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White Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Cookies

February 11th, 2016

BakeLessSugarI’m kind of obsessed with this cookbook my sister-in-law gave me, which is all about baking with less sugar.

I thought I’d try the White chocolate-Cherry-Almond Cookies because, like, why wouldn’t you, plus It’s nice to have a cookie in the house in case someone drops by unexpectedly. Although I’m not sure who actually does that, except that dude who rang my doorbell the other day, wanting to sell me some steaks. Or that lady who said she was a makeup artist and she was at my house for the porn shoot. (She was confused on so many levels.) Read More

 

Super Bowl Chili

February 4th, 2016

chiliI’m told there’s a Super Bowl on Sunday, so it’s time to haul out the chili recipe. Don’t ask me to tell you who’s playing—well, actually I’m aware that Dnver is involved—but one thing I know is that chili will be expected. Read More

 

Cranberry Salsa

January 21st, 2016

CranberrySalsa_4130This salsa was brought to my attention by my friend Michelle Latiolais who, having been to my house for dinner a few times, is well aware of my attitude towards complex recipes. Read More

 

Creamy Dreamy Vegetale Soup

January 14th, 2016

CreamyDreamyFinal1I know there is a school of cooking these days that’s all about hiding vegetables in things so you can sneak up on your kids, nutritionally speaking. But I feel the way my mother does: children should get to know and befriend their vegetables. Read More

 

New Year’s Resolution Minestrone

January 5th, 2016

soup3So far I have stuck to my New Year’s resolutions except for the part abut the peppermint bark. I resolved to eat nothing but healthy foods and have done so religiously since December 31st–except for the peppermint bark. I just gave the peppermint bark (what was left of it) to Aunt Christina so now I am totally on track.

I made this soup which is full of high-fiber vegetables and makes you feel virtuous even before you finish chopping the leeks. Tom and I have been eating it all weekend and we both feel as fit as say, that guy in “Creed.” (Michael B. Jordan, not Sylvester Stallone.)

I gotta be honest, it’s a pain in the ass to make but worth the trouble because you end up with enough to last for ages so it’s three meals for the aggravation of one. Plus you get all that upper-body exercise from the veggie choppage. Okay, it’s unlikely M.B.J. got those biceps by this method but still.

So give your peppermint bark to an unsuspecting relative and make this soup. You will be glad you did.

 

New Year’s Resolution Minestrone

(Makes about 12 lunch servings.)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 leeks (white part only), well rinsed and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried thyme

salt and freshly ground pepper

½ head Savoy cabbage, shredded

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 ribs of celery, diced

1 medium potato (any kind) peeled and cut into ¾ inch dice

1 parsnip, peeled and diced

2 quarts’ low sodium chicken broth (see note)

1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with their juices

½ cup frozen petite peas

½ cup frozen corn kernels (or fresh if it’s summer and you’re not too crabby to scrape a cob)

1 can (15 ounces) small white bens or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

 

  1. Melt the butter in the oil in a large soup pot over low heat. Add the onion and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable s are soft and translucent, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, herbs, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-low and add the cabbage. Cook, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 2 minutes. Repeat this with the celery potato, and parsnip, in that order, adding one vegetable at a time and cooking each for 2 minutes or so.
  5. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the soup to a simmer. Then return the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer it for about 1 hour.
  6. Add the peas corn and beans and cook for 15 minutes (Are you crabby, yet?)
  7. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot, passing the cheese separately.

 

Variations

If you’re not too crabby already, you can add or substitute any vegetables for those listed, like green beans, broccoli, a turnip, rutabaga – anything your family will tolerate (or not notice). Also, at the end of cooking you can throw in a handful of diced cooked chicken or meat. You can also put a scoop of cooked rice or pasta at the bottom of each diner’s bowl and pour the soup over it.

Note

If I’m too lazy to make homemade, I like to use Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, which is available at most Whole Foods storesl.

 

 

New Year Mimosa

December 30th, 2015

mimosa3I’m fascinated by how various cultures ring in the New Year.

I’ve heard that in Colombia, if you have an urge to travel in the New Year (yes ma’am I do), you walk around the house with a suitcase at midnight on the 31st.

In Denmark, if you have a particular wish for the New Year, you make it while jumping off a chair. (If you’ve had too much aquavit or whatever it is Danes drink, this could get ugly.)

In Venezuela, you buy and wear new yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve for good luck in the upcoming year.

Perhaps my favorite ritual is in Japan, where there’s an Abusive Language Festival:  You climb a hill to an ancient temple, screaming profanities at whoever caused you trouble in the old year.  (When you get to the temple, you chill and get happy.)  I think if I had to pick someone to curse at, it could be my cable guy, who thinks that when he says he’ll be there between 9 and 11 it includes 5:30.

Not to be greedy, but wouldn’t one greatly increase one’s chances of overall happiness in the New Year by combining these rituals?  I was thinking I could put on yellow underpants and jump off a chair while holding my suitcase and cursing the cable guy.  The trouble is, of course, my family would commit me to a mental hospital, and I’d be unable to reap the benefits of my actions.  So instead, I think I’ll stick to the American way of ringing in the New Year with a good old mimosa.

(Serves 8-10, unless you want to drink it all yourself, in which case definitely don’t jump off a chair.)

 

1 cup of fresh orange juice

1 cup orange flavored vodka

ice cubes

1 bottle of champagne

Instructions: Combine the orange juice and vodka in a large pitcher, and add some ice.

Pour in the champagne, mix, and serve in champagne glasses.

 

 

Beside Myself

November 17th, 2015

cranberrysauceI’m cooking on Thanksgiving, and my mom says she is bored with turkey as it is too often served in the dining room of the senior community where she lives. For her, it’s all about the sides. So I’m beside myself researching side dishes.

For starters, here are a couple of Crabby go-to cranberry sauces. These are especially good if you are going to a pot luck and are a lazy-ass cook looking for the easiest way to acquit yourself of your cooking responsibility.

These Brussels sprouts are so good, everyone will think you are Ina Garten. Or at least they will if they have had a Holiday Crantini or two before dinner.

Ok,  I’ll be back with more from my T-G menu when I figure out what the hell it’s gonna be.

 

 

Delicata Who?

October 28th, 2015

DelicataSquashThere’s this pile on my desk which is composed of stuff I have to either a) deliver to its proper storage place or b) send out for treatment of some kind, as in dry cleaning or c) ponder its usefulness until I am certain it has none and then throw it away.

My general policy is to ignore this pile altogether until it threatens to swap my work station. This happened yesterday—I had to address the pile. Right on top was an oblong object that I had placed there a few days ago and proceeded to ignore.

The object, according to its label, is a Delicata squash. I bought it because every so often I resolve to cook something I have never cooked (or seen) before. Often this means some random vegetable, which sometimes actually ends up cooked and sometimes ends up rotting on the kitchen window sill.

Last night, since my husband (who is violently anti-squash) was out of town, I resolved to reduce my desk pile by one item and cook the damn thing.

I roasted it, just adding oil, salt and pepper, my theory being I’d get to know this Delicata in its purest form, rather than gussy it up. (Plus I was too lazy to gussy.) Result: Loved it.  I will buy it again. My husband will never eat it, or any other food that looks like it, but, hey, all the more for me.

My pile is diminished some. I think that entitles me to ignore it again.

 

Roasted Delcata Squash

Yield: two servings

1 Delicata squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425º F. 

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash crosswise into pieces about 1/2″ thick.  Rub the squash pieces with oil to coat all over. Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet, put it in the oven and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Eat. 

 

 

 

Hip Jam In Silver Lake

August 10th, 2015

Ricotta toast_2If you should find yourself visiting a much-more-hip-than-you relative in the much-more-hip-than-where-you-live section of L.A. called Silver Lake, stop in at a wee restaurant called Sqirl. It’s worth the humiliation of being the least hip person in the neighborhood on a Friday afternoon.

Sqirl is famous for their jams (like Santa Rosa Plum and Flowering Thyme, or Shady Lady Tomato) but the menu rocks with lots of other treats, some vegan, some decidedly not, like the Famed Ricotta Toast, which was my pick. (I loaded it with Snow Queen Nectarine jam.)

I told my daughter I could eat it every day for breakfast. She pointed out that if I did so I would end up the size of a house.

So, no, I won’t be having this every day for breakfast. But I will have it again next time I cross the hipness border into Silver Lake.

P.S. You can also by Sqirl jams at The Cheese Store in Beverly Hills.

P.S.S. If you are more ambitious than I you can make this at home. After you have made your own brioche and made your own ricotta, toast a massive slice of the brioche, schemer it with your lovely homemade cheese and then with jam. Invite me over to share it with you or you will end up the size of a you-know-what.

 

 

 

 

How To Stuff A Wild Zucchini

August 4th, 2015

zucchiniMy younger daughter recently outed herself as the culprit in the zucchini mystery of 2007.

One evening while poking around the linen closet I found a mummified slice of zucchini under a stack of beach towels. I believe the unusual disposal of an unwanted vegetable was originally blamed on my older daughter Elizabeth But last week, her younger sister owned up as the perpetrator. Apparently she found the poor zucchini unpalatable and was too young to have developed the more sophisticated system of flushing it down the toilet, so she hid it.

No disciplinary measures will be taken as I believe there is a statute of limitations on these things.

Now they are grown and live in apartments with lots of closet space in which to deposit unsatisfactory vegetables. But if they do drop by for dinner, I like to dress up the zucchini just a little to preempt further misdemeanors. This recipe is very easy and adds instant appeal to what some consider an otherwise boring vegetable.

If I ever find this amongst my linens I will be very surprised.

 

2 medium zucchini

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigian0-Reggiano, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

½ cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 425º F.

Trim the ends off the zucchini. Cut each in half lengthwise. Score the center pulp of the zucchini and then scoop it out with a teaspoon, leaving a shell about ¼ inch thick. Place the pulp in a bowl. Add half the cheese, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper, the walnuts and thyme leaves and mix well.

Fill the cavities of the zucchini with the filling. Sprinkle each with an equal amount of read crumbs. Sprinkle again with a little salt and pepper and drizzle a half teaspoon of oil over each. Sprinkle each piece with some of the remaining cheese.

Place the zucchini pieces on a baking sheet and bake for twenty minutes, until the zucchini is tender and the topping is crispy.

Let cool briefly and serve.

 

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