Category Archives: Vegetables

Fish Vera Cruz Style Ala Missus Dear Friend

I’ve mentioned my Dear Friend before several times here on my blog.  A few months back she and her husband decided, for better health, that they would go Gluten Free-Dairy Free-Pescetarian.  We started to talk about different Seafood, mainly Fish, recipes.  I suggested this one for them

https://mykitcheninthemiddleofthedesert.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/vera-cruz-style-fish-our-way/

Might tasty!

So as we talked about this particular recipe, I suggested that I contribute to her pantry some of the ingredients to make up this dish and she could go from there if they enjoyed it.  There’s no sense in investing in a whole jar of capers and you discover that you don’t care for them, then what?  Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, make it your own.  If you don’t like a component, leave it out.

WOW! Missus DF you knocked it out of the park girl friend!!  She used Cod, which is a nice mild fish for sure, and her choice for a side dish was Cabbage Steaks.  If you’ve never tried them, do!!

So if you’ve been following my blog over the past 4 years and you’ve EVER tried any of the recipes or concepts that I’ve posted, please let me know…a photo of the dish would be awefully nice too 😀

WOW! Look What Someone Made For Us!!

I’ve been sharing with you all the different dishes that I’ve been making for our Landlords, that live upstairs from us.  I’ve also been telling you about their VERY COOL dumbwaiter that we use to send things back and forth to one another.  Now mind you, we don’t exclusively send each other food, we’ve exchanged books, recipes, and sometimes simply a note wishing each other an awesome day.

WELL!

The not long along my husband and I heard the dumbwaiter come down, and we hadn’t even sent anything up…

Homemade Chile Relleno from Mrs. Landlord

Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL?!

Mrs. Landlord sent us down a wonderful treat of her homemade Fresh Chile Relleno, oh my!!  Thank you Cheryl, that was delicious, nom nom nom…

Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce

Every so often, I make an attempt to expand our culinary palates, I mean DH’s mostly, HA!  Some of my foodie-buddies pointed me towards Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce, hmmm, okay, this might work.

Trader Joe's Curry Simmer Sauce

Back home in Hawaii, Chicken Curry Stew is popular, so I thought, this could turn out to be pretty ONO (delicious) with an Indian-style sauce? Let’s see.

We’ve tried this twice now …

Chicken Curry and Rice

My first crack at Curried Chicken and Rice

I must tell you that this sauce has some zip-a-dee-doo-dah spicy kick to it, but a nice heat though; not the kind that you can’t take more than one bite of.  DH said, “WOW! This is HOT!” and yet he cleaned his plate.

This second attempt was as a Chicken Curry Stew with diced Potatoes, Carrots, Celery and Onions… MAN, was that GOOD!

I used half of the jar of sauce with each go-around and maybe 2 cups of diced boneless/skinless Chicken Thigh meat, if that much.  For the stew, I added about a cup each of the veggies.  This made three servings, so you adjust for your table. Very tasty, I would recommend you try it.

`Member now, recipes are just someone else’s idea (and you don’t always need a recipe, just an idea), you take them and run with it, make it your own.

ENJOY!

 

Vera Cruz-Style Fish Our Way

Source: Vera Cruz-Style Fish Our Way

Well, with folks making their New Year’s Resolutions to eat well, I thought of this dish.  I make this often; it’s chock-full of good stuff.  I used Mahi-Mahi, but Cod is good too.  The recipe that I found originally, called for Red Snapper, but here in the middle of the desert, that proved to be quite the challenge.  I’ve plugged my recipe into one of those handy-dandy software programs to see what all we had here as far as for calories and the such, and this is what it came up with… not bad.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 2.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 259
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6 g 10 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 0 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 80 mg 27 %
Sodium 1084 mg 45 %
Potassium 660 mg 19 %
Total Carbohydrate 16 g 5 %
Dietary Fiber 5 g 19 %
Sugars 9 g
Protein 24 g 48 %
Vitamin A 105 %
Vitamin C 943 %
Calcium 10 %
Iron 9 %

Do you see the fat content?  This recipe makes 2 good sized portions, and if you leave off the rice, *cough*, it’s less than 300 calories.  This could easily fit into almost any diet plan, I mean “different way of looking at food concept”.  You choose the fish that your household likes the best… ooohhhh, I just had a great idea!  A Seafood Vera Cruz, like maybe Shrimp or Mussels or how about a splurge using Lobster?  MMM!

ENJOY!

Minestrone Soup

I went freezer diving the other day and I found a partial bag of Fava Beans, hmmm, what can I do with these and hide them from DH.  He claims to dislike Fava Beans, well any bean actually, but he eats them quite often and doesn’t realize it, HA!

the ingredients for Minestrone Soup

So, here’s the lineup:

½ C. Macaroni, your choice of shape

1 15oz. can Diced Tomatoes

1-2 Qt. Chicken or Vegetable Broth/Stock, homemade is preferable

1 C. diced Sweet Red Bell Pepper

1 C. diced Carrots

½ C. diced Onion

3 Garlic cloves, minced

6oz. diced Pancetta

2 C. frozen Fava Beans

2 C. frozen chopped Spinach

1 Tbsp. dried Oregano

1 Tbsp. dried Parsley (fresh is always better, but I didn’t have any)

1 tsp. dried Thyme

1 tsp. dried Basil

In a large pot over medium-high, heat about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil, render the Pancetta to just crisp; removed from the pot with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot and sweat the onions, add the Peppers and Carrots and sauté for about 2 minutes, to a crisp tender; sauté the Garlic til fragrant, adding the dried herbs at this point and stirring for just a moment.  Pour back in the Pancetta, along with all the remaining ingredients, excluding the pasta.  Bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a low simmer; cover partially and cook for ½ an hour.  In a separate pot, cook your pasta as directed on the package; drain and set aside. When you’re ready to serve, add in the macaroni to the pot for about 5 minutes or so, just to warm it.

Top each bowl with some grated Parmesan cheese and a nice Olive Oil.

Chopped Salad with Dimond Bakery Soda Crackers, MMM!

We had a nice lunch of Minestrone and a Chopped Salad with some Diamond Bakery Soda Crackers.

A recipe is just someone’s idea, you take it and make it your own.  If you like a different type of bean, use that.  If you can’t find Pancetta, try Bacon instead.  Use whatever vegetables your household likes.

Mangiamo!

Homemade Marinara

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about making your own Red Sauce before.  As a young bride from Hawaii, I made Tomato Sauce the way that everyone did, except my husband’s family.  So I had to learn how to make American-Italian dishes by trial and error; it took a while, but I got it.

sauce

Auntie Doni’s Marinara

(2) 28 oz. cans Whole Italian Plum Tomatoes (I use San Marzano tomatoes)

1 C. Onion, minced

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Tomato paste

2 Tbsp. dried Oregano

1 Tbsp. dried Basil

¼ C. fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped

½ Tbsp. Garlic, minced

¼ C. grated Parmesan Cheese

S & P to taste

Hand crush the tomatoes in a large bowl (or use a stick blender).  In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onions until they are light golden; add the garlic for sauté until fragrant.  Add the tomato paste and stir vigorously for about 30 seconds; add the dried herbs and also stir vigorously for another 30 seconds.  Carefully pour in the crushed tomatoes and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot.  The parsley and cheese go in the pot next, stir and cover partially to simmer slowly for about an hour.  Give it a taste, is there a slight sour note?  Stir in a pinch of sugar, that will fix that.

*Tip: if you have all of your ingredients measured out on to paper plates or any other dish that you prefer, things will move along much more smoothly.  The French call this Mise En Place, “putting in place”.

*Tip #2: Maybe you can see that I have my Tomato Paste in a small zip top bag.  Rather than spend alot of money on paste-in-a-tub, I buy those small cans and portion them out into baggies and freeze them.

sear some boneless country pork ribs

If you’d like to add any meats to your sauce to make what some folks call Sunday Gravy, after the parsley and cheese are mixed into the pot, add, oh I don’t know, how about these nicely seared Boneless Country Pork Ribs, MMM!  This will take your Marinara up a notch.

Homemade Meatballs in mass

Meatballs are an excellent choice too.  Maybe spice it up with some Red Pepper Flakes.  Anything that your household likes.  Marinara is a stepping stone to many, many other Italian dishes.  Recipes are someone else’s idea, take them and make them your own.

Enjoy!

You Know It’s Spring Time When There’s Rhubarb!

Myself, I’ve never tried rhubarb, but my Mother loves it anyway she can get it.  So I’ve been keeping an eye peeled for fresh rhubarb to come to my favorite Green Grocer.  I’ve seen it growing in front of some homes in California and it looks sort of like a deep red celery.  I also know that it’s not cheap to buy; $2.99 per pound, which I understand is the standard price anywhere.

I got just shy of two pounds of rhubarb, washed, trimmed it and thought that I’d better peel it too.

it's easier to just put all of the ingredients in the pot

There are many recipes available on the Internet for “stewed rhubarb”, and it can’t be any easier.

Dice up the stalks to about ½ inch piece; add ½ cup of granulated sugar per quart of fruit.  Give it all a good stir and let it sit for about a half hour to macerate, you’ll see loads of juice in the pot.

gently bring to a boil

Bring to a boil over low heat, you don’t want to boil the heck out of the fruit or it’ll turn to mush, gently.

these are for Mom

Immediately spoon the fruit along with those juices into canning jars and process in your favorite manner.

Pretty, huh?  These three are for my Mom.

I asked Mom if she wanted me to make these into pie, “Oh no honey, I like to mix the stewed rhubarb with your homemade chunky applesauce.”

Oh wait, I didn’t tell you about that did I?  Tune in next time and I’ll share that will you.

 ENJOY!

All American Meatloaf Supper

I know, I know, it’s been awhile… what can I say, we’ve been very busy with the New Year.

SO …

Let’s talk about what’s for dinner tonight.  Have you thought about it yet?  Please don’t order one of those “chef boxes” that I see advertised on Television for $60+ per meal.  Think about what you’d like to eat, write down the ingredients, and look in your cupboards, `fridge and freezer … have you got all that you need? No? Then go to the market on the way home from work or maybe on your break and make some REAL FOOD!

Okay, I’ll get off my stump now.

 

Auntie Doni’s All American MeatLoaf

½ lb. each, ground Beef, Pork (I use Hot Italian Sausage for even more flavor) and Veal (also look in the market for “Meatloaf Mix”)

½ C. Fresh Bread Crumbs (if you must, use the stuff from the store)

1 Large Egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. dried Oregano

2 Garlic cloves, minced

4 Tbsp. Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped

Just enough Milk to moisten the bread, about 1-2 Tbsp.

S&P to Taste

About 4-5 strips of Bacon

 

Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.

Line a sheet pan with Aluminum Foil.

In a large bowl, add the bread crumbs, herbs and spices.  Add just enough milk (or half and half, whatever you have) to moisten the bread, and mash it all up with a fork.  Beat in the egg.  With impeccably clean hands, combine the meat with the bread mixture.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Shape into a loaf form on the sheet pan and then enrobe with the BACON.

Bake for 1-1 1/4 hours until the internal temperature reads 160⁰F or the bacon is crisp.

*Auntie’s Tip-Don’t bake everything in a ‘loaf pan’.  This will just make a greasy-icky-gross mess of things.  If you like, you could line the loaf pan with the bacon (give it a spray of Pam first), pack in the meat, fold over any tails of BACON and then turn this all out onto that foil-lined sheet pan to cook.

Serving suggestion:

Roast some Potatoes alongside the Meatloaf for about the last 30 minutes.  We like Soycutash with ours too.

 All American Meatloaf Supper

Now, how much did that cost you? $10? … and this should feed 4 people.  Hmmm, that’s $2.50 per person and YOU  made it from start to finish; your family is happy and has full tummies.  You just saved yourself fifty bucks over that stuff you would have ordered on line.

 

ENJOY!

Let’s Talk Brussel Sprouts

Recently, I was involved a discussion in a food forum about Brussel Sprouts. I had no idea how hated these tiny cabbage-like veggies are. I know that DH and I were not fans, until I discovered this technique. One member mentioned that they add sauteed Pancetta, YUM! We need to try that version, soon. Which brings to the point today of reblogging this post, ENJOY!

My Kitchen In The Middle Of The Desert

Yeah, I know, not a lot of folks care for vegetables. I might have mention earlier that I wasn’t fan as a kid, mainly because of the way that my mother cooked certain dishes. As I’ve learned over the years of cooking for myself and my husband, go ahead and revisit some things that you thought  you didn’t like.

The first time that my husband took me to visit with his family, my future sister-in-law made a lovely meal for all of us, a table groaning with food. There was a very large bowl of some sort of green leafy vegetable that both DH and I looked at questioningly.  “What’s that?” he whispered to me, “just try a little bit of everything to be polite”, I answered.

WOW! That was super, what is it? Brussel Sprouts, really?

Here’s what she taught me.

The Family’s Brussel Sprouts

I suppose it’s…

View original post 135 more words

Meyer Lemons Are Still Available!

I couldn’t believe it, but up until a couple of weeks ago, I could still find Meyer Lemons at my Green Grocer. Granted the price had gone up from $1.99 per pound, but for my Mother who is crazy for them, I think that it was worth it.

This time around I made for her …

 

Auntie Doni’s Sugarfree Meyer Lemon Jelly 

2 C. Meyer Lemon juice (that’s about a pound of fruit), strained of most pulp and seeds

84 packets of Splenda or 3 ½ C. Splenda Granulated Sweetener

½ package of Sure-Jell No-Sugar Pectin (it’s the pink box)

 

**Prepare 5 four ounce mason jars for canning (see below)

Mix together 2 tablespoons of the Splenda to the pectin with 6 tablespoons of water, set aside.

Bring the Juice to a hard boil (it needs to remain boiling as stirred) in a large pot; add the sweetener/pectin mixture while stirring, cook for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat; add the remaining Splenda, stir in well.

Immediately fill each jar leaving ¼ inch head room.

Wipe the rims and threads of each jar with a damp cloth; apply the lids with rings to finger tight.

***Process the jars in a rolling boil water bath for 10 minutes (we live over 3000 feet above Sea Level, so I boil them for 15 minutes; see below for more info).

Remove the jars carefully from the boiling water, set aside on a cutting board covered in kitchen towels. Do not disturb for 24 hours.

Wipe off the jars and label as desired. It’s best to put the jelly in the cupboard for two weeks prior to consuming; this gives the pectin time to do its job. This is not a tight jelly, it’s looser than you may like, so you might want to increase the amount of pectin by a couple of tablespoons.

Improvised Home Canning Kit

Cook’s Note: My chef-y-pal Joey asked me in the past how I ‘can’ different foods. Well, here you are. Nothing fancy here, I use what I have on hand. I think that this stockpot is a 12qt. size, but it does fine for the smaller Mason jars, what I mean is Pintsize and smaller, I don’t use quart sized jars for just the two of use.

In the past, I made my own Canning Rack by making tin foil snakes into a circle and placing that on the bottom of the pot. I finally broke down and bought one, along with a Jar Lifter. I was using a set of thongs wrapped with multiple rubber bands as a Jar Lifter the first few batches. You can buy home canning kits at many stores; even the hardware stores carry them. But if you are just starting out and are not sure if this for you, improvise.

**Prep You Jars For Home Canning

***Water Bath Home Canning