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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Southwestern Corn Pudding

This is a variation on a recipe that my Mom makes a lot that I really love. I especially like that this one is made in individual ramekins. Although it didn't turn out to be such a hot idea with kids, as they kept burning themselves. Or maybe that does make it a hot idea, just not a very good one! Anyway, a word to wise... let the ramekins cool a bit before you serve them to children or absent-minded adults.

Southwestern Corn Pudding
Adapted from the July/August edition of Vegetarian Times Magazine

1 cup soft breadcrumbs
4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream (fat free or low fat is OK)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tsp salt

1. Grease 8 small (1.2 cup size) ramekins and dust with breadcrumbs.

2. In a food processor, blend up 3 cups of the corn kernels until pulpy. Dump them in a bowl and add the 1 cup of whole kernels.

3. Mix up the beaten eggs, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt. Then mix together with corn.

4. Divide evently amongst the ramekins and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350F until set and golden.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shrimp and Avocado Toasts

Sometimes on Sunday's just for the heck of it, I create a little canape for the family to snack on before dinner. I don't usually make a lot, just enough for one or two bites per person, but it's a fun way to try experiment with some appetizer recipes. I usually try to work with stuff I already have at home.

This weekend, I wanted to use up some flour tortillas that I had in the freezer. They had become all bashed and battered around the edges from being buried under the frozen turkey and all those frozen muffins and muffins and muffins and muffins. They were no where near suitable for making wraps anymore, I don't know why I bother freezing them, I usually end up with a bag full of broken flour tortillas pieces. But it lead me to create this recipe, so I guess it's all good.

Shrimp and Avocado Toasts

3 large flour tortillas
16-20 medium size cooked shrimp
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 ripe avodaco
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
salt and pepper
lime zest

1. Using a 2" inch cookie cutter, cut as many circles as you can out of your flour tortillas.

2. Brush the tortilla circles lightly with olive oil and fry them in a medium hot skillet on both sides until browned and crispy. Remove them to cool.

3. In a small bowl, mash the avocado with a spoon, be a rebel and leave a few lumps (it's better that way). Stir in the lime juice and mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Place about a tbsp of the avocado mixture on each tortilla toast, and top with a cooked shrimp. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with lime zest.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sourdough Crumpets

For the past few months I've been quite successful in keeping my sourdough starter alive and thriving. I use it often so I don't refrigerate it - I leave it on the counter and feed it everyday. I don't like throwing so much starter in the garbage, so I've started making these crumpets with the excess. It is very easy.

Each night when I feed my starter, the portion I would normally discard goes into a little containter in the fridge. Once I have a cup, I make this recipe. You can freeze them and pop them in the toaster for breakfast. They are delicious with butter and jam.

Sourdough Crumpets
makes about 8 crumpets

1 cup sourdough starter
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

1. Preheat your griddle to medium heat.

2. In a bowl with room for expansion, mix the starter with the sugar and salt.

3. Stir in the baking soda. (The batter will get foamy and just about double in size).

4. Lightly spray your skillet and 4 egg rings with cooking spray. Drop 1/4 cup of batter into each egg ring. Cook slowly until the top of the crumpet is set (no longer wet). If you want you can flip them and give them a few seconds on the other side to make sure they are cooked through, but this isnt' traditional.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Penne with Chickpeas, Tomato and Feta

Way back in the olden days, when I was young and crazy, I used to post to this blog everyday. CRAZY! Because my family couldn't eat decadent, rich dishes all the time, this blog saw a lot more everyday, healthy things.

So, as proof that we still enjoy a mostly clean eating lifestyle, I am posting an everyday dinner recipe. In life, I tend to follow the 90/10 rule. 90% of the time I eat healthfully and mind my portion sizes, and 10% of the time I eat what I want, in massive, astonishing quantities. Since about 10% of my total calorie intake comes from the stuff I eat 90% of the time 90% of my calorie intake come from the stuff I eat 10% of the time, I figure it all equals out to zero (or something like that). Maybe I should write a diet book... what do you think?

Anyway, here's a nice healthy dinner recipe, that lands squarely in the 90% - healthy eating category. Based on my math equation above, you are now entitled to finish this meal off with about a half a chocolate pecan pie topped with whipped cream and an irish coffee. Enjoy.

Whole Wheat Penne with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Feta
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, March 2010
Serves 4 (with leftovers if two are finicky children)

8oz whole wheat penne
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 (15oz) can chickpeas
3oz feta, crumbled
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook and drain pasta. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

2. In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic until translucent. Add peppers and chickpeas, saute another minute or so. Add in tomatoes and continue cooking for two more minutes.

3. Stir in the cooked pasta and reserved cooking liquid. Continue to cook until everything is heated through.

4. Remove from heat and toss with lemon zest, feta, basil and season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pistachio, Blue Cheese and Apricot Canapes

A delicious and super easy little canape recipe that I tried out for the first time on my family last weekend. This was the perfect thing for my kids because my daughter loves blue cheese and pistachios and my son loves apricots, so they pulled them all apart and split things up.

The contrast between the sweet honey and the apricots and the salty pistachios and the blue cheese was just divine. I'll be making these again the next time I have to bring an appetizer somewhere. They were super easy and I imagine they will travel well also.

Pistachio, Blue Cheese and Apricot Canapes

16-20 dried apricots
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 oz salted pistachios, shelled and chopped
1 tsp honey + more for drizzling.

1. In a bowl mix the blue cheese, chopped pistachios and 1 tsp of honey, until it forms a bit of a paste that can be shaped.

2. Use a tsp to form out little round mounds and place on on top of each apricot.

3. Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with honey.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Peanut Butter, Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

What this blog really really needs (other than a different author/cook) is yet another muffin recipe. I know, I know, I've made promises to myself to stop making muffins until I use up the dozens that are languishing at the bottom of my freezer, but I have a problem, OK? I should probably seek therapy. MUST. MAKE. MUFFINS. I can't stop.

But these are REALLY REALLY good. The only thing that might make these even better is a cup of semi sweet chocolate chips, a stroke of brilliance that didn't occur to me until the muffins were already in the oven. But, unfortunately I won't ever be able to try that, because I am hereby making a solemn promise to myself to stop making muffins! I mean it this time. Really! (Gosh, it's hard to type with your fingers crossed).

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping
Makes 15 large muffins (or if you prefer, 12 large and 6 mini muffins)

1 1/2 cups bran flakes cereal
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup banana, mashed
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped dates (or nuts, or chocolate chips)

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Stir together the milk and bran flakes and let stand for a few minutes.

2. In another bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon).

3. Heat peanut butter and butter in microwave for 60 seconds. Pour into flour along with bran flake mixture and the banana, brown sugar and egg. Stir until just combined.

4. Mix in dates and spoon into prepared muffin tin.

5. Mix together all Crumb Topping ingredients until crumbly and divide amongst the muffins.

6. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until the muffins pass the toothpick test.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sourdough Pancakes

A few weeks ago I posted the recipe for my Sourdough Pizza Crust. This was more of an experiment than anything else. An experiment that went very well for a change. I've been working on a little project to develop a sourdough starter for about a month now, and I've baked with it a few times. Enough to know that I have a good starter going. In addition to the sourdough pizza crust, I've made sourdough cornbread, sourdough pancakes, sourdough crumpets, sourdough blueberry muffins, and a sourdough paperweight. All those recipes will be posted in good time - well except the paperweight recipe. Although, if anyone would like the recipe for a really heavy paperweight which can double as a brick to throw at your husband if he makes fun of your flopped bread, please just e-mail me for the recipe at:


Anyway - I digress (as usual) - I thought I would share my sourdough pancake recipe today.

I've experimented with many different pancake recipes over the years. Sour Cream Pancakes, Pancakes with Beaten Egg Whites, Buckwheat Pancakes, Oatmeal Pancakes, Pancakes with all sorts of things added in, Pancakes from boxes, Pancakes from a can...

Until this past Saturday. My days of pancake experimentation are over. I will never ever be able to make pancakes again without making THIS recipe (unless I kill my starter, but that's another story). Before Saturday, my favorite pancake recipe has been one that I found in my Fanny Farmer Cookbook, where you separate the eggs, beat the egg whites and then fold them into the batter to make the pancakes extra fluffy.

But this recipe seriously blows that one away. On two fronts... it is way easier to make and it tastes better.

Here are the reviews of my family on these pancakes when asked which of my pancake recipes they like best:

Marco (6 years old): I don't know, do these ones have money in them? (In reference to the fact that I bake money into the pancakes every year on Shrove Tuesday).

Claire (10 years old): Yes, Mommy I love these ones best, can you buy me a new DS game?

Mario: I don't know, I think I need to try them all side by side to compare properly.(Seriously? OK, now where did I put that sourdough brick?)

Sourdough Pancakes

Before you go to bed:
1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup flour

In the morning:
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Before you go to bed, mix together the starter, milk, water and flour. Give it a good stir and let it sit on the counter overnight.

2. In the morning, add in the remaining ingredients. Stir.

3. Cook your pancakes as per usual.

That's it! This recipe made 12 fairly generous size pancakes (using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to drop the batter on the frying pan), plus one runt size pancake for the cook to eat on the sly.