Saturday, October 25, 2008


I can't sleep. Perhaps it's because I'm still excited about the frittata I made for dinner.

Let me start off by saying that this is my first frittata and I was a bit worried. I mean, think of all the things that could go wrong (eggs that don't set, uneven cooking - well, okay, those are the only two I can think of). But I was pleased with the results! I mostly made this as a way to use up some of the summer sausage I got in my meat bag from natural farms, but it might become a staple around here.


1/2 pound beef summer sausage, chopped
1 cup diced potatoes (I had a couple little purple ones), partially baked and seasoned with salt and pepper
about 5 cups spinach (mine was from Bootstrap Farm)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fat shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp butter
4 ounces cheese (I had munster)
12 eggs (or the equivalent in egg substitute, or a mix of both)
3 tablespoons milk


1.) Turn on broiler and set to 425 degrees. In a 12-inch nonstick oven-safe skillet cook the sausage over medium heat until it coats the pan with a bit o' grease.
2.) Add onion, shallot and garlic and cook until the onions are soft. Add potatoes and cook another few minutes.
3.) Tear up the spinach and place on top of the onions/sausage/potatoes along with the butter. Season with salt, cover and cook a few minutes (until wilted).4.) Whisk together the eggs, milk and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and add the eggs to the pan. Cook, stirring the eggs, until about half done.

5.) Once the eggs are half done, smooth out the surface of the eggs and cook about 2 minutes so the bottom of the frittata can firm up (don't stir!).

6.) Sprinkle cheese over top of frittata (or stick the slices on there, like I did) and stick it under the broiler. Cook until the top of the frittata is nice and golden brown. Slice and eat!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pecan Caramel Rolls

Today I made these:Ain't they purdy?

I used the sweet dough recipe from Danielle's Tangerine Rolls (found here). I made a half-batch and used whole wheat flour and upped the cinnamon.

Other ingredients:
brown sugar
half n half (or cream or milk, I guess)

Of course for caramel rolls you need caramel! I wanted to get that caramel-covered effect on top of the rolls. This step was dangerous because I now know how easy it is to make delicious caramel sauce in just a few minutes. This was about 2 tablespoons butter + 4ish tablespoons brown sugar (maybe more) + salt + a little vanilla and then a bit of half and half to thin it out.
I'm not gonna lie, I cut up an apple just so I had an excuse to eat some of this delicious, delicious caramel.

I was worried about the caramel sticking to the pan, so I devised this elaborate method for prepping my little 6-inch cake pan (waxed paper circle and strips along the sides - I coated the pan with butter first for good measure).

After rolling the dough out, I sprinkled it with about 3 tablespoons of butter in small cubes, a hefty amount of brown sugar (1/4-1/3 cup or so?), about the same amount of pecans, maybe at tablespoon of cinnamon and a little nutmeg. It was super easy to roll up and slice (a knife worked fine).

I covered the bottom of the pan with pecans and poured the caramel sauce over top. Then I stuck the rolls on top and let them rise again (they got big!). Then I cooked them for about 25 minutes at 375 degrees. I was glad that the pan liner extended beyond the pan because the rolls got quite tall.They were easy to flip out of the pan and clean up was simple - just peel off the paper!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Roasted Chicken

I make a lot of whole chickens because they are relatively cheap and always tasty.

Here is a method (adapted from Cook's Illustrated) that is fool-proof.

You need:
-A whole chicken (around 3 pounds)
-2 tbsp olive oil
-A deep skillet that can go stove top to oven
-Some good kitchen shears
-a small knife

1.) Wash the chicken and pat dry. Pre-heat oven to 375.
2.) Remove backbone using kitchen shears (use your strength!).
3.) Remove the ribs with a knife (if you want).
4.) Press down to flatten the bird.
5.) Season bird liberally with salt and pepper.
5.) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium/medium-high heat.
6.) Stick the chicken in the skillet, skin side down and brown for 5-10 minutes (until the skin is golden brown). Stick the backbone in there too, and reserve for stock.
7.) Stick the skillet in the oven.
8.) After 20 minutes, flip bird over (so it is skin side up).
9.) Cook about 20 more minutes, or until the temp is right.
10.) Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving

Of course, there tons of ways to fancy this up. But really, you don't need to.

Cran-Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is the ultimate fall dessert. It's warm and full of apples - what says fall more clearly than that? Best of all, this dessert is so easy to make (good for those too lazy to make pie crust!). I had some apples in the fridge that were a bit too mealy to eat as-is (now that it is Honeycrisp season I have little patience for mealy apples), so I felt the time was "ripe"!

Cran-Apple Crisp

So, this one was easy to wing. I had some dried cranberries leftover so I threw some in to make the filling more interesting. The "crisp" for this recipe is more crumby than crispy, but I like it that way. It makes a small batch, 4 small servings worth.

For the filling-
4 small apples, cored and sliced
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tbsp butter

For the topping-
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup oats
2 1/2 tbsp butter (very cold, cut in small cubes)


1.) Butter a 6-inch round cake pan (or similarly sized dish). Toss apples and cranberries with brown sugar in the pan.

2.) Cut butter into small pieces and mix in. Season with cinnamon and nutmeg (like 1/4 tspn of nutmeg and 1/2 tspn of cinnamon?)

3.) In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, sugar and oats and mix well. Season with cinnamon/nutmeg if desired.

4.) Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

5.) Top apples with crumb topping. Sort of push it down into the apples. Sprinkle with nuts (I used pecans) if desired (alternatively you could mix nuts into the filling or topping itself).

6.) Bake in a 350 degree oven about 25-30 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is lightly browned.

7.) Serve with ice cream (this is a required step!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Post #4 for Today...

So, I guess Sunday is for food blog posting. I made one of my favorites for dinner, though, so I thought I should post it while I had time!

Lamb with Spicy Tomato Gravy

I guess that's a proper name for this dish. We haven't had lamb in awhile because the people we usually buy it from were showing their lambs at the fair. Well, now that the fair is over...that's no longer a problem. She didn't have much yesterday, so we got kabob meat instead of the ground lamb or stew meat we usually get. It was a little bit fattier than the other cuts but we dealt.

1 pound lamb kabob meat
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes (2 large), halved and sliced
2 tbsps flour (whole wheat is fine)
1 cup chicken (or veggie) stock
1-2 tbsps cream
salt, pepper and cayenne

1.) Toss chunks of lamb with flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown over high heat (it doesn't need to cook through yet), remove from pan.
2.) Add onion and garlic and cook until browned but still firm.
3.) Add tomatoes. Cook about 2 minutes.
4.) Add meat back to the pan, cover with stock and cover pan. Simmer until tomatoes completely break down and meat is tender. About 20 minutes.
5.) Uncover and allow some of the liquid to evaporate (until it is a nice sauce consistency).
6.) Add cayenne to taste.
7.) Add a splash of cream (1-2 tablespoons)
8.) Cook a little longer until desired consistency.

I usually serve this over mashed potatoes. Oh man, so good! But, you should probably eat a salad with it...

Something lighter...

I do get stuck in cooking ruts. I do the same stuff over and over: curry, lasagna, roasted chicken, stir fry, repeat. Well, a few weeks ago Arlo went solo to the farmer's market and came back with some tuna steaks (so not local). I thought these offered the perfect opportunity to do something a little different so I decided to go for a tropical feel and make some honey-soy tuna steaks with mango salsa and tostones.

Tostones are popular in Cuban cooking and are twice-fried plantains. I had one yellow plantain and one green plantain so decided to use both to explore the contrast between the sweeter, banana-like yellow fruit and its starchy, green companion.

Honey-Soy Tuna Steaks

2 Tuna steaks
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger

1.) Marinate the steaks in the other ingredients for at least 30 minutes.

2) Grill/cook steaks until desired done-ness. I went for pretty rare because that's what Arlo likes.
Mango Salsa

I guess mango salsa is kind of boring, but it went quite well with the tuna and the tostones.

1 ripe mango
1 red tomato
1 orange tomato
1 red bell pepper
1 white bell pepper
3 green onions (whites only)
juice of 1 orange
1 spicy red/orange/yellow pepper (habanero works, I used a citrus-y pepper that was EXTREMELY hot. yikes)Don't let this pepper's friendly appearance fool you...

1.) Chop everything (make sure the spicy pepper is finely chopped!) and mix together all ingredients. Salt to taste.


Peeling the green plantain was kind of a pain, so be prepared. You kind of need to cut it off because it sticks to the flesh.

olive oil

1.) Cut plantains in about 1 inch slices
2.) Fry in olive oil until slightly brown(These are the green plantains pre-smashing and the yellow plantains post-smashing)

3.) Remove from oil and smash flat with a fork (or press if you have one)
4.) Re-fry until crispy. Season with salt.

The green plantains were very good. Nice and crisp texture with a potato-chip/banana-like taste. The yellow plantains stayed pretty mushy (not enough starch in them, I guess) but were still pretty tasty. These were also fun to make! Keep in mind that the green plantains (with their high starch content) take longer to cook.

My camera ran out of batteries at this point so no pictures of it all together!

Pasta+Cheese, Another Variety

So I realize my last post was about alfredo. This will be the Amer'kin version: Mac and Cheese.

I made this a few weeks ago with leftover cheese from our "Wine and (Grilled) Cheese" party.

Mac 'n Cheese with a Kick!
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (whole wheat is fine)
1 1/2 cup skim milk (or whole, or - heaven forbid - cream, if that is how you roll).
1 1/2 cups cheese (I used white and yellow cheddar and some gouda)
4 cups cooked rotini (or whatever chunky pasta you like - whole wheat is good)
1 standard piece of bread worth of bread crumbs, toasted
cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste

1.) Make a roux by melting the butter and whisking in the flour. Keep the heat on low. You want the roux to brown but not burn - this deepens the flavor of the sauce and helps it thicken.

2.) Whisk in the milk and heat through.

3.) Whisk in cheese a little at a time (reserving 1/2 cup) until melted.

4.) Simmer sauce until it thickly coats the back of a spoon.

5.) Season sauce with salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper. Season bread crumbs with the same.6.) Pour pasta into baking dish (I think mine was about 2 quarts round). Add sauce and stir. Stir in reserved cheese and top with bread crumbs.

7.) Bake at 350ish until the top is brown and sides are getting crunchy!

Possible additions: This would be good with chicken or veggies mixed in so be creative.