Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beef Stroganoff

I just made Elle's Beef Stroganoff and Marc has declared it best dish ever in the world and wants me to make 5 gallons of it, so he can eat it every night. So, therefore, Highly Recommended!!! Thanks Elle!

I'll be out of town until Sunday, we are going to the beach, so hopefully I'll have some lovely beach photos next week.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Mercifully, my 7yr old decided that he would finally get his hair cut this week, and let's face it, he's had crazy boy hair since school ended. And I only had to bribe him with a chocolate donut.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thai Fried Rice with Soft Yolk Egg

This recipe for Thai Fried Rice with Soft Yolk Egg was in the Washington Post Food section last week. Normally all the recipes in the Washington Post look great, but are totally tiresome to make, and I could never be bothered, but this looked so good,and relatively easy that I had to try it.

I made sure that I chopped everything up first and had all the sauces out ready to go, because it's a really quick cooking process, and I cheated a bit, because I had Marc fry the eggs while I was finishing off the fried rice, so it was all ready at the same time. I cooked the rice earlier in the day and then let it cool, and then refrigerated it for a few hours before I made the fried rice.

This recipe is actually for one serving, so I just doubled everything as I did it. You can also add chicken or shrimp to this. I stuck with the mushroom, but next time I make it, I think I'd do it with shrimp, just to fill it out a bit more.

I thought it turned out really well,and would be great with or without the egg.

Ingredients for ONE Seving

1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
8 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned (may substitute other mushrooms of your choice)
1 cup cold cooked white rice
2 scallions, white and green parts, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium tomato, cored and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1/2 small cucumber, cut into thin slices (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 medium lime, cut into wedges

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a drop of water vaporizes within a second or two.

Swirl in the oil to coat the sides and bottom, then add the garlic and stir-fry for about 20 seconds, until the garlic is just golden. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for about 1 to 2 minutes, until they have softened.

Add the rice, breaking it up with your fingers as you toss it into the wok. Use a heatproof spatula to keep the rice moving for 2 to 3 minutes, scooping and tossing and pressing the rice against the bottom and sides of the wok to sear it. Add the scallions, tomato, fish sauce and soy sauce; stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the tomatoes break up and the scallions slightly soften. Transfer the mixture to a dinner plate.

Wipe out the wok and return it to the heat. Break the egg into a small bowl, then gently add to the wok. Add the water, then cover and cook, undisturbed, for 1 or 2 minutes, or until the yolk lightly films over but is still soft. Carefully lift out the egg and place it atop the rice.

Garnish with the cilantro, overlapping cucumber slices and wedges of lime.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Smoked Salmon Spread

The second recipe for Barefoot Bloggers this month was the Smoked Salmon Spread from Barefoot Contessa Family Style.

I really like this spread,and it was very easy to make,but I have a confession. I left out the horseradish, because I absolutely hate the taste of it,and put in slightly more lemon juice than the recipe says to do. It's also really nice with some fresh dill on top as well as in the spread. And it definitely tastes better the next day!

I was surprised that the spread was mixed using the mixer and not the food processor,but I guess doing it in the mixer lets it stay slightly chunky.

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flounder with Vegetable Cous Cous

We had this for dinner tonight. It's from Everyday Food. Here is the recipe. I have to be honest, I didn't like it at all. I guess steamed fish isn't that great. However, I think it looks good in the photo! And it was super easy to put together. So if you want a quick, tasteless dinner, give this a try. The best part was the mustard viniagrette.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Doesn't gazpacho sound like an exclamation of something good? Like you could use it on a happy occasion? "oh, you're getting married! Gazpacho!" And it sort of makes you feel like that after you have eaten some for lunch. My friend Nancy made some on Friday with fresh tomatoes from her garden, and she shared it with me, as I gave her the recipe from Ina's original Barefoot Contessa book.

I thought it turned out really well, fresh and fabulous. The parmesan croutons topped it off very nicely! Just the perfect thing for a day like today when it is 95F in the shade, in my backyard.

Here's the recipe.

Great job with the gazpacho, Nancy! Gazpacho!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This week is so boring at my house. Last week was a frenzy of activity with camps and what not, but this week is sort of dead. And I have no enthusiasm for cooking - anything! Last night we had the salmon tacos again, and on Monday we had some breaded turkey breast cutlet thingys that I got at Wegmans on the weekend. I don't usually shop at Wegmans, but they are the only supermarket in my area now carrying the Hershey's Dutch Processes Cocoa Powder. Giant and Safeway are not stocking it anymore for some strange reason.

I have no clue what we are going to have tonight, but I'm sure it's going to be totally lame and involve some kind of pasta.

The good news is that I did find a great recipe for Beef Stroganoff over at Elle's New England Kitchen so I might conjure some of that up tomorrow night. It's not really the season for it, but I really feel like it!

In the mean time, here are some of my hydrangeas:

Friday, July 11, 2008

She did it!!

She did it!! My five year old has been at her first Girl Scout Camp all week, and the theme this year is the Wild West, so of course there were pony rides. This is a girl who has always been petrified of animals and won't even let a kitten come near her, so I was amazed when she got on the pony!

I was volunteering for two days at camp as one of the photo takers. Each camper had her photo taken on a pony and then they made photo frames as a keepsake. Which means that I was lucky enough to be right on the spot when she rode the pony.

She lasted three quarters of the way around and then asked to get off and ran crying to me, but I was thrilled that she even attempted it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

The first of the Barefoot Bloggers recipes for this month is Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. This recipe is something I would never normally consider making, because I don't like cornbread or jalapenos, but of course, I gave it a shot anyway. I did change one thing in the recipe and used the cast iron pan to cook it in. And I did read the comments that some other Barefoot Bloggers had very helpfully left, and used only one stick of butter and it turned out well.

I really liked the texture and the taste of the cornbread with the sharp cheddar, but it didn't like the flavour of the jalapenos at all. I would make it again but minus the scallions and the jalapenos.

Here is the recipe if you want to give it a try!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Rosemary Fried Chicken

Ever since I moved here to the US I've always wanted to be able to make a really good fried chicken, but it's sort of difficult, especially to know when the chicken is cooked and also not that good for you, but I came across a recipe for half fried and then finished off in the oven,(from Everyday Food)and I thought that was the perfect solution. Also it was very easy! I used the side burner on the grill so I wouldn't get oil spat all over the kitchen, and except for the rain, that was a good idea.

I served it with a pasta,celery and red onion salad. (recipe below)


8 chicken legs and 8 chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 4 sprigs
2 cups vegetable oil, such as safflower

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line one large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; place a wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine chicken, buttermilk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside (or refrigerate up to 2 days).

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, paprika, chopped rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Lift chicken from buttermilk, a few pieces at a time (allowing excess to drip off), and dredge in flour mixture (shaking off excess); transfer to foil-lined sheet. Dredge chicken in flour mixture a second time; return to sheet.

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or a 5-quart Dutch oven), heat oil and rosemary sprigs over medium-high. When rosemary sizzles rapidly, remove and discard. In three batches, fry chicken until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side; transfer to prepared rack. (If chicken browns too quickly, reduce heat.)

Remove foil; set a rack on that baking sheet. Transfer half the chicken to this empty rack. Bake chicken on both racks until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh registers 165, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. (To store, let cool, then layer between paper towels; refrigerate up to 1 day. If desired, bring to room temperature before serving.)

Pasta Salad

1 pound medium pasta shells (I used bowties!)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
6 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1 cup celery leaves
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped


Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add celery stalks and leaves, onion, and cooled pasta; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Spinach Grapes and Almonds

I dutifully made Thursday nights recipe last night.Steak with a side of Spinach, grapes and almonds.I did not like it at all. And it didn't look that good so I didn't take a picture. That combination of spinach, grapes and balsamic didn't really sit well with me. So that's too bad!!

Here is the recipe from Everyday Food

So, forging ahead with the recipes, tonight, especially for the 4th July, is Rosemary Fried Chicken. The chicken is already soaking in the buttermilk!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Chicken Salad Veronique

I made this Chicken Salad for lunch yesterday when a friend came over. It's totally delicious and the grapes really make it. I was a bit hesitant about this recipe at first, because of the grapes, but they are really delicious with the chicken. I had to substitute fresh tarragon for dried, because I couldn't get any fresh, but I think it worked out just fine.

I cooked the split breasts the night before at the same time I made dinner,so it's also an energy efficient lunch!

The recipe is from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home,and the only substitution I made was for dried tarragon for fresh.

4 split chicken breasts,bone in, skin on
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
11/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup small-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup green grapes, cut in half.

Roast the chicken breasts as you normally would - about 35-40 mins in a 350 degree oven. Set aside and cool.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the meat form the bones and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into a 3/4 inch dice. Place the chicken in a bowl; add the mayonnaise, tarragon leaves, celery, grapes 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss well.

Spaghetti,Bacon,Green Beans and Basil

I did make Wednesday's dinner of Spaghetti,Bacon,Green Beans and Basil last night, but I forgot to take a photo of it. It looked exactly as you would imagine it to!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chicken Thighs, Zucchini and CousCous

Tonights dinner from the weeks menu was Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and CousCous.It was nice. Not spectacular but nice. I did like the red-wine vinegar in the couscous, and next time I would definitely put more vinegar in it.

Here is the recipe.