Thursday, July 30, 2009

101 Simple Salads

Saw this great article yesterday about 101 simple salads. I think pairing simple ingredients together is something that comes with time spent in the kitchen experimenting.

My favorite non-lettuce salad is a take on Noodles & Company's Tomato Cucumber Salad:

ripe tomatoes, quartered
cucumber, sliced and halved
red onion or green onion, chopped
rice wine vinegar
salt, pepper and Jane's crazy salt


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frozen Herbs and Vegetables

This past weekend I did my grocery shopping at SuperTarget, and while not a weekly occurrence, I always find fun things when I shop there. I haven't used them yet, but I bought some of these wee little frozen herbs and aromatic vegetables from White Toque. For me, parsley and shallots are two that many recipes call for, but I rarely remember to buy (shallots) or know what to do with all the extra (parsley). The boxes are so cute, maybe 3 or 4 inches x 3 or 4 inches. My only wish is that they had frozen dill, and I think you ladies know from White Toque.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

I've now learned the key to any good salad is vinegar. So good. I ate this on thin slices of sourdough bread. Yum, yum.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (I used a lemon rotisserie chicken)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used a mixed nuts combo since my store was out of walnuts)
1 celery rib, diced into small bits (1 cup)
2 or more tablespoons finely chopped shallot (I used green onions since I forgot to buy shallots)
1 cup dried cranberries
2/3 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons tarragon, champagne or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or herb or your choice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Laura's Sausage Bake

The basic recipe, can be adapted as needed:

Cut up bread - enough to fill the bottom of the greased pan (I typically use leftover hamburger/hot dog buns)

Then mix:
6 to 8 eight eggs
Can of mushroom soup
Sausage (this time I used a 1 lb of plain sausage and 1/2 lb of sage sausage)
Cheese (this time I used 3/4 block of cream cheese & some leftover cottage cheese in the mixture)
Sautéed onions, garlic and peppers (typically I use a yellow onion, but this time I used red onion. I also don't always add pepper, but did this time)
Pepper & salt to taste

Then bake covered -- typically an hour or so (more if it's frozen). But, I don't think you can actually over bake this thing - it's amazing. I also tend to add shredded cheese to the top about 15 minutes before it's done.

This recipe is relatively easy, uses a bunch of leftover stuff and freezes well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What to Do With Fresh Mint

The bunches of fresh mint I'd intended for mojitos last Friday night turned into an adventure in finding fresh mint recipes. Last night I mixed together

10 or 12 strawberries, cut up
handful chopped fresh mint
juice from two limes

YUM! so tasty and fresh. Here are the others I may try some day.

Chocolate Mint Torte
Fresh Mint Truffles (totally going to make this at the holidays!)
Fresh Mint Poundcake

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fatigue Fighting Foods

The addition of our new pup has me getting up quite a bit earlier in the morning. While I know after three weeks it will become routine, I'm barely into the second week and my eyelids, attention span and spirit start to flag around noon.

I found these two Web MD articles to hopefully get some help:
Fight Fatigue with Energy Foods
Smart Way to Snack

I drink plenty of water and start my day with coffee and a granola bar. I should probably add some more fruits, veggies and nuts to what I eat during the day. Do you ladies have an ideas, recipes or tips?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Prosciutto Dijon and Gruyere Puffs

Updated 7/6: yum to the yum yum. These were so very tasty. I will for sure make again, though I may seek out an alternative to the $13.99 Dufour pastry puff. It was excellent, but spendy. Updated-just found out Trader Joe's sells a good alternative. A few notes:

I rolled my dough to closer to 14 x 18. Not on purpose, but because I wasn't really paying attention and the dough was very easy to roll. I'm glad I did, because I was able to serve more people. You don't have to cook as long if you make it larger.

I forgot parchment paper, so I just buttered the pan.

I'm looking forward to trying other things like olive tapenade or other cheeses.

Full disclosure: I have not eaten these yet. We have family picnic on the 4th, and I wanted something I could make ahead of time and transport easily. I made this last night, then wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. I'm going to slice and bake them just before the cookout.

I will say this: so...stinkin...easy. And I really want to eat one now. I'll update next week with the details.

Prosciutto Dijon and Gruyere Puffs
1 package Dufour Puff Pastry
8 slices Prosciutto di Parma
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
flour for dusting
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. Once thawed, carefully unfold and lay on a floured work surface. If the pastry tears at the seam in the unfolding process, it’s not the end of the world, but try to keep it in one un-torn piece. Dust flour on top of the pastry as well.

Puff pastry will already be very flat, but with a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 11×9-inches. Layer the eight slices of prosciutto on top of the puff pastry. Using a butter knife, layer the mustard on top of the prosciutto slices. Top with grated cheese, and as much fresh ground black pepper as you like.

Begin to roll the right side of the pastry in towards the center. Next roll the left side of the pastry in towards the center. Press together. Dough will not stick together, but if you brush away some of the excess flour on the center dough pieces, they will stay together better during baking.

With a sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place on a baking sheet lines with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes, until a deep golden brown.

Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature.