Monday, June 30, 2008


I have always loved yogurt. Even the plain variety. I started to make my own yogurt about 2 years ago. It is so healthy and you can do so many things with it. I make smoothies for breakfast and use homemade yogurt cheese in place of sour cream and cream cheese. This is my latest experiment. It was very good. I used it as a dip with celery sticks for lunch.

If you are interested in more ideas and recipes for yogurt and yogurt cheese join my Yogurt YAHOO! group.


1 1/2 cups nonfat yogurt cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Drain spinach, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop finely. Combine with remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and chill.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

1/4 cup: Calories 35, Protein 4 gm, Carbohydrates 5 grams, Fat less than 1 gram, Cholesterol 0, Calcium 138 mg, Sodium 51 mg

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Love Affair with Curry

When I was a little girl we went to a restaurant for Easter Sunday once called Patricia Murphy's. My mother always cooked, especially for holidays, but this year she wasn't feeling well, so my grandmother took us out to dinner. It is a restaurant that no longer exists and you can see information about it's history and tradition here: Patricia Murphys Gardens in Yonkers

Lamb being a traditional Easter choice for a meal was on the menu and they made it with a herb and curry rub. My mother HATED curry, and she couldn't eat dinner that day because the whole place reeked of the perfume of the curry.

After that, I assumed that I didn't like curry. And, until I was out on my own and cooking for myself, I continued to believe that. When I finally tasted it at an Indian restaurant I fell in love. I also love the Thai curries that I have tried. So, now I cook them for myself or order them at a restaurant any time I can.

I just got a new cookbook called 660 Curries, The Gateway to Indian Cooking by Raghavan Iyer. Well, it is an encyclopedia of flavor on every page. I will have to finish this review and spend the rest of my living days reading and cooking from this book and I still won't be able to try half of them.

Curry is the gateway to Indian cooking. It is the backbone of Indian cooking, it's the GLORY of Indian cooking. Curry has nothing to do with the powder in a can and everything to do with amazing flavors. Curry is the dazzling layering of spices and ingredients, the familiar made new and the exotic made accessible. Not to mention all the tasty sauce to mop up with rice or bread. 660 Curries is Salmon with Garlic and Turmeric, Grilled Chicken with Cashew-Tomato Sauce, Lamb Shanks Braised in a Fennel and Cumin-Kissed Broth, Toasted Tamarind-Rubbed Shrimp, Pork Ribs with a Sweet-Sour Glaze. 660 Curries is traditional, contemporary, extraordinary, and it's jam-packed with easy one dish dinners that dance on the palate, in recipes created for the home kitchen. Even some of the more exotic ingredients are easily gotten from a list of mail order sources or some easy substitutes.

The beginning of the soft cover book has 16 pages of full color photographs. The chapters are plentiful and complete.

1 - The Curry Quest - history and information
2 - Spice Blends and Pastes
3 - Appetizer Curries
4 - Poultry, Game & Egg Curries
5 - Beef, Lamb & Pork Curries
6 - Fish & Seafood Curries
7 - Paneer Curries
8 - Legume Curries
9 - Vegetable Curries
10 - Contemporary Curries
11 - Biryani Curries
12 - Curry Cohorts

It also has 4 Appendix

Metric Conversion Charts
Glossary of Ingredients
The Elements of Curry
Mail Order Sources for Spices and Legumes

In over 800 pages there is more information than you ever need. I wanted to find just one recipe to try first so I closed my eyes, flipped the pages and pointed and chose Pigeon Peas and Peanuts with Jaggery. It was awesome. My husband wants to know when I am going to try something else from this book.

1 cup oily or unoily skinned split yellow pigeon peas (toovar dal), picked over for stones
1/2 cup raw peanuts (without the ski)
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen fenugreek leaves; or 1/2 cup dried fenugreek leaves soaked in a bowl of water and skinned off before use
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut; or 1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted
1 tablespoon crumbled jaggery or firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon tamarind paste or concentrate
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 to 6 fresh green Thai, Cayenne or Serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, slit in half lengthwise, do not remove the seeds.
2 tablespoons Ghee or canola oil
1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground asofetida

1 - Place the pigeon peas and the peanuts in a medium-size saucepan. Fill the pan halfway with water and rinse the pas by rubbing them between your fingertips. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now add 4 cups water and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Skim off and discard any foam that forms on the surface. Stir in the fenugreek leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pigeon peas are tender, 20 - 25 minutes.

2 - Stir in the coconut, jaggery, salt, tamarind paste, turmeric and chiles. Continue to simmer the dal, still over the medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.

3 - Heat the ghee in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds. Cover the skillet and cook until the seeds have stopped popping (not unlike popcorn), about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the asaferida. Pour this into the dal, and serve.

Note: To reconstitute coconut, cover with 14/ cup boiling water, set aside for about 15 minutes, and then serve.

Jaggery: A bamboo like sugarcane that dots the landscape in India. Mexican stores sell a similar product called piloncillo. Dark brown sugar is an easy substitute.

Ghee: Clarified Butter

Asafetida: A member of the carrot family. It is dried and then grated. It smells like the worst thing you have ever had in a kitchen. A cross between dirty socks and rotten onions. But, when cooked it tastes like oniony-garlick. (I can't get past the smell. I don't use it, I use onion and garlic!)

As a post note: I ran into another review with many pictures and other recipes for this book on line. Check out this link.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Diane's Barley Pilaf

Today for dinner we had BBQ ribs and I wanted something different than rice to go with it so I invented a Barley Pilaf that was awesome. I cooked it in my rice cooker.

Diane's Barley Pilaf

1 cup pearl barley
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup mixed dried vegetables (I buy them from - it includes potatoes, carrots, green pepper, onion, parsley)
1 tablespoon WOW seasoning (It is a seasoning mix from the Ingredient Store, chicken bouillon based, with many herbs and spices; it's flavorful, but not spicy or hot.)
1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas or 1 can baby peas

I melted the butter with the olive oil in the rice cooker. Added the cup of dried mixed vegetables. Stir to coat and soften. Add barley and stir to coat with fat. Add wow seasoning and water. Close rice cooker and cook on rice setting. For the on/off variety turn on. When rice cooker turns to keep warm, add peas. Close and let steam for 15 minutes to heat peas through. Fluff with the rice cooker spatula and serve.

There is left over and I am going to use it with my eggs tomorrow morning to make an omelet.

Diane's Menu June 21 - June 27

Saturday - June 21 - Risotto de fungi (This is a family recipe, in the rice cooker this time though.) Salad
Sunday - June 22 - Spare Ribs, corn, white rice
Monday - June 23 - Pizza night
Tuesday - June 24 - Chicken, Bean and Wild Rice Salad
Wednesday - June 25 - Cavatelli and Peas
Thursday - June 26 - Grilled Lamb Kabobs, Curried Quinoa
Friday - June 27 - Pork Cholent Stew, Salad


Chicken, Bean and Wild Rice Salad

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)
Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes

1 package (6.2 ounces) fast-cooking long grain and wild rice, cooked without spice packet, cooled
1 can (15 ounces) Light or Dark Red Kidney beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Light or Dark Red Kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (15 ounces) Black beans or Pinto beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Black beans or Pinto beans, rinsed, drained
1 can (11 ounces) Mandarin orange segments, drained
1 cup frozen, thawed peas
Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 cups spinach leaves
12 to 16 ounces broiled or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced or cubed
1 can (15 ounces) julienne beets, drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecan halves (optional)


Combine rice, beans, orange segments, and peas; pour 2/3 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette over and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon salad onto spinach-lined plates, arrange chicken on salad; spoon beets to the side. Drizzle remaining 1/3 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette over beets and chicken. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired.
Raspberry Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup raspberry or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange juice


Whisk together the all ingredients. Prepared ahead, refrigerate until serving time. Mix again before using.

TIP: To save time, prepared raspberry vinaigrette dressing can be used. To cool rice quickly, spread cooked rice on a cookie sheet and refrigerate.
NOTE: Although bean recipes usually call for a specific variety, any canned or dry-packaged bean variety can be easily substituted for another.

Nutrient Information

Per serving: Calories 445; Fat 13g; % Calories from Fat 24; Carbohydrate 65g; Folate 240mcg; Sodium 1326mg; Protein 26g; Dietary Fiber 12g; Cholesterol 37mg


Curried Quinoa Recipe

Serves Six to Eight
1 Cup Quinoa
1½ Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
½ Onion Diced (about 4 or 5 ozs.)
1 Tsp. Grated Fresh Ginger Root
½ Fresh Green Chile (Finely Chopped)
1 tablespoon ground curry (we love spicy, use less to taste)
1¾ Cups Water
½ Cup Fresh or Frozen Peas

Rinse quinoa with cold water.
Some commercially available products are pre-rinsed.
Read your package.

Quinoa is coated with a natural substance called saponin that protects the
grain by repelling insects and birds. Rinsing the quinoa is important to
avoid a raw or bitter taste. You can tell if there is saponin by the
production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water.

Place oil and diced onions in a heavy saucepan. Sauté the onions on medium
high heat for four to five minutes.

Add the ginger root, chili, and quinoa. Cook for one minute stirring
constantly. A fine, white spiral appears around the grain as it cooks.

Stir in the curry powder. Cook for one minute stirring constantly.

Add the water and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer
for 15 minutes.

Stir in peas. Cover and cook for four or five minutes or until peas
are tender and all the water has been absorbed.

Fluff with a fork before serving.


Cholent Stew:

2 pounds cross-cut beef shank - pork works well too
1 cup dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
3/4 pearl barley
15 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 beef bouillon cube, crushed
4 cups water, or to cover

1. Place the ingredients in the slow cooker in the order in which
they are listed. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender,
5 to 6 hours. This meat will probably have fallen away from the
bones by this time.

2. Remove and discard the bones and any large pieces of marrow or
fat, If any pieces of meat are larger than bite-size, transfer them
to a cutting board, chop, and return them to the stew. Stir before
serving hot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rice Cooker Sausage Casserole

I made this last night in my rice cooker. I sauteed the sausage right in the rice cooker, and because I used turkey sausage there was nothing to drain. I added the cheese when the machine switched to keep warm.

Rice Cooker Sausage Casserole

1 lb sausage (turkey sausage worked well)
1 cup rice, uncooked
4 to 5 cups cabbage, shredded (I used green and red cabbage mixed.)
1 large onion, sliced very thin
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cans diced tomatoes (I think the original calls for small cans, but to use it in the rice cooker I used 3 cans and 1 can of water.)
1/2 to 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
salt & pepper to taste (I don't salt anything and cheese is plenty salty enough for the flavor.)

Fry the sausage breaking it up into small pieces. drain thoroughly.
In a 9x13" dish, which has been lightly greased with vegetable shortening
or olive oil, scatter the uncooked rice. Arrange the shredded cabbage over the rice
and spread the slice onions over the cabbage. Sprinkle sausage evenly
over the onions and pour the tomatoes undrained, over the sausage.
Cover tightly with a aluminum foil and bake in a 325° oven
about one hour. Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and
return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and
starts to brown.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Menu Week June 14 - June 20

Saturday - June 14 - Chinese Chicken Salad with Snow Peas and Rice Noodles
Sunday - June 15 - My husband's daughter is taking us to dinner for Fathers' Day
Monday - June 16 - Rice Cooker Sausage Casserole (Recipe posted previously)
Tuesday - June 17 - Honey Hoison Chicken, Steamed Broccoli and Rice in Rice Cooker
Wednesday - June 18 - Pizza, we missed our Monday pizza and we need a fix!
Friday - June 20 - Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Black Beans,pineapple-Cucumber Salsa

Honey Hoisin Chicken

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Combine soy sauce,
hoisin sauce, honey, wine, ginger, salt and pepper. Dip each chicken
piece into sauce, then place in crockpot. Pour remaining sauce over
chicken. Cover and cook on LOW 4 or 5 hours. Turn control to HIGH.
Remove chicken from crockpot and keep warm. Dissolve cornstarch in
cold water. Stir mixture into juices in slow cooker. Cover and cook
on HIGH 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon sauce
over chicken. Serve with hot cooked rice.


Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Black Beans,pineapple-Cucumber Salsa


1 Whole pork tenderloin
Rubbed with Jerk Seasoning (recipe follows)

Jerk Seasoning:*

1/8 ts Cayenne pepper
1 tb Dried minced onion
1 tb Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 c Chopped fresh coriander -- (also called cilantro)
1 1/2 ts Onion powder
2 ts Crushed thyme
1 ts Salt
1/4 ts Ground nutmeg
1 ts Ground allspice
1 ts Sugar

Salt to taste
8 6" tortillas -- warmed

Black Beans

2 15oz cans Black beans -- rinsed and drained
1 tb Chili powder
2 ts Ground cumin
1 sm Red onion -- chopped Chopped

Vegetable oil

2 tb Lime juice
Fresh coriander -- finely
salt to taste

Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa:

1 20oz can pineapple chunks -- drained
1 Jalapeno pepper -- seeded and diced
1 sm Cucumber Peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 ts Ground cinnamon
1 ts Black pepper
1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
2 tb Rice vinegar
2 tb Olive oil

Instructions for Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Black Beans,pineapple-Cucumber Salsa

Rub whole tenderloin with Jerk Seasoning.

Prepare a covered grill for indirect cooking (or preheat oven to 450 degrees for conventional cooking): Bank medium-hot coals (thickly covered with white ash) to one side of grill and place meat on opposite side. Place whole tenderloin in grill in covered grill and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees. To cook in a conventional oven at 450 degrees, place roast in an open pan and cook about 20 minutes or until internal temperature reads 155 degrees on a meat thermometer. Allow roast to stand 10 minutes before cutting.

In a large bowl toss together beans, onion, chili powder and cumin. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, film with a little oil and stir-fry the bean mixture until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Toss bean mixture with chopped fresh coriander, lime juice, and salt. Serve sliced tenderloin with beans, warmed tortillas and salsa.

Makes 4 servings. --

Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa:

In a medium bowl stir together drained pineapple chunks, diced cucumber, rice vinegar, olive oil, cayenne pepper, jalapeno pepper, black pepper and fresh coriander. Cover and let rest at room temperature for an hour to let flavors mingle. Refrigerate for longer storage. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 3 cups. --

*Jerk Seasoning:

Mix together dried minced onion, onion powder, crushed thyme, salt, allspice, nutmeg cinnamon, sugar, black pepper and cayenne. Makes enough to coat one whole tenderloin.



3 pounds red boiling potatoes

2/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove (I used 3)

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried,

plus rosemary sprigs for garnish

1 red onion, halved lengthwise and sliced thin lengthwise

2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

24 Kalamata or Nicoise olives, pitted and halved

Halve the potatoes, unpeeled, and cut them into 1-inch wedges. In a large roasting pan heat 1/3 cup of the oil in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven for 5 minutes, add the potatoes, tossing them to coat them with the oil, and roast them, stirring them every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes, or until they are tender. Let the potatoes cool in the pan.

In a blender puree the garlic, the vinegar, the rosemary leaves, and salt to taste, with the motor running add the remaining 1/3 cup oil in a stream, and blend the dressing until it is emulsified. In a small bowl of ice and cold water let the onion soak for 5 minutes, drain it well, and pat it dry. In a kettle of boiling salted water boil the green beans for 5 minutes, or until they are crisp—tender, and drain them in a colander. Refresh the beans under cold water and pat them dry. In a very large bowl combine the potatoes, the onion, the green beans, and the olives, add the dressing, and toss the salad gently. Serve the salad, garnished with the rosemary sprigs, at room temperature.

Serves 8 to 10.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ice Cream - It's own Food Group

To me ice cream isn't just a bowl of dessert. It is heaven in a dish. It is cold which is my favorite temperature and cream which is my favorite food. Combine them together and it makes me happy! PURE JOY!

Now, I truly believe that ice cream is the healthiest dessert. It is full of calcium and even has protein and vitamin D. If you make it yourself, you can control the sugar or use none. You can control the fat or use yogurt.

Unfortunately I can't have any in the house. If it is in the house, no matter how much is here, I will eat it all.

OK, that's my blog entry, a confession that I can't say NO to ice cream. It is my drug! AND WHAT A HIGH IT IS!!

Curried Rice and Red Lentils

This recipe is posted the way I found it. I used my rice cooker for it though and it worked perfectly. I heated the oil in the rice cooker and sauteed the onion, then added curry and cooked a bit and then the water, rice and lentils and covered let it go till it turned to keep warm. Then I let it steam a bit longer and served. YUMMY!!

Curried Rice and Red Lentils

(4-6 servings, adapted from The Best Recipes in the World, by Mark Bittman)

2 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 T curry powder (I used more, we can't get enough spice here!)
3/4 cup red lentils (also called dal or pulses)
1 cup long grain rice
3 cups water
salt, pepper to taste
1-2 T melted butter
chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Put the oil in a large, heavy pan with a tight lid and heat for one minute. Add onion and saute 3-5 minutes, until starting to brown on the edges. Add curry powder and saute 1 minute, then add water and bring to a boil. Add lentils and rice, bring back to a boil, then lower heat to a steady simmer and cover.

Cook 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. (Bittman says if the liquid is not all absorbed, boil off the excess, but after 20 minutes all my water had been absorbed.) Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the melted butter just before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro if desired.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cookbook Review: The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia Author (s): Dave DeWitt

Book or Magazine Title: The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia Author (s): Dave DeWitt
Category: Reference
ISBN: 0-688-15611-8
Publisher: William Morrow & Company, Inc.
Date published: 1999
Edition: N/A
Description: Soft cover
Illustrated: Some
Photographs: Yes a few black and white
Pages: 338
Price: $13.57 at

Which type of chile is the hottest?

What country did the first chile plants come from?

Can chiles really be used to cure headaches and memory loss?

How did "bird" chiles get their name?

Why are some people more sensitive to the heat of chiles?

What's the best way to cool "chile burn"?

These are just a few of the questions you'll find answers to in The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia. World-renowned chile expert Dave DeWitt has compiled this exhaustive A-to-Z collection of entries on everything you'll ever need to know about chiles. Using this encyclopedia, you'll learn about chile species, origins, terminology, cuisines, and agriculture. Medicinal uses and chile folklore are covered in often painful detail for example, nineteenth-century Peruvians believed that the juice of crushed chiles applied to the eyes would cure conjunctivitis. For true chileheads, there's information on chile fairs and festivals and hot sauces and salsas, and DeWitt attempts to settle the endless debate over the origin of the most famous of chile dishes, chili con came.

The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia is also filled with more than one hundred hot and spicy recipes.

Each recipe is rated on a heat scale from the mild Indian Minced Meat Curry to the extremely hot Chiltepin House Sauce made with 2 cups of chiles. There are even a few spicy desserts, like Chocolate Chess and Chile Pie, for chile lovers who just can't get enough heat.

Black-and-white drawings and photographs, charts, and tables appear throughout the book and a color insert includes photographs of dozens of chile types, invaluable for identification, making this an indispensable sourcebook for chile aficionados, gardeners, cooks, and anyone else who has a burning interest in fiery foods.

DAVE DEWITT is an internationally known chile pepper expert and the author and coauthor of numerous books and articles about chiles. DeWitt, the founder of the National Fiery Foods Show and cofounder of The Chile Institute, was the editor-in-chief of Chile Pepper magazine for ten years and is currently the editor and publisher of Fiery Foods magazine. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This book is a very good read and has more information and answers about chiles than any other book I have seen. But, this book is lacking photos of the different kinds of chiles. When I was (actually I still am somewhat) a newbie to using chiles I needed photos to pick out the right chiles in the store. This book would be a great companion to the picture book The Great Chile Book by Mark Miller.



This is one of the classic paprika recipes from Hungary. Be sure to use only imported paprika in this dish, or the flavor will not be the same. It is traditionally cooked with lard or goose fat and served with dumplings. Serve over egg noodles, plain rice, or boiled potatoes.



3 tablespoons corn oil
2 tablespoons butter
One 2 1/2 to 3-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 medium onions, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 rounded tablespoon medium-hot paprika
1 tablespoon hot paprika
2 rounded tablespoons mild paprika
2 tablespoons brandy
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 whole, fresh, long, red chile, such as New Mexican
1/3 to 1/2 cup sour cream
Salt to taste

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter.
Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside. Add the chopped onions to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to very low, stir in all the paprika, and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add the brandy and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the browned chicken pieces and mix well. Add the chicken stock and whole hot red pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm. Bring the liquid in the casserole to a boil over high heat, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about one third.
Turn the heat to low, and slowly stir in the sour cream, until the sauce is smooth. Add salt to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

Cookbook Review: Hallelujah! The Welcome Table

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table
A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes
by Maya Angelou


I looked at the woman and gave her a lie as soft as melting butter. “Yes, I course. That’s all I know how to cook.”

The Creole Café had a cardboard sign in the window that announced, “COOK
WANTED: SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS A WEEK.” As soon as I saw it I knew I could
cook Creole, whatever that was.

Desperation to find help must have blinded the proprietress to my age, or perhaps it was the fact that I was six feet and had an attitude that belied my seven¬teen years. She didn’t question me about recipes and menus, but her long brown face did trail down in wrinkles, and doubt hung on the edges of her questions.

"Can you start on Monday?’

"I’ll be glad to.’

"You know its six days a week. We’re closed on Sunday."

"That’s fine with me. I like to go to church on Sunday." It’s awful to think that the devil gave me that lie, but it came unexpectedly and worked like dollar bills. Suspicion and doubt fled from her face, and she smiled. Her teeth were all the same size, a small white picket fence semi circled in her mouth.

"Well, I know we’re going to get along. You’re a good Christian. I like that. Yes, ma‘am, I sure do:’

My need for a job stiffed my telling (confessing to) her that I mean to be a Christian but that I blow it every day. Instead, I asked her, "What time on Mon¬? Bless the Lord!"

‘You get here at five:’

Five in the morning. Those mean streets menaced by thugs who had not yet...................


And so begins one of the marvelous stories that accompany these recipes. In the story telling style that Maya Angelou has become so famous for, she shares her life and her kitchen memories as she shares her cooking. Maya Angelou is renowned in her wide and generous circle of friends as a marvelous chef. Her kitchen is a social center. From fried meat pies, chicken livers and beef Wellington to caramel cake, bread pudding and chocolate éclairs, the dozens of recipes included are all tried and true and come from Angelou's home and her heart. Hallelujah! The welcome Table is a stunning combination of the two things Angelou loves best, writing and cooking.

Here is a recipe from the book that we tried last night. It was VERY good.

Braised Short Ribs of Beef

5 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon meat tenderizer
All-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups meat stock or water
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces One 28-ounce can tomatoes One 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 large onions, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 green bell peppers cut into large pieces
2 bay leaves
1 cup good cabernet sauvignon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Season the meat with salt and pepper, sprinkle with meat tenderizer, and dust with flour. (I sprinkle meat tenderizer on all meat, since I expect it to be tough.) Brown it on all sides in oil in Dutch oven. Add stock; cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and add carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, celery, garlic, bell peppers, bay leaves, and wine. Return to oven, and cook 1 1/2 hours, Meat should be very tender. Remove bay leaves, and adjust seasoning as needed.

On large serving dish, arrange vegetables around meat, and sprinkle with parsley.

My Favorite Cookbook

I have 2 copies of the Meta Givens Encyclopedia of Cooking.

One was my mother's and was given to her as an engagement present in 1952. It is the very first cookbook I learned to cook with. The binding has been replaced twice and there are stains are special pages where my mom placed dirty sticky fingers while cooking.

Then, when i graduated from college I wanted a copy of my own. It had been out of print for a long time at that point. My grandmother tracked down the publisher and they actually sold her one they had as a 'file' copy. This version was actually published in 2 volumes. Very good idea too, since it was a VERY thick book and tough to manipulate when in 1 volume.

My mom died in 1983 and now I have both copies.

Recipe Deal Breakers

I read this article from the New York Times and had to share it. I read cookbooks for fun. I collect recipes in numbers that I could never cook unless I lived 500 lifestimes. What makes me choose one recipe over another? Well, this article has a few of the answers.


NY Times

June 4, 2008
Recipe Deal Breakers: When Step 2 Is 'Corral Pig'

I was reading a recipe for apple strudel when I came to a sentence that
stopped me cold: "If you don't have a helper," it began.

If a dish needs a helper, I need to move on.

Although I didn't end up with a strudel, I did end up on a quest. I
began asking good cooks I know about recipe deal breakers - those
ingredients or instructions that make them throw down the whisk and walk

Whether for reasons practical or psychological, even the most
experienced cooks have an ingredient, technique or phrase that will make
them bypass a recipe.

Some deal breakers are simply a function of place. People in small New
York apartments don't execute recipes that require well-ventilated
spaces. They rarely char peppers or broil salmon, lest the apartment
stink for days. They rarely deep-fry.

"Not because of health reasons," said one adventurous cook who divides
his time between kitchens in Manhattan and Fire Island. "But because
it's messy, requires disposing of lots of oil afterward, and is a pain
to get the temperature right."

Recipes that involve absurdly local or obscure ingredients are also
problematic. Paula Wolfert, in one recipe, requires 48 tender young
grapevine leaves, freshly picked. Diana Kennedy, in her recipe for the
Mexican sausage moronga, calls for two quarts of pig's blood. "If you do
not kill your own pig," she advises, "order it through your butcher."

Melissa Steineger, a good cook I know in Portland, was long a slave to
such recipe tyranny. It started with the Coyote Cafe cookbook from the
Southwestern chef Mark Miller. She recalls recipes that required
ingredients like "wild boar from the hills surrounding Santa Fe." They
went unmade until her cooking skills improved and she had an epiphany:
she could substitute.

"That freed me," she said.

Beyond place, general fussiness is a common deal breaker: stuffing an
olive, for example, or cutting vegetables into precise shapes like

The chef Thomas Keller is the modern king of the fussy recipes. His
books are stacked with one deal breaker after another. To make his
cornets filled with salmon tartare and crème fraîche, one must first
figure out how to make "a 4-inch hollow circular stencil." Then the cook
must balance a baking sheet on the open door of a hot oven and set the
tips of cornet molds on par-baked circles of batter at the 7 o'clock
position before rolling.

These are the kinds of instructions that make people open a box of
brownie mix and call it a day.

Other deal breakers are techniques. "I won't truss," one friend said,
"and I won't lard."

Anything that requires long sessions pounding food in a mortar or
forcing something through a sieve stops Fran Gage, the San Francisco
pastry chef and author. "Not that I won't try the recipe," she said,
"but I'll read it carefully to see if I can use a machine instead."

Others avoid recipes that require wearing rubber gloves, handling
something carefully with tongs or removing all jewelry before proceeding.

"Serves 18" gives some pause. Others won't make anything that varies
with the weather, like a meringue recipe that cautions against trying it
on a humid or rainy day. The recipe within a recipe can be a deal
breaker, especially if the minor player needs to be made days ahead of time.

Unusual equipment is a common deal breaker, too. How many times has a
couscous recipe been cast aside because there is no couscousière in the

Cindy Burke, a friend and food writer from Seattle, usually enjoys any
excuse to buy another pan. But she found her deal breaker when she read
the recipe for a honey-glazed beehive cake on the cover of the June
issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. The perfect pan for the job,
according to a note in the back of the magazine, is an out-of-production
Martha by Mail version occasionally available on eBay. (An alternative
from Nordic Ware was on backorder this week.)

And then there are the irrational deal breakers. People who might find
dishes like Richard Olney's mousseline forcemeat an intriguing kitchen
romp have outsize reactions to certain phrases or techniques for reasons
they can't articulate.

"Working quickly" may be simply too anxiety-producing, especially when
combined with "before it hardens." Others fear recipes involving a candy
thermometer or ones that take food to the brink of burning, like caramel
or a roux.

People shy away from recipes that require split-second timing to assure
culinary success with expensive ingredients. The word "just" is often
involved, as in "cook the scallop just until it turns opaque."

And then there are the specific foods that have scarred a cook for life.
One friend's most humiliating culinary failures have involved sheet
gelatin, so she shuns recipes with gelatin. Barbara Fairchild, the
editor in chief of Bon Appétit magazine, avoids pie recipes. Years ago,
as a new bride, she was to make the Thanksgiving pies for her
s dinner. She botched the crust completely.

"It's really hard to sit down and make a pie because I flash back to 25
years ago," she said. "It's a total phobia."

For the recipe writer, finding the fine line between a deal breaker and
an important technique or ingredient can be difficult. Arthur Schwartz,
the Brooklyn-based food writer, is working on a new book on the food of
southern Italy. His conundrum: whether a recipe should call for
filleting fresh anchovies, a task he says is nearly impossible to do
well (unless you're Sicilian, presumably).

As an author, he believes they are an essential ingredient for an
authentic recipe. But as a cook? " 'Fillet and butterfly 12 4-inch fresh
anchovies' is an instruction that would stop me dead," he said.

The question of how far is too far is often pondered in the test
kitchens of Gourmet, which built its reputation on recipes that took all
weekend and a small bank loan to produce.

Kemp Minifie, the magazine's executive food editor and a 30-year veteran
of the magazine, had sympathy for my dislike of recipes that demand
helpers. She recalled a stuffed squash blossom that required one person
to blow into the flower while the other stuffed it with the contents of
a pastry bag.

The recipe didn't run in the magazine. Nor do ones that call for glove
boning, which is a way to turn a bird inside out to bone it without
cutting into the skin.

"It's a marvelous technique, but who is going to do that?" Ms. Minifie

And then there was the British chef who gave the magazine his recipe for
slow-baked salmon with a sauce of cream and Avruga, a smoked herring
roe. Within the recipe was another recipe for making fleur de sel from
buckets of seawater.

"That," she said, "was one of those rolled-eyeball moments."

The magazine did print the salmon recipe. It called for store-bought salt.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Menu Week June 7 - 13

This week I am continuing to work on my rice cooker skills.

Saturday, June 7 - Sausage Jambalaya in the rice cooker
Sunday, June 8 - Curried Chicken and Snow Peas with Quinoa (in the rice cooker)
Monday, June 9 - Weekly Pizza
Tuesday, June 10 - Turkey Black Bean Chili in the Slow-Cooker
Wednesday, June 11 - Mac and Cheese with Broccoli in the rice cooker
Thursday, June 12 - Spicy Cheese Quesadillas and Green Pea, Cashew and Jicama Salad
Friday, June 13 - The Golden Door's Grilled Lamb Salad


Green Pea, Cashew, and Jicama Salad

2 packages (10 oz each) frozen tiny green peas, thawed
2 cups bean sprouts
1 large jicama, peeled, chopped into 1 1/2" pieces
1 cup chopped celery
1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 3/4 cup) including tops
1 cup sour cream
salt and ground pepper to taste
1 cup cashews
8 to 10 oz bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Thoroughly drain peas on paper towels. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except cashews and bacon; mix well. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Just before serving, add cashews and bacon and mix gently.

The Golden Door's Grilled Lamb Salad

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Salads Lamb

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 tablespoons Walnut oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon Minced ginger root
1/4 cup Coarse-chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
2 Garlic cloves -- crushed
1 small Lamb loin (about 8-oz) (or left over leg of lamb)
12 Asparagus spears
1/3 cup Coarse-chopped walnuts
2 Green onions -- chopped
1/2 cup Cubed Jarlsberg lite -
Cheese - (about 2-oz)
2 tablespoons Capers
1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black -
Pepper -- to taste

* Trim meat of all visible fat.

Combine oil, ginger, cilantro, pepper and garlic in a large bowl. Add lamb and turn to coat.
Marinate for 2 hours.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare large bowl of ice water.
Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 30 seconds. Using tongs or a slotted spoon,
transfer asparagus from hot water to ice water.
Drain; set aside. (Or arrange asparagus spears on microwave proof platter,
tips towards center. Add 2 tablespoons water and cover with vented plastic wrap.
Microwave on High 4 to 5 minutes, turning plate 180 degrees after 2 minutes.)
Reserving marinade, cook lamb on oven grill or in large skillet over medium-high
heat, turning often, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is seared on the
outside but still pink on the inside; set aside.
Divide asparagus spears onto four plates. Slice lamb into thin strips; fan slices
decoratively over asparagus. Top with walnuts, scallions, cheese, and capers.
Simmer remaining marinade in saute pan over medium heat for two minutes.
Whisk in red wine vinegar. Pour marinade dressing over salads.
Serve with fresh ground pepper, if desired. This recipe serves 4.

Content per Serving:
calories .. 285; total fat .. 17.7 g; protein .. 24 g; cholesterol .. 59 mg; saturated fat .. 4.5 g.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Pilaf Technique for Rice Cookers

My latest made up recipe involves a technique of using the rice cooker. I am a big believer in learning techniques. When you are a student of cooking techniques you never need a recipe because they are automatic.

For example, the pilaf technique in a rice cooker is melting some fat, sauteing some flavorful vegetables like onion, garlic etc. Then adding a grain and stirring to coat with the fat and heat through. Then add liquid and any additive ingredient and close the rice cooker and press cook. When the cooker changes to keep warm, check to see if the grain is cooked. If not add a little more liquid and press cook again. When cooked add garnish or topping that doesn't require cooking like grated cheese, butter, etc.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cookbook Review: The Bacon Cookbook

I have gotten a few new cookbooks lately. One that I really like is called The Bacon Cookbook by James Villas. I was afraid of posting about it before because Bacon is not a politically correct food to talk about lately. After all, it's full of fat, sodium and calories. But I for one think it's just SO good that I had to buy the book and review it for you.


Book Title: The Bacon Cookbook
Author: James VillasCategory: General - American
ISBN: 978-0-470-04282-3
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
Publisher Address: Hoboken, NJ
Website or E-mail:
Copyright: 2007
Description: hardcover – 8 ½ x 11 x 1 ¾
Pages: 276Illustrated: none
Photographs: full color and full-page photos interspersed throughout the book
Price: new from $35 to $23.10

Crispy, salty, smoky, sweet - who can resist the allure of bacon? Certainly not food writer James Villas who's been beguiled by bacon since he was a boy.

In recent years, the variety and quality of most supermarket bacon have improved immensely, and many premium American artisan bacons, as well as delicious foreign ones, are now available at finer outlets and online. The book takes one around the world and introduces new and familiar bacons to the reader and cook.

If health concerns sometimes make you feel guilty about loving bacon, Villas urges you to relax. Yes, it's high in sodium and fat, but if eaten in moderation or used as a flavoring agent, as it is in many recipes in the book, bacon is a guilt free indulgence. In fact, using bacon in a pea soup for example and leaving out added salt, makes the recipe actually lower in sodium than if you omitted the bacon and used salt as a seasoning instead. Oh and it tastes better too!

The book begins with 17 pages of bacon history and pictures of bacon from all over the world. How to buy, store, cook and mail order bacon is included. As well as a 2 page section on the health issues associated with bacon.

Following the introduction are chapters called

Canapés and Appetizers
Breakfast and Brunch Dishes
Soups and Chowders
Salads and Sandwiches
Casseroles and Stews
Main Courses
Vegetables and Fruits
Pasta and Rice

I really love this book. There are so many great ideas for adding that wonderful flavor as well as new recipes for the old standards. One interesting one that I want to try is called Caribbean Beef and Bacon Stuffed Plantains, I didn't have plantains in the house though so I settled for an old standard. Believe it or not, I have never made lentil soup. I have always made split pea soup instead. This recipe was great. It said it feeds 6, but my husband and I ate it for dinner and there was 1 serving left for me to have for lunch the next day. It was great. Very tasty and easy to make too.

Austrian Lentil and Bacon Soup

1/2 pound smoked slab bacon (preferably Speck), rind removed
2 quarts water
2 cups dried quick-cooking lentils, rinsed
1 medium leek (part of the light green leaves included), finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 frankfurters, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

Cut 2 slices from he bacon slab and set the slab aside on the plate. In a large skillet, fry the bacon slices until they render their fat. Transfer the slices to a plate and set the skillet of fat aside.

In a heavy 4-5 quart pot or casserole, bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils, the slab and slices of cooked bacon and the leek, celery, and carrot. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Heat the fat in the skillet over moderate heat, add the onion, and stir till softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onion, reduce the heat to low, and stir till the flour is golden brown. Ladle about 1/2 cup of lentil soup into the skillet and whisk till the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the vinegar and salt and pepper and stir well. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the lentil soup, stir well. Cover and simmer till the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

With a slotted spoon remove the bacon to a cutting surface, cut into small dice and return it to the soup with the frankfurter rounds. Simmer about 5 minutes longer and serve the soup hot in heavy soup bowls.

Makes 6 Servings

Monday, June 2, 2008

Refrigerator Storage Guidelines

Refrigerator Storage Chart from Kansas State University

Click on a category to jump directly to that category on the Kansas State U Website

MEAT, FISH, AND POULTRY- Fresh, Uncooked

Cupboard Storage Chart



Baking Powder 18 months or expiration date on can Keep dry and covered.
Baking Soda 2 years Keep dry and covered.
Bouillon Cubes or Granules 2 years Keep dry and covered.


ready-to-eat (unopened) 6-12 months*
ready-to-eat (opened) 2-3 months
cooked (before preparation) 6 months

Refold package liner tightly after opening.


premelted 12 months

semi-sweet 18 months
unsweetened 18 months

Keep cool.

Chocolate Syrup

unopened 2 years*
opened 6 months

Cover tightly, refrigerate after opening.

Cocoa Mixes 8 months
Cover tightly.

cans (unopened) 2 years*
cans (opened) 2 weeks

instant (unopened) 1-2 years*

instant (opened) 2 months

Refrigerate after opening. Keep tightly closed, use dry measuring spoon.

Coffee lighteners (dry)
unopened 9 months*
opened 6 months

Keep lid tightly closed.

Cornmeal 12 months Keep tightly closed.

Cornstarch 18 months Keep tightly closed.


white 6-8 months
Keep in an airtight container.

whole wheat 6-8 months
Keep refrigerator. Store in airtight container

Gelatin, all types 18 months Keep in original container.

Grits 12 months Store in airtight container.

Honey 12 months Cover tightly; if crystallizes, warm jar in pan of hot

Jellies, Jams 12 months Cover tightly. Storage life lengthened if
refrigerated after opening.

unopened 12 months+*
opened 6 months

Keep tightly closed. Refrigerate to extend storage life, remove any light
surface mold and use.

Marshmallow Cream
(unopened) 3-4 months Cover tightly.
Refrigerate after opening to extend storage life.
Serve at room temperature.

Marshmallows 2-3 months Keep in airtight container.

Mayonnaise (unopened) 2-3 months Refrigerate after opening.

Milkcondensed or evaporated (unopened) 6 months*
Invert cans every two months.

non-fat dry
(unopened) 12 months
(opened) 3 months

Store in airtight container.

Pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, etc.) 2 years
Once opened, store in airtight container.

Pectin, liquid (opened) 1 month Recap and refrigerate.
Pectin, liquid or dry 1 year or exp. date Recap and refrigerate.


white 2 years+
flavored or herb 6 months
Keep tightly closed.

Salad Dressings
bottled (unopened) 10-12 months*
bottled (opened) 3 months
made from mix 2 weeks

Refrigerate after opening.
Refrigerate prepared dressing.

Salad Oils
unopened 6 months*
opened 1-3 months

Refrigerate after opening.

Shortenings, solid 8 months Refrigeration not needed.


brown 4 months Put in airtight container.
confectioners 18 months Put in airtight container.

granulated 2 years+Cover tightly.

sweeteners 2 years+


12 months Keep tightly closed.
Refrigerate to extend storage life, remove any light surface mold and use.

Teabags 18 months

instant 3 years
Put in airtight container.

loose 2 years Cover tightly.

unopened 2 years+
opened 12 months

Keep tightly closed. Slightly cloudy appearance doesn't affect quality.
Distilled vinegar keeps longer than cider vinegar.



Biscuit, Brownie, Muffin Mix 9 months
Keep cool and dry.

Cakes, purchased 1-2 days
If butter-cream, whipped cream or custard
frostings, fillings, refrigerate.

Cake Mixes9 months
angel food 12 months
Keep cool and dry.

Casseroles, complete or add own meat 9-12 months Keep cool and dry.
homemade 2-3 weeks
packaged 2 months

Put in airtight container.
Keep box tightly closed.

Crackers 3 months
Keep box tightly closed.

canned 3 months
mix 8 months

Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Hot-Roll Mix 18 months If opened, put in airtight container.

Pancake Mix 6-9 months Put in airtight container.

Pie Crust Mix 8 months Keep cool and dry.

Pies and Pastries 2-3 days
Refrigerate whipped cream, custard, and chiffon fillings.

Potatoes, Instant 6-12 months Keep airtight package.

Pudding Mixes 12 months Keep cool and dry.

Rice Mixes 6 months Keep cool and dry.

Sauce and Gravy Mixes 6-12 months Keep cool and dry.

Soup Mixes 12 months Keep cool and dry.

Toaster Pastries 2-3 months Keep in airtight packet.




Canned Foods, all (unopened) 12 months* Keep cool.
Canned Fruit Juices 9 months Keep cool.

Canned Foods, (opened)

baby foods 2-3 days
fish and seafood 2 days
fruit 1 week
meats 2 days
pickles, olives 1-2 months
poultry 2 days
sauce, tomato 5 days
vegetables 3 days

All Opened Canned Foods -
Refrigerate and cover tightly; to avoid metallic taste, transfer foods in cans to glass or plastic storage containers, if kept more than one day.

Fruits, Dried 6 months Keep cool, in airtight container; if possible, refrigerate.
Vegetables, Dried 1 year Keep cool, in airtight container; if possible, refrigerate.



Catsup, chili sauce
unopened 12 months*
opened 1 month

Refrigerate for longer storage.

Mustard, Prepared Yellow
unopened 2 years*
opened 6-8 months
May be refrigerated. Stir before using.

Spices and Herbs
whole spices 1-2 years
ground spices 6 months
herbs 6 months
herb/spice blend 6 months

Store in airtight containers in dry places away from sunlight and
heat. Check aroma; if faded, replace.

Whole cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks maintain quality beyond two year period.

unopened 2 years*
opened 12 months

Keep tightly closed; volatile oils escape.

Other Extracts (opened) 12 months Keep tightly closed; volatile oils escape.

Vegetables, dehydrated flakes 6 months


Cheese, Parmesan-
unopened 10 months*
opened 2 months
Refrigerate after opening.
Keep tightly closed.

Coconut, Shredded-
canned or packaged
unopened 12 months*
opened 6 months
Refrigerate after opening.

Meat Substitutes- textured protein products (imitation bacon bits) 4 months
Keep tightly closed; for longer storage, refrigerate.

Metered-Caloric Products, instant breakfast 6 months Keep in can, closed
jars or original packets.

in shell 4 months*

nutmeats packaged
vacuum can 1 year*
other packaging 3 months*
nutmeats (opened) 2 weeks

Refrigerate after opening. Freeze for longer storage. Unsalted and blanched
nuts keep longer than salted.

Peanut Butter
unopened 6-9 months*
opened 2-3 months
Refrigeration not needed.
Keeps longer if refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.

Peas, beans-dried 12 months Store in airtight container in cool place.

Popcorn 2 years Store in an airtight container.

Vegetables, Fresh

onions 2-4 weeks

white 2 weeks
sweet 1-2 weeks

Keep dry and away from sun.
For longer storage, keep about 50 degrees F. Don't refrigerate sweet potatoes.

Whipped Topping (dry) 12 months Keep cool and dry.

Yeast (dry) expiration date on package

*Total time "unopened" product can be stored at home. If recommendation is
for "opened" product, subtract this time from the total home storage or
"unopened" time.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I could celebrate anything - June Food Holidays

These are the June Food Holidays that I will be following!

I removed some from the larger list because I don't celebrate foods that I don't like.

Although I'm not quite sure why National Turkey Lover’s Month is in June, I'm not complaining because most people (not me!) love turkey anytime.

National Candy Month
National Dairy Month
National Fresh Fruit and
Vegetable Month
National Papaya Month
National Seafood Month
National Turkey Lover’s Month

In addition to celebrating the monthly holiday, each day in June brings a new festivity:

June 1: National Hazelnut Cake Day
June 2: National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day
June 3: National Egg Day
June 4: National Cheese Day
June 4: National Frozen Yogurt Day
June 5: National Gingerbread Day
June 6: National Applesauce Cake Day
June 7: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day (I don't eat this, but Hubby does!)
June 8: Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day
June 9: National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day
June 10: Herbs & Spice Day
June 11: National German Chocolate Cake Day
June 12: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
June 13: Kitchen Klutzes of America Day
June 14: National Strawberry Shortcake Day
June 15: National Lobster Day
June 16: National Fudge Day (YES for HUBBY! I don't like chocolate)
June 17: Eat All Your Veggies Day
June 17: National Apple Strudel Day
June 18: National Cherry Tart Day
June 18: International Picnic Day
June 19: National Dry Martini Day
June 20: National Vanilla Milkshake Day
June 21: National Peaches and Cream Day
June 22: National Chocolate Eclair Day
June 23: National Pecan Sandy Day
June 24: National Pralines Day
June 25: National Strawberry Parfait Day
June 26: National Chocolate Pudding Day
June 27: National Indian Pudding Day (
June 27: National Orange Blossom Day
June 28: National Tapioca Day
June 29: National Almond Butter Crunch Day
June 30: National Ice Cream Soda Day

Links for Kitchen Inventory Sheets

I have found a website that has these inventory sheets in PDF format.
You can print them off and use them. They are free. I think this
will make doing inventory a bit easier for beginners like myself.
Here's the link!

Menu May 9 - May 15

Diane's Menu May 9 - May 15

OK, my normal method of making a menu was blown to shreds this week by some unexpected and some expected changes in schedules.

First, we went to a friends house for pizza on Friday night.

Then on Saturday night we went to a bar we like to see a friend in a band that we love and ate there and had a great bar pizza at midnight.

Sunday we spent Mothers' Day with my sister and her family and had make your own pizzas on the grill.

So, as much as we really do love pizza our regular Monday night pizza isn't going to happen because 3 days in a row is ENOUGH!

And, my sisters large freezer stopped working on Friday, so she distributed all the frozen meats between us to cook this week rather then just let them all go bad and get thrown away. So, here is my menu using food from my sister's freezer for the first few days.

The order Tuesday-Thursday might be different based on the weather. The BBQ pork ribs on the grill will be done on which ever day the weather seems best.

Monday: Pork Tenderloin, Sweet potatoes with pineapple and cranberries.
Tuesday: Corned beef, cucumber salad
Wednesday: Cholent Stew over egg noodles and carrots
Thursday: Boneless BBQ pork ribs on the grill, green salad


Cholent Stew:

2 pounds cross-cut beef shank
1 cup dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
3/4 pearl barley
15 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 beef bouillon cube, crushed
4 cups water, or to cover

1. Place the ingredients in the slow cooker in the order in which they are listed. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender, 5 to 6 hours. This meat will probably have fallen away from the bones by this time.

2. Remove and discard the bones and any large pieces of marrow or fat, If any pieces of meat are larger than bite-size, transfer them to a cutting board, chop, and return them to the stew. Stir before serving hot.

Good Resource for Menu Planning

This is a link to a place that has printed pages for you to make shopping lists and keep track of prices at various stores.

My Menu Week June 1 - 7

My Menu Week of June 1 - June 7

Sunday - Pasta and Marinara Sauce in the Rice Cooker, Salad
Monday - Every Monday is Pizza Night
Tuesday - Chinese Noodles with Spring Vegetables
Wednesday - Grilled Pork Chops, Hot and Sour Bok Choy and Wild Rice Pilaf (Rice Cooker)
Thursday - Curried Chicken and Quinoa in Rice Cooker
Friday - Hamburgers on the Grill, Spinach and Pear Salad
Saturday - Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts, BBQ Pinto Beans, Grilled Asparagus

Chinese Noodles with Spring Vegetables - 5 pts

Recipe By :Mayo Clinic Healthy Recipes
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : LowCal (less than 300) LowFat (Less than 30%)
Quick Spicy
Vegan Veggie

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
8 ounces Chinese noodles -- 1 package
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves -- finely chopped
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
8 cherry tomatoes -- halved
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 scallions -- chopped
Crushed red chili flakes -- (optional)

Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente (tender), 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain the noodles thoroughly. Set aside.

In a large stockpot or frying pan, heat the oils over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Stir in the soy sauce and broccoli and continue to cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cooked noodles and toss until warmed through.

Divide the noodles among warmed individual plates and top with crushed red chili flakes, if desired. Serve immediately.


Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories 270; Total fat 9 g (Saturated fat 2 g, Monounsaturated fat 4 g ); Carbohydrate 38 g; Fiber 5 g;
Cholesterol 0 mg; Protein9 g; Sodium350 mg; Potassium564 mg; Calcium133 mg.

Dietitian's tip: To limit the sodium content of this oriental stir-fry, use reduced-sodium soy sauce, which has 25-percent less sodium but all of the taste of its full-sodium counterpart.

"5 pts"
S(Formatted by Chupa Babi):
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 291 Calories; 7g Fat (21.6% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 323mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 Grain(Starch); 1 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat.

Wild Rice Pilaf

Orange juice concentrate replaces part of the liquid in the rice mix,
giving the pilaf a tantalizing punch.

3/4 cup frozen Florida Orange Juice Concentrate, thawed Reduced-sodium chicken broth (about 2-3/4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 6-ounce packages long grain and wild rice mix (I won't be using a mix, will use raw rice and wild rice)
1/4 cup snipped parsley

In a measuring cup combine thawed orange juice concentrate and enough
chicken broth for the mixture to equal the amount of liquid called for
on the combined packages of the rice mix.

In a large saucepan combine the juice mixture, onion, and pepper. Bring
mixture to boiling. Stir in rice and accompanying seasoning mix. Return
to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 25 minutes or until rice
is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.

Serves 8 to 10.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING: 205 cal., 6 g pro., 45 g carbo., 1 g total
fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g dietary fiber, 974 mg sodium.
Daily value: 38% vit. C, 21% folate, 19% thiamine, 19% niacin, 18% iron,
12% potassium.

Hot and Sour Bok Choy - 1 pt, Carbs 6g, Fiber 1g

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : LowCal (less than 300) LowerCarbs
Quick Spicy
Vegan Veggie

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 1/2 pounds bok choy -- rinsed thoroughly, stems and leaves separated; stems trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces, leaves torn into large pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil -- or peanut oil
4 small whole dried red chiles -- cut into 1/4-inch lengths and seeds removed
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine -- or sake

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons black Chinese vinegar -- or Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Heat 1 gallon water to boiling and add bok choy stems. Boil until nearly tender, 1 to 2 minutes; drain. Place under cold running water until cool and drain again. Mix together sauce ingredients.

2. Heat a wok or skillet until very hot; add oil and heat until smoking. Add the chile peppers and stir-fry over high heat for about 20 seconds. Remove peppers with a slotted spoon and discard. Add ginger shreds and stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add cabbage stems and leaves; stir-fry over high heat until leaves wilt, about 1 minute. Add rice wine and stir-fry for 45 seconds longer. Add the sauce and, stirring to prevent lumps, cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Serves 6

Bok Choy keeps for 4 to 5 days, loosely wrapped in plastic, although the leaves may become a bit limp. Remove tough outer leaves before using. This dish is very spicy. For a milder version, reduce the number of chile peppers to 2.


Spinach and Pear Salad

Light and refreshing salad, a delicious side to any dish.

by kate_nyc 20 min | 15 min prep | SERVES 6

1 (16 ounce) bag fresh spinach leaves

1 can pears, slices drained

1/4 medium red onion, thinly-sliced

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper, to taste

Toss the spinach, pear slices, onion and blue cheese in a large salad bowl.

Heat the oil and vinegar in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture is just steaming. Pour over the salad and toss until the spinach wilts slightly.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

© 2007 Recipezaar. All Rights Reserved.


BBQ Pinto Beans 3.2 points

1 lb. dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over 4 cups hot water
2 onions, chopped
1 Tbs. chili powder
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1-1/2 Tbs. prepared mustard
1/8 tsp. hot red pepper sauce, or to taste

Combine first 4 ingredients in an electric slow cooker on low heat. Cover and cook about 7 hrs or until beans are tender. Drain cooking liquid. Stir in remaining
ingredients. Set on high heat and cook uncovered 10-15 mins or until heated through.

serves 6.

Per serving: cals 331, fat 2.0g, 5% cals from
fat, chol 0mg, protein 17.7g, carbs 63.6g, fiber 20.3g, sugar 13.2g, sod
573mg, diet points 3.2

Rice Cookers

I have been using my rice cooker every day, sometimes a few times a day for the past 2 weeks. I love it. The versatility is amazing and it's so easy to clean and saves energy by not having to heat up my stove.

So, what am I complaining about? How long does any of these recipes I am using take to cook? One never knows ahead of time. Not that they take a long time. They don't. But none of the recipes I have tried have a time mentioned in them. It's a good thing the keep warm cycle is included because until the cooker turns to keep warm you have no idea when to start the salad or set the table.

Today I am making pasta in it. Sauce and all. It sounds wonderful and I am hungry. I have no idea when we will eat though. I guess the longer I use it the more I will remember each recipe and how long it took, but why can't the recipes just give the time. Even a range would help. Thirty-45 minutes is a whole lot easier to plan than an unknown.....