Saturday, November 29, 2008

Puran Puri

I doubt I will ever get around to attempting these on my own. (As you can hear M's aunt say in the background, "A lot of skill is required. She is a specialist. Everybody cannot make...") However, I certainly look forward to eating them again sometime soon. Puran puri (pooran poori) are chapatis stuffed with a sweet paste made of chickpeas. After wrapping the chapati dough around the paste, the ball is rolled flat, and you wind up with three perfect layers. It was pretty amazing to watch. And to eat.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oops! Guess where I've been?

I was frantically busy before leaving on my trip, and so I figured I would write an "on vacation" post when I arrived at my destination. But it turns out that it was way harder to find internet access in India than I expected!

Coming soon: pictures, picture, pictures! (Plenty of food pic's - best vacation food ever!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blueberry Hand Pies

For some reason, herion addicts develop nasty sweet toothes (sweet teeth?!). For example, I had one patient that favored chocolate milk with hot cocoa mix and six (6!) sugar packets added to it. Their hospital rooms rapidly become piled high with the fallout from their snacking - candy wrappers, crumbs everywhere, stockpiles of the little jams that come on their mealtrays, etc etc.

Any-hoo, I had a patient like this the other day. Buried within her pile of junk food was one of these these. Um, yuck. But here I was at home a few days later, with a pile of blueberries that needed used up quickly, and I found myself thinking about those pies, and the glaze they put on the crust...

So the filling and the crust were nothing special, but I want to jot down the glaze that I used, because it was exactly what I was hoping for:

- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp milk (I used evaporated)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir together well, then brush onto warm pies.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Corn Cheddar Chowder

Yup - more soup. I usually don't start in with the soup until fall, but considering the weather lately, a pot of hot soup has seemed pretty appropriate.

This batch started out the same as the salmon chowder, but it ended up with corn and cheddar cheese instead. (Very tasty - I've already repeated this one.)

Corn Cheddar Chowder

- chopped onion
- white wine
- chopped potatoes
- broth
- chopped celery
- corn
- 1/2 and 1/2
- oregano
- thyme
- salt and pepper
- grated sharp cheddar cheese

I pretty much followed the same process as with the salmon chowder. The corn gets added when the potatoes are about half way cooked. Then the half and half and cheddar cheese get added last.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Frozen Goodies

My popsicle molds get a lot of use. When I was a kid living in Texas, I remember always having frozen orange juice or grape juice popsicles, and a lot of times that's still what I'll have in my freezer. But I also need some chocolate now and then...

All the recipes I found for fudgsicles involved mixing up a box of instant pudding and then freezing it, which I was not going to do. Then I saw a recipe in Martha Stewart FOOD for vanilla pudding pops. I tried a batch (which I infused with cardamom pods - yum.) So then I took the chocolate pudding recipe I usually use, and tweaked it a little bit...then stuck it in the freezer. I think I have made it two or three times this summer.

Later in the summer my dad made some incredible strawberry jam. One batch didn't set, so he was left with some strawberry syrup. I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it...(see the picture above!) I used this recipe for lemon pudding, then swirled the strawberry syrup through it. I can't even begin to express HOW GOOD these are!


- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- generous 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, cocoa, starch and salt in a saucepan. Whisk in milk, then yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until first bubbles appear, then cook another minute (pudding will be starting to thicken.) Take off heat. Pour through seive, then add vanilla. Pour into popsicle mold and freeze.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Salmon Chowder

This is my first food post in a zillion years, and I don't have a photo! And I even have my new camera... But I made this soup late at night, then brought the left-overs to work for lunch, and that was that. But I want to remember this recipe, so I may as well store it here!

I am so bummed I went so much of the summer without a camera. I got to go to fabulous farmers markets in Santa Fe (I got pictures there, but they were still on the camera when it got lost) and Austin. And I ate in all sorts of good restaurants. And there was the posole I made. And the cardamom ice cream bars. And oatmeal blondies. And the homemade vanilla ice cream with strawberry-rhubarb cobbler. I would have loved to post all of that here! Any-hoo, nothing I can do about that now. The picture I ended up posting instead of soup is my favorite farmers market treat - french bread with lots of butter, sliced radishes, and sprinkled with salt. I could eat just that for several weeks and be content.

Coming soon (hopefully with pictures): more frozen summer treats...

But for now -
Salmon Chowder
- leeks, cioppino onions, or some other mild onion
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- white wine
- 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 8 small potatoes, chopped into chunks
- salt and pepper
- unsalted vegetable broth (TJ's organic in a box), aboiut 2 cups
- milk
- about 8 -10 ounces of smoked salmon
- half and half*
- dill
Cook the onions in the bottom of your soup pot, stirring constantly, and adding a small amount of white wine or vegetable broth when onions begin to stick to bottom of pan, scraping up the browned bits.  Repeat this several times, until the onions are carmelized.  Add garlic, celery, potatoes, and salt and pepper.  Continue to stir, and cook another few minutes.  Pour in enough broth to cover the potatoes.  Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the salmon, milk, and half and half over low heat - do not boil.  Stir in dill and serve.
*Next time I am going to try replacing the half and half with cream cheese.  In the past I have made a fish soup that had cream cheese in it, and it was fabulous, and I wanted a little bit of that flavor here too...

Monday, July 28, 2008


Good news - a camera is on the way! Yahoo! In the meantime, I was tagged by Brittany, the Pie Lady, for a non-food meme. I went a little bonkers with it - seven songs turned into ten. Sorry. But these are all songs that will make me think of this summer (yes, I'm pretty much stuck in another decade lately). Plus a few that just make me too weepy to leave out.

Hotter than Mojave - Iris Dement

Seeds of the Pine - Martha Scanlan

Waitin' Around to Die - Townes Van Zandt

By Your Side - the everybodyfields

The Coolin - Samuel Barber

Bang My Drum - Danielia Cotton

Like A River - Kate Wolf

Favorite - Neko Case

Tomorrow is a Long Place - Bob Dylan

Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Back soon, but...

I lost my camera! I never, never, NEVER lose things. But while in Santa Fe, with my camera full of photos of the farmer's market, my aunt June's surprise 90th birthday party, and a fabulous lightening storm, well...

I think I'm over my heartbreak. Now I just have to face the fact that I have to replace the darn thing. If you have any tips, please send them my way!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blog Break

I didn't plan on this, but here it is - a month since my last post! Lately, almost all of my creative free time has been directed elsewhere (see photo above). (I think I have also gotten tired of trying to photograph food in the dark - it is almost May, and still cloudy and COLD.) I'll be back before too long. In the meantime, I will still be lurking around your blogs!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lemon Pudding, and my sorry excuse for a sink.

I've been meaning to show you my kitchen sink for awhile, but I'm not sure this photo even does it justice. It is shallow to start out with, and then the divider down the middle makes it even less functional. Did I mention that I do not have a dishwasher? What I am saying here is that it is a wonder that I ever make anything BESIDES pudding.

I've been making pudding a lot lately. It is so easy, doesn't dirty a lot of dishes, and satisfies my sweet tooth without making me feel ill. I usually make chocolate, but I recently got the bug for lemon pudding. I wasn't even sure there was such a thing outside of the world of Jello. I finally found a recipe on the Food Network. It was just like any other pudding, only you cook the milk with lemon zest, then at the end you stir in a bunch of fresh lemon juice. This fascinated me - I thought for sure it would cause the pudding to curdle. But it didn't! It just made it taste really lemony, and not at all heavy.

Lemon Pudding - from the Food Network.

- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp butter
Whisk the sugar and the cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Add milk, stir until smooth. Add the egg yolks, zest, salt and cook, stirring frequently at first and constantly towards the end, over medium heat until thickened enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and butter. Pour through a strainer. Cover and chill.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Aunt Arlene's Chicken and Tough Noodles

Some background: I have been mostly vegetarian for fifteen years. During that time there have only been a few things that I missed eating - one of them was my Aunt Arlene's Chicken and Tough Noodles. This year I have made a few exceptions to my vegetarianism. I had some Christmas turkey for starters. Then a few weekends ago I made a trip to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, for a mini family reunion, AND to get a tutorial in making Chicken and Tough Noodles!

Here's the thing - you know how over time, your memory can kind of exaggerate the greatness of things from your childhood? The opposite was true of these noodles. They are pure heaven. Dense and almost chewy. The closest thing I can compare them to is spaetzle. The best part is that they are SUPPOSED to be tough, so you don't have to worry about over-working the dough!

I was hoping to try making a batch on my own before I did this post, but life has been interfering. However, my stepmom gave it a try the other day, and reported great success!

Here is the general gist, because of course, there was no recipe used:

Day 1:
Boil a whole chicken.
Save the stock; chill, then skim and discard the fat off the top.
Save the meat from the chicken.

Day 2:
Put an egg or two into a food processor. Add flour until a ball forms. If a ball is not forming, add a small amount of milk. Set dough aside and repeat - one egg's worth of dough will make approximately enough noodles for one person.

On a HEAVILY floured surface, roll out a ball of dough to approximately 1/8" thick. (The extra flour on the noodles will help thicken the sauce later.)

Sprinkle with flour, then roll the sheet of dough into a jellyroll shape. Slice off noodles at 1/4" increments.

Bring the stock to a simmer. Unroll noodles and drop into broth.

Add cream of chicken soup and/or chicken bouillon, depending on your mood, and what you have around. Add chicken. Simmer until done (I think about an hour? The longer you cook the noodles, the less tough they are.)

Eat, eat, and eat some more.

The final spread included Chicken and Tough Noodles, mashed potatoes, two kinds of jello salad, green bean casserole with onion topping (yay!), and green salad. Followed by chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting, which you will be hearing about at another date.

Eleven people, four dogs, and a cat squeezed into this house for Chicken and Tough Noodles!

The view of the Kootenai River from the downtown Bonners Ferry bridge:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Tags!

Open Book from Mama J at Hang in There Babywear:

p 123, sentence/phrase 5 of the book nearest me:

"And if my mind breaks up in all so many ways, I know the meaning of the words I love you." Cat Stevens Complete Songs from 1970-1975, from the King of Trees

List of Four, from Carrie at Rhubarb Sky:

Name 4 Jobs You've Had:
registered nurse
bicycle salesperson
generic office worker

Name 4 Places You've Lived:
Houston, TX
Santiago, Dominican Republic
Jersey City, New Jersey
Seattle, WA

Name 4 places you've been on vacation:

Name 4 foods you love:
raspberries from Northern Idaho (they taste different, I swear.)
Aunt Arlene's Chicken and Tough Noodles
Grandma A's homemade whole wheat bread, with her seedless raspberry jam (made from Northern Idaho raspberries...)

Name 4 places you'd rather be right now:
Somewhere warm. Actually, somewhere hot. Like 100 degrees.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hyacinths are prettier than french toast...

That's why you are getting this picture first. I also haven't shown you the view out my kitchen window for awhile.

Moj momak gave me these zumbul cvijece for International Women's Day. Apparently that is celebrated more in Europe than here, even though it originated in America. (As a result, I got these flowers, and an evening at the symphony.) I had worked that day, so I was nearly in a coma with exhaustion, but I'm pretty sure I had a good time.

I may have mentioned this before, but I'll say it again: I LOVE french toast. I threw some together for dinner tonight, and I wasn't planning on posting about it. But it turned out so tasty, that I changed my mind a few bites in (hence the sub-spectactular photo...)

I recently flipped through a cookbook called American Masala, by Suvir Saran, and saw a french toast recipe that involved a coating of raw sugar. I decided to try it tonight. I wasn't in the mood for cinnamon, so I added a couple drops of coconut extract, just because it was staring at me from my cupboard. Oh my god.

French Toast
- good bread
- eggs
- milk
- salt
- drops of coconut extract
- raw sugar (turbinado sugar? Large, brown granules...)
- butter

Whisk everything together (except bread, sugar, and butter). Heat butter in skillet. Sprinkle sugar onto skillet and drop egg-soaked bread on top. Sprinkle more sugar on top of bread. Cook as usual. Eat.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Red Beans on Laundry Day

I was unable to get a satisfying picture of my red beans, so instead I will show you a few other things.

First, look at the fabulous present I got from my Aunt Arlene this weekend:

It was published in 1946, and is filled with recipes calling for things such as "ground suet", and credited to women with names like "Mabel C. Hamlett", or "Mrs. Walter T. Palmer Jr."

Here is one of the more intriguing recipes - let me know if you have tried this one...:

Grape Juice Custard

- 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp grape juice
- 1 1/2 tsp powdered sugar

Combine egg yolks and sugar. Add grape juice. Cook over hot water, beating constantly , until light and fluffy. Serve at once. 1 serving. -The Household Searchlight.

On to my red beans...

I never got to meet my Grandma F., but from what I've heard from everyone who did, I definitely missed out. My dad remembers her putting a pot red beans on the stove on Mondays (laundry day). This was to take advantage of the fact that the stove would be fired up all day, heating water for doing the laundry. My dad has been trying to duplicate her beans for awhile, and even though I never tried hers, I decided to give it a shot today.

Here is what I came up with:

- dried red beans
- chopped onion
- chopped celery
- spicy sausage (some piece of pork would be traditional, but spicy chicken or veggie sausage is valid in my book)
- chopped collard greens (my addition)
- celery seed
- bay leaves
- dried thyme
- dried basil
- dried parsley
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- maple sugar (or maple syrup)
- black pepper
- canned diced tomatoes
- cayenne pepper
- a dash of apple cider vinegar
- salt to taste
- Tabasco sauce to taste

Saute the sausage, then the onions and garlic, in the bottom of your soup pot. Then add everything except the vinegar and maple sugar. Simmer until done, then add the vinegar and maple sugar.

It turned out wonderfully, and I wouldn't change a thing. I ate it with generously buttered bread, and some mango chutney I had in the frig. I'm looking forward to the left-overs tomorrow.

I don't have a picture of my grandma, but here are dad, grandpa, and Uncle Gene:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Maple Sugar Popcorn, and a Food Crisis...

First the popcorn - go buy the ingredients, and make it immediately. Especially if you want your home to smell really, really, good. It is salty and sweet, and the maple sugar makes the popcorn taste nutty, toasty, and buttery. I found the recipe in the March 2008 issue of Cooking Light:

- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 cup popcorn
- 1/4 cup maple sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat oil in a 3-quart pot over med-high. Add the rest of the ingredients. Shake pot frequently to avoid burning. (Pay attention to this part. I shook "frequently", and still burned mine on the bottom. I would recommend shaking non-stop.)

(For those of you interested in this sort of thing, 1 1/2 cups of this TASTY-*$# treat has only 89 calories.)

Now on to my food crisis: I work from 7:00AM to 7:30PM. I don't like to eat after I leave work, which means I have to pack both lunch and dinner. That is a lot of food.
And there are days when it isn't even feasible to get to a freakin microwave oven. I've been falling back on Trader Joe's an awful lot lately. I need help! So, please...let me know if you have any ideas for good portable food.

In other news: my vacation was fabulous. I spent the entire time reading/sleeping under a beach umbrella, with my feet sticking out in the sun. I've never spent a vacation being that sedentary, but it was obviously needed. I was there with three co-workers. Most of the time we looked like we had been out too late the night before, despite going to bed before 9:00 every night. (Just how stressful is work, anyways?!)

View from the balcony: