Sunday, January 31, 2010

Avoiding the "Dog" Pancake

The first pancake served up Saturday morning. It used to be that I called the first pancake the "dog pancake." It was usually anemic-looking, and if I had a dog, I would have thrown it to him. Instead, I would just throw it away. Then I learned the trick. Use cooking spray and lightly wipe the pan out after it warms up. The first pancake is no longer for the dog.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dreaming of Sushi

Mmmm. My favorite sushi. The Lisa roll. Crab, tuna, shrimp, explosion of spices, too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Toast to the Rescue

Yep, this was dinner last night AND breakfast this morning. A filling standby for me when the world is too hectic to actually prepare and cook anything. Years ago in my previous radio life, I once did a whole show about toast. Hard to believe there's that much to say, but there is. We could start with the "perfect toaster," except I haven't found one. Many a toaster has ended up at the yearly garage sale after letting us down. The current model is a KitchenAid, and as you can see, one side of the bread always gets more toasted than the other - so it's not perfect.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fresh Fruit to Scare My Family

Well, I tried. I sliced up this blood orange that arrived in my organic box delivery so my family could eat it...and there were no takers, except me. I think it tastes like a big, juicy orange sweetart. I squeezed one over a salad for lunch. I gathered some recipes for official "dressing," but found that just the juice on its own can be a salad dressing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Potatoes Crashed and Smashed

This is a recipe I've used for red potatoes many times, but I used what arrived in my organic produce delivery box last night - maybe a Yukon gold potato? I don't know for sure, but they did have a creamy texture and sweet taste. Boil the potatoes until tender, then throw them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and lighting smash them with a potato masher. Sprinkle with rosemary, a little minced garlic and coarse sea salt. Bake at 425 until browned around the edges.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Shrimp Cocktail Homestyle

After reading an article about how the shrimp industry is very unregulated and icky....I served shrimp for dinner! Hopefully, we're all still healthy today. I made it look really fancy, which made it taste better, I think. Homemade cocktail sauce on the side. I did a mixture of white pepper, creamed horseradish and ketchup. This quickie shrimp cocktail would set you back probably $7-8 at a restaurant. Since the pound of shrimp was $6, this serving cost less than $1.

Winter Guacamole

I wound up with four avocados sitting in the fruit bowl, so I whipped up some winter guacamole. I call it that because some of the summertime ingredients I would normally use are not available. Dice the avocados and save one-half of one that's been diced. Mash the cubes with a fork. Add two cloves of minced garlic and sea salt to taste. Mince jarred jalapeno peppers and mix in. Stir in the reserved diced avocado. In the summer, I would also stir in some fresh cherry tomato salsa. But this sacled-down version is passable for the winter.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Airport Dining - and it Sparked an Idea

Well, the idea of this dinner was much better than the actual dinner. I had to hang out at the Denver airport over the weekend for a few hours, and I scooped up this kung pao salad for dinner. It looked better to me than greasy pizza or McDonalds. It wasn't great, but what a great idea. I'm going to put together my own version of this, and toss in some chicken. And I bet I can make a big bowl of it for under the $8 this little single-serve salad cost at the airport.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Normal Food - Triple Decker BLT

Eat Boise has been on the road - a quick trip to Colorado. Food offerings have been exotic, compared to what I usually eat. I'm not even sure what I was served for lunch today at a conference. It was maybe chicken over something almost like rice, but soupy. Dinner was something recognizable to me: a BLT and fries. It did have "organic, heirloom tomatoes" on it, but they tasted just like normal tomatoes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chai Deconstructed

One of the desserts on the table last night during a business dinner. Eat Boise is on the road in Colorado for a few days and I dined at Salt in Boulder last night. This is called Chai Deconstructed. Quite clever. Many of the elements of chai are featured in the array, such as candied ginger cardamom cake, tea ice cream, ginger black tea, and pepper brittle. I'm not a big chai fan, but this was interesting.

Greasy, Sweaty Food

I'm sure you all know what this is - part of a cheater dinner. I've read all those articles about how incredibly unhealthy this chicken is...and even with that knowledge, it's still finger lickin' good.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homemade Butter

I had recently been telling my daughter that when I was a child, we made homemade butter...just for fun. We scraped the cream off the top of the farm milk some friendsgave us, sealed it in a jar and took turns shaking it until it turned into a lump. As it happens, I had a pint of heavy whipping cream I needed to use, so we dumped it into the food processor and after about ten minutes, it became butter. I added a touch of salt. Fresh butter like this tastes so much better than butter from the store. It melts in your mouth with a mild flavor. Store butter can have a bitter edge.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Corned Beef New York-Style

This is the Carnegie Deli corned beef brisket we received in our deli care package over the holidays. It was falling apart as I was trying to slice it. I warmed it a bit and stuffed a sandwich topped with Swiss cheese.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pizza Fail

Um...I really should have made sure the pizza stone wasn't covered with so much baked on debris. It made it impossible to slide this pepperoni-bell pepper-jalapeno pizza onto the stone. The first plain pepperoni pizza survived, which was just enough for dinner.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chili at Chili's

Chili at Chili's. This was ordered by a friend at our table, who thought he had tasted better chili before. It was a "true chili," one without beans....and I find that in this part of the country, folks prefer beans in their chili.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Local Restauranteurs - Kyoto

Dinner at one of our regular spots last night. Meet Lee and Vincent, owners of Kyoto - a Japanese steak house and sushi bar. We think they serve the best sushi in town. And it's a great place to take groups of people for the steak house entertainment at the grills.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sunflower Seed Bagel

A still-warm sunflower seed bagel I picked up on my way back from taking my daughter to school yesterday. The bagel shop I stopped at has had several different names over the years, and while I want to give kudos because I loved this bagel, I have no idea what the name of the place is now. "Something, something deli and bagel factory..." Maybe.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chips and Dips and an Oopsie for Dinner

We stopped into Cafe Ole, downtown Boise last night for a quick dinner. The bean dip was really good, especially mixed with a little bit of the salsa. My dinner? Well...that was it. The gal who waited on us somehow didn't get my order to the kitchen. We were on limited time so by the time dinner was served to my husband and the mistake was discovered - we didn't have time to wait for my dish to be prepared. I was going to have enchiladas del mar.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Chicken Salad Variation

This chicken salad, chock full of extras besides chicken, came from my friend Faith. Good ideas here, including the dried cranberries and sweet little sliced peppers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shrimp Salad

Salad shrimp, tomatoes, Romaine lettuce and ranch dressing. This shrimp salad is nostalgic for us, since it's one of our favorite snacks during our yearly trip to the Oregon Coast. And these salads taste way better when on vacation for some reason.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes with Orange Juice Frosting

These vanilla cupcakes are from a box, with frosting whipped up from scratch. One cube of butter, a mountain of powdered sugar and orange juice for the topping. Tinker with the recipe for the consistency you want.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

A fresh batch of cinnamon rolls baked by my friend Faith, who sells these goodies every Saturday.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Manicotti Formaggio with Shrimp

A quick family dinner at Olive Garden last night. This was something new on the menu since I had been there last: Manicotti Formaggio with Shrimp. It was fine, the sauce didn't taste so fresh to me, but the cheese in the manicotti was good.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cabbage Salad Improvisation

A cabbage-carrot-water chestnut slaw with Asian overtones. That's the fancy description for this cabbage salad scrounged together with the scarce pickings for fresh veggies in my pantry right now. I tossed the vegetables with a dressing of brown sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic and a touch of sesame oil.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Poisonous Green Beans?

I remember years ago, someone telling me that raw green beans were poisonous. I don't remember if I was ever able to figure out if that was true, or not, but I've always liked them raw and snappy and sweet. Last night, I did saute them before serving them to my family. These were a spicy version spiked with salt and pepper...and red pepper flakes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken Wraps

Stretching two chicken breasts into dinner for the family with this chicken wraps. I cooked the chicken in a non-stick skillet with maybe a teaspoon of peanut oil, and a generous sprinkling of a mixture of paprika, a little brown sugar, pepper and seasoned salt - almost a "blackened" chicken. Put slices of the chicken breast on warm tortillas and top with shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, lettuce and ranch dressing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Swedish Meatballs - Homemade

The main offering at the New Year's Eve party we attended at the Helppie's house. Sharon did homemade Swedish meatballs - and I hadn't seen these served up at a party in years. Homemade means the meat is packed more loosely and soaks up more of the gravy. And they were perfectly cooked, not overcooked.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Putting leftover chicken to use - chicken salad sandwiches. This version has chopped onions and celery mixed with mayo and diced chicken. I added diced, dried apricots to part of the mixture for my sandwich. Pecans are a perfect addition, but I had none handy last night.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rigatoni Kick

My family has been a rigatoni kick for a couple of days. I top it with homemade sauce I keep on hand on the freezer - usually for spaghetti. Rigatoni definitely has more "bite" to it than simple spaghetti noodles.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Baked Seafood Dip

This is a variation on a recipe I believe came from Paula Deen. It's a baked seafood dip. Saute one small onion and one bell pepper in a little bit of butter. Mix in a separate bowl shredded king crab, salad shrimp, about a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, celery salt, white pepper, one clove of minced garlic, 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. I added enough cream to cover everything and then stirred in the sauteed vegetables. Bake at 325 until brown and bubbly and serve with toasted pieces of baguette, or crackers.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Puff Pastry Chicken "Pot Pie"

Lunch at the Brick Oven Bistro over the weekend. This was one of the specials: puff pastry chicken "pot pie." Chicken and vegetables in a cream sauce layered before puff pastry. This food made me happy!