Category Archives: Recipes

Fingerprints

Nearly 30 years ago I quit my job and went to cooking school, spending my lifetime savings on school, two Henckels knives (10″ chef and 4″ paring) and a Kitchenaid mixer.

A few weeks ago my husband decided to sharpen his favorite knife for cutting apples, the parer. When I used it to cut something for dinner, I sliced open my thumb. Nasty, deep cut. I had a Nexcare bandage on it for weeks while it healed and my skin peeled away in layers from the adhesive.

Guess what? My right thumb is the signature for me to log into my cell phone! I couldn’t get in at all. The other day my husband prompted my phone to re-scan my thumb print. I still can not get in, except via a six digit code.

I never thought this kind of thing could happen, and asked him not to sharpen any of my many knives again. Just to cut an apple a day? Please. I cook three meals per day.

Today is Beef Carbonnade. Beef, onions, bacon and beer. Saute bacon and remove. Saute the onion and remove. Cut up chuck steak and dredge in seasoned flour. Add everything back to the pot. I am using a new local microbrew to come halfway up. Braise on low on the stove or in a slow oven for 1.5 to 3 hours. Serve over egg noodles. Yum. Eat well, Dee

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Family Dinner

Tonight was an awful night. I lost my claddagh ring and feel naked without it. Love, friendship and loyalty. I’ll check my shirt and sweaters in sunlight because the crown nicks everything so it’ll probably be on the floor or carpet.

Years ago it was a rule, I was in college (on break) and my siblings were as young as seven, to have dinner together every night. I fear that families do not do that these days. It’s just my husband and me, and the dog, and my husband is usually on his cell phone or texting or on his laptop dealing with other people and not us. Even though he is here writing a book I see the old dog and now Snowflake Deux more than him.

In former years we had to do a “how was your day” routine. One day someone introduced “let’s rate Mom’s meals!” She was devastated. Dad hated her orange chicken and beef stew. They were not things he grew up with in a Teutonic household where he spoke German all his childhood and Grandma taught Mom how to cook. Then a certain someone got her a lifelong subscription to Gourmet magazine and she started making things called “health soup.” And a chicken salad with peaches that she served an honored man known for a geodesic dome for his 86th birthday and their 62nd wedding anniversary.

Dad said afterward that he didn’t like fruit with his meat. Whoops!

Mom’s gone nearly nine years and Dad died over the holiday season last year. I barely knew grandma except she used to sing me Bye, Bye, Blackbird as a lullaby before she passed when I was one year old. Dad was a musician and much more, I’ll have to teach myself that song . I just need the lyrics. Maybe not. I just learned it was a Nazi song.

Don’t worry, even though Mom’s mother died earlier than Dad’s and I do not remember her at all, I’ve another grandmother, my husband’s dear Nanny. Yes, she interviewed me before I married her eldest grandson and she made me an honorary “grand.” It is a pleasure to be the sixth and to watch her “great grands” grow up and marry.

We share food with about 60 people every Thanksgiving at Nanny’s and my m-i-l and everyone cooks and we have good and much food. And now the “greats” provide music as well from time to time, that is when football is not on the television.

I’ve made Orange Chicken twice in two weeks. My husband is a Texas beef and potato guy so it’s taken me years to get him to eat chicken. Mom used to use orange juice concentrate. Here’s my version.

Orange Chicken a Deux (for two)

Two chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin and seasoned

Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, and zest of an orange from which you will use its’ juice for sauce

Olive oil to  sautee the chicken

When chicken is just cooked remove it to a plate. Add the juice of 1-3 seeded oranges to the pan and reduce. Add a pat of butter, taste for seasoning and place the chicken back in to warm.

I serve it over warm Israeli couscous cooked in chicken broth, and a veg. Last night he made a jicama salad with fresh orange juice and I ate a few heirloom cherry tomatoes. He’s brilliant but not that great in the kitchen in any manner, especially the knife department, I call it “log salad.”

That’s the way it goes in Dee-Land. Nearly 16 years and I got him to eat chicken, Israeli couscous, and jicama? He’s even a cheese snob now, asking whether for day-to-day use on a cracker or toast is three-year or five-year better? Once a year I go back to my childhood taste memories and buy individually wrapped American processed cheese slices. Mom would never allow us individually wrapped. I make grilled cheese on hearty whole wheat bread. I also have ginger ale on hand, for tummy issues and because it was the only soda we were allowed to have as kids.

Never, ever rate your parents’ meals. It is a recipe for disaster. To Orange Chicken and my beef stew (later). Bye, bye blackbird, Dee

 

 

Change

It’s tough for anyone. Both of our next door neighbors came by to say goodbye. One with a six-pound daughter. I’d seen him on move-in day and years later on move-out day. In between he’d run a “hotel” service for paying clients and none of us thought highly of that.

Our other neighbors are due a lasagna to place in their new oven for a free and easy dinner tonight. It is my ten minute lasagna recipe on this site. I helped them pack for two days and tweaked an ankle injury I received 25 years ago walking my first dog on a craggy road. I was looking at flower gardens, not where my feet were going, and sprained my ankle. Anytime I over-do it, it tweaks a bit but is much better now.

I’ll call this morning and arrange to drop off their lasagna with cooking instructions. They called us here, to our current home, without either of us knowing it and were here five years, arrived shortly before we did. We always had fun together, and they always checked in on me when my husband was away on business.

Two neighbors have left but another is expecting a new arrival. I plan to give them a ready-to-go dinner when they return. For them. The baby will get it second-hand so it won’t be Texas chili. Other neighbors wish to get a dog over the holidays. We’re now the anchors, ambassadors and our dog Zoe protects them and their homes.

I need to go and make Beef Carbonnade for dinner. Beef, onions, bacon and beer cooked for hours. Cheers! Dee

Hire The Duck!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/grilled-leg-of-lamb-robert-recipe.html

I don’t think my husband has ever eaten duck.This was great but we got 1/2 leg of lamb, the hip part, already boneless as that’s all my butchers had and I opened it up like a bad book (skills need tuning). I placed it in a glass Pyrex vessel for nearly three hours in the marinade.

My husband assembled our new grill, same one we had for ten years but cleaner and he went out for propane (we’re not allowed to use charcoal). We cooked it and it was uneven so I’d already washed the Pyrex and we turned off the grill and took it to a pre-heated oven. He also bought and had delivered an instant read thermometer, nearly the kind Alton Brown uses, but at 1/3 the price. We cut off segments of lamb as they reached 130 degrees and let them rest.

After dinner the newest instant-read was clean and joined its two competitors, one digital, one analog, in a drawer. Play nice! Hey, stop touching him. I trust that the large Mommy candy thermometer will step in as needed. Mom, I’m not being haved! Thanks K for your brilliant save.

The lamb was great, I have to soak and scrub the grill grates and place them in the dishwasher, and put a clean “dog towel” over the top (I have tons) probably with bungee cords for the wind to keep the top clean.

Last weekend my husband elbowed me in the gut, in his sleep, big bruise. I think he was probably turning over and used me as a pillow. Often he mumbles in REM sleep (so does our dog as she chases squirrels) and I get a word every now and then and have no idea what he is saying.

He is only “home” three nights, two days per week so rests up for the next work week. Don’t worry, I have 24/7 security from multiple sources. The other night’s dream aloud was a plaintive, clear cry, “hire the duck!”

Neither he nor I have a clue what dream that came from or what it means but it had to be interesting and we laughed about it.

So what do I do with chilled medium-rare lamb? Gotta go. Car leaves in an hour and I need to take the dog and feed both her and husband. Dee

His and Hers

No, not towels. I do keep a certain symmetry in having red and blue to define territory. No, I’m not territorial, he’s got severe allergies so if he knows to pick up the blue thing, it’s a good thing.

When we met he was eating string cheese and leaving the wrappers between the kitchen and his home-built first dual-brained and dual-monitored computer in a man cave. I organized everything so he could move away in the dot-bomb era where the bosses left the white board un-erased and on a Friday afternoon an agenda item was left behind: Fire Staff. That must have been a great weekend!

Now he likes recipes. He wants to use all the equipment I bought for my kitchen years ago so has learned how to make light and fluffy pancakes, and hand-cranked pasta.

I believe that Knockwurst Press does not like iPhoto so I cannot show the gorgeous photo I wanted to do for his and hers.

My recipes are from Julia Child, James Beard, Simca Beck and many others. My husband has a book called Numerical Recipes. All I can say is that he’s a genius and I was approved by his family years ago, and that his grandmother, Nanny, says “he looks like he’s being well fed.” He eats my food, and I eat his numbers. He gets paid, I pay the bills, do the taxes, take care of home and dog. Here’s to you from the Feminist Homemaker. Yes, I got a volunteer “job” at Sundance because of that moniker but knew something was up so I cancelled training well in advance. There was a massive layoff January 2 and he was let go.

He’s coming home from a consulting job paying much more, probably around midnight, for the weekend. The best thing I can do is nest and make sure everything is done. It’s an 18-hour round trip Friday and Monday and a time change. I try to keep everything on his time. He has a sleep mask I place on the bed, put his phone on the charger, take out and feed the dog and place her atop the bed. She has no hips so I must lift her to be with the Stick Man. See the movie on Netflix with your kids. You’ll all love it. Cheers! Dee

ps This is not a monetized site, if you want to meet the Stick Man do it on  your own. D

Pizza and Appetizers

I made a new pizza last night. For a go-to appetizer I buy a container of pitted Kalamata olives from the olive bar, bring it home and drain the brine. Then I place them in a container (olive container or mason jar) and add garlic and herbs then cover with extra virgin olive oil and sit it out on the kitchen counter for at least a couple of days or in the frig for a few months. Make sure the olives are completely submerged in olive oil. Save the oil!

Caramelize a sweet onion or I used 1/2 of a large red onion, for the topping.

When you want to make one pizza (serves 2-3) use my regular dough recipe. Dry ingredients in food processor with steel blade include 1.5 c flour (I use Italian OO but AP is fine) and 1/2 t salt. Another thought to all-purpose is 1c AP and 1/2 c whole wheat. It’s better for you and will make it easier to roll out.

Wet ingredients include 1/2 c tepid water, 1/2 Tbsp yeast, pinch of sugar, pinch of reserved bench flour for later, and about 1t of the olive oil from the marinated olives. Mix until it makes a ball. I do 20x around, let sit five minutes, then 25x and roll it with your hands and place it in a bowl covered with a damp clean kitchen towel. It should neither be dry nor sticky. Add water by drops or flour depending upon the weather.

I place my dough in the microwave to keep it in a warm, draft-free place away from the dog and off my counter!

After 90 minutes in said bowl I knead it again with bench flour, roll it into a ball and cover it with the bowl (only one to clean) for 20 minutes, then roll out. Yesterday I used another tsp of the olive oil with a paintbrush (you don’t have to go to Williams Sonoma for these, local hardware store works for me). Just don’t let your significant other use it for woodworking or cars). I use a large cookie sheet for a thin crust. Regular cookie sheet works.

Now the fun begins. Take about a cup of olives out of your container and place them into a clean food processor bowl with a big handful of arugula and some roasted pine nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts (I used hazelnuts because they were in the freezer). I also added a few sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse and add s&p and as much olive oil as needed to make a paste. Not oily or watery. Add Parm to your taste and it’s done.

Roll out your dough and place it in a pan. Use another teaspoon olive oil to brush the top of the dough. Spread on the paste. Top with shredded mozzarella and caramelized onions. Cook at high temp. My oven can only be set to a max of 375 else a smoke detector will go off. I’m used to cooking at 450-500 degrees. Halfway through, I added four slices of proscuitto. Out of the oven I added a handful of watercress/arugula and dinner was done. My husband loved it! I may have gotten him off my signature Friday night pepperoni/mushroom pizza for a while.

With pizza one must be inventive with cheeses and toppings. We had a pizza party here one night with parents and their kids, age two and six. The older boy wanted cheese only. His little sister looked at the 19 toppings I had out on the counter, tasted some and made a creative pizza with amazingly sophisticated tastes and bravada. They rolled out their own dough I’d made earlier and made one themselves to take home. If you wish, check out caramelized onions, bbq chicken, spinach, roasted garlic, feta cheese, roasted butternut squash….. The sky’s the limit! Have your friends over. It’s a lot of prep work so count on friends to help in advance, and taste. Here’s to, cheers to… pizza! Dee

Pancakes

We made the most leaden whole wheat pancakes to get rid of a mix on the pantry shelf the other day.

This morning we turned the corner and served up tasty, fluffy pancakes with pure maple syrup.

Mix dry, yolks and sugar, then bring the egg whites, after whisking to medium peaks, to the mix. Cook. Voila. Hello, maple syrup, you’re supposed to be on stage! What? She left for another audition?

The magic is the egg whites, whipped up to medium peaks and folded in at the end. The pancakes, with Grade A maple syrup, were sublime. I actually prefer Grade B but that wasn’t on sale that day, months ago.

If you’d like I’ll send you the link. Happy Thanksgiving! Dee