Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Salt and Pepper to Taste - and awards

Everyone has seen the instructions in a recipe ‘season to taste’ or ‘salt and pepper to taste’. Well today, I made a pasta dish that I have made numerous times. I do not know where the recipe is or if I have ever had a recipe.

I had plans to make the dish that has a vinaigrette type sauce. It always has artichokes, sweet peppers, fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and olives.

I took the cherry tomatoes out and sliced them in half, also sliced the small sweet peppers in rings. I added some Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, spices and a small amount of cider vinegar. I microwaved it for about 4 minutes.
This was about 2 cups of peppers and 3 cups of tomatoes with olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, Italian spice, fresh basil and freeze dried herb mix

Next, I measured out 2 servings (4 ounces) of pasta and added it to the boiling water to cook just to al dente.

I used a 6 ounce jar of artichokes  in olive oil. I drained and chopped them a bit.

After the pasta was cooked to perfection and drained, the artichokes were added to the pot and combined.

Next, added in the tomatoes and peppers.

After I mixed it all up - This makes about 4 servings.

Well a couple of days earlier, I tried my hands at baking a loaf of packaged Italian Bread in the bread machine. It wasn’t quite the texture I liked, so I decided to make garlic cheese bread with it.

I added garlic butter (real garlic in olive oil), basil parmesan cheese and a little crumbled Feta cheese.

Baked it in the oven on 375F until browned.

Well, now that I have a meal, time to serve it up.

As I have said, season to taste!

And now a

Shout Out
to my fellow bloggers

I want to thank Cathy from The Dutch Baker’s Daughter (great food--give it a click) for giving me this:

I received this Blogger Award from Cathy – The Dutch Baker’s Daughter.
In order to accept I must:
1. Thank the person who presented the award, and link to their blog in this post--thanks, again, Cathy!
2. Copy and paste the award image (see above).
3. Share seven things about yourself (below);
4. Pass on the award to fifteen other fabulous blogs, and let them know that they have received the award (below).

Seven random things about me:

1. I was born in Arkansas and consider myself to be a permanent Minnesota transplant.
2. My first job that paid a regular paycheck was as a long-distance operator. Remember Ernestine, the telephone operator character of Lily Tomlin: Have I Reached the Party to Whom I Am Speaking?
3. My major in college was Business admin. Couldn’t get a job that paid much in the 70’s in Finance so I went back to U of MN – Twin cities for System Analysis and Design, from there into the title of Software Engineer for the next 25 years!
4. Between high school and college, I took 4 years of French. At the time, I could read it, understand it, and conjugate the verbs better than I could in English. Now, I remember very little of it.
5. A few years ago, while visiting a friend and driving up the winding road to Mt Rainier, classical music was playing the entire time. I jokingly said ‘elevator music’. Well, Linda said it’s very relaxing in traffic. After returning home, decided to try it. I am now a classical freak. I love all Italian Tenors, especially Pavarotti.
6. I have travelled over the US on business and vacation. One of the lesser reasons for leaving one job and moving back to Minnesota was the constant travel. After not doing it, I began to miss it.
7. I have only travelled out of the USA to one country: Canada – many times – love the Country!

Now to thank the Academy!
1. To Cathy from The Dutch Baker’s Daughter , I met you over on Mixing Bowl and you inspired me to write my blog. Finally got a chance to meet a fellow Minnesotan who CAN COOK!
2. To Danielle from Cooking for my Peace of Mind ---Great recipes. Great Facebook Fan page.
3. Sheryle over at Cookie Baker’s Corner - Great site – I am the cookie monster and I love seeing new recipes that I can snag to try to convert.
4. Like Cathy, I believe Shane’s blog belongs in the "sisterhood", he has so many great recipes that I have tried to duplicate at Culinary Alchemy . The latest was his Zucchini Cookies –yum!
5. Another great site (a fellow MBer) is Homesteading in Maine. This is written about a family doing what they call ‘living on the grid. Lots of tips, recipes, overall very good blog
6. Serendipity is another blog that I follow for the food and stories. Great food and great stories.

I have to start following more blogs, couldn’t come up with 15 blogging Sisters!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

American - Pretending to be Irish for A Day

Well, today is St. Patrick’s Day and everyone is all “greened up”.  Of course green is not the only Irish color.   I am like most of my family and friends; we are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and return to our normal selves the day after.

I don’t really like the traditional American Corned Beef and Cabbage meal, but will fix it about every four or five years.

Last week while grocery shopping, I saw some nicely trimmed (and shaped) corned beef briskets. I looked at them and walked away about three times before deciding to buy about a two-pounder. I figured I would just bake it and make sandwiches. So it went into the freezer.

On Monday, I started thinking about what to cook this week and remembered that I had the corned beef brisket. I started checking my recipes to see if I had anything other than just plain brisket, cabbage and potatoes. So on to web searching for different recipes…..and of course I wanted one with a picture. Don’t you just hate recipes without pictures?

I found a recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage Rolls on Whole Foods Market’s website that I thought I would take a stab at.

I didn’t really pay much attention to the recipe per se. I had all of the ingredients I wanted to use, so I really just looked at how to roll the cabbage leaves. I didn’t notice that the recipe uses Savoy cabbage leaves rather than the ones I had pulled off  my green cabbage and was steaming! Well, as it turned out, my leaves required 2 leaves to make a roll, so I only got about 4 cabbage rolls.

Through all of my peeling (no tater skins for me!), cleaning/washing and slicing, the meal turned out ok.
By the time everything was done, I was done too! So much work for a meal. Now I remember why I make quick dishes like mixed vegetable risotto and Mexican Inspired ‘Lasagna’. Those are a lot easier to make and don’t stay in one’s system two days!

So, I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick’s Day, even if you become just a plain ol citizen after it’s over with. :-)
My pictures of how I prepared everything.
Just before going in the oven

My leaves were just a bit small for making the rolls.

Of course, I had to cook the corned beef first. Found this nice looking brisket. I was braising it first, so the fat side is down first.

I gathered up some veggies to add after the meat cooked a little. Used some green and red cabbage, potatoes and carrots. Only had baby carrots, so in they went.

I covered and let it cook for about 20 minutes, then stirred moving top to bottom so everything would cook.
I was so busy cooking, forgot to take pictures after everything cooked and I removed some of the brisket to make the cabbage rolls.

This pot of vegetables would make a nice dish even without the meat.

I am now stuffed and do not want to see corned beef for at least another 5 years. Basically, I am very happy if I do not have any meat.  Nothing against eating meat, I just feel so stuffed for a few days even with a small amount.  Now, mention dark chocolate...... that's a whole 'nother' story....

Tomorrow’s meal: Caramelized Garlic and Mixed Vegetable Risotto. Love that garlic!