May 7, 2015 – Summer Eating and Grilling (Part 1) Plus Mother’s Day Ideas

For a hot weather no-cook salad, this is such a vibrant and scrumptious side dish or, it could be a complete light dinner, also. Adapted from a Whole Foods recipe. You don’t have to ‘shave’ the zucchini into noodles, you can roughly chop and add to the salad, but the noodles give the salad a uniqueness that is pretty and interesting.
Apr 5 Zucc 'Noodle' Cannellini Salat
Zucchini “Noodle” & Cannellini Bean Salad

Basic Salad:
1 medium-size (about 1 lb.) zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
3/4 cups corn (frozen, canned or fresh off the cob)
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 jalapeno, minced (seeded and membranes removed, if desired)
15 1/2 oz can Cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup crumbled feta chees
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Additional options:
1/2 cup chopped pea pods or frozen peas
1-2 hard-cooked eggs, roughly chopped
Other veggies that need to be used found in your fridge
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Basic Dressing:
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp Extra-virgin olive oil

Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, cut squash lengthwise into long thin ‘noodles’ rotating the squash as you peel. Discard seedy core. In a large bowl, combine the ‘noodles’ and rest of the salad ingredients adding whatever options you choose. Salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour about half the dressing over the salad and gently combine. Add more dressing as desired, but you don’t want it soupy. Keep any remaining dressing to add to a green salad.

a Chef’s Journey Tip: Wne: 2-Vine Shiraz, Pinot Grigio and 14 Hands Hot to Trot have all been very good with this salad.
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Lots of fast and easy cooking and eating for the next few months while we remodel our new (to us) little farmhouse. Today was a combination of an old recipe used in a different way. I’ve had MasterCook program on my computer for years and years and Thai Pork Burritos is a recipe I’ve made many times. I made a large batch a few days ago to package up in small, fast and easy to use sizes and while they are wonderful used in burritos, today I mixed with cooked rice and cheddar cheese to fill bell peppers. Topped with a little hot sauce, we were happy and contented eaters.
Feb. 1 Thai Pork  Burritos Burritos – wonderful
May 7 Thai Pork Stuffed PeppersStuffed Bell Peppers, also wonderful
Thai Pork Burritos

1 lb lean ground pork
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger root
1 garlic clove — peeled and crushed
2 cups cole slaw mix with carrots
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs honey
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 large (10-inch) flour tortillas — warmed
Fresh cilantro — chopped (garnish)

Heat large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pork, cook, crumble and stir until pork is no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, onion and cole slaw mix and stir-fry with pork for 2 minutes, until vegetables are wilted.

Combine all remaining ingredients except tortillas and cilantro in small bowl and add to skillet. Stir constantly to blend all ingredients well, about one minute. Spoon equal portions of mixture onto warm flour tortillas, garnish with cilantro, roll up to encase filling and serve.

Source: From MasterCook – “National Pork Producers Council”    http://www.nppc.org
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Mother’s Day is Sunday  and here is my favorite brunch drink ever! Ramos Fizzes is a luscious, frothy drink my old friend Susan Mitchell Ayers brought into my life in the 70s and I have loved since. You’ll want to plan a light brunch because these drinks are very filling. In fact, these are the only drinks I’ve ever planned food around – except wine, of course.
May12MothersDAyRamosFizzes_zpsf1b1e6c9
Ramos Fizzes

6 oz gin
2 oz white crème de cocoa
2 oz triple sec
4 oz sweet & sour
2 egg whites
6 oz half & half

Add all ingredients in a blender; add ice to the thickness you prefer – Swirl them up good!.

Here’s the brunch I love with the Fizzes – not to mention making me a very happy mother indeed.
Open face crab sandwich
Open Faced Crab Melts

BECHAMEL SAUCE (Makes about 2 cups)
2 cup hot milk
4 T.(1/4 cup) butter
6 T. flour
Salt
White pepper
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For the Crab melt:
8 oz. crab meat, pick out and discard any cartilage  or shell
2 English muffins
Cheddar cheese for garnish

In a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over moderate heat, and stir in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Do not let this roux brown. This step will cook out the floury taste.

Remove the pan from the heat and blend in the hot milk; return to high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce comes to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, still stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon heavily. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Add the crab, breaking it up and combine. Over low heat cook just until the crab is heated through.

Toast muffins halves and put one or two on each plate; spoon the crab mixture over the muffins and top with cheddar cheese. Put under the broiler to just melt the cheese and enjoy immediately after refilling your glass with another Fizz!!

Happy Mother’s Day to us all!

 

 

 

 

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COOKING ON THE ROAD

The past 3 weeks have turned into a blur for Roy and me. The house sold so fast, we had little time to get treasures stored and decide what we needed to take on the road for a year. Whew, now that we are into our adventure things are slowly calming down and we are both not sleeping 10 hours a night to catch up.

Part of the purpose of my traveling blog was to share recipes I develop/make/find/steal/whatever it takes for dishes using indigenous products to the states as we visit each. Things were so hectic I’m afraid I was not very organized, but now I’m getting my act together and will begin this daunting but oh so fun task of sharing with you all the great food we are finding.

This first food porn entry will go backwards and I’ll play with how far back to go and then in the future my entrees will be chronicle order, I hope.

Here goes – I’m starting this out with one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made (I know I say this quite often, but each of them have been!) Wanting to use the Bison Sausage I picked up in Creston, B.C., this is the end result. And, to add to the enjoyment of making this one, is that my friend Maryann Heininger led me to dough that I have never made before – made with white wine!

Deborah Mele’s blog – www.Itliancookingforever.com

Bison Sausage & Pepper Pizza

a Chef’s Journey recipe

Aug 2 The Crumb of the Focaccia (2)

We picked up Bison sausage during a visit to Creston, B.C. to Famous Fritz Meats & Deli – http://famousfritz.ca/. Feel free to use any game sausage or commercial will do also. I had roasted red bell and poblano peppers on hand so that’s what I used – about 1/2 pepper each. Added just enough heat for us to enjoy.

10 to 12 oz. prepared Pizza dough
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil for rubbing on the dough round
1/2 to 3/4 cup marinara sauce – depending on how ‘saucy’ you like your pie
Your choice of cheese: for a 10” pizza, plan on using 6 oz. total of whatever you choose. – On this pizza: 2 oz. each-Mozzarella, Provolone and Cheddar, shredded
4 oz. (approx. 1 cup) sausage, diced*
1/2 roasted poblano pepper, diced
1/2 roasted red bell, diced|
1 1/2 oz. (approx. 1/2 cup) minced red onion
Garnish: toasted pine nuts

Roll, push or stretch pizza dough to desired size and thickness. Brush with olive oil to the edge.
With the back of a spoon, spread marinara sauce over dough followed by 2/3 of the cheese (mix together whatever combination you decide on).
Scatter the diced sausage, then the poblano and red bell peppers and minced onion. Top with the remaining cheese. If desired, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and top everything with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Bake or grill you favorite way.

Notes: *Dicing sausage to put on pizza ensures every bite will have some – when sausage is added in large rounds, it is hard to slice so all the sausage doesn’t end up on just a few slices.

Wine: stay away from Cab, Syrah, Zin
Try – Sangivese, barbera, dolcetto, pinto noir

8/2/14 – we had an Italian Casa Taurini 2012 Barbera d’Asti that was heaven with the pizza!!! For this wine, you’ll probably have to go to Zagat wines – it’s a little pricey, $28.00-$30.00, but you have to splurge once in a while.

The white we chose was a Viiognier from Harbinger Winery in Port Angeles, WA. http://www.harbingerwinery.com/   I also used Sara’s wine in the pizza dough – a first for me to use wine for part of the liquid. Very nice and a repeat for sure. The wine matched the pizza very well, also.
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A delightful salad making use of farmers market zucchini was this cold salad – I used dark balsamic when I made it, but because of the muddled color it gave the salad (which did not interfere with the flavor one bit!), next time I will use white balsamic.

 Zucchini “Noodle” & Cannellini Bean Salad

a Chef’s Journey Recipe
For a hot weather no-cook salad, this is such a vibrant and scrumptious side dish or, it could be a complete light dinner, also. Adapted from a Whole Foods recipe. You don’t have to ‘shave’ the zucchini into noodles, you can roughly chop and add to the salad, but the noodles give the salad a uniqueness that is pretty and interesting. Serves 4 to 6

Basic Salad:
1 medium-size (about 1 lb.) zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen, canned or fresh off the cob)
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 jalapeno, minced (seeded and membranes removed, if desired)
15 1/2  oz. can Cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Additional options:
1/2 cup chopped pea pods or frozen peas
1-2 hard-cooked eggs, roughly chopped
Other veggies that need to be used found in your fridge
Basic Dressing:
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 tsps. Dijon mustard
3 tsps. Extra-virgin olive oil

Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, cut squash lengthwise into long thin ‘noodles’ rotating the squash as you peel. Discard seedy core.
In a large bowl, combine the ‘noodles’ and rest of the salad ingredients adding whatever options you choose. Salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour about half the dressing over the salad and gently combine. Add more dressing as desired, but you don’t want it soupy. Keep any remaining dressing to add to a green salad.

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These are a family favorite pancake – my Uncle Wallace made them for us ‘little ones’ every time we saw him as we were growing up. Everyone loves them to this day.
???????????????????????????????Uncle Wallace’s Buttermilk Pancakes

My Great-Uncle Wallace Thatcher made these pancakes for my sister and me every summer when we visited him and Aunt Lolly. Even today, they are the best I have every tasted! While they are delicious with warm maple syrup, homemade Blackberry syrup is just made for these pancakes.  Recipe from a Chef’s Journey Cookbook

6 rounded T. flour (see tip)
3 1/2 cups buttermilk (may need a little more to make a thin batter)
1 1/2 rounded tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder|
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 T. bacon grease (see tip)
3 T. sugar

Mix all the ingredients together; the batter should be rather thin, a little thicker than a crepe batter. Heat a pancake griddle to medium-high and regulate heat so the bottom of the pancake is nicely browned when the bubbles appear on top.

Pour 1/3-cup size pancake batter on a hot griddle rubbed with more bacon grease or vegetable oil. Turn as soon as the top of pancake has bubbles; cook other side until browned. Makes 14 – 18 pancakes.

Tips:  (1)After years of making these pancakes, I finally measured “6 dinnerware tablespoons” of flour and found it is equal to approximately 1 1/2 cups.

(2)While bacon grease makes these the delicious pancakes they are, you can use vegetable oil in its place.

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 Leek and Orzo Gratin

a Chef’s Journey recipe adapted from Weight Watchers
???????????????????????????????Not a spectacular dish, but very tasty, healthy and to the table quickly and I thought of it immediately when I saw leeks at the farmers market. This is an old Weight Watcher’s recipe. I had some pea pods that needed to be used, so added while sautéing the leeks. Just about any vegetable would work for an additional flavor.

1 cup orzo
2 tsp olive oil
3 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced, white and light green parts only
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
Salt & black pepper
1/4 cup (1 oz.) shredded Fontina cheese (or what you have on hand)
Optional: a handful of veggies you might have in the fridge, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 2-qt. baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook orzo according to pkg. directions.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks  (plus any veggies you find) and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the orzo, thyme, salt and pepper.
Transfer the orzo mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
Suggested wine: very good with a 7 Deadly Zinfandel and served with Garlic marinated flank steak.
Note to self: try adding a few pine nuts, cashews or pecans?
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 Ramen Noodle Chicken Pad Tha
???????????????????????????????

One of the fastest to put together and flavorful dishes I’ve made in a long time. Two best things about this dish is you can add any veggies you might have in the fridge and/or sauté a few and add; AND you can discard that high-sodium seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodle pkg. – not needed.

1 package chicken flavor ramen noodles, 3 ounce
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs peanut butter
1/2 Tbs garlic chili paste
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 cup cooked chicken, or whatever leftover meat/fish you have
Unsalted chopped peanuts, garnish

Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add noodles, reserve flavor packet, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Drain noodles.
Add soy sauce, peanut butter and garlic chili paste to pan and stir to combine. If needed, add cooking liquid to smooth out sauce.
Add cooked noodles and stir to coat noodles. Add cooked chicken and stir to combine. Top with chopped peanuts. Serves 2.

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 This is where I’ll stop for now…I have so many more goodies to amuse myself with for foods that are popular in Idaho (potatoes, Elk, Huckleberries) and Canada (Peameal Bacon, Bannock, Butter Tarts, Poutine). Not that I can use everything….I’d be as big as a house – a happy house, but a house no less!