Saturday, September 14, 2013

Alaskan Applesauce

It's been a long time since I showed you what I cooked. 

Nick and I live in Alaska now.  I moved here in December 2012 and Nick followed soon after that. 

As a diehard fan of apples,  I was happy to find that our new home in Eagle River, near Anchorage, has four small apple trees.  I don't know what variety they are - it looks like there are two different types.  The apples are small this year.  Next year I will cull some in the spring, so that the tree puts its energy into making fewer, larger apples.  Small or not, they taste great.  Kind of like a mcintosh/cortland blend. 

This morning, I picked a bunch and with some of them, made a small batch of applesauce.

I used a small bit of lemon juice and added a few grains of salt to bring out the natural sweetness of the apples.  No sugar needed!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Camarones a la Barbara

So, I won a cooking contest at work.  Engineered by our Marketing Director, the idea was to send a winner on to a city-wide contest, to be held later this summer, called  "Cooking Up Justice".   My dish, "Camarones a la Barbara" kept company with a bevy of delicious entries from my colleagues.  Oh, they were so delicious.  Penne a la vodka, Patitsio, Chile, Coconut Cake, Quiche, Coffee Cake, and on and on, I forget them all!     One of the judges was Chef Lepke, who has  been a contestant on "Chopped".  I don't get cable, so I have never watched the show, but anyway... 

Here's my basic recipe.

Camarones a la Barbara

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
butter and olive oil for saute
3 tablespoons spices or herbs of your choice.  I used a combination of cumin, tumeric, ginger, paprika.
salt and pepper to taste
6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 cup tomatoes with juice (canned are fine)

Warm butter and olive oil, then saute garlic until golden.  Put in shrimp.  Cook on medium high for a short period.  Take shrimp out, and put in a bowl.  Put other ingredients in and reduce the sauce.  Return shrimp to warm, then serve over pasta, rice, or with bread.  That's it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pizza Rustica

This is pizza with three cheeses. Provolone, mozzarella, and grated parmesan. I made the dough using regular flour, as well as some of this wonderful grain blend from King Arthur. My mom and dad gave me a gift certificate for King Arthur for my birthday so I got a bunch of things from there. I learned my recipe for Pizza in the 1980s, and have it in my head. I riff on it from a recipe published in Cosmopolitan Magazine (of all places!). 1 cup water, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 T yeast, 3 cups flour (I riff on the flour with whatever). Also, for the oil, I used tonight the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. I also added 1 tablespoon oregano in the dough. This is so easy. I got the pepperoni from a store in the Quakertown Farmers' Market - The "Q MART"!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Apricot-Bourbon BBQ Chicken

Boy-oh-boy is this good. This recipe from the Pioneer Woman Cooks is the inspiration for our dinner tonight.

I did a few things differently from the recipe above. First, I used Wild Turkey brand bourbon instead of Jack Daniels. Second, I used apricot preserves instead of peach. For garlic, I used Penzey's dried minced instead of fresh, just because I have it on hand. I used skinless boneless chicken thighs. They fell apart in cooking, which was so yummy in the final dish. Instead of baking the dish in the oven, I threw it in my crock pot because it's hot here and I didn't want to use the oven. At the end, I took the sauce out of the crockpot, then transferred it to a stovetop pan where I reduced it for about 10 minutes. Perfecto.

I have several meals left for the freezer - frozen into individual meal packages, they'll solve the "what's for dinner" problem on a weeknight this coming September.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pasta con Pomodoro Crudo

Fresh from my garden. I came home tonight.

Nick has a standing order to "saute an onion" which he did before he left to pick me up from the train station, only 1 mile from our home.

I approached the house from the back door. I smelled that yummy onion and olive oil smell through the screen. The pasta water was hot. The onion was in the 10 inch saute pan, nicely golden.

I diced one yellow crookneck squash (picked from the garden this morning), put it in the pan with some fennel seed and garlic, covered the pan, and put it on medium high.

Meanwhile, I halved my tomatoes - cherry red and lemon pear. I added a gigantic red one for good measure. Put the tomatoes in with the squash and onion. Meanwhile, I cooked my 3 minute angel hair pasta.

After two minutes, the tomatoes were starting to ooze their juice. I put in some chopped basil from the garden, then drained my pasta, and poured my vegetables on top.

A complete meal, with the addition of some grated parmesan cheese.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mothers' Day!

Pancakes are a simple and homey comfort food. Usually, we enjoy the plain type, made with regular flour and eggs. Today we mixed it up a bit.

This morning I used my Vitamix to make pancakes and blueberry syrup. (Yes, in separate batches.)

The book that came with the blender has some great recipes. I adapted one to make the following pancake recipe.

Hearty Pancakes

1 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flax seed, ground

Blend the above on high for about one minute.

Add 3/4 cup oatmeal (not cooked - the flakes from the container), 1/4 cup dried cranberries, and 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds.

Blend all on low for about 20 seconds. Let sit about 5 minutes. It will thicken up.

Thin this mixture with water, if desired. Heat griddle to medium (I use a nonstick griddle, with a bit of canola oil on it). Cook pancakes.

This makes about eight big pancakes. I cooked the whole batch, then packed the leftovers in a plastic container, lined with paper towel. Tomorrow morning, we'll just microwave these and enjoy again.

Blueberry Syrup

1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (or more if you want)

Thaw the blueberries. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend on "high" for about 4 minutes. Pour on pancakes.

Nick says these pancakes are good, but a little too 'Healthy' tasting.


Next time, I might use regular flour instead of whole wheat, reduce the milk a bit, add an egg, and eliminate the flax seed.

Friday, December 31, 2010


At the Quakertown Mart today, I ran across an amazing special. 45 pounds of chicken for $16.99.

Miss Inquisative, also known as Midget Cat, or "Half a Manx" for short, checked out the loot.

I gave half the box to my mom and dad. So they got 6 chickens, and Nick and I got 6 chickens. I packaged mine up in freezer bags. At the bottom of the box, I could see that Tyson had intended these beasts to end up as Rotisserie Specials.

Actually, I felt sorry for the beasts...dead and naked and eviscerated. I eat animals, but I do not take that lightly. These beasts,it seemed to me, were processed so quickly and so efficiently, it seemed wrong. So from the 6 I got, I took the first one and made Coq au Vin.

First, I cut up and sauteed 3 pieces of bacon. Then, I cut up the chicken. I am not too experienced at this, but with the instruction from Meat, a Kitchen Education, by Peterson, I did pretty well .

I simmered the bacon, three onions, some garlic, a bay leaf, some parsley and herbs de Provence mix, in the crock pot for a few hours.

And while I was at it, I used the back of the chicken, along with other trimmings, to make a stock. (Rear of the range). I am proud of the fact that I was able to de-bone the thigh, per Peterson's instructions. My pieces of chicken were not butcher-perfect, but they made this....

Pas mal. I used Malbec from Argentina as my wine. So good, and not expensive. This was melt in your mouth delish. For recipes, consult Julia Child or just do a internet search on "Coq Au Vin" and you won't go wrong. We served ours with brown rice and sweet peas. A sweet New Years' Eve dinner indeed!