Friday, May 23, 2014

Fresh flowers, fresh fish, happy Spring!

Life is so very abundant here in our little town. Babies are being born, flowers are blooming in every nook and cranny and in every color imaginable. The smell of lilacs wafts through the window as I type this. My peonies are just about to bloom and I'm giddy like a child before Christmas!

So with all this freshness, I've been really craving fresh flavors. Jicama salad, salmon baked atop fennel strands, bright and fresh raspberry rhubarb cobbler. Let's eat!

Jicama Salad
1 Jicama, peeled and cut into strips
2 Grapefruits cut into segments, squeeze the rest of the grapefruit and reserve juices for dressing
1 large hunk of ginger, finely grated
5t. agave nectar
1T. lime juice
1/2t. cinnamon

Toss the jicama, grapefruit and ginger together with grapefruit juice, agave nectar, lime juice and cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Baked Salmon
1 good salmon, non-fishy smelling. (make sure fish is gutted and cleaned properly)
Fennel strands
1 lemon
1 shallot
good olive oil
salt and pepper
Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Lay salmon on fennel strands, brush salmon with Dijon mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over fish and then arrange lemon slices in the cavity of the fish and on top. Cover with sliced shallots, a little more olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for approx.25-30 minutes.

Raspberry Rhubarb Cobbler
4 cups Chopped Rhubarb

2 pints fresh raspberries

1-1/2 cup Sugar

1/4 teaspoon Salt

2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

1t. cinnamon


3 cups All-purpose Flour

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening Or Lard

1/4 cup Butter

1/2 cup Whole Milk

1 whole Egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl, combine rhubarb, raspberries, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, lime juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir and place in a greased 9x13 dish.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and baking powder. Stir together. Add shortening and butter, then cut together with a pastry cutter.
Beat egg and milk together. Pour into flour mixture and stir with a fork until just combined.
Tear off pinches of dough and drop it onto the surface of the fruit, creating a "cobbled" texture. Sprinkle additional sugar over the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes

Monday, May 12, 2014

Comforting Cassoulet

I love comfort food. Especially on cold, chilly nights, or days when life has been rough and everyone's moods and tempers need to settle down and be quieted. Baked Mac-n-Cheese, A bowl of Zuppa Toscana or Chicken and Dumplings comes to mind. But honestly, this Cassoulet is up there with pure goodness, pure comfort. This is an adaption from Julia Child's Cassoulet, you could use any sausage that you wanted ( I did Kielbasa because it was on sale at the store), and really you could add any veg that you would like. Serve with a good crusty bread and preferably a nice glass of wine.
Chicken Cassoulet

10 bone in Chicken thighs
1 large onion (chopped)
8 garlic cloves (chopped)
3 T. Herbs du Provence
2 15oz cans White beans (for one of the cans, you want to mash up the beans very well, the other can, the beans will be left whole, this makes a gravy that is nice and thick!)
1 lb. pkg of Kielbasa or other sausage
1/4 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 T. dijon mustard
1 cup bread crumbs fried in 2 T. bacon fat
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a good, hot pan, heat up about 3T. olive oil in a pan and in batches, cook your chicken thighs. I season mine with salt and pepper on both sides. Don't worry about cooking through, the goal is just to brown both sides. Place thighs in a roasting pan when browned.

 In the chicken juices, cook up chopped onion, chopped garlic until browned and soft. Add the Kielbasa and brown through. Next add the can of whole white beans and just heat through, turn off the heat.

 In a separate bowl, mix the mashed beans, red wine, chicken broth, Dijon mustard, 2T. of the Herbs du Provence, salt and pepper. Stir well and add to the onion, sausage, and bean mixture. Once incorporated, pour oven the chicken thighs and sprinkle the remaining 1 T. of Herbs du Provence. 

Cover and bake in the oven for about 50 mins. Uncover and sprinkle the bacony bread crumbs over the entire dish and serve.

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” 
― Julia ChildMy Life in France

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Welcome to the new blog

This cooking blog is about family, about six children, about feeding them not only nutritious meals, cost effective meals, but really good food. And how nutrition, cost effective meals, really great taste, and family factors into company. Lots and lots of good company, coming over to our house, our doors always opening to other families and friends, students, and strangers. They need to feel the warmth of a family, a home with good smells rising to it's rafters. These recipes will try to feed many: most of them will have 8-10 servings because that is how things run here at our little house on the Palouse. So put on your apron, get the shaggy pieces of flour and butter into your fingernails, clap the flour dust, turn up the kitchen radio and lets get to work!

Julia's pizza dough (this is made once a week and usually on Fridays, it has millions of options and possibilities and a hit with college students.)

5 cups of flour
2 T. yeast
2 T. agave nectar (this is the secret ingredient!)
1 T. salt
1 t. ground garlic powder
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
6 T. olive oil
2-3 cups of very warm water

In a bowl, place yeast, agave nectar and 2 cups of the warm water, stir and let sit for five minutes. Meanwhile in a mixer bowl, add the flour, salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes and combine. Add the yeast/agave/water mixture to the flour mixture along with olive oil and slowly knead, adding extra warm water when needed and knead until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic. Let sit for 10 minutes before rolling out into crusts. Makes 3 normal or 4 thin crust pizzas.

Add desired toppings and bake at 425 degrees for about 24 minutes.