Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New York Omelette

Hello from New York and from a long hiatus! 

It's been another crazy couple of months, filled with new spaces and new adventures. My last post in January was supposed to break my holiday hiatus but then I don't know what happened. The blogging stopped. Now here I am, mostly settled in New York, and restarting anew! 

On my own again I had to rediscover what I like to eat. If there's any essential that is always in my fridge, it's eggs. I can never go wrong with eggs. Even my last posted meal was eggs. Even when I do go wrong with eggs, I succeed! 

For example - I decided the other morning to make an omelette. Instead of turning into a beautiful fluffy creation it wound up a scrambled mess. It was a delicious mess, but it was a mess nonetheless - and not an omelette either. 

So this time I Googled a simple omelette recipe and found one on Epicurious. It was easy to follow and turned out some great results. I was even able to pull off the magic "roll onto the plate from the pan" trick. 

The secret, I think, is coating the pan with butter and having a little patience to let the eggs cook. 


I filled the omelette with sweet onion, tomatoes and broccoli and sprinkled it with Wisconsin white cheddar. 


It was so delicious and too big to eat in one sitting!

I will definitely use this recipe again.

What do you like in your omelettes?

(It's good to be back!)

Happy munching!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

So Fancy for my French Friends


Happy New Year!

Things got a little crazy around the holidays, so I took a break from blogging. Now I'm cooking for me and my fellow volunteer, Isadora, so it's time to get back to the blog.

This dish is the kind of simple thing that I love to cook and eat. It was so easy! Saute onions and add greens, make wells for the eggs, crack in the eggs, cover and cook for 4-7 minutes until they're done to your liking. Then eat!


The recipe was from an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe, which makes me feel very fancy! 


It's a very pretty and fresh looking meal. We ate it with baguette and butter, naturally. The only thing missing was mimosas! 

I'll definitely be making this again. Who knew I liked over-easy eggs? 

How do you like your eggs? (We watched Runaway Bride afterwards, and I always think of eggs because Maggie finally discovers that she likes hers Benedict Arnold style.) 

Happy Munching! 


Friday, December 19, 2014

A Thanksgiving Retrospective... Remembering what the season's really about

Please forgive me in advance - I may get a little soap-box-y in this post. 

I got a part time job at Marshalls for the Christmas season. After a few weeks of training where I was in multiple departments, mostly moving displays from one part of the store to another, they settled on having me greet customers as they came into the store. I love it - and I love that the store does it. Many folks that come in aren't expecting to be greeted and appreciate the time we take to say hello, make them feel welcome, help them find things, and assist them in getting their packages to their cars. Some people think I'm a mannequin, or think I'm giving out free stuff, or even think I'm a representative of some other company promoting something, but the majority smile and say hello back to me. But just this week I realized that people are getting cranky. There are more Grinches out there, like the guy taking his mother shopping who says "Well then she doesn't come in" when I tell him that our carts don't go outside for security reasons. (The wheels lock. Cheshire is the last Marshalls in the state that doesn't have carts like this.) She needed a cart to help her walk, which we totally understand. When she doesn't find anything he says, "Don't shop here anymore." Or the woman who says, "These clothes are ugly! The sweaters are ugly! My daughter's wardrobe is 10 times nicer - I'm going to West Farms Mall -" as she's heading out the door. These folks are still the minority, but I'm worried that the closer we get to Christmas, the crankier people will be. 

And that's unfortunate. Yesterday, one woman came in and said, "I'm still in the spirit!" and I knew she meant the Christmas spirit. Thank you, lady! Thank you for appreciating what the spirit actually means! It means being nice and smiling and appreciating what you have and the people you love. I don't think you need to show your love by showering presents on people. ("The avarice never ends!" says Jim Carrey's Grinch. It really never does. I hope it doesn't get worse each year.) 

So for today's post I am looking back at what I cooked on Thanksgiving to remind myself and my readers (whom I love - thank you!) that the winter holiday season is about giving thanks. Presents are just the icing on the cake. What matters to me is having my family around, having a home to stay warm in, and having friends to exchange holiday greetings with. Oh yeah - and lots of delicious food, of course. 

In addition to way too many pies and the usual salad (Julia Child's Caesar), I made a bacon cranberry orange chutney. It tasted just as good as it sounds. The recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.



Mmmm bacon. 

The chutney paired very well with the turkey. Our plate this Thanksgiving was a true picture of bounty: hunks of turkey, mashed potatoes pooled with gravy, cornbread stuffing, brussel sprouts, and salad. My mouth waters just thinking about it. 

I made another pumpkin pie (and still have bags of frozen pumpkin in the freezer). This one was from Faith Middleton's Food Schmooze and had a walnut brown sugar topping. 


I used a pre-made Pillsbury crust.


There was so much dessert but we stuffed ourselves, as tradition demands. My aunt made a triple chocolate cheesecake that was one of her best. She loves making cheesecakes, so much so that one year we got her the Philadelphia Cream Cheese book of like 50 cheesecake recipes. She loves trying new ones. This year's was definitely a win.


This holiday season, please try to remember what it's really about. The season is about celebrating what brings light to our lives: friends, family, and literal daylight. Things are great if you have the means, but money can't buy love. Treasure the people in your life. Share experiences instead of things. Don't let Christmas trample all the other holidays - embrace and acknowledge other traditions and everyone will be happier. 

To my readers: I am so thankful for you. Thank you for going on this journey with me. You keep me disciplined to write and I am so grateful for that. 

Be delicious this season! 

Happy munching! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Giving Thanks for Pie

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a great holiday with lots of amazing food, good people, and some snow depending on where you are. We had some lovely flurries on Thanksgiving and a ground-covering snow the day before. The weekend before I went to a Friendsgiving party, the first I'd ever been to. It's a really fun idea: a gathering where you can be with friends and girlfriends/boyfriends - and have twice the turkey. For the occasion I made individual pumpkin pies. There was so much food that they didn't get eaten at dinner, but I was able to send them home with folks and with my mom when she went into work. 

Thanks to AllRecipes.com for the recipe! 

It calls for vanilla wafers but many people who commented recommended gingersnap cookies instead. The vanilla wafers got too soggy. I thought the graham crackers would be yummier than vanilla wafers and I was right!   



I used dark corn syrup instead of Karo Lite like the recipe suggested and it turned out just fine.


It took a lot longer than 25 minutes for the pies to set. It was probably closer to an hour. I kept putting it back in for 10-minute intervals.


The little pies were beautiful. Oddly though, the recipe was only supposed to make 18 - I had enough filling left over to make a whole pie! 

Instead of using the pre-made crust I had in the freezer, I used a bunch of the leftover ginger snaps! 



I found a recipe on Food.com and made the crust using gingersnaps, Mexican vanilla, butter, and sugar. I don't think I pressed it quite as much as I should have, but it came out pretty good.


Like with the individual pumpkin pies, no one cut into the pie because there was just too much other delicious food. When we were all playing games and the party was winding down, we had some tiny slices and it was good.


I still have so much pumpkin in my freezer... what to do, what to do?

Happy holidays to you and yours! (And happy munching!)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bread Crumbs, Pumpkin Soup and Carrot Salad

I've had a loaf of bread in the freezer for awhile and realized after a bit that it wasn't toasting very well. The piece of toast would fall apart and make a ridiculous mess in the toaster. The first recipe I was looking into to make my Cinderella pumpkin into pumpkin soup called for bread crumbs so I decided to make those. They came out really well and very tasty, no salt necessary. 

All I did was process the bread and bake the crumbs in the oven at 350. Ta da! 


The first pumpkin soup-in-a-pumpkin recipe called for dry white wine, so I found another recipe by Alton Brown. Turns out my pumpkin was a little small and the soup was heavy on onion and garlic, but I liked it.


The pumpkin, I think, is a Cinderella. It's a beautiful pink color with lovely orange flesh. 


When I added the apple, chicken soup, onions, and milk, the pumpkin was about to overflow. But the real problems didn't start until I put stuff in the oven.


It looks nice, right?


My mom's oven, though, is rather temperamental. You set it to 250 and it jumps up to 350. But if you want it to go above 350, you set it to 300 and it doesn't heat any higher! So I had the pumpkin in for almost 2 hours and when I pulled it out, the soup was hot but the pumpkin flesh was not cooked.

But look at how pretty it is with Swiss cheese and sage!


By the time I got it out of the oven, Mom and I had to chow down before going to chorus. She didn't like it because it had too much onion and garlic, but I liked it okay. I even ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. 


Because I needed more than just that soup, I made my mom's carrot salad. I remember it being sweet with a vinegar bite. I found a recipe with mayonnaise, sugar and raisins. I added apple cider vinegar to the last bits of mayo in our fridge and shook it up with some sugar. It tasted exactly like what I was looking for. I can't remember where I got the basic recipe but if you Google "carrot salad" you're sure to find something.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

So. Much. Pumpkin.

Recently I read an article about boycotting Christmas, and even though I do like the holiday, I like it in its place - after Thanksgiving, WAY after Halloween, and ending before New Years. The prospect of the Christmas-consumer season extending into January scares me. (Yes, I know about January 6 and Three Kings Day, but that should be it. Gift receipts accepted until the end of January? Really? If you didn't like it Christmas morning, just get rid of it. )  

But I digress. My point is that in the article there is an urge for folks to keep their Halloween pumpkins on their front stoops late into November as a way to hold onto fall. So I still have a whole 35 pound pumpkin on my front porch. Eventually I'll carve it and maybe roast it, but not until after I've used up all the other pumpkin I've already roasted. (Cue maniacal laughter. I'll have pumpkin puree for MONTHS.) 


After the jack-o-lanterns began sinking into themselves, I cut them up and roasted them. For days. Literally. I had the oven on all day, just roasting pumpkin pieces in batches. 


But they made the house smell lovely and tasted amazing, especially the yummy sweet juice that leaked onto the aluminum foil. Canned pumpkin simply can't compete. 


Then I cut off the skin, picked up a potato masher and went to town.

Some of the puree went into the freezer, some went into the fridge. I experimented with adding raw pumpkin cubes to NutriBullet smoothies, but stopped when I realized that my gut could not handle it. Now I'm not even sure if I can really eat pumpkin, which is highly unfortunate considering how much I have. I seem to handle the pumpkin pancakes okay, so maybe I'll be all right in small doses.


Pumpkin nutmeg smoothies were so good in theory! 

What pumpkin dishes will you be serving up this Thanksgiving? 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Spanish Rice, aka What to do with Leftover Rice

Once again I've been a very bad blogger. It's been almost three weeks since my last blog and I've been cooking since then; just haven't made myself sit down and write. But today I've got pumpkins roasting in the oven and lots of time to stay home and play catch-up. 

During my second to last day at Farmer Joe's (waah), we had Chinese food for lunch. Aaron wanted the leftover Chinese but not the rice because she doesn't like rice, so I took it home. I thus had three cartons of rice, one brown and two white. With no idea what to cook for dinner, I asked Mom for some advice. She said that her mom, my grandma Bee, used to make huge quantities of rice and throw in bacon, canned tomatoes, and whatever else she had in the fridge to feed her husband and five kids. Rice, like oatmeal, is stick-to-the-ribs food and relatively cheap, so it's great for big families. Because this dish is my grandma's, and an iteration of canned tomatoes and rice was a staple of my mom's when she lived alone, this post may be the closest I've come to the purpose of this blog in awhile. 


All you have to do is heat the rice in a skillet while making the bacon. I decided to use one of those microwaved bacon doohickeys (that's how that's spelled - I learned something today!), but you could also make the bacon in the oven. 


Add a can of diced or chopped or stewed (or fresh chopped) tomatoes and stir. You may need to add extra liquid but we didn't and it was fine.


Then break the bacon into little bits and mix in with the rice.


It's a simple, pretty dish with a lot of flavor. You shouldn't need extra salt and you can add pepper or garlic or basil; whatever floats your boat. The dish also lasts well in the fridge if you don't eat it all at once.

You can also make it with fresh rice, but I think that defeats the purpose a little bit. Part of the main idea is to use up what you've got.

What would you put in this dish?

Happy munching!