Friday, February 26, 2016

Sesame Green Beans

I knew I would love these beans the moment I read the recipe.....and, I was right!  The only problem was I didn't make enough to have leftovers....  These were so good that I am making them again tonight.

Sesame Green Beans
adapted from Fine Cooking #107

Yield: 4 servings

1 lb green beans, trimmed
2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Lemon quarters for garnish

In a lare bowl, toss the green beans with the canola and sesame oils.  Arrange the beans on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil and coated with baking spray.  Season with salt and pepper.

Broil the green beans for 3 minutes.  Stir.  Continue to broil for another 2- 3 minutes until the beans are crisp-tender.   Toss the green beans with the sesame seeds and lemon juice. Then place the beans in a bowl to serve.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Five-Spice-Glazed Salmon

We have been trying to eat more fish.  That led me to Costco as there isn't a fish store in the area...pretty sad, isn't it?  I have had great luck with the fish from Costco and I can truly say that  I have never gotten a smelly piece of fish.  On this day, I found a beautiful salmon fillet that made its way to the dinner table!

This is a great recipe as it doesn't require a lot of time.  It would be really easy to have this wonderful meal on the table after coming home from's that quick and easy!  While the method in the recipe is to use the broiler, I think I am partial to the BBQ and would prefer to cook it that way the next time I make it.  Personally, I found the cooking time recommended to be a bit whacky.  The fish was no way near done in the six minutes suggested!  I followed the directions but found that my fillets needed about 15-20 minutes more than the time suggested. Maybe my fillets were more thick that the test fillets..who knows.  But, I recommend that you check for doneness as you go....  There are so many variable when cooking fish.  Be certain to check it at the thickest point.  If it flakes, it is done.

Five-Spice-Glazed Salmon
adapted from Fine Cooking #107

Yield:  4 servings

1/4 cup honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
4 salmon fillets, skin on
Non-stick cooking spray

In a small bowl, whisk the honey, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and crushed garlic.  Place the salmon fillets on a large plate, skin side down.  Pour the honey mixture over the salmon.  Turn the fillets so that they are skin side up and let the fish marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Position the rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.

Arrange the salmon fillets skin side down on the baking sheet.  Brush the salmon with any remaining marinade from the plate.

Broil the salmon for 5 minutes then check the fish fillets and reposition them to assure even cooking. Let the salmon cook for about another 10 minutes.

Here are some tips from the Seattle Local Food blog for how to tell when salmon is done.

  • The top will be slightly brown and any tiny bits sticking up get a little charred.
  • A little whiteness appears at the sides from the fat.
  • When the top is pressed with a wooden spoon, the top gives back a little resistance.
  • Most importantly is to cut into the thickest part.  At the bottom you will have some translucent, raw-looking fish....BUT, this part of the fish can be easily teased apart with a butter knife.  If it cannot be teased apart, cook it just a short minute longer.
  • The fish is the most moist and delicious when the translucent area as so.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

I am sh

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Slow Cooker Drunk Irish Stew

We had a week of really cold and wet weather.  We bundled up as the temperature took a dive. That doesn't happen here very often.  This time, we were cold and our backyard rain gauge registered 1.3 inches of rain!  It did look as though I could launch one of the kayaks in the backyard but instead, I decided that I should make something that would warm me up! And that is how I determined to make Kate's Drunk Irish Stew.

Drunk Irish Stew
adapted from Kate's Kitchen

3 cups diced russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs stew meat, cubed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups low sodium beef broth/stock
3/4 cup red wine
3/4 cup Guinness beer
4 oz. tomato paste
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

After chopping all of the vegetables, place them in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a fry pan on medium heat.  Brown the beef cubes in batches. Add a little additional olive oil for the second batch, if needed.  As you are browning the last batch, add the garlic.  Stir for a minute.  You want the garlic to bloom, not brown.  Add the beef and garlic to the slow cooker.

Add the sauce ingredients.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to release all of the fond.  Pour the sauce over the vegetables and meat in the slow cooker.

Set the slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 6-9 hours.  About 30 minutes prior to serving the stew, make a slurry by mixing 2 Tablespoons cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons water.  Thicken the stew by mixing the slurry into the stew.

Ladel the stew into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Serve with crusty bread.  Enjoy!


This hit the spot on this cold and wet day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chocolate, Chocolate and More Chocolate!

After looking at My Carolina Kitchen and loving all of her beautiful Valentine desserts, I looked at the calendar and was shocked!  I have not given any thought to our menu and since I have been trying to avoid sweets....well, I hadn't thought about that either!   Since I am a firm believer that on occasion one must have dessert first, I decided to start with chocolate...who needs to watch weight on Valentine's Day!!

I am sharing some of my favorite chocolate desserts with you and at the same time trying to decide which one I will make for Love Day!

This Devil's Food Cake Verrine recipe is four layers of delicious chocolate: chocolate sauce, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and chocolate streusel.  It was so worth the effort.....and accompanied by a nice was heavenly!

If time is a factor, these little Two Bite Chocolate Cream Pies are delightful morsels.  Sometimes, just a taste is all I need!  You can find the recipe for these adorable fellow right here.

If you are looking for something a little different these Mexican Chocolate Brownies are for you. They were absolutely amazing!  These are a dessert that keeps reappearing, at our house!

Sometimes less is more....and, just a little bite will do.  These Double Chocolate Sugar Cookies were absolutely wonderful and certainly addressed the chocolate craving around our house.

I hope you Valentine's Day is extra special!

I am participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cheddar Cheese Soup - Blogger CLUE

Sometimes the best laid plans are set aside and one must roll with the spur of the moment epiphany! You see, we went to a Super Bowl Party.
Normally that would have nothing to do with my blog post.
I had my Wednesday post ready...done...scheduled...awaiting the day...  

Then, on Monday evening, as I contemplated the menu for dinner, I had visions of vegetables...lots of vegetables...all of the vegetables that didn't make it onto the vegetable tray and the few left over after the game.  There were lots of tidy ziplocks lined up in the frig all filled with a variety of vegetables....

Kate's words came to me "...and I'd have added some cauliflower and broccoli to the vegetables."  I had cauliflower.  I had broccoli.  I had the onion, carrots, and celery.  At that moment I knew we were going to make the shrimp I had taken out of the freezer into an appetizer and use the beautiful vegetables that were waiting for their new life in a Cheddar Cheese Soup!

Who is Kate, you ask, and how did you find her?  Kate is a financial planner by day who "lives to cook" because she "loves to eat."  She also has a live-in sous chef and taste tester who just happens to be her husband who also likes to eat and cook!  Sounds like a great pair.  Kate started her blog, Kate's Kitchen so that she could share her wonderful culinary adventures and also share with us.

I was introduced to Kate through the Blogger CLUE Society.  Blogger CLUE Society is a recipe exchange group.  Each month members are assigned a blog, a theme and challenged to find a recipe that meets the theme!  How fun is that?!  I love a challenge...I love exploring new blogs....I love to cook....and, I do love to eat new things.

This month's theme is Soups and Stews which is why I was wrestling with which recipe I should make from Kate's blog.  I thought about her Tuscan Bean Stew, the Drunken Irish Stew, and the Ham and Potato Chowder.   Lots of choices but since I had everything I was the Cheddar Cheese Soup!

I did fuss with the recipe a little bit.  Kate wasn't entirely happy with the soup and made some recommendations so I followed through and came up with a combination that Terry raved about.  He must have told me ten times, throughout the evening, how much he enjoyed the score one for Kate and me!

Since Kate was not happy with the thickness of the soup, I made a roux to get things going. That worked really well.  Then, as I mentioned earlier, I added some cauliflower and broccoli.  It was perfect.  Sadly, my bacon was at a point in its life where we wouldn't want to eat, nix the bacon but next time, there will be bacon!  I also adjusted the amount of liquid...there are only two of us!

Cheddar Cheese Soup
adapted from Kate's Kitchen

Yield:  about 12-one cup servings

1/2 cup diced bacon (about 2-3 ounces)
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups of a mixture of cauliflower and broccoli florets, cut into small bite size pieces
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup beer
3 cups milk
3/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 flour

Brown and drain the bacon.  Set aside to use as a garnish.

Wipe out the skillet and add the olive oil.  Saute the onion, celery and carrots until softened and the onion is transparent.  Set aside.

In the stock pot melt the butter and add the flour.  Mix thoroughly.  Very gradually add in the cold milk stirring well with each addition.  Continue mixing to assure there are no lumps.

Add in the sauted vegetables, chicken stock, and beer.  Mix well.  When the mixture is hot, add the cheese.  Stir the cheese until melted.  Add the cauliflower and the broccoli.  Simmer gently until the vegetables are tender.

Serve the soup with bacon crumbles on top.  Or, chop the parsley and sprinkle on top.


For more soup and stew recipes to temp you family, take a look at the recipes other members of Blogger CLUE are sharing.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Lokshen Kugel aka Noodle Pudding

I have always been intrigued by kugel.  I have always wanted to sample it.  I have always wanted to make it.  So, I was delighted to find a recipe for Lokshen Kugel on Dena's blog, Oh!  You Cook! Now, I had no idea what a lokshen was but I did know that a kugel was a type of pudding or casserole made from noodles.  After a little reading I learned that Lokshen is the Yiddish word for noodles. Alright, I am on a roll.....Lokshen Kugel is a noodle pudding or casserole.  Today it was a pudding as I determined to make it sweet as opposed to savory!

Dena told me that a kugel made for dessert has all kinds of tasty ingredients:  cinnamon, sugar, sour cream, cottage cheese, butter and start.  This sounded pretty tasty to me.  I continued reading about kugel and learned that the ratio of sugar to noodles is usually 1 1/2 cups sugar to a 12 ounce package of noodles. So, I did increase the sugar from the original recipe.  I also added a topping of crushed corn flakes mixed with cinnamon and sugar.

This was super good.  I served it at a dinner with our dear friends.  Steve and his brother both said that this reminded them of the kugel that their grandmother used to make.  They were really pleased to savor this wonderful dessert and I was very pleased that my first attempt was well received! Thank you, Dena for sharing!

Lokshen Kugel
adapted from Oh! You Cook!

1 12-ounce package wide egg noodles
16 ounce small curd cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
1/2 cup raisins, dark or golden
Crushed corn flakes, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Yield:  16 party-size servings

Preheat oven:  350° F.
Spray a 13 X 9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Cook noodles per package directions.  Drain, rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  Transfer noodles to prepared baking pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the cottage cheese, sour cream, and melted butter.  In a small mixing bowl, lightly whisk the eggs.  Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.  Then, whisk.  Stir the egg mixture into the cheese mixture and then pour over the noodles. and mix lightly.

Add the diced apple and raisins.  Gently mix until the noodles are completely coated with the egg-cheese mixture and fruit is evenly distributed.

Crush the cord flakes and mix with the cinnamon and sugar.  Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the noodles.

Cover the pan loosely with foil.  Bake for about thirty minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional twenty to thirty minutes or until lightly browned.

Serve the kugel hot sprinkled with additional cinnamon and sugar if desired,


Dena had so many great recipes on her blog that it was hard to narrow down the choices.  I considered the Garlic Cheddar Biscuits and the Potato Latkes  but the kugel just had a special gravitation!  :-)

I need to tell you more about Dena.  She is quite the cook and author of the cookbook, The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook.  It is filled with kosher recipes and tons of tips for preparing some amazing recipes!  If you have time, visit Dena's blog, it is filled with stories, history, musings, and recipes that will warm your heart and your tummy!

I learned about Dena when I was paired with her, this month, for the Secret Recipe Club.  What a treat it was.  Dena has a wonderful blog with lots of recipes making it very difficult to focus on just one!!

I hope you have some time to visit other members of the Secret Recipe Club.  You won't be disappointed.