Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Roundup

Here we are with another Saturday Roundup. We're looking at a weekend in the upper 70's - woop woop! - so I'm considering leaving the stove and oven untouched for the weekend.

Yes, the grill will do just fine!

Here are a few 'no cook' recipes that I dig. Enjoy!

Hot and Cold Sesame Noodles from Rachael Ray. I don't care that the uber-foodies don't like her. She's my kind of gal. And this salad is so good, and you can eat off of it for days.

Mesclun, Cherry and Goat Cheese Salad from Food Blogga. This looks so good I'm ready to lick the screen. Mmmmm.

Summer Barbecue Menu
from The Kitchen Sink Recipes. Blue Cheese Coleslaw? Chipotle Turkey Burgers? Sweet Corn with Paprika Butter? Wowsa. Must go to the grocery store RIGHT NOW.

Curried Egg Salad from 101 Cookbooks. As a non-egg eater, it says a lot that this is fabulous.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Cream

So, tacos don't seem to photograph well.

But these are REALLY delicious. I'm pretty sure you could put the avocado cream sauce on a shoe and it would be delectable.

I just discovered tilapia recently... it's a nice, mild white fish. A good fish for those who are fish beginners. And did I mention it is inexpensive? Double bonus.


For the fish:
frozen tilapia fillets - 1 for each person
1 lime, thinly sliced
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
ground cumin

For the Avocado Cream:
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large clove garlic, grated on microplane
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

corn tortillas, 2 for each person
cabbage or lettuce, chopped (I prefer cabbage - it's more traditional for fish tacos)
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
diced tomatoes
fresh cilantro
avocado slices
chunky salsa
lime slices for squeezing

Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange the frozen tilapia in a pan, dot with butter, sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin, and lay lime slices over each fillet.

Place the tilapia in the oven, it will bake about 30 minutes.

While the fish is working, make your avocado cream sauce. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender (or you can use an immersion blender) and whiz till smooth and creamy. Check for seasonings - add more to your taste.

Prep the accouterments. I sometimes fry the corn tortillas in a little bit of vegetable oil, or sometimes I just warm them in the microwave. The frying tastes better (what doesn't taste better fried?) but isn't as healthy. The choice is yours. I fry mine in a deep, heavy saucepan with about an inch of oil over medium high heat. I only fry them for about 20-30 seconds - you want the tortilla to still be pliable - and then drain over paper towels.

When the fish is ready (flaky and opaque), remove from the oven. Break the fish into chunks, and assemble the tacos.

And yes, you'll need napkins. Lots of napkins...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Roundup: What I'm Loving This Week.

Lazy Saturday. Well, blog lazy, that is.

House is hideous, so I'll be spending a lot of time cleaning (boo!) , and the rest outside (hurrah!).

Just a quick post with some links for food I'm loving this week.

Rhubarb Squares from Jonquils and Ladybugs: Made these last night, amazing!

Chocolate Cake in a Mug from Life of Elle: Awesome for a quick chocolate fix.

Rhubarb Soda from Culinate: Yes, I love rhubarb. Why do you ask?

Shoyu Chicken Thighs from Beanplate: These are amazing!

Happy Saturday everyone! I'm thinking it's grilling type of day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sour Cream & Yogurt Blueberry Mini Muffins

A few months back I purchased a mini muffin tin and I can't tell you why, but I'm obsessed. Probably because a) mini things are cute and b) I don't feel so bad eating several when they're MINI.

I love these muffins because they're not too sweet. I've never been a fan of store bought muffins - which are basically unfrosted cupcakes. You can adjust the sugar in these muffins to your taste, and I've also made them with Splenda, and they turned out surprisingly well. This recipe also can be made with nonfat dairy products over full fat, if you're concerned about the fat content.

This recipe makes about 12 full sized muffins or 36 mini.


Wet Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dry Ingredients:

1 egg
3 1/2 Tablespoons warm melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
3 Tablespoons milk

3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray your muffin tin lightly with nonstick spray (you can use any size muffin tin you like).

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix together with a few light strokes - do not over mix. The batter will resemble biscuit dough. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake for about 10-11 minutes for mini muffins, 13-14 for standard size - check with a toothpick - if it comes out clean, they're done.

Let rest in muffin tin for 2 to 3 minutes.

These freeze beautifully and are great for little hands. Though the blueberries may cause a bit of a mess!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheesy Creamy Acini Di Pepe with Veg

You may be saying - what the heck is Acini di Pepi? Well, it's pasta. Tiny, tiny pasta. When cooked, it looks kind of like tapioca. You may have had it in one of it's more hideous preparations, Frogs Eye Salad - kind of like ambrosia with little pasta mixed in.


I like this incarnation much better. It's warm and comforting and just the right amount of chewy.

This recipe will feed two adults well, with enough leftover for a little one. This would serve several as a side dish.


2 T flour
2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup Acini Di Pepe (you could also substitute orzo)
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup frozen veggies - I used mixed carrots, corn and peas
sea salt to taste

Cook Acini di Pepe according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour. Keep whisking flour and butter for a few minutes, until it is golden and the flour-y taste has cooked out. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, still whisking, and reduce heat. The sauce should start to thicken up at this point. Add the cheese, keep whisking until it melts. Add salt to taste.

In the last minute of cooking the pasta, add the vegetables. Drain and mix with the cheese sauce. Serve hot. Unless it's for a little kid. Then let it cool a bit. Duh!

And one more thing ... double the cheese sauce recipe and freeze the remainder in a small freezer bag. Then you won't have to make the cheese sauce, just the pasta, next time you make the this recipe. Or, eat it on broccoli. Yum!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mama's Ribs

I will never profess to be the greatest cook in the world, but I think that I've got a few failproof recipes up my sleeve. This is one of them. My husband would probably eat these every night given the chance.

To modify this for children, I'd cut back on the chili flake a bit. Oh yeah, make sure they're wearing a bib. And don't worry about the beer. It'll help them sleep. JUST KIDDING. It cooks out. Dude, chill!


2 lbs country style pork ribs (either bone-in or boneless)
1 medium sweet onion roughly chopped.
1 T red pepper flake (more or less to your taste)
1 bottle of beer (I find a domestic macro works better than microbrews)
1 cup bbq sauce of your preference
olive oil

Turn the oven on to 300F. On the stovetop, heat to med/high heat a large dutch oven and go round a few times with the olive oil. Saute the onion and the red pepper flake in the oil till onion is translucent, push to the sides of the dutch oven. Add a bit more oil and lay down the ribs (which you've already seasoned with salt & pepper). Sear on all sides. Pour the beer into the dutch oven and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom (the fancy term for this is deglazing).

Put the lid on the dutch oven and place in the oven. Set the timer for about two hours. At two hours, pull the dutch oven out and get rid of all of the cooking liquid except for about an inch on the bottom. Add the bbq sauce and mix well. Cover the dutch oven and place back in the oven till the bbq sauce is sticky - ususally about another 1/2 hour.

Serve as pieces of meat or shred it up for pulled pork.

I won't even give any kind of nutrition information because you probably don't even want to know (I know I don't).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bowties With Ricotta Tomato Sauce

Tonight I made this for the second time for the kiddo - and for the second time, he scarfed it down like a little wolverine.

I think we have a winner.

I liken this to a deconstructed lasagna - but without the meat or the hassle.

Serves two hungry adults, or several munchkins.


1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated or microplaned
6 campari or plum tomatoes, diced (you could also use 2 large beefsteak or about 2 cups grape)
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
8 oz part skim ricotta
8 oz dried farafalle (bow tie) pasta
1/4 cup shredded parmesan, plus extra for serving

Prepare pasta according to the box. While the pasta is boiling ...

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes - make sure to include any juice that had escaped during the chopping. Also add the herbs at this time. Keep stirring, reduce heat to medium. Add a pinch or two of sea salt. Keep stirring. When the tomatoes are nice and broken down, add the ricotta and reduce heat to low. Mix the ricotta into the tomatoes, smashing out any lumps as you go. When the ricotta is nicely incorporated, stir in the parmesan.

Drain the pasta, leaving it a bit wet with the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the sauce.
Serve with shredded parmesan.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cooking with Mama

I love food. I love blogging. I have lots of recipes in my back pocket that I haven't posted because I don't see my personal blog as a 'food blog'.

So here we are.

Never will I profess to be a trained chef. I am not. But I am dedicated to feeding my family wholesome, interesting food as much as possible.

Yes, I admit, the occasional chicken nugget and fluorescent mac and cheese finds it's way to our plates ... and I did make the mistake of introducing my husband to the fish stick sandwich. Yes, it is that disgusting (and delicious)!

I am on a mission to bring up my son with an adventurous palate and perhaps, fingers crossed, get my husband to try a few new things! Join me. It could get interesting!