Wednesday, August 29, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 11 -- Spinach -- B"L"T Risotto

Bacon, Spinach (the "L"), and Cherry Tomato Risotto
As a kid, spinach was not my thing.  It was that slimy stuff Popeye ate.  I didn't care if he was strong.  If I had to eat spinach, I didn't want to be strong.  I wanted nothing that slid whole cloth out of any can.

My own first child adored spinach.  By then, we'd reached the American culinary stage of  gorgeous gooey-cheesy baked spinach casseroles with crispy crumbled crackers on top.  Enabled by grocery store freezers filled with vegetables year-round, we chopped, mixed, added soup or cheese, and threw stuff into ovens to our heart's content.  We were eating vegetables, weren't we?  And we liked anything with cheese or sour cream or dried onion soup mix.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gone Fishin' -- In the Meanwhile Enjoy my Favorite Peach Post:

Peaches, cream, and more 

If its August.  If it's Colorado.  I'm eating peaches.  Any day. Every day.  For at least two weeks.  By themselves.  On Greek Yogurt with Colorado honey and slivered toasted almonds.  Or granola.   On top of vanilla frozen yogurt.  In a salsa on pork chops.  Etcetera.

Here are a few of the yummy things I've done.  Of course the best?  Above.  Fuzzy naked.

Friday, August 17, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 10 -- Mushrooms -- Mushroom Ragù on Gruyère Toast

Slip some baguette with Gruyère under a broiler.  Saute some mushrooms with garlic, shallots, herbs, broth and wine.  Spoon the mushrooms over the cheese toast.  Dinner is served.
I grew up in a house that revered mushrooms. In any form, but mostly on their own.  Just cooked up in a big cast-iron skillet with some garlic or onions.  Eating them on their own was his favorite, but my Dad also loved them with some rice, eggs, or chicken.  He'd have mushrooms any old way.  As a little kid, I wasn't buying.   It didn't take long, however, for me to jump on his bandwagon.

My first mushroom love was the famous mushroom stuffed with sausage.  That gave way to (Lord) the deep-fried variety with sauce.  All the while, regular old mushrooms slowly began to take part in my kitchen pageant.  One day I saw that I was buying mushrooms pretty much every time I went to the store.  Talking with my oldest son the other day, I woke up and realized he was talking about cooking up a big pot of mushrooms.  Never know what you'll pass on.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia Child's 100th Birthday -- Salmon Fillet en Papillote with Shallots and Tomatoes: Fast Food!

Not spending the summer in St. Paul, I don't have any of my Julia books on the shelf....And it's Julia's 100th birthday!  I shipped all of the ones I needed to work on the soup cookbook and I brought my own personal cookbook, but the whole library cannot come to Colorado.  Julia's books sit in Minnesota: 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alyce's Tortellini Salad Goes to Denver, but Misses Olivia's Birthday

Summer comes and this tortellini salad comes with it.  Just ask my family.
Full of tender cheese-filled tortellini and lots of chunky vegetables, it's held together with a brisk mustard vinaigrette and lots of thin slices of sopressata or hard salami.  If I'm going to a family event or a church picnic, I make a big bowl of this salad and bring it along.  In Minnesota, it goes in the cooler and makes its way up north to celebrate Joe's and Olivia's birthdays. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 9 -- Kale -- Baby Kale and Spinach with a Roasted Chicken Breast

 While I didn't grow up eating kale, I got to it as soon as I could.  My folks were transplanted southerners.  Greens made an appearance, oh yeah.  I ate them.  (not)
There were lots of reasons why I finally hit on kale (baby kale first, actually)  once I knew from good.  One was its curly beauty:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Homemade Potato Chip-Steak Salad

Just add fork
Sometimes I don't know what gets into me.  I know I have something leftover and simple from which to create a meal.  Say a piece of steak or two small pieces, in this case.  (Neither Dave nor I could finish our dinner the night before. Is there something wrong with us?)  I didn't set out to make a homemade potato chip-steak salad...but here's how it happened: 

First,  I take the steak out of the frig and begin casting around for something to go with it.  Toast?  I could make a sandwich.  Pasta?  I could cook up some vegetables to go with the steak while the water boils.  Stir fry?  Omelet filled with steak?  Steak and eggs?  I could make  mushrooms in velouté  sauce with cream (Supreme is the name, I think--I made it up as a young cook without knowing its name.) and Dijon mustard, add the steak and serve it over rice.  How about a childhood favorite, beef hash?  (Who would waste great steak on hash, Alyce?) 

Instead of beginning any of those dishes,  I  find myself at the Cuisinart making homemade mayonnaise, using Daniel Boulud's method:
Who is Daniel Boulud?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bannocks -- A Tribute to Marion Cunningham (Reposted from my Dinner Place blog)

A little apricot preserves...

 I never knew Marion Cunningham personally, but after my Mom, she pretty much taught me to cook and, perhaps more truly, to bake.  She died this last week (July 11, 2012--Read the LA Times obituary here) at the age of 90 after a lifetime of cooking, writing, and testing recipes for her cookbooks (Fanny Farmer, Fanny Farmer Baking Book, The Breakfast Book, etc.) and for her long-lived column in The San Francisco Chronicle.  She encouraged several generations of home cooks to... well, to just go on and cook.  Set the table and eat at home, please and thank you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 8 -- Carrots -- On the Loose

I have no idea what you'd do without carrots.  I think I just couldn't cook without them.
I don't spend a lot of time thinking about, "Oh, I love carrots," but there isn't a week that goes by that I don't buy them. I can't imagine my crisper without carrots.  But I don't think I ever thought much about them before.

Two carrot stories come to mind...after this gorgeous salad:

Moroccan Carrot Salad
 We were camping in Texas once where we spent long days tubing on the Guadalupe River.  (Folks floated by with six-packs tied to their inner tubes.)  It was so hot the ice was a constant puddle in the coolers and we worried about our food.  (Why didn't I sell ice in south Texas?  Once again I had chosen the wrong profession.)   Insert bad language; there were six of us to feed three times a day for a week.  One poor woman stopped to say only one thing to me, "Even my carrots rotted today."   I knew how she felt; I was down to cabbage, potatoes, and onions, though I always have cans in the back of the van.  If your carrots betray you, you're in trouble.  She was heartbroken and I understood why.

And the other story....

Once, when I'd been on Weight Watchers forever, Dave said,

I liked you a lot better when carrots were no points.