Saturday, August 29, 2009
I suspect there will be more to add so I will announce here when I add new ones and add the links to the bottom of my post about The Shack.
5/13/09 added a link to annother podcast.
8/30/09 added a link to annother podcast.
(click photos for larger view)
2) When veggies are cooked, I add 2 cloves of garlic, pressed into the pan with a garlic press. Saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I made this cake for an open house at my Dad's house in California in July and more recently I made 2 of them for a Luau for the 55+ group at our church.
Pineapple Delight Cake
1 yellow cake mix (or 1/2 see note below)
1 large vanilla instant pudding (I prefer the new French Vanilla if you can find it)
1 1/3 cup milk
1 8oz. cream cheese, softened
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1 9 oz container of Cool Whip
Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Bake in 9x13 pan; cool.
Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, slowly add the milk until incorporated, then add the pudding mix and beat until smooth. This will result in smoother, quicker mixing and you may be able to do it quickly enough to be able to pour the pudding on the cake. If you just dump everything into the bowl and beat it (as per the original recipe directions) you can end up with flecks of cream cheese - you can see them in the photo 2nd cake I did as described above and didn't have that problem.
Spread pudding mixture over cake. Top evenly with pineapple. Spread on Cool Whip. I do recommend using Cool Whip for this because it is more stable than real whipped cream.
This cake needs to be refrigerated.
One time I only had pineapple chunks, so I chopped them until they resembled crushed pineapple. I recommend you let them sit for 10 min and drain again if you do this. A lot of juice seeped out after I put it on the cake and made it a lot wetter than I like.
Note: The original recipe called for baking 1/2 of the cake mix. I used the full cake, but as a result it does stick up higher than the top of the dish.
Bake it in a 9x13 dish to make it thin; cool. Do not over bake about 15+ minutes.
Variation: Use Chocolate Cake, substitute bananas instead of pineapple, and sprinkle top with slivered almonds.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I want to tell you about a blog I enjoy it's called Everything Rachael Ray . Madeline, who writes the blog reports on Everything Rachael Ray. I first discovered her blog when she linked to one of my posts where I had prepared a Rachael Ray recipe. Since that time I have been enjoying checking in on her site and seeing what is going on in the world of Rachael Ray. I particularly enjoy the weekly feature Rachael Ray Roundup. In this week's Roundup Madeline says:
"Rachael gives a hint to Newsweek that she doesn't appreciate being lumped in
with Sandra Lee. Gotta say I agree with Rach on this one - her recipes don't
rely on prepared foods like Lee's do. "
I followed Madeline's link and read the Newsweek article Sandra Lee: The Anti Julia & found I had a number of things to say on the subject...
I too agree with Rachael that she doesn't belong in the same category as Sandra Lee.
Yes, they both have recipes for the masses... but Sandra Lee's philosophy is "instant plus" while Rachael's message (in my opinion) is -If I can do this you can too. Which does remind me of Julia Child's anyone can learn to cook attitude. Following Rachael's Recipes has stretched my tastes and those of my family getting us to try new flavors and ingredients.
I make a lot of Rachael's recipes and what I am doing in my kitchen is definitely cooking! It's not the Mix-Mix Toss-Toss* of most of Sandra Lee's recipes.
I'd also like to mention that in The Way To Cook (my introduction to Julia Child recipes) Julia refers to Extra Virgin Olive Oil as EVOO. This book was published in 1989. I remember reading it and being surprised, I'm currently searching to find it again. When I do I'll add the page # here.
*Mix-Mix Toss-Toss is a call back to a delightful scene in The Easter Parade where the waiter, François; memorably played by Jules Munshin, describes the making of a special salad. Video clip embedded at the top of this post.
I'd love to hear what you thought if you saw the film.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Julia reminisces about her life in France, the period when she found herself and fell in love with food and cooking. The stories are in the first person and I love reading her own words, I can hear her speak them in my mind as I read. In the book Julia tells the story in a series of memories about things that happened during that time in her life. It's not like reading a book, it's like sitting across a sunny kitchen table and having coffee with Julia.
In my post Quoting Julia - Remembering Mom I talked about my admiration for Julia Child. The movie Julie & Julia was released this weekend, I'm excited about it, but I am a little afraid to see that movie & read that book. I guess I'm afraid they won't get her right. My life in France certainly, does.
Bits from the book: My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'Homme
This quote about her husband, Paul, reminded me of my own husband. "He was very particular about his car-packing, and very good at it too, like a master jigsaw-puzzler."
"In France, Paul explained, good cooking was regarded as a combination of national sport and high art,"
"I couldn't help noticing that the waiters carried themselves with a quiet joy, as if their entire mission in life was to make their customers feel comfortable and well tended."
"It was a remarkable lesson. No dish, not even the humble scrambled egg, was too much trouble for him. 'You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,' he said. 'Even after you eat it, it stays with you-always." I found myself nodding in deep agreement with Chef Bugnard Julia's first instructor at Le Cordon Bleu as I read this story.
"The best way to describe it is to say that I fell in love with French food-the tastes, the processes, the history, the endless variations, the rigorous discipline, the creativity, the wonderful people, the equipment, the rituals. I have never taken anything so seriously in my life-husband and cat excepted-and I could hardly bear to be away from the kitchen. What fun! What a revelation! How terrible it would have been had Roo de Loo come with a good cook! How magnificent to find my life's calling, at long last!"
Roo de Loo is Julia's nickname for 81 Rue de l'Universite, where Paul and Julia made their home in France.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
This recipe is from Cooking Light 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook. The chicken was delicious, but I'm increasing the ingredients to make 2x's the flavored oil, when you have something that tastes this good, why skimp (because it was in a light magazine I'm sure.) I accidentally bought chicken tenders instead of breasts, I still pounded them so they were uniform thickness (took about 1 hit.) Cook's Note if you pound out chicken breasts you can only fit 2 in a very large sized pan so you'll need to cook them in 2 batches.
Ethan LOVED this dinner, he said it was like something from a restaurant. I served it with Near East Roasted Chicken & Garlic Rice Pilaf (box mix.)
4 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4 inch thickness using the flat side of a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt (1/4 teaspoon salt should be enough for all 4.)
Combine olive oil and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 teaspoons oil mixture to pan, spreading evenly over bottom of pan with a wide spatula. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Drizzle 2 teaspoons (or more) oil mixture over chicken. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes. Drizzle remaining oil mixture over chicken; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve remaining sauce drippings over chicken.
This looks really good! Will have to get some pesto and veggies and give it a try. And the rice looks creamy and yummy too. Do you have a recipe for your rice? :)
I sure do Sheila!
1/2 onion, chopped
1 or 2 garlic cloves, pressed (don't use that stuff in the jar it smells great but doesn't come thru with the same kind of flavor as fresh garlic)
1 cup of long grain rice (I use Mahatma Extra Long Grain Enriched Rice)
2 cups of chicken broth or stock (if using condensed broth use 1 can and make up the difference with water.)
Place the olive oil or butter in the bottom of a large saucepan and heat to medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent and begin to soften, they'll cook more with the rice so you don't have to cook them all the way, but soften them up you want sauted onion flavor not boiled onion flavor. When the onions are cooked to your satisfaction add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Over-cooked garlic gets bitter so add the rice as soon as you smell the garlic.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Pesto Chicken Grill Packets
Extra virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 1/4 pounds)
salt & pepper
1 cup basil pesto (I found I needed more than 1 tub to make 3 servings)
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes (I used 2 Roma tomatoes, they cook well & were on special)
8 green onions, trimmed
Preheat the grill to medium. Cut four 12-inch long sheets of heavy duty foil. I assembled all my ingredients and made up the packets one at a time, then placed them on a cookie sheet for easy transport to and from the grill.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil in the center of a sheet of foil, top with a piece of chicken, salt and pepper then flip and season the 2nd side. Top chicken with 1 tablespoon of the pesto sauce. Mound 1/4 of the zucchini, tomatoes and green onions on top of the chicken and dollop with 3 tablespoons of pesto on top of the veggies. Fold the foil over the chicken and veggies; fold up the ends to seal. (Note: that is a total of 4 tablespoons of pesto sauce per packet.)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not Kraft that stuff is not cheese!)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Using a food processor, finely chop the basil and garlic. Add the Parmesan and pine nuts and pulse into a coarse paste.
Pesto recipes on The Fragrant Hand:
Grown Up Grilled Cheese Panini - Pesto Mozzarella Grilled Cheese
Dinner Experiment Pasta Bake
Pesto Grilled Chicken Packets
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Ya know I am so frustrated with my local supermarket, they are always out of stuff and I have to go to at least 2 markets to get everything on my list. Last week they were out of garlic. How can I cook without garlic?! Today they were out of Pesto (I found an expensive import to buy but I wanted to buy the refrigerated one I normally get), the broccoli was black on top, not gonna eat that! The yogurt case was half empty (looked like they had a mishap) and there was no fresh basil anywhere to be found, not even the little blister packs.
So it's summer, I'll roll with the punches & adapt, I'll just have to hit another market tomorrow and switch up the batting order of meals I have planned for the week. Courtney, creamy pasta is on the menu again this week so that I can show you how to re-heat it the next day :D (Pasta is waiting on that fresh basil I couldn't get.)
So tonight I'm making Pesto Chicken Grill Packets out of the June/July 2009 issue of Rachael Ray's Magazine. It was easy to put together and goes on the grill in little foil pouches. Unfortunately when I went to put them on the grill, the flame went out, I was out of propane. So I'll have to bake them in the oven. Not what I would have planned, but oh well.
We have about 20 more minutes of waiting before I can give my verdict. Pesto Chicken Grill Packets Recipe Here.
I don't menu plan in the conventional way. I don't lay out what we're going to eat on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... I think about our schedule for the week and what we have going on, then I just select 3 or 4 recipes that I plan to make at some point in the week. I find that a dinner for every night of the week is far too much food for my family of 3. Generally I cook one night and we eat leftovers the following night. I like this, it means I only have to wash pots and pans every other night. Cooking I don't mind, I go into my kitchen, buzz around singing, I go into a happy place in my mind, and then there is delicious food to eat. Dish washing is the opposite of this zen-like experience, and it cuts into family time.
My vague menu planning allows me a certain amount of spontaneity in my cooking as well. Some nights I am just "in the mood" for certain kinds of food. I can switch to one of the other recipes in order to accommodate this, or sometimes I just make something up with ingredients I have that satisfies the craving (I nearly made asparagus risotto, tonight, except that I could already taste the salty tang of the pesto in tonight's new recipe.) I did end up making a simple rice with onions and garlic to go along with the chicken and veggies.