Happiness comes in very simple ways for me. In springtime – flowers, birds, bugs bopping about and my farmer’s market opening after what seems like a forever winter hiatus.
Back in the early 90’s we lived in Australia where I got hooked on visiting the year ‘round farmers markets every Sunday afternoon. Since the climate is temperate, stuff grows continuously. I really learned to rely upon fresh, in-season vegetables, truly being spoiled.
There are a few vegetables that I’ll buy frozen, but most of what I choose is fresh – even in the dead of winter. Granted, the choice at the grocery store is extensive, since items are brought in from all over. Occasionally, I’ll give in and purchase something that’s pushing the season, but for the most part, I cook with what’s not flown in from half way across the world.
Living in an area that experiences real winter (especially this year) means waiting patiently for my farm stand to open. Guess what? It opened just over a week ago, and I’m happy. I found greens and radishes and carrots and jars of local honey, asparagus and salad onions.
As springtime moves to early summer, more fruits and vegetables will be added. But, for now, I’m envisioning salted butter with radishes and bread. Since I picked up a sockeye salmon fillet, I might drizzle it with a little honey and roast the carrots as side.
Everything is fresh and new. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to flavors I’ve not played with since last spring. There’s asparagus to roast and eat out-of-hand, berries to swallow whole or drip over sugar-topped shortcakes and baby lettuces with a squeeze of lemon juice and shaved parmesan cheese. You get my drift on the light, fresh aspect? I bet you do!
I can still remember the first time I had peel ‘n eat shrimp. We’d gone to some friends’ house back in the 80’s for dinner. There in the middle of the table was a giant bowl of pink shrimp just waiting to have their shells deftly removed, all while sucking the briny juice from the removed tail piece. We proceeded to dunk the sweet chunks into garlicky butter until the entire bowl had been devoured. Continue reading →
The darling man that I live with loves to have breakfast for dinner – pancakes, eggs, even the occasional bowl of granola or grape-nuts. I love the fact that he’s easy about his eating habits.
When we got home today, both of us were starving. We needed food stat! That’s definitely one of the brilliant parts about whipping up breakfast for dinner. It’s a quick fix.
Scrolling thru some recipes, a short stack of pancakes loaded with corn, bacon and chives caught my need-for-food attention. I knew most of the ingredients were on hand, except for the bacon. However, I did have a few slices of Black Forest ham, the perfect substitute.
The first time I made these griddle cakes was on a camping trip. We always try to do something a little different when out roughing it in the wild. One of the things I appreciate is these cakes have some protein and vegetables; it’s not all carb-loaded.
These unique pancakes are stuffed with bacon, corn and cheese. A good dose of warm maple syrup makes them a delicious choice for breakfast.
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used Black Forest Ham)
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 cup frozen, canned or fresh corn
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
warm maple syrup, for serving
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the bacon mixture for topping the griddle cakes upon serving- and set it aside.
While the bacon is cooking, combine the flour, chives, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk, egg and oil, just until moistened. Stir in the bacon mixture, corn and cheese. The mixture will be thick. If you’d like the griddle cakes to be slightly thinner than those pictured, add a little more milk to thin out the batter.
Heat and grease a griddle or large skillet. Pour a heaping 1/4-cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until it is golden brown- 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve stacks of griddle cakes topped with a sprinkle of the reserved bacon/onion and a good dose of warm maple syrup.
Needless to say we were both satisfied and full. And, again a big thanks to The Recipe Girl for dinner.
Some of my very best ideas spring from what’s left in the refrigerator at the end of the week; those blasted bits and pieces that aren’t enough for a meal, but I would feel guilty tossing.
I grew up being taught to clean my plate.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve totally rethought the whole “clean-your-plate” process, but guilt about throwing away absolutely good food keeps me coming up with resourceful ways to utilize the leftovers.
A few days back I had fixed cod with baby potatoes, fennel and tarragon. It was amazing, and I had hoped to feature it, but the photos only turned out so-so; the dish, however, was phenomenal. We ate the fish and some of the potatoes and fennel, not leaving much. Serendipity – in the cooking process a lovely, over-the-top broth resulted. I had thirds on the broth alone. Even after gulping broth, there were a few potatoes and broth. Enter the conundrum of a small amount of food, and that perfectly perfect broth.
What ensued was a divine stew that whispers of spring. It’s fresh, yet filling and the flavor is beyond fabulous. I do realize that you don’t have the broth-base to start with, so I recreated it.
Cod and Fennel Stew
½ cup each diced carrots, celery and onion
2 potatoes diced
1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced, save the feathery fronds
1 lemon, thinly sliced
5 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 clove minced garlic
8 oz. cod fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Cherry Creek Seafood Seasoning (from Savory Spice or your choice of seasoning)
Heat a large soup pot on medium heat. Rim pot with olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and fennel; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to wilt and caramelize.
Stir in garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits.
Pour in the stock; add the lemon slices, 3 sprigs of tarragon and the seafood seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
Rough chop the fennel fronds and tarragon. Set aside.
Add the cod pieces and continue to simmer until fish flakes, 5 to 7 minutes.
To serve: Taste for salt and pepper; ladle into bowls, top with fresh tarragon and fennel fronds.
In my house we are sans bread right now, but chewy rolls would be the bomb with this soup. I envision sopping up any remaining broth that didn’t get slurped.
I’m sitting at the swimming pool with a couple of my grandkiddos. They’re bouncing and bobbing on noodles with a lot of other kids. It’s Spring Break, it’s loud, it’s humid and smells like the pool crew added more than enough chlorine to kill anything that might be floating in it.
My thought was to write this week’s food blog while they had a grand wet, splashing time. I’m a little distracted, though; can’t imagine why.
Every day the age old question of “what’s for dinner?” gets asked. Quite frankly, I’m one of those people that fix dinner at home from ingredients with single names and no added stuff. However, I find myself in that same quandary.
Recently, my sister-in-law suggested I put together weekly menus for people; this coming from someone who is a really good cook. The thought is great, my time is short, but I thought maybe I have time to write a “Tonight” post once a week. It will be a short, one picture and a recipe sort of thing.
Cheers, Lisa (said sis-in-law) for the inspiration! Oh, and not to worry, these snippet posts will only enhance, not replace the longer stories and recipes.
Warm Kale Salad
(Serves 2 to 4)
8-10 cups kale
1 large avocado
6 slices thick cut bacon
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Wash, dry and prepare 8 to 10 cups kale of choice. I like a curly-leaved kale. Chop into bite-sized pieces, place in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons each olive oil and balsamic vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt. Massage into the kale and set aside.
Cut carrots into finger-sized pieces. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until soft and slightly charred.
Fry bacon until just barely crisp and still a bit chewy. Drain on paper towels and give it a rough chop.
Cube the avocado into ½” chunks.
Assemble the salad: to the kale add the hot carrots and bacon. Mix in the avocado. Taste for additional salt, pepper or vinegar. Toss well and serve.
The warm ingredients will further wilt and soften the kale. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.
Top o’ the morning, friends! I know a very cliché way to start out a St. Paddy’s Day food blog, but that’s what I have today. And truth be told, I do have some Irish blood flowing through my veins and, everyone else is Irish for at least one day a year, right? Continue reading →
Outside the window the sun just broke through the clouds that only a few moments ago were scattering snow like powdered sugar on a doughnut. The late afternoon sun creates interesting light play in the living room. Continue reading →