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Smitten

31 Jul

Smitten Zucchini Bread

What do you do when a neighbor kindly gifts you a 3 pound zucchini?  You make zucchini bread.  Lots of zucchini bread.  And if you’re me, where is the first place you look for a zucchini bread recipe?  Smitten Kitchen, of course. Continue reading

Waste Management

24 Jul

Wasted Potential

Buying items just because they are on sale is only a bargain if you use them.  Otherwise they’re a  huge waste of money.  Impulse grocery shopping usually comes back and bites me in the butt.  My most recent example?  Those cherries on sale at The Fresh Market were a great price.  I was expecting cherries as delicious as the ones I got direct from the farm at Baugher’s.  What I got instead was a heaping serving of disappointment. Continue reading

Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots

8 Jul

Ginger Glazed Carrots

It should come as no surprise that I plan out meals in advance.  When I do my planning, I try use a Garanimals approach.  Remember Garanimals?  The line of children’s clothing, originally from the 70’s, designed to let kids put together coordinated outfits.  From their website:

“The kid-friendly Garanimals mix-and-match separates provide a simple, coordinated system that makes clothes easy to pair and fun to wear. The Garanimals pairing system brings creativity and independence to young children as they select their own clothes and dress themselves. Through these small, successful decisions, children develop early feelings of self-confidence.”

That is so what cooking should be.  Easy, fun, and confidence building.  Which is why I totally think of recipes as separates, that when combined, make a coordinated outfit on the plate.

When I was trying to decide what to pair with the Chicken with Lime Butter, I went into my recipe closet and came out with Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots.  Lime and ginger is a classic combination.  The heat of the ginger perfectly compliments the tart of the lime.  And if you get a head start on the carrots and get them simmering while you prep your chicken, both dishes are done at about the same time.

Instead of ginger ale, I used ginger beer.  It’s less sweet and has more of that lovely ginger heat.  I’m pretty happy with the substitution and think that in the spirit of bringing creativity and independence to cooking, it would get the Garanimals seal of approval.

Alton Brown’s Ginger Glazed Carrots

From The Food Network

The only change I would make to this recipe is to use slightly less liquid, maybe 3/4 cup.  It took a while for the liquid to cook down into the glaze and I was concerned it would burn.  So my carrots were a little more on the saucy side.  Which is not to say that they didn’t taste goooooood.

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut  (I used baby carrots)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup ginger ale (If you can get ginger beer, I definitely recommend using it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

In a 12 inch sauce pan over medium heat, combine the carrots, butter, a pinch of salt, and ginger ale.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, remove the lid, stir, and reduce heat to low.  Cover again and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid, add chili powder and increase heat to high.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the ginger ale is reduced to a glaze, approximately 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Simplicity

6 Jul

Limey

My friend Merriam-Webster defines simplicity as:

  • the state of being simple, uncomplicated or uncompounded
  • lack of subtlety or penetration
  • freedom from pretense or guile
  • directness of expression
  • restraint in ornamentation Continue reading

On Call

3 Jul

Melting

The moment I picked those berries, the clock started ticking.  One reason the strawberries you buy at the grocery store taste so blah is because they’ve been in suspended animation.  They get cold stored which prolongs their shelf life.  Fresh picked berries, however, have essentially been removed from their life support system.  The morning after harvest, the berries I had set aside from the mega batch of jam were already starting to dry out and wither.  Their once shiny exteriors were flat and dull.  I needed to get these berries into the kitchen stat.  Luckily, the recipe on call that day was Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.  I was asked to assist.

We scrubbed up and got operating.  Berries were rinsed, hulled, and sugared.  A splash of vodka (optional) was applied.  After sitting for two hours, yogurt and lemon juice was added and mixed with a stick blender until smooth.  The mix needed additional time in the refrigerator to chill.  Then it was off to the ice cream machine.  Thirty minutes later, the operation was a complete success and the yogurt was ready to go into the freezer.

This is one time suspended animation is your friend, not your foe.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

The recipe I worked from called for french yogurt.  I used Fage Greek Yogurt which the folks at Trader Joe’s usually have on hand.  If you can’t get Fage or another greek yogurt, strain regular plain yogurt through a paper towel lined sieve in the refrigerator to remove the liquid.  You will be left with a thick, creamy yogurt similar to Fage.

I’ve had this recipe for so long that I forgot where it originally came from.  It was definitely something I got online.  If it’s yours, thanks for sharing.

  • 1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vodka (optional – this helps the frozen yogurt keep a soft consistency)
  • 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces.  Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the strawberries and their juices to a blender or food processor.  Add the yogurt and lemon juice.  Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth.  Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any seeds, if you like.

Chill until cold, at least 1 hour.  Then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Problem Solved

1 Jul

Problem Solved

It didn’t take too long for me to turn to Google in search of ways to use those kumquats.  Most of what I found were sweet dishes.  There were a few pickled/preserved applications that looked interesting, but I wanted something that would give me instant gratification.  So when I clicked on over to Epicurious, I was rewarded with a savory dish that used ingredients I already had on standby for another recipe.  It was a sign. Continue reading

Dreamy

1 Jul

Creamy

I’ve been looking at a recipe for creamy crab bisque nearly four years.  I figured it was finally time to either test it or get rid of it.  Guess which one I chose? Continue reading