Tag Archives: Cooking

Another Blurb …

I want to put this out into the universe…

I could NEVER, EVER and I mean not in two life times, be a Professional Cook.

My mother had not been well and was staying with DH and I for 15 days; she just went home this afternoon. My husband has been very carefully watching what he’s been eating, which meant that I was a short order cook for 15 days, three meals each day.

Oh My GAWD!!!

I just hope that I am not bringing bad karma or what we would say in Hawaii bachi on myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and adore my husband, but I AM TIRED!!!

There, I put it out there.

Noodle Bowls

It was not so nice yesterday, here in the middle of the desert. Very windy and it snowed last night, just a dusting, but it was cold. For days like these, I keep fixin’s for a huge bowl of, well, our version of Chicken Noodle soup.

It’s pretty simple, just noodles, dumplings, veggies and some meat if you like. If we didn’t feel well or are cold and need a warm up, it was always Won Ton Mein, deluxe please. As my DH likes to say, the more goodies in it the better; he likes his noodles thick, so his bowl had Udon noodles in it and for me, I prefer Saimin noodles, which are more like vermicelli.

I boil the noodles first and then the dumplings or Won Ton last. Next goes the deluxe part of the bowl, whatever you want. Our choices are BBQ pork or Char siu, Kamaboko or steamed fish cake, some green onions and bok choy or mustard greens. The last thing into the bowl is pippin’ hot broth, which I make by heating some homemade chicken stock and a sprinkle of dashi. Dashi is the soup base for many Japanese soups made from Bonito.

As you can see, I make BIG bowls.

This Was DH Noodle Bowl

This Was DH Noodle Bowl

This Noodle Bowl was mine

This Noodle Bowl was mine

Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about this…

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Vera Cruz-Style Fish Our Way

In Hawaii, we ate a lot of fresh fish, in all kinds of ways, even raw!

Over here, in the middle of the desert, we’re a little leery of the fresh fish. When I found our nearest supermarket after moving, I had to turn around and walk right out. The smell was over whelming.

It’s a good thing that I can find frozen fillets just about anywhere, I feel safe using that. One problem though, it can be a touch watery and/or have mushy flesh. Not appealing when done on the grill, or for making Poke (a type of raw fish salad).

I was poking around the Internet and I kept reading about Snapper Vera Cruz. I’d never heard of it, but it sounded good. It has all the stuff in it that we like, especially OLIVES. Both my husband and I just can’t seem to get enough of them. I adapted this recipe from the Bon Appétit website. This is an easy-peasy one pan (and clean up) dish, I like that!

*This recipe will serve two very hunger adults

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Vera Cruz –Style Fish Our Way

1 15oz can diced Tomatoes, drain and reserve the liquid

¼ C. Onion, finely minced

½ C. Carrots, chopped

½ C. Celery, chopped

½ C. Red Bell Pepper, chopped

¼ C. Green Chilies, chopped (Hatch are the best or Ortega)

½ C. Green Pimento stuffed Olives, halved

2-3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried Oregano

1 large Bay Leaf

½ C. Chicken Broth

1 Tbsp. chopped Cilantro

1 lb. Fish of your choice (Mahi Mahi, Snapper, Cod), cut into large bite sized pieces

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pan over medium heat, add about 1-2 tablespoons of Olive Oil.

Sauté the onion, carrot, celery and red bell pepper until crisp-tender.

Add the oregano and garlic, stirring until you can just smell it.

Next goes in the tomatoes, bay leaf, broth, cilantro and half of the reserved juice; give it a good swirl.

Simmer for about 3 minutes; taste the sauce for S&P.

Nestle in the olives and fish, gently simmer uncovered, until the fish is half done. If the sauce has evaporated too much, add the rest of the reserved tomato liquid. Once the fish is completely cooked, serve over rice.

Some other options that you could add into the sauce: capers, raisins, parsley, pickled jalapenos. I’ve never tried this recipe with Salmon; I’m not too sure it would work.

Remember that a recipe is just a guide, make it your own.

Hi, just a quick blurb. 

For lunch today I made scratch Chicken Noodle Soup with Pilsbury Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-ups

YUM!! 

No snaps, it was all gone too fast!  DH asked me to make up ANOTHER pot of soup to stash in the cold box, mainly because, we ate it all !

CAKE!

My Husband and I have been together for nearly 25 years.  During this time he has talked about Mother’s Cake and why can’t I make this for him.  HUH?  I searched the Internet for years.  I interviewed numerous in-laws.  No luck.   

Not so long ago, I came across a recipe that looked like it might be promising.  I’ll admit it, I am not the world’s best baker.  I lean more towards the savory side of the kitchen. I use to make cookies and a few cakes, regularly.  But as life marches on, so do our waistlines.  It was better that I cut back on the sweet stuff for both DH and me.

 As I mentioned, we are retired and I have time now to ‘play’ as my husband refers to my cooking/baking.  If something comes out horribly wrong, oh well, at least it didn’t cost me nearly as much as it did in Hawaii.   

Once I honed the recipe, I sent a copy to our Niece-in-law, whose husband also asks for Mother’s Cake.  “Hey, this is just a basic yellow cake Auntie”, she exclaimed over the phone to me.  I never thought of it that way, she’s right.  But MAN, this is the best scratch cake I’ve ever had, sorry Grandma.

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This recipe makes a 3 layered cake or 3 dozen cupcakes.  If your cupboard is like mine, I have only 2 cake pans and 1 cupcake tin, that’s what you’ll get.  A double layered cake and a dozen cupcakes.  If this all sounds like too much cake, not to worry, it freezes well for later.  We usually eat the cake first and then the cupcakes are in reserve.

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Mother’s Cake

2 ¼ C. All-Purpose Flour, don’t sift it, just fluff and scoop, lightly

1 ½ C. granulated Sugar

3 ½ tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Table Salt

1 ¼ C. whole Milk

Vegetable Oil, any type except Olive

½ C. unsalted Butter, softened

1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract (that’s right, not teaspoon)

3 large Eggs, at room temperature

 

Preheat the oven to 350

Cut parchment rounds for the bottoms of the cake pans.  Lightly, spray cooking oil into the pans; place the paper in pans and then spray the paper.  If you’re making cupcakes, just use the spray. 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt with a whisk; set aside. 

Pour the milk into a two-cup measuring cup.  Now add to the milk just enough vegetable oil that it comes to the 1 and 1/3 mark on the cup.  Add this mixture, along with the butter and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl. 

Add the eggs and continue beating for an additional 2 minutes. 

Pour the batter in the pans. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes for the cakes or 15-17 minutes for the cupcakes.  Do not over bake, an inserted wooden toothpick should come out with a few crumbs or when touched in the centers, they spring back. 

Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then remove them from the pans to cool completely on the rack. 

Once cooled, frost as desired.  

( I used Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting )

I Have An Obsession

I just can’t help myself when it comes to kitchen stores, I have to go in and look.  I don’t always buy anything, in fact I rarely do.  I’m not talking about those pro-shops, aka Restaurant Supply Stores.  What I mean is the places for the everyday Home Cook.  Good tools make a good cook, right? 

Recently my Husband and I went to the Big City and Bright Lights of Scottsdale.  My husband artfully found us a primo spot, did his world-famous parallel parking job, and what did I spy to my right? 

Sur lu Table, someplace I have wanted to visit and never have, yet. 

I love discount stores and using coupons when I can save some money, but I have no budget when it comes to my domain.  My loving, patient, generous and oh did I mention handsome Husband, saw the look on my face and the tinkle in my eyes and said, “I’ll wait for you over here, you go ahead”.  Isn’t he the best?  He finds himself a bench and chats with all the other guys waiting for their wives.  It’s like this cute men’s club called, “how much do you think this will set us back this time?” 

As I walked in the store I was greeted by a lovely young women who asked if there was anything that I was looking for, “No, thank you though I’m just drooling”, I responded. 

This establishment is truly different.  

I was offered a cappuccino or espresso as I shopped; I only get that kind of treatment when I go to have my hair done. 

I have to admit, I was a bit light-headed and giddy.  I honestly had to get a hold of myself before I bought out the entire place.  So I just walked around and looked at everything, you know, made the circuit.  Every corner I turned I was OOOHHH-ing and AAAHHH-ing so much, the two ladies who were behind me must have thought I was NUTS!!   Once we got around to the baking section though, boy howdy, they went crazy.  Now who’s nuts?  The three of us were trying on super adorable aprons and commenting on each other’s choices. 

cuteapron003 

As we approached the rear of the store, there was a buzz.  People rushing about, grabbing stuff and running towards what looked like a kitchen.  What?  They have cooking classes here and the instructor was about to begin a course on Northern Italian dishes.  Oh man, what fun, but my dutiful spouse was waiting for me.  I suppose we’ll just have to take another excursion next month. 

Now, I need more pots, pans, dishes, flatware, utensils, knives, glassware, serving dishes, cutting boards, bakeware, mixing bowls, small appliances, table lines, cookbooks, specialty mixes and spices like I need a hole in my head…

But I can’t get enough of it, there’s always something new coming out each year.  I go into the same shops over and over to my husband’s exacerbation; get every catalog known to mankind with any type of home ware.  There are a couple of other big name specialty retailers that I’d like to visit, fortunately they are in different states. 

Did someone say road trip?