21 October, 2011


Last night I got a real treat.  One of my good friends read my lasagna post and invited me over for a variation on my recipe.  She used polenta instead of the noodles and put sauteed peppers and mushrooms and onions in it.  And she didn't forget the ricotta.  It was delicious!  And what an honor to be treated to a dinner this blog inspired!

Regretfully, I did not take pictures.

19 October, 2011

Eats - Lasagna

My boyfriend keeps referring to this as "veggie lasagna," but I tell him I think veggie lasagna conjures images of over-cooked chunks of vegetables, and this lasagna is really just a basic, easy lasagna, with room for whatever alterations you wish to make.
Fresh from the oven

16 September, 2011

Eats - Homemade Tomato Sauce (Prequel to Eggs in Purgatory)

Either: 3 pounds of fresh tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped or 2 large cans of diced tomatoes, drained
Small can of tomato paste (use only if needed to thicken sauce)
2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 large white onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup fresh basil or 1-2 tbps. dry
1/4 cup red wine
Black pepper
Crushed red peppers, if desired

Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the onion and cook about 3 minutes, then add the garlic, sugar, basil (I previously posted about a suggestion from my aunt to chop the garlic with your herbs.  I'd repeat that suggestion now), wine, and mushrooms (or carrots, or whatever other addition you may want to make, or none at all if you want it just tomatoes) and saute until the onions are caramelized, about 5 more minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook down for about 30-40 minutes.  If the sauce is too watery, add some tomato paste until it's the consistency you want.
Add salt, pepper, and crushed red peppers to taste.

15 September, 2011

Eats - Eggs in Purgatory (Uova in Purgatorio)

Eggs in Purgatory
The other night we had friends over for spaghetti and meatballs, and ended up with a small amount of meaty, mushroomy tomato sauce left over.  So Saturday morning I turned it into Eggs in Purgatory, a traditional and delicious Italian peasant dish.

All you have to do is put the sauce in a skillet, heat it on medium high heat until it bubbles, then crack however many eggs you plan on eating into it (careful not to break the yolk), and let the eggs poach in the sauce.  As they poach, the tomato sauce will start to cook down, and the whole thing looks gorgeous and rustic.  I sprinkled some grated Parmesan on top when I served it.  Yum.

My tomato sauce recipe will follow in a day or two, for anyone who is interested.

01 September, 2011

Eats - Shrimp Tacos with Charred Corn and Zucchini-Radish Slaw

One day while perusing cooking blogs, I came across this recipe on one of my favorite sites.  After thinking the tacos looked both delicious and beautiful, I realized we had shrimp in the freezer.  Since we also had masa harina, the dry base for corn tortilla dough, this was one of the cheapest meals we've made in awhile.

26 August, 2011

Thrifts - Tiered Serving Trays and Cheese Server

Turning 30 was profitable, I must say.  The post earlier this week with the apron and flower cookbook were gifts, as were the two (well, at least one, but I'll explain) tiered serving trays and the cheese slicer/server in this post.

One of my dear friends got me one of these serving trays and the cheese slicer as a birthday gift.  She then bought a second serving tray for herself.  Then she found another tiered serving tray that she liked better, so I got the second matching one as well!

Fancy Cheese Slicer
I can imagine the snacks I will be putting out on these.
On top of getting lots of cool vintage dining/kitchen stuff, I also got some really nice vintage jewelry and purses.  Apparently my friends and family know me.  This blog may help.

23 August, 2011

Thrifts - Flower Cookery - The Art of Cooking with Flowers

This book was a birthday present from one of my aunts.  It's full of recipes using flowers as the main ingredient - and not just candied pansies and rosewater sauce.
There are recipes for infused liquors and syrups and salads, among other things.
I also found it really interesting, reading the introduction, that the author and her husband had lived in Mexico in one of D.H. Lawrence's old homes.
My aunt tells me that she and my uncle found the book in a $1 book grab-bag from a library book sale.
Also, the apron the book is lying on was made for me by the same aunt for my birthday.  It's so cute and looks very vintage.  I love it!

10 August, 2011

Eats and Thrifts - Portobello Gyros, Roasted Potatoes, and Greek-Style Green Beans

I really love when I forget to take pictures of the final product when I've made a dish.  Usually it's because I'm really hungry, and I've been cooking for a couple hours, and everyone is waiting for me to announce it's time to eat.  Like this meal. For a weeknight meal, man, it took a long time.  
Juicing the lemon - Thanks to my aunt for the lovely juicer.

26 July, 2011

Eats - Shirred Eggs (and banana strawberry waffles)

Eggs fresh from the oven
Shirred Eggs is a baked egg dish and can be made either in individual portions in a muffin tin or in a baking dish as more of a casserole.

15 July, 2011

Eats - Makeshift Shepherd's Pie

Just out of the oven
I said I was going to try to turn the leftover roast into a makeshift shepherd's pie (having never made shepherd's pie - totally winging it), and I did.

I spooned selected vegetables out of the broth (leaving the tomato chunks, mainly), trying not to get too much broth.  I added the vegetables to the baking dish.  I took the leftover meat (it had been sitting in the broth from before in the fridge), shredded and/or cut it up into small pieces, and added it to the veggies.  I then took a bag of frozen mixed vegetables (I know, I know, but we're eating cheap, and this was a "make what you have in the house" kind of meal, and they were really tasty in there), steamed them, and added them to the dish, stirring everything together to even it out.  I covered everything with a layer of the leftover garlic mashed potatoes, and then baked it for 40 minutes at 400 deg.

It was pretty darn yummy.  Not bad for leftovers.

13 July, 2011

Eats - Beef Pot Roast in Mushroom Wine Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Asparagus in Lemon and Butter

Beef Pot Roast, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Asparagus
Beef Pot Roast with Mushroom Wine Gravy:

2.5 pound beef pot roast
1 box white mushrooms
1 box shitake mushrooms
1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic
1 can of stewed tomatoes (28 oz.)
1 cup beef broth (low or no sodium)
1 cup red wine (I used pinot noir)
Fresh rosemary - 2 tbsps
Fresh marjoram - 2 tbsps, chopped
Thyme (Fresh or dry) - tbsp fresh or tsp dry
2 bay leaves

03 July, 2011

Eats - Cranberry Yogurt Soda Bread

It should look something like this, but I stole this image from here.

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups low-fat plain yogurt
2 egg whites
1/3 cup dried cranberries 
2 Tbsp. clear honey

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the yogurt and egg whites, and fold into the flour mixture with the cranberries and honey.

Grease a 2-pound loaf pan and spoon in the mixture. Bake in the oven at 220 C for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly and turn out of pan. Serve warm.

16 June, 2011

Eats - Spaghetti with Spicy Tomato Shrimp Sauce

I apologize that there aren't any pictures of this. It was an off-the-cuff meal that turned out delicious. So delicious that I cleaned my plate before thinking about taking a picture. So...here's what I did:

For the Tomato Sauce:
1/4 of a large white onion, diced
15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp red wine
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
A few sprigs fresh basil - chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
Black pepper

Heat a sauce pan on medium high heat with 2-3 tbsp olive oil.  Add the diced onions.  Cook 5 minutes, then add the can of diced tomatoes and the sugar.  Stir and let the tomatoes and onions cook down for about 5 minutes, add the wine and let cook another 5.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes more, or until the sauce has reached a desirable consistency.

For the shrimp:
1/4 stick butter
15 shrimp (no tails, deveined, pre-cooked)
A few sprigs fresh basil - chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
3 tbps White wine
Black pepper
Crushed red pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet.  Add all ingredients to the pan.  Allow to cook a few minutes, then add the tomato sauce to the skillet and stir together, cooking just a few moments.  Toss with spaghetti and serve.

For timing:
Start the water boiling for the pasta when you add the "remaining ingredients" to the tomato sauce and start the shrimp when you add the pasta to the water.

Another hint (From one of my smart aunts):
Chop your fresh herbs and garlic together.  The herbs keep the garlic's stickiness to a minimum, and the garlic keeps the leafy herbs contained.

26 May, 2011

Eats - French toast made from leftover challah and topped with apples cooked in sorghum.

This was one of the first pictures I ever posted, but I didn't include a recipe.  After remaking this French toast last weekend (and getting the rave review of "Best breakfast I've ever had" from my boyfriend), I decided it was about time.

So...start with your leftover challah (Or any bread, but let's be serious - challah is the best, and worth the minimal effort to bake a loaf.  Look back at this post for the recipe).  I like my french toast to be fairly thick, so I cut about 3/4 to 1 inch thick slices.

For your batter:

4 eggs
2/3 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
A few teaspoons each of cinnamon and nutmeg

Using a fork, combine the ingredients in a pie pan or other low dish.

Prepare a pan with 3 tablespoons oil (again, canola is the healthiest).  Once hot, dip your first piece of bread for a few seconds on each side then quickly transfer to the pan.  Cook a few minutes until the bottom side is crispy and brown, then flip and repeat.  Serve with your choice of fruit, maple syrup, powdered sugar, you name it.  Personally, I'm a fan of apples and sorghum (pears and sorghum is also super delicious).

For the apples:

Prepare a small saucepan with two tablespoons of butter.  Add two sliced granny smith apples.  Place a lid on the pan until the apples start to soften, then add a tablespoon of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon, leaving the apples to cook without the lid until they look slightly browned.

Serve the French toast with a healthy portion of apples and a few tablespoons of sorghum.

24 May, 2011

Eats - Crepes stuffed with berries and savory apple fried potatoes (and bacon)

For my crepes, I've been using this recipe for years.  You can play with it if you need, adding water or flour to adjust the thickness depending on your preference. I like mine to be pretty thin. I stuffed these with sliced fresh strawberries and blueberries, then topped them with powdered sugar.  They are also great with maple syrup on top.

The potatoes need about 40 minutes, so I would start those first, then give yourself about 20 minutes to do the crepes.

Fried potatoes:
3 Tbsps. oil (I use canola because it's the healthiest)
6-8 Yellow potatoes
1/3 large white onion
1 Granny Smith apple
3 Tbsp. white wine

Slice the potatoes thinly and set aside.  Dice the onion and chop the apple into 1/2 inch chunks.  Heat the oil in the pan.  Once hot, add the onions.  When they begin to turn clear, add the potatoes.  Place a lid loosely on the pan.  After about 10 minutes, add the apple and rosemary.  Return lid.  Wait another 5 minutes or so and add the white wine.  Remove lid.  When the potatoes have begun to brown and are starting to look nearly done, add the salt, pepper, and paprika.  Cook a few more minutes, then serve.

08 May, 2011

Eats - Beets and Beet Greens (Cooking with whiskey)

Great with the sweet potato
In case it isn’t obvious by now, I like beets. A lot. They’re beautiful, delicious, healthy, and versatile. Even their greens are beautiful, delicious, healthy, and versatile. When sold alone, beet greens are known as Swiss Chard. An aside – a variety of Swiss Chard, called Rainbow Chard, is particularly lovely. As the name implies, it varies in color from yellow to green to pink, and maintains its color through cooking, adding flair to dishes.
Alright. On to the recipe at hand.

I had two beets leftover from the pickled beets and eggs (previous post), so I decided to use them with the greens of one bunch of beets (as sold). The beets were boiled and peeled already, so they just needed a bit more cooking.
I started with a couple tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, adding a quarter of an onion, cut into slivers, a third of a shallot, and a large clove of garlic. After two minutes, I added two beets cut in sixths, rosemary, black pepper, and salt. I cooked the beets an additional five minutes, then added the greens, cut into manageable pieces, a splash of tamari, and a few tablespoons of whiskey. Once the greens have wilted, it’s ready.
My brother’s review: “It’s really damn good.”

05 May, 2011

Eats - Pickled Beets and Eggs

Pickled Beets and Eggs
I started with three large Mason jars and 7 medium beets.
I boiled the beets about 30 minutes, then plunged them into ice water to remove the skin, quartered them, and divided the portions between each of the jars. I also diced 1 large shallot and sliced 1/2 red onion, dividing them between the jars and adding sprigs of rosemary to each.  For the brine:
2.5 c. Cider vinegar
.5 c red wine vinegar
black pepper
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
tbsp mustard ground
2 tsp allspice
Then I added equal parts of brine to each jar, capped them, and put them in the refrigerator for two days.  On the second day, I boiled 9 eggs, peeled them, and put three in each jar, capping the jars and returning them to the fridge for four more days. 

02 May, 2011

Eats - Flourless Chocolate Cake

It didn't last long....
I was making dinner with a friend and decided to surprise him with dessert. I mostly followed this recipe, except I didn't bother with the double boiler. A very brief time in the microwave (a minute) and a lot of stirring was sufficient to melt everything smoothly.  And I used turbinado sugar instead of refined sugar. Also, it suggests some sorbet be served with it, but I just went with sliced strawberries, and I think it was a wise choice. Also, the recipe calls for an 8 inch pan, but I only had a 9 inch pan. To compensate, I baked it only 22 minutes instead of 25, and I actually really liked how thin it was.

19 April, 2011

Eats - Pittas and "Turkish" Salad

Dough for pittas rising
These recipes came from my friend, Uri, and can be found on his blog Food All Over.
Pitta dough
Peppers and garlic for "Turkish" salad

Veggies roasting

11 April, 2011

Eats - Spicy Lentils with Yogurt and Cinnamon Raisin Rice

The spicy lentils are from a recipe I've adapted from the Hot Spicy Lentils recipe in the Very Vegetarian Cookbook.
Spicy Lentils and Yogurt and Cinnamon Raisin Rice, Fresh Spinach, and Pitta with "Turkish Salad."
The recipe calls for 
3/4 cup red lentils (I did not have red lentils, I used plain ol' lentils)
4 tsp polyunsaturated oil (I used canola oil)
1 red onion (I used 3/4 of a white onion)
2 garlic cloves (I used 5)
1/4 tsp ground cumin (I used more like 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp ground coriander
(and I add a few tsp of curry powder as well)
1 red chile (I used 2 jalapeƱos)
3 3/4 cups vegetable broth
Juice and grated rind of 1 lime (I don't do this)
Ground black pepper

The recipe continues (and I follow most of these directions):

31 March, 2011

Thrifts - Vintage copper coffee/tea pot

Gift from my little bro.

I've been expanding my collection of copper in my kitchen. It's so beautiful.

23 March, 2011

Eats - The best tomato soup Ty had ever eaten

Tomato soup
I started the soup with about 9 medium-sized tomatoes.
Nine tomatoes and a red bell pepper
In order to peel tomatoes, first wash the tomatoes and remove stems.  Next, bring some water to a boil and start an ice bath. If you notch the peel, it will have an even easier time coming off.
Washing the fruit

20 March, 2011

Responses - The copper pepper mill

My copper pepper mill post received some attention. I was told it was probably actually a coffee mill. So I researched it.  This is what I came up with:

For centuries these hand made mills have been used to grind pepper, coffee, cinnamon and many other dry botanicals.
When you acquire an Atlas mill you are actually getting a piece of Greek history. These mills are named after the Greek gods, which were the embodiment of strength and beauty during the classical Greek period.
Manufactured in Greece in copper by Atlas, the traditional style grinds into a removable cup at the base. May be used to grind other spices.


16 March, 2011

Thrifts - Vintage egg beater

I'd been on the hunt for one of these for awhile. I'd tried to buy one new, but it was a total piece of junk. My mom and aunt managed to find me one. Super cool :) I can't wait to use it!
p.s. I'm looking for an egg slicer. I had one, but the plastic broke finally (It's probably from the 50's...and I used it a lot). If anyone sees one around town, let me know.

Eats - Spicy Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry (Supper Club!)

So there's only one picture of this...and I took it with my cell phone...I apologize.

But anyway, it was REALLY FRIGGIN GOOD, so I wanted to share. Immediately.

This was my contribution to a friend's weekly pitch-in tonight. Or last night, as it's now passing midnight.

There's a local restaurant that makes a killer shrimp Pad Khing (#84, or Padd King on their menu), and when I heard the hostess was making yellow curry, I made up my mind to figure this dish out.

14 March, 2011

Thrifts - Greek Pepper Mill (Copper)

I eyed this at Midland Antique Mall for months...finally a friend took pity on me and bought it for Christmas. I'm completely in love with it. It's definitely among my favorite things.

The grinder is in the top half, and the bottom half catches the pepper and is removable.  The engraving reads "Atlas Pepper Mill Imports - Made in Greece."

Eats and Thrifts: My amazing vintage China serving up some...shrimp, manchego, and mushroom ravioli with beets and grape tomatoes; Rustic Italian Bread, Vanilla Ice Cream with Raspberry Compote

For the bread, I used this recipe.  It was really simple, very few ingredients, and quite tasty.
Rustic Italian Bread with an egg glaze
I don't recommend the egg glaze, for reasons I'm sure you can see....It just didn't look right on it, and definitely takes away from it's "rustic" appeal.

Cooking the Mushrooms

06 March, 2011

A note about tamari

I realize I use tamari in many of my dishes, so I thought I'd share a tidbit about it. Most of us are familiar with the basic tastes - bitter, sweet, salty, and sour - but relatively recently umami was added as the fifth. Umami is a Japanese concept, and I've heard it described as "yummy," or according to this article, "savory."  Soy sauces, which include tamari, are considered to be foods rich in umami. (So are tomatoes, and I made a super tasty tomato soup tonight - to be blogged later.) So even if a meal may not seem like something soy sauce would belong in, tamari may serve to increase the *yumminess* of the dish.

04 March, 2011

Eats - Fried daikon root with mushroom gravy, swordfish, and sweet potato

I first marinated the swordfish for about 30 minutes in orange juice and tamari, with a couple cloves of garlic rubbed into it.
Fried daikon root with mushroom gravy, grilled swordfish, and baked sweet potato
I sliced the daikon root, heated a few tablespoons of canola oil in a pan, and fried the daikon root for about 5 minutes per side, dusting it with paprika.
Frying the daikon root

02 March, 2011

Eats - Off-the-cuff mushroom soup with grilled peanut butter and honey

I didn't manage to use all the portobellos that I over-bought, so on to meal three....
I wasn't trying to make much mushroom soup, just make it tasty.  Sauteed half a white onion in butter.
Chopped two portobellos and splashed a tablespoon of tamari over the mushrooms and let them sit while the onions brown.

22 February, 2011

Eats - Kimchi Stew with Daikon Root and Shitake Mushrooms

I was recently given the opportunity to test a recipe for a cookbook that is in the works. It was a vegetarian Korean stew with daikon  root and shitake and tofu and kimchi. Quite delightful. While I can't share the recipe, I can share the pictures.
I did not make the sushi this time, and it wasn't Korean sushi. Just some tuna from Fresh Market, but it made for a nice pairing.
And now I have a whole lot of daikon root left. Anyone have any suggestions for it's use?
Many thanks to Michael Natkin at herbivoracious.com for allowing me to review this delicious recipe. Perhaps he will post the recipe soon on his blog, and I can provide the link.