Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanksgiving Highlights

Because we don't like traveling for Christmas, we usually go to Atlanta to visit Sean's family at Thanksgiving. Being a family of foodies, they LOVE Thanksgiving and it is fun to visit during this time. Also, my youngest was born right around Thanskgiving and so far, we have celebrated all of his birthdays at his grandparent's house in Atlanta. Since I was visiting, I didn't have to do much cooking. I did make Greek Meatballs for them on Sunday for Wade's birthday, though.

The following pictures are some of the highlights from the meal and Wade's birthday.

My Father in Law prepping the cooked turkey.

An Orange Roll Tradition

It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without them!

Orange Rolls

1 cup milk

1 yeast cake (how quaint! I would guess about 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast or 1 packet of active dry yeast)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup flour
let rise for 2 1/2 hours

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
let rise til double (will be sticky)

In a separate bowl, make a paste with:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
Zest from one orange

When dough is doubled, divide in 2 parts and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Spread each with orange paste. Roll as jelly roll. Cut into 1 inch thickness. Place in greased muffin tins. Rise til center cones. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Casserole


Wade's Birthday

Wade's birthday is Nov. 26, always close to Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More Eggs!

Oh the thrill of having chickens! We now have several of them laying! Every day, the children come home from school and dash to the hen house to see if there are any new eggs. We have averaging one a day, and lately now, its been 2 a day. On Sunday we got our first green egg! Many of the chickens are called Easter Egg Chickens, and they are supposed to lay eggs of various colors. They are a mix of a couple of different breeds, bred specifically for colorful eggs.

Once all of the hens (we have 17 hens) start laying, we'll have more eggs than we will know what to do with!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Baked Chili Relleno and Brazillian Black Bean Stew

These were both based on the Brazillian national dish called Feijoada. I made these over a month ago. I guess I should at least post the pictures, lol! They were pretty good, but I don't think I'll ever make them again because they both had polish sausage in them and I really have a hard time enjoying food that is so closely related to a hotdog. I'm just not able to enjoy sausage much anymore. As I eat, I picture all the mixed meat and fat going into it and I get a little grossed out, lol. So if I do anything like this again, I'm leaving out the sausages. Lesson learned!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Greek Meatballs with Lemon Couscous and Feta Yogurt Dressing

I think this is my son's favorite meal now. It has become the standard by which all other meals are now judged, as far as he is concerned. You should hear it: "Mmmm...Mom this is really good! I almost like it as much as the Greek Meatballs!"

This recipe comes to you curtesy of our subscription to Cuisine at Home. It is a great magazine, but alas, I may let the subscription go, because I'm trying to eat healthier. Sigh.

I made this with ground turkey instead of ground chuck. I used green olives instead of Kalamata olives. Not that I prefer green to kalamatas, but I can't get kalamatas around here without going to a specialty store. Yeah, we ain't too cultured 'round these here parts.

I served the meal along with a salad of diced cucumber, parsley, and green onion.

Greek Meatballs with Lemon Couscous and Feta Yogurt Dressing

Greek Meatballs
Makes 12 meatballs; total time: 1 hour

1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk (whole or 2%)
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbles
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons scallions minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb ground chuck
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted, halved
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups tomatoes, quartered, or 2 cans whole tamatoes (28 oz each)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine crumbs, milk, feta, parsley, scallions, salt, oregano, and egg in a mixing bowl.
Stir in the ground chuck and mix lightly but well. Shape the mixture into balls about 2" in diameter.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high. Add meatballs and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Add olives, garlic, and pepper flakes to the pan and saute 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, return meatballs to the pan, and simmer 5 minutes, or until cooked through.
Serve over couscous, topped with feta dressing and garnished with cucmber and lemon zest.

Lemon Couscous
Makes 2 cups; total time: 10 minutes

3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon salted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup dry plain couscous

Bring broth, lemon juice, butter, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat, add couscous, stir and cover. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Feta Yogurt Dressing
Makes about 1/2 cup; total time: 5 minutes

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cheese Fondue

This is seriously one of my family's favorite all time recipes. They beg for it, they plead for it, they cheer when I make it. Even my pickiest eater loves it! I'm sure that part of it is the fun of dipping the food into the fondue. But they love the flavor too!

When I make it, I often can't find the right cheeses, so I substitute whatever looks closest. The recipe calls for 2 main cheeses: a strong swiss (Gruyére), and a bleu (Roquefort). I keep that in mind when I substitute. If I can't find Gruyére, I use Emmentaller. But if I can't find either, I don't make it. Without a strong Swiss, the fondue just wouldn't taste right.

So far, I have never used Roquefort. Last time I made it I used Danish Bleu Cheese. I have also substituted non-bleu cheeses with great success. I'll just pick a fancy cheese that seems good and use that instead.

I always make a nice chewy french bread for dipping. I have found that we also like a variety of other dippers, with carrots and apples being our favorite.

This recipe came from an old Bon Apetit magazine (from probably 15 years ago). It was in my mother-in-law's collection.

Gruyére, White Wine and Mustard Fondue

5 cups lighly packed grated Gruyére Cheese (about 13 ounces)
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups white wine (or apple juice)
2 medium garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Combine Gruyére cheese and flour in large bowl. Simmer wine and garlic in heavy medium saucepan or fundue pot 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add Gruyére cheese mixture to saucepan 1 handful at a time, stirring constantly until cheese melts before adding another handful. Whisk in Roquefort cheese (mixture will look grainy). Whisk in mustard. Boil until smooth and thick, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Place pot over canned heat burner to keep warm.

We always serve with: bread cubes, diced carrots, and apple slices.
The recipe recommends to serve with: bread cubes, steamed red potatoes, and grilled sausages.

Thursday, November 09, 2006



I don't make this bread too often, but it is dense, chewy, and perfect!

Its just a basic homemade french bread, allowed to rise long, cool, and slow, for a total of 3 rises. It was just flour (with some vital wheat gluten added to make it a bit chewier), yeast, salt, and water. I also spritzed it with water a few times while it was baking in the oven.

Simply the best.

A picture of the underside. It was pretty too, lol! I baked it on a pizza stone and used polenta to keep it from sticking.

This is warm, out of the oven, with a bit of melting butter on it. I've started eating healthier, so I didn't really eat much of this bread. This was my daughter's piece.

I made it to go with my next post...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Update on me

I know I haven't been updating as often as I used to. I'm still lovin' the blog thang, but there are a few things that are slowing me down.

1. In the summer when I started the blog, the sun was pouring into our dining room window between 5 and 7 pm every night. It was so easy to get good lighting for my photos. Now, its dark at 5 and it has really made it hard to take a good photo. I keep planning on making a light box to take pictures in, but of course, I haven't gotten around to it.

2. I'm fat. I'm losing weight (you know, that lifestyle change thing) and I'm cooking and eating a little differently and I'm hoping to turn this blog into a little bit of a healthy eating blog. Right now, I'm still posting recipes from a few weeks ago and they are still pretty fattening at times. Actually, I don't intend to completely cut out all the fattening goodies, but I hope to cut down on them.

3. As I previously posted, I'm spending too much time on the computer lately. Since I've never experienced the misery of being a victim of substance abuse, I figure I have to have some sort of habit that ruins my life and turns me into a zombie. I could sit here for hours, unaware of my life slowly ticking by. I can't let that happen. So I've cut down on my time on the internet. The fact is that I don't want to part with the internet (and this blog), but sometimes I feel like living in a house with internet connection is somewhat akin to a recovering alchoholic who lives in a bar. Sometimes I have my son lock up the mouse in his treasure box (I don't know the combination to his lock, lol). That way, I can't get on the computer the whole time the kids are at school! Clever, huh? Or sad...really.

Well, there you go. Not that anyone really cares, lol!

Tortilla Chicken Soup

Ok, so this picture is not so great. It actually looks a little better than the real thing, lol. It was a great recipe, nonetheless.

This one is another from my Cuisine at Home magazine.

I used canned tomatoes instead of fresh in the black bean salsa, and I added some avocado. Overall, it was good, but the tomatoes and the avocado made the texture more gooey instead of like it should have been, if that makes any sense.

Turkey (or Chicken) Tortilla Soup
Makes 8 cups; total time: 45 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 corn tortillas (6"each), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (10.5 oz.)
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, shredded or cubed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (I used pepper jack)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper
Black Bean Salsa (recipe follows)
Sour Cream

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high; add onoins and garlic, and saute 3 minutes. Stir in tortilla pieces and saute until they are no longer crisp. Add tomatoes, broth, and spices, and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes, the puree soup base in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return sup to pot.
Add turkey, corn, and cream. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes, or until beginning to theicken. Reduce heat to medium, sprinkle in cheese, and stir until melted. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Black Bean Salsa

Makes 3 cups; total time: 10 minutes

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (15 oz)
1 cup tomatoes, seeded, diced (I used canned since fresh is so expensive right now)
1/2 cup red onion, slivered
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
(I also added some avocado)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, tossing well to coat. Chill salsa until ready to serve.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Our First Egg!!

So we had resigned ourselves to not getting eggs until spring or something.

But lookie what Sean found yesterday! It was like Christmas; we were so excited!!

Its small, but its a real live free range chicken egg!

Check out the bright orange yolk! We fried it up and each of us got a little bite. Yummy!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Asian Carmelized Chicken

I'm not going to post the recipe for this because honestly we didn't like it that much.

Basically, you carmelize some sugar in a pan and then add chicken breast and a bunch of asian flavorings and spices. Actually, I didn't have a lot of the things it called for, so maybe if I had made it correctly, it would have tasted better, lol!