Category: Starters

Deviled Egg Dip

Deviled Egg Dip

1 SmartPoint (WW) per 2 tablespoon serving–see recipe notes for details

Just a quick post this morning…

There’s always something precious stowed away in the fridge after a holiday. I won’t dare call them leftovers, as that word has a nasty connotation to a lot of people who, in fact, frequently state, “I don’t like leftovers.” Think about a ham bone that will soon grace a pot of bean soup, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie waiting for Friday’s sweet breakfast, or the Christmas roast beast chilled and ready for late night sandwiches.

Continue reading “Deviled Egg Dip”
Individual Shrimp and Feta Pizzas on Mini-Naan Flatbread (Baby Naan Pizza)

Individual Shrimp and Feta Pizzas on Mini-Naan Flatbread (Baby Naan Pizza)

Americans consume more than 3 billion pizzas a year. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that 13% of Americans eat pizza on any given day and over a quarter of young males are eating it daily.

info courtesy restaurantmealprices.com

I’m wondering how many are homemade? A minute fraction?  (If you’d like, take a little class right here on the blog and make your own “regular” pizza right in your kitchen just like my student in the photo below.)

Continue reading “Individual Shrimp and Feta Pizzas on Mini-Naan Flatbread (Baby Naan Pizza)”

Pizza Kebabs for The Big Game

Pizza Kebabs for The Big Game

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I looked on the blog for my work pizza kebab “recipe” the other day–thinking it would be great for Super Bowl snacks– and couldn’t find it. I had posted it on Facebook, but hadn’t blogged it. Perhaps because you might not really need a recipe for pizza kebabs. On the other hand, you might never have thought of them either.  I had to search out the photo, get the date, and save it to iPhoto as I hadn’t even kept it. A very sorry management practice!

For part of 2014 and nearly all of 2015, I worked as a Jenn-Air and Dacor chef, demonstrating and teaching cooking techniques at the local high-end appliance store.  It was mostly great fun and one of the things that most interested me was the need to invent quick attractive-to-the-masses recipes.

cropped-cropped-wp_20150429_008.jpgWhile I often teach a cooking class about pizza, I couldn’t figure out how to fit it into the time frame of my weekly demonstration. (And yes, in the class you do get to eat your work.  You also take dough home to try it out in your own kitchen. See below. I teach 1/2-sheet pan pizza-making. No special equipment needed. Feeds a bunch.) Continue reading “Pizza Kebabs for The Big Game”

Ina Fridays — Appetizers — Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers with Satay Dip

Ina Fridays — Appetizers — Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers with Satay Dip

Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers with Satay Dip:  scroll down for link to recipe.

Perhaps it would have been better if I’d chosen something that didn’t require grilling on a day when the high was 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue reading “Ina Fridays — Appetizers — Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers with Satay Dip”

Ina Fridays — Appetizers — Roasted Eggplant Spread

Ina Fridays — Appetizers — Roasted Eggplant Spread


Ina Garten’s appetizers are, like all of her recipes, lovely and luscious, but while making this I kept remembering how often Ina speaks about simple, store-bought appetizers like

  • olives
  • nuts
  • chips
  • cheese

and so on. The show sometimes drives along with Ina into town to pick up the ready-to-go food and I have to admit I’m always jealous of the shops she has available.   Her point is often that if you have too many nibbles with your apertif or sparkler, you’re full.  Not only that, who wants to spend not only the whole day getting ready for company, but making yet another recipe?  I not only agree with her, I follow those rules for entertaining and make things easy on myself.  I’ll also admit I adore potato chips and champagne.

In fact, I looked back at the Food Network site and even found a little video of Ina waxing poetic about three silver bowls filled with purchased goodies for Thanksgiving:  nuts, chips, and caper berries.

Just to get my head on straight (quite a feat), I went to the master book index (all of Ina’s cookbook recipes indexed in one spot) on barefootcontessa.com and discovered that, at least in the cookbooks, there still are quite a few “made” appetizers, starters, or hors d’oeuvres –whichever is your favorite term.  The majority contain protein of some sort–chicken, salmon, cheese, or lamb.  While I’m an omnivore and definitely a carnivore, I rarely choose meat  (good pun, huh?) to go along with a cocktail, mixed drink, or first glass of wine.  I save my protein calories for main courses and usually am happy to have vegetables early on.  So when I came across this gorgeous eggplant mash, I jumped on it.  I thought it would go with a variety of drinks, would be healthy, inexpensive, beautiful,  fun, and definitely in season.  Hungry guests could scoop up the eggplant spread with a piece of grilled pita; slimming friends could use a celery stalk or a big slice of carrot.

There wasn’t much to making it.  Peel and slice the eggplant, red peppers, onions, and garlic.  Mix them up with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for 45 minutes.  No problem to cut the olive oil a little to trim fat calories.  As Ina would say, “How easy is that?”

Dave and I both tasted the just-roasted eggplant mixture and decided we loved it just like that and would serve it another day with rice or a chop sometime.  The recipe, however, called, and I threw the roasted vegetables into the food processor with some tomato paste borrowed from my next-door neighbor.. ((What would we do without neighbors?)

The day was so pretty I took the work bowl outdoors to photograph it in front of my Russian Sage–which is each year but this one typically full of bees.  Only one or two right now. Very sad.

And the finished dish…..

So what did we think?  I have to say we loved it.  I doubled the recipe as I had neighbors coming over for a glass of wine on the deck, but I think I would always double it.  Extras could be used for omelets, stirred into hot pasta, or spooned on top of rice or beans.    One thought:  if you like things spicy, you might add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.  I like things mildly spicy–I want to taste the food first– and just added a bit — not much– more black pepper as I thought it fit so well with the eggplant.  Try this:

roasted eggplant spread

Makes:   6 to 8 servings


Ingredients:


  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper

Readmore at the food network site.

(As this recipe is available online, I thought is all right to share it here as well.)

… … … … … … … …

ALL ABOUT INA FRIDAYS:

The first Friday of the month, food bloggers from many parts of the world join together in posting a favorite Ina recipe.  This month we have appetizers, next month is Salads, Soups and Sides. 

Stop in and see what all of our fine writers are cooking up today or any day:

Are you a food blogger? We’d love to have you! Want to join in one time a month? Email Alyce @ afmorgan53@yahoo.com  or link in to join us once in a while (click on blue oval link button at bottom and follow prompts) only if you’re blogging Ina! No other posts, please?! 
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sing a new song; cook a new appetizer!
Alyce

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50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #46 – Gael Greene – Corn Soup with Sautéed Scallops and Bacon

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #46 – Gael Greene – Corn Soup with Sautéed Scallops and Bacon

“Do you sing, too?” I asked, tickling his tweed elbow.

I have a good friend who is fond of this phrase:  “She was born with the words, ‘Please peel me a grape,’ on her lips.”   That could very well have been said about spicy bon vivant Gael Greene (1933-  ), this week’s  number 46 on Gourmet Live’s List of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food.  Greene, the 40-year New York Magazine restaurant critic and columnist, novelist, and philanthropist from Detroit, is best known for her erotic encounters with food, as well as with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley.   Want details?  It’s all (probably not) chronicled in Greene’s memoir, the infamous Insatiable : Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess (Grand Central, 2007.)  And while I promise I’m not telling tales out of school, you can listen to her own description of Presley as appetizer here.

Lest we consider the ground-breaking critic light-weight or even shallow,  life-long achiever  Greene (still writing, appearing on “Top Chef,” and tweeting as I blog)  has also spent a sizable portion of her adult life making sure New York’s elderly poor had food come weekends and holidays: 

Marcia Stein: Citymeals began in 1981 when Gael Greene and Jim Beard, the founders, read that homebound elderly New Yorkers only got meals from the city Monday through Friday, and not on holidays. They were going very long periods of time without food. Especially over the holidays: at times when other people were over-eating, these people were alone and starving.

Gael and Jim called their friends in the industry; Gael called the city government and wrote about it. She was just as good at describing their situation as she is at describing food, and it made people aware. Checks started coming in, but you can’t just send a check to the government or the Department for the Aging. We had to create an organization that was a not-for-profit so we could receive the checks we were getting. So Citymeals started as a public/private partnership with the city’s meal delivery program.

We started feeding 6,000 homebound elderly, but the number has grown over time. Now we are feeding 18,000 every weekend and holiday.

We receive about 50,000 contributions a year to Citymeals. It’s a cause that New Yorkers have embraced. Six dollars a day can save a person’s life.

Read the entire interview with Marcia Stein, Executive Director of Citymeals-on-Wheels on starchefs.com

But after you get your fill reading and listening — more by scrolling down– do a little cooking with Gael and try her

Corn Soup with Sautéed Scallops and Bacon  serves 4

  • 6 ears corn
  • 4 cups water (reserve water after the corn has cooked)
  • 2 tsp olive oil for vegetables
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced                                        
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Clam broth, to taste
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 6 large sea scallops, quartered       
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper  
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro or basil
  • Cook corn in four cups of water. Remove corn, strain water of corn silk, and reserve cooking water.
    Cut kernels from cobs and reserve the corn. Return cobs to cooking water, simmer till water reduces   to half. Then remove cobs and reserve water.
    Scrape cobs with dull knife to extract all the corn milk and reserve this liquid.
    Sauté onions, garlic, and jalapeño in olive oil in nonstick skillet. Don’t let them brown.
    Add reserved corn kernels and corn milk to vegetables, then toss and cook on low heat for 2 minutes. Puree half of this mix in a blender or food processor.
    Add puree and remaining corn-vegetable mix to reduced corn water. Then add lime juice and clam broth, to taste.
    Cook bacon until crisp, drain, and cut into ribbons.
    Sauté scallop quarters quickly in bacon fat till slightly browned. Don’t overcook.
    Reheat soup. Add scallops and bacon to mixture in the corn water. Season with ground pepper and salt, to taste. Add more lime or clam juice if necessary.
    Serve in bowls with minced cilantro or basil sprinkled on top

    A little bacon garnish might not go amiss.  A nice grind of black pepper, too.

    While this soup is perfectly suited to late summer when the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye, I managed to snare a few fresh? ears from our local grocer, who had Fed-exxed a little out of Florida.  If you can’t find any corn,  I think you could use vegetable broth (along with the clam broth) and frozen (cooked) corn kernels.  You won’t have the same soup, but I think it would be tasty.  Corn cooking tip here, though I just bring the water to boil, drop the corn in, let it come up to a boil again, and cover it for 10 minutes or so.  The other great way is to microwave it or grill it right in the husks.  Easy and maybe the tastiest version, but not possible for this recipe.

    I did pepper and sugar – 1/2 tsp each- the corn-cooking water for this soup.  Oh, summer…hurry up!

    My best sous and lunchtime taste tester.

    At first taste, my excellent taster wondered what all the shouting was about.  By the second taste, he was hooked.  The subtle heat left a gentle warm buzz in the mouth and the corn and scallops provided good contrast in texture.   I had one small bowl leftover that I ran over to Paul, the owner of our two-doors down wine and beer shop,  The Wine Thief and Ale Jail.  Love living in the city do I.

    The Wine Thief and The Ale Jail

     I chose this recipe because I adored the idea of a mostly healthy  (ok, there’s bacon) seafood soup that used only 6 scallops for four servings.  I calculated about five bucks per serving, which is a less-expensive way to splurge on a little scallop action.   The soup sounded like a luscious and light warm-weather meal that could easily be made outdoors utilizing a grill with a side burner.  It might also serve as a small first-course offering for a special dinner.  I liked a sip of a great big California Chardonnay with this soup.

    Here’ s a review one cook left on epicurious fyi:
    I followed this recipe exactly. I was surprised that the color was not as bright as I had expected (sort of a dull yellow), and the texture was, well, corny. Pureeing the corn mixture did not make it creamy at all, as I could still feel the fibers of the corn kernels in my mouth. I decided to puree all of it, and then strain it, which yielded a something I would describe as a corn broth, great for poaching fish in or serving in shot glasses with some crispy shallots or scallops right on top. 

    by A Cook from Miami Beach, Fl on 07/10/06

    Fyi I pureed three-quarters of the corn.

    Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/reviews/Corn-Soup-with-Sauteed-Scallops-and-Bacon-234219#ixzz1tok3W1g5

    Want more Gael Greene?
    • Read  epicurious.com
    • Check out a NYT article about Gael here.
    • Visit Gael’s personal website, Insatiable Critic, here.
    • Follow Gael on twitter for a daily hoot.
    **
    If you liked this, you might also like my one-pan meal:
    I write with a tasty group of bloggers!  Please take some time and visit
    Cook with a – band – on,
    Alyce
    Bacon for Breakfast; Bacon for Lunch

    Bacon for Breakfast; Bacon for Lunch

    My sweet husband adores bacon.  God love him.
    I like bacon.  Why not?  It’s great with eggs and it’s an incredible UP when you need a taste boost for the start of a soup, chicken salad, tomato sandwiches, et al.  And, oh, the scent of it.
    But I don’t adore it.    I adore chocolate.  I adore Pinot.  (Oregon Pinot Noir)  I am a Pinot girl, in fact. 
    At 57, I enjoy being able to say that.  I have a couple of girlfriends who feel the same way.  I have guy friends who certainly feel that way. 
    But back to bacon.  I only have to SAY, “Bacon.”  I don’t even have to cook it.  And Dave is entranced.  Hanging around.  If I actually start cooking the stuff, he is in the room and doesn’t leave.  So, there you go.  If you want to attract someone to the nth, fry bacon.  No one ever told you? Ach.

    I think this is common.  I posted a note on fb last Friday that I was cooking a pork tenderloin with bacon twisted around it, fixed with toothpicks.  I had more interest in that than anything I’ve cooked in months.  Loved ones, think about making this.  Soon.  Simple?  Pretty much so.  Fragrant?  Ahhhh.  Earthy?  Mmm hmm.  Easy to harmonize?  I thought so.  A couple of Granny Smith apples, a bulb of fennel (go ahead and get one–ask the produce guy) and a big onion.  Some green beans on the side.  A light Pinot; you don’t need a great big heavy one, I don’t think.  Maybe a little bread.  I did some pears poached in port for dessert; you can do what you want.

    Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Fennel and Onions

    1 pork tenderloin
    Kosher salt; freshly-ground pepper
    3-4 slices thick bacon

    2T olive oil

    1 fennel bulb, fronds removed, end cut, sliced into half-moons about 1/3″ thick
    2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, sliced
    1 large onion sliced

    Preheat oven to 350 F.

    Salt and pepper well the pork tenderloin and wrap it with the bacon pieces, securing ends with toothpicks.

      Meanwhile, heat a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat; add olive oil.  Place bacon-wrapped pork in the center of the pan and surround with the fennel, apples and onion.  Salt and pepper well the vegetables and apples.  When the meat is very-well browned, turn and let brown on the other side.   Stir the vegetables and apples.  When that side is looking crispy, move the pan to the oven to finish cooking.  It may take another 10-15 minutes or so.  Using an instant-read thermometer, remove the skillet from the oven when the meat registers 150F.  (Others will tell you 155; I like it a bit rare; it will continue cooking)  Cover with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.  Slice meat in 1/2″ p ieces.  Place cut meat at the center of a large platter and surround with fennel, apples and onions.  Serve with green beans or whatever vegetable you like.

    Poached Pears in Port  (from FINE COOKING)

    In a 4 qt skillet, pour 1 cup port wine.  Add 1 cinnamon stick and a few peels each of lemon rind and orange rind.  Peel four ripe, but firm Barlett or Bosc (or your choice) pears and slice off a tiny bit off one cheek to make a flat side.  Place the pears in the wine mixture and heat over medium-high heat.  Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for an hour or so until pears are tender when pierced with a knife.  Eat warm, at room temperature or cold with a little of the thickened port sauce spooned over.  You can add a little heavy cream if you like.

    Sweet      

     Did you wonder about an appetizer?  Of course I had one.  And I was testing it out for my Cooking with Music class, which was the very next day!  Here it is: 

    This is a Ricotta Pine nut dogoodie that is served with crostini (grilled bread).  I’ll blog it with the cooking class, but if you have to make it soon…..

    Mix one cup ricotta with 3-4 T torn fresh mint and season well with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.  Lottsa pepper.  Heat over medium heat a small saucepan with  1/2 c honey and 1/4 c pine nuts.  (Amounts negotiable.)  When quite warm and gooey, pour over the cheese mixture and serve with crostini or crackers.  (I heard Tyler Florence talk about this once and committed it to memory.  Yummy.)

    Ok, folks…there ya go.  Make it and tell me about it.  I have to know!

    Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood, Including Fitness


    It’s been a busy week, but the pups have been happy as clams; Dad was home for three days in a row!

    Tucky-Bucky letting it all hang out one morning.


    Why God gets me up early.
    The light on my backyard when the dogs go out for the first time.
    First dusting of snow…early in the light.

    Why I have dogs: I need tennis balls in the dishwasher, of course.

     Fitness update:  This last week, I skipped the gym all but one time.  Life got crazy.  Did I let it all go, though?  Nope.  I did Denise Austin on the DVD.  I hiked the ‘hood with Gabby.  I lifted weights at home.  I did my stretching routine.  I watched what I ate–mostly.  Or ate what I wanted, but not too much.  Teaching an Italian cooking class could have done me in (and the crostata almost did), but we made the ricotta starter, a roasted vegetable soup, pizza margherita, and a veal stew as well.   Took all afternoon Saturday and the students stayed for dinner to eat and see what wines fit where….  (Another blog.)  But I was sensible and remembered how strong I long to be.  That’s the crux.

    Meantime, I’m applying for  new jobs as my job winds down at The Church at Woodmoor.  We are getting ready for Thanksgiving in St. Paul, as well.  Good thing I have a dog sitter; an SUV ran into my old vet/kennel today!  At the same time  THAT was happening, I was driving up to a staff meeting at work in Monument,  where there was a 40-car pile-up on I-25.  I saw zip.  Thank you, God.

    Grilled Asparagus with Tex-Mex Dip or Spring Eats in the Snow

    Grilled Asparagus with Tex-Mex Dip or Spring Eats in the Snow

                                     Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. ~Doug Larson

    Living on the edge of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, I’ve seen snow every month of the year.  Sounds impossible to most folks, but it often warms up for the many false springs (and sometimes summers) we love and then turns stormy bitter overnight.  July 4 can bring mountain snow, though probably not down here in the Springs.  We once sat through an outdoor July concert in Woodland Park until we couldn’t stand the blowing snow anymore and ran down the hill to McDonald’s for coffee. (Not a lot of choices.)  We never put away our jeans and sweatshirts and we  keep a coat, a candle with matches, a bottle of water, and a chocolate bar in the car 365 days a year. You’ve heard this tale.

    Still, like most Americans, we dream of spring in March, and hey, we sometimes get a little.  It was 65 the other day and, inside the house it was above 70.   Turned the oven on to bake bread (Irish Soda, of course) and the kitchen was soon 75.  Two days later, it snowed all day long and we were building fires, warming up soup, and snuggling our toes inside wool socks.  Ah, Colorado:  no water and weird weather.  Not always a good combination.   Praise God for central heat and gas stoves and food trucked in to places where it can’t be grown.  I guess? 

    Friday night, as I set the table and lit the candles, I knew I had a light meal that needed either an appetizer or dessert.  As I’m currently cutting my caloric intake by 25% a day in a concerted effort to seek health, I decided on  a vegetable appetizer.  A pound of asparagus bored to death in the frig had a little bit to do with it; I’ll give that to you.  I never tire of grilled asparagus (or as my good friend Sue says, “I’d pay anything for it.”) and, given the time constraints (dinner was almost done and Dave had begun the music), grilled sounded good.  I promise I won’t blog asparagus anymore this spring. (Fingers crossed.)

    When I shot this pic, I realized I probably didn’t even need to do it.  No doubt there were multiple shots of grilled asparagus stored on the computer.  Finding them (my photos need organizing pretty badly) was another story.  I clicked two times and above you see one of those.  Gives you an idea of my skill level.

    These were skiiiiiiiiiiiinneee asparagus (doesn’t equate with good or tender), so I knew they wouldn’t take long to grill, and, while I like them almost done, I don’t want them limp.  Time to think of a dip, a sauce, a topping, a …whatever.  I’m crazy about fresh lemon squeezed over asparagus; it’s one of my favorite things.  Kinda old, though,  Alyce.  What else?  Some finely chopped peppered cashews?  Hmmm.  Getting better.  What about salsa?  Atypical.  What about salsa and Greek yogurt?  Hepped up with garlic?

    Sounding better all the time and was quick as spit.

    Here’s how I did it:

    Grilled Asparagus with Tex-Mex Dip

    1# fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
    1T olive oil
    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
    1 c plain, non-fat Greek Yogurt (or any plain yogurt will do)
    1/3 c best quality salsa (make sure it’s gluten-free)
    pinch each table salt and fresh ground pepper
    1 clove garlic, grated or smashed well

    Heat grill outdoors or stovetop grill to medium-high.  Brush with olive oil and lay asparagus on grill in an even layer.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Grill, turning once, for 8-10 minutes.  Meantime, make dip:

    In a small bowl, mix yogurt, salsa, salt and pepper, and garlic.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

    Place grilled asparagus on serving platter with a bowl of dip and enjoy.

    2-Dog Kitchen Continued
    Sing a new song; enjoy a new spring,
    Alyce
    Emily’s Takeover

    Emily’s Takeover

    Today I decided to takeover not only my mother’s blog but her kitchen as well. I’m on vacation from seminary (follow my blog!) and decided to make a delicious dinner for my parents. I live in a dorm and eat in a cafeteria, so I don’t get a chance to do real cooking very often. I’m not a great cook, but I can follow directions pretty well. Today I wanted to stretch my culinary skills. We invited over some friends, and we watched the snow continue to fly. For some reason I gravitated to French foods or at least foods that sound kind of French. I had no idea if everything would go well together, but I didn’t know when the next chance for me to cook would be. It helps that I’m at home in safe place. In case something went wrong I could pull out the big guns (crying) and Mom would jump in and fix it. That didn’t happen although I had lots of questions.
    Menu:
    Hummus and Fresh Vegetables
    Tuna Croquettes with Sauce Remoulade
    French Onion Soup
    Alyce’ Sweet Balsamic Salad
    Creme Brulee
    Starters: I bought hummus (garlic) at the store and arranged on a cute plate these things:
    celery, asparagus, English cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots
    Dish #1 : Tuna Croquettes –I’m not sure what I expected here, but they were a little like incredibly good crab cakes. Except! I didn’t have to pay for crab. I used tuna in pouches.

    Recipe by Alton Brown
    I had seen this recipe on Alton Brown’s show Good Eats. It sounded good. It turned out good. Because the panko is lighter than normal breadcrums, each little ball of tuna-ie delight was crispy but not heavy. I can’t see these croquettes as a full meal, but it was a satisfying appetizer. Even though the recepe online shows the croquettes with some sort of thick sauce, there was no recipe! Mom whipped up a sauce made of mayonaise, shallots, dill pickles and dijon mustard. She called it a Revved Up Tartar Sauce which then we realized was close to a sauce remoulade.
    Dish # 2: French Onion Soup—This one doesn’t bake, nor does it have a ton of heavy cheese- just parmesan when you serve it. Oooo la la ! The house smells like heaven.


    Carmelizing the onions above. Ina says 20 min; it took 45.

    The soup cooking.. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH———-


    Here (above) are the parmesan croutons for the soup. Good all by themselves, too.

    Recipe by the Barefoot Contessa (also found in the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook from 1999)

    I have never made soup before except by heating up the insides of a can. So when the idea went off in my head to make French onion soup, I was confused. “Don’t you know I don’t cook?” I told myself, but I just wouldn’t listen to me. So I found what looked like one of the easier French onion soups in the world. The hardest part was slicing the onions. I had no idea how to slice an onion properly, but I found out that once you cook them it doesn’t really matter if you sliced them ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It’s important to get all the onions about the same size if you can. It did take twice as long for the onions to brown than the Barefoot Contessa told me, but I assume that’s because I’m in Colorado and the altitude makes cooking weird sometimes. I used a sweet sherry that made a big difference in the final product. The house still smells wonderful from the onions and butter that were the base of the soup. I finished the soup about an hour and a half early and just left it on the stove until our friends showed up and we were eating the first course. It warmed up very quickly and was delicious.

    Mom made a quick salad to go with the soup so that we would have something green. It was kind of like this:
    Dish 3a. Alyce’s Sweet Balsamic Salad
    .
    10 cups mixed greens (she used baby arugula and baby spinach
    1/3 c chopped walnuts
    1/2 c cherry tomatoes
    Juice of half a lemon
    Pinch ea: kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
    2T Balsamic Vinegar
    1T honey
    4-5 T extra-virgin olive oil

    1/4 tsp kosher salt

    1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
    .
    I think she made the dressing in the bottom of the bowl first. She whisked together the vinegar, honey and salt and pepper. Then she drizzled in the oil until it was all mixed pretty well.
    Greens, walnuts and tomatoes went on top in a large bowl, which was refrigerated until we needed to eat it. Then Dad tossed it and served it on salad plates.

    Dish #4: Creme Brulee See top and bottom photos, too!
    Recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl (2004)

    Here-above- I am doing something Mom says is “tempering the eggs.” Otherwise, the hot cream will scramble the eggs and we don’t exactly want breakfast tonight.


    SO GOOD! One neighbor raved, “This is the best creme brulee I’ve ever had!” I usually bake a type of cake for a dessert, but I really wanted to try something different. I think Creme Brulee is super fancy and grown up. Turns out it’s not that hard to make if you’ve got a torch handy. Mom said the key to a good creme brulee is good heavy cream and high quality vanilla. As a Masters student I understand that it makes sense to buy the cheap vanilla, but after eating this creme brulee I will NEVER buy cheap vanilla again. The creme was creamy and smooth. The brulee (expertly burned by my father) was crackling and crisp. If you want people to think you can make incredible desserts but you don’t know if you really can, this recipe is for you! It does take some specialized equipment (ramikins, torch), but invest in that equipment and it will pay off.
    (Mom says you can use plain old Pyrex custard cups and put the creme brulee under the broiler; you can do without the special stuff but it’s so fun to torch something, says Dad.
    The best part about cooking for people is that you get to spend time them and show them you care. I hope you enjoy these recipes and take over YOUR mother’s kitchen some time.
    Check out the rest of the creme brulee pictures below…………………..
    .
    God Bless,
    Emily
    power tools


    Mom’s note: Wow! I love having anyone cook like that for me. AND the creme brulee was, there’s no other word: silky. Thanks, Emi. Come home anytime.

    Summer in the City-Tomato-Basil Goat Cheese

    Summer in the City-Tomato-Basil Goat Cheese

    Home again, Home again
    Jiggity Jog

    Margo and Mark’s Magnificent Back Yard
    This is summer, isn’t it?

    It is a day of, shall we say, mixed emotions. Today is the last day of my conducting class at University of St. Thomas. It is also the day before we head home, slowly wending our way through the Badlands toward home and our own bed, house and loved neighbors and friends. Leaving Minnesohhhhhta is bittersweet and that puts it mildly. Out my door and down a few blocks west (toward the Mississippi River) lies the campus, full of newly-loved people and dreams come true. One block south sits Mac Plymouth United Church (combination PCUSA and UCC) and many good friends in the surrounding neighborhood. Lots of good meals, wonderful music…memories of worship alive–changing and continually becoming something it had never been before. A worship goal to hold in your hands and smile at.

    My view as I walk out my front door:


    Not sure what I’ll miss most. You guess.

    My car stops automatically when it sees this sign. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.

    I return home a different person; I will never again look at music in the same way and my years’ old conducting method (gotterdone, but by the seat of my pants), has been wiped away and replaced by something I’m only beginning to glimpse. A newbie art at 55. If God calls us to do the things he needs, be very sure he also calls to what heals.


    Still a real movie theater two blocks down

    Big breath, close this chapter. Move on to another life. I thought I’d leave you with some images of life in St. Paul. They could speak for themselves (I’ve put in a few notes)– though the dog is my friend, Max and, while Max DOES indeed speak volumes, you can’t hear her from there. Because I’ve enjoyed so much great cheese, I’ll leave Summer in the City here in Minnesota with a cheese starter.


    Pizza you grab and bake at home; worth the trip ——the very best of the take homes.


    Oh, are we cooking? Ok……………….I remember now.
    The recipe for today is a quickly managed cracker or sliced baguette topping to share with someone you love or to take as a house gift if you’re going to dinner. Buy an inexpensive ramekin, fill it with the cheese and wrap it up with saran and a tiny bow. This cheese will keep a day or two (longer if you leave out the tomato until right before serving). I would hug a Sancerre with this cheese. While I am a red wino, my very favorite wine in the world is probably a


    Tuesday night bagpipe practice at Macalester College

    Sancerre, which is a sweet (not literally) Sauvignon Blanc from the north side of the Loire. Get your map out. The smoothest thing about a Sancerre may very well be its price. If you want a top level red wine, you are going to pay dearly. However, a GREAT, aromatic and versatile, lipsmacking Sancerre will set you back only $22-$27. You can buy very drinkable Sauvignon Blancs for much less.

    Some of the great stuff from St. Paul Cheese and Breadsmith


    While the cheese (including from the Farmer’s Market) has been topnotch, I am still fond of creating something on my own. I am in the process of finding out more about making goat’s cheese myself, but in the meantime, why not make this starter for late summer? It is also a good omelette filling or sandwich spread. Have a go; it takes……….oh……5 minutes??

    TOMATO-BASIL GOAT CHEESE SPREAD
    serve on crackers or toasted, sliced baguette

    4 oz goat’s cheese at room temperature
    4 oz ricotta cheese
    2 cloves garlic, minced finely
    1 medium tomato, seeded, juiced*, and minced
    2T fresh basil chiffonade (shredded, “ragged” in the French)
    1/4 t Freshly-ground mixed pepper
    1 t grated lemon rind

    Do this in the way you like best. Either put the whole kit and caboodle in the food processor and let it have its way with the cheese or put it in a bowl and mix the love of life into it by hand. Either way, you could make a meal on this if you had to. Dreaming cooks might add a little milk and use this for a veggie dip.

    *Cut tomato in half. Take each half and, with one hand, squeeze it well over a bowl to extract juice and seeds.


    Bye, Max


    Lifelong thanks to teachers Angie Broeker (Head of Choral Activities) and David Jenkins (Liturgical Director)———-
    I’ve sung so many new songs I can’t name them all; now you try–
    Alyce