Thursday, July 31, 2008

Standby salad dressing

I grew up having salad with just about every dinner. I didn't realize until I got older that not every family does. Most nights that I make salad, this is my standby vinaigrette. So easy and tasty.

2T olive oil
1 T good balsamic vinegar
hand cracked pepper
generous amount of Jane's Crazy salt (a staple in my family)
Shake it up for a minute or so (I use mini ball jars or old minced garlic jars so I can really shake the crap out of it without fear of salad dressing flying around my kitchen).
For the actual salad I do a mix of field greens or something similar and then slice up green onions. That's it! Well, last night I added a ripe peach and that was a fantastic addition.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In season..

I just bought some corn at the farmers market yesterday and am excited to make a mexican elote tonight! Basically its just the corn grilled with some mayo, lime juice and chili. I also add a few dashes of hot sauce cause I like it hot! Just thought I would share in case you guys were looking to spice up some veggies in season at the moment. Other good buys I saw at the market this week were green beans, beats and peaches.

Hmmmm, I really do like meat too I swear! Thus far all my posts/comments have gone more towards the veggie friendly side..

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fold Flat Tableware

I saw this Orikaso fold flat tableware on a blog I frequent, EmilyStyle. I love how compact they get and how easy they would be to clean when camping or backpacking. Let's be honest, I don't backpack, but I do camp and I do tailgate. Maybe I'll get the mugs for the football season.

Sara from Hotlanta!

Sooo to give the intro...I'm originally from Georgia but have made Chicago my home for the past 7 years (and possibly forever but shh, don't tell my parents!). I love, love, love eating and cooking as well. Simple recipes that taste delish are my favorite although I'll occasionally tackle something more complicated. One look at a recipe that has 10+ ingredients and chances are I will quickly be turning the page. That said, I don't mind making food that takes awhile. There's nothing like some good music, a glass of wine, and a bunch of chopping to relax a girl. I love my crock pot and got a food processor last christmas that I have yet to use but am looking forward to making lots of yummy soups this winter.

Favorite Foods: Anything Mexican although moreso for the cheese, sour cream, guacamole element than the spicy. I love mashed potatoes, mac and cheese (all kinds of comfort/southern style food), casseroles, asian food, greek food, italian food, ok pretty much all types of food. I'm always looking for good meat marinades and with it being summer, good pasta salad recipes. I don't like any orange vegetables - sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers (or any color pepper for that matter)...blech. Other than that I'm not too picky although I think someone on this blog has a husband who might beg to differ (Joe:). I love pretty much all veggies aside from the aforementioned orange ones. Not a huge fan of fruit unless it's floating in a glass of sangria. I've had a love affair with chocolate for many years.

Talking and reading about food is one of my favorite things to do besides eating and making it so I'm very excited to be part of this blog (my first!). Looking forward to getting lots of new ideas and sharing mine with ya'll!

Spinach Squares

As requested...these are sort of the easy version of spanakopita.

This is for a 9 in. sqaure pan. You can double it and use 9x13 in. pan.

1 package (16 oz.) frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
8 oz. shredded brick cheese (I've used mozzarella when I can't find brick)
4 eggs
1/4 c. butter

Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper (or a greek seasoning mix if you have one).

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 mins. or until golden on top.

To go Vegetarian or not?

No, not me, sillies!

Here's my question, we're thinking of having two couples from our new neighborhood over for dinner this weekend. One of the couples are both vegetarians. So, I'm leaning toward a vegetarian meal for everyone. Would you do all vegetarian or would you do some meat also for us and for the other couple??? We're fine going meatless but it's hard to say what other people like. Thoughts?

The menu we're going with so far is:

Apps: Feta Spread with Pita, Fruit and Veggie Kebabs

Dinner: Greek Horiatiki Salad, Spinach Squares, Olives, (Something else??)

Dessert: My Chocoloate Cake

It's Mollie, with an -ie!

Ok so I like to think of myself as a witty girl and a decent writer but after reading all the blog posts and intros thus far I have to admit I feel a bit nervous measuring up! Ya'll are good! That said I hope to at least not bore you! Like all of us here I too love food and cooking- I dream about food and reminisce of old times via food- I love reading recipes, better yet I love trying them and more usually then not I like CHANGING recipes to suit my own tastes! I am one of those cooks who actually hates cooking inside the lines and I would say the only time I truly follow a recipe 100% is with baked goods because you stand to make a royal mess there if you're not precise!

I have been cooking meals for my family probably since I was about 10 years old and amazingly enough 21 years later (sh*t I'm old!) I still not only love cooking but am always learning about new tastes and techniques along the way. My ultimate dream one day is to attend culinary school for the pure pleasure of it. In the meantime I enjoy learning from others who share the same passion or my bff's on the food network, travel channel, martha, take home chef etc.

I love pretty much all fresh fruit and veggies, olives, cheese, mediterranean food, seafood, steak, lamb, pasta, italian and mexican, cilantro, lime..oh seriously I could go on for hours! One final note- I also love wine- particularly reds, and my latest food adventures involve making good food and wine matchups!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Recipe to Try: BLT salad

Going off of Camby's meal suggestions, this BLT salad recipe sounds like a good mix between salad and sandwich. It would be good meal for entertaining in the next few weeks when we finally get some good tomatoes.

1 (6-ounce) slab bacon
2 cups ciabatta or other country-style bread (such as sourdough batard), cut into large dice
6 ounces spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cut into large dice
2 shallots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the croutons
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar

1) Place bacon in the freezer for at least 5 minutes to firm up (this will make it easier to cut).
2) Heat a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon from the freezer and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Cut each slice into lardons (1/2-inch-by-1-1/2-inch pieces). Line a plate with several layers of paper towels; set aside.
3) Add lardons to the pan and cook, stirring rarely, until browned and most of the fat has been rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the paper-towel-lined plate and let cool.
4) Remove half of the bacon fat to a heatproof bowl and reserve. Return the pan to medium heat, add bread, and toss to coat in bacon fat. Cook, stirring frequently, until bread is toasted and lightly browned but not hard to the touch, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate with the bacon, and season croutons with kosher salt.
5) In a large bowl, toss together bacon, croutons, spinach, and tomatoes; set aside.
6) Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add reserved bacon fat. Add shallots, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and sauté until shallots are just tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar, scraping the pan with a spatula to incorporate any browned bits into the dressing. Remove from heat and drizzle dressing over salad, toss to combine, and season with more salt and pepper as necessary.

I'm Camby...

....and I like food. There, I said it. I like food. Sometimes, I wish I didn't like it so much when I try on a new pair of jeans but I do. I don't know how some people just see food as something they have to do to get through the day. To me, food evokes memories of childhood and loved ones and emotions of pleasure and comfort.

Some foods that I love are strawberries, pineapple, pumpkin bread, cheese, nutella, salmon, asparagus, sweet potatoes....nutella. Seriously, nutella is good stuff!

Anyway, I like food but I also like to cook. I'm a stay at home mom of two little ones so I don't always get the time to cook things that are overly complex or take a lot of concentration but I'm always storing away recipes for the days when I do have more time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Food ideas for this week?

I'm going to be home all week and next weekend (a rarity indeed), which means a big shopping trip today or tomorrow. Anthony has been on the road (literally) this last week doing RAGBRAI and will be ready to eat at home. I'm going to have a busy week, but I want to come up with a plan of at least 4 meals I can make quickly and easily.

I'm not even remotely motivated to come up with ideas as I write this, but I'd like to plan around veggies that are in season right now. Anyone have any ideas or meals they are planning for next week?

Food Links from It's All Happening

Here's all of my food related links from my other blog.

Spicy Wedding Gift
Lemon Egg Soup Recipe
Slow Cooker Bean & Barley Soup Recipe
Cutting Boards
Melamine Salt & Pepper Shakers
Paula's Mashed Potatoes
Potato Pancake How To
Luna Bars
Pork Chops and Rice
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Citrus Vinaigrette
Teriyaki Marinade

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Posting and other Blogger Bits of Info

Blogger is pretty easy to use. You will see once you start posting that it functions much like Microsoft Word. Some hints and tips to get you going.

1) No post is ever final, you can always go back and change it.
2) You can play with font colors and sizes, as well as bold and italic.
3) Pictures are fairly easy to insert, though you will have to manipulate them sometimes once you have inserted them. You just have to drag the photo to where you want it and then pull the text up around the image using backspace.

I use Picasa from Google to host my images, but you don't have to do that. Picasa just makes it so that the images don't slow down the web page when it is loading. You can always just link directly to an image on your computer as well.

In blogging, its usually preferred that you cite the source you borrowed an image from (if its not your image). Because you are taking from their web site's bandwidth (how much space they have to host their site online), its a friendly blog world shout-out to the owner of the image.

4) Linking is also super easy, just highlight the words you want to link and then you can add the link using the link tool bar. You can also link to a web site from an image, just follow the same process. I try to test my links after I post.

Let me know what other Qs you have. Jennifer and Camby are both blogger-proficient, so jump in if you want.

The Accidental Wine Company

I haven't tried this yet, but what a cool way to try new wines. At the Accidental Wine Company, damaged wine labels=more wine for winos, on the cheap. It would be a great way to keep your party budget in check.Found via Not Martha and Chow. Image from Wine Pros.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jen(nifer). No Jenny Here.

I cook because I love the end result - good eats! I don't like to spend a lot of time cooped up in the kitchen though, so my preference is to cook a meal that will last me for days, a week even. I'm usually only making something for me, so the lack of variety doesn't phase me.

Food facts: I'm a good eater. I've met very few foods that I dislike, and next to none that I absolutely hate. My meals tend to fall on the nutritious/healthy end of the spectrum and I'm always looking for ways to tweak recipes to cut fat and calories without sacrificing flavor. Milk (1%) is my preferred drink. I once had to butcher chickens - never again.

When I'm not in the kitchen (which is a lot of the time thanks to the aforementioned week-long meals), I'm making a living writing about health insurance, studying Mandarin, working around my house and blogging about it, reading a good book, snooping around the Internet, and checking in on those near and dear to me!

Me...most likely wondering what I'm going to have for dinner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ms. Amanda if you're nasty

Well, I really like to cook and I love (LOVE) to bake. I'm always looking for recipes with a minimal amount of ingredients, and is a possibility for leftovers. My husband likes meat with every meal, which is a struggle for me because I'd gladly skip it a few nights a week. I also struggle with managing my meals and ingredients each week, so I get a bit overwhelmed.

Favorite foods: bread, pasta, chocolate, salads with vinaigrette, citrus fruits, garlic, Italian food, hearty soups, strawberries, hummus, guacamole, roast chicken, pumpkin related things, Mexican food, macaroni, & cheese, grilled cheese, cheese, cheese, and did I mention bread?

Hmm, what else? I live in Des Moines with said meat-eating hubby. I write & edit for a living. Love reading, music, art, decorating my house, being outside, traveling and of course, cooking!

Hungry for a Cooking Blog?

Hi Ladies--here's our new food blog! A few notes on how it works.

1) You can post on anything food, cooking, recipe, drink, etc related. Whatever you want.
2) When you do post something, make sure to note what its related to in the labels (when you are creating a post). That way you can search by related posts
3) Comment away on each others posts (if you want). Commenting makes the world go round in the blog world.
4) Please do a bio post so we know who each other is. I'll add our bios to the on the side of the blog.

Let me know if you have thoughts, suggestions, layout ideas, whatever. Should be fun!