Thursday, May 29, 2014

Madam Elizabeth's Sausage Pepper Surprise

Here is a good looking recipe that I hope to try soon from my friend, Elizabeth. Thanks lady!

Sausage Pepper Surprise
serves about 8

1 package sausage( any kind you like) I get Smithfield smoked beef sausage
1 large onion (any kind you like) we've tried red yellow and white.. All good
1 large bell pepper (again, any kind you like) our favorite has been the orange
1 large jar mild banana pepper rings... Drained
3 large potatoes ( you guessed it, any kind you like) red ones are awesome too!
Extra virgin olive oil

Cut everything up, toss in EVOO [extra virgin olive oil] until evenly coated and spread on cookie sheet lined in foil. Salt and pepper to taste... And then sprinkle on the rosemary (Jacobs [Elizabeth's son] favorite part... He says they are awesome!!). Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. DONE. please note this dish will make your house smell amazing! oh, and if you are a garlic lover ,which Adam [Elizabeth's husband] is, throw some garlic in there too

I for one am very much looking forward to eating on some of this very soon! Thanks again!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Doesn't that just look so perfectly moist and yummily full of peanut butter chocolatey goodness? Yes. It does. And yes... they are! Would you have thought that the main ingredient in this lovely little cocoa nugget was black beans? No, probably not! But please don't feel foolish, the idea caught me by surprise as well. If fact, I became so enchanted with the idea of making "bean brownies" that I put some emphasis and slight social pressure behind my request for a certain Ms. Hannah from a certain local artisan grocery store to share her recipe with me. It worked! I have the (slightly altered) recipe in hand and with share it with the wide world here today.

I will begin with a disclaimer: this is a vegan recipe and I carefully followed the vegan-ness (even though I am certainly not a vegan) but also added some Sallyness to it by substituting the sugar for brown rice syrup. Just cause sugar is vegan doesn't mean it's good for you, I think we can all agree on that one.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

vegan, gluten-free, white-sugar free
makes 12 cups

1 15 oz. can (~ 1 3/4 cups) black beans, rinsed
2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flax seed meal + 5 T water)
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup salted natural peanut putter
2 Tbsp "extra" brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease standard size 12 cup muffin pan. Prepare flax eggs by combining flax and water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes.
Add remaining ingredients through baking soda and puree about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. This should lend you a mostly smooth batter about the consistency of cake batter. Evenly distribute the batter into the tins. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter and the extra brown rice syrup. Put about a tsp sized dollop into each cup. Use a tooth pick to coat the dollop with the cocoa mixture. (This helps when removing from the pan as well.)
A dollop of peanut butter mixture per cup
Coat each dollop with the cocoa batter

Bake for 20-26 minutes. Shouldn't be jiggly at all.. but they are too fudgey and moist to be tested with a cake tester. Doesn't matter much either way as all the ingredients are already cooked/safe to eat!

Let them cool 20 minutes in the pan and then carefully remove them from the pan by smooshing any 'overflow' back into the muffin cup and then flipping it over a cutting board and smacking the bottom of the pan about a dozen times. (Let me know if you come up with a better way to remove them! So sticky!)

Here is the trick:These taste the best the day after baking. So make them a day ahead and then save them in a container in the fridge overnight. Make sure to leave time to 'warm up' to room temp before you serve them. About an hour or so worked fine for us.

Fish Fillets: DIY and you'll know whats on 'em!

There is a particular flavor of prideful joy which I relish in knowing that my young children have learned to appreciate and savor fish. Maybe not all seafood (show them shells and they might get a little icked out.) Notwithstanding, if I can disguise the fish so that they don't really look too much like 'Nemo' anymore I can enjoy the sight of my 7, 5, and 3 year old progeny digging in with gusto!

There was even this one time when I ordered some fresh fillets from the deli in our local supermarket and Juda (age 3) insisted on carrying around the wrapped package throughout the rest of our shopping trip enthusiastically saying, 'Mommy, I love fish! It's my favorite!' Doesn't that just warm the cockles of your heart?!

Breaded Fish Fillets
serves 8-10

2-3 lbs fresh fish fillets*
3-4 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 Tbsp parsley flakes
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup freshly milled flour
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Prepare your ingredients in three shallow bowls as follows: bowl one will be devoted to the freshly milled flour, bowl two to the milk and egg whisked together into a slight froth, and bowl three will contain the fresh bread crumbs, parsley flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Once your bowls are assembled you will want to prep a baking sheet or two with some olive oil and have this set to the side ready to receive your fillets. Now you are ready to rinse and pat dry your fillets. I also like to size them into about 4-5 oz portions at this time.**

With complete abandon towards the idea of keeping your hands clean... dust the fillets in flour, then finish with rolling in the bread crumb mixture. When the fish is fully coated lay flat on the prepared pan and get onto the next one. Once they are all laid out*** and ready to bake pop them into a 375 degree oven for 14 minutes remove and flip and cook for another 14 minutes. Sometimes depending on thickness of the fish you are working with this timing and heat will need to be adjusted. This would be about perfect for a thick 1" Cod fillet. I like to serve these breaded fish fillets with long grain Indian basmati rice and sauteed green veggies.

*For this recipe I usually try to choose a wild caught variety that will bake up flaky and white such as cod, haddock, tilapia or trout.

** Larger fish fillets can be cut into four or five portions. This allows the breading to cover more area and give the dish that individual feel when you are serving.

*** It can be also quite convenient to freeze your prepared fillets at this juncture for a quicker meal at a later date. To do this I lay them on a pan like so...

and then pop them into the freezer just like that for about 2-4hours after which point they are frozen solid and you may gently pry them off and put them into a gallon ziplock freezer bag. Good for up to a few months.

Burma: Shrimp Curry

this image was taken from a google search page without permission
The trip to Burma was short and sweet. The dish was easy to prepare, the children were enchanted with the videos of traditional dancing and music from the country. They were also kind enough to chuckle with me over the idea that since the cookbook we are traveling with was published in the 70's many of the countries names and boundaries have changed... so we are traveling in time as well as space. Totally trippy... and delicious.

So the recipe that I followed was only for the shrimp curry you see pictured above... gracing the rice with it's presence. I added the savory and divine element of garlic na'an to this meal. An addition that was well received by the family with Silas in particular showing his appreciation by telling me, "You make the best Na'an ever Mom!" This was praise I needed to get over the depths of dispair from earlier in the afternoon when I was deeply disappointed over the fact that my local grocery store isn't carrying the most delicious basmati rice ever!!![Edit and update: "Martins" started carrying it again after I made a request. It's on the bottom shelf, closer to the back of the store in the rice section, isle 7. Brand: JYOTi type: basmati supreme (imported from India) Get it. Cook it. Eat it. You won't regret it!]

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pork Stir Fry in Sweet Ginger Sauce with Sticky Rice

Pork Stir Fry with Sweet Ginger Sauce
serves 6

1 lb bonless pork chops or loin
1 cup carrots, peeled and julienned  
1 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup green cabbage, sliced thin
one small onion, diced
 3 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
 2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp rice cooking wine
1 Tbsp ground ginger

Slice the pork into small pieces about 1" wide, 1/2" thick and 3" long. Set this aside and warm the oil in a large skillet while you dice the small onion. Saute the onion and pork together until cooked through. Set this aside in a bowl and saute the rest of the veggies on medium heat until tender but not soggy. Once cooked set this aside on/next to the pork. In a small bowl or measuring cup whisk together the soy sauce, honey, rice cooking wine and ginger until well combined. Pour this into the skillet once the veggies have been removed and let it bubble and thicken for a few minutes under a watchful eye. Stir frequently. Once the sauce is just beginning to thicken into a glaze, toss your veggies and pork back into the sauce and stir to coat well. Now your stir fry is done and ready to spoon over some rice!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Green Veggie Juice

Sometimes (quite often actually) I like to charge up my fuel cells with a mid-day tall, cool glass of green veggie juice. It is a quick way to get a ton of fresh veggie nutrients, vitamins, anti-oxidants, chlorophyll, etc. It is a low calorie, high-energy kind of food. And I've been told that the green pepper is especially good for the skin. Sold? Yeah, I thought so. I have a non-photo worthy old beat-up Juiceman Juicer that my old man and I were blessed with when we got married. And it has been well used! But it gets the job done... even if it's not quite pretty enough for the pictures!

I am particularly fond of my current juicer because it gives you so much juice for what you put into it! I got a full 16 oz glass of juice from the produce pictured above. Half an apple and some old, left over carrot sticks were added for a hint of sweet... and that it is only one cucumber... I promise! Even though I did some unintentional trick photography to make it look like two!

I am really, really looking forward to having a little salad and juicing garden again this year!