp on asparagus, fold taco over and warm in oven until heated through

serve with sour cream and top with cilantro and radish slices

saute 2 chopped poblano peppers with 1/2 onion in olive oil
add 1 lb of fresh spinach to pan and cook until wilted

see tortilla recipe above...make twice as large for enchiladas

mix 1 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 cups shredded cheese (I used queso quesadilla, but colby or cheddar is fine

spoon cheese mixture onto tortilla, top with spinach/peppers, roll up and place in baking pan that has some enchilada sauce on the bottom

top with a little enchilada sauce and more cheese (but leave some of the tortilla exposed so you have some soft and some crunchy)

bake till bubbly! serve with salsa and sour cream

Beef with peppers and onions

rub a flank steak with Mexican spices of your choice (I made a rub of garlic powder, chipotle powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and sugar), rub into meat with a little oil

cook on hot grill pan until quite rare (it cooks more later)

cut onions and peppers into strips and grill

slice meat across the grain so you have thin slices that are as wide as possible

roll the meat up with a pepper and onion inside the roll and secure with a toothpick (peppers can be slipper, but this can be done)

warm in over till heated though or meat is cooked to your liking

I served with salsa, but you can also make a blue cheese dip for this

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hogshead Dinner Group: A Salute to Julia Child

Despite my oven breaking...dinner was a success.

potato leek soup with fresh chives
salad with pear, figs and goat cheese
beouf bourguignon with Jeff Renner's baguette
Camembert and St. Andre with apple slices
upside down apple tart with caramel sauce

Really joining the slow food movement

Ok, by now you all know of my love for eating and cooking. But this year I have taken it to a new level in terms of supporting the local and slow food movement. It feels great.

Learning to Can Food
I joined a group of friends to help can peaches for a local neighbor who hosts Friday breakfasts and conversations at their home to promote the slow/local food movement. It was fun and easy, so I got the canning bug. Next week I want to take a whole week off in September to put up food for the winter.

This year I managed to can: raspberries (jam and sauce), peaches, tomato sauce (basil and garlic, four peppers, and stewed tomatoes), and dill pickles.

Making Mozzarella
With the help and encouragement of our Lakeside neighbor and friend Dick Reineke my mom and I made fresh mozzarella. It was so easy. We used raw milk I brought from Ann Arbor and it was fun to cut the curds, separate the whey and then stretch the cheese. It was delicious. Can't wait to make more. Thanks Dick for your inspiration!

What's in your freezer?
Mine has 1/4 of a grass-fed steer, 10lbs of blueberries, 4 quarts of raspberries, 3 bags of raspberry sauce, 20 bags of arugula, spinach, 4 lbs homemade garlic parsley wine sausage, and apple sauce coming tomorrow.

Putting my money where my mouth is

I am trying to shop locally, but am also trying to balance by buying things like olive oil as economically as I can. So my friend Lisa and I went to Dearborn to buy middle eastern foods and spices and shop at this great Italian market where the products are great and the prices even better (once a year it is worth it to make the trip to stock up!). To help me shop locally I joined the food co-op, I try to go to the Farmer's Market every week, I own a share of a farm that sells raw milk (I technically own $25 of a cow), we bought a grass-fed local steer with friends, I'm looking into a meat CSA (pork, bison, chicken, beef, eggs), I have a winter farm share (will get 4 deliveries of veggies and fruit that were flash frozen at the peak of the season), and we get 3 gallons of local (delicious) milk and 1/2 lb of butter delivered to the house each week (LOVE THIS!).

It feels great to be a part of a movement that is healthier for my family, fun to do, good for the Michigan economy, better for the environment, and kinder to animals.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some menus to chill with....

Grilled Chicken Cobb Sandwiches--marinate chicken, grill, top with bacon and cheese, with tomato and avocado slices on the side

Serve with roasted potatoes, green beans, German cucumbers, and a green salad.....

Grilled grass-fed sirloin steaks with blue cheese sauce

Serve with corn, baked potatoes and a Michigan salad

Peach cobbler for dessert

Fresh Whitefish
from Charlevoix Michigan, topped with a beurre blanc

Pork loin with mustard, rosemary and garlic
(it was cold the other day--this was great!)

Served with mashed red-skinned potatoes, pearl onions and homemade applesauce

Peach and raspberry pie

All Hail the August Tomato!

Tomatoes rule. For a short time anyway they are the best food on Earth.

My three favorite tomato dishes this August were a tomato tart, tomato soup, and sliced tomatoes.

Let's start with the most simple:

1. A childhood favorite is sliced tomatoes with a dollop of mayonnaise. I now use canola mayo (but I should make my own). It's a guilty pleasure I allow myself at least once a summer (but I've long given up the mayo on the wedge of iceburg lettuce though).

2. Homemade tomato soup. It was heaven. Very simple recipe--had soup in an hour and a half start to finish. One son loved it, the other ate it but said it was too flavorful. I used a new Mexican cilantro I bought (it has leaves, but is spiky and looks like a cactus) and just a quick pass of the herb though the soup gave it great flavor. Served with crusty bread and it was perfect.

3. The tomato tart was SOOO good. The recipe calls for draining the tomatoes with salt on paper towel and they move in the direction of sundried tomatoes. Served on puff pastry with mozzarella and a little Parmesan, basil, olive oil and cracked paper. It was great for breakfast too!

I got my summer fix of tomatoes, but am still planning on making sauce, soup and plain old tomatoes to can for the winter!

Till the next meal.....

Monday, August 17, 2009

So much has happened food-wise since I last wrote--I guess I was too busy eating and cooking to write. Let's see if I can get caught up.

As you can imagine, much of the emphasis has been on local this summer. I've been trying to take my local focus a step further than I did last year and have been successful.

A few weeks ago at Lake Michigan with my sister Courtney, brother-in-law Tico, my mom, and extended family and friends we had some great meals. I cooked brats/sausages from one of the local butchers in Three Oaks, Michigan--Driers. I grilled the sausages and tossed them with grilled red pepper and onion (from the local farmer's market). And with that we had grilled vegetable pasta--eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tossed with Olive oil, garlic and goat cheese. A light green salad with a pesto vinaigrette with beets and tomatoes served plain on the side. The meal was the final part of an evening celebrating the 100th birthday of the cottage.

It was a hot humid night and skinny dipping abounded--some were seasoned regulars, but a newcomer to the skinny dipping scene was added that night--a nice father son swim in the pitch black (how long until he is skinny dipping with girls not dad?).

Selma (short description--neighborhood foodies doing their part to promote slow food by running a volunteer-run Friday breakfast in their home serving good food to their friends)
I cooked at Selma. Well, I was the sous chef. It is really satisfying to dish out 90 breakfasts in one morning. The Thursday night prep is the part of the evening when you can bond with your fellow volunteers and talk food, learn from others, and support each other in making good local food more important and available. When we broke for dinner we had salad, cheese, bread, and Silvio brought a fontina, blue cheese and blueberry pizza--winning combo!!!

I also introduced the kids and a few neighbor kids to Selma as well this past week. They don't get it's mission, but enjoyed seeing the chickens in the backyard and Patrick declared the waffles the best he had ever had. They had no idea that the owner of the house cures his own bacon, or that all the ingredients were local...but hopefully some of the goodness will rub off on them.

I spent 3 hours on Sunday helping to can peaches for Selma so we can have some delicious local fruit in the winter months as well. I brought home a jar of peach juice...another thing for me to refer to as liquid gold. Thick, smooth, sweet...and it was still warm when I brought it home.

We had two backyard BBQs this week with differing layers of excitement. Once local dinner of pesto pasta, tomatoes, salad, fruit, cheese and bread ended with a kid in the ER with five stitches---in a hurry to play he slipped on the stairs and his plate got the better of his finger. We thought it was worse than it was....he was lucky.

Another local dinner featured 6 kids running around---but no injuries this time. The main event for this dinner was grass fed beef topped with local cheddar. Smokey, creamy, goodness. But everything else rocked too--homemade mac and cheese (the parents praying the kids wouldn't eat it all), tomato mozzarella basil salad, spinach bake with feta, grilled vegetables, homemade blueberry muffins, even the beer was local!

A few other notable things from this month and I'll call it a night.

I saw Food Inc.. Don't think I can ever eat Tyson again. Monsanto is pure evil. A neighbor is trying to organize us all to buy a cow. I'm not sure I can let my kids eat school lunch. Everyone should see it. I'm glad Obama is in office.

I joined the Food Co-op. I'll try to shop there when I can. I bought local flour, Michigan beet sugar, and local cheeses.

I put up a lot of food for winter (but have a lot more to do)....spinach, arugula, peaches, blueberries this week, to come, dilly beans, tomato sauce, apple sauce, jams...

Last night I made egg bakes with leftover veggies (from Carrie's garden) and Michigan Bacon. Check out the picture--this was my 7 year old's serving!

Tonight was pizza. I cheated and bought the dough from Silvio. I'll always cheat. It was too good. Kids had olive oil, garlic and pepper, topped with three cheeses and hamburger on Connor's half. Our was pesto with 2 cheeses on half, and shredded zucchini and tomato and 3 cheeses on my half. His crust makes the best air bubbles and the crust is just divine.

On vacation next week--looking forward to some more local shopping and cooking.