August 30, 2004

the Boyfriend's Zucchini Bread Recipe

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated, raw zucchini
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour or 1 1/2 cups AP flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla. Mix well. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to zucchini mixture. Stir until blended, add nuts. Stir. Pour into greased loaf pans. Should make 2. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on rack.

This keeps really well, if kept frozen up to about 3 months or about a week if refrigerated. My boyfriend likes it toasted with cream cheese. I like it untoasted plain or with cream cheese. Or fresh and hot out of the oven with butter. I normally use this recipe to make zucchini bread, but this one is just as good, if not better.

August 29, 2004

Meatballs and Tomatoes


1 slice good white bread
1/3 cup milk
1 lb ground beef, chuck is preferred
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 table spoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 whole nutmeg
1 cup fresh ripe tomatoes
fine, dry unflavored bread crumbs (to roll meatball in)
vegetable oil


Trim off the crust from the bread, put the milk and the bread in a saucepan, heat low. Mash bread with fork after it has absorbed all milk. Remove from heat and cool. In a bowl, knead together the meat, onion, parsley, egg, olive oil, cheese and a tiny big of fresh nutmeg, the bread/milk mush, salt and pepper. Do not squeeze. When thoroughly combined, shape into 1 inch balls and roll in bread crumbs. Set aside. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan. When ready, add meatballs, one at a time in a single layer. Brown on all sides, turning carefully. Remove from heat. Remove as much fat as floats to the surface. Return to medium heat, add tomatoes and basil. Turn over meatballs once or twice in the sauce to coat. Cover and cook at a steady simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the oil floats free of the tomatoes. Serve.

Note: this can be made several days in advance if stored in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

August 26, 2004

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

1 cup cold whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup crushed hard peppermint candies
a couple drops of red food dye to make it pretty and pink

In a medium sized bowl, combine milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved (1-2 minutes). Stir in heavy cream, vanilla and peppermint extract. Turn on your ice cream machine, pour mixture into cold freezer bowl thorough the spout and mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes. Add crushed peppermints during last 5 minutes of mixing. Eat or place in freezer 2 hours to "ripen".

August 24, 2004

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

5 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 cups arborio rice
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (reconstitute in 2 cups of water for 1/2 hour, reserve water)
1/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Bring broth to a slow boil. Put half the putter, and all of the oil and onion in a pan on medium high heat. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add rice. Stir until rice is coated well. Add 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring continuously and scraping the bottom of the pan with your spoon. Add 1/2 cup more when all liquid has evaporated, keep repeating. When the rice has cooked 10 minutes, add mushrooms and half of their water. Continue to stir and add more mushroom water as liquid evaporates. Repeat until all mushroom water is gone. Finish cooking the rice with broth or if there is no more broth, with water until the rice is tender but firm to the bite. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with pepper then add cheese and stir until rice is melted and clinging to the rice. Serve immediately.

August 23, 2004

Chile-Lime Sauce with Tomatillos

1/2 lb tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/4 water
4 jalapeno (or habanero) peppers, seeded and chopped
4 cilantro sprigs
3 garlic cloves

In a saucepan, sprinkle tomatillos with salt. Cover with water, bring to a boil. Cook just until they change color, about 5 minutes. Drain and cool. Transfer to blender, add remaining ingredients and puree.

We had this over salmon and white rice. It's good if you leave the rice plain and drizzle the sauce on the fish.

August 22, 2004

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens. Cool completely. Pour into a clean jar and cap tightly. Refrigerate and use as needed.

or try this variation
flavored simple syrup:
to the boiling water add citrus peel and zest (orange, tangerine, lime, lemon and blood orange are especially good) or 1 inch piece ginger cut into matchsticks or a cinnamon stick or any whole spices. Prepare as usual but strain out any solids before use.

My thoughts:
Simple syrup is good to have on hand. I like to use in drinks, it dissolves well so you aren't left with sugar at the bottom of your glass. Excellent for use in homemade lemonade.

August 11, 2004

Spinach Pesto

5 oz baby spinach
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup (grated) parmesan cheese
1/3 cup water
2 large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Puree all ingredients (I use a blender, but a food processor would work) until smooth. Pour over cooked, drained pasta. Toss and serve.

August 05, 2004

Cinnamon Buns

This is a fast cinnamon bun recipe, including cooking and cooling, it should take under an hour start to finish.

for the buns:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon PLUS 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour (and extra for dusting work surface)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

for the glaze:
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup confectioner's sugar

For the buns:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush 9 inch round pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Combine brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and combine with a fork until it resembles wet sand. Set aside. Whisk together four, remaining sugar, baking powder, baking soda and remaining salt in a large bowl. In a measuring cup combine buttermilk and 2 tablespoons butter. Add liquid to flour mixture and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and and knead until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pat dough into a 9x12 inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon mixture, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Loosen the dough from the work surface and roll to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal. Cut into 8 pieces. Flatten slightly and place in pan with one in the center and the other 7 circling it. Brush with remaining butter. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to plate and cool for about 5 minutes before glazing.
For the glaze:
Whisk together cream cheese and buttermilk until thick and smooth. Add confectioners sugar slowly until a smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Spoon over buns, serve immediately.

August 03, 2004

Chicken Fricassee with Red Cabbage

1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil PLUS 1 tablespoon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and each cut into 4 pieces
4 cups red cabbage, shredded fine (about 1 lb)
A 3-4 lb chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup dry red wine
freshly ground black pepper

In a saute pan, place the onion, 1/4 cup oil and garlic over medium heat. Cook until garlic is golden. Add shredded cabbage. Stir to coat, sprinkle with salt, stir, cover and simmer. Cook cabbage for 40 minutes or more, turning it over periodically until it is tender and reduced in bulk. You can actually prepare the dish to this point and save it reheat and add to the chicken up to 2 day later. Or keep going. Wash chicken pieces in cold water and pat dry. In another pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. After oil is heated, add chicken skin side down in a single layer. After a bit, turn the chicken to brown equally on each side. Once browned, transfer to the other pan, except for the breast which you will reserve for later. Turn the chicken over in the cabbage, add the wine and some pepper. Cover the pan, leaving it slightly open, and cook at a steady simmer. Occasionally turn chicken and sprinkle once with salt. After 40 minutes add the breasts. Cook for about 10 minutes more until chicken is tender and cooked through to the bone. The chicken should fall off the bone easily and the cabbage should have cooked down to a sauce, almost recognizable as cabbage. Transfer to plates and serve.

August 02, 2004

Too Many Tomatoes Tomato Sauce

about 2 cups of chopped plum tomatoes, fresh from the garden
about 1/4 of a cup of olive oil
1/2 a large onion
lots of garlic
1 lb pasta (cooked and drained)

In a saucepan, heat oil and garlic. Add tomatoes. Place onion cut side down in pan. Cook for about half an hour. Remove and discard onion. Toss sauce with pasta and serve.