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Showing posts from November, 2010

11-30 Easy grilled chicken

There is no recipe for this...
Just let chicken breasts, cut into strips sit in a "bath" of lime juice and your favorite herbs.
Start with Italian seasoning. Then try rosemary or dill. Can't go wrong if you like the herb.
After about a half an hour of marinading, place on skewers and grill in oven or just place in hot cast iron skillet and cook a few minutes on each side.
This chicken is great as the protein next to a favorite side dish or on top of a salad.

11-29 Coconut "Curry"

This "curry" doesn't even have curry powder in it. Turns out curry is a term from the Indian word 'kari' meaning sauce. So you may like some "curries" more than you'd think. This one, I am confident, you will!
This is a basic recipe, if you like it, add more or different vegetables next time.

Prepare a 1 lb of Chinese egg or stir fry noodles or any other long Asian noodle
(Soba noodles work well and taste even better if cooked in chicken broth)
Prepare 2-3 hard boiled eggs - use half an egg for each serving.

Mix together:
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh (or 2 t dry) ginger, minced
1 t turmeric
Toss with
1 lb chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch cubes (you can use cooked chicken, no need to sauté)
Sauté in skillet the uncooked chicken until no longer pink, remove and set aside.

Sauté in same pan:
sesame oil
1 small onion, chopped
Stir in
1 t paprika
Now add the chicken and
20 oz of unsweetened coconut milk
2 1/2 c chicken broth
Simmer over low heat fo…

11-28 Pate Brisée -crust for sweet or savory pies

This pie crust is made from butter, as opposed to shortening.It can be used for berry pie or savory things like chicken pot pies.
This recipe makes two crusts.

Combine in food processor:
2 1/2 c flour or replace a 1/2 c with almond meal for almond crust
1 t salt
1 t sugar or brown sugar if using almond meal
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2 cubes and frozen for 15+ minutes
Pulse to mix so that it ends up coarse, with pea size butter pieces.
Add one Tablespoon at a time:
6-8 T ice water
only add until dough starts to clump, check by pinching dough.
Form two patties, if dough doesn't stick together, you need to add more water. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.
When ready to use, allow dough to rest 5 minutes or so at room temperature before rolling out.

If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, line with foil or parchment paper and fill with uncooked rice then bake for 10-15 minutes in 350 degree oven. Remove rice and poke holes in bottom w…

11-27 Pumpkin Pie

There are a lot of pie crusts to choose from. You can make one from scratch (see 11-28) or get one from the freezer section.

If you want to make the pumpkin from scratch, Cut a pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and strings. Place face down on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven and bake until tender, about an hour. Let cool and then scoop out pumpkin flesh and drain in sieve by letting it sit for a while. Mash or blend until smooth. Store in freezer until use.

Pumpkin pie filling-
Mix together:
1 1/3 c mashed, cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1 1/3 c milk (or heavy whipping cream)
1 egg
1 t orange zest (opt)
1 1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves or use 2 t allspice instead of cinnamon & cloves
1/2 t dry, ground ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c hot water (unless canned pumpkin is very liquid, then add less)
For tang, add 1/2 c sour cream and 1/4 c apricot preserves.
Pour into PRE BAKED pie crust.
Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour, until you pull out a clean tooth…

11-26 Anni's Hot Chocolate

Anni made this so she could cut out the sugar from the store bought powders. Even if you want it sweet, you will add less sugar than the prepared packets have. Milk is naturally sweet so she prefers to use that.

Warm for one minute in microwave:
1 1/2 c  Soy or Almond milk (vanilla milk works well, also)
Stir in 1 T unsweetened cocoa
Stir well or use immersion blender to add a bit of foam.
Heat to desired temperature.
Add sweetener, like agave or stevia, to taste if needed.

11-25 Cooper Cranberry Sauce

She was so happy to hear you liked it.
In Grandma's words:

All the zest of a large orange such as a Navel [use a rasp so the zest is very fine]
Juice of the orange
12 oz fresh cranberries - rinsed
3/4 cup honey, agave or sugar
Add all together in a saucepan on low heat.
When it sounds like the bursting of berries is over..add 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Cool down- tastes even better if cooked the day before.

You can even put it in a cleaned can if you want to serve it with that can shape, haha.

11-24 Meatball sandwiches

I was craving a good meatball sandwich the other day and this is the result. I thought they were so tasty and you get veggies too! I am sure you could add thinly sliced zucchini or yellow squash, if you like eggplant, that could be good, too.

1 carrot shredded
1/2 colored bell pepper chopped or thinly sliced
olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
When softened, add:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can tomato sauce
1 generous T Italian seasoning
8-10 sliced Italian meatballs, thawed (homemade or store bought)
Allow to simmer until heated thoroughly.
Scoop onto toasted Rosemary bread or whatever you have on hand

Bri & EB felt like they were too messy and hard to eat so they invented the meatball sandwich salad - which basically is the filling with a slice of toasted bread "ripped up like croutons" on top and "stirred up" then you can eat it with a fork. I had that for lunch the next day.

11-23 Day after Turkey Noodle Soup

A Grandma & Grandpa Cooper tradition for the day after Thanksgiving. In a stock pot, we would put the turkey bones, giblets and any other parts along with a couple of onions (peeled and halved), carrots, and celery stalks. Cover everything with water, add some salt and allow to boil for an hour or so. Discard all the solids by straining the liquid and use it as your broth base for the soup. If you don't have a turkey carcass lying about, just use chicken broth as your base.

Make the noodles-
Mix together:
1 egg
2 T milk
1 c flour
1/4 t salt
You can flavor the noodles with onion powder or celery salt if you'd like
Roll dough out flat and cut into squares or strips.
Set aside while you prepare the veggies.

Prepare the vegetables:
1 onion, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, coined or chopped
and any others you want to add...
Sauté these veggies in the bottom of a stockpot in canola oil until slightly softened.
Add prepared turkey (or chicken) broth and
about 1 c cooked turkey…

11-22 Applesauce muffins

We had so many apples from neighbor Bob's tree this year, we decided to make our applesauce.
It was easy to just peel and core and boil them with a bit of water in the bottom of the pan. We added nutmeg, cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar. When the apples were soft, we put the immersion blender in and buzzed up about half of it so we had chunky applesauce. Then we made these muffins. You can find chunky applesauce in the store but if not, its easy to make.

This makes about 15 muffins. They are very dense and would fill you up at breakfast for sure. With frosting on them, I was calling them cupcakes, which Ani was adamant that there is a difference - they are not cupcakes even though nutritionally they aren't much different. They have almost as much butter and sugar but at least you get a serving of fruit. :)
Be sure to use cupcake papers or spray your pan. EB wanted to try this recipe from the Friend.

Mix together in small bowl:
2 eggs
2/3 c brown sugar
Then add:
1 1/2 c chunky…

11-21 Ellen's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Been waiting for this recipe. At every open house, party or farewell, I look to see if Ellen brought her cookies and I eat those. I think its the cinnamon and nutmeg that seal the deal for me (its already a forgone conclusion about the butter and sugar). She also uses chocolate drops, they are larger than chips. If you only have chips, I'm sure it won't ruin the cookie.

Cream together until fluffy:
1 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla

Separately, mix together:
3 c flour
3/4 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 bag of chocolate drops/large chips (she uses Guittard)
Combine with sugar mixture.
Place scoops of about 1 1/2 inches onto cookie sheet, flatten slightly in middle.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Let them finish on cookie sheet.
Taking them out early keeps them moist and chewy.

11-20 Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes

We got this from Marilyn when we went to Atlanta for Thanksgiving from Chapel Hill.
I have never liked the one with the marshmallows on top so I loved the coconut especially.

The original recipe calls for more sugar and butter but we have been using the smaller amounts for a few years now. I will include the range and you can see which way you like it best.

Mix together:
4 c sweet potatoes, steamed and mashed OR 45 oz canned sweet potatoes
1/4 - 1/2 c sugar
1/4 - 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c milk or 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla
Pour into casserole dish and spread on topping.
Cream together:
1/2 - 1 c brown sugar
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut or sweetened coconut -just reduce sugar
1/2 c slivered or chopped nuts (opt.)
1/2 c white flour or ground oats or whole wheat flour
1/4 c butter, softened
Spread over sweet potatoes evenly.
Bake 45 min to 1 hour - depending on how thick your potatoes are in your dish -
at 350 degrees, until topping is gold…

11-19 Grandma Sharon's Orange Rolls

My mom has made these rolls as long as I can remember. I used to try to take an entire one before they were even baked because I loved them so much. Most of the time my mom would give me one of the small, uneven ends but once in a while I succeeded in sneaking a whole roll. These are the labor intensive ones but they are fun to make with someone, especially for Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to making these with you next week!

These can also be easily changed into cinnamon rolls by using a different filling. I will include it at the end.

In small saucepan, scald:
1 c milk (heat until bubbly but NOT boiling - watch carefully)
Let milk cool then add to a large mixing bowl along with:
1/2 c sugar
3 T unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
1 pkg or 2 1/4 t dry yeast
1 c sifted flour
Beat well then let rise, covered with a clean dish towel, in a warm place for 2 hours.

Then add in
1/2 t salt
3 c flour, 1 c at a time
Kneading as you go.
Knead into soft dough and let rise to double in size.

11-18 Cranberry Gelatin

So it seems like we should include at least one Jello recipe in honor of our heritage as well. When you were little, you loved when one of your grandma's made it and it always disappears at those dinners where we see it served. Here is a holiday one that I will probably make this year since Bri & EB still like it. It's a kid's version of traditional cranberry sauces. The original recipe calls for a cup of sour cream but its just fine with less.

Mix until dissolved:
2 c hot water
1 6 oz box Cherry Jello
In separate bowl, mix together:
16 oz whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 c sour cream
Now add to jello mixture along with
1 - 11oz can of mandarin oranges, drained
Put into mold and refrigerate overnight.

11-17 Aebleskivers (Danish pancakes)

Even if you don't make them very often, in honor of your Danish heritage, we should include these. There are many versions and I wish I knew which my grandfather preferred but we probably would have adapted it anyway. This is Beatrice Ojakangas' version from Scandinavian Feasts.

Basically it is a pancake batter, it is just cooked into balls instead of flattened. You have to admit that they are just more fun to eat this way! Unfortunately one has to have an aebleskivepande (the pan) to make them so we may be the only ones using this recipe.

When you get good at making them, challenge yourself by adding a dollop of jam or applesauce to the center after the first turn.  Eb did blueberries when we had just picked them and those were delicious, too.

In large bowl, mix:
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted plus more for cooking
3 egg yolks (beat the whites separately)
1 c milk, warmed
2 T sugar

In smaller bowl, combine:
1 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground cardamom
Stir into w…

11-16 Beef Stew

Though I rarely crave beef, a really great stew hits the spot once in a while.
Serve with hot, fresh bread. Its especially good on a dark, stormy night.

There are many recipes so feel free to experiment with what you have on hand.

Sauté the hard vegetables in dutch oven or skillet:
3 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped or sliced
2 cloves garlic
maybe a carrot or two, sliced

Meanwhile, toss and coat well:
2 lbs beef, cut into cubes
salt and pepper or seasoned salt or steak seasoning
about 2 T flour
Then add coated beef to pot.
also add in herbs like:
fresh rosemary, chopped
fresh thyme, chopped
consider a bay leaf or two...
Stir occasionally to brown all sides of beef.
Then add: (if you used your skillet, transfer everything to a large soup pot now)
3-4 c beef broth (you want everything covered) many use apple juice or red wine as part of the liquids.
Stir to scrap off bits from bottom of pot. Add the softer vegetables next, like:
1 lb pumpkin cubed OR 1 can pureed pumpkin Or potatoes or....
1/4 c sun dried t…

11-15 Breakfast Quinoa

I am glad this made you feel better when you had that strange tummy bug. It is a very gentle grain so it doesn't surprise me. Packed with protein (24 g per cup) it really can give you the energy you need when you don't feel good enough to eat well.

Gently bring to a boil:
1 c milk
then add
1/2 c quinoa
Turn heat way down, or off, and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

Serve with a touch of maple syrup or raisins or anything else you usually like on hot cereal.

11-14 L.A. Cornbread

This is by no means the real Southern cornbread. I include this recipe because its quick and easy and comes with memories. I think it was my grandma's recipe. We only ate it on soup nights. My mom would bake it in a square pan and cut it into nine pieces. We would be allowed one piece and could eat it with butter and honey. I remember some serious passion going into the argument over who's turn it was to get the center piece. It took a few years before my mother decided to start cutting it differently but then no one could eat the middle, crustless piece because there wasn't one and it just wasn't the same.

Sift together in medium bowl: (figuratively, you don't really have to sift it)
1 c flour
1/4 c sugar
4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 c yellow cornmeal (the same you use under your pizza)
Set aside
In small bowl, cream together:
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/4 c unsalted butter, softened.
When smooth, mix with dry ingredients-barely-gently.
Pour into 9x9 pan and bake at 425 degree…

11-13 Hard boiled eggs & egg salad sandwich

This isn't really even a recipe but since Kindergarten, an egg salad sandwich was your lunch box favorite second only to honey mustard turkey sandwiches. I think this is the only exception Ani made for eating mayonnaise. Maybe the only way I eat it now, except for BLTs. There are more sophisticated recipes and you may want to experiment adding in different ingredients but this is your original version.

Of course, you need to start with a boiled egg. If you boil the egg 'gently', the yolk stays creamier and the white will be less rubbery, not to mention you can avoid that gray-green yolk.

Gentle boil:
Place desired amount of eggs in a single layer in the bottom of a saucepan. Cover with 1-2 inches of cold water. Bring the water to a rolling boil then cover the saucepan and remove from heat. Let pan stand covered for about 12 minutes. Then rinse the eggs with cold running water, this stops the cooking process so they do not overcook. Roll the egg to crack it and then …

11-12 Quick Minestrone Soup

You can substitute various vegetables or just leave some out of this soup.

Bring to a boil in large saucepan or pot:
3 - 4 c chicken broth

Meanwhile sauté in skillet:
olive oil
1/2 onion or 1 scallion, chopped
1/4 lb thin asparagus, sliced or colored bell pepper
1 large carrot, sliced thin
1 c broccoli florets
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cubed
When golden and/or softened but not done,
add to boiling broth with:
1 T tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 oz small pasta
1/2 c canned chick peas or Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 T Italian herbs of your choice or Italian seasoning
Allow to simmer until pasta is al dente and the veggies are soft.
Serve with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of Parmesan

11-11 Swedish Glazed fruits

So traditionally this is St Martin's Day in Sweden. When our great grandmothers live there they would serve, on the eve of this holiday, a roast goose, new potatoes and glazed fruits. I made the whole dinner once but don't really care for goose - its very oily. But the glazed fruits were delicious and a nice side dish for the cold months. They are really more of a dessert and could taste great with a scoop of ice cream for a larger serving.

Soak for 10 minutes:
1/2 lb pitted dried prunes
enough hot water to cover prunes
Melt over md/hi heat in skillet:
1/4 c unsalted butter
then add:
3 large apples, thickly sliced
Turn gently until transparent, about 8 minutes.
Sprinkle with
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t gr cinnamon
Gently turn to glaze all apples and add the prunes.
Heat through 2-3 more minutes and serve warm

11-10 Veggie Quinoa

This can be a main or side dish, served warm or chilled and it is very flexible, add what you have.

Bring to a boil:
1 c vegetable or chicken broth
Add :
1/2 c rinsed quinoa
and reduce to simmer 15 minutes

Meanwhile combine:
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped tempeh or cubed tofu (OPT) if using these, allow to marinate in the sauce a little longer before combining with cooked quinoa
then add your choice of fresh veggies such as:
1 c frozen edamame, thawed
1 c frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped or parsley or....
3 T lime juice
1 T soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
Stir and combine with cooked quinoa

11-09 Sweet and Sour meatballs

Using the meatballs made from recipe 11-08, you can make these sweet and sour meatballs.
When I use young, it seemed like every wedding reception we went to served these and I ate them, many of them, along with those wedding mints. This recipe will sauce about 30 meatballs. Original recipes included a green bell pepper but it saturates everything it touches so I would leave it out but now I just use a yellow one.

In large saucepan, cook over medium heat:
1 c juice from can of pineapple chunks plus water if needed to make the cup
1/3 c more water
3 T vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 c packed brown sugar
3 T cornstarch
Stir constantly until thick then add
1 -20 oz can pineapple chunks, that were drained for above use
30 meatballs (thawed will lessen the time needed)
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until all is heated through.
Serve with toothpicks if at a 70s wedding reception or over cooked rice for dinner

11-08 Great Grandma A.'s meatballs

These are mild flavored so they can adapt to almost any dish or sauce.

Combine with hands (you can use gloves) until smooth:
3/4 lb ground beef and/or ground turkey
1/4 c oat bran, rolled oats or bread crumbs
3 T milk
1 egg
1 T chopped onion or 1 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground sage
Make desired size meatballs. The smaller they are, the faster they will cook.
Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 10-20 min., depending on size - until no longer pink.
Store in freezer until needed but use within 3 months.

11-07 Great Grandma Anderson's wheat bread

I have very fond memories of escaping from campus and spending the weekend with Grandma A.
Her dinners were so delicious to me after weeks of being on my own and having no cooking skills.
After dinner she would serve her home-canned fruit and/or juice. I have never tasted better, the cherries and grape juice in particular. As she was very into nutrition, she would be proud of how healthy I eat now!

After I was married, Grandma gave me her wheat bread recipe (another of my favorite things to eat at her house with homemade jam and butter) She altered her favorite recipe so it only made 2 loaves as she used to make many at a time. It was thoughtful of her as I needed very basic instructions at the time. In her words:

Heat to scalding temp. 2 1/2 c water* or part water and milk. Add 4 T butter or shortening, 1/3 c brown sugar or part honey. When liquid is lukewarm, beat into it - 5 c whole wheat flour, 1 pkg. yeast, 1 T salt and *if using all water, add 1/2 c powdered milk. Let raise …

11-06 Swedish Pear Pudding

LOVE this! So yummy. Worth the effort.

In wide pan, place
3 large Anjou pears, peeled halved & cored (flat side down)
2 T butter
2 T sugar
1/4 c water
1/8 t nutmeg
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
Remove pears and boil juices down to 3-4 Tablespoons.

In a small bowl, add juices and
3 egg yolks
and beat until thick, then add gradually while beating:
1/2 c sugar
Continue to beat until stiff. Then add:
2/3 c toasted almonds, ground into bits
3 T butter, room temperature
Set aside.

In separate bowl, beat to soft peaks:
3 egg whites
then gradually add
2 T sugar
and continue beating until stiff
Fold this meringue into egg yolk mixture gently and spoon it into round (if possible) baking dish.
Arrange pears halved side down atop egg mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Serve with whipped & sweetened cream.
You can substitute golden delicious apples for the pears.

11-05 Pellegrino Pasta

Italian stir-fry might be the best name for this but we named it after the man who first cooked it for us about 12 years ago. So easy and so delicious. It became a favorite dish for feeding guests.
When I asked him for the recipe, he looked at me quizzically. This was just something his Italian family throws together with whatever was on hand. As I have developed my cooking skills, I find this to be true. Don't be hesitant to experiment, substitute and add to this basic recipe.
This is also the recipe that helped me learn to like colored bell peppers. =)

Prepare 1 lb of pasta, medium shapes, in boiling, salted water
Meanwhile sauté:
olive oil
1/2 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 colored bell pepper
if adding a meat, do so here - pancetta, bacon, ham, pepperoni, etc. (chicken didn't taste as good, though its fine served next to a chicken)
stir occasionally and cook until softened and glistening, then add softer vegetables like:
2 zucchini, chopped
2 crook neck squash, chopped

11-04 Granola bars

You can store these in the freezer for "running late" mornings with some fruit or use as snacks for a hike.

If you double the recipe, you can still cook them in a 9x13 baking dish, just double the cooking time as they will be much thicker.

Mix together in small bowl:
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c agave or honey or brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

In larger bowl, mix together:
1/2 c whole wheat flour (or white, or combo)
2 t cinnamon
2 t baking powder
4 c quick oats
Combine with egg mixture. When well blended, add:
1-2 c raisins or chocolate chips or coconut or chopped nuts ...or a combo of all three
Press into 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (30, if you double it)
Slice when cooled and store in freezer if they last that long.

11-03 Italian Mashers

Another variation on mashed potatoes-

Italian mashers:
Bring salted water to a rolling boil.
a bowl of ice water.
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 c fresh basil leaves
Boil basil leaves for 10 -15 seconds, NO MORE!
Remove immediately with slotted spoon and plunge into ice water bowl.
Remove and drain and set aside basil.
Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until tender.

In small saucepan, heat
1/2 c milk & marscapone, or use whole milk, half & half, cream...
1/3 c Parmesan, shredded
until simmering, add in basil and process with immersion blender until smooth.

Drain cooked potatoes, reserving some cooking water.
Mash potatoes and slowly add the cheese sauce, mashing or blending as you go.
Salt and pepper to taste, add cooking water if more moisture is needed.
Make as smooth or as chunky as you'd like. Sprinkle on more Parmesan to serve.
Try with pesto or sun-dried tomatoes on top.

11-02 Butternut stew

This makes a lot of soup so you may want to halve the recipe or invite some roommates to dinner.

Start with:
1 butternut squash, med size
Slice in half, remove seeds and bake squash in the microwave for 8- 10 minutes so it is soft enough to peel and cut into cubes, but does not have to be fully cooked.

Sauté in soup pot or dutch oven:
olive oil
onion, chopped or thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped or minced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (opt)
Stir and allow to soften. Then add:
butternut squash, peeled, cubed and partially cooked (about 4 c)
1 14 oz can tomatoes, whole or diced
2 c water
1 can Cannellini beans, drained
2 T tomato paste
1 t rosemary, dry or 1 T fresh
Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Check if squash is tender enough.
If you want a smooth soup, use immersion blender now. If not, just top with:
1 T fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

For a more hearty soup, add cooked chicken or sauté the veg with pancetta or bacon.

11-01 Pasta a la France

We tend to forget how simple and delicious this kind of dish can be.
In the winter, use seasonal & root veggies and in the summer, substitute in fresh cherry tomatoes
or whatever you have to use. All you really need is the pasta, onion and the meat. Everything else just adds to it.

Prepare in salted boiling water:
1/2 lb long pasta like spaghetti or linguine
Reserve some of the pasta water when draining to moisten dish

Sauté in skillet:
olive oil
1 sm/med onion, chopped
4 oz pancetta, lardons fumés or bacon, cubed
1 clove garlic, chopped or minced
When fat is glistening and onions softened, add:
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, cubed
sun dried tomatoes in oil, OR fresh chopped tomatoes
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 colored bell pepper, chopped
Stir and allow veggies to soften
Stir into cooked pasta, add pasta water if needed and finish with a sprinkling of:
parsley, chopped
black pepper
Parmesan, shredded

10-31 Oatmeal cookies, maple-cinnamon version

These are SO delicious. You will be so glad you made them.

Combine in large bowl:
3 c oats
1 c shredded unsweetened coconut (opt) still good if you don't have any
2 2/3 c flour
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 c packed brown sugar
2 c thinly sliced almonds or other nuts (opt)
In medium saucepan, combine:
1 c unsalted butter
1/2 c maple syrup
2 T agave
Stir occasionally until butter is melted. Remove from heat.

2 t baking soda
1/4 c boiling water
Add to heated liquid mixture. It will get foamy so be sure to use a large pan. Stir until incorporated and then add to dry mixture in large bowl.
Form balls of dough and place onto silpat or parchment covered cookie sheets.
Flatten middles slightly.
Bake at 300 degrees 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove promptly to keep soft.

10-30 Ginger dippin sauce

This sauce is great for eggrolls, gyoza/potstickers, bao buns and many other kinds of Asian food.

Toast over medium heat, stirring often about 2 minutes:
1 t sesame seeds
Then combine with
2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T rice wine vinegar
1 t onion powder or 1 T finely chopped fresh green onion
2 t minced ginger
Heat 1-2 minutes more until the mixture begins to bubble on edges
Remove from heat and let stand before serving.

a variation of a Williams-Sonoma recipe

10-29 Banana bread

In NC, my friend Megan's mom made a cookbook. This was their favorite recipe, which I trusted since they cooked a lot. It is more like cake, but isn't that what we really want when we are craving this kind of bread?

Cream together:
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c sugar or brown sugar
Add one at time, beating well between:
2 eggs
Stir in
2 bananas, very ripe and mashed
Sift together then add to banana mix:
1 c minus 2 T flour (cheater cake flour)
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Blend well and pour into greased bread pan
Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.

You can add vanilla, nuts or chocolate chips, etc. This recipe is very flexible.
You can truly make it a cake by adding maple, buttercream or coconut frosting.

10-28 Quick tomato soup

1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
a stalk of celery, chopped
When softened, add
1 leek, sliced thin (only use white parts until there is more green than white)
Stir a minute longer to allow to soften
Then add
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans (14 oz) tomatoes, whole or diced, undrained
1 T fresh thyme or 1 t dry thyme
Bring to a boil and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes
Remove from heat and blend with immersion blender to desired chunkiness.
Return to heat and add:
1/2 c milk or cream or Marscapone cheese
1 T balsamic vinegar
pepper to taste, maybe salt
When soup is warmed through, serve with a sprinkle of fresh basil on top and beside a toasted ham and cheese of course!

If you want more texture in your soup, add in sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
If you want the soup sweeter, add in some honey or agave