Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mushroom and Brie Phyllo Triangles

Ms. S invited us over for drinks and appetizers last night, after which we called a cab and went dancing. I hadn't been shopping, but I created these delicious phyllo triangles with what I had on hand. The were definitely worth repeating, and a nice change from my usual spanakopitas and tiropitas. I wonder what the Greek word for mushroom is?

1/2 lb phyllo, thawed - I love the Athens brand.
8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, brushed and chopped coursely
1/4 lb brie, chopped - keep the rind
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp chopped italian parsley
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (~ 1 Tbsp)
1 stick salted butter or 3/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a small saucepan, add the garlic and cook gently until the garlic is just golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool slightly

  3. Combine the mushrooms, brie, herbs, salt & pepper and the egg yolks in a bowl

  4. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites briskly until very frothy. Add to mushroom mixture

  5. Working quickly, fill and fold the triangles, using two sheets of phyllo and brushing each sheet with the garlic butter. See these directions at the Athens site -- use the Step 3C directions for large triangles, but only use 2 phyllo sheets and only about 1 Tbsp of filling.

  6. Bake the triangles for 15 minutes

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pork Chops and Applesauce

Yes, that is a deliberate Brady Bunch reference. Served this tonight with Jaime Oliver's spicy squash, and both Hub and I drank the sauce from the plate. Seriously yum!

4 thick pork chops, bone in
1 tsp olive oil
6 med. Gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped coarsely
1 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
8 oz creme fraiche

  • Heat a large frying pan that has a lid.

  • Add the olive oil to the hot pan, swirl, then add the pork chops

  • Sear the chops on each side, about 2 minutes a side

  • Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients except the creme fraiche in a bowl (or you could do that before even starting the chops, up to you)

  • Lower the heat on the chops, and smother them with the apple mixture.

  • Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the chops bounce back when pressed.

  • Remove the chops to plates, add the creme fraiche to the apples in the pan and raise the heat

  • Briefly (about 1 minute) boil the sauce to thicken it a will not be a thick sauce

  • Pour the sauce on the chops, and serve

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Butternut Squash Soup with Chestnuts & Hazelnuts

The party people are back in town! Hub and I realized recently that we just haven't had a party recently, and were feeling itchy. We spent most of the summer as gym rats and hardly cooked or entertained, instead working on our health and hotness factors. Well, now we're ready to let loose again, so we had a cocktail party last night. It was lots of fun, and the kids are getting to the point where they pretty much entertain themselves, which is a relief.

One of the dishes I made was a lovely winter squash soup -- I had first made it back in 2001 or so for the C's. Since Ms. C can't digest any milk products, this soup is perfect -- very different from most squash soups in that it is entirely vegetarian. I gave her a call yesterday to see if she still had the recipe (I couldn't find it) and she did...but I didn't get it early enough to get some of the key ingredients. Besides, my farm guy had been producing lovely acorn squash that I wanted to use instead of butternut squash. Anyway, I did a few substitutions and it was just as delicious. I'll transcribe both the original recipe and my modifications in italics.

Oh, and smooth soup is excellent for parties with an appetizer motif -- just put the soup out in a crock pot and put small cups out for sipping. It was all gone at the end of the evening, which is kind of too bad since I didn't have any leftover to take over to Ms. C, who couldn't make it to the party.

3 1/2 pounds butternut squash or acorn squash, halved and seeded
6 Tbs olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped shallots
1/2 cup dry marsala
2/3 cup coursely chopped peeled roasted chestnuts from a jar or pine nuts, not chopped
2 cups plain soy milk
2 cups vegetable broth (I like the Pacific brand)
1 Tbs dry white wine
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, rosemary & marjoram or 2 Tbs thyme, rosemary and sage
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped since this is a garnish, I skipped this entirely for a drinking soup

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush cut sides of squash with 2 Tbs of the oil. Place brushed side down on large baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly.

  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 4 Tbs oil in large pot on medium heat. Add shallots; saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add marsala. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until all liquid evaporates and shallots are deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add chestnuts or pine nuts, saute 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Scoop squash flesh into pot, combine.

  • Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender or food processor (or use a soup wand), adding the soy milk and broth, until smooth.

  • Strain the soup back into pot. Stir in wine and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead -- cool slightly, then cover and chill)

  • Bring soup to a simmer. Ladle into soup bowls; sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Red Cabbage and Green Apple Slaw

We had the M's over tonight, along with Mr. M's parents. After our personal training session at 2:00, we swung by the store and picked up two chickens, some pineapple and a watermelon, some Granny Smith apples, corn, a couple of bags of Alexi brand frozen potatoes (they are soooo good) and various and sundry other items. Kiddo was exhausted and actually volunteered to nap (that's a first!) when we got home, so then we had three hours to ourselves to cook and clean. It was very soothing. I've taken to listening to a audiobooks on my iPod while I prep, and enjoyed finishing Christopher Moore's _You Suck_.

We rotisseried the chickens, grilled the corn, I made my famous Tzatziki dip and tried again to craft a good slaw from Farmer Fred's fabulous cabbage. This time, everyone agreed I got it right!

POINTS® Value: 1
Servings: 16


* 3 small heads red cabbage
* 1/2 large red onion
* 3 large Granny Smith apples
* 1/4 cup peanut oil
* 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
* 2 Tbsp mustard seed


- Slice the cabbage, red onion, and apples thinly, put into a large plastic container with a lid.
- In a small bowl, whisk the peanut oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the slaw, put the lid on the container and shake to toss.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bagna Cauda and Raw Vegetables

Sorry it has been so long. I've been slammed at work, had some surgery, had strep throat due to the bugs in the hospital (I'm convinced), had a follow-on terrible cold for the same reason, went to Oakland for an excellent business meeting week where I had dinner with my Aunt at tha amazing Chez Panisse in Berkeley and basically have just recently come up for air.

I made this tonight for Hub and I based on the fantastic appetizer I had at Chez Panisse. Also based on the fact that we are getting so many fabulous vegetables from our farm share, and I'm loving coming up with ways to enjoy them. Not really low-fat, but everything in this is GOOD FOR YOU! and it tastes truly amazing.

I adapted the Bagna Cauda from a recipe in Susan Schneider's _A New Way To Cook_, which is a previously mentioned incredibly good cookbook...when I had the Bagna Cauda at Chez Panisse, I immediately remembered this recipe and figured it would be similar. It was honestly a near-perfect match. I wonder if Alice Waters has been reading Sally Schneider?

POINTS® Value: 10
Servings: 6 for a light meal, probably 12 for an appetizer

1 cup Filippo Berio Extra virgin olive oil
4 clove garlic clove(s)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 oz anchovies canned in oil, drained
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth or vegetable broth to make it truly vegetarian
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup parsley
3 oz baby carrots
1 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow summer squash
4 small turnip(s)
1 cup green snap beans


Slice the turnips (peeled), squash and zucchini very, very thinly and toss in a large bowl.
Peel and top the baby carrots and snip the ends off the green beans and add to the bowl, toss.
Mince the garlic, chop the anchovies.
Heat the oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over low heat until the garlic is very soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chopped anchovies and oregano and cook for 1 minutes longer.
Add the broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Boil for 30 seconds, or until the sauce is emulsified.
Stir in the lemon juice and parsley, then pour over the vegetables.
Serve with focaccia bread for sopping.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Steak Kabobs

Poor Kiddo has a stomach virus today, but Hub and I decided to grill out just for ourselves anyway (the prior plan was to have a play date tonight including my parents and Sis, who is breezing through town during her hiatus from the Sudan). Anyway, the kebabs were very nice and very easy. A party centering around people building their own kebabs from an array of cut vegetables and meats (and tofu) works very well...we've done it in the past, as have the M's.

POINTS® Value: 7
Servings: 4


* 1 pound Beef, New York steak, trimmed, raw
* 2 cup mushroom(s)
* 3 medium zucchini
* 1 medium red onion(s)
* 1 medium yellow pepper(s)
* 4 sprays cooking spray
* 1 tsp table salt
* 1 tsp black pepper


Cut vegetables and steak into cubes, thread onto 8 skewers...this can be done by each individual according to taste.
Grill over medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Stuffed Trout

POINTS® Value: 4
Servings: 4
We always serve this with couscous, which mixes beautifully with the spinach/parsley "stuffing". I used to stuff whole trout instead of doing the fillets, but recently Whole Foods stopped carrying whole fish! And not everyone likes fish heads.


* 1 pound rainbow trout (2 large fillets)
* 1 cup parsley, from one large bunch
* 3 garlic clove(s)
* 3 1/2 oz spinach
* 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


In a food processor, pulse the garlic, parsley, spinach, some fresh sorrel or dill if you have it, lemon juice, salt and pepper
Spread the mixture on the bottom of a glass 13x9 baking dish
Lay the trout fillets, skin side down, on top of the spinach mixture
Broil on high heat for about 8 minutes, or until the skin is pulling easily away from the fish
Using a large spatula, turn the fish and spinach mixture over, broil for 3 minutes more.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Green Vegetable Soup

Hub talked with his Mum in Scotland yesterday, and she mentioned she had lost 2 stone on the Weight Watchers plan so far...and her secret was to make homemade vegetable soup. So here's my first stab at it...even Kiddo loved it. I think I'd put in more fresh peas next time, they were delicious little surprise packets of green yumminess. Hub was not crazy about the whole peppercorns, but I enjoyed the occasional blast of pepper in a mouthful.

POINTS® Value: 1
Servings: 16


* 1 Tbsp olive oil
* 1 medium leek(s)
* 10 medium carrot(s)
* 3 stalk broccoli
* 1/2 pound green snap beans
* 1/2 cup peas, raw
* 2 small potato(es)
* 2 tsp kosher salt
* 1 Tbsp peppercorn
* 1 oz fresh oregano
* 2 clove garlic clove(s)
* 12 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth


Chop garlic; wash and chop leek, white and green parts. Add olive oil to large stockpot and heat, then add garlic and leek and saute briefly.
Add the chicken stock, and then chop and add all the rest of the vegetables. For the broccoli, peel the stalks and add them as well, chopped.
Add salt, peppercorns (not ground) and oregano branches.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mediterranean Garden Fagottini

OK, this post may look a little bit weird, but I've finally started a diet. Weight Watchers Online has some cool features such as a "Recipe Builder" where I can add my ingredients and it figures out the points value. And then I can just copy and paste the thing into here! Wish me luck on the diet thing...only two days in and I'm huuuuungry!

POINTS® Value: 5
Servings: 6

18 oz (2 packages) Mediterranean Garden Fagottini - we got it at Harris Teeter. The one I used has 290 calories per serving, 5g fat and 2g dietary fiber -- if you use something with cheese or meat in, it will probably increase the point value.
1/4 pound semisoft goat cheese - I like goat gouda, but feta or chevre will also do
3 medium tomatoes
5 oz mixed baby greens
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


Cook the pasta according to directions
Grate the cheese, chop the tomatoes, toss in bowl with 1T of olive oil, balsamic vineger, salt and pepper
Wilt the greens in other 1T of olive oil, add to bowl
Add drained pasta to bowl with 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water, toss and serve

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday Night is Party Night!

We are finding that Sundays are great nights to have casual dinner get-togethers with kids. Last night we had the C's and the M's over for the first cook-out of the Spring, since it was 80 degrees yesterday. I tried to keep things simple, but I can't help myself and cooked waaay too much food.

Assorted cheeses and crackers - I tend to keep an assortment on hand, especially a wide range of goat's milk cheeses
Old-fashioned potato salad like my mom used to make, with eggs, pickles, carrots and a little bit of red onion, mayonnaise and mustard and a hint of fresh thyme
Fruit salad
Teriyaki salmon - I got this idea from Bro, who likes to use Soy Vay's Very Teriyaki sauce. Just pour on salmon, let sit for about 30 minutes, then grill
Grilled asparagus - put in tupperware container, squeeze a lemon over, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, put lid on and shake. Then grill. :)
Turkey burgers with fixings
Brown rice

It was a lovely time, but did mean I didn't get the taxes done like I was supposed to.

Oh, and last week we had another two families plus a neighbor who was in town from China over. I made two lasagnes (one meat and one veggie) and we are still eating the leftovers. That's another bonus to Sunday night cooking -- lots of leftovers to eat throughout the week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mustard-Mushroom Pork Chops

I realize it has been awhile. Hopefully this represents a return to normalcy.

1 cup light sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
2 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp grainy dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp flour
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 lb thinly sliced pork loin chops (5)

  • Preheat oven to 350

  • Combine all ingredients except mushrooms and pork chops in a bowl

  • Spread mushrooms evenly on bottom of 13x9 glass baking dish

  • Layer pork chops on top of mushrooms, and cover with sauce

  • Bake for 30 minutes

Serve with whole wheat rotini and steamed green beans. I think this time, I finally got this right...the sauce, when stirred up after baking, is exactly the right consistency. It was very easy and relatively quick. Hub loves any kind of sauce or gravy, and gave it a big thumbs up.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ginger-Lime Swordfish with Pineapple and Mango Salsa

We haven't had swordfish in years because of overfishing and mercury concerns, but I figured last night it couldn't hurt...and now I'll have to forcibly restrain myself from having it every week. This meal was that good.

Before starting any other prep, start cooking some short-grain brown rice.

Ginger-lime swordfish
4 swordfish steaks, about 3 pounds all in
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 limes, zested and juiced
3 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

  • Combine all ingredients except swordfish in a bowl, whisk.

  • In a glass baking dish or similar, lay the fish out and pour the marinade over. Let stand for about 30 minutes.

  • Grill over low heat for about 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes and brushing with marinade

  • Pineapple and Mango Salsa
    1 fresh ripe pineapple, trimmed and cut into small chunks
    1 fresh ripe mango, trimmed and cut into small chunks
    1 lime, zested and juiced
    1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
    3/4 oz fresh basil, cut into thin strips

  • Toss all of the above together, serve with the swordfish as a "sauce"

  • I also made a tossed salad with arugula, one avocado and three small tomatoes. I find the best way to dress such a salad is to drizzle the greens with a bit of olive oil and toss until the greens are well coated, then to add the rest of the ingredients, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss. Then add a bit of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, toss again.

    Sunday, January 14, 2007

    Kota Soupa Avgolemono

    Mom had surgery on Thursday, which went very well. As a consequence, both of my siblings plus Sis's Beau came in last night. Sis had called me last week to relate my recipe for Avgolemono soup like Mom makes it, and I had been wanting it all week.

    It's bizarrely warm here right now, which meant we could eat on the porch. We had soup, Greek salad and crusty organic wheat bread for dipping. It was a lovely evening, and I think Bro, Sis and I are all feeling very fortunate and blessed that Mom was there with us, looking and feeling so well.

    3 large chicken breasts, bone in but skinless (Mom uses a whole chicken, but that takes longer, is more hassle and the soup ends up a bit too greasy unless you skim, skim, skim -- so this is my change)
    8 cups chicken broth, or 8 cups water plus 4 boullion cubes
    1-2 onions, chopped finely
    3 carrots, chopped finely
    kosher salt (if using unsalted or low-sodium broth -- for regular broth, there's already more than enough salt)
    fresh ground pepper
    2 lemons, juiced
    1 cup long-grain rice
    3 eggs

    • In a stockpot, bring chicken, broth, vegetables and fresh ground pepper to taste to a simmer, and simmer for 30-45 minutes, just until the chicken is done.

    • Remove the chicken and vegetables, add 8 cups of hot water, and bring to a boil uncovered

    • Add the rice, reduce heat to simmer, put on the lid and simmer until rice is done, about 20 minutes

    • Meanwhile, remove the bones from the chicken and cut it into cubes, and season the chicken and vegetables with kosher salt (if you used unsalted or low-sodium broth) and fresh ground pepper

    • When the rice is done, seperate the eggs into two bowls (I usually put the yolks into the bowl I have the lemon juice in)

    • Beat the egg whites until frothy, then add the yolks and lemon juice. While still beating, add a couple of ladlefuls of hot soup.

    • Continually beating (I use a big whisk at this point), add the avgolemono sauce into the stockpot. Then add the chicken and vegetables. It should be the right temperature to serve at once, or you can warm it gently. Keep stirring to avoid curdling the avgolemono sauce...but honestly, if you did the beating and slow addition of the broth properly, curdling is not likely to happen.

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Shrimp and Feta Stew

    I just had a request from Sis-in-law for this recipe. It is fantastic. We do vary it slightly by using cans of diced tomatoes with green chilis in them already, rather than plain diced tomatoes. Plus, sometimes we'll throw in a little grated goat gouda for a slightly thicker stew.

    Sorry for the long hiatus, I kind of burned out this holiday season. I didn't stop cooking or entertaining, but decided I could give myself a break and not blog about it for a while. :)

    I've been writing the recipes down, though...I have a backlog. Now I just need to start typing them in again.