Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cook The Books: Jerusalem

I am participating in a virtual cookbook book club called Cook the Books.   The ladies at Grow and Resist and Oh, Briggsy are hosting a year long cookbook challenge.  So each month they picked a different book and a bunch of people will cook things and post blogs about them as well as reviews of the books.

This month I cooked from Jerusalem: a cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.  It was the perfect choice for September as it is chock full of tomato and eggplant recipes. It also just happens thatI was trying to perfect homemade hummus and the recipe in this book really helped me do that.  Jerusalem is well written, has beautiful pictures, and good recipes.  I might have drooled a bit over the challah pictures in this book.  

Here is what I made: no recipes given secondary to copyright.  Go to your local library and check out the book. 

Hummus pg 114 (no pic)

Mejadra pg 120 (no picture but just think rice and lentil salad)

Musabaha (warm chickpeas with hummus) and toasted pita pg 119

Burekas pg 254

Red pepper and baked egg galettes pg 243

I didn't make any substitutions in these recipes and enjoyed them how they were written.  The musabaha would be a wonderful dip to serve at a party. We tried to eat it as a main course for dinner but it was a bit much.  The burekas  and red pepper galettes were my favorite and they were probably the easiest.  They are basically different versions of filled puff pastry.  Yum yum yum!!!!

I am looking forward to going back over all of these months and cooking the best recipes again. Maybe my project for winter 

I wish you enough (chickpeas and cumin)!!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cook the Books July: Gran Cocina Latina

I love love love Gran Cocina Latina!  This book is huge, no literally it is enormous, and has 912 pages.  The author, Maricel Presilla, did some wonderful research and really did a great job with this book.  There are lots of recipes in each section that are very interesting and fairly simple.  The recipes are easy to follow and most ingredients are easily found at my local grocery store and mercado.  I liked that the foods were fairly colorful and interesting.  I use canned tomatoes when it's not tomato season at the farm so in most cases I just substituted with them and things turned out great.

So glad I cooked the book this month...!

I made:

Coconut Chicken from Artenga

As you can see I made this on the grill in a cast iron pan.  I can't believe there would be a tastier way to make this dish.  And now I'm super excited about cooking everything this way all summer!!!!

Mango and Hearts of Palm Salad

Different and delicious and super easy to make. Followed the recipe exactly. 

Avocado Watercress Pineapple Salad

This is the time of year I could find watercress but my garden was full of spinach and arugula. I substituted these and it was fantastic.  Personal preference I would have liked more avocado.  This would be a wonderful side to take to a BBQ. 

Chicken Fricassee

Yum yum yum!  I've actually said that about all these dishes.  So far this cookbook is super yummy.  I liked this and used Viognier wine instead of beer.

Sorry I don't have pictures but I had a dinner party and made the mexican rice and coconut shrimp.  For the rice I used canned diced tomatoes with their juice and just threw everything in a rice cooker.  The coconut shrimp was cooked outside on the grill in my huge cast iron pan.  The garden isn't being super generous with tomatoes yet so I again used a can of diced tomatoes with their juice rather than tomato sauce, and fresh tomatoes.  I'm sure it's better with freshies so that will give me an excuse to try it again.  This dinner was probably my ** favorite** of all the recipes I tried.

Have I said I love this book.  This is one of my favorites so far!  Right down my alley. Oy!!!!!

** Public Library Plug:  I am a big proponent of public libraries and so far in Baltimore County they have either had these books or have purchased them after I requested them.  The great thing is that I don't have to store them and can get them whenever I want.  

I wish you enough!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

10 minute Wood Initial Makeover

I've had this white wooden K for a long time and it needed a makeover. 

I was cleaning out "the craft bin" the other day and found some patterned duct tape that little miss and I bought at target. You know, in that $1 section when you enter...they get me every time. So I put it on the letter to see how it would look: 

And cut out the shape with my paper scissors:

I think it's adorable!  Now for where to hang it.  I'm in picture limbo right now because I have 4 frames to hang and it always takes me a while to decide where they should go.  That's the fun part!

I wish you enough!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Farm Tour

The garden at the farm is coming along and growing well.  The recent downpours were helpful for some plants and not so for others.  The potatoes look like they've seen better days.  


Tomatoes and Peppers

Potatoes and newly planted sweet potatoes


Onions and Shallots

Beets and Kale

Melons and Cucumbers

Savoy Cabbage

And a very cool find in the woods... A bottle from the early 1900's with a natural growing terrarium.  A great gift from Mother Nature. 

I think that's all for now... I am also growing food in my front yard. Lettuce, spinach, peppers, cabbage, basil, dill, thyme, eggplant, zucchini. I love growing my own food and having my kids go outside and pick plants...there's just something about it. 

Oh yea!!!!  The hardy kiwis are to the top of the trellis now. Yippee.  I'll have pics soon!

I wish you enough!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Simple Mango and Hearts of Palm Salad

So this is a super easy yummy salad that has wonderful summer flavors.  I adapted the recipe from the Gran Cocina Latina cookbook.

2 Mangoes cut into chunks
14 oz Hearts of palm, cut into chunks
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
1/4 cup lime juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Here's the best part.... add it all together and chill.  Eat and enjoy.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grilled Arugula Gorgonzola Pizza

Yum. Yum. Yum.  I have to start with Yum. With summer coming, or here depending on where you live, it's time to get that grill going for all sorts of food.  Why only use it for the occasional BBQ?  I once spent a year without a formal kitchen during a remodel and I learned how to cook pretty much anything on the grill or in a rice cooker. 

This week I've cooked Latin coconut chicken, arugula lasagna, and now pizza on my grill. When it's hot outside that means its hot inside my no AC house....ugh. So I cook outside a lot. 

I make this dough only about an hour before making pizza so I consider it a quick dough.  Also, I double the recipe so I have plenty of dough for the week or to freeze.  

Pizza Dough aka $30 Pizza

1tsp. Active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt 
1 sprig oregano or 1 tsp dried
2-3 sprigs thyme or 1tsp dried
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp for bowl

Add yeast and warm water to large bowl and let sit 5 minutes.  In the meantime mix the remaining ingredients, except olive oil, in a bowl.  After 5 minutes add flour and olive oil to yeast mixture and stir until combined.  Not sure if it matters but I stir with a wooden spoon.  I feel weird stirring this with metal and deep down I remember something about stirring yeasty things with metal might make them not rise.  I think I remember that from my sourdough days...  Anyway, once it is mixed add the remaining olive oil to bowl and turn dough to coat. Cover and let sit in warm location for 1 hour.  

When you're ready just punch the dough down and either use the whole thing or break off the amount you want.  

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll out or stretch to desired thickness.  The cooked dough will be about 1 1/2 times the original thickness. 

Grilling:  super duper easy.  Heat up your grill to 400 degrees, grease the rack and place your dough right on the rack.  You have two choices here. 

1. Cook one side about 4 minutes checking so you don't burn it. Then flip over and quickly add toppings and cook another 4-6 minutes. 
2.  Cook one side 4 minutes, flip and cook 2 minutes. Remove dough from grill and top the most cooked side at your leisure then place it back on the grill when ready for 4-5 minutes.  

I like option 2 because we make several small pizzas so everyone can customize their own. 

Your grill might be different than mine so make sure to check the dough every now and then so it doesn't get burned.  Also if you see it poofing up just poke it with a fork. 

I am currently in love with arugula so tonight I made an arugula sweet potato Gorgonzola pizza and it was delicious. 

Topped it with bottled pizza sauce, quick sautéed arugula and spinach, dollops of mashed sweet potato from the fridge sweet orange peppers, basil, cheddar cheese, and Gorgonzola.  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pureed Quinoa: Baby food

I'll have pictures soon but just wanted to let you know how excited I am that I successfully pureed quinoa!!!  And the baby LOVES it.

I boiled water and soaked the quinoa in it for an hour, then I cooked it according to the package directions with 1/4 cup extra water.

Then I put it in my wonderful blender (Thanks JK) with about 1/4 cup water and turned out wonderfully smooth and yummy.

The baby will pretty much eat anything if there is a bit of banana in it so I added a bit of spinach and banana puree to the quinoa.  She ate it up like a champ.

I am aiming to do a big post about making baby food so stay tuned.