Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Post Halloween project: Pumpkin Seeds!

Pumpkin seeds!

Hopefully you didn't throw them out. Or, maybe you can use this recipe when you make all those delicious pumpkin pies later this month.

collect seed from pumpkin, removing pumpkin flesh and strings. Rinse well. drain. dissolve 1/4 cup salt into 2 quarts of water in a bowl. soak seeds in salted water for at least four hours. drain well. preheat oven to 300*. Spread in an even layer over a sheet pan and roast until dry and toasty, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even roasting. Enjoy!
and just for fun, the pumpkins whose seeds are pictured above.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hand Made Ravioli: Filled with Cheese and Olives

My Favorite, Olive and Pecorino Ravioli.
For two.

    Well, not the easiest recipe ever, but much simpler than you think. I developed this recipe after being bored for too long buy bland store bought ravioli. I often find the fillings that boast bold exotic flavors, but they all taste bland and pasty to me. So i thought, i should just make my own! i like this olive and cheese recipe a lot, the saltiness of the fillings really stand out in the pasta, even with a full flavored sauce. You bite in and think, yes! cheese! and i taste olive too! It really works.
   Sorry for the long break. Finally here is the as promised ravioli How-To to go along with the fresh made sauce demo. i love making pasta by hand, it is super fun and pretty quick. Hope you give it a try!

The recipe:

For Filling:*
1/2 cup grated cheese in this recipe, pecorino foglie di noce, any aged pecorino will do.
1/4 cup freshly pitted and minced olives
1 tbs flour
1 egg
For Pasta:
1 cup flour plus more for rolling and kneading
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2tbs water

combine filling ingredients, mix well, set aside. Dump flour in a pile over a large plate or cutting board. Make a well in the center and sprinkle with salt. add egg and water. Mix with a fork , folding in flour gradually to for a sticky dough. turn out to very well flour surface and knead well till a smooth ball forms, adding more flour if necessary. Cut this ball in half to make it easier to work with. Roll out thinly, fold over, roll again. form pasta as desired. (How to slides show method for basic ravioli)roll out second ball. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and add in pasta. simmer gently for about 5 minutes. (pasta will puff up when done. ) Gently remove pasta from water with a wire sieve. Drain well, serve.

* Of course you can substitute your favorite filling, another one i like a lot is saute'd mushrooms and garlic, saute, then dice super fine. add egg, flour, and fill! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Food Report! : The Mysterious Surfing Taco!

This Just in:


uh, no comment, just thought i'd like to share. i was just taking a walk, minding my own bussiness, when i came across this radical taco surfer. uh, feel free to comment. i have no idea what is going on here. thanks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Gift of Breakfast: A Very Special Toast and Jam!

The All Gift Breakfast!
Spent Grain Toast With Apricot Jam

Featured In today's Post is this lovely gift from Jasmine, over at BeerAtJoe's and Apricot Jam made by Grandma Marie! Oh Boy am i a happy duck.

    Jasmine bakes bread because her soon to be husband (!) brews beer. She gave me a mini loaf of this spent grain bread which was not only Super Duper cute, but was hands down the best wheat bread i have ever had. it was sweet and hearty, but not at all dense or heavy.  It made excellent toast for homemade grandma jam, which Michael got as a gift.
    Here is a short slide show of bread and jam and toasts!
Toast to Beeratjoes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marinara: QUICK and Tasty!

Quick Marinara

Made with fresh Summer tomatoes

Here are some fine examples of beautiful Farm fresh California Produce.

   So i got a great idea, i thought i'd show you my favorite recipe for ravioli, featuring one of my favorite cheeses, Foglie Di Noce, but first, a teaser post for how to make a quick fresh marinanra with any extra tomatoes you may have laying around...


3 Large heirloom tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
three cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup water
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Heat a skillet with olive oil. Place tomatoes on olive oil till tomatoes skins are browning on one side, about five minutes. flip, repeat. Using a heavy spoon, squish tomatoes throughly. add thyme, garlic. Dillute tomato paste in water till smooth add that as well, stir. put on a low simmer for about thirty minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What i Had For Dinner!: VEGGIETASTIC!

Summer's Glorious Bounty!

Fresh from the Ferry Building Farmer's Market... Carrots, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn on the cob, served with my favorite Chipotle Ranch Dressing and butter for the corn. Super YUM!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blue Cheese Cottage Pie: Comfort Food With a Twist!

Cottage Pie With Blue Cheese 
Baked up!

Or i needed to clean out my fridge, and i happened to have: potato, beef and blue cheese (leftover from burgers), and carrots that simply needed to go. Yes, that is correct, Cottage pie. i know that is is not exactly summer fare, but it was pretty chilly the night i made it, so it's ok. What is cottage pie? It is a dish made with beef and topped with mashed potatoes. See definition here. In many cases it is also topped with cheese.

In this version i used The fabulous Bayley Hazen Blue, a milder blue made in Vermont by Jasper Hill Farms. See substitutions for other ideas on how to clean you fridge with this pie. Har Har. Anyhow, enjoy.

The Recipe:
This made one Large Bowl of pie, fit for two.
one large potato
one carrot
one very small onion or half a medium onion
1/4 pound ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup water
1 tsp better than bullion or bullion cube
1 1/2 tsp water
2 Tbs Butter
1/4 cup milk
2 0z  crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 350*. Cut potato into large dices, boil in salt water till soft, about 10-15 minutes. cut carrot and onion to very small dice. Brown Ground beef over medium heat till half cooked, still pink inside. (This keeps the meat tender, it will cook through in the gravy and in the oven.) add garlic, thyme, cook about one minute. Add Diced carrots, broth or water, flour, whisk till mixed well. Cover and simmer for about ten minuets, enough time to prepare the crust.  Strain Potatoes, place back in pot. Add Butter, and milk, mash. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon simmering Beef into bowl (or bowls). cover with mashed potato, sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for about thirty minutes, or until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Feel free to add more veggies to the beef sauce, typical additions are: mushrooms or celery, but you could also try kale, sweet potatoes, turnips, celery root, and varietal mushrooms.

Also, if you don't have Blue cheese (you should get some) or don't feel like being adventurous enough to try Cottage Pie with blue cheese, you can use cheddar. I give you permission. But you better make it a good cheddar! ok?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Strawberry Pizza: The Fruits of Summer

Strawberry Pizza
Inspired By Uncle Michael's Recipe

When i was a kid, my Uncle Michael would throw a BBQ every SUNDAY during the summer. Like religion. Once in a while he would make this dish, Strawberry Pizza and serve it for everyone. It was always the biggest hit, and was gone almost immediately. Once my uncle asked me to make it for him, and i got to learn the recipe. Over the years since then, i have modified the recipe quite a bit, and here it now is. i hope you enjoy this recipe as much as i do, and i am sure if you share it with anyone, it will be a big hit for you also!

The Recipe:
Serves about 4. But this stuff is really hard to share.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup sugar

4 oz Cream Cheese, softened or Fromage Blanc
1/4 cup sugar

1 tbs heavy cream (or milk)
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar

* Freshly whipped cream (optional)

Prepare Crust:
Heat oven to 350*. Prepare 9" round cake pan with a parchment lining. Melt Butter in a microwave safe container. set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Add butter, mix with whisk till as dough forms. Press dough into an even layer onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, till golden. Be sure to watch the crust carefully when it is in the oven, the crust burns very easily after about 8 minutes. Here is a hint, when you smell it, it is probably done.
Prepare Spread:
In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, and cream till smooth. set aside.
Once the crust has baked and fully cooled, Remove carefully from pan and place on a flat surface. Spread cream cheese in an even layer over crust. Top with strawberries, and whipped cream if you like. Serve.

This recipe is great for any fresh berry of summer, i also like to use raspberries or blueberries, but any mix of the three will turn out nice. You can also try a drizzle of Nutella. 

Hope you are enjoying this last stretch of Summer!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mexican Rice: Tasty Side For Mexican Foods

Mexican Rice
About as Tasty as Rice Can Get

    The traditional mexcian staple, as cooked by me. i love to use fresh wholesome ingredients when i can, and you should too. There was not a tomato in my pantry this time, nor fresh garlic, but i am posting this anyway because it shows how you can make do without. This is more like how everyone in my family makes it because of that. So if you can, some diced tomato, fresh onion, fresh garlic, are wonderful for this recipe.
    Serve Mexican Rice as a side dish to any mexican food, stuff into a burrito, or top a tostada with it. This is Michael's favorite thing that i make- and he has tasted almost everything that i make. Try it yourself!

The recipe:

1 cup Jasmine rice (basmati or "long grain" also work well)
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 medium onion, chopped to 1/2" pieces
1tbs tomato paste
1 and 1/2 cups water or broth
1 and 1/2 tsp chicken paste or bullion for two cups (if using water)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried garlic or 1 clove minced fresh garlic
fresh black pepper to taste.

heat saucepan over medium high heat, add rice and oil, cook, stirring occasionally to brown as much of the rice as possible.after about three minutes, add onions, stir to coat, cook till soft, stirring often. Add tomato (paste, sauce, fresh, or canned diced). Stir till sizzling stops. Add liquid and seasonings, taste, bring to simmer. Lower heat, cover and cook till liquid is gone and rice is fluffy, about 15 minutes. Serve!

-Brown Rice a great way to amp up the health factor of this flavorful and fun side dish is to make it with brown rice. Believe it or not, the brown rice version is a bit easier to prepare. Change these ingredient amounts:
1cup brown rice
2 cups water or broth
change these steps: saute onion only. do not cook rice, or it will be too tough to cook. add liquid, rice and seasoning, simmer, lower heat, cover and cook as usual.
-Tomato Sauce exchange 1/4 cup tom sauce for water or broth, omit tomato paste.
-Canned diced tomatoes add 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, change tomato paste to 1 tsp.

-Fresh Tomato add half a medium tomato (diced) to sizzling rice and onions before adding liquid.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Banana Nut bread: When Bananas Get Too Old !

Banana Nut Bread

What can i say? i love a good bit of banana nut bread, and i hate to see any amount of food go to waste. So i make this recipe everytime i have one too many bananas on hand. They get overripe before you know it. This recipe calls for two bananas and can easily be split or doubled. A healthy dessert since it is made with banana and olive oil rather than butter and tons of sugar. i dunno, i love it, and i make it almost once a month.

The recipe:
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup oilve oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350*. Prepare pan with butter and flour, as shown. Whisk together Flour, Salt, Baking powder and Soda in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mush Bananas together with olive oil. Add sugar, beat thoroughly. Add pecans to flour mixture. Stir in banana mixture. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

-you may of course, substitute any oil for olive oil. Also i am sure melted butter would be pretty nice, but i have yet to try it.
-Some people prefer Walnuts in their Banana Nut Bread. This is most certainly up to you. Personally, i like the softer and sweeter flavor or pecans, they also are a little less greasy. Walnuts are bitter, and i just don't like them that much.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Calabasa: Zucchini with Corn and Cheese


Calabasa( "Kah-lah-bah-sah") just means Squash in spanish. This is a dish my grandma made frequently in the summer months when there was plenty of zucchini and tomatoes in the garden, and fresh corn was easy to find. Very simple to prepare, and stars a great combo of summertime ingredients, Zucchini, Tomato, and Corn. Serve this dish as a side dish for BBQ's, Mexican foods, or as an easy and light entree'.

Calabasa Recipe
Entree for two, or side dish for four.

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cob fresh corn, de- cobbed
1 tomato, diced *see substitutions
1 1/2 lbs zucchini and or summer squash, sliced

1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs chicken paste or 1 bullion cube
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup sharp cheddar grated or sliced (shown with slices of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar of Vermont)

Saute onions in oil over medium heat till soft. add sliced zucchini, cook till browned. add garlic, tomatoes, corn, cook 3 minutes. whisk tomato paste and chicken paste into water till dissolved. add to zucchini. heat to simmer, add cumin and pepper. reduce heat to low, simmer 8 minutes, or till squash are soft. remove from heat, top with cheese cover and allow to rest for at least five minutes. serve.

-you can use 1 can corn instead of fresh corn. Drain corn, reserve liquid, use corn liquid in addition to water to enhance corn sweetness in broth.
-*sometimes i use only fresh tomatoes if i dun have paste, and sometimes i use only paste if i don;t have fresh, but if i have both, i use both.
-also, you can use garlic powder if you dun have fresh garlic.

I genuinely hope that you enjoy this recipe!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Email Question!

Email question:

Hey I was wondering if u could give some tips for a good herb butter?

ilieaskitchen answers:

i have made herb butter out of fresh herbs for bread and crackers...  is this what you are talking about?
be sure to use the freshest best quality butter, and always keep butter well covered and in the coldest part of your fridge, as butter easily (and noticeably) absorbs surrounding odors, or can loose alot of flavor if left out or if it kept at inconsistent temperatures.

take 1/2 a stick of cold butter
and about 1 TBS fresh herb or herbs or fresh minced garlic or a combo of some kind...
use more or less herb to taste. practice makes perfect!

chop herbs and butter together on a large cutting board with a large, sharp knife until well blended. place into a bowl and mix well.  shape butter or place into a very Small mold or dish and chill at least 3 hours. (till it's hard again).
spread butter on hot toasty bread, corn on the cob, toss with warm noodles, or use in cooking in place of regular butter for an added kick (like in scrambled eggs, for example...).
does that help?  let me know what you think...



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Corn Cakes: Fried In The Pan!

Corn Cakes
They Love to be Fried.

   Like Grandma used to make. These were often side dish for Grandma's Chicken vegetable soup, or for Chicken and zucchinis. i also like to use them as a side for chicken (fried, roasted, or grilled) or fish. Quicker than cornbread, delicious and pretty simple. Mom's favorite too she gets really exited when i make these for her. Use Whole Wheat Flour to make a more nutritious version. 

Corn Cakes Recipe:
Makes about 6

1/4 Cup Flour (minus 2 TBS if using whole wheat)
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
oil for frying, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Mix together dry ingredients. stir in all other ingredients. Don't over mix. Fry in oil over medium heat. Drain on wire rack or over paper towels. Serve immediately topped with butter.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Greek Yogurt How-To

Hey! Strain your own greek yogurt!

An easy way to have rich, thick yogurt on the cheap. Bamboo strainer idea credited to Simon Darling. thank you! here is the slideshow how to! yay!

what you will need:

1 pint of your favorite plain yogurt.

1 quart size bamboo steamer

1 regular coffee filter

so here is the as promised greek yogurt how-to. now you can make your own creamy greek yogurt.

...ready..... set..... go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sloppy Joes!: Turkey Or Beef

Sloppy WHO?!

(So tasty, you'll never want to open a can again.)

   I don't know about you, but when i was growing up it was hot in the summer, and mom's favorite thing to cook was anything that involved minimal effort. So i had many hot summer days topped off with a Manwhich or Sloppy Joe. You Know, brown the cow, open the can, stir-simmer-eat. I still feel nostalgic for the taste of sloppy joes every now and then, but i can't bring myself to buy a can-o-sloppy joe stuff, so here is the  pretty easy, all fresh ingredients- and healthy recipe for Sloppy Joe's. Enjoy!


Turkey Joes

serves two hungry people or three people with smaller appetites.

1/2 medium yellow onion diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 lb ground turkey thighs
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1tbs balsamic vingar
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

in a skillet over medium flame, heat onions, salt, and oil till onions are soft. Add diced bell pepper, toss to coat with oil. Add ground turkey and sugar, cumin, Cayenne, and pepper, brown turkey for a minute, but don't cook all the pink out (this will keep turkey meat tender). Add diced tomatoes, vinegar, tomato sauce, and garlic. Lower flame to simmer, cover, cook 20 minutes, till turkey is soft and flavorful. Serve over dense multi-grain bread as a sandwich.

For this recipe, the only thing i can imagine anyone wanting to change is the ground used. I like beef, but turkey is healthier, flavorful, and less expensive than beef. Also, it is a better environmental choice, turkey meat requires far less resources to produce than cow. Anyhow, i really liked how this turned out with turkey. You could try Ground Chicken as well, let me knw how that works out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pancakes: Make Them Yourself!

Screw Bisquick! Really! 

for two big appetites or four smaller ones.

Pancakes are this really easy delicious food that people don't know how to make anymore. Everyone uses these pre-made pancake mixes- "JUST ADD WATER!"... and so the art of the real pancake is lost to the masses. Pancakes are so easy, you'll forget you ever heard of jiffy mix or bisquick. This recipe is adapted from a buttermilk pancake recipe i used for years, but i don't always make pancakes everyday, and having buttermilk in the fridge for the recipe meant planning ahead. i am kind of a spur of the moment pancake eater, so i invented and perfected this recipe using things i almost always have on hand...

by the way, Breakfast is the best meal.
*ahem, the recipe.

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup PLAIN Greek* style yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1/3 cup grade B maple syrup

Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. set aside. in a clear measuring cup, measure yogurt. fill with milk to 1 cup. whisk till smooth. set aside. heat a skillet pan over medium high heat and coat with olive oil. while that is heating, add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture, add egg, stir just to combine, being careful not to overmix. you want the batter lumpy. turn down pan to medium, and add a tsp of test batter. cook pancake, discard or feed to impatient husband/boyfriend, dog, etc... add pancake batter to pan for first pancake. cook till edges are dry, flip. repeat for the rest of the batter. makes about 6 smaller pancakes, or 4 larger ones.

*What is GREEK yogurt?
Greek yogurt is a yogurt that has had a lot of it's water content strained out. it is thicker and richer. this yogurt works best for this recipe, but if you dun have any, you can make some. Recently i have been doing this all the time because organic plain greek yogurt is impossible to find, and i get regular organic yogurt for cheap at work anyhow. Just strain it with a coffee filter or cheese cloth overnight. i will put up a how-to soon.

What if i don't have/can't find Greek yogurt?
+You can substitute regular plain yogurt in this recipe, but you will have to cut out a lot of the milk. i think the right ratio would be 2/3 cup regular yogurt and 1/3 cup milk. Many yogurt brands are different, so adjust as needed for a nice thick mixture. You are aiming for a "buttermilk" consistency.
+you can also substitute sour cream for yogurt if you are in a pinch, but the results are not gonna be as great. So, you have to increase baking soda to 1 tbs, and use 2/3 cup sour cream to 1/3 cup milk.

Healthier version:
This recipe makes your pretty basic pancake. You can cut a lot of fat out of the recipe by using fat free milk and yogurt. You can use whole wheat flour to up fiber, but you will have to add more liquid, perhaps a tbs or two of water/milk. also you could skip the butter topping and go for maple syrup. By the way, if you use "conventional" syrup, like Mrs. Butterworth's or something, look at what you are really eating! it's all super sweet dense sugar may eventually kill you! (ha ha). Grade B Maple Syrup, by contrast is a natural sugar, closer to that which is found in fruits. it also has vitamins and such. and, a little goes a long way! so, save yourself from diabetes, and use a little maple instead of corn syrup.

Blueberry Pancakes
add a few fresh blueberries to a pancake once you have poured the batter to the skillet. if you can't find fresh blueberries, always thaw frozen blueberries, or they will create pockets of raw batter around them.

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