Sunday, March 22, 2009


I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of the delicious Irish White Sharp Cheddar Cheese I had. I bought it from Costco and so of course I end up with a GIANT chunk of cheese. Sooooo, what to do with cheese....why, Macaroni-n-Cheese of course!!! So here's a delicious version of Mac-N-Cheese-sans-yellow-powder from Martha Stewart. I did a little adjustment to use up all my sharp Irish cheddar and it turned out FABULOUS. To keep from eating the entire casserole dish all by myself (very, very tempting), I'll take it over to my mom's for Sunday family dinner. You should give it a try for your own Sunday dinner.

Macaroni and Cheese
by Martha Stewart

1 lb elbow pasta, cooked and drained
4 TBS butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
4 C. milk
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/4 C. shredded yellow cheddar cheese
1 1/4 C. shredded white cheddar cheese
8 ouces ham, diced
2 slices white bread

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta, and drain -- set aside. Meanwhile, in a 5 qt heavy pot, melt butter of medium heat. Add onion, cook, stirring occasionally until softened, 3-5 minutes (I chopped the onions supper fine, because I know some little kiddies who turn up their noses at onions; however, they are needed for flavor. When I cut them so fine, they all but disappear in the cheese sauce, but still add the yum factor.) Whisk in flour to coat onion. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.
2. Cook whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, approx. 6-8 min. Stir in cayenne, if using, and 1 C. of yellow cheddar and 1 C. white cheddar (I just added 2 cups of white). Season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.3. Toss pasta with cheese mixture; fold in ham (I didn't add any but I think it would also be delicious with cooked broccoli florets). Transfer to 9"x13" baking dish. Set aside.4. In a food processor (I used my hand stick blender and I used a frozen whole wheat hamburger bun - cuz I just don't have any white bread) and pulse the 2 bread slices until fine bread crumbs form. Toss together with remaining 1/4 C. each of white and yellow cheddar, add 1/4 tsp. salt. Top pasta with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Nod to the Irish

I'm not even Irish but I love an excuse to cook with potatoes! Last year for St. Patrick's Day I was visiting my sister in ID. We had a little St. Patrick's Day celebration with the kids, made some decorations, and discovered the most delicious Irish Soda Bread Recipe. As it is that time of year again, I dug up the recipe and it's still FABULOUS.

My dinner tonight consisted of the FABULOUS Irish Soda Bread with a bowl of homemade potato soup, which turned out delicious too. Here are the recipe which you can use for your own Irish celebration.

Potato Soup
serves 4-6

5 peeled and diced golden potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
1TBS olive oil
2 C. chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried herbs, your choice (I'd suggest herbes de provence or thyme)
2 tsp. salt (you may need more depending on your preference)
1 C. sour cream
1 tsp chopped fresh dill

Sautee chopped onions and garlic in olive oil. Add potatoes, allow them to brown/cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth and then enough water to make sure that the potatoes are completely covered. Put the lid on and allow potatoes cook at a low boil for about 8-10 minutes (check them with a fork for doneness). Reduce the heat to low. Using an immersion blender CAREFULLY puree up the soup. Did I mention that you should be CAREFUL when you do this cuz its HOT!!!!
After it's blended to your desired consistency (I like lumps in mine), add the dry herbs and salt. Simmer for about another 5 minutes, stiring periodically. Just before serving stir in the sour cream and chopped dill.
I served mine with shredded white cheddar on top as a garnish.

Now along side my Irish Potato Soup I had 2 slices of the FABULOUS Irish Soda Bread. You'll definitely want to try this one out.

Irish Soda Bread
by: Arlene Costello/Agnes Walters --
Makes 2 loves

4 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. white sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 pint sour cream
1 C. raisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans. Mix flour, sugar, soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, sour cream, and raisins and mix until just combined. Distribute batter evenly between the two pans. Bake loaves at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Orange Scones with Chocolate Chips

I LOVE to bake. I Love to eat baked goods. And in order to keep from growing to roughly the size of a house I've learned to bake goods, eat a few and then share the rest with others. Yum for everyone. Tuesday morning I tried a new recipe and took it to work, where it was promptly inhaled by my fellow workers. In fact it happened so quickly that I didn't even see it happen. All I saw was the empty tray after I came back from turning on my computer. So I'm pretty sure this recipe is a keeper. You'll want to give this a try.

PS -- I made these early, early Tuesday morning in my really small dark kitchen, so the pictures aren't the best, sorry.

Orange Scones with Chocolate Chips

2 C. flour + 1/4 C. flour
3 TBS sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3 TBS orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 C. milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, salt, and chocolate chips (by hand). Pour in milk. Mix well. Dough will be sticky -- I added about another 1/4 c. flour to make it at least a little less sticky. Divide the dough into 2 sections and put it onto a greased cookie sheet -- I put it on my baking stone and it did just fine. Bake 10-12 min.Slice into wedges and let cool, just a bit, before adding the glaze.

1 C. powdered sugar
2-3 TBS orange juice
Mix together until a thin icing consistency and pour over warm scone.A plate of delicious scones...devoured in a matter of moments. I think I'm going to have to make some more.
Here's a recipe "card" for you. Just click on the image and then print off the larger version.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tart Tzatziki Recipe Adds Some Pizzaz to A Turkey Sandwich

I love Greek food. I'm by no means an expert on Greek food. In fact my experience is pretty much limited to My Big Fat Greek Restaurant and two Greek Festivals held here in AZ. However, what I have had is delicious. I've pretty much mastered the hummus (if you want a killer hummus recipe check out my Megan's Corner blog) and so I wanted to tackle another favorite of mine -- Tzatziki. For those of you who are not familiar with this tart, cool, and refreshing Greek cucumber dip here is your chance. It really is darn simple to make and it can be paired with sooooo many things -- crackers, vegetables, pita bread, as a hamburger or turkey burger condiment, or sandwich spread.

First, because it's a "dip" there is a lot of flexibility in the proportions, so everything I have in this recipe is an approximation and can be adjusted according to your taste's. Here's the recipe:

1 cup seeded & shredded cucumber
12 oz Greek yogurt (some times hard to find, look in the organic section or foreign cheese section of your grocery store)
6 oz sour cream
2 cloves crushed garlic (warning...I love garlic)
3 TBS finely chopped dill
juice from 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Seed, peel and shred your cucumber.You have to squeeze some of the water out of the cucumber so put your shredded cucumber in a paper towel and squeeze it out over the sink -- you'll be surprised at how much water comes out of it -- you don't have to squeeze it bone dry, just take some of the water out.Then mix the cucumber with all of the other ingredients. And you're done. The flavor will intensify as it sits.Tonight I spread the tzatziki on some whole wheat greek flat bread added sliced turkey, tomatoes, cucumber slices (I know...redundant), lettuce, and avacado. It was AWESOME!
If you would like this recipe for yourself, I've made a quick recipe card. Just click on the thumbnail below and then print off the larger image.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bountiful beauties

Every other Saturday I go to the park around the corner from my house and pick up my Bountiful Basket. I've posted about this before on my other blog, but I decided to share it again, because this weeks food choices will revolve around the contents of this basket. Bountiful Basket is a food co-op that always delivers on Saturday mornings. On the 1st and 3rd Saturday it's organic produce and on the 2nd and 4th Sunday it's regular produce. I have to order the Wednesday before a Saturday pick-up. I usually get the regular basket. I have tried the organic basket, but found the regular basket to be more robust, and the produce just seemed to be "happier" -- I guess its all those chemicals and pesticides. :)

So here is a shot of this week's basket...Now this week I did get the "oriental package". For about $6.00 extra (just the plain basket costs $15), I got the bok choi, mushrooms, peas, ginger, garlic and green onions. So I'm going to have to figure out how to cook bok choi. And I have a confession to make...I hate mushrooms. I don't know if I'm going to use them this week, in the name of experimentation. I may just take them over to my mother; she loves 'em. Oh, also I didn't add to the picture the head of lettuce, and to bunches of collard greens, also another ingredient I'm not really familiar with -- more experimentation.

So for my first use of the basket beauties...Apple, cinnamon and raisin oatmeal.
I'm sure you can figure out exactly how to make this delicious breakfast treat all of by yourself, but just in case you want a little help...
  • Oatmeal
  • diced apples
  • raisins
  • cinnamon (if you haven't tried Costco's Kirkland brand, you are TOTALLY missing out).
  • brown sugar
  • milk
Enjoy! I'm still thinking of ways to consume all the rest of my bountiful beauties. Stay tuned to see what makes its way to the menu.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Delicious Beginning

I love food -- the way it looks, the way it smells, the way it feels, the way it sounds, and the way it tastes! The variety is limitless. This blog is dedicated to my culinary adventures. I'm determined to improve my cooking "skills". I figure its similar to a fisherman changing his bait to get the best fish in the river. I'm fishing for a husband, so I'm improving the bait. :) Take what you will from my food mishaps and success. Hopefully along with a few inspiring recipes, I'll share some mouthwatering food photos, and food for thought.

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop what ever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." -- William Wright