I talk about food a lot. And other stuff.

But mostly food.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

I love Halloween.  I wonder if I'll be the only adult (1950's poodle-skirt-wearing-girl) walking her kids (Buzz Lightyear and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl) around in costume.

Tell me about any crazy candy you got - or are giving out.   I found gummy hamburgers and hot dogs - only the hot dogs are severed fingers!

Also - Yes.  I baked the seeds.  Three batches:  Rinsed with salt and cumin, Un-rinsed with salt, Rinsed with sugar and cinnamon.  All delicious!

Be safe out there tonight!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons...

...make curd.

I had an excess of citrus.  I'm not exactly sure what possessed me at the store, but it happens sometimes. 

I took this recipe for Lemon Tartlets from Eating Well and made a lime curd and a citrus curd (lemons, limes and orange).  Then I made these:

These little gems are amazing.  They pop right into your mouth and your tastebuds explode.
My mouth is watering as I type.

Lime curd cooking.

Citrus curd thickening.

Yes.  Yes, I did eat some with a spoon right out of the bowls.

The lime was outstanding.  The orange one I cut the sugar in half and it was still a little too sweet for my taste.  I wonder if you need it at all, except for the science of having sugar in there.  I'm willing to try it next time without added sugar - For Science!

One more shot for good measure.  YUM!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

A long while ago, my beloved friend and yoga teacher, Bridgett, gave me a recipe for Butternut Squash Enchiladas.  Today, I finally took them out of my "to do" file, and made them.  Oh. My. Yum. 

I did a few things differently.  Some for convenience, and some because I'm just a little bit crazy.

First, I didn't roast the squash - I microwaved it.  By the time I got around to making dinner, I didn't have 45 minutes to roast the squash before I made the sauce, assembled it and baked it for 30 minutes.  I did, however, have 10 minutes while the sauce cooked to nuke 'em.  I'm a big fan of cooking squash this way.  I cut them in half (or in butternut's case, I cut the straight part away from the round bottom, cut it in half lengthwise, and then hollow out the round bottom with an ice cream scoop), put them cut side down on a plate and microwave them for 6 - 12 minutes, depending on the size.  Then I add 2 - 4 minutes if they're not done through.

That was the convenience part.  The slightly crazy part was that I made three versions of the sauce.  The first two were this recipe halved, the third involved another, very small squash I nuked after tasting the enchilada sauce and thinking my kids might not like it.

Version One: like it says in the recipe. I used 1/2 a chipotle for this half of the recipe.

Version Two: without the chipotle and ancho sauce. I'm not a big fan of "smokey" so this half was my safety net.

Version Three: Just squash, cream cheese, cumin and nutmeg.  I assembled the enchiladas, reserving about 1/4 of the filling, which I  then thinned with some low sodium V8 to use as the sauce, in lieu of the canned enchilada sauce.  This was the kid version.

I served it with some Texmati with Red Rice and Beans and steamed artichokes.  My kids discovered the glory of the artichoke recently, and I am very, very pleased.

This was a lovely, filling meal.  I'm so happy when I find good vegetarian meals that are so satisfying.  Thank you, Bridgett.  Namaste.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chez Sweeny

My husband travels a lot.  In the summer, when there is no school, my children and I will pack up and go to my parents' house for a few days.  During this new school year we might do it if Bill is gone over a weekend, but that doesn't happen too often.
I love going over to my parents' house.  I'm an only child, and my parents still live in the house I grew up in.  When I'm there, I get to sleep in my old room - which now looks like a page out of Coastal Living- the Martha's Vineyard/Nantucket Edition.  When I'm there, I get to see all kinds of wildlife in the back yard (in Suburbia, Minnesota, if your back yard is wooded, like my parents', you get families of deer, lots of birds and, this year, 30+ wild turkeys to look at).  When I'm there, I get to cook and eat awesome food.

Recently we made grilled leg of lamb and roasted potatoes with individual ciabatta.  

Robin's Lamb Marinade:
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 orange juice

Roasted Veggies
Baby Carrots
Olive Oil

Served with a ciabatta roll and a great deal of butter.

We also made Eating Well's Easy Salmon Cakes.  These are now a new staple in my house.  SO GOOD!

Cook on the stove first.

Then in the oven.

Oven Fries.

 Creamy Dill Sauce

Served with Braised Peas and Scallions - a go-to vegetable in our house


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sesame Tuna Salad

Oh, Mama.  This is a good one.  We had this for dinner the other night, and I had the leftovers for lunch the next day.  Then I gave my extra cabbage and radishes to my parents so they could make it.  I could have eaten this for days in a row -and you know how I am about leftovers.  The flavors are wonderful and the texture is really satisfying.

Recipe here:

Slicing the snap peas and radish this way was actually really satisfying.

Such good flavors!

Veggies and Tuna

Garnished.  So pretty.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lunch Time

I'm terrible at lunch.  I never know what to eat. I'm always thinking about what's for dinner and am terrible at keeping track of time passing by (just ask my husband).  Lunch sneaks up on me.  Like, every day.

Now that my kids are in school, I'm trying to be prepared for when they come home at lunch time.  I make a lot of salads like this one:

chicken, orzo, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta .
If you mix it while the pasta is still warm. the feta melts and makes a yummy sauce.

I make this dressing and have it around so I can put it on stuff for lunch.

2 Parts plain (no or low-fat -- you can't tell) yogurt (1/2 cup?)
1 part light mayonnaise (1/4 cup?)
scant 1/2 part mustard (1 TBS?)
1 Big-Squeeze-of-Plastic-Lemon lemon juice (1 tsp?)
salt and pepper

Stuff I put it on:

chicken, zucchini, grapes, curly pasta

Tuna, peas, chickpeas on spinach

Chicken, orzo, bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli slaw

Orzo, chicken, cherry tomatoes, zucchini on spinach

You get the idea.

Hey.  Guess what?  It's time for lunch.  I don't know what we're having.  Time got away from me.  I've been writing this blog post.  What are you having?

Happiness is..

Let's face it, Charles Shulz was at least a little right.  Happiness is a warm puppy.

HOWEVER:  Soup is also nice.  I made stock the other day.  Chicken and vegetable.

A few days later, my daughter """Felt sick""" (yes, those extra punctuation are there on purpose.)

I thawed some chicken stock.

And added some wide egg noodles.

Who's the best Mama in the world that day?

Photo by my daughter, age 5

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I'm a sucker.

At the market the other day, I saw a great deal!  Buy two pounds of Land o' Lakes Light Butter and get a FREE dozen Land o' Lakes eggs.  Well, needing both butter AND eggs on this trip, and having Land o' Lakes be my favorite kind of butter, I thought, "Wow!  What a great thing!  AND I'll get to try this Light Butter....  I know I don't like margarine, but this says Light Butter, and it's made by Land o' Lakes, so it's probably not going to be wet and horrible like margarine, and HEY! I get free eggs!"

Well.  I took it home and tried it.

I was WRONG.
Now that I've gone back and gotten real butter, what do I do with this!?  Can you return butter to the store?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pot Roast

The weather has turned on me.  I have a few posts yet about grilling, but they might have to wait for next spring.  I just can't bear to talk about them when it's overcast and 60 out there.  In the meantime, I made pot roast with mashed potatoes.

I have taken my mother-in-law's amazing pot roast recipe and made it even better.  How? By adding wine, of course.

Shake the roast in a bag with flour, salt and pepper.
Heat oil in the bottom of a pot.
Brown the meat.

Add a cup of red wine, a diced onion, 1/2 a can of tomato paste and a beef bouillon cube to the pot.
Stir and incorporate/melt the cube and the paste.
Let cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Turn the meat over.

Add 2 cups beef broth (or water).

Simmer, covered for 2 hours. I turn it over a couple of times because I have a hard time not futzing with my food.  It makes me feel like I'm doing something during those two hours.  You don't have to.
Add desired amount of baby carrots and simmer, covered for another hour.

To make the potatoes:
Boil potatoes until soft. I keep the skins on and cut them in 8 or so pieces to make the cooking time shorter.
Mash with an electric mixer, adding butter and milk or cream to taste.
Also, add an egg.  It makes them creamy and rich and awesome.  And adds protein!

But what to do with the other half of that can of tomato paste, you say?  Well, you could use it from a tube if you wanted and put the rest back in the fridge for your next endeavor.  I know many people who do that, but for some reason it just doesn't jive with me.  It makes me think of either anchovy paste or toothpaste, neither of which I want to eat.  Here's what I do while the roast is cooking:

Spoon out Tablespoon blobs onto plastic wrap and fold it over in half.

Cut between the blobs, making tomato paste filled plastic ravioli.

Bundle them up in cute little individual packets and pop them in the freezer, ready for their destiny.


Let's have another look at that plate: