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What’s Cooking

  • Time for Warming Meals

    Posted on Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Is there anything better in the cold weather to eat than hearty soups, chilis and stews?

    If you ask my son, the answer is a resounding NO!  I don’t know why, but the man hates almost all soups.  Claims they taste the same.

    Really?  Split pea tastes the same as chili?  Beef stew has the same texture and taste as Chicken with matzo balls?

    Whatever-the point is that most of us have been experiencing some cold,wet and nasty weather the last few weeks.  Even here in the great SouthWest-we had freezing temps, then summery 80’s that have now been traded in for 3 days of pouring rain.

    When this happens, I love a hearty bowl of soup and to serve it up with a nice homemade muffin.  Or put together your favorite chili, top it with a homemade cornbread batter and bake it up and serve it so that the chili flavors up the sweet spoon bread.

    I’m basically a traditionalist with my soups, but I always love to put in a twist.  

    Want to have some split pea or lentil?  Swap out some of the broth for either white wine or a good ale.  Both will give these rustic soups a bit more depth.  Don’t have a ham bone?  Not a problem-I often will make either completely meatless.  With the legumes and other veggies my meat obsessed husband doesn’t even notice.  Sometimes I’ll just stir in whatever I have left in the fridge just as I’m ladling it out.  Just put whatever the protein is in the bowl first so the hot soup will heat it up.  

    FYI-I’ve even done this with leftover fish and it’s delish!

    When doing a stew or chili-try new and different:  green chili and pork (essentially chili verde), or a white chili with cannelli beans and chicken.  Stew?  Use sausage, portobellos and lentils or kidney beans.  Remember to add lots of veggies and finish with a hearty amount of greens.  Try kale, spinach, mustard or beet greens.  They‘re all great.  

    Get creative with the homemade muffins as well-they don’t have to be sweet!  Use some bacon and top with a bit of cheddar cheese.  Do a chive and sour cream.  Love garlic-try roasting it first for a sweet finish and then add some crushed red pepper.

    These are little changes just to get us all out of the usual soups, but enough that will make dinner a bit more fun and something to talk about!

    4 Replies
  • Waffles and Ribs

    Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2013

    No “bones” about it-we‘re always looking for new and interesting rubs and such to BBQ our ribs in.  Also, my husband loves to chose waffles as his “special” breakfast dish.

    This week we had quite a “freeze“.  Being new to the desert life I was NOT expecting to deal with such low temperatures, but I guess if I’m 55 and have just found out how it feels to potty a Chihuahua in 35 degrees I can handle it.

    Don’t know about little Lucky though.  Need to get this girl a coat!

    Back to the ribs and waffles. In Bon Appetit magazine there was a recipe for a rub from a Wyoming restaurant.  We tried it.  Not bad!

    It keeps for a month and I’m sure it would also be good on a hearty piece of fish like salmon or even to grill a chicken with-here’s the lowdown:

    Jenga Ribs

    In a plastic container mix the following:

    4 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tbsp. kosher salt
    1 tbsp. brown sugar
    1 tbsp. smoked paprika
    2 tsp. each chili powder, freshly ground black pepper, ground cumin, onion powder
    1 tsp. each dinnamon and coriander

    This is enough to coat about 4 lbs of St. Louis-style pork spareribs.

    Preheat oven to 300. wrap each rack individually in foil-make sure it’s well-sealed.  Bake 3 hours (CAVEAT:  I went 2 hours and they were still a tad over cooked after the second bake-so I’d go 1-1/2 hours).  Remove and raise oven temp to 425.

    Line clean cookie sheets with foil.  Cut ribs into portions of 3 and place on lined sheets.  Bake about 15-20 minutes and golden brown.  Serve with favorite BBQ sauce on the side.

    Now for the waffles-as you all know, I love to bake from scratch  But I have to say, after feeding 3 animals, pottying 2-twice, cleaning a litter box and other glamorous jobs-when I hear hubby say, “how about waffles for breakfast?“, I reach for the Krustez.

    The good part is that you can customize them in so many ways.  Like bacon?  Pop some in the microwave, crumble and add it to the batter with some vanilla extract or (I have these on hand)add some rum or maple extract.  Love fruit?  Dice some bananas up and serve with a nut butter.  Love berries?  Pour the batter into the waffle iron and drop a few on the top.  

    Remember though-berries are water-packed, so don’t add too many or you’ll have a doughy waffle.

    Like your additions over the top-literally?  Instead of syrup, honey or jam-saute some granny smith apples with some cinnamon and brown sugar and put those over the waffles.

    Like things tropical?  Add some shaved coconut to the batter with some macademia nuts.  Saute up some mangoes, pineapple and bananas and top it with that-invest in some coconut syrup too.

    Love chocolate?  Need I ask?  Add 1/4 C of really good cocoa powder to the batter.

    Make sure to make some extra ones and pop them in the freezer.  Then when someone wants one during the week-just heat up the oven to 400 and warm it for about 8-10 minutes.

    4 Replies
  • Happy New Year!

    Posted on Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Wow, hard to believe, but here we are two weeks into 2013!

    Unfortunately, cooking here is still hitting a brick wall.  Oh sure, I’m cooking, but I’m just not finding my stride.  First there was the accident, then our grandsons shared the awful virus with us and now-well, our son found a Chihuahua in the wash near his house.

    Ever try cooking with a 5.2 pound hopping fanatic in your kitchen????

    Yes, there was that standing ribeye roast with Yorkshire pudding and dh’s favorite broccoli with lemon and garlic for his birthday.

    Our son and daughter-in-law came over for an improptu dinner of grilled pork chops, True Foods kale salad that I added some cranberries too and some roasted garlic/rosemary purple and red fingerling potatoes.  

    The grandkids enjoyed the kid friendly meal of roasted lemon chicken, steamed broccoli (plain-because according to Dylan any spice means the women in his life are trying to kill him) and tater tots.

    I did make some pretty decadent mocha/coconut brownies for dessert.  The boys have also realized that grandma buys up specialty marshmallows to plop on top of hot chocolate and will almost try anything (except the previously mentioned herbs/spices for the older grandson)to see what I found at the market last.  

    First there were the French vanilla snowmen.  Then I found pumpkin spice christmas trees and the gingerbread gingerbread man shaped treats.  

    Tonight-my plans are for a stir-fry broccoli and fake crab over whole wheat linguine OR we will go out with the kids to finally celebrate dh’s birthday.  Since we‘re all off the “sick and dying” list.

    Better do that quick, our new baby may not let me stand that long.

    2 Replies