May 21, 2017
Cocktails and Mocktails for May Celebrations
Showers and celebrations with friends abound this time of year. Show us your healthy, colorful drink concoctions for festivities like bridal showers and graduation celebrations.
I have been making this sangria for over 40 years. Even today, except for swapping the white wine with Prosecco, it's the same recipe and I would not change a thing.
For those of you lucky enough to have watched The Frugal Gourmet, you might remember this recipe. Could make this in my sleep.
The beauty is it can be a mocktail or a cocktail. The simple swap of a good white grape juice, orange syrup and club soda along with the fruits, make this the perfect non-alcoholic drink to cool you down in the middle of the summer.
For those of you who want a light, easy and fruity drink, this is for you.
inspiration from Jeff Smith (the Frugal Gourmet)
* 1 bottle Prosecco or 3 cups white grape juice & 1 cup club soda
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1/4 cup triple sec (or orange syrup)
* 1 tablespoon brandy
* 1/2 orange, sliced
* 1/2 lime and lemon, sliced
* Handful grapes, optional
Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours for optimal flavor.
April 24, 2017
I am totally intrigued with European spice blends.
If you are like me and want to bump up the volume on your food you need to play with your spices, and that means going back to school and familiarize yourself on the history of spices and the Spice Trail.
No question that French Onion Soup reigns supreme in this house, so when I saw this recipe for Persian Onion Soup, I made a copy and tucked it into my Wish List folder.
Before the heat of summer arrives, there are still a few Souper Monday's ahead and today was THE day I finally pulled out that recipe.
One of those 5+ spice wonders, it was on the table in under an hour. I loved the warmth of the traditional Middle Eastern spices and the sweetness of the caramelized onions.
The seal on the deal was the eggs poached into the soup.
OMG, we love Eggs in Purgatory in this house so what could possibly not be a no-brainer than this technique. Imagine the flavor the whites will absorb from all those warming exotic spices.
Super easy to make and including the time it takes for the caramelizing of the onions, can be on the table in under an hour. Plan ahead and cook the onions earlier in the week. Better yet, make a big batch in your slow cooker, measure portions and freeze them in zippy bags.
The turmeric stains everything a bright orange color and that includes the eggs. If you would prefer white eggs, poach them in a separate pot.
I sauteed escarole to add a bitter element along with green power.
Persian Onion Soup with Poached Eggs
makes 2 bowls
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 4 small yellow onions (around 400g), finely sliced
* 1 tablespoon corn starch
* 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon dried mint\
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 eggs, room temperature
* Salt & pepper to taste
* Chopped parsley for garnish, optional
(if you do not want to buy bottles of each spice, 2 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite curry will do just fine)
1. Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy stockpot.
Add the onions and saute on low, stirring every 10-15 minutes until the onions are tender and golden (about 35 minutes).
2. Add the corn starch to the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spices, stirring to combine and then the stock. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and add the lemon juice and honey.
3. Season to taste, with the salt & pepper.
4. Right before serving bring the soup to a simmer and add the eggs, one at a time at different sides of the pot.
5. Cover the pot and cook for a few minutes. The whites should be firm and the yolk a pale yellow.
Remember, they will continue to cook until you serve them up.
I sliced a baguette for dipping in the broth.
March 24, 2017
Every Fall my local small chain Italian restaurant puts my favorite pasta dinner back on the menu.
What I thought was butternut squash stuffed large tortellini (called tortilacci) actually turned out to be pasta stuffed with a basic cheese mixture who's sauce was butter & spiced roasted cubes of butternut squash. Still very good but in the back of my mind I made a mental note to make homemade squash stuffed pasta.
While checking out my daily Pinterest recommendations, I spotted a pin for Butternut Squash Cannelloni with Walnut Sage Cream Sauce from Martha. I immediately pinned it.
I just had to make this yesterday.
Before I cook a recipe, I checkout the ingredients and then I hit the reviews. If the reviews are not favorable but just nit-picky and I could adjust easily, it goes on my menu & the shopping list.
I usually don't print the recipe until right before I start the cooking process because I learned the hard way when it took me a full week to file less than half.
Two things I did change. I added Parmesan to the top right before baking and hit the broil for some crunch.
While the Nudge would never pick this in a restaurant, he has become more tolerant of my vegetable main meals. Heck, when he has lunch out, he's been known to order the avocado eggrolls!
This was a thumbs up! Very rich and filling. Would I make it again. Yes, most certainly but the next time I would save a few steps and use the filling for jumbo shells.
Butternut Squash Cannelloni
makes 6 cannelloni
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1 to 1/2 pound butternut squash meat, 1" pieces
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon cumin
* 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
* 2 cups chopped spinach, chard or other greens
* 2 tablespoons EVOO
* 6 sheets no-boil lasagna sheets
* 1 teaspoon dried sage
1. Heat 2 tablespoon butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
Add onion & squash and saute for 5 minutes, flip over and repeat 2x more.
2. Add 1/2 cup water, a lid and steam for 3 minutes or until squash is soft. Remove the lid and continue simmering until the water is almost gone.
3. Sprinkle spices (up to pepper) over squash and mash mixture. Transfer to a bowl. When cool, stir in ricotta and Parmesan.
4. Add remaining tablespoon butter to a saute pan and cook greens until wilted and liquid has evaporated. Season with salt & pepper. Cool and add to cheese mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. Heat water to a boil & add a tablespoon of salt. Cook pasta for 6 minutes, drain and lay the pasta on a cookie sheet that has been drizzled with olive oil.
6. To assemble the cannelloni: Lay a pasta sheet on a wooden board. Spoon three tablespoons of cheese mixture down the middle, lengthwise <---------------->. Add 1/6th of the greens mixture over the cheese and fold the top part of the pasta towards you, pat down to adhere and roll again, seam side down.---------------->
7. Spoon half the sauce into a 9x13" casserole pan. Lay the rolled cannelloni seam side down, side by side. Spoon remaining sauce over cannelloni and bake immediately in preheated 425° oven or cover and refrigerate.
8. Right before baking, sprinkle additional Parmesan on top (optional).
8. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and browned around the edges.
Sage-Walnut Cream Sauce
makes 2 cups
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons AP flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 1 tablespoon ground sage
* Salt & pepper
* 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
* pinch of nutmeg
1. Heat the butter in a a large saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, add flour and whisk until all the lumps are gone. Add milk, cream & wine to butter/flour mixture and simmer on low, whisking continuously until mixture is free of lumps. Add walnuts & nutmeg to sauce and salt & pepper to taste.