Food


Fish is one of my favorite foods to cook. Any kind of fish. Salmon, Snapper, Bass, Trout, Catfish. We love it all. One type of fish I have never cooked, and only eaten once about 40 years ago, is Swordfish. It is an oily fish and the meat is usually sold as large steaks. The meat is pretty firm, and can be cooked in ways more fragile types of fish cannot. I wish I could have found some for this Donna Hay dish but it was not to be (remember I live in Podunk) so I ended up using some nice Catfish Fillets. Catfish is also a little oily, is quite firm and very mild so it was a good sub for the swordfish since it also tends to take on the flavors of whatever it is seasoned with.

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Cooked in a skillet with coconut milk, red curry paste, and lemon grass, it is quite flavorful. The basil and lime juice added to the sauce provided another layer of flavor. I served it with a little Basmati rice and lots of sauce {I always make more than called for.} I quite liked this and am glad I have leftovers. I just wish I could have scored some swordfish. THAT would have been wonderful!!

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Check on our Website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay – and see who managed to find some swordfish and who subbed something else.

And if you would like to join us we would love to have you. The recipes, through November, are listed on the right. Just cook, blog, share. And if you want to join the line up we would be glad to provide a time slot for you.

You can tell fall is in people’s thoughts now. Summer is winding down, the temps are, in some places {NOT the Deep South much}, cooling just a smidgen, pumpkin recipes are popping up everywhere. And sweet potatoes, too. This recipe of Ellie’s is just right for autumn thoughts.

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Diced sweet potatoes steamed and then mashed with apple cider {Juice because I couldn’t find cider}, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and a little butter.

I didn’t mash mine as much as Ellie suggested. I left mine with some nice little chunks.

It was good. I was thinking how good it would have been with some spiced pecans or praline pecans. Next time. Not QUITE as healthy. I bet the other “Eaters” liked Peggy’s choice as well. You can find out by checking in at the Eating with Ellie blog.

If you would like to join us the recipes from Weeknight Wonders are listed with the page numbers. Cook. Blog. Share.

Have you met Melissa? She is my Secret Recipe Club assignment for August. She is just up the block from me in Michigan. Well, maybe not JUST up the block since I am in Louisiana. But after reading through her blog posts and looking at ALL her recipes I feel like we have been visiting each other. She has a beautiful little girl named Summer and she loves to be in the kitchen where she cooks for her family and friends but she LOVES to bake. And I could tell from the list of cookies, cakes, etc on her blog. I did so wish I needed a sweet treat in the house…..I could have filled my freezer and my friend’s freezers with enough treats for a year!!!

You know I cannot just do ONE recipe. I like to get a better feel for my ‘assignment’ so I usually end up with at least two and usually three of their recipes. No different this time. I hope it is a good variety.

I started with her Quinoa Pilaf.

Like Melissa I was late to the Quinoa party but I am making up for lost time. I love subbing it in rice dishes and sometimes pasta so when I ran across this recipe I knew I had to make it.

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Her original recipe called for celery but there was none in the house so I threw in some fresh corn and red bell pepper instead. Love all the colors. All you need to do is saute your veggies (she also has chopped carrots in hers) in some butter. Throw in about a cup of rinsed quinoa. Add enough chicken or veggie broth to cook it along with some salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. It came together very quickly and was the perfect side with our burgers the other night.


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Melissa’s Aunt-in-Law used to make small Strombolis for her Grandmother to freeze, reheat, and eat. This made me crave, like Melissa, some Strombolis for supper. I used Melissa’s dough recipe but subbed out 1/2 of the white for whole wheat flour. I filled one with typical pizza toppings – pepperoni, cheese, red sauce,

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and one with ham chunks and lots of Mozzarella cheese. Both were delicious and didn’t last past one meal. I made them rather large hoping for leftovers, but it was not to be. Guess I will just have to make them again!!!


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This morning for breakfast, well, brunch, I couldn’t decide between Melissa’s Blueberry Scones, Blueberry Pancakes, or the Egg Muffins. I finally decided on the…

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How can anyone turn down pancakes? These were crunchy on the outside, due to being ‘fried’ in butter, and creamy on the outside. And did I tell you they were chock full of BLUEBERRIES?? They were! Smothered in butter and Maple syrup they were the perfect plate. This doesn’t mean I won’t try the scones or muffins, just not THIS Sunday!

So these are just three of Melissa’s recipes. All three were just right and I will go back for more. I still want to make her Whole Wheat noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, Biscoff Shakes, Chocolate PB Mug Cake, and anyone of her trillion sweet treats.

I love Secret Recipe Club . Meeting new cooks/bakers every month. Trying new recipes. Some inside the box, some not. You should join us!

And check out this month’s other member’s dishes.


I discovered quinoa a couple of years ago and now I always have a bag in the house, I often use it subbed for rice and sometimes pasta. It is so good and so good for you since it is high in protein and cooks us so easily.

I am always looking for new ways to fix it so when I saw this recipe I knew I would have to pick it this week for Eating with Ellie.

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This dish is so colorful with the corn kernels, red bell pepper and grape tomatoes. And healthy since it is made with chicken or turkey sausage.

In less than 30 minutes I had a delicious, healthy lunch. Thanks, Ellie!

Check on our website for the other’s quinoa dishes and how they liked it.

Want to join us? We are cooking out of Ellie’s newest book – Weeknight Wonders. ALL the dishes take less than 30 minutes to make so they are perfect for those busy nights/days/weekends when you don’t have a lot of time.

FIRST I want to thank Peggy for her pick this week. I needed a quick and tasty dessert and this one was just perfect. SECOND – thanks to Donna Hay for the quick sweet treat. SHE is the reason I keep puff pastry in the freezer. It is good for just about anything from desserts to pot pies to savory tidbits.

This is pear season and ours are just beginning to ripen. I picked one, just one, and it was plenty for three galettes.

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I made mine with apple.

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This is super simple to make. Cut your puff pastry into squares. Sprinkle on some ground almonds. Layer some thin pear slices. Brush the whole thing with melted butter and then just bake at 350 until the pastry turns golden brown. No measurements. Put as much or as little of the pears and almonds as you like. This dessert is all about YOU!!

The ‘recipe’, if you want to call it that, is on page 160 of Donna’s off the shelf. I bet the other members of Wednesdays with Donna Hay liked this one, too.

I had breakfast with Jacques Pepin this morning. Okay, not really WITH him but I did enjoy his Oeufs Cocotte (Eggs in Ramekins) for BREAKFAST. And in case you hadn’t guessed, this week’s theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs is BREAKFAST!

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It was simple and perfect.

    2 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    4 large fresh eggs, preferably from free-range organic chickens
    4 slices white bread (4 ounces)

Butter the insides of 4 small molds or ramekins with butter, ( or spray with buttery oil.
sprinkle the inside of each with the salt and pepper.
Break one egg into each mold.
Bring about 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a medium deep skillet. Place the molds in the water. Cover them with a lid.
Cook for about 4 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft
inside.

Whle the eggs are cooking, toast the bread, and spread each slice with butter.
Trim off the crusts, cut each slice into three or four thin rectangular strips, and serve with the molded eggs.

To serve, Pepin says to run the blade of a sharp knife around the edge of the mold and unmold onto the plate/bread.

Pepin suggests that in the bottom of the mold, before you add the egg, you could add:

    A tablespoon of cooked peas, or
    2 teaspoons of minced herbs and courtons to each mold, or
    4 round croutons (cut from the toast?), or
    Chopped ham.
    I think chopped bacon would be good, too.
    I added about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese.

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    The recipe is on page 456 of Pepin’s Jacques Pepin’s Table

    Check with other members of IHCC and see what they had for Breakfast.

It’s POTLUCK week with I Heart Cooking Clubs. I seem to gravitate back to Bittman for Potlucks. [So many recipes, so little time.] This time it was for something simple again. It’s just too hot for complicated!

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Simple. Quick. Tasty.

A whole wheat tortilla {mine was spinach and herb}filled with melty cheese, mushrooms, and sage it was the perfect breakfast. YES! Breakfast. I just wasn’t in the mood for eggs or cereal.

    2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
    About 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
    Salt and black pepper
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 fresh hot chile (like jalapeno), minced, or pinch of red chile flakes, or to taste
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
    2 large whole wheat tortillas
    1/4 cup grated Mexican-style melting cheese (like cotija or Monterey Jack){I used more.}

Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet and put it in the oven for a few minutes. When it’s hot-fragrant, but not smoking-add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir. Return to the oven and check after 20 minutes or so; the mushrooms should be releasing their water.

Stir in the garlic, chile, and sage. Continue to roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are fairly dry and deeply colored; total time will be about 40 minutes. {I found, if you roast them THIS long they get very dry. I would recommend using only about 25 – 30 minutes total. They will still be moist but well roasted.}
Meanwhile, generously grease a large baking sheet and spread the tortillas on it. (It’s okay if they overlap a bit.) Sprinkle the cheese over both. When the mushrooms are done, taste and adjust the seasoning and scatter them over the top.

Bake the tortillas until the cheese begins to melt, about 10 minutes. Fold each tortilla in half and press down gently. Bake for another 5 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 3 minutes until toasted and crisp.

These were really good and well worth turning the oven on for 30 minutes or so.

What did the others choose for POTLUCK? Visit IHCC.

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