Friday, October 1, 2010

Sad News, Everyone!

It has been pretty sad around here ever since i lost my camera. i kept thinking i would find it, but it has been more than a month. So My recipe slideshows that i normally do with lots of photos, cannot be done! it is so sad. Please Stay tuned till i get a new camera.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Easy Blue Cheese Dressing: Your New Secret Weapon!

To Dress, To Dress!

   This recipe is a great way to use up that leftover blue cheese from the party you threw. In my experience selling cheese, i have heard many people complain that when they bought blue for the party, no one really ate it. This could mean that these people need to find more adventurous friends, but it also definitely means they have blue cheese leftovers to deal with.  I like this as a way to stretch my blue cheese money further.  A nice blue cheese can be kinda pricey, and this simple dressing recipe can actually be your secret weapon for lots of dishes. 

   Because of the yogurt base, this dressing melts into a nice creaminess over hot items. I once made this, added a pinch of chopped fresh dill, and spread it over freshly grilled burgers in lieu of cheddar. The result was amazing!  How 'bout blue cheese dressing drizzled over saute'd mushrooms as a side dish for steak? Or mixed with mustard powder and tossed instead of mayo into your macaroni salad? Or an easy sauce for ravioli? Spread over corn on the cob! Too hot to cook today? Try it drizzled over shredded carrots as a cool, crunchy, quick and easy side dish.
Anyway, please be daring! and send me pictures!

Easy Blue Cheese Dressing
Makes  about 1 cup

2-4 oz blue cheese (remove natural rind from stilton style blues), crumbled
1/2 cup your favorite plain yogurt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper, (more or less according to your taste)
*** optional seasoning ideas: dill, mustard powder, honey, red pepper flakes, etc.) i don't usually add salt, blue cheeses are usually very salty. But, of course, that is up to you.

Crumble cold blue with a fork, add yogurt and seasoning. Mush it together with a fork for about a minute. Whisk till smooth and fluffly. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for two weeks or longer.  Shelf life will depend upon the freshness and quality of the ingredients used (taste before each use after 10 days).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Home Roasted Coffee: Remove Your Smoke Detector

Yes, Folks. 
Roast Coffee yourself!

Today's Post is mostly just for fun, something we did in the kitchen that was kinda awesome. 
I have always wondered what happens to coffee to make it taste so good. Roasting coffee is a simple process, but very difficult to master. But, like anything else in the kitchen, i think it can be done with practice. Anyhow, i am no master. Only curious. Roasting your own coffee can save you some money once you get good at it. I have become somewhat of a coffee snob, so only the best Fair Trade/ Organic fresh roasted beans will do. This can be a pricey habit. We got this coffee from a local place that also retails online called Sweet Maria's. They have great prices, good quality, and good ethics. Check their website (link above) for Roasting tips and other coffee stories. 

Ok, on to the show. First i have a slideshow of the first half of the roasting, but when it started to move fast, i shot a video. hope you enjoy!

And also:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Homemade Flour Tortillas: Make 'em Yourself!

Homemade Tortillas!

    This is a fairly simple recipe, but it does take a little practice to get it perfect. You will be pleased with the results if you give it a try! Homemade tortillas for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, or just as a side dish to any mexican food. 
   My grandma taught me to make tortillas from a very young age. I remember practicing rolling in first grade. My grandma was often disappointed in my lack of ability to produce round tortillas, and would scold me with her story about how she learned to make them round. " If i messed up, my mother would hit my hand with the rolling pin. It is a fast way to learn." Horrified, i tried my best. My grandma's good humor and tender patience always allowed for my mistakes with out any bruised knuckles, but it is something i still think of every time i roll.
   Anyhow, try your best, and send pictures if you try it yourself!

makes 4, serves 2

1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs Shortening
1 tbs Olive oil
1/2 cup HOT water (not hot from from the tap. heat in microwave or kettle)

Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Add shortening, oil, and water. mix till combined, forming dough into a ball. Knead for about one minute. Allow Dough to rest for ten minutes. Divide dough into 4 even pieces. Form each piece into a ball, and roll out on a well dusted board with a well dusted rolling pin. Cook on a dry clean skillet over medium high heat. Poke holes in any large bubbles that form for even cooking. Cook about 30 seconds on each side.  Serve hot.  Unrolled balls of dough will keep in an airtight container at room temp for about 3 days. You can also roll and partially cook tortillas, and keep them in a zipper bag in the fridge for about a week, or freeze for a month. 

Next time in iliea's Kitchen:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chorizo: Mexican Breakfast Sausage


     So, here's the thing: Chorizo has always been a guilty nostalgic pleasure for me. Mexican Sausage, often including questionable parts of the animal and far more questionable amounts of fat. Buy some from the store, cook it up, and you get a small pile of grainy "meat" drowning in a pool of bright red melted fat. *shudder. Well, i have tried to combat this myself in the past, and a solution for a long time had been to cook it up, drain out the fat with a wire sieve, then return the "meat" to the pan to scramble with eggs. Having collected this drained fat many times, i know that once it cools, it turns into a pale orange goo. I had a hard time not imagining that the breakfast i had just eaten was now a pale orange goo, clumped up somewhere in my body. *again with the shudder. Heavy, fatty, and kinda dirty, but the nostalgic memory was worth this price. Grandma often made chorizo for me, and i have grand memories of saturday mornings finding her in the kitchen, rolling out tortillas, with a pot of beans bubbling away on the stove. She would hand me a basket and ask me to go bother the chicken for some eggs. Grandpa used a meat grinder and made ground pork out of clearly identified parts, and grandma would turn that into the most delicious chorizo.  *sigh.
     Ok, so these days, store bought just doesn't cut it for me. But i can't help my wanting for the chorizo of my childhood. So i wrote my uncle, and asked him if he knew how to make it. After following his vague recipe, and tweaking it, and testing it a bunch, i have finally made the chorizo of my memory. 

Other benefits from making your own chorizo other than deliciosity and nostalgic factors is expense and health.  Fresh ground pork is super cheap, as are beans, flour, and eggs. You can make a weeks worth of substantial breakfasts for 2 for not too much money. Adding potato to the scramble is a tasty way to get your chorizo to stretch even further. I buy in bulk flour, spices, and beans... Saving LOTS $$$. Health wise, if you make it yourself, you get absolute control over what goes into it. I have found that buying fresh ground pork from a clean and trusted butcher shop contains little fat compared to the Glowing red pool i got in store bought chorizo. I tend to buy organic, so as far as i know, this is the only way to get a cleanly organic mexican chorizo. 

Coming soon is my tortilla how to. Make your chorizo!

Chorizo Recipe:
serves about 10

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp granulated garlic or 3 fresh cloves, minced
3 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin

If you like it spicy, you can also add:
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs red chili flakes

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk or spatula. Do not mix with your hands, the chili could make your skin irritated. Pack into an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours. Chorizo will keep in your fridge for two weeks, more or less.

Chorizo Scramble with potatoes
for 2

1 small yellow potato, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
dash red pepper flakes optional
splash of water (about 1 oz)

2 heaping tablespoons chorizo
2 eggs

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil, potatoes and season. Cook, tossing occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. add water, cover. lower heat to medium low. Steam the potatoes till the water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove cover and toss the potatoes to dry them out a bit. Check to make sure the potatoes are soft. If they are not, add another splash of water and repeat steam process. Push potatoes to the edges of the pan. Place chorizo in the center of the skillet, and flatten. cook over medium heat, stirring, for about five minutes. Toss potatoes together with chorizo. Add eggs, scramble. Serve with beans and tortillas, or roll into a breakfast burrito.

Next time in iliea's Kitchen:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pasta Primavera: iliea Style!

Pasta Primavera!

From Pasta Primavera

Hello, everyone. i know it has been a very very long time since my last post, and i apologize. Summer has a way of making me forget to document my kitchen adventures. I have been taking pictures, just not all the time. Anyhow, in the next few weeks i will be trying to play catch up in ilieaskitchen. 
First up is this Springtime recipe i did in May. The Peas were big, fresh and beautiful, and they went perfectly with the new recipe for alfredo sauce i been so in love with recently. 
Traditionally, Pasta primavera is fresh spring veggies with pesto. I used fresh sweet english peas, asparagus, and spinach, but you can substitute any green veggies you like. As most of you know, but some of you don't, but i'm actually allergic to basil, so even though it is delicious, Pesto is OUT. So this is my version, pesto free, of Pasta Primavera. Enjoy!

Pasta Primavera
Serves 2.

1 cup fresh shelled english peas
1 cup 1 inch pieces asparagus
1/2 cup blanched and chopped spinach
1 cup chicken broth or 1 cup water and bouillon, or vegetable broth
1/2 cup half and half
minced garlic, 3 or 4 cloves according to your taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1 egg yolk
1- 8oz Package Fresh Spinach Fettuccine

Get a large pot of water on the stove to cook your pasta in. Prepare vegetables: Cut and blanch spinach in chicken broth, reserve blanching liquid. soaking in cold water bath as shown. squeeze, chop, set aside. bring broth back to a simmer, and add peas and asparagus. cover and simmer till bright and soft, about five minutes. Meanwhile grate cheese and mince garlic, and begin to cook your pasta. follow package directions, cook one minute less than called for. remove veggies from broth. add half and half, garlic, and pepper. bring back to just a simmer, remove from heat. in a separate bowl or cup, add egg yolk and a spoonful of hot cream sauce. stir. repeat 4 times. add egg mixture to sauce, whisk well. drain cooked pasta. add half of the cheese, and all of the sauce. toss well, cover and let stand five minutes. stir in the rest of the cheese and the veggies. serve, garnishing with extra cheese and pepper flakes.

Next time in iliea's kitchen:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hand Rolled Fettuccine: Chicken and Alfredo Sauce

Hand Rolled Fettuccine

Hand Rolled pasta is a great treat, and my favorite thing about it is that you don't need any special equipment to make it. All you need is a large, clean, flat space, and a rolling pin! Even the ingredient list is simple, flour, egg, water, salt. Once you learn to make pasta by hand, you'll love how tasty and rewarding a treat it is. Experiment with uses and shapes! This how to has been used in iliea's kitchen for chicken noodle soup and ravioli!

I went to a friend's house and taught her how to make hand rolled pasta, then we both learned how to make Alfredo from Chef John. I have included the video we used to make this wonderful dish. It was maybe the best dinner I have eaten so far this year! We were both very pleased! I hope you try this yourself, but maybe if you beg me enough I will come and make it for you...
First a few pictures of our fabulous spread...

And now on to our fettuccine demo!

Serves 2

1 cup flour
1 egg
2 tbs water
1/4 tsp salt

place flour on a large, clean flat surface. Create a well with your fist. Beat egg gently with water and salt. Pour egg mixture into the well. Using a fork, continue to beat the egg in the well, drawing in flour from the sides and incorporating it slowly into the pasta. Once a stick dough begins to form, remove fork, and cover dough with flour, as shown. press flour into dough. Repeat several times till a ball begins to form. Knead dough until smooth, about 2 minutes. Form dough into a ball, cut in half. Roll out as desired or as shown. Dry pasta for at least 10 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, reduce heat to medium high. (rapidly boiling fresh pasta can break it). Cook to desired texture, 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Today's demo features guest Photographer Sabrina Kay! Thanks for the great pictures, Sabrina!

Here is the Chicken Alfredo how-to video we followed, also see the full blog post here. Props to Chef John for a fabulous recipe! Thank you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tostadas!--: No One Can Tell They're Vegetarian


I love a quick tostada dinner! i can eat like three of these and be happy! You got everything you need, veggies, greens, dairy, whole grains, protein... and i use healthy olive oil to refry the beans and to "fry" the tostada shells... using my fast and simple baking technique.
Traditionally, you fry the tortillas in vegetable oil till they are crunchy. The method i use here is a lower fat no fry method, and it is also much faster because you can bake many at a time. Simply spread on a thin layer of olive oil to both sides of the tortillas, then bake! So easy! This technique also makes great and simple tortilla chips, simply coat the tortillas in olive oil, stack them up, and cut into wedges or strips, then bake. Try it out sometime!

Also i have included a demo on how to re-fry beans, in case you needed to know. Here i made a super healthy and vegetarian olive oil re-fried beans, but if you wanna be more traditional, they taste great with bacon fat! I quit buying cans of pre-refried beans, they tend to be pasty in texture, and pretty bland. Just don't have any character. It is not too hard to re-fry beans. I like to use pinto beans, here i used canned beans, but it is pretty easy to make them yourself. It is certainly cheaper. I will post a from scratch beans how-to in the not too distant future.

The cheese i used today is called Landaff, From New Hampshire, aged at The cellars At Jasper Hill.

Well, top your tostadas with whatever you fancy, i like this fast and simple meatless version. Surely you could grill some chicken, reheat leftover roast, shredded cabbage, tofu crumbles avocados, onions, tomatoes, get creative!


For 2

6 corn tortillas
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 can of pinto beans, do not drain!
dash of salt

your favorite toppings, mine were:

Fresh Spicy salsa
grated cheese
Baby arugula and baby romaine

brush or rub a thin layer of olive oil evenly to both sides of the tortillas. Place on a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake in a 425* oven for 10 minutes or till crispy. remove from oven. Heat a fry pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil, and the whole can of pinto beans, (liquid too!) . Bring to a simmer. Lower heat, and smash the beans till smooth. Season with a bit of salt, simmer till thickened. Assemble tostadas as shown.


Next Post:
From alfredo

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Burgers: Blue Cheese and Wine Reduction Sauce

NO Foolin' ....It's Hamburger Time!!

    Though parts of me aren't as celebratory, i am an american after all, and my love of the good ol' burger is proof. This ain't just any burger, though- Perhaps it is very californian. Or, Specifically, very San Francisco. Anyhow, this Burger, more than any of these things, is very me, and very very much how i eat my burgers, every time. 
    Anyhow, back to the burger... I start with the nicest ground cow i can find, organic grass fed for peace of mind. Blue Cheese. Some nice saute' mushrooms, such as the hedgehog mushrooms i used here, but crimini work well too. I put my burger on a rustic roll from the local bakery, but any hardy bread will do. i serve the mushrooms with a reduction sauce as a side dish, but you can put it in your burger if you are brave and have a very big napkin.

Hamburger TIME!

Serves 2!

1/4 LB Ground Cow
3 Tbs Soy Sauce (1 oz)
3 Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
1tsp ground pepper
2 oz blue cheese, crumbled (shown here, Buttermilk Blue Affine', Roth Kase, WI)

1 lb hedghog or other mushroom, prepped.
1/4 cup Wine or Mirin
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp (loose) dried thyme

Crumble Blue Cheese, set aside. Mix Ground cow with soy, garlic, and pepper. Mix Very well, with hands or spoon. Form into a ball, patting gingerly to remove air bubbles. Cut ball in half, form into two evenly sized patties. Heat a heavy skillet on high to very hot. Test pan for readiness by putting a drop of water in it, if it hops right back out, it is ready! Place patties in pan. cook to your liking. about a minute before the burger is done, add cheese, cover. After one minute, place each patty on the bun it belongs to. Allow to rest. Meanwhile, in the same pan that you just made burgers in, add mushrooms and saute'. Add wine/mirin, balsamic, and thyme. toss to coat, cook till mushrooms soften, about three minutes. serve.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Corned Beef and Cabbage: A March Favorite

Well, it's still March, so it's not too late to post this, is it?

simple directions for a simple food. Corned Beef is actually really hard to make from scratch. It is a beef brisket that is preserved in a brine... sometimes salt would form large clumps on the outside of the brisket, and that's why it's called "corned" beef. Not corn like corn-on-the-cob, more like crusty-lump-on-your-uncle's-foot corn. See? now you get it. Heh.

anyhow, here is the how to slide show, and below is the recipe. Enjoy!

serves four (or two with lots of leftovers!)
3 lb corned beef brisket (mine came pre-seasoned, yours may have a seasoning packet included.)
1 onion, quartered
5 or 6 red potatoes, quartered
4 or 5 carrots, cut into 2 1/2" pieces
4 celery stalks, peeled and cut into thirds
1 large head of cabbage, quartered

water for cooking.

place onion, carrot, and celery in a large pot. place beef on top. fill with enough water to cover. bring to a simmer, skim foam from top. cover and simmer for 2 hours. after two hours, add potatoes. cover and simmer 30 minutes. add cabbage. cover and simmer 30 minutes. remove corned beef, allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting. great with rye bread!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Food Report:

Emu Egg!

On occasion i like to picture some of the food oddities i encounter from time to time.

This was left for a co-worker of mine as a gift.

ain't it beautiful?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Macaroni Salad: Simple Side for Tasty Foods

Macaroni Salad
Noodles with Mayo make a tasty combo

Here is my take on my mom's recipe. Just like i had as a kid. super simple.

Macaroni Salad.

2 cups pasta, cooked, rinsed, cooled.
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled, diced
3/4 cups diced dill pickles
3/4 cups sliced black olives
1/3 cup mayonaise
1 tsp whole grain or dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, more or less to taste

combine all ingredients. garnish with olive bunnies. or parsley. or BBQ ribs.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tempura Soba: Japanese Noodles and Soup

Vegetable Tempura Soba

Buckwheat Noodles with Soup and Fried Veggies

    Yay! a super healthy, yummy hot soup. Traditionally served for New Year's in Japan, Buckwheat noodles are healthy and tasty. Today i will show you my method for cooking this with lots of fresh veggies, and a simple tempura. All with things you probably have available to you wherever you are. i promise (see below for substitutions and hints.).

yay! enjoy!

Serves 2

1 green onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced as shown,
1 broccoli stalk, sliced as shown
1 sweet potato
2 or 3 oz of firm tofu
1 tbs flour for dredging
2 tbs flour+ 2 tbs water for batter
1/4 cup oil for frying, grapeseed, peanut, or vegetable.
1 bundle of soba noodles
1/4 cup soba sauce
1/4 tsp dashi
1 cup water
Shichimi, (optional) -to taste

start by prepping all the veggies and tofu as shown. Hint: Toss out the thick fibrous stem end of the broccoli, but cut up and use the tasty stem. Set Sweet potato chunks in a small strainer, and place in boiling water for about five minutes, till soft, but not mushy. This will quicken the fry time they will need to cook through. Remove from water and drain well. Heat a large pot with enough water to boil noodles. Heat a small skillet or shallow pan on high heat with oil. (about 1/4" of oil, the smaller the pan you use, the less oil you'll need) Sprinkle sweet potato pieces and tofu with flour, toss to coat evenly. Mix tempura batter and coat tofu and sweet potato in batter. Lower heat in pan to medium, and add tofu and sweet potato, spacing evenly apart so they don't stick together. fry for two minutes per side, or until crispy. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Once water for noodles boils, add noodles, and cook according to package directions. When the noodles are cooked, rinse well with very cold water. Drain. place noodles in the serving bowl. Heat soup mix, water and carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, and green onion in a saucepan. bring to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Pour soup over noodles. Top with your tempura. Garnish how you like, if you can find some i recommend Shichimi powder, a spicy japanese pepper traditionally used for this dish.

if you cannot find soba sauce (don't even really bother looking unless it's super convenient, i.e. asian grocery next door, whatever) you can make your own with simple things you should have in your home, or are easy to find anywhere and is very affordable.
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sake (or 2 tbs mirin and no sugar)
1 tsp sugar

also, if you cannot find dashi (which i highly recommend, it is super tasty) you can try another light soup base, like pork bullion, or even chicken.
yay! enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Your Kitchen!: Nat Makes Handmade Ravioli!

This is Handmade Ravioli, made by loyal fan, Nat O. on Dec. 5th, 2009. Thank you Nat!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cream of Wheat: Hot Wheat Farina

Hot Wheat Farina Cereal
Cheap! Filling! Delicious!

Hearty, Hot, and inexpensive. Not to mention simple and quick. Prep time = 5 minutes! One 1LB bag From Bob's Red Mill (organic) Costs about $3.50. at 3TBS per serving, That's about $.06 of cereal per serving! This is something grandma made for us frequently, and it was one of my favorite things that she made! i hope you try this yourself very soon!

Cream of Wheat Farina Hot Cereal

Serves One

1/2 cup water
3 tbs Wheat Farina or Cream of Wheat
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt

Optional toppings:
evaporated milk
Brown sugar

In a small saucepan, add water, salt, cereal, and milk. Turn on heat to medium low. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer till thick. add more or less water for thicker/thinner cereal, experiment to see what you like. Top with butter, milk, and sugar as shown. enjoy!


Tempura Soba!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Beef Stew: Cow, Wine, And Veggies!

Beef Stew
With Wild Mushrooms and Red Wine

    I love Beef stew. This recipe is for fast stew, you get fall apart meat in only 2 hours. Also, this recipe is embellished with red wine i had leftover, and wild mushrooms that were handy. These are nice to have, but are not necessary. Also, this stew is seasoned very simply with two herbs. I like to shop organic, but little jars of dried herbs cost so much money! What i do is buy a bunch of fresh herbs, and dry it myself. Shown in this recipe is a few sprigs from a bunch i've been using since thanksgiving. The red wine is one of my favorites, not too pricey, but tasty, that had been open a few days. i hate throwing things out, so i cooked it!

To Dry Herbs:
Spread fresh bunch onto parchment. Place in oven (turned off) for a few days, or till completely dry. You can also dry them any where that has dry air (not humid). This works well for thyme and bay leaf, some herbs are not as good to use dry, see what works for you.

Beef Stew
Serves 4-6

1 Lb. beef ( NY Steak or Top sirloin), diced into 1" pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced, 1/2" pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups red wine
1 quart of beef broth (or water plus 2 tsp salt)
1 Thyme bouquet garni
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 lb. carrots, sliced, 1" pieces
1 lb. celery, sliced, 1" pieces
2 lbs. potatoes, diced. 1-2" pieces
1 1/2 lbs. Mushrooms, trimmed, sliced if very large

In a heavy pot, heat on high till very hot. Add meat in a single layer, to sear. cook till browned, do not stir. Once browned on one side, toss, add onion, and brown till onions are soft. add garlic, heat till aromatic (about 1 minute). Add wine, stirring to remove browned bit from the bottom of the pan. Add Thyme, Bay, and Pepper. Lower heat and simmer till reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add broth, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add potatoes, celery, and carrots, stir, cover, simmer for thirty minutes. Next add cornstarch, stir. Add mushrooms, stir. cover and simmer about 15 more minutes, till mushrooms are soft. Enjoy!

Next Post:

Hot Wheat Farina Cereal Breakfast

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cashew Brittle: Nuts About Candy!

Cashew Brittle
FUN To Make, Sweet To Eat!

This is one of the easiest sweet treats you can make! All you need to live a life of candy making is a fancy (and inexpensive) thermometer, and a steady hand. Hard crack syrup is incredibly hot and sticky. Getting hot syrup on your skin is no fun, so please be careful. You will be so proud of yourself once you do it! This also makes a great gift, i often give out lots at christmas time. This was my grandma's absolute favorite. She loved to eat peanut brittle. i use cashews, but you can experiment and use any sort of nuts that you like. Well, try it and enjoy!


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup nuts of your choice
2 Tbs. Butter
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Butter a large cookie sheet. Pour Sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large heavy pan. (use a medium or LARGE pan or sugar can boil over and spill. NO FUN) Clip your candy thermometer on. Place over High till till boiling. add nuts. boil to 304* Do not stir. remove from heat. add vanilla, baking soda, and butter. Whisk well. Working quickly, spread to and even and thin layer on prepared pan. allow to cool, break into pieces.

Next POST: (TBA!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup: Hand Made Noodles!

Chicken Noodle Soup With Handmade Noodles!
- when in doubt, Use your Noodle!

This is the same recipe i used to make for Mountain Song Natural Foods. Well, i didnt make handmade pasta for the store, but it is the same basic recipe. Since it is winter, and some folks are hanging out in the snow, others have a cold or flu... this is just the thing to cheer you up! enjoy!

for 2.

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 medium yellow onion
3 ribs celery
2 carrots
bundled herbs (not shown on slideshow )
Thyme, bay, sage
1 can corn
1 quart chicken broth
pepper to taste.

for noodles
1 egg
1 cup flour plus more for rolling
pinch salt

Dice breast into 3/4" cubes. sear in a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil. add onion, toss to coat. brown for about 5 minutes (allowing a nice fond to form, and softening the onions.). Stir in chicken broth. bring to simmer, add herbs, simmer one hour. mean while, chop all veggies to about 1/2" pieces. after one hour, add veggies, simmer thirty more minutes. Meanwhile make Noodles: Pour measured flour onto a large board. make a well in the center. add egg and salt. with a fork, mix egg, slowly bringing in more flour from around the sides of the well, till it is fully Incorporated. knead dough till smooth. roll into a think rectangle, cut into strips, cut into 2" strips. add to simmering soup, cook about 5 minutes. serve, enjoy!

NEXT POST: Cashew Brittle!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Breakfast Potatoes: Fool Proof!

Yes, fool proof!

    A great side dish to any breakfast. Here is my method for getting your potatoes cooked through AND crispy, with out being greasy or taking all day to do. Sounds too good to be true?!!? Heh. i like my potatoes super garlicy and a little spicy, but you can add other veggies like onions or carrots or something too. Calling this recipe "breakfast potatoes" avoids the "hash browns or home fries" debate. But i am pretty sure these are technically called homefries. if that is technical. anyhow, add this technique to your breakfast table, it'll not disappoint. :)

Serves 2

one large yukon gold potato cut into 1/2 " dice
2 tbs butter
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 spicy pepper, finely diced
1 tbs fresh or dried thyme

Boil potatoes in water for about 8-10 minutes. Just until softened, but not mushy. Be careful not to over cook. Drain well. In a heavy skillet, heat butter over medium heat till slightly browned. Add potatoes, spread into an even layer. Allow potatoes to cook without stirring for about 15 minutes. (This is the trick, kinda, stirring too soon will break the potatoes apart, then the crispy part stays on the pan and not on the potato). Once browned, move potatoes around to brown another side. Season with salt and pepper, cook another 10 minutes. Add garlic, spicy pepper, and thyme. Toss to mix. Cook five more minutes. Serve.

NEXT POST: Chicken Noodle Soup!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

French Toast: With Cinnamon Candied Pecans

OK, so i took a long break for the HOLIDAYS-  i'm very sorry. I hope your holidays were nice, and Happy New Year too!

so, here is the how to and recipe for:

French Toast with Candied Pecans

    yay! This is a recipe i make frequently. i just love it- it is a quick and easy treat, and the best thing to do with all that fresh bread you got the other day that ain't so fresh anymore. This recipe works well with any hearty bread you happen to have around. Good hearty breakfast, pretty easy. i hope you try this recipe soon! Candied Pecans are FAB on top of French Toast!

Serves 2

For Candied Pecans:

about 3/4 cup whole pecans
1 tbs butter
1 tbs Sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

for French Toast:
4 Slices of hearty bread about 3/4" thick or so
1 egg
2 tbs heavy cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs butter

Melt butter. stir in sugar and cinnamon. add nuts. toss to coat. spread on a small baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. (i used a toaster oven) bake for about 10 minutes, keeping a close watch, so as not to burn. cool, separate if needed. set aside. Slice bread. set aside. crack egg into a bowl and whisk well. add cream and cinnamon. whisk until very foamy, at least one minute. pour batter onto a shallow plate. set bread slices in to soak for 3 minutes. flip bread over and soak another minute or so. You should soak your bread longer if it is really thick or really stale. Melt butter on a skillet over medium heat until foamy. spread evenly over surface of the pan. Add a few slices of batter soaked bread. cook on medium/low for about 8 minutes. flip and cook other side, till brown, about five minutes. Serve french toast topped with pecans and maple syrup. you can also try cinnamon whipped cream or warmed apple sauce.


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