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Friday, January 22, 2010

One of my favorite sources for finding healthy yet tasty recipes is a show on FitTv called A Lyon in the Kitchen with Nathan Lyon, who focuses on shopping local and buying local from Farmers Markets. Cooking with fresh organic ingredients is his motto. What better recipe than soup for these cold, wet, wintery nights we're having lately. Enjoy!

Curry Roast Butternut Squash Soup from a Lyon in the Kitchen


· 1 small butternut squash, halved, seeded
· 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
· 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
· 2 shallots, minced
· 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
· 5 cups chicken stock, warmed
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
· Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
· Crème fraîche, for garnish

Brush each squash half with 1/2 tablespoon EVOO, 1 tablespoon thyme, and some salt. Roast flesh side up at 350 degrees F until tender and colored, for about 50 minutes. Cool just enough to remove flesh from skin.
In a saucepan over very low heat, sauté shallots in EVOO until shallots are translucent. Add 2 teaspoons of curry to bloom. Add squash and 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add remaining stock to thin if desired. Add remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set to rest over very low heat. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley and a dollop of crème fraîche.
Optional: Add lemon juice to taste.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Halibut & Veggie Delight

Tonites dinner comes as a quick and healthy recipe, as we are leaving to Hawaii in 3 days and I have LOTS to do! My husband and his friends went on an Alaska fishing trip this past summer right before our wedding, and we still have some fresh Alaskan Halibut and Salmon in the freezer- So far Margaret makes the best Halibut hands down, but I keep trying to emmulate her! So here is for a try at a new method referred by friend and neighbor Anai-I.

Baked Halibut and Veggie Delight


· Halibut
· Zuchinni
· fresh diced tomatoes
· chopped onions
· minced shallots
· salt and pepper to taste
· fresh basil
· olive oil
· garlic

Heat oven to 400. Place fish in parchment paper, add vegetables, oil and seasoning, which I like to do in a ziploc bag to evenly coat the vegetables. Twist the ends of the paper like a tootsie roll, place the packets on a baking sheet and bake until the paper turns brown around the edges and puffs up; Approximately 12-15 minutes. Carefully cut an X in the top of each to allow steam to escape. Can also be baked on the grill.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Salad Again...? Yum!

This is the new experiment recipe sent to me by Kathy A. I hope mine turns out as good as her version... Thanks for sending. I'm giving it a try tonite.

Italian Greens and Herb Salad
From Food Network
Prep time: 20 minutes Yield: 6 servings

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Belgian endives, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces

Blend the lemon juice, lemon peel, honey, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil.

Toss the lettuce, endive, olives, parsley, and basil in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Season the salad with more salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Aloha! Chicken

Part II of tonites dinner.. Chicken is so versatile so anything fun that can 'spice' up a chicken dish is always what I'm on the lookout for. We are headed to Hawaii on Sunday so this was just the chicken 'flair' I had in mind for tonite.

Garlic-Chile Chicken Legs from Everyday Food

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 4 chicken legs (2 1/2 pounds total), drumsticks and thighs separated

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 3/4 cup white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  • 1/4 cup sugar
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until skin is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce, red-pepper flakes, and sugar.

Return chicken to pan, skin side up. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low; cook 15 minutes (liquid should be gently simmering; adjust heat if necessary).

Uncover, raise heat to medium, and cook until sauce is reduced by half, 10 minutes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul

SO... I'm reading in the weather forecast there's a big rainstorm coming in this weekend; Therefore I'm planning on my hubby to not be working too much as well as a 'warm for the soul, comfort food' dish for that rainy night-in tomorrow night; For an attempt at a new recipe I am cooking based on an archived article from fellow blogger Monica. Thanks for the recipe!

Chicken and Dumplings Stew


  • 3 Tbsp. butter

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 bunch celery, chopped

  • 1 whole chicken fryer (about 4 lbs.)

  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes

  • 6 cups chicken broth or water

  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 cups flour

  • 4 tsps. baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 2 Tbsp. dried basil (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp. Crisco shortening

  • 3/4 -1 cup buttermilk

In a large pot over high heat, saute onions, celery and bouillon cubes in butter til tender. Add whole chicken fryer to pot and cover with 6 cups water or chicken stock. Cook over medium heat til chicken is cooked through.
Once chicken is cooked through, pull out and place on a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, take off all the meat and shred into bite sided pieces. Add chicken back to pot and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Bring to boil.
While the chicken stew is coming to a boil, make the dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and dried basil. Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening with a fork or a pastry cutter. Stir dough while adding buttermilk. Start with 3/4 cup and add more til completely moistened and biscuit like but not wet.
Drop by the spoon full onto the boiling stew. Do not stir dumplings. Reduce heat to low and cover pot with a tight fitting lid. Allow dumplings to steam for 15 minutes. Once dumplings are cooked through, stir dumplings into the stew and serve. The flour from the dumplings will thicken the stew.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

3rd times a charm...??

Last night it was my mission to make my first cake for my first decorating course;

I was all prepared with fresh Glaum Egg Ranch eggs; 2 dozen for $3 from a local 'eggery'. I had all the ingredients I needed and all the supplies washed and ready to be used.

I decided to try the 'Cake with a Kick' mix- by adding dry pudding mix to the regular Betty Crocker boxed recipe.

Heres where it all goes wrong;

About halfway through the baking my neighbor has a severe emergency with her dog and needed help and a flashlight, I still have 28 minutes on the timer so thought I could get over and help her and return to an almost done cake. Turns out the emergency takes a few hours, ( dont worry, I've returned to take the cake out of the oven with atleast 10 minutes still to go.) The dog emergency does take priority, but, there is my beautiful cake only now, not so beautiful sitting and due to carryover cooking, the outsides reached perfection while the middle is rather well, pudding-like...

Once the madness of the neighbors emergency ( 3 1/2 hours later ) is done and the little doggie is safe, I am left with still no cake and a pending class the following night. So my next best bet is to use the only mix I have left; Angel Food Cake mix. Well I'm not supposed to making an angel food cake, nor do I have an angel food cake pan. It is late at night and I just need to get this cake baked; hence, I'm obviously not thinking clearly and I pour all of the batter into the 10X2 cake pan, only to find that within 15 minutes of baking it has risen and overflowed into my oven, thus another unusable cake. At this point, I am really frustrated and starting to doubt my baking skills - thinking since I already signed up for the class I will just decorate a piece of cardboard as a friend had originally suggested.

A good nights sleep- that is what I need.

I get up early, as it is cake decorating class day! Must keep goals in mind. Must focus on end result tonite! This is the mantra I am repeating to myself this morning. Before even beginning to get ready for work, I go to the store and pick up yet another cake mix, only this time I'm keeping it simple. No added ingredients, no fuss, no pudding mix, no distractions and voila! Within 34 minutes precisely of baking, I have a beautiful lemon cake ready to be put in the cake carrier and I'm headed to work. All in a mornings work. But what a relief to be ready for class tonite- I'm as giddy as a kindergarten on their first day of school ready with my bookbag and lunch pail.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting Started in the Cakes

Recently I've been inspired by a few people and even competition shows on tv to learn Cake Decorating; and lucky for me a class begins on Thursday in Santa Cruz. I've purchased cake pans, frosting bags and tips, angled spatulas, icing coloring, a cake carrier and cake stand...
So whats next...

Wilton's Discover Cake Decorating – Course 1
My first class is Thursday 1/14/10; Stay tuned for an update and pics of the beginning cake

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
from Sky High ~makes two 8 or 9-inch layers
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter two 8 or 9-inch pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper, butter the paper. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Use a wire whisk to blend the dry ingredients thoroughly.
Add the oil and 1/2 cup of the water to the dry ingredients. Add another 1/2 cup water, eggs and the vanilla; again whisk until smooth. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
Bake the cake layers for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes; then invert onto cooling rack. Remove the paper liners and let cool completely at least 1 hour before frosting.

Instant Fudge Frosting

from Sky High

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 sticks (12 oz.) unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 6 tablespoons half-n-half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Process until frosting is smooth.
~Makes 5 cups (I halved this recipe for a 9-inch 2 layer cake).

NOTE: A large food processor is the best piece of equipment to use for this frosting recipe. It whips up a perfect fudge frosting and there is no need for a boiled syrup.