Monday, August 29, 2016

Two Orzo Salads...and One Rice Salad - that are REALLY Good!

Our wonderful Goddaughter, Hailey, had a combined 25th birthday party and "We're leaving the East Coast and Moving to San Francisco" party this past Saturday night for around 70 of her and her Peter's nearest and dearest folks. 
Needless to say, her mom and all of us were all knee-deep in food preparation! While Jules (and daughters Hailey & Lauren) took care of the protein side of the meal, my crew took care of the salads! Daughter Brynnly, old nanny Sheila (who has been in the family for around 30 years now), other-daughter Kat and I rocked out 4 salads! I made the top roasted veggie salad, Sheila made the lemony orzo salad with cucumber and feta, Brynnly and I made the panzanella salad (photos were horrid, not going there!) and we all made the rice & veggie salad. Nice thing about all of these is they can be changed to make bigger and/or smaller amounts to fit the number of folks you're feeding. 

The Throw 'n Go:

orzo w/roasted veggies, feta and pine nuts
2 eggplants, cut into 1" cubes
1 each green, orange and yellow peppers, cut into 1" cubes
2 red peppers, cut into 1" cubes
1 large red onion, cut into 1" cubes
4 garlic cloves, diced
2 lbs. orzo, cooked to perfection, and drained
1 lb. block of feta, chuncked
more crumbled feta to taste
1/2 C. or so toasted pine nuts
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
handful of fresh basil leaves, julienned
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425º.
Place all veggies in a  bowl and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread over 1 or 2 cookie sheets and put in the oven. Roast for around 40 or so minutes, until veggies are well and done.  In a large bowl, combine the cooked orzo and veggies. Just before serving, stir in the feta chunks, pine nuts and basil. Dress the salad with lemon juice and olive oil. Stir to mix, taste to correct seasonings.
Serve at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Sarah Leah Chase)


orzo w/cucumbers, lemon zest and feta


1 lb. orzo, cooked and drained, al dente
olive oil to lightly coat the pasta
juice and zest of 1 to 2 lemons, your choice
1 large English cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 - 1 C. or so crumbled feta cheese
handful fresh mint, chopped (optional)
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste


Toss cooked pasta with the rest of the ingredients. Taste and correct seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

Original recipe from Fork Knife Swoon.
rice & veggie salad

4 C. cooked and still warm Basmti rice
2 recipes (plus more) "Our Favorite Vinaigrette"
1 red pepper, diced
1 orange or yellow pepper, diced (or both)
1 medium red onion, diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 package frozen petite peas, not thawed
handful fresh dill, chopped
handful fresh basil, julienned
handful fresh parsley, chopped

Put warm rice in a big bowl and toss with 1 recipe of "our favorite vinaigrette".  After the rice cools, mix in the veggies and toss with more vinaigrette. Taste and correct for seasonings.

This calls for at least 2 recipes of "Our Favorite Vinaigrette".

"Our Favorite Vinaigrette"
2 T. Dijon mustard
8 T. red wine or balsamic vinegar
2 t. sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 C. or so olive oil

Whisk all together to combine.

Original recipe, tweaked a lot by my sis and I, from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Sheila Lukens and Julee Rosso




As for the Panzanella, that's a recipe in the making....not worth posting....yet!


~~~

till we feast again!

xoabb 



Monday, August 22, 2016

Veggie Drawer Clean-Out Stir-Fry

what you get when you clean out the veggie drawer

Yesterday afternoon (and long into the night) we had a 40th birthday party here at our home for daughter Brynnly's beau, James. Enormous amounts of food were prepared - and completely consumed; there wasn't one container of leftovers, much to our disappointment this morning! Brynn and Kat did the majority of the cooking, from pulled brisket to jambalaya to both tomato and watermelon salads to a bunch of other stuff. And then there was cousin Jules who came over with a big bag of veggies from her house. She had cleaned out her fridge's veggie drawers and decided if we cut all of it up and seasoned well, we could put all in a ginormous (no problem, we have several of them) iron skillet, and then on the outside grill and have a very tasty side dish. And it was said to be very tasty....according to other folks...I never even got a bite of it as it was gone about 3 minutes after it hit the buffet table! (The ultimate compliment!)

The truly throw 'n go: 

Whatever's in your fridge - in Julie's:

zucchini, sliced
yellow squash, sliced
multi-colored carrots, thinly sliced (mandolin) so they'll cook evenly
red & yellow peppers, cut in 1" julienned pieces
shallots, sliced
a lemon zested and the juice squeezed over all
fresh rosemary
fresh thyme
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

grape seed oil to well coat the bottom of your iron skillet

Put all the veggies in the skillet, add the lemon zest and juice, the seasonings and toss to coat. Place on your grill (or your stovetop) and cook, stirring often, until the veggies are crisp done. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve while hot. Since you only use oil, I'm sure this would also be wonderful at room temperature as well. 

~~~

till we feast again!
xoabb


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Focaccia w/Rosemary & Sea-Salt MumBum (with a touch of Goldilocks)

Focaccia w/Rosemary & Sea-Salt MumBum
Our mom, Mary Bumgarner, has the amazing ability to throw together a focaccia or any other type of bread at the drop of a hat. She's been doing this for so long, she doesn't even use recipes or measures  anything anymore. Makes it hard for us, her chillun, to follow in her footsteps! Below is the closest we could get to getting the recipe written down correctly! Mom says focaccia is a much more forgiving recipe to make than traditional bread as amounts can be less exact. The amounts given are mom's best guesstimate. Oh, and mom makes all her focaccia's and breads in her Cuisinart!

The MumBum throw-n-go:

In a 10" round cake pan:
olive oil 1/8" deep - cover the entire pan evenly

In a small bowl, stir:
1 C. tepid water (not over 110º F. - it will kill your yeast) 
1 t. granular yeast
about 1/2 t. or so of sugar to feed the yeast

In bowl of a Cuisinart, w/the plastic blade, combine: 
2 3/4 C. or so bread flour (you can use all-purpose flour)
1 t. kosher or sea salt
generous T. squeeze honey
2 T. or so olive oil (NO MORE than 2 T.!)

coarse ground sea or kosher salt
coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
olive oil. 

You will need to preheat your oven to 425º F just before baking - gotta let that dough rise!
Pulse the Cuisinart mixture to stir stuff up. Pour about 1/2 of your yeast mixture into the Cuisinart bowl. Pulse a few times to mix it. Pour in the rest of the yeast mixture and pulse again to mix off and on to really combine well. The dough should be forming into the ball as you're pulsing and climbing up the sides of the Cuisinart. Open the top of the Cuisinart and touch the dough - if it's really wet dough, add 1 T., and no more than 2 of flour and pulse again, if it too dry (not sticky), add 1 T. and not moore than 2 T. of water. If you touch the dough and it sticks to your finger, it's just right! (Goldilocks anyone?) You don't want the dough too dry or too wet; you want a sticky stick-to-your-finger, but soft dough. Pulse a few more times and the dough should be a dough that cleans the sides of the Cuisinart bowl. Let it rest 5 minutes. Pulse a few more times. (How you're kneading the dough.) 
Put a little bit of flour on your wooden board or counter top. Turn Cuisinart bowl over and let dough fall out - helping with a scraper or your fingers if needed. Once on the board, with floured hands, gather it up, knead a few times, form in a ball and put in a plastic bag to rise. When it's doubled in bulk, turn out of the bag and work it with your fists/hands to form it into a circle that is going to fit your pan. Place in the pan and push out with your fingers until the dough is meeting the edge of your pan. Let it rise again, until it's getting good and bubbly, and bigger than it was. Then spread your fingers apart and make nice deep indentations all over the dough (see above photo). Sprinkle with coarse sea  or kosher salt and fresh  coarsely chopped rosemary. Sprinkle with olive oil so the oil goes down into your finger divots. When it's once again nice and puffy, put in a preheated 425º F. oven and bake for about 35 - 45 minutes, until it's nice and brown and ~puffy~ (see above photo). 
This can be made ahead; let it rise once then put it in a bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for 3 or 4 days. To bake, take it out, let it come to room temperature and bake as indicated above, or roll out and use for a most excellent pizza dough.
I think focaccia is at it's most delicious when served warm from the oven - and no butter needed!

~~~

YUM!

xoabb
'till we eat again!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pizza, Please - Hold the Tomatoes!

white wild mushroom pizza, no tomatoes!
My sis had a taste for white pizza, and as none of us had ever made it before, off to google we went!  I don't know what I thought a white pizza sauce would be, but I never would have guessed it began with a roux! We decided to use a flatbread/pita for the crust so mom wouldn't have to make more pizza crust, and it was almost as good as homemade because the toppings were so good! Our pizza was made with sautéed wild chanterelles and caramelized onions, and we used fresh thyme leaves instead of basil because it goes so well, flavor-wise, with the chantys. (If you don't have access to chanterelles, any other store-bought fresh mushroom will do; just remember to sauté them first.) Sorry for the bad photo, but it was only the next day, right before lunch, that I realized I hadn't taken any photos of it as it was being made! 

The throw 'n go: 

1 - for preparing the toppings
chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned (with a toothbrush, no water) and torn into pieces
onions - cut onion in half length-wise and then cut into thin slices
butter, for sautéing 
(This can be done long before you assemble your pizza - mom and I did all the sautéing in the morning - just take all out of the fridge enough before dinner so they are at room temp.)

2 T. butter (if you need to make more, just use equal parts butter to flour)
2 T. flour
1 C. milk or 1/2 & 1/2
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
fresh thyme leaves
1/2 C. parmesan cheese

3 - for assembling the pizza:
mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese
fresh thyme leaves
BumHot (or cayenne or other red pepper flakes)

Preheat oven to 450º F. 
1 - Melt butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the chanterelles are done, about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from pan, add more butter if needed and add the onions. Cook onions over medium to medium-low heat for around 20 minutes or so - until the onions are nicely browned and caramelized. When done, set them aside. 
2 - Using the same pan to make the roux, over medium heat (you don't want the butter and flour to brown), melt 2 T. butter and add the flour and whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, cook for about 5 - 10 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, adding gradually. Stir in the remaining ingredients and remove from the heat. 
3 -  Coat the flatbread with your roux.  Sprinkle mozzarella over the top of that. Then cover with the mushrooms and onions, as little or as much as you want. Sprinkle that with some thyme leave and then sprinkle on your desired amount of mozzarella cheese. Add some parmesan, a few more thyme leaves and BumHot. Bake until all is nice and bubbly and beginning to brown, about 15 - 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your bread (we like it as thin as we can get it) and the amount of topping you have. Serve your pizza with parmesan on the side. 

~~~

YUM!

till we eat again! 
xoabb

Monday, August 8, 2016

Yes, I Come From a Family of Foodies...Chili Rellenos Anyone???


our version of chili rellenos (and some panko-crusted zucchini)



fettucini with chanterelles, adapted from SFGate.com - YUM!!

Last Saturday night, after the orgy of food devoured and loved over the past week by me, my sis and parents, mom and dad decided that Care (my sis) and I would decide the menu for Saturday night. All I wanted was chili rellenos. All Care wanted was chanterelles with pasta. Off Care went to google for a recipe. Off I went to our mom for her most excellent chili rellenos recipe! Quite a Mexican-French meal we had. Quite a perfection meal we had! 
Mom (and all her children...hmmm....that sounds familiar) bakes her chili rellenos instead of frying them, and, to us, that makes all the difference in the world! They aren't soggy, but crisp and not grease-laden. You must try it this way! I don't think you'll ever go back to the fry method! As far as the chanterelle recipes, we're beginners as well, but if SF Gate and the NY Times are sharing recipes for this most lovely mushroom, you gotta believe it's more than good! (The other veggie on the above platter are zucchini that were dipped in flour, then egg, then panko. Delicious!)

The MumBum throw 'n go for chili rellenos: 

2 poblano peppers for each person
olive oil
a wedge of melty cheese for each poblano (oxaca cheese is to die for - monterey jack will work)
flour
2 or so eggs and some olive oil, whipped together
panko bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 425º. Lightly coat a baking sheet with a film of olive oil (or line the baking sheet with parchment paper and forget about the olive oil). Flame the skins of the poblanos (with a torch or on your gas stove if you have one) and when they're black, place them in a brown paper bag to sweat them. After about 1/2 hour, scrap the charred skin off the peppers - you can rinse them if you want, tho there's a lot of aficionados that will tell you that's a no-no. Cut a slit in each from top to bottom and carefully clean the seeds and spines from the inside. Put a wedge of cheese in each pepper, being sure not to over-stuff them - you want the edges to meet. Dip the peppers in flour, then in the egg bath and finally in the panko bread crumbs. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for around 20 - 30 minutes until the cheese is melty and the crumbs are browned. YUM! 
If you're doing zucchini slices as well, just repeat the above, omitting the cheese-stuffing part. They'll be done the same time the chili rellenos are. Serve as above - and LOVE! 
WORD OF WARNING: Whether the chilis come out of your garden, from a farmer's market or from the grocery store, the degree of hotness IS NOT UNIFORM! And there's no way to tell until you eat a bite of one (there's sharing at our table - if one is too hot for someone, they'll trade their pepper for a milder one who the other person wants a hotter one). Some peppers will be very hot, others very mild - you could get a batch of all hot or all mild or just all mixed up. Whatever, just enjoy the goodness! 


The not so throw 'n go for the chanterelles w/pasta recipe that we basically followed (unusual that):

(This recipe came from SF Gate and you can find it here.)

1 lb. chanterelles, cleaned (a toothbrush works well) and torn apart into thirds or fourths
olive oil
1 C. or so chopped onion
3 small cloves chopped garlic (to taste)
1/2 stick UNsalted butter
kosher salt
a splash of sherry (2 -3 T.)
1 to 1 1/2 C. cream
1 lb. fresh fettucini noodles (see here for an idea.)
salt and fresh ground pepper and BumHot to taste
parsley for garnish
grated parmesan/romano for serving

Smear the olive oil on a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and light golden, stirring frequently, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic - about a minute or so. Add the butter, mushrooms and salt to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender - about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the sherry to the skillet; bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until evaporated. Add the cream; bring to a boil, the reduce heat just to keep it warm. 
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in well-salted water according to package directions. Drain and reserve a cup of the cooking water.
Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the sauce; toss to combine and rewarm/reduce the sauce if necessary. "As the pasta sits, some of the sauce will be absorbed, so add some of the reserved cooking water to loosen it to the desired consistency if needed."
Garnish with the parsley and serve at once, with Parmesan on the side. 


~~~

YUM!

till we eat again!
xoabb 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Country-Style Pork Ribs w/Homemade 'Kraut

pork country-style ribs w/home-made sauerkraut & potatoes w/a side of cantaloupe and tomatoes

Mom made a wonderful dinner last night that I would never be able to make at home for dinner as GB thinks he hates sauerkraut, and the chillun don't think they like it either. I, however, love it! 
When I was at the COMO Farmer's Market last week, there was a vendor there that made fresh sauerkraut and he had samples of it. I tried it and immediately swooned! Thought I'd tasted great 'kraut before, but realized I never really have had great kraut...his was sublime crunchy goodness. So, I took some back to mom and dad's home and mom decided a simmered dinner of pork country-style ribs, kraut and potatoes would hit the spot! My sis, dad and I agreed! 

The throw 'n go for 4 folks (with some left-overs):


1 1/4 lb. bone-in pork country-style ribs (they're fatty and that's good)
olive oil for browning
1 pint jar fresh, home-made sauerkraut (or your favorite sauerkraut)
8 small white potatoes
1 medium onion, chunked
1 cup moscado white wine 
fresh ground pepper to taste

mustard is a must!

Warm olive oil in a Dutch oven and sauté the onions for a minute or two, then add the ribs and brown on all sides. Place the potatoes in the pot. Drain the sauerkraut (and rinse if too salty) and put on top of the ribs and potatoes. Stir things around a bit so all is incorporated. Add pepper to your taste, but remember the kraut is salty, so go very sparingly with that. Gently simmer all until the potatoes poke done (the pork will be done as well). Don't overcook the pork - it will be dry! Serve with mustard. 

Mom also had a homemade (by her) spicy hot peach catsup and it was most excellent on the pork! 

~~~

YUM!

till we eat again!
xoabb

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Venison + Blackberries + Sage = Delicious!!!

venison medallions on a blackberry-sage red wine reduction sauce
(adapted from a Moira Hodgson recipe found in the New York Times Food Pages)

As you may know, we've had an alarmingly huge chanterelle and blackberry harvest here in MO this year and have been desperately searching for new ways to use them, and have even considered paying folks to come take some of the harvest off our hands!. So...
I only ever get to have venison when I'm here in COMO (but, in the last year,we've enjoyed it a time or two at home in Norwalk as family friend, Katie, has been sharing the venison her brother hunts, with us), and in my parents freezer was a nice hunk of venison tenderloin that mom said we should have while I was here. So, off to Google I went to find out if venison and blackberries ever even go together. Yup, they do! There were several recipes out there that married the two together, and the one that sounded the very best was the one I found on the New York Times Food Page. That recipe also called for fresh sage, and as mom and dad have a huge sage plant out their side door, the triple pairing was perfect!

The not so much throw 'n go:

To serve 3 folks:

For the sauce:
1 C. dry red wine (we used cabernet sauvignon)
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 C. fresh blackberries (or blueberries)
1 C. strong veal/chicken/beef stock (we used a cup from a roasted chicken - delicious!)
2 T. unsalted (always unsalted) butter
salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 - 2 T. honey
6 - 10 fresh sage leaves

For the medallions: 
1 lb. venison tenderloin, cut into 6 uniform slices/medallions
1 T. grape seed or olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter

The steps:

1. To make the sauce, combine the wine and onion in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about half a cup. Add the berries and return the liquid to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 more minutes.
Strain the sauce and return it to the pan. Whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Add the salt, pepper and honey and steep for 15 to 20 minutes, or until ready to use - keep warm. (Remove the sage leaves just before serving.)

2. Season the venison medallions with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and butter to nearly smoking. Carefully place the medallions in the pan and sauté for 3 minutes, being careful not to crowd the pan. Turn and sauté to medium rare, about 2 more minutes.

3. To serve, spoon sauce onto the center of your serving plate, placing 2 medallions in the center of each plate. Serve your other sides around the medallions. If you have extra sauce, serve it on the side.
YUM!


Our meal:
veal medallions w/a blackberry-sage red wine reduction sauce
basmati rice
sautéed chanterelle mushrooms
green salad w/cucumbers and homemade vinaigrette
homemade bread dipped in the pan juices
Deliciousness all around!

~~~

YUM!

till we eat again!
xoabb