Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh, my...savory cream cheese onion pie!

I tweaked a recipe that turned out to be just the basic inspiration for this dish...the original was in Diane Mott Davidson's novel, Prime Cut, but I took off (wildly!) from there. 

Almost no carbs, lots of protein and LOTS of taste...

1 package cream cheese or neufchatel 

4 eggs (preferable free range, cage-free)

1/2 yellow onion, diced and sautee'd in butter or oil

1 C. spinach or wild greens...cooked, drained well and chopped  (we had some heavy-duty salad greens from a biodynamic farm that made great cooked greens...)

1/2 T. Dijon mustard

1/4 C.  grated Parmesan (I used a mix of Parmesan/Asiago/Romano)

1 C. grated Gruyere, if you have it.  If not, any amount of whatever cheese you like.  I had Cotswold chive...and only about 1/3 cup.  Whatever.  It's not an exact science!)

Sprinkle of paprika (I used smoked)

Little bit of cumin or cayenne (I couldn't find the cayenne)

Sea salt

Pepper to taste (you can use Pepperman for these last's gorgeous!)

If you think you need more liquid, 1/4 C. cream, milk, white wine, chicken stock, whatever.  No biggie.  It's only 1/4 cup!

If you've got scallions or chives, add 1/2 cup chopped.  If not, don't worry about it, it's going to be delicious anyway!

I skipped the crust 'cause I'm skipping empty carbs as much as possible.

Mix the cream cheese/neufchatel till soft, beat in the eggs one at a time (or all at once, who cares?)  Add the Dijon and mix well with a mixer.

Saute' the onions, drain and chop the greens, grate the cheese and stir them all in along with the spices and salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake for about an hour, until the mixture is set and browned on top.  The scent will drive you crazy well in advance of this, of course...

Perfect for a chilly late fall day...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Soup!

Y'know, it's much faster taking photos...honest, I WILL do sketches again when I catch my breath!  Meanwhile, here's Joseph's delicious


Buffalo Chicken Soup



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
  • 3/4 cup milk or cream
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Better Than Bullion Chicken Flavor
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts or 4 boneless thighs, cut in bite size chunks
  • 1/4 C. of your favorite hot sauce, more or less...we use Cholula
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Bleu cheese/gorgonzola crumbles


You can start with cooked chicken breasts, (if you do, skip this step) but it’s even better if you start with raw. Melt a tablespoon of the butter in a large pot over medium heat, sprinkle the chicken chunks with salt & pepper, and sauté them until just done. Once done, set them aside. This leaves nice chicken gooey bits in the pot – leave them there, add the rest of the butter to the pot, add the celery and onion and cook over medium-high heat until tender. 

This part is kind of tricky – sprinkle the flour and fully coat the onion & celery, ensuring all the butter is absorbed. Then slowly stir the milk into the mixture, stirring briskly with a fork as though you were making gravy. It’s easy for this to turn lumpy if you’re not careful.

Add the bouillon and stir until it’s dissolved, then slowly add the chicken broth, stirring constantly.
Cube the chicken and add it to the pot along with the buffalo wing sauce, and cheddar cheese. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Allow the soup to simmer until the cheese has melted completely, but do not allow to boil. 

Serve with a sprinkling of bleu cheese crumbles on top.

While this is just spicy enough for Kate, I usually add a little more wing sauce or Cholula Hot Sauce (which can be done after it’s been served) to liven it up a bit. [Hey, it was PLENTY lively.  Yum...]

And yep, I had to have it with a nice green salad...yum...
Fresh and crunchy, with celery hearts, romaine lettuce, onion, cherry tomatoes, and  fresh basil--with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar...luscious!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Italian Egg Brunch

OK, as I mentioned, I finally realized one reason I haven't been doing this as much is because I don't always take time to do art first!  So, since I JUST finished a lovely Italian Egg Brunch and it's a lovely, lazy Sunday morning, I'm going to share it with you anyway!  (Hey, cooking itself is an art!)

We like Victoria Marinara Sauce, but haven't been able to find it locally.  Happily, Bertolli Organic with Olive Oil, Basil and Garlic certainly takes its place with style, AND it's organic! 

I aim for that whenever I can, even though much commercial organic isn't like buying from the farm or growing your own...according to a lot I've read, you just get more from the food you eat if you go organic.  More vitamins, more minerals, more LIFE.  Maybe even fewer doctor visits!

Seems like a good use of our food dollars, to me...

So.  Let me know what you think?


1 cup of the Italian sauce of your choice--home made and organic is marvelous, of course!

2-4 eggs (we get the most wonderful orange-yolked, farm-raised, organic eggs through my best friend's food coop, or from the organic section of our grocer's.  They stand up and salute in the pan!)

1 T. extra virgin olive oil OR butter

1-2 T. grated cheese (if we buy the commercial stuff, we like the Parmesan, Romano, Asiago mix)

or (and?) 1 slice of Provolone cheese, diced

1/2 sweet Vidalia onion, if possible (any sweet yellow onion will do, of course), sliced like this and sautee'd till golden:

Add squash, mushrooms, green pepper, whatever, if you have it, and saute till soft.

I went for butter to grease the pan--luscious, though...

Put the tomato sauce into the same skillet and bring it to a simmer, then drop in the eggs.  Sprinkle with cheese and herbs, if you like (we got some fantastic Tuscan Herb mix from Penzey's Spices.  Oh, yum...)

You can sprinkle on some bread crumbs if you like--I'm avoiding gluten, so I didn't! n

Cover the pan, turn the heat to low, and let the eggs poach till the whites are, well, white instead of transparent.  Check it occasionally, I like this with the yolks still soft...if you want, spoon some of the hot tomato sauce up over the eggs to speed their cooking.

This is SERIOUSLY good, and just filling enough...great brunch for a chilling winter morning!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Roasted Red Peppers

Honest, it's not like I've given up eating--or cooking!  I just have been a tad occupied lately.

I've got tons of recipes all written out, but haven't had time to ILLUSTRATE them...siiiigh.  So this time we're going for photos and the heck with it!

Roasted red peppers can be bought at the store, of course--jars of them!  But 'tis the season, the farmer's market has been full of wonderful things, and I like 'em fresh and slightly smoky-flavored so I like to do it myself.

In case you didn't know, bell peppers are on the "Dirty Dozen" list for those of us who care about pesticides and such.  You can buy organic, which we do sometimes, grow your own, which we don't seem to, or buy them at the grocery store or farmer's market...then, you can either wash them VERY well (fruit and vegetable wash or a home made mixture of water, white vinegar, and lemon juice will strip off most contaminants) or do what I did and roast them.

They're lovely in Mexican food, salads, soups, you name it!'s how I learned to do it.  You may choose the broiler or oven, but this is more controllable...and more fun!  Of course you need a gas stove for this method.  You can use a campfire or outdoor grill too, if you wish.

A long handled fork works great...turn over an open flame till the skin blackens all over...
Of course you can do two (or more) at a time, without the fork...just turn them as the skin begins to blacken.  Careful, though, they're HOT.  Use tongs or that fork to move them.  And yes, they will drip pepper juice onto your stove...sooo worth it!

Let cool, then remove as much skin as possible under running water (it's the edible skin of peppers that holds the pesticides.)  Your thumbnail's a handy scraping tool, here.
Remove the stem and seeds, and slice as shown or dice any size you like them.  Use immediately or store in the fridge for a few days.  You can even pickle them, if you want!

Friday, March 18, 2011

What do you do with a GINORMOUS bunch of celery???

Give Campbell's a run for their money, of course!

We had celery** on hand already, and when our CSA (community supported agriculture) organic vegetable box arrived this week, we had still MORE celery.  A gigantic bunch.  Stalks like palm trees.

J. mentioned he liked Campbell's Cream if Celery soup so I was off and running!  (And here was me thinking you just used that for a base for sauce when you didn't have any cream of mushroom...)

Here's my made-up, rather luscious recipe...

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

8 or so HUMONGOUS stalks of celery or the equivalent, chopped  (more if you really want to move celery)

2 carrots, sliced (or about 8 baby ones if that's what you have)

(Some recipes call for a potato, but I had potato yesterday and my arthritis gets grumpy if I have too many nightshade family members)

2 T. butter (we mix unsalted organic butter with canola oil to cut the saturated fat, and add a bit of sea salt)

Saute' the vegetables in butter till they begin to soften, then add:

2 Q. chicken stock--we'd bought a roast chicken the other day and J. made stock from the bones and bits

A splash of white wine (we had Pinot Grigio on hand)--1/4- to 1/2 cup, unless you're an alcoholic, then forget's good without, anyway (and yes, of course the alcohol cooks out, but hey...)

1 bay leaf

A couple of sprigs of thyme if you have it

A shake of sea salt

Pepper to taste (we've got a wonderful pepper mix called Pepperman, and don't really need salt in that case--it's got some in it.)

Simmer till the vegetables are soft, then blend in batches in your food processor or blender.  Make sure you hold the lid down, I HAVE caused Vesuvious' Return in the past...

Add about 1 C. milk and a couple of T of sour cream, if you want.

OK, so much for the saturated fat thing...go read Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats!

If you need to thicken it, stir 1 T. flour and about 1/4 C. cold water until smooth, and pour into the hot soup.  Stir till it thickens, and serve.

Top with more pepper, if you like, and we discovered a sprinkling of Parmesan/Asiago cheese was a pretty decent accent.

....AND, since we still had celery left, I mad a variation on the theme today!  ALSO really good...

1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped

8 or so of those ginormous stalks of organic celery or the equivalent, chopped 

2 carrots, sliced (or about 8 baby ones if that's what you have)

2 T. butter

Saute' the celery, onion, and carrots in butter till they begin to soften, then add:

1 potato, red or Idaho, chopped...we had a red one from our CSA

2 quarts chicken stock--this time I used the commercial organic stuff from the store.  Still good, though not quite as flavorful, so I added a spoonful of Better Than Bullion's Chicken flavor...

A shake of sea salt

Pepper to taste (I used Pepperman pepper mix again, but a nice coarse-grained pepper would be good.)

2 or 3  T. Worcestershire sauce, white or original--try a bit at a time and taste! 

Again simmer until the vegetables are soft, then blend till smooth,

Add about 1 C. milk, especially if the celery is strong flavored.  Ours was!

Top with more pepper and grated cheese...tastes good with whole wheat crackers, too!   We just had a cloudy-day lunch and it was lovely...

**And by the way, Joseph reminds me that unless you get organically grown celery--which we did--it's one of the most sprayed and contaminated vegetables out there.  Sorry!   <:-{

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How cool is THIS??

I found this ancient cookbook at the back of my Hoosier cabinet, and NEITHER of us have the faintest notion where it came from.  It's all handwritten, with recipes from a number of different women--each one wrote her recipe on a piece of paper, signed it, and then someone bound them all together with yarn ties.  I don't recognize any of the names, either from my home town or my adopted home.

I'm guessing it must have been a church group or women's club, and looks like from the 1920s or 1930s.  All the recipes are in pencil or fountain pen...and some look GOOD.

Stand by, we'll be trying a few of them and sharing them with you...a taste of history...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whole wheat/white bread...smells WONDERFUL on a cold snowy day...

So once again I couldn't find my old bread recipe, and decided to combine whatever sounded good from a variety of other sources.  It rose beautifully, both in the bowl and in the pans, and continued to rise as it baked--gorgeous!

So, before I forget, here's the current recipe! 

1 T. active dry yeast (we got bulk, which is less expensive than in the packets.)
1 T. brown sugar (we use raw, organic sugar that just happens to be brownish

sprinkled over and stirred gently--

1/4 C. warm water--let this set for a couple of minutes and add

1 beaten egg
1/4 cup melted butter

Yes, we're getting into naughty territory, here...

Add 1 1/2 t. salt (sea salt is nice...)
And 1/4 to 1/2 C. honey (I got tired of squeezing the bear somewhere between those...)

Mix those into the yeast/egg/butter mixture.

One recipe called for 4 C. whole wheat and 4 C. white flour, but I was short of whole wheat, so I added a half cup of wheat germ, 2 C whole wheat and 6 of organic white. 

Whatever, stir them into the liquid mixture and then turn out on a floured board and knead this it sticks together reasonably well.

Let it rise in a BIG bowl till you're afraid it's going to run over, punch down and knead again.  It'll feel a lot silkier now...

(It's winter, we don't have a wood fire going, so warm places are a bit short.  I half submerged the bowl in the sink in warm water, which I refreshed twice during the rising.  You could probably use a heating pad too...)

Divide in two, form into loaves, and put these in buttered loaf pans.  I made decorative cuts in the top of the loaves, rubbed butter on top, and let them rise again--then baked at 350 for 45 minutes.

Oh, my.  VERY, VERY good.

Here's what it looked like, done--made two BIG loaves...

(I made an organic baby romaine, yellow bell pepper, and fresh mushroom salad, with Joseph's gorgonzola dressing, J. made his herb-encrusted roast from one I got him at Christmas at Whole Foods, and we mopped up the herbs and juices with bits of bread.  Doesn't get any better than that...)

This is artisan bread, also very good, but you have to keep a starter in the fridge for it...I ran out of room and time!
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