My Blue Kitchen
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
So, I am eating lots of salad. I do love salad with lots of stuff in it. And you know I love kitchen gizmos too. Well, this little salad bowl gizmo thing enables you to throw together a quick salad in the morning and put the dressing in the top separately. When you are ready to eat just PRESS and the dressing magically comes out of the little compartment onto your salad. Shake and you have a lovely tossed salad. I keep little containers or baggies of leftover stuff in the fridge like chick peas, canned artichokes, roasted veggies, cooked chicken, chopped veggies so it just takes a few minutes to throw it together. I love the organic salad greens that come in those plastic containers. I usually mix up a dressing that lasts around 5 days or so.
Today I used that tuna that comes in a bag that you don't have to drain, feta cheese, chick peas, canned artichokes and fresh herb salad.
Friday, January 19, 2007
  Steel Cut Oats

There is nothing quite like a warm bowl of oatmeal on a winter morning. If you haven't had one in awhile I encourage you to go do it. It's good for you, so why not? I like oatmeal in every form but lately we have been eating steel cut oats. I make them overnight in the crockpot and we come down to a hot breakfast that is all ready.

Here is the Formula:
Grease the sides of the crockpot just lightly to prevent sticking with butter.
2 cups of steel cuts and 8 cups of water.
Cook on low overnight about 8 or 9 hours.

My favorite way to eat it is with a really ripe banana mashed in it and a little milk.
Lily likes it with maple syrup and vanilla soy milk and cinnamon. She calls it porridge and pretends she is Goldilocks.

This makes a ton so we put the leftovers in the fridge and zap it the next morning. 1 minute then mash with a fork, add milk and zap some more. Works great. It gets gelled-like in the fridge so I was kinda wondering about pan frying it like polenta but have never tried it.

If you don't have a crock pot- don't fret! You can still make it quickly with the overnight method! I have tried it and it works great too.

Method: Boil 4 cups of water in a pot. Turn off heat and add one cup of oatmeal. Cover pot and leave overnight. The next morning cook the oatmeal on low for 9-12 minutes. Stir occasionally.

This basically cuts the morning cooking time in half.
Thursday, January 18, 2007

We are home and it is cold here! Since my Dad was kind enough to babysit for us everynight we enjoyed many meals out. One of our favorite places was Maria's. Goooood magarita's and really good enchiladas with mole sauce.
The blue kitchen was closed down tonight so I could hit the gym. Too many magarita's and key lime pies.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
  blue kitchen vacations....

We've been going to the beach everyday. The weather is absoluely gorgeous. We can see dolphins swimming by from the beach. We've been packing our lunch and staying awhile. Then pool, rollerblading and then the kids fall into bed exhausted at 6.
Neil and I went out for a drink Florida style and watched the game. (umm, what is it called? football?)
Bonefish Martini: Stolichnaya vodka, Champagne, splash of cranberry juice, garnished with an orange slice.
They've got some good classic rock radio down here in Florida too. Oh, and we saw some excellent dancing last night to a band at a local bar called "Sneaky Pete's". We got the last spot in the parking lot.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
  Greetings from Florida

Well, we are off on vacation. Our first meal away from my blue kitchen was on an airplane. It arrived in a black plastic rectangle and it consisted of some sort of peach sized roll stuffed with a thickly folded piece of "jenni-o" deli turkey. I know this because of the sticker that was placed on the wrapper. It was a very round and tan sandwich. It came with a little baggie of carrots and a mini bag of skittles. I immediately regretted my decision to leave my laptop and camera behind.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
  tri-berry muffins

Instead of packing to go on vacation (we are leaving in the morning) my kids and I were making these. You see, I am playing a game where a cookbook is drawn out of a hat and you have a week to make something out of it. Nevermind.
We had fun and these are quite outrageously delicous. Crispy crispy on the outside and moist and soft on the inside. Very sweet in a good muffin way and the berries add a nice tart contrast.

I used fresh strawberries but substituted frozen blueberries and raspberries, which worked great.

Tri-berry Muffins
from Barefoot Contessa at home Ina Garten

The sugar is purposefully added at the end to make the outside crunchy.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 diced fresh strawberries
1.2 cup fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups sugar

Preheat to 375 Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon together in a large bowl. Stir to combine, IN another bowl combine milk, eggs and melted butter, Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture, pour the wet into well and stir until just combined. There will be some lumps but do not overmix the batter! Add berries and sugar and stir gently to combine.
Using a 2 1//4 inch ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned.

My kitchen crew.
Playing with the flour was the best part so we kept going and made some playdough.
Flour, Salt, water, vegetable oil and added tempera paint.
Monday, January 08, 2007
  Pollo alla Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatore)
adapted from "Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen"

1 chicken cut up about 4 1/2 pounds (preferably free-range)
Freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion cut into strips
1/2 cup red wine
One 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with liquid, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably the Sicilian or Greek type) dried on the branch, crumbled
2 cups sliced white or shiitake mushrooms, about 8 ounces
1 red and 2 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into strips

Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces in flour, coating them lightly and tapping off excess flour. In a wide (at least 12-inch) 5-quart braising pan, heat the vegetable oil with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until a piece of chicken dipped in the oil gives off a very lively sizzle. Add as many pieces of chicken to the pan as will fit without touching. Do not crowd chicken; if the skillet is not wide enough to fit all of the chicken, brown it in batches. Remove chicken pieces from the skillet as they brown, adding some of the remaining pieces of chicken to take their place. Remove all chicken from the skillet. Add the onion to the fat remaining in the pan, and cook, stirring 5 minutes.

Pour the wine into the pan, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Tuck the chicken into the sauce, adjust the heat to a gentle boil, and cover the pan. Cook, stirring a few times, 20 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and peppers, and toss until the peppers are wilted but still quite crunchy, about 8 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt.

Stir the peppers and mushrooms into the chicken pan. Cook covered until the chicken and vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Check the level of the liquid as the chicken cooks. There should be enough liquid barely to cover the chicken. If necessary, add small amounts of water to maintain the level of liquid as the chicken cooks. Makes 6 servings.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
  Green Tea Manhattan

My Blue Kitchen was honored to have Mr. S here making these gorgeous Green Tea Manhattans.
  cuppa chili
cuppa chili

I usually don't follow a recipe when I make chili. I just see what's around and go from there. I'm trying to use what is in my freezer this week so I found chicken sausage, black beans and 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes.

Blue Kitchen Chili

1 large onion- roughly chopped
lots of garlic-8 cloves 6 roughly chopped and 2 pressed
2 chicken sausage (from whole foods)
poblano peppers
red and green pepper
black beans-
frozen corn- however much you like- a cup?
zucchini- sliced in half moons
cumin 1 Tablespoon
bay leaves-2
ancho chili powder 2-3 tablespoons
port wine or red wine or broth= about a 1/4 cup
oregano- just sprinkle a bit
28 oz. Can crushed tomatoes plus 1/2 can of diced or whatever you have- you can even use leftover spaghetti sauce
salt, pepper & cayenne pepper to taste

1. Saute onion in pan for a few minutes then add chicken sausage removed from it's casing, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Toss in 6 cloves of roughly chopped garlic. When the everything looks nicely browned add the spices and cook for just a minute or 2 until they are very fragrant. Transfer it to a crockpot or a pot if you are cooking it all on the stove.

2. Next, deglaze the pan with what you have around- preferably red wine- I used port this time because that is what was open. But broth would do too. Use a wooden spoon or whatever to get up all those nicely browned bits on the pan. Let it simmer for a minute to reduce and get thick. Now dump this on top of the sausage mixture.

3. Throw in peppers and saute a bit. Add them to your pot.

4. Now add whatever beans you are using to you pot. I make dried beans and freeze them so I just add whatever amount looks good. A can of drained black beans would be prefect. Or if you have leftover beans in the fridge like chickpeas use them.

5. Add the canned tomatoes and stir this all up. I also like to use the garlic press and squeeze in 2 more cloves of garlic now. Throw in 2 bay leaves. Let this all cook in the crock pot on low for maybe 4-6 hours or simmer on the stove 30 minutes-an hour or so. About a half hour before you are going to eat it add the zucchini chopped up and the corn. Taste and adjust seasonings now too.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
  look into my yogurt
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
  Makin Yogurt....

This is only my 2nd time making it. Heat up the milk on the stove. Add some starter (plain yogurt) and put in the yogurt machine which keeps it warm for 15 hours. Cool it. Then you have homemade yogurt.

Why? You may ask. I don't know? It tastes good. But so does the store, you may say. I read about making yogurt years ago and it peaked my interest. I've always wanted to try it. Then, one sleepless late Friday night I was sucked into the "amazon friday sale" and there it was on sale with 5 stars and 54 reviews. Well, I do love kitchen gadgets, and sales and yogurt. All 4 of us eat yogurt I clicked it.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
  Pumpkin Butter

Lily, Charlie and I made pumpkin butter today to give as holiday gifts to their teachers. We were all sick before Christmas so we are doing it now. This was very easy. We doubled the recipe so it took longer to make.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter
from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

Cooker: Medium Round
Setting and Cook time: High for 2 1/2-3 hours cooker is uncovered during the last 30 minutes - 1 hour

1 29 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 1/4cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
juice of 1 lemon
1 T cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon apple pie or pumpkin pie spice

1- Put all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir with a spatula until well mixed. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occaisionally.

2- Remove lid and let cook on HIGH for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour to reach desired thickness.

3- Turn slow cooker off and let cool to room temp in the crock.
Store covered in the refridgerator for up to 6 weeks or freeze for 3 months. Serve cold or at room temp.
Makes 3 1/2 cups
Monday, January 01, 2007
  Happy New Year
Just wanted to thank Pete and Dominique for throwing a fabulous 20th Anniversary Party!!!
The food was tremendous. I'm sorry I had to give my photographer the day off today. So much beautiful food!!

bloody mary's
spinach and artichoke dip in a Blau bowl
mikey-b's fapizzas
moules by mr s. Balthazar Cookbook
stuffed breads of the house
shrimp toasts ala yumyummum

dinner was amazing!!!! Loved the stews Pete!
Lentils and sausage. (i did not know that eating lentils on New Year's brought money for the new year)
Millet stew (Both from Tom Valenti's Soup, Stews and One-pot meals)
broccoli rabe
my favorite salad that pete makes with toasted nuts and cheese and dried red thingys
a ginormous bowl o spaghetti

sandy's pinapple upside down cake (food and wine Holidays)
tiramasu by dominque
fudge brownies martha stewart baking book
LaurieO pie
mama Lara's Egg Cookies From her friend
Banana Muffins with Chocolate chips (adapted from recipe below from Maine Cookbook)

after dinner bourbon and rye....oh my
blah blah

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