Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bean Supreme

Bean Supreme. Fun name for a soup, right? It's pretty supreme. I mean it tastes good when there's usually nothing too exciting or enticing about a bean soup. It's a long process, though, between soaking the beans overnight, cooking them for an hour and a half, then folding in everything else that's doesn't start as a dehydrated rock toward the end of cook time. Get ready for all that folate, iron, fiber, and protein and have yourself a bowl of Bean Supreme!

Elizabeth's Chicken Salad

Perfect for a picnic, Elizabeth's Chicken Salad is a low-fat, high-protein meal with great flavor. It's simple to throw together (once you've poached the chicken over a vegetables-and-herbs-broth), and chunks of grape and walnut are a highlight. But ask me in a week if I remember the taste of this recipe.

As I was cooking I was listening to NPR, there was a story about food memory. Some expert is saying that in order to make a meal memorable, each course has to be vivid, distinct from one another, and tied together with a story. They had actors and lights (not sure how watching a play makes you remember what you're eating)--I thought it was some interesting food for thought. Here, you can read about the Sensorium Dinner Project if you're interested in learning more. There's a video (even though it was a radio story). There's even a course served on miniature furniture. Check it out!

Maybe I need some props and lighting to make Elizabeth's Chicken Salad even more memorable...

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Do you love raisins in your Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies? For me, it totally depends. In this recipe, the Fiddlehead offers substituting one-for-one chocolate chips for raisins. I like that idea. I tried half-and-half and and really enjoyed it. Buttery and chewy, this is a classic recipe for a classic cookie! Whether you favor chocolate or raisins, enjoy!

German Mushroom Soup

This healthy bowl of goodness really tastes European. Has that borschty (yes, using it as an adjective) flavor. Must come from the mixture of caraway seed and wine. Ooh, but then the Fiddlehead throws a crazy curve ball. A cross-continental fusion ingredient: miso! It's just a touch, but it works and probably makes the flavor more complex than my little palatte could fully appreciate. It's a delightful soup, chock-full of mushrooms and onion, and I recommend it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

I know you want a slice. Two quintessential flavors of summer, rhubarb and strawberry, are fruits that are born for each other, and they marry happily ever after in this classic pie. Spring's coming a bit late this year in Southeast Alaska, and it was just this weekend when planting the vegetable garden that I found enough rhubarb for the first Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie of the summer!

Some skinny 1st-of-the-year rhubarb on the chopping block

I used the Pie Crust recipe from the Fiddlehead cookbook. I couldn't remember if I'd posted it before or not, but it's easy and it's good. Flour, butter, water. That's it.

I used a short cut. I think it was extra delicious. I used a couple pints of frozen, SWEETENED strawberries, and the result was an extra sweet pie. Yum.

Can you make out the "1st" on the crust? 1st rhubarb of the season! Alriiiight.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Warm Mushroom Salad

The name of the Warm Mushroom Salad recipe really says it like it is. It's simple:

Saute mushrooms in olive oil. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Pile atop a bed of greens.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Guliano Sandwich

Yum. I would be so happy if I ordered this at a restaurant. And to eat it at home! Oh my. The Guliano Sandwich is breaded eggplant, roasted pepper, pesto, and mozzarella between slices of bread. The Fiddlehead cookbook writes, "This is not just a collection of everything trendy between two slices of bread...but is, in fact, a great combination."

The Guliano is a simple recipe--the only time intensive step is the eggplant. As with the eggplant parmesan recipe, you have to sweat the slices by sprinkling with salt and setting them out. Then you rinse and pat dry before breading and frying.

Using an artisan bread makes a big difference in taste and appearance. I used my go-to no-knead bread and baked in chunks of garlic. The flavors meld together so nicely. It's almost vegan too--if you went without the melted mozzarella and egg.

The assembly line for breading the eggplant: flour, egg, and bread crumb

You have to sweat the eggplant slices

Spread each slice with pesto--layer half with breaded eggplant, roasted pepper, and mozzarella--and broil

The Guliani is a masterpiece of a sandwich

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo

Hand-making fettuccine noodles is like being transported to the kichens of Italy a century ago. Working the dough with our hands, we slowly turned semolina flour with a little egg and oil into the clay from which we sculpted our Fettuccine Alfredo!

Three old friends in no hurry, we fell easily into conversation while we cooked, losing ourselves in reflections about love, laughing about memories. The laborious task of crafting our own pasta from scratch was levened by fruity red wine; our hunger abated by nibbles of mushroom and tomato drizzled with olive oil.

We took turns rolling out each eighth chunk of dough and slicing the flattened rectangle into strips. The fettuccine pulled up off the counter without any need for rice flour. Until the whole batch was ready to boil, we used the oven racks to hang each noodle to dry. In the meantime, we chopped up the garlic and green onion for the alfredo sauce.

Finally the noodles were plunged into boiling water-- but just for a few minutes! Once al dente, we drained them and added them to a saucepan where they swam in butter and garlic. Next, we added heavy cream and brought it all to a boil before adding the green onion and parmesan cheese. The dish was heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And we all felt so satisfied to have made them completely from scratch. Buen provecho!

Fresh Cilantro Salsa and Guacamole

Hot temps call for cool, refreshing foods. It was a beautiful bluebird Spring day. My beau and I were cooking up moose tacos, and salsa and guac from the Fiddlehead complimented the meal nicely.

Mm, moose tacos with Fiddlehead salsa and guac

Fresh Cilantro Salsa: I held this perception that salsa is tricky to make, but with a food processor, the fresh cilantro salsa was as easy as rounding up the vegetables and plopping them in! It broke a barrier in homemade salsa making for me, and I'll definitely blend this up more often.

Salsa is as easy as dumping these veggies...

...into a food processor and pushing the button!

It's so fresh! And healthy--be sure to let it rest the recommended two hours as it melds and steeps the flavors together. I really pulverised the stuff--I might try it a little chunkier next time.


Guacamole: Creamy avocado is accented by the sharp, refreshing tastes of red onion, cilantro, tomato, and lime. Guacamole is a food of the gods for how pure and nourishing it is! The lime's acidity and cilantro's distinct flavor penetrates through each bite. This is a recipe I'm glad to have on hand to use again.

Ole! Creamy guacamole bursting with flavor

Monday, May 9, 2011

Charlene's Salad

Melt-in-your-mouth goat cheese, savory bacon, and a walnut-garlic mixture heated in bacon grease make this salad to die for. The greens are tossed with a bit of balsamic vinegar, and the flavors meld so well together. Charlene's Salad (page 27) is a sure crowd-pleaser, and one of my favorite recipes so far.

Sour Cream-Strawberry Coffee Cake

Strawberries scream summer, and this coffee cake is great way to celebrate the season. The recipe calls for blueberries, but I was eager to try it, and couldn't wait until August for our wild blueberries to be ready. Strawberries worked very well in this moist, slightly sweet treat. I recommend taking it a step farther and using it as a base for strawberry shortcake. A dollop of real whipped cream and a sprinkling of fresh strawberries makes a divine dessert. It's quick and easy. And if you don't have a tube cake pan, never fear: I used a 9" x 13" cake pan, and just cut the cake in rectangles.

Chicken Teriyaki - on a stick

Springtime is BBQ season, and it was refreshing to take this dish to the grill! The Fiddlehead offers a barbeque option to the standard stovetop Chicken Teriyaki (page 82), and so it was shish kabob time! If you're using wooden skewers, remember to soak them overnight so they're less likely to scorch over the heat. Alternate marinated chicken, peppers, onion, and mushroom to made a colorful and healthy meal that is fun to eat!

The Teriyaki Marinade (page 210) is fairly simple, and the flavor really comes through after cooking. It takes just a wee bit of planning ahead to get the chicken cubed and marinating the night before, but it's worth it for the fresh-off-the-grill taste. I marinated it overnight, and would recommend that longer time length (the book says you can marinate for just 2 hours). Garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, sherry, and sesame oil combine for a quintessentially Asian flavor. Yum!

The meat a'marinating

Friday, May 6, 2011

Raisin Bran Muffins

Here’s a delicious way to combine baked goods with eating healthy. The Fiddlehead’s Raisin Bran Muffins are honey and molasses sweetened, full of whole wheat and, you guessed it: bran. Plus, they taste good.

They’re easy to throw together, and I’ll bet you have all the ingredients already in your cupboard and fridge. Except maybe buttermilk, but that can be improvised: I used a mix of cow and soy milk soured with lemon juice.

Wholesome and just the right amount of sweet, these fiber-packed treats are a sturdy way to start your day, and simple enough to bake before you get to the office. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

These are tulips that were in my house when I was making cookies. They are pretty.

I'm realizing that if this project is ever going to end (and at last count there's something like 85 recipes left), I am eventually going to have to tackle the complicated and challenging recipes. I mean there's the Saag Panir recipe that involves making your own cheese for a tasty Indian recipe. Or there's the whole baked fish. Hand made fettuccine noodles aren't exactly a 30-minute meal, either. But for now I'm reaching for the low-hanging fruit, recipes that I can fit in here and there. As evidence, the desserts are all mostly done. Desserts are easy because they're typically recipes that involve ingredients you already have on hand--namely sugar and flour. That trend continued with today's recipe...In choosing what to take to a Royal Wedding-watching brunch, I opted for a simple and classic treat: peanut butter cookies.

Ooey-gooey peanut butter cookie dough

Blend all the ooey-gooey ingredients first (butter, peanut butter, sugar, vanilla). Keep in mind that if you're every stranded on an island and you have to choose just one food to eat, you might want to consider choosing this tasty dough (so good). The flour and leavening goes in next. Mix all together, roll into balls, flatten with a fork, and bake yourself some cookies.

So while the newlyweds and other royals are enjoying their bacon sandwiches, we're indulging in the Fiddlehead's peanut butter cookies--yum!

Fresh out of the oven. Enjoy!
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