Monday, December 10, 2012

The month of December is known for some funny things: It is known as National Write A Business Plan Month and National Hand Washing Awareness week is December 1-7, also Quince and Watermelon Month and lastly, Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruit Month. What are root vegetables anyway? There are quite a few: beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, radishes, and lastly the rutabaga. What is a rutabaga?

One of the things I try to do is use different types of vegetables. Like the ones that you might not know about or know how to use: experiment. I know some of you are putting your nose in the air and don’t want to try new things…..give it a chance.

A little history on the unloved rutabaga. It looks very much like a turnip with yellow-orange flesh and ridges at its neck. It is a great tasting vegetable with a delicate sweetness and flavor that hints of the light freshness of turnip. It is easy to prepare, and versatile, with great nutritional value. The rutabaga could easily become a family favorite. Rutabagas were one of the only available foods during WWI in many countries because they are easy to grow and more important easy to store for long periods of time. Now put that nose down and stop shaking your head. Ask anyone in the US if they like rutabagas and they will probably say no. Ask that same person if they’ve ever had one, and they’ll probably say no to that also. Over the holidays or sometime soon try this easy recipe. Also I have served them using boiled potatoes, mashed with equal proportions of mashed rutabagas and lots of butter, salt and pepper. Let me know how much you like it!

Carrots and Rutabagas with lemon and honey (2 root vegetables in 1 recipe)
1 ¼ pounds rutabagas, peeled with a carrot-vegetable peeler, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (used bottled if you have to)
3 Tablespoons honey (I have added more)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped fresh chives

Cook rutabagas in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes.
Add carrots and cook until vegetables are tender (6-8 minutes) then drain.
Melt butter or margarine in large pot over medium heat.
Add lemon juice, honey and peel of lemon.
Bring to almost a boil then add the two vegetables.
Cook until glazed, stirring occasionally about 6-8 minutes
Season with salt and pepper and add chives and mix and serve hot.
Lemon juice adds refreshing flavor to earthy root vegetables.
Serves 6-8

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month

I have so much fun checking out what each month is known for or what special days are in each month.  Some are silly.  Besides Veterans Day and Black Friday, did you know that November 12th is Men Make Dinner Day or the 14th is National American Teddy Bear Day or November 17th is Homemade Bread Day.  November is also Sweet Potato Awareness month.  Now come on....where did that come from.  So I have a quick and easy sweet potato recipe.  This is a real moist sweet potato bread that is low in fat and easy to make.  Give it a try!

Sweet Potato Pecan Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates or raisins
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
4 Tablespoon mile
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potatoes  (can used canned)

Topping (optional)
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1/3 cup pecans
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
Mix together

Instruction for Bread:
Spray bottom on one large loaf pan or two medium loaf pans.
Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and spices in mixing bowl.
Then stir in the sugar, pecans, and raisins or dates.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, applesauce, milk, and mashed sweet potatoes and stir to blend well.
Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon until the mixture is moistened.
Pour batter into prepared pans.
Optional:  Spoon topping mixture on top and lightly press it in.
Bake at  325 degrees for about 1 hours and 10 minutes.
Check after one hour with a knife or toothpick to see if it comes out clean.
Cool on rack and remove from pan and turn upright.
Then eat it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

September is Fig Month

What is September known for ? Here a partial list. September is Apple month, Be Kind to Editors Month, National Coupon Month, and National Piano Month. It is also Fig Month. And I love cooking with Figs. This month is Pork Loin Roasted and stuff it with figs and pistachio nuts. It makes a great taste treat.
Fig and Pistachio Stuffing for Pork Loin
1 cup figs, trimmed and sliced thin
½ cup bread cubes (stuffing bread)
4 Tablespoons butter ( ½ stick)
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 cup pistachios nuts, chopped
½ cup chicken broth (if needed)
Cord or string soaked in water
Pork Loin
Melt butter in a frying pan
Add onion, celery, garlic and rosemary.
Cook vegetables until soft, stirring occasionally
Mix vegetables in bowl add figs, bread cubes, pistachios
     nuts and a little broth.
Cut a slice in the pork loin (almost all the way through)
Stuff with fig and pistachio mix.
Tie the pork loin with the soaked cord.
Cook at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes.
Test for light pink inside.

Serve with roasted small red potatoes and peppers. Check out my cookbook, In Addition…to the Entrée for the recipe.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The month of June is known for many names associated with it, but one of the best is that June is called Cucumber Month. So to support Cucumber Month, I have put together a cucumber spread for vegetables, crackers and small crispy bread. It is quick and easy to put together.

Crispy Cucumber Spread

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon grated onions
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup peeled and finely chopped cucmber

Combine the first 3 ingredients.
Mix until well blended and smooth.
Stir in cucumbers.
Chill for several hours.
Serves 6-8

Serve with:
Fresh steamed veggies
Fish, Pork
Pumpkin Soup--use as a dollop in the center of bowl. Raw veggies as an appetizer.

To make buttermilk:
Add 1 Tablespoon of lemeon juice to milk.
Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Polish Meatball Cabbage Soup

One of the many things the month of April is known for is Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts Month. What a great vegetable idea for the month--two of my favorites. I make roasted Brussels sprouts and Polish Cabbage and Meatball soup. This soup is filling and can be used as a meal by itself. This makes a lot.

1 large head of cabbage, cut in quarters, then cut in thin slices
3 (14 oz) can tomato sauce or puree
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 fresh tomato, chopped
2 beef cubes in 1 cup boiling water

Combine all ingredients except meatballs( see instruction below). Cook slowly for several hours. Add the meatballs and cook for one hour more. Serves 8 plus people.

When reheating this soup, I add a little tomato juice or Clamato to thin it down just a bit.

To Make Meatballs:
2 pounds fat free ground meat (I use turkey ground meat often)
3 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup cooked rice

Combine meatball ingredients and roll meat into a small ball. Heat in microwave until all the fat is out of them. It is usually about 2 minutes and turn, and another 2 minutes. I place them on a paper towel to drain more of the fat off them. (You can also purchased pre-made meatballs)
This makes a great tasting soup.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Broccoli Soup

Did you know…it’s Broccoli and Bell Pepper Month in March. There is nothing better than on a cool March day to enjoy some soul-warming soup. So in honor of March I am including a recipe for Broccoli Soup which includes green peppers. This is from my first book, In Addition…to the Entrée and also in my second book, Soup and Stews…. Comfort by the Spoonful.

Broccoli Soup

1 ½ cup chicken broth
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped broccoli
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Dash garlic powder
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon Flour

Combine chicken broth, onions, green pepper and spices with broccoli.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaf. Put one half mixture in food processor
for 30 seconds, then do remaining one half mixture.
Put mixture back into soup pot.
Melt butter, add flour and milk to make a white sauce.
Add white sauce to the broccoli mixture in the pot.
Heat for another 20 minutes at low heat so mixture will thicken.
Serves 4-6 servings

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Something to warm the tummy--Kitchen Sink Soup

Even in Florida, we find that January and February are cooler months. There is nothing like a thick, tasty soup to warm your tummy and take the afternoon chill away. Here is an easy and ‘use all the leftovers’ kind of soup. Those little containers of vegetables or even potatoes, pasta or most anything can find a new home in Kitchen Sink Soup.

This has been a family favorite for many years. I save leftover vegetables for a few weeks in a container in the freezer, then make this soup. Or you can use fresh vegetables, canned, or frozen. Your choice! Hope you enjoy this soup from my book In Addition…to the Entrée.

Kitchen Sink Soup

1 pound lean chopped meat, cooked, and fat drained
1 cup each of any 4-5 of your favorite vegetables and any
juice (such as carrots, green beans, peas, wax beans,
zucchini, lima beans or what ever you have in the refrigerator as leftovers )
1 cup pasta, cooked (I use ditalini which are small tubes or I use small shells (left over pasta is great too)
4-6 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of Tabasco sauce or any hot sauce

Combine everything in a large soup pot.
Cook at medium heat until it starts to bubble.
Turn low and simmer for 1 ½ hours.
Serve with crusty bread. Serves 4-6

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Corn Chowder Helps January Chill

This is John, my oldest son's favorite recipe. He made it from the time he was very young. He would stand on a chair and put this together adding something new each time. You can do that too. Have fun and use your imagination. Corn Chowder will help keep that January chill out.

Corn Chowder

2 cups corn (off the cob or canned) drained, reserve liquid
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 1/2 cup diced potatoes
3 drops Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon Worcesterhsire sauce
Pinch thyme
Parsley to taste
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons milk

In a large pot put chicken stock, liquid from corn, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper to tast and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Saute corn, onions, and celery in butter adding mustard,and salt and pepper.
Put sauteed mix in stock with lemon juice and potatoes.
Allow to reach a slow boil.
Cook until potatoes are tender.
Turn down heat and add Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
Wire whisk yolk and heavy cream in a bowl, then add 1/2 cup of the hot soup stock to the bowl and whisk.
Add to the remaining soup.
Serve 4-6
Make a thickening sauce with the 3 Tablespoons flour and milk and whisk into the soup slowly to thicken.
Serve hot.

You can add 1/2 cup red pepper to the saute
Use red bliss potatoes instead of regular potatoes
Add oregano or basil.
Have fun and use your imagination.
Garnish with croutons, parsley or paprika.
Serve with crusty breads.