Happy Aloha Friday, It’s The Weekend!

It’s Friday, kick back and relax for the weekend!

ALOHA!

Greek Seasoning, ala Auntie Doni

You’ve heard of Greek Seasoning before right? NO?!  Take a look down the Spice aisle in your local supermarket and you’ll find only one brand of commercially produced Greek Seasoning.

Greek Seasoning from the supermarket

See the ingredients on the back panel:  Black Pepper, Garlic, Oregano, Parsley and “five other spices”, along with some other stuff.   On top of that, it’s not cheap either!

So I did an internet search for a recipe, a formula if you will; there are oodles of them. I already had all of the ingredients in my Spice Rack, so I put together a blend that we really like and I use it in and on just about anything.

Greek Seasoning Ala Auntie Doni

3 tsp. Dried Oregano

2 tsp. each Dried Mint, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley and Ground Black Pepper

1 tsp each Dried Basil, Marjoram, Granulated Garlic and Onion Powder

That's alot of different ingredients!

In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients.

I used a Mortar and Pestle

I go one more step and grind everything, working in small batches, in either a Spice Grinder or small Food Processor, or my favorite method, using a Mortar and Pestle, you’ll get a finer grind.

Store in an airtight container for as long as 6 months, but I don’t think it’ll last that long.  I put this in Salad Dressing, on grilled Meats and Vegetables, on Bread dough, like Focaccia before it goes in the oven, anything that you want a hint of Greek in.

I make multiple batches of my Greek Seasoning, they make great gifts 😉

ENJOY!

Gluten & Dairy Free Cauliflower Crust Mini Quiches

Gluten-free and Dairy-free dishes have been coming to the forefront in recent times.  Some folks choose to be GF and DF for health reasons and others just do.  My Friend, Missus Dear Friend is now GF/DF and Vegetraian for a little more than a year now.  This has nudged me onto that culinary path and researching recipes has been very eye opening.  I made this dish for our Easter Brunch Potluck (yeah, I know I’m behind, but what can I say, we’ve been busy).

GF/DF Cauliflower Crust Mini Quiches

1 head of Cauliflower

1 tsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 tsp. Granulated Garlic

1/3 C. diced Sweet White Onion

½ C. Dairy-free grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste

6 Eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 375⁰

*Rice the Cauliflower by either using a large holed Box Grater or whiz it up in a Food Processor fitted with its Metal Blade.

 

Place Cauliflower in a Microwave safe dish; stir in well the Salt and cook on high for 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool until you can handle it.  Transfer the now steamed Riced Cauliflower to a large piece of Cheesecloth, and wring as much of the water out as you can (this will take a lot of upper body strength, believe me!)

In a large bowl, whisk 2 of the Eggs; add the Cauliflower, Olive Oil, Granulated Garlic, Onion, Parm and S&P to taste, remembering that the steamed riced Cauliflower already has 1 teaspoon of Salt.  Combine well.  Spray a Muffin Tin well  and divide the Cauliflower mixture evenly in the cups.

I used a small round, flat bottomed glass to press the Cauliflower into each cup, pressing firmly, but you could just use your fingers, making sure to push the mixture up the side of each cup.  So what you’re doing is forming the crust on the bottom and side as evenly as possible.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and set firm.

Whisk the remaining 4 Eggs and pour evenly between all of the cups.

 

Here’s where you can show your personality.  Add in any fillings (or not, plain is good too) that you like in a Quiche.  I chose leftover steamed Rapini with Garlic and Olive Oil, leftover sautéed Crimini Mushrooms with Olive Oil and Garlic, diced Tomatoes, freeze dried Chives and topped each with more DF Parm.  Bake 15-20 minutes or til the Eggs are set.

Allow to cool slightly before removing, using a plastic-disposable knife is best.

Serving Suggestion above, either warm or at room temp.

*Cooks Note: For convenience, just buy a bag of already Riced Cauliflower, also they stick like a son-of-a-gun!  Be sure to spray non-stick-spray liberally just before putting in the Cauliflower mixture.

Also, Mrs. DF later tried this recipe as well and used a silicone Muffin pan, works even better!

This was a lovely Easter Potluck Brunch, what a schpread!

(You’ll note that the only  Meat, Dairy or Gluten ((those are GF Crackers and Chips there)) is the Ham and Cheese Sandwich Platter meant for DH)

Pink Lemonade

While on my last visit to Trader Joe’s, I saw Pink Lemons.  Hmmm, what’s this? I murmured.   I turned around and one the helpful team members said, “Doesn’t that look interesting?  I haven’t tried those yet, but I’m going to.”

Okay, so will I.

I rolled the Lemons on the cutting board, using the heal of my hand for a bit before slicing them across their “equators” to ensure maximum juice release first off.

I’ve never made Lemonade from scratch before, so I did a quick search on the Internet and found several pretty simple, basic recipes, all saying about the same thing.

1 C. Granulated Sugar

1 C. Water

1 C. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

Combine the Sugar and Water in a small pan and place over low heat, stirring until the Sugar is completely dissolved; allow to cool.  To a pitcher, add an additional 3-4 cups of water along with the Lemon Juice; stir and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Taste and adjust to your taste.

Easy.

Well, I didn’t exactly get a full cup of Lemon juice, so we adapt.  If it’s a one to one ratio of everything and then add additional water, no problem.

Geez!  All I got out of those three Lemons was two glasses of Lemonade, and does that look Pink  to you?  I thought not.  Oh well, it tasted lovely, though next time I make Lemonade from scratch I’ll try it with Meyer Lemons instead.

Meatless Monday Baked Ziti, My Way

There’s got to be a gazillion different ways to make Baked Ziti.  What is Baked Ziti you ask?  Well, it’s pretty much any type of tubular pasta, like Penne or Rigatoni, but my personal favorite right now is Cavatappi, combined with Red sauce and Cheese, then baked in a casserole dish.

Let’s get started.

Once the pasta of your choice is cooked to al dente, drained well and returned to the pot, I stir in enough of my homemade Marinara to get it nice and saucy.  Next goes in the cheese.  Now most recipes call for three to even four different ones, but I went with grated Grana Padano and Mozzarella, give it a good toss and then dump it all into a baking vessel.  Add some more cheese to the top and bake, uncovered at 350⁰ for about 20 minutes, until the cheese melts and turns a bit brown.

MMM!

It’s that simple.  This smells like Lasagna!  I made enough for two pans of pasta.  One stays here and the other goes to our next door neighbors for their lunch.  All we need now is some nice bread and a salad.

Manigamo!

Crushed Pineapple Coffee Cake FAIL!

The other day I was going through the `Fridge as I do from time to time, just to make that nothing has gotten pushed to the far recess and forgotten.  I found a cup or so of canned crushed Pineapple leftover from a recipe that I can’t remember what.  Hmmm, that means it’s been there for a while and really should be used up.

I did a quick Internet search for recipes that called for just such an ingredient and found a Coffee Cake recipe, perfect!  I had all of the other items necessary, so let’s bake.

That didn’t work out very well, now did it.

Sometimes you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and say, adios as you dump that sucker in the trash.   It wasn’t fit for man nor beast, ACK!  I followed the recipe to the letter, I don’t think that we need to mention that recipe though. 😉

Oh well, we all have an off day now and again.

Fresh Fruit From California

DH and I just got back from California.  We drove out to the San Joaquin Valley to visit with my Mother. The best, as well as the worst time of the year to go is early Summer, when the fresh fruits are bountiful.

For years my husband would ask me, “Why don’t I ever see you eating fruit?”  Well, when you’ve spent a good number of your Summers in “The Food Basket of the World” , where you can pick our own tree/vine/bush ripened produce, sit own your Great Grandmother’s back stoop and eat a still warm from the Sun piece of fruit, you’re spoiled for life.  I always have had a hard time eating “store bought” fruit with no taste, no heady fragrance, no juices running down your arm, I mean, come on man!

REALLY!!  How delicious does that look? 

That’s a flat of Peaches and Nectarines, we figure probably about 20 pounds.  Two pounds of Cherries, 3 quarts of the biggest, red-est Strawberries I’ve seen in a long time; we also got 2 pints each of Blueberries and Blackberries.  All are so sweet and juicy, they taste the way that they should.  My husband kept whispering in my ear, “That’s enough now, don’t buy too much.”

Mom and her best-est friend from childhood, took us around to the different orchards.  Of course they each had know the families that own the fields for three generations.  There’s no street signs, so if you didn’t know where you were going, you’d be SO LOST! This rural farm lands.

On our car trip home, our car smelled like heaven!

We do plan on sharing our bounty with others, like Mr&Mrs Dear Friend’s as well as our favorite neighbor.