Friday, October 31, 2008

Flank Steak Teriyaki

The weather's finally turning sharp around here and our days of outdoor grilling appear to be over -- at least for now. But the trusty "broil" setting on my oven still works. As Mark Bittman says in How to Cook Everything: The Basics, ". . . remember that a broiler is little more than an upside-down grill. The major difference is that melting fat can build up in your broiling pan and catch fire, so it's best to broil on a rack. Turn the broiler to maximum, preheat it, and broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat source (any more, and you won't brown the steak; any less, and you'll burn it)."

To see if your meat is done, cut into it and take a peek. The thinner parts on the ends can go to those who like it more well-done; the center, thicker parts will be more rare.

This is a simple marinade for flank steak. Once cooked, slice the meat thinly on the diagonal.


1 T. soy sauce
2 T. honey
1 T. red wine vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. grated fresh ringer root (I buy this in jars, already grated. Look for it in the spice section of the grocery store)
1 green onion (white part only), chopped

Mix together all ingredients in shallow pan. Add flank steak (about 1 1/2 lbs.) and soak for as long as you like (even overnight, if desired). Broil or barbecue until it's done to your liking (cut into it to peek). For rare to medium-rare, this will be 4 to 5 minutes per side. Slice very thinly on the diagonal.

Leftovers are great in sandwiches or salads.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mom's Spinach Salad

You can make this "wilted" or not, however you prefer. Optional additions include chopped tomatoes, green onions, sliced mushrooms, or cooked bacon bits.
Thanks, Mom.
1 1/2 - 2 T. sesame seeds
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1/2 t. sugar
2 t. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
spinach (I use a 6 or 9 oz. bag prewashed, because I hate washing it)
Put seeds in large pan over medium-high heat. Shake pan often until seeds are lightly browned (5 minutes or so). Pour from pan and set aside.
Mix vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce; set aside.
In pan over medium heat, combine sesame oil and garlic. Saute until golden (about 4 minutes or less -- do not scorch! warns Mom). If you want your spinach wilted, add it here and stir over high heat until it's just wilted -- "the way you prefer." If you don't want it wilted, pour the garlic mixture into a large bowl, then add the raw spinach and stir it up good. Transfer spinach onto plates, sprinkle with sesame seeds (and any of the optional tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.), and drizzle with the vinegar-soy mixture. Yum.
Anyone else have good salad ideas?


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Super Simple Supper

This Bread Crumb Omelet is the perfect simple supper for when you have almost no food in the house. It is simply delicious as described here, with just garlicky-browned breadcrumbs and Cheddar cheese. (I whirl a piece of bread in the blender to get my breadcrumbs.) If you have leftover bits of meat, seafood, or vegetables in the fridge, you can add those, too. But no need.

Here, then, is the recipe, which is based on a recipe from the book In Madeleine's Kitchen by Madeleine Kamman.


1 egg
1/4 t. crushed garlic
1 1/2 T. coarse bread crumbs (use blender)
1/2 T. butter
1-2 T. grated Cheddar cheese
couple T. of fake crab, leftover meat, or veggies, if desired

Mix egg with garlic in small bowl. Set aside. In small non-stick skillet, place bread crumbs and butter. Over medium heat, brown bread crumbs. When crumbs are golden, WORKING QUICKLY, pour egg mixture over, sprinkle with pinch of salt, and STIR once or twice. (If you don't stir right away, you'll end up with scrambled eggs.) When omelet is about cooked -- maybe 30 seconds or so -- add the cheese and anything else you want. Roll and place on a small plate.

Yummy. And garlicky. You may need breath mints later.

Note that it's made of only one egg, so be prepared to make as many as you need to fill up yourself and whatever other stomachs you're responsible to feed. When you add fruit, a salad, roll, it's dinner.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup

This soup is simply delectable. Delicious. Scrumptious. Even my Thesaurus can’t do it justice.

I think the secret is in the lemon zest.

The recipe comes from Laurie Latour, author of The Future Christian Homemakers' Handbook. 


1 - 2 T. olive oil
5 - 6 lbs. tomatoes
½ c. orange juice
1 - 2 cans chicken broth or vegetable broth (I use 2 c. water plus 2 t. instant chicken bouillon)
3 bay leaves
1 t. lemon zest
Salt & pepper to taste

Cover two jelly roll pans (with sides to catch juice) with aluminum foil. Wash and dry tomatoes. (I cut out the cores here, too.) Don’t use cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, as they are too small. Rub a bit of olive oil on the tomatoes, and set on the pan. Roast at 350 degrees until tomato skins are blackened on top. This takes about 1½ - 2 hours. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Slip the skins off the tomatoes. Place pulp in blender or food processor and puree in batches until smooth. Put the puree in saucepan; add the rest of ingredients and simmer gently about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.

This is wonderful cold, too. I usually cut the recipe in half as we have only 2 or 3 pounds of ripe tomatoes at a time. Laurie reports that it freezes well, but it has never lasted long enough to freeze at our house.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Now There's an Idea . . .

Fun fact: 3 percent of Americans eat ice cream in the bathtub.
That just seemed like an important piece of information to pass along.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Cukes

The cucumbers keep coming. Alas, so must the recipes. This one, based on a recipe from the book The Frugal Gourmet, "will become a family favorite, I promise!" says book's author Jeff Smith.

He's right. It has.


2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. water

1 c. white vinegar

1/2 T. dried dill

Prepare the cucumber and onion and combine in a bowl. Set aside. Put sugar, water, vinegar, and dill in small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Pour liquid over vegetables, stir gently, and refrigerate until you're ready to eat.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Garlic Cheese Rolls

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. It comes from a wonderful book, Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway. It makes two pans full, 24 rolls total. Depending on how famished you are, you may be able to spirit away one pan for the freezer to enjoy at a later date. These are so buttery already, you don't need to serve with butter. (And I wouldn't lie to you. I LOVE butter.)
1 c. plus 2 T. water
3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 T. butter
3 T. sugar
2 T. nonfat dry milk powder
2 t. yeast
1/4 c. melted butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
In pan of bread machine, place water, flour, salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, sugar, dry milk powder, and yeast. Select "dough" setting and press start. When machine beeps, remove dough from pan. On floured counter top or cutting board, gently stretch dough into a 24-inch rope. Use a sharp knife to divide dough into 24 pieces.
Grease 2 (8-inch) pie pans. Shape dough into balls and place 12 rolls in each pie pan.
In small bowl, combine melted butter and garlic. Spoon over rolls. Sprinkle with cheese. Warm oven by turning on to "warm" setting for 2 minutes. Turn off oven; place covered dough in oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, until golden.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Fun with Popcorn

Remember the old commercial, "Candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize"? That's what you get with this quite Cracker-Jackian recipe for Baked Candied Popcorn.
Only no prize. Sorry.
1/2 c. popcorn kernels, to make about 10ish cups of popcorn (or about 3 bags of microwave popcorn)
3/4 c. salted dry roasted peanuts
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. honey
Make the pocorn and plop it into the largest bowl you own, picking out any unpopped kernels as you go. Add the peanuts. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in molasses and honey and cook over high heat, stirring, until bubbles start to form, which will take only a couple minutes. Pour over popcorn/peanuts, stir as well as you can to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible, then put entire bowlful on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring often, for about 8 minutes.
Hint: Stay in kitchen during baking period as going outside to cut flowers from garden may result in several scary-dark popcorn kernels.
Eat immediately, or bag up to bring to local high school football game along with ski parkas and blankets. Alternately, squish into the corner of sofa and enjoy popcorn while watching World Series baseball games, Dancing With the Stars, or Survivor -- take your pick.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Refrigerator Pickles

Do you have a nimiety of garden cucumbers this time of year? (Nimiety: excess; overabundance) Try making these pickles. No canning involved, just some slicing and dicing. (A food processor is highly recommended to get the cukes thin enough -- 1/16th of an inch). The finished product should keep about three weeks in your refrigerator.
3 large regular cucumbers, not peeled, sliced into 1/16th-inch thick slices
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 T. salt
2 t. celery seed
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 white vinegar
Combine cut up vegetables in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and celery seed, stir gently, and set aside for one hour.
Mix together sugar and vinegar until sugar is dissolved. Pour over the vegetables and refrigerate. Done! These will be best after a day or so and will keep for three weeks.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Swiss Cheese Fondue

Fondue doesn't get any easier than this. No expensive foreign cheeses (just regular ol' Swiss); no wines or exotic liqueurs (just plain ol' half-and-half). You don't even need a fondue pot. You can just heat the ingredients on the stove while you slice up cubes of French bread and apple, and, voila! Half an hour after you get home from the grocery store, you'll be enjoying your scrumptious meal, saucepan plunked in the middle of the kitchen table.

1 lb. Swiss cheese, grated
3 T. flour
1/2 t. dry mustard
seasoned salt, to taste
1 1/2 c. half-and-half

French bread, cut into chunks
apple, peeled and cut into chunks
(optional dippers: cooked sausage chunks, chunks of ham, cooked potato chunks, or any other vegetables your family likes, cut into bite-sized pieces)

Grate your cheese and mix it in bowl with flour, dry mustard, and seasoned salt. Set aside. In saucepan on the stove, heat half-and-half until just below boiling. (You should see it kind of start to move in the pan.) Drop a handful of cheese mixture into the liquid, stirring well. As cheese starts to melt, drop in another big handful. Keep adding and stirring until all cheese is used. Mixture should be thick and smooth.

Now the fun part: you get to eat it! Serve with cubes of French bread, chunks of apple, and any other dippers that sound good to you. Hand everyone a fork and dip away.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cardboard-y with a Hint of Flavorlessness

I promised I'd share my occasional recipe flop on this blog, too.

I give you Exhibit A: Pistachio cookies, recipe originating in the Middle East.

No need for me to share the instructions here. Suffice it to say, if you'd like to replicate the taste yourself, just bite into the nearest wall and savor the plaster dust.

Kitchen flops? Anyone?


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jana's Fried Rice

Ta da!

Fried rice.

Who knew it would be so easy?

Jana McBurney-Lin, author of the wonderful novel My Half of the Sky, has graciously shared her fried rice recipe below. Any book clubs out there, looking for a good book to read and a delicious dish to serve at your next meeting, look no further.

Here are Jana's instructions. When you're done cooking and eating, check out her blog at

"I thought fried rice was originated in this country, the story being that a customer came in late one evening to a Chinese restaurant. The customer asked for something to eat, but all the cook had was a little of this and a little of that. Instead of turning the customer away, the cook fried up a dish of leftovers. Fried Rice.

"I did a little research though, and--while the story is similar--the history goes back forever, apparently to Yangzhou (a town between Shanghai and Nanking). I visited Yangzhou the first time I went to China. I was backpacking about, and a fellow traveler mentioned that Yangzhou had purple-sand pottery. I was nearby (in Nanking), and thought, 'Hey, I've never seen purple sand or purple sand pottery. I'll go see what this is about.' It was a tiny town. From the reactions of the children around, they probably had never seen a foreigner in the flesh. I remember walking along the dusty streets, and an old man from a tea shop beckoned me in. He wanted to chat. I didn't speak more than a handful of Chinese at the time, but we had a nice time sipping tea and smiling. (I never did find the purple pottery.)

"But back to the rice. It's easy--and just remember, if it doesn't taste right, add a bit more salt.


leftovers: meat and veggies (chicken and pork taste nice, as do bell peppers)

cold rice

3 eggs

salt and pepper

green onions

Take your leftover meat and veggies and chop up small. Take your leftover rice and set aside.(If you don't have leftover rice, make a few cups and let cool.) Take three eggs, whip them into a froth in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. If you have some green onion, chop that up.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a large fry pan (or wok). When the oil is heated, add the eggs and fry up til a bit sloppy. Then add your leftover rice, chopped up meat, veggies, etc. When these are heated through, turn off the heat. Sprinkle with green onion. There you have it."
Jana McBurney-Lin, Author, My Half of the Sky,

Lynn's note: Delicious. We sprinkled a dash of soy sauce on it. I'm listing it as a side dish, but I think it could count for a main dish, too.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mom's Delicious Roasted Potatoes

My mom's been making garlicky potato wedges lately, and whenever she does, all diners converge to gobble up every morsel. Simple to make, these roasted potatoes take:
1 lb. small red potatoes
1/4 c. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic

Wash potatoes and cut into quarters to make wedges. Put in large bowl. In measuring cup, mix olive oil and garlic; pour over potatoes and mix well. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Put into baking dish and bake at 450 degrees about 45 minutes, until potatoes are done and browned. If desired, stir once or twice during baking for more even browning.

Note: When I made these last, I baked them at 325 degrees since I was cooking a pork roast at the same time. They were done in an hour, but were not as brown and crispy as usual. The point being, if you're baking something else anyway, a lower temperature works fine.

Another note: I have no idea how many servings a pound of potatoes should make, but two of us ate this whole recipe, no problem. The point here being, if you like potatoes or are serving more than two, you might want to at least double the recipe.

Happy eating.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Why is the cookie jar only half full, you ask?
Well . . . er . . . we like cookies around here.
This recipe is almost identical to a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, only it adds unsweetened chocolate and a little extra sugar. 'Cause can you have too much chocolate? I think not.
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
4 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 375 degrees; grease cookie sheets. In large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. (You can use electric mixer, if you want; I use a pastry blender.) Add melted unsweetened chocolate and mix well. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Add chocolate chips (and walnuts, if you use them). Using a large spoon or a round ice cream scooper, scoop a big blob of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake about 10 minutes. Once they're slightly cooled, eat 'em up.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Easiest Peach Smoothie Ever

See the peaches on our peach tree?
Even though peach season is over, you can still enjoy this delicious treat (and think! It'll count toward your 5 a day! See post below and I'll promise to stop using exclamation points!)
Take 15-oz. can sliced peaches packed in fruit juice. Put it in the freezer around lunchtime. Around dinnertime, open the can and dump the contents into a blender. Whirl until slushy. Makes two drinks.

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Five a Day

Are you getting your five servings of fruits or vegetables a day?

Me neither. But don't despair. Authors of the book 5 a Day: The Better Health Cookbook, Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka and Barbara Berry, suggest you can start slow. ". . . Just try to beat the number of servings you had the day before."

And you might be surprised. A serving is not only one medium-sized piece of fruit, it can also be 3/4 c. fruit or vegetable juice, 1/4 c. dried fruit, or 1/2 c. frozen or canned vegetables or fruit.

So that smoothie you whipped up for an afternoon snack? Totally counts.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Roast Chicken with Lime-Garlic Butter

A little chicken trivia: Did you know that if you raise chickens to eat, one method recommended for catching the flighty critters is to sneak up on them at night when they're asleep? Twine, a burlap bag, and a flashlight are also involved. Just a fun fact that might come in handy at your next social gathering.

Back to the recipe at hand. If you buy your chicken at the grocery store like I do, no middle-of-the-night twine and burlap bag shenanigans should be necessary.

1 whole chicken (mine was 5 lbs.)
salt, thyme to taste
1/4 c. lime juice (4 or 5 limes should do it)
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 clove garlic, put through garlic press

Pull out your broiler pan and line the bottom part with aluminum foil. (You don't want to skip this step or you will spend waaaaay too much time later scrubbing. And you will be mad at me.) Spray the top of broiler pan with PAM, if desired. Rinse off chicken, pat dry with paper towels, place on broiler pan, and sprinkle with salt and dried thyme. Mix together the lime juice (you can also use lemon), butter, and garlic, and spoon over the chicken. Bake at 375 degrees, brushing occasionally with pan drippings, until meat thermometer reads 180 - 185 degrees. (My five-pound bird took about 90 minutes.)

Note: Don't forget to pull out the neck and giblets and all the other stuff they stick in the cavity of the chicken before you bake.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Easy Italian Sausage Loaf

This really is a pretty easy dinner, especially if you start with a loaf of frozen bread dough from the grocery store. Biggest danger: eating half the finished product, warm from the oven, all by yourself.

1 loaf frozen dough

1 lb. ground sausage

1 small package Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 8 oz. or 2 c. ) You can also use Mozzarella, Pepper Jack, or a combination of whatever cheeses you have

1 egg, beaten

few T. Parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

Let the dough thaw. Roll or smush it out to about 8 x 11 inches. Fry sausage in a pan and drain/blot with paper towels. Mix sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, and half of beaten egg. Place mixture down center of loaf and fold dough toward the center, pinching edges to seal. Brush remaining egg on top of loaf. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 or 25 minutes.

If you're feeling ambitious, you can make the dough yourself. I use a bread machine, so it's very little effort. But it does take about two hours, to allow it time to rise.


Dump all the following in bread machine, and press "dough" option:

2/3 c. water

1 T. butter

1 t. salt

1 T. sugar

2 c. bread flour

1 T. nonfat dry milk

3/4 t. active dry yeast


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What's in Season in October

. . . other than candy corn, that is.

October is a great month to shop for:

bell peppers
green onions

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