Time spent in the garden and kitchen is not time wasted; the essence of quality is attained through toil, not technology.

Friday, March 30, 2012

FFWD- Crab & Grapefruit Salad

Honest as I am, I have to consign that my crab & grapefruit salad turned into a shrimp salad, although the recipe was followed faithfully besides that.   If you kind Doristas will permit, I shall slightly diverge from cooking for a moment & widen the perimeter somewhat.   You see, I just finished reading a book called
The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan.  This story is an examination of our way of procuring, selling and cooking food in restaurants from an undercover viewpoint.   I won't bore you with the details, but it was very thought provoking and well worth the time to read.
It does have an extensive focus on what we spend on food and what a lot of people simply can not afford to indulge in.  When I went to the market to shop for my recipes this week (along with my TWD assignment "Pizza Rustica"); I found myself very carefully adding up prices & running questions through my mind.
Now, I consider myself very blessed to be somewhat lenient with my food budget, especially since my husband & I have already raised our 2 sons & we are empty nesters. BUT when I approached the seafood counter & realized that lump crabmeat would be $26.00 a pound, I gulped & stepped back to ponder that.
Then I moved on & chose to purchase the large shrimp, ever mindful that they were $10.99 per lb. I will end this line of discourse by saying that I spent $57.00 for, basically, the ingredients for 2 recipes- along with some extra fruit and herbs!
 So pretty, so pink!
 Veggierific collection!
 No cooking, Mom-I want to play!
 Chop, chop- almost there.
I did fully enjoy working with the scrumptious ingredients in this recipe- living in Texas, we love our Rio Star red grapefruit, avocados & peppers....so I merrily chopped, scooped and mixed.  The addition of a nice vinaigrette made from the grapefruit juice & olive oil greatly enhanced the lovely parts & pieces of this salad.   We sat down to a delightful and very fresh meal with a cool glass of white wine & some simple saltine crackers with homemade butter.
Please find your way to the French Fridays with Dorie site http://www.frenchfridayswithdorie.com/?cat=10 in order to browse all the posts.    Thank you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MKMW-Finnish Meat Balls

I am already confused in my new journey with My Kitchen, My World- after realizing that I posted my link incorrectly before I even wrote this blog.   And, secondly, for thinking that a simple sounding recipe would be quick & easy.   Ha, the joke is on me. After my research on Finnish recipes, I chose to try this meatball selection, even though there many wonderful sounding bread recipes.    Those are really my favorite, but I had just completed Irish Soda Bread for Tuesdays with Dorie.


1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 lb. ground beef
1 med. onion, chopped
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk

Soak bread crumbs in 1/2 cup milk and combine with beef, onion, egg and seasonings. Form into small balls and brown in butter. Add flour to drippings in pan and make gravy, add 1 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Return meat balls to gravy and cover and simmer 30 minutes or bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

This recipe is reprinted from the Cooks.com site.

I followed the directions rather closely but did add more seasoning- as it seemed bland to me.   We live in Texas & bland does not describe our eating habits!
I am rather a novice with meatballs and found them just a little tricky to brown correctly on all sides- I know that sounds downright silly, but it is true!
 The basics-meat & onion
 Everything needs a wee bit of this!
 Dachs ready to help Mom
 Nicely browned finally
 Ahhh, the sauce.
And then my gravy required the quick immersion blender save when it lumped up in a real jiffy.   All in all, this was a nice, substantial meal- the meatballs were served on a bed of rice with a crisp, green salad on the side.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

FFWD-Cheese Souffle-Better Late than Never.....

Ok, so I was sorta edging towards working myself into a lather over this soufflé; but it ended up pleasantly surprising me.   I mean,  I have probably only constructed maybe 3 of these in my cooking years, but I took some deep breathes as I read Dorie's calming prologue to the recipe.  Like the little engine that could, "I think I can, I think I can."
If there is one huge lesson that I have learned from my recent FFWD & TWD kitchen endeavors, it would be these 3 words- "mise en place" or however you spell that.  It is the fancy French way to say what Texans might term, "Get yer shit together before you start rattling the pans."
So I did, I had even prepared the béchamel sauce the day before when I had some extra time- it was nice & smooth & thick.  I could not find my soufflé dish (does anybody else's cupboards eat pans like mine do?), so I used a wonderful little clay pot that looked the right shape & size.
With the Doxie sous chefs in place- the party started.  My sweet husband grated the cheese, as I separated the eggs (only lost 2 when the yolks fell in my bowl of whites, coulda been worse!!).  I get exquisite farm fresh eggs from my neighbor around the corner, and I luv luv using them in my recipes.  I even enjoy doing whites by hand instead of the mixer- I just think it's really fun to watch them puff up.
I mixed, folded & cajoled this baby into its little dish & ever so gently slipped it into the oven.   Mind you, I was darn sure to follow Dorie's admonition not to peek at all until 25 min. had elapsed.  After 30, I snuck that piece of tin foil over it & gave the beauty another 10 min.

Ta dah, if I do say so myself- it came out very nicely browned & puffy and tasted delicious!   A simple salad & some fresh fruit made a perfectly satisfying Sat. dinner.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

FFWD-saint-germain-des-pres onion biscuits

Wow, that's a really fancy name for a simple biscuit; albeit a bit of a fancy version.  I elected to make these to serve with our chili on this cold, rainy evening here in N. Tx.
 Yes, I teared up
 Doxie sous chefs tussling-they get banished from the kitchen!
 Ok- it is Sat. night- cocktail "thyme"
 Pleasing enough?
But barely puffy??
I did the onion thing & even minced up a little thyme  to add in.   All seemed to go pretty well with the mixing- I used a tiny smidge of extra milk to gather it up, patted it out in a rectangle &  cut out some cute square biscuits with my pizza cutter.   Yeah, that seemed pretty simple & ever so much quicker than the round cutters.  I popped those little dudes in the oven & out they emerged 18 min. later- pretty much the same height as they were before baking??  I dunno.....I did like their crunch & very pleasing flavor, though.
To read about the fun the other FFWD bakers had with this recipe please link to

LYL: saint-germain-des-pres onion biscuits