Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shepherd's Salad

Here is a second recipe from this great vegetarian cookbook. This reminded me very much of a greek/chopped salad. I have really gotten into loving homemade salad dressings. They really are so simple, and good. Fresh ingredients and having everything on hand makes such a difference. My newest resolution is to not buy store dressing anymore!

Here is the dressing for this salad.

4-5 coriander seeds, crushed, or 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried mint (hmm....I will probably try this with fresh in the spring/summer when I
can pick it from my garden!)

1/2 tsp dried dill weed (same with this one)
3 TBSP olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Mix it all together in a small bowl or shaker. Pour over salad, toss gently and serve.

The basic veggies for this salad are exact:
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 TBSP finely chopped parsley

As recommended I did add greek olives and crumbled feta cheese. I also added a couple of pepperochini's sliced. There are some other alterations recommended in the book.

In my photo you may notice my mandolin. I do love it for slicing things that need to be uniform and thin. I actually like chopping and slicing most of the time, but my mandolin gets used a lot. I did spend a fair amount of time at Bed, Bath and Beyond looking at all the different options they had and decided on that one. It's easy to clean and does a great job. I probably should be better at using the safety guard provided.

Planning, planning, planning is what seems to help me the very most in the kitchen. My next big hurdle is to make meals for 2 people and not 4-6. Not that Krista minds taking leftovers home, but I just really ought to start making less.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And Away We Go.....

I've been pondering doing some kitchen/cooking things in my blog, and so here we are. I mentioned yesterday how much I am enjoying a new show I found where they review cookbooks. I thought I would do the same, and share actual recipes, with my modifications. I did learn that you can't copyright a recipe....and I'm not copying it verbatim, so I'm not worried about legal issues. I hope I peak your interest in maybe trying something new!

Jan made one of the recipes in here while we were at a quilting retreat last December, which will be the first one I share here, with my modifications. I've made this rice pilaf probably 5 times since late December, and it has never disappointed.

Rice and Zucchini Pilaf

1 lb small zucchini (they are nice a small at the store these days, I do two of them)
1/2 C (4 oz) long-grained rice, washed thoroughly under cold water and drained
I've used brown rice and had equal success.
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP (2 oz) butter (pick your chin up!)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup currents (I've always used golden raisins)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Top and tail the zucchini and rinse them well (oops). Cut into 1/4 inch rounds. If the zucchini are quite plump, cut them in half lengthways before slicing crossways.

Bring about 2 1/2 C water to a boil in a saucepan and add 1/2 tsp of the salt, and the rice. Boil for 8-10 minutes (no lid), then drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry, stirring frequently, until soft and turning golden. Add the zucchini slices and fry for 2-3 minutes, occasionally turning carefully.

Add the rice, raisins, the rest of the salt and the pepper and stir carefully. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the rice and zucchini are tender. Set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes

Often I add some chopped mushrooms. I put them in after the onion and before the zucchini.

I even took a photo to show you my mise en place.....

I have learned lately to definitely get everything chopped and ready before starting to cook anything. You can see the page of this book is already well splashed upon. Sign of a much used recipe.

Let me know if you are out there. If you try the recipe and what you think!!

Following my Looking Back, Moving Forward theme, I will be doing old family recipes as well. I know everyone needs to remember how to make the famous tuna/potato chip casserole.....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New TV

I've always been a TV girl. When I was little, I even watched Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights. My parents would have people over to play cards once in a while and the kids would get the family room, close the door, watch TV.
Saturday morning cartoons, with my cereal in my plastic bowl. It was such a liberating feeling to be able to get my cereal and turn on the TV all by myself. A little later my day was planned around American Bandstand!!
Shindig, Hullabaloo, Ed Sullivan. Yes, I watched in awe as the Beatles made their appearance. I remember watching bowling for petes sake. And some Saturdays even watching some college football games. I thought I would grow up and go to Purdue, because I liked their snippets about the college during the games.
My Mom had to restrict me from watching Outer Limits and Twilight Zone because I would have scary dreams and wake her, or my older brother up to check the house because I was sure there was someone in there that didn't belong!!!
She also said I couldn't watch Peyton Place because it was too racy!!!
My younger sisters got into the Dark Shadows. Never my thing.

Once I married and had children, I fell into the soap opera abyss. Channel 4. From noon to 3. All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital. There was a short addition of Ryan's Hope, but I didn't stick with it very long. One day Jeff and Todd were napping and Kyle who was maybe 5 at the time, stood in front of the TV that I was viewing while laying on the couch, and he said "talk to me Mommy"....and I turned off the TV and never watched any of those soaps again.

When reality TV came into view, I wasn't going to bite! The first season of Survivor I refused to watch, read, hear anything to do with it! Sounded completely stupid to me. Then when the second season started I was visiting with sister Carol down in Medford and she MADE me watch the first episode. That was it. I don't think I have missed more than one or two episodes since then. I also really like So You Think You Can Dance (American AND Canadian versions), The Amazing Race, Top Chef and yes, the Bachelor/Bachelorette series.

Cooking shows have become the very new fave. And a new one has come into sight on the Oprah network, called Anna and Christina's Grocery Bag. Couple of Canadian women who review cookbooks, demonstrate their attempts to create a few recipes from them and also review kitchen tools and cookware. Love it.

The DVR has made my TV viewing much more efficient. I don't think I watch anything live anymore. And my tolerance for commercials is about zero!!!

I have two friends who don't own, or watch TV. I admire them both for their ability to keep busy and informed without it!!! We have a TV in every room of our house, except for the bathrooms. Yes there are days I don't turn it on at all. Kind of refreshing. I will put my iPod in the dock and listen to music, or get my headset for it and listen to a current audio book. Hardly ever do I have no audio stimulation. I wonder why that is......