26 December 2008

Honey Mustard Dressing

If you are addicted to all things honey-mustard, like me, you Must try this salad dressing.

6 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
2 T. dijon mustard
2 T. white wine vinegar (I like to use TJ's white balsamic vinegar)
1 tsp. black pepper
dash of salt
dash of garlic
sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl and whisk until emulsified. Chill until ready to serve. This is really good on a spinach salad with mushrooms, bacon and hardboiled eggs.

24 December 2008

Spanikopita Bake

I know that practically every recipe on here uses spinach and cheese, but I just can't help myself.

So here you go... no phyllo dough to mess with and so, so, so easy.

a little olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about a cup?)
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
10 oz. fresh spinach, roughly chopped
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg
1 c. milk
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt (use less if you decide to go overboard on the feta)
dash of dill (optional)

1. Saute onions in large non-stick skillet in a teeny bit of olive oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 5-7 minutes more, or until onions are starting to look a little caramelized. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Transfer mixture to 8x8 pan. Cover with crumbled feta cheese.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg and add milk, flour, salt and dill if desired. Pour this mixture over spinach/cheese.

3. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 or until set.

06 December 2008

Polenta Veggie Carne Asada Rachel Ray Knock Off Casserole

for Marie...

*by the way, this is gluten free, and one of my favorites. I kind of make it a lot - I'm so surprised it's not already on this blog that I actually just went and double-checked and wouldyabelieve, nope, it's not. So here you go!

1) Mix together in 2 qt. saucepan:
1 c. cornmeal
1/2 tsp. each salt & sage
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Stir in:
3 cups cold water

Cook, stirring constantly, until very thick. Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

While polenta is baking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (no need to get your mis-en-place beforehand, just chop as you go). Add to skillet in this order:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups frozen corn kernals, defrosted (I like the roasted kind from TJ's) or a can of corn, drained
4 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
1 green chile pepper or 2 jalapenos (how do you do an N with a ~ on a laptop??), seeded and chopped. Saute about 3 minutes.

Then add:

2 small zucchini, diced
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. chili powder

Cook 7-8 minutes.


1 14-oz. can stewed tomatoes or salsa,

and heat through.

When polenta comes out of oven, let it hang out for a while - 10 minutes? Then spread skillet mixture over polenta in baking dish. Top with:

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Bake for 10 minutes at 425. Optional but pretty: sprinkle finished dish with chopped green onions (about 1 T.) and cilantro (about 1 T.).

SO --> that is how you do the vegetarian version. To add carne asada, I think I just got a package of it from TJ's, not sure of the size, and sauteed it until brown in another skillet or maybe in the same skillet before I did the olive oil/corn/garlic/chile part, then set it aside and stirred it back in when I stirred in the tomatoes/salsa.

Have fun and let me know how it turns out if you try it!
By the way, this is a good one to bring to church potlucks. :)

27 November 2008

Ruth Enas's Pesto Green Beans

For Lindsay :)

1 c. (8 oz. container) heavy cream
1 7 oz. container pesto
3 cans green beans
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts

1. Mix cream and pesto in saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 min.

2. Stir in green beans, cheese and nuts. Heat through and serve. Serves 8.

20 November 2008

Napa Cabbage Salad

This is soooooooo yummy, one of my faves. If you're going to make a huge main-dish salad for several people, double the dressing recipe.

1/2 c. oil (olive is good)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. white vinegar (I like to use rice vinegar)
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt

Shake all ingredients together in a screw-top jar.

Napa cabbage (or regular cabbage, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce - whatever is crunchy)
toasted almonds
toasted sesame seeds (I do these two together on the tray in my toaster oven)
uncooked ramen noodles, crunched up
dried cranberries
mandarin orange segments (from a can or fresh, although that's more work)
green or red onion
feta cheese (I know it sounds weird, but it is good)

Add some chicken and crumbled bacon and it's not vegetarian anymore, but it's sooo good.

Blackstrap Molasses

I learned something new, from experience. Blackstrap molasses is Really Strong! I made the Joy of Cooking gingerbread recipe, but used blackstrap, and all you can taste is... Blackstrap.

Yep, even with that tablespoon of ginger in there.


this blogging style has been brought to you by Brad Lenzner.

18 November 2008

Justin's Favorite Elegant Chicken

I am guessing Justin likes this dish because it is not one, not two, but Three kinds of meat. If you are wondering what beef chips are, I have no idea and neither does Moi. Ha! But this sounds DE-licious!

4 whole boneless chicken breasts
4 oz. dried chipped beef, cut into about 1 inch pieces
1/2 pint sour cream
8 slices bacon
1 can cream of chicken, mushroom, or celery soup

Cut the breasts in half and wrap them in bacon. Rinse chipped beef
to remove some of the salt. Place 1/2 of the chipped beef in bottom
of 9x13 inch baking pan. Lay chicken breast halves on top. Layer
rest of chipped beef over chicken. Blend sour cream and soup and
pour over layers. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover with foil. Bake at
275 degrees for 3 hours or at 350 for 1 hour. It's best when slow-cooked,
but can be baked in 1 hour. You can also put it together ahead of time
and store in refrigerator until baking.

15 November 2008

Gluten-Free Cornbread

For Mom and whoever else.....

2 Tbsp. shortening
2 c. corn meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. honey (optional)
1 egg
1 3/4 c. buttermilk (I used soy milk and a little lemon juice for a dairy-free version)

1. Put shortening in cast iron skillet in 400 oven.

2. Mix corn meal, baking powder, soda, salt, & honey (if using). Add egg and buttermilk (or soy milk). Add heated shortening to batter and put batter into heated skillet. Bake at 400 for 25-35 minutes or until brown.

29 September 2008

Apple Puff Pancake

I find myself with an abundance of apples of all different varieties. Of course, this forces one to get creative in finding uses for them all! Here is a recipe that absolutely must be shared with the world... it is amazing. This is the small recipe which Ken and I can easily polish off by ourselves. You can also triple this and bake it in a 9x13.

2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter
2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. brown sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. In blender, mix eggs, milk, flour, white sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon (it may be a little lumpy).

3. Melt butter in 8x8x2 baking dish in oven. Add apple slices to butter and return to oven until you hear sizzling (do not brown apples). Remove from oven and pour batter over apples. Sprinkle with brown sugar (optional). Bake in middle of oven 20 minutes until puffy and brown.

All you need to serve this with is a tiny drizzle of real maple syrup. It's sooooooo good.

19 July 2008

Potato-Spinach-Sausage-Cheese Casserole

Before I forget, here's the link to the potato, spinach, sausage and cheese casserole that Christa brought us when Claire was brand-new. It was SUPER good and I even ate some for breakfast (that's how good it was!). I highly recommend this one next time you have to take a meal to somebody or to a church potluck, or whatever. I think it's my new favorite casserole.

Indian Pizza

I still don't have my own kitchen... but I am dying to try this soon. I love that it's all basically stuff you would have on hand anyway, except goat cheese and maybe potatoes. Go Midwest Living!

09 July 2008

Once A Month Cooking Report and Punch

I promised a report on how it works to do "Once A Month Cooking" when you're 9 months pregnant. Yeah, I wouldn't recommend it. Even if you're seriously nesting, it is exhausting. I had to sit down while kneading dough and other stupid stuff like that. So, probably won't do it again... at least not while I'm in that state.

We're in Ohio now, staying at a fabulous farm, waiting to move into our new digs (our house is almost ready). I'm looking forward to throwing an open house style party with all the best appetizers and... some punch. I have never made punch before. Not sure why... probably because I don't have a punch bowl. But I am going to go out and buy one because it just sounds so fun. I was actually inspired by Mom at a party she threw while we were up there last month. In her typical style she said, "Oh yeah, it's easy to just whip* some up. You just throw* some cranberry juice in and then toss* some ginger ale in, and, voilá."

* Please note the violent character of all these verbs.

ANYWAY - if anybody has a good punch recipe or idea, please pass it on. Not that anybody reads my blog anymore, and not that I blame them, since I haven't posted since baby.

21 March 2008

Once A Month Cooking

Now that I am a housewife, I'm going to try "once a month cooking" ... to stock up for when the baby comes. Instead of cooking for a whole month, I'm going to make 14 meals, and see how long that lasts us. They're nothing too exciting, just a bunch of chicken dishes and soups, but hopefully they will sound good to tired parents and mean that we (I) don't have to cook.

If it works well, I'll describe the whole process in detail right here. Stay tuned. :)

15 March 2008


1 lb. good quality beef such as rib-eye steak, raw and sliced as thinly as possible
1 head Napa cabbage, washed and sliced in 1" pieces
5-6 green onions, sliced into 2" pieces
1 pkg. firm tofu, cut into 1" cubes
Shiitake or other variety of mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch spinach, washed thoroughly and cut into 1-2" pieces (or baby spinach)
vegetable oil
brown sugar
soy sauce
sake wine
hot cooked white rice, for serving

1. Heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet (*note: an electric skillet or griddle works best so the sukiyaki can cook right on the table). Sizzle about one-third or half the beef in the oil. Sprinkle with 1 T. brown sugar. Add a splash each of soy sauce and sake. When the meat is brown, remove from the skillet (leave the juice/sauce in the skillet).

2. Place some of the chopped cabbage in the skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes or until slightly wilted. Gather the cabbage to one side of the skillet and add some green onion, tofu, mushrooms. Place the cooked beef on top of the cooking vegetables.

3. Add some spinach last and cook until barely wilted (30 seconds?). Provide empty bowls and a couple large spoons to let folks get what they want out of the skillet. Serve alongside bowls of hot cooked rice.

4. When you are ready for seconds, add more raw beef and give it a minute to cook before adding remaining veggies. When you add more beef you can also add more "sauce" (brown sugar, soy sauce and sake) if you want.

18 February 2008

Homemade Dried Apples

All I did was peel and core a Granny Smith apple, slice it thinly (1/4"), place on top of waxed paper on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake at 200 for 2 or 3 hours, stirring every hour or so (just lift them off the wax paper so they don't stick)

What came out was some apples like dried apples, and some more like apple chips. Both tasted amazing. Totally awesome snack!

Bringing Back an Old Favorite: A Variation on Mediterranean Strata

This weekend I had an awesome combination of ingredients hanging about in my fridge, so I adapted this old favorite into a spinach and mushroom variation. This was yummy for dinner but even better for breakfast the next day:

3 c. bread cubes/torn pieces (stale is better)
2 T. olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
2-3 c. washed chopped spinach
3/4 c. crumbled feta or grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. chicken broth or water (if using water add 1 tsp. salt)
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10" pie dish with olive oil; place bread pieces in dish.

2. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions 5-10 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and mushrooms; saute 2-5 minutes more. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Place onion mixture on top of bread pieces; spread out if necessary. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.

3. In a large-ish bowl, beat eggs. Add broth or water, black pepper and salt if using; stir to combine. Pour egg mixture slowly over top, pressing with the back of a spoon to moisten bread so egg mixture will soak in.

4. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350. Test for doneness with a knife. It will be big and puffy but will deflate after a few minutes.

15 February 2008

Valentine's Day Salmon

We got our Valentine's Day Dinner recipe from an awesome food blog, which Christa kindly pointed out to me a couple weeks ago. The salmon was expensive, but amazing. I am about to go eat the leftovers for lunch.

Here's the recipe.

The only thing we did differently was substitute extra sake for the mirin (Japanese rice wine), so instead of 1/2 c. of each, we used 1 full cup sake.

Sides were sweet potato "fries" (in the oven), wilted spinach, french bread and roasted broccoli (using the roasted asparagus recipe).

08 February 2008

Reason #11

The Winds Cafe. Now I am *really* excited.

Top 10 things about Dayton

Maybe you didn't know this, but Dayton, Ohio, is actually exceedingly cool. I cannot wait to live there, for the following reasons:

1. They have seasons... for real... probably complete with beautiful fall colors.
2. They have the Eckardts
3. They have tornadoes (oh wait that's not cool)
4. It is probably weird in a cool way, like Chattanooga
5. It's only a 7 hour drive from Chattanooga.. read: frequent visits to Sus and Marie!
6. No matter how weird it is, it's where little Baby Mo will spend the first year of her life, so the memories are guaranteed to be sweet!
7. I will have my own refrigerator again! (It is yet to be decided if that small perk is worth giving up the fabulous ambiance of the avocado house along with one housemate who acts on every whim to bake something amazing and then share, and the other one who does my dishes all the time... and did I mention they both have fabulously loud laughs)
8. We will get to be real Americans for the first time ever. Living on the west coast you don't really feel like one, and living in Chattanooga you just feel like a $%&* Yankee, but I bet people in Ohio are real Americans. Like the kind that fly flags outside their homes.
9. I just cannot wait to check out Carillon Park. What the heck is a Carillon, anyway?
10. It is a wicked-cheap place to live!

We are hoping to get some sort of a three-bedroom place. This means that you're welcome to visit :)

04 February 2008

Hot Artichoke Dip

I am posting Erin N's artichoke dip recipe so the next time Katie asks me for it (usually about every 6 months), I can just send her a link instead of typing it out again :)

1 15-oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
(sometimes I also throw in some chopped spinach)
1 c. mayonnaise
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 package)
3/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
a dash of dill

Mix all ingredients in 8x8 dish. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Serve warm with those stellar organic tortilla chips from Trader Joe's.

25 January 2008

Red Snapper with Ginger Sauce

This recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens Healthy Family Cookbook, a wedding gift from Moi-Moi. It's one of Ken's faves!

cooking spray or olive oil
1 lb. red snapper or other firm white fish
red pepper, cut into strips
zucchini, sliced diagonally, about 1/4" thick (I have substituted a green pepper and/or sliced onions for the zucchini)
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 T. white wine or water (I use sake if I have it)
1 T. grated ginger (I just mince - grating is a pain)
1 garlic clove, quartered
2 green onions, sliced
more green onions cut into long thin strips for garnish if desired
hot cooked rice for serving

1. Preheat broiler. Spray broiler pan with cooking spray (or brush w/ olive oil). Lay fish and veggies on broiler pan.

2. In a blender, mix soy sauce, wine, ginger, garlic and green onions until blended well. Brush fish with sauce and place remaining sauce in saucepan. Broil fish 6-9 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork and the veggies are roasted.

3. Bring sauce to just boiling. Serve alongside fish (garnished with green onions), veggies and hot cooked rice.