Posts Tagged ‘cooking’


March 20 2014

Dave may have missed Mardi Gras, but he made it for St. Patty’s Day weekend in New Orleans. The throws? Cabbage, carrots, garlic, potatoes, garters, and underwear. Our Catch? 20 cabbages, 3 packages of Ramen, lots of beads, and more:


So, now I need to cook 20 cabbages.  Day 1: stir fry cabbage, tofu, and bell peppers served over ramen, with a salad on the side.  I used only one cabbage.  It was yummy, the next night, I ate the leftovers.  As not to miss an opportunity to use some cabbages, I blanched 4 cabbages, two shredded, and two quartered.  Then, froze them; postponing the decision of what to do with four of them.


Day 3: stuffed cabbage.  This was my first attempt at making it, but I adapted my recipe from this Rachel Ray recipe.  One of the lessons that I learned was that it is best to use the loose leaves for the stuffed cabbage, even though it is very tempting to throw them out.  In fact, I threw many of the good leaves away because they just looked too dirty.  Running them under cold water and using my fingers to rub off the dirt easily cleaned them.  Anyway, I made some changes to her recipe, so I’ll just give mine here:

  1. Cook the rice as Rach instructs (use 2 tablespoons butter to brown 1/2 cup orzo.  Add 1 cup rice, stir.  Add 2 1/2 c chicken stock and simmer for about 15 min (or until water disappears).  I had some orzo/rice stuck to the bottom of my pot. Not sure how to avoid that.
  2. Brown 1 lb of ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper.  Add 1 diced onion, 5 cloves minced garlic.  Season.  I used cinnamon, fresh dill, and dried parsley.
  3. Mix rice and meat in a bowl.
  4. Boil 12 large cabbage leaves to soften.  Let them cool in cold water.
  5. In the skillet used for the meat, heat 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup chicken stock, and 5 small tomatoes (diced).  Season with salt, pepper, and dried parsley.
  6. Stuff the cabbage.  Start rolling near the thickest part, tuck the sides in, then roll.  Place seam-side down in the pan.  Simmer for 30 minutes or so.

I’m about to freeze my leftovers.  They were delicious!  I don’t even like stuffed cabbage usually.  I now have a craving to do this again using ground lamb meat.



Bacon Makes Everything Better

October 25 2013

When I saw a recipe for panchetta wrapped shrimp in the Rachel Ray Magazine, I fell in love and had to make it.  As usual, I made a few modifications.  And, I will share my modifications:

  • Instead of pancetta, I used thin-sliced bacon.  I am partial to bacon-wrapped anything.  I prefer my panchetta with a nice baguette.
  • Since I love celery, I doubled the amount of celery in the recipe (I had salad for days afterwards).
  • Instead of grilling, I cooked the bacon wrapped shrimp in a pan on the stove-top.  I cooked them until the bacon was nice and crispy.
  • In the lemon juice for the shrimp marinade, I added a little lemon zest.
  • As usual, I added some sea salt and coarse ground pepper to finish the dish.

Surprisingly, I followed the rest of the recipe.  It is not usual for me to stick that close to a recipe.

I tried to serve this to David since it was so delicious, but he hates fennel.  He made faces when I made him try the fennel fronds, which I find barely taste like anything.  However, a well-balanced bite of 30% bacon, 50% shrimp, 10% celery, and 10% fennel tasted delicious to him.  Bacon does make everything taste better (although, I think fennel tastes good to begin with!)  Ok, I am hungry now.


The Crust

December 10 2012

With pizza, it’s all about the crust.  But, it’s hard to make good crust at home.  Usually, I cheat and just purchase pizza dough at the store.  Dave, however, does not like the store-bought pizza dough, so he has investigated the secrets to a good crust: buy the dough from a pizza place, and use a pizza stone and pizza paddle.  When this month’s issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray came in, I decided to make it with the dough from a local pizza parlor.  We don’t have the stone and paddle yet, but I followed Rachael’s recommendation to use an upside down cookie tray as a fake pizza stone and to place the pizza on parchment on a second tray.

The lesson I learned: don’t follow recipe directions for store-bought pizza dough with pizza-parlor-bought pizza dough. We placed the dough on parchment paper … and it stuck.  When we were eating, Dave was biting the pizza off of the parchment like you bite candy dots off of the paper they come on.  I used a knife to scrape off the filling of the pizza from the crust/parchment.  The pizza was delicious, but a complete and utter disaster.  [The stone and paddle are on our wedding registry though, for anyone reading who wants to make Dave happy].

a little Chili for a cold winter day

January 6 2012

The title to this post is a bit misleading.  Dave and I decided to make chili to bring to a new year’s eve party.  It wasn’t particularly cold that day at 65 degrees, and we didn’t just make “a little chili”…we made 5 gallons! (I blame Dave who told me to double my recipe so we would have some left overs.  He might blame me for making a recipe for 2.5 gallons to start with and calling it chili for 8 people).

And now, here is the recipe!!!!!  (In case you ever find yourself with the need for 5 gallons of chili)

Sautee the following for about 5 minutes, until the onions are clear:

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 white onions
  • 8-10 cloves of minced garlic

Then, add the following (in this order we’ve learned is best from experience):

  • 8 cups of vegetable broth
  • 7 cans of whole or crushed tomatoes (chopped), with juices
  • 2 pounds of dry lentils
  • 2 pounds of dry bulgar wheat
  • 6-7 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 4-5 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 8 carrots
  • 2 Jars (16 oz) salsa
  • 2 teaspoons all spice
  • 7 sweet peppers
  • salt & pepper to taste

Bring this to a boil, adding water as needed.  Then, simmer for 30 minutes.

Finally, add 5 stalks celery, diced.

We chopped up an assortment of hot peppers on the side (2 serano peppers, 1 jalapeno, and 1 habenaro).  That really heated things up!  I liked mine with banana peppers from a jar.

Due to time (and space), we did not add the kidney beans, but those would be a good addition to the dish.  Perhaps they will make it into one of our reheated chili dinners.

Do you need 5 Gallons of Chili?

We accidentally turned a small dish into leftovers for life.