Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The kidlings and I were very busy tonight, creating like mad scientists! Maybe I'll cook something nutritious.......When I come down from my sugar rush.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I was telling you the other day how beautiful fall is here. The rains came in today- crisping the air again and glossing the scenery. I thought I would share some of the beautiful sights out my back door.
Nasturtiums apparently love this cool weather
The regal chestnut tree

Mt. Olympus...this picture hardly does the color justice Legs the horse standing in the rain...waiting to come in, the beautiful yellow leaves are on the apricot trees.
Amazing thunderclouds over head
Grand maple tree
The sights are inspiring...
So I made these....
2 cups warm water
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 Tablespoons sugar
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar mixture

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl.I used my kitchen aide bowl. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add four cups of the flour as well as the salt and mix with a spoon. With the dough hook, add the remaining cup and a half a few tablespoons at a time(if you don't have an upright mixer, you will have to knead this with your own hands as you work). Knead for 8 will not have to go to the gym to work out your upper body today. Your kitchen aide may not be able to handle the bulk. Towards the end of you kneading, flatten out the dough so it is the size of a large plate and sprinkle with the cherries, raisins, and cinnamon sugar (I kind of pour the sugar in lines instead of sprinkle so that there will be streaks of cinnamon sugar). Finally, roll the dough in one direction (as if making cinnamon rolls) and then shape into a ball.
Spray the bowl with cooking spray and place the dough back in. Spray the top of the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot for an hour or so until dough doubles in size. Punch down the dough and then gather into a large ball. Cut the ball in half-the halves in half- and then finally the quarters into that?
Roll the pieces into nice smooth balls, and then poke a hole in the center, all the way through. Place on a greased baking sheet and spray the top again with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the bagels in a warm spot to warm up and rise for 30 minutes. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil. I added a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the water-some recipes call for salt. Carefully, place the bagels in the water (three at a time) and let boil for a minute-turning after 30 seconds. Remove from the water very carefully, and place on a wire rack-at this point, I put a cinnamon sugar mixture in a bowl and pressed the top side of the bagel gently in. Place the bagels on a parchment lined baking sheet-six to a sheet. I also sprinkled cornmeal on the pan-I like them crunchy on the bottom, otherwise, I would suggest spraying it with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes and cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before eating.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Carne Asada

I love the farmer's market. The market in the city I live in has been rated one of the top in the country. I love the mood, the fresh produce, the art booths, the smells, and the people. I love to be in the environment where it seems that all those people in that space are looking to make the world a greener more wholesome place. This past weekend was the season's final farmer's market and the place was just bursting at the seams with people-and it was a beautiful morning. The booths were packed with squashes, and Indian corn, pumpkins, crisp apples, and late season beans. I always pack the kids and their little red wagon.
I always stop first at the cherry farmer's booth and either get frozen tart cherries or dried ones. Next it's Volkers bakery's booth for Cranberry walnut bread and my favorite Jalapeno asiago soft (they must use potato flakes or someting) and oooh so good, my tummy is grumbling for it right now! And then the cute old apple farmer from Alpine. I love his apples, but I just love to see his cute little face and his family all helping out. At Thanksgiving we go down to his property and cut our own Christmas tree down. And then I always stop by the Rockin' E truck for the best green beans in town.
Part of the fun is the local and international flavors like African, Middle Eastern, and German food booths. Saturday we stopped by the "taco stand" where we could purchase carnitas, tamales, or carne asada. My son had never had a carne asada taco from a taco stand before, so we each got a taco, that we topped with condiments like fire roasted onions and jalapenos, cabbage slaw, and lime vinaigrette. The flavors were so clean and simple, he just loved it and has craved it since!
So that leads us to his dinner that he prepared with a little help from his mamacita!

Bo's Carne Asada Tacos

1 1/2 lb. sirloin steak
juice of 2 limes
2 cloves garlic
4 jalapenos , cut in half and seeded
1 large onion, cut into1 inch pieces
2 cups cabbage, shredded
corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups seeded, diced tomatoes
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon diced jalapenos
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 large ripe avocado
Salt and pepper

With a meat mallet, pound the meat out until thin and tender. Rub with the garlic, salt and pepper and marinate with a few tablespoons vegetable oil and the juice of a lime. Set aside for about a half of an hour. On a stove top grill, saute the onions with just a bit of oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until browned and sweet. Place the jalapenos on the same grill and cook until tender and browned.
Combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mash the avocado with a dash of salt and pepper and a twist of lime.
Remove the onions and jalapenos from the grill and set aside. Turn up heat to medium high heat. Cook the meat for 2-3 minutes on each side and remove from heat. Let rest for two minutes and then slice the meat thinly against the grain. Squeeze the second lime over the meat. Heat the tortillas on the same grill until crispy (you can add a bit of oil to the grill).
Top the tortillas with the meat and onions. Serve the pico de gallo (salsa mix), cabbage, and guacamole on the side.

So get out and support the local farmer's market, before the season runs out. If you are local to me, the Murray farmer's market is still on for two more weekends.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Taco Stew

OOh I love a rainy day! I live in the shadow of two mountain ranges in a beautiful valley. When the storm clouds roll over the mountains and into the valley, it is an amazing sight. And even better is a rainy fall day, because the mountains and valley are an incredible vision of color right now. And there was just enough sunlight breaking through the gray to make rainbows throughout the day. And as the night falls, the temperature drops and as those storms reach the other side of the valley and climb up the oposing mountain range....the rain turns to snow. Poetic aren't I...tee hee hee. And this awe envoking change of season screams out comfort food.

Tonight's dinner began with the craving for fresh corn bread with honey and butter and progressed to a delicious soupy stew thing. My family debated that this couldn't be called taco soup, because it was chunky and oh so filling. So, it was dubbed Taco Stew. And although some of the ingredients you wouldn't find in a taco, you would find them in a stew. It took only minutes to throw into the pot...a few hours to meld those fabulous flavors together...and food! Make it soon, and let me know how it turned out.


1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 carrots, chunked
4 celery stalks, chunked
1 small can kidney beans
1 small can pinto beans
1 cup black olives
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 1/2 cups mild salsa
1 large can green enchilada sauce
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef/ground bison
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder

In a heavy pot, cook bison with the onion and garlic. When browned, add the remaining wasn't that tough??? Simmer for at least a half of an hour (I simmered it for 2 hours), or crock pot it on low all day. Be careful with the salt because the enchilada sauce is a bit salty. Serve it with a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Dinner Supplied by Asian Food Grocer

Bear with me for one more salute to Asian Food Grocer (see below post). So last night's dinner was so delish that I still had the need for food with an Asian flair. I still had some of the great products that I received from Asian Food Grocer. Tonight I used the Jasmine rice, and water chestnuts. I whipped up a batch of Cashew Chicken. This dish is comfort food to me. A dear friend gave me this recipe and it is so simple and super delicious. I am not always comfortable with posting Asian style recipes, I just figure that since I don't have an ounce of Asian in me, I really don't know what I am talking about. Besides, we all know that it always tastes better in a restaurant...when someone else makes it for me. But every now and then I fall upon a recipe that gives me some legitimacy with the Asian cooking thing...and if it doesn't .....I don't want to hear about it :)

Try it...tell me about it.....and check out Asian Food ROCKS!


1 lb chicken, cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup onion
1 cup celery
1 can water chestnuts
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup cashews

Marinate the first five ingredients for about an hour. Heat a skillet (or wok) to medium heat and add the oil, garlic, ginger, and chicken with marinade slowly until just about cooked through. Then add the onion, celery, water chestnuts and broth and cook for 10 minutes or so. Add the cashews and serve over rice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Asian Food Grocer

Hey everyone! Tonight's post is so fun. I am a member of Foodbuzz, an online forum for anyone interested in should check it out...over there to the right >>
Through Foodbuzz, I was offered a great opportunity to recieve some products from Asian Food Grocer - an online store with a wide array of asian food products. The catch...was to come up with recipes that included AFG products. I checked out their website and thought it was clean and easy to use. I also noticed what great deals they offered- Most items were cheaper than what I would pay at the grocery store (if I could even find those products at a regular store). I placed my order, and was amazed that I received it just 48 hours later! I was pleased to find how well packaged the items were. The packages were clean and undamaged. I could barely wait to get cooking.
So I had a beautiful tuna steak and some romaine lettuce. We have all had a Chinese chicken salad but have you had a Sesame Tuna Caesar Salad? Well, I set out to make one and paired it with some fresh sushi. Although I used a pretty traditional Caesar recipe, instead of anchovies i used oyster sauce. I substituted Parmesan with wasabi peas and the croutons with fried won ton. My husband's 85 year old grandma lives with us, and this particular menu wasn't quite up her alley, so I conjured up Panko crusted chicken tenders with a ginger peach dipping sauce for her. To finish up the meal, I made these delightful little Pear won tons with cinnamon caramel. All of the ingredients that I received from AFG were easy to use and delicious, you just have to try these recipes to find out.
I have one confession, however, I didn't use the Pokey or candy in any of my recipes. I just ordered them so I could munch on them while blogging about my fantastic dinner! If you haven't had Pocky before you need to check out AFG and order's so yummy!

mandarin oranges, nori, waterchesnuts, chopsticks
oyster sauce, sushi vinegar, sesame oil

jasmine rice, and sushi rice

Panko bread crumbs, wasabi peas, wasabi paste
Pocky!! and candy
Each bottle was wrapped carefully
Look at how well packed the items came.


1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups Orchids brand Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Pour the buttermilk into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.

Dip the chicken tenders in buttermilk and then dredge in the Panko mixture.

Place the chicken on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 2o minutes in a 350 degree oven. Serve with sauce of your choice. I combined 1 cup home made peach jam with 2 teaspoons ginger to make my dipping sauce.


So I made the sushi rice (Premium Brand)according to the instructions. I julienned some carrots and cucumber and sliced some avocado. I placed a sheet of nori on my bamboo mat and pressed the cooled sushi rice onto. Next I arranged the vegetables on it and spread a small amount of Orchids brand wasabi paste on it and rolled .... I wrapped the roll in plastic wrap, I find it easier to slice the roll with the plastic wrap on it, and then remove it before serving.

I also made some rolls with tuna in them as well.

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plus vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon Orchids brand Oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
¼ cup wasabi peas
6 won ton wraps, cut into fourths
oil to fry
8-10 oz tuna steak
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1/4 cup black sesame
6 tablespoon sesame oil
On a plate, combine the salt and pepper and sesame. Press the tuna steak on both sides into the mixture and then drizzle generously with sesame oil. Heat a heavy pan on high heat and place the tuna in the pan. Sear on each side for 3 minutes and set aside.

Combine Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic and Worcestershire in a blender. Slowly emulsify the oils in. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fry the won ton wraps in hot oil, until they puff and turn golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.

Toss the Romaine lettuce in the dressing and arrange on the plate. Slice the tuna and lay over the top. Sprinkle with the wasabi peas, and place the fried won tons on top.


4 large pears, diced
1 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon Chinese five spice
2 cups canola oil
1 package won ton wraps
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 ½ cups sugar
6 Tablespoons water
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. In a skillet, combine the butter and sugar and melt together. Add the raisins and pears and sauté for just a minute or two. Add the vanilla and five spice. Cool completely. Fill the wraps with the cooled mixture and fry for three minutes. Drain on a paper towel for a moment and the toss in the remaining cinnamon, five spice and sugar.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and begins to become amber colored. Carefully add the cream and cook stirring until a caramel sauce forms. Add the cinnamon and serve.

So this is what it looked like when I was finished: