Food


There are times when our lives take a tumble. Time when we want what we cannot have. Times when we feel failure. Times when we lose someone important in our lives. Times when we feel sorrow for someone else’s loss. This was the case this week when we found out that Deb, one of our administrators in I Heart Cooking Clubs, had lost her Mom. So we are virtually sending her hugs with comfort food. Food that wraps you up and makes you warm inside. Food that brings back memories, feelings, joy. Deb – this is for you. It’s all we can do from afar.

If you look on page 30 of Donna Hay‘s Off The Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry you will see the recipe for baked carbonara. She lists it as ‘short order’. Presumably because it is quick. And it is. By the time the sauce is put together the pasta is al dente and ready to be mixed with some nice crispy bacon. What you end up with after baking the mixture for 30 minutes is….

…which you use as a main or a side. Either way, it is GOOD. The cream, milk, egg, and Parm cheese all comes together resulting in a creamy pasta.

I would not change anything except instead of just pouring the cream/milk/egg mixture over the pasta I would mix it all up in larger bowl with the the bacon and then put it into the baking dish. Good Stuff Y’all.

    14 oz ziti or pasta of your choice
    4 slies bacon
    4 eggs
    2 cps heavy cream
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese.

Cook pasta til al dente and drain.
Cook bacon until crsip
Whisk the eggs together with the cream, milk and Parmesan Cheese.
Place pasta in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold all the ingredients.
Top with the bacon and egg mixture.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until set.

What else is on the Potluck this week? I Heart Cooking Clubs is cooking for Deb this week.

Third Monday in May.

The end result – meeting a new foodie and cooking something or things from their collection of good things. I have found over the years that cooking just one thing is not a good way to learn about what makes a person tick. Or in the case of my ‘assignment’ this month – people. This month I was matched with Feast on the Cheap which is run by Mother and Daughter Duo Mary Ann and Mariel. Mary Ann is caterer and Mariel is writer with extraordinary culinary skills learned at her mother’s side. Between the two of them there is an awesome collection of great recipes.Not only that – the cost of every recipe is laid out for you with the ingredients. Thus the name “FEAST ON THE CHEAP”!! It was great to see how much each dish would cost.

I usually make three different treats. Usually a side and an entree and maybe a sweet treat. But it seems everything I went looking for something I was in need of something sweet. So here are two desserts – unusual for me – and a nice little quinoa dish.

I had a quart jar of pears in the pantry. We have a couple of trees so I put up pears every year. Finding this…

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was perfect. It is easy to make and yummy with the Maple Brown Butter Syrup and Pecans on top. Merial called for walnuts but we aren’t big fans and I always have lots of pecans in the freezer. Another change I made – I subbed out 1/2 of the AP flour for Whole Wheat. This is a grown up {what we used to call} Poke Cake. After the cake is cooked and cooled a bit holes are poked all over which lets the lovely syrup soak into the cake. Oh, Yeah!! Since I used my canned pears I skipped the “boil the pears, cinnamon, and water” part and just heated the pears and their juice with the cinnamon (and a little extra). Make this cake!!

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The next time I wandered through the site I found another sweet treat and since I was completely out of cake I deemed it absolutely necessary to make another. This time…

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Our garden yielded a lot of butternut last year. We could not eat all of them or give all of them away. There is just so much butternut one can eat. So I had cooked up quite a few, scooped out the good part, and froze packages of butternut squash. Lucky me to have found this cake, also from Merial.

This is supposed to be a quick bread but I changed it up just a tad and made ‘brownies’ with them. I poured the batter into a 11″ x 7″ pan and baked them for about 24 minutes. Merial made a Ginger Apple Butter for her bread but I chose not to use a ‘frosting’. But I did use some Sweet Potato Butter on some and they were wonderful!! Slicing these was a cinch since I had Mom’s special brownie pan (she loved gadgets like I do)

P1060546 PRESTO!! 18 perfect snacks!!

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Okay, I just couldn’t make another sweet treat. I HAD to go along another path.
For Lunch:

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Quinoa Salad with Sweet Bell Peppers, Dried Cranberries and Turkey Bacon

    1 cup organic quinoa
    2 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock
    ½ Teaspoon salt
    1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
    1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
    ¾ cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped –
    ¾ cup dried cranberries
    4 scallions (green onions), white and green parts thinly sliced
    5 ozs. Montrachet or plain goat cheese (NOT Feta)
    ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    1/2 lb. bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled

    For the dressing:
    ¼ cup cider vinegar
    1 Teaspoon Turmeric or dry mustard
    1 Teaspoon Cumin
    3 Teaspoons honey
    ¾ cup olive oil
    salt and pepper

If not using organic quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh strainer under cold, running water.

In a 1½ quart lidded saucepan, combine the quinoa, salt, and water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff the grain with a fork and set aside. Allow to cool to about room temperature.

In the mean time, prepare the remaining ingredients and dressing. Set the dressing aside.

Toss the peppers, cheese, nuts, cranberries, cucumber, onions, cilantro, and crumbled bacon with the quinoa. Season the Pilaf with salt and pepper. Add the dressing if serving all at once, combining well.

This was definitely a hit with me. The sweet cranberries and pecans mixed with the sweet pepper and green onions was a nice contrast. The tangy sweet dressing brought it all together. I made 1/2 of the recipe and it was plenty for two light lunches (with cake!). And so colorful which means lots of good things in the dish that are good for you.

So many recipes, so little time. I did make the Whole Wheat Parmesan Drop Biscuits. I couldn’t pass those up. Now I want to go back and try

And that’s just my short list.

Visit with Mary Ann and Merial – you WON”T be sorry!!

And visit the rest of the Secret Recipe Club Members and see what they cooked/baked this month.

For supper last night I made pizza. I have been craving pizza FOREVER. This might NOT what I had in mind when I pictured pizza but it hit the spot just fine.

Peggy chose an out of the box form of America’s favorite savory pie – one with asparagus and mozzarella. YES!! Two of my favorite things.

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The cheese was bubbly and delicious. The flavor of the crust was nice. The asparagus was lovely but I think it hid too much behind the cheeses, Mozz and Parm. Definitely one I would make again, tho.

Instead of a frozen crust as Ellie listed I used a recipe from Mark Bittman for his Whole Wheat Crust.

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You can find the recipe on page 215 of Weeknight Wonders.

And check with the other “Eaters” to see how they liked Peggy’s choice this week.

If you are looking for your Italian Grandmother’s Ravioli, this is NOT the recipe you want. However, if you want you Chinese Auntie’s Ravioli then thank Donna Hay.

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What we have here is a tasty spinach/ricotta/Parm/basil mix stuffed into Wonton Wrappers and quickly boiled. Then drizzled with a lemon basil oil and topped with Mozzarella. Maybe your Italian Grandmother and HER Chinese Auntie got together on this one.

These were so good. While they took a little time to put together it was well worth it.

The original recipe called for gow gee wrappers. Gow gee wrappers are similar to Wonton wraps but lighter in color and a little thicker. I had to use the wonton because Gow Gee wrappers simply aren’t available here. Maybe next time I visit the Vietnamese market….

Anyway, since wonton wrappers are thinner they cook quicker, and fall apart quicker, so I would suggest steaming rather than boiling them. I have filling left over so I will steam the next batch. The recipe is from Donna Hay’s Seasons, page 174, But Gaye, who chose this week’s recipe, also found it on Dreams of a Baker website.

Check on the other Haysters and see what they thought of this one.

{NB I tried to make these pretty, but they simply are not photogenic!}

And…BTW, and maybe you already know this, but THIS is the way to finely chop lots of spinach!!

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Whay haven’t I done this before???

Making omelettes can be easy. Or it can be hard. I have tried several different techniques over the years. Some work. Some don’t. But sometimes it’s not about the technique, its about how the omelette turns out. It’s easy to over cook an egg so that it is dry. This one isn’t

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Somewhat misshapen yes, but dry…no!

This is Pepin’s omelette. Creamy on the inside. Lightly, very lightly cooked on the outside. Perfect!

Pepin’s Classic French Omelette

    3 large eggs, preferably organic
    A dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
    Chopped chives, for garnish

Using a fork, beat the eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. The strings, when held up, should be short, not long and thick.

Heat butter in an 8-inch, nonstick skillet until hot and the foaming has subsided. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the pan and cook over medium heat, allowing the eggs to set and curl at the edges. Then, with the tines of your fork, stir the eggs so the runny part fills the areas between the set curds. When most of the eggs are set but still slightly liquid inside, the omelet is ready.

Fold the omelet in half. The outside should have a nice brown color. Invert onto a plate, garnish with chives and serve immediately.

It took me several tries to get the creamy inside. I am still working on the only lightly browned outside. I don’t plan to give up.

These were good with the chopped chives mixed in. Simple. Quick.

This week’s theme for I Heart Cooing Clubs was EGGS Did the other members go simple like I did, or did they cook up something fancy? Go check it out.

The summer is coming on quickly so I am getting into my ‘all about simple’ mode of cooking. Less time n the kitchen, more time outside. And even tho’ I am not a big fan of soup in the summer this one from Ellie Krieger is definitely in the ‘all about simple’ category.

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There is a ton of good stuff in this simple clear broth soup: bok choy, mushrooms, green onions, ginger, snow peas, bamboo shoots. And long thin pieces of browned pork. So many veggies in one small bowl. And a tasty soup it was.

Ellie suggested serving it with Sesame Quinoa, so I did!.

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The quinoa on the side was a great hep in making sure EVERY drop of soup was GONE!!

The group I was not sure what to do with the pork as Ellie doesn’t mention it again after it is cooked so I polled the group and came up with different answers – in the soup, on the side – I ended up just adding the pork to the soup. For me, that was the right answer.

The recipe is on page 74 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders The Sesame Quinoa is on page 260. It is also super simple.

Please visit the other Eaters on our website and find their reactions to the soup.

There is no rule out there that says French cooking must be elegant or complex. It can be simple and rustic as well. Which is a good thing for this week’s I Heart Cooking ClubFrench Dish. This recipe from Jacques is one of his mother’s. And it is quite simple.

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Pepin says his mother added cheese but he doesn’t always. I made mine without cheese but Gruyère would have been really good here.

1 1/2 pounds potatoes {I used basic russet potatoes}
2 cups milk
2–3 garlic cloves, crushed, and finely chopped (1 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick Do NOT rinse the slices.

Place the potato slices, milk, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring gently to separate the slices and prevent the mixture from scorching. It will thicken as it reaches a boil.

Pour the potato mixture into a 6-cup gratin dish, and pour the cream on top. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Let the potatoes rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
(Original Recipe)

While simple to make they were creamy and comforting. Definitely added to our rotation of potato dishes. Sometimes with cheese, sometimes not.

{BTW – reheat them in the oven and they are just as good as freshly made. DON”T nuke them!!}

Maintenant! Cliquez sur Plus d’IHCC et de vérifier plus d’une cuisine française de M. Pepin. Now! {Now! Click on over to IHCC and check out more of Pepin’s French Cuisine.}

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