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Monday, May 31, 2010

Dandelion Greens Bacon and Onion pp.131

Dandelion Greens
     I purchased my first bit of Dandelion Greens this past Saturday at the farmers market.  When I went to purchase the greens the farmer asked me if I had ever prepared the greens before,  when I told him 'no' he quickly told me to try some.  I declined and said I am stuck eating this because it is in my cook book.    In order to lower the spicy flavor I had to blanch the greens. 

Animal Fat
   How this dish gets it's flavoring is through the bacon flavorings.   Now, as I have stated before,  I use turkey bacon, so there is a slight loss in flavor and fat.  Well, I did not have enough fat to saute the greens and onion,  so I used some of the fat I saved from my chicken broth.

     The onion flavor was too strong for me.  I almost gagged.  But I did eat a few bites to make sure that grew a little more further away from my hatred of onions.  The bacon tasted good, but there was not enough bacon flavor to really pull the dish together.  I would recommend using real bacon for this dish in the future. 

Other News:
     I started to make some keifer,  but not any keifer,  coconut keifer.   Why you ask?  Because I cannot drink milk and I want to get more probiotics.  A friend of mine gave me some of her grains and I started my first concoction yesterday and I think it is working out alright.  I am so geeked! :D  I am doing this to save a few bucks.  I learned from a gal from this site on how to make this keifer.  I am looking forward to trying it.  It looks like my grains might have grown.  I am not sure yet...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Farmers Market Saturday, May 29,2010

I went to the farmers market today and saw this:
According to their claims,  if you eat their food, you will not get FAT.   I think we need the FDA to verify their claims. 

I bought lots of vegetables and a chicken, I think an organic chicken because I spent $3 a pound on it.  It's part of my new chicken plan :D.   I have to let it thaw so I can fabricate it,  but it will be part of my menu this week.  I will let the pictures explain what I got.  I did not know it,  but I think I will need more egg plant.  The cucumbers are not for this week,  Chef Turbo has really gotten into pickles,  so I am going to teach him how to make pickles, and I am going to learn too. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sesame Stir-Fried Broccoli pp.45-46

Ok, time for some more broccoli again.   I just realized that I have not done a formal photoshoot of broccoli, and I will have to remedy that soon.  Next week... more broccoli!  I can never eat to much broccoli!

     I started by looking up what it meant to "stir-fry".  To me (before research) to "stir-fry" meant to stick everything in a pan and cook it till done and serve over rice.  Plain and simple, eh?  But, I was wrong.
  Here are two sources here and here (< --I love Kathy Master's stuff!  It's fun to watch... I promise!).
     I also learned why woks are awesome (although I do not have one anymore), you move the cooked items to the side and then cook the next part while it all stays in the pot.  Fortunately, I happen to know that the edges of my iron cast skillet stay pretty cool (hence the reason why I can only cook a few pancakes at a time).   It worked pretty well,  but it makes me interested in getting a new wok...

     I made sure that I followed every direction, except I failed to cover with a lid and let it steam the broccoli after I 'fried' it.  It was very good!  I loved the sesame seeds and all the flavors of the aromatics.   I wish however there were carrots.  I missed them.  

Other News
     Yesterday, one of the other things I did was I cut up a whole chicken, froze the pieces individually, and make my own homemade chicken broth.  Tomorrow I am going to cook down the broth and freeze it into ice cubes.  If I ever need chicken broth, I can pop one of those babies into a cup of water and have an instant cup of chicken broth!  The whole chicken only cost me $5.  But it was a regular WalMart Chicken.  
     I think I am going to invest in free range chickens from the farmers market from now on if I can keep doing this method.   I figured if I keep saving the thighs, legs, and wings, I could basically have a 'free chicken' and save money for a week or two on higher quality meat!  I learned about how to cut up a chicken from here.  He has one on making the chicken broth too.   (The image to the right is the chicken pieces already frozen,  I used the breasts for pulled BBQ sandwiches tonight)

     Well,  until Monday,  I hope you all have a great weekend.  I am going to take the next two days off and do yard work, shop at the local farmers market, hang out with my friend, and eat pizza!   Remember our freedom and who we need to thank! THANK YOU DEAR VETERANS! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I forgot to cook, but I made bread today!

So sorry,  I think I made so much bread (and did so much cleaning) that I barley made dinner tonight, but I forgot to make the recipe.  Oh well.  At least I can still show you some food photographs and have some food dialogue!  What do you think??

A Loaf
     Our day started (after breakfast) with cleaning the boys room.  After we were done,  I had Chef Turbo help me make some bread for tomorrows lunch.  My Mother-in-Law told me over the phone the other day to sift with a spoon, my flour into the measuring cup.  This was a great job for Turbo.  It was almost like playing in a sand box.
     I decided to make a Whole Wheat Challah bread for our sandwich bread.  I really love the flavor and texture of Challah bread.  I got this recipe from a book my Sister-in-Law got me for Christmas: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook.  I have cooked too many bread recipes out of that book,  it's addicting! 

  I switched out the water for milk,  so that left me with a nice, light, fluffy loaf.  The kids just wanted to snack on the whole thing.  It's hard not to eat homemade bread that is made right!

Hamburger Buns
     Because of Miss Beth's bread book,  I one day decided to make hamburger buns.  Ever since then, we have not turned back.  The homemade versions were just as good, or even better than restaurant quality,  and I would say better because I control what ingredients goes into my buns.   My Beloved loves to have pulled pork on these lovely little nuggets!   I bake them, let them cool, then stuff them with the meat and then freeze.   When he had lunch at work,  he pops it in the microwave for an instant lunch!  An home made instant lunch.   
     Today I made mini buns so that the boys could enjoy some hamburgers made more their size.  That is another great reason why to make your own Hamburger buns,  you can make kid sized ones and make it easier for your little ones to enjoy hamburgers with you!

   They were so good!  I love how the egg wash makes them so shiny and welcoming to eat!  These too I had to defend against the kids.  They love to eat these.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Braised Bok Choy with Plenty of Garlic pp.35

Thinking, Pondering, Thoughts
     Where do I begin tonight?  I am so exhausted and ready for bed,  but it is only a little after 8:30 as I write this post.  I know I was excited to make some Bok Choy,  but nervous at the same time,  I love to eat it, but I have never prepared it before.  It seemed so elusive to me.  Well,  I might have prepared it before,  I cannot
remember if I had it as a part of the CSA last year.  Anyways.  On to...

     So,  I pulled all the leafs off and washed them.  Some of the leaves were damaged, so obviously I threw those away.   I really need to get a bucket for my compost pile,  would had made a great addition.

    I cut the leaves as he asked,  so I thought....

     He told me to cut it crosswise.  I thought, man this is weird.  It does not fit in my pan!  How am I supposed to eat this?  I hope Mr. Bishop never reads this at all.  I was so stupid,  and tired.  Crosswise would have been cutting in the other direction.  After I took the picture on the left,  I took a knife to the pan and made smaller pieces... crosswise.

     He was not kidding when he wrote in the title "Plenty of Garlic".  I love garlic, so the more the merrier!  The smell was wonderful,  the taste and texture was great.  He suggested in the book to use it for a bed for a piece of fish,  so I did that.  It paired wonderfully!

Other News
I put Lemon Verbena in my rice tonight,  but I did not detect a difference in flavor.  I hope if there is some vitamins in the herb that I at least got something out of it.  The picture on the left shows my rice with some of the cooked herb nicely arranged on the top.

My Satsumas (a type of orange) are growing nicely on one of the trees,  but the other tree never blossomed this spring,  which is making me worried.  I put some fertilizer in the ground that is for fruit trees and I hope there is still time to save it.

I need to make some bread.  Maybe I will have a pretty homemade bread picture for y'all tomorrow in the "Other News" section.  Ok,  I'm tired,  hope you all have a great night.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stuffed Peppers with Bulgar, Walnuts, and Lemon pp. 251

  Ok, so I tried sauteed peppers, and I did not like either recipe.   I entered this recipe with great fear, but I knew that I had to make it.  Otherwise, I would not successfully cook through this cookbook.  I quite dislike the taste of peppers, but I am going to be strong.

Problem Solving:   
  This recipe required Bulgar.  Sad part is, I could not find any Bulgar, or even barley!  So I bought some orzo,  it just had to do.
  I used the small peppers I bought from the farmers market.  I think that made a difference in the flavor of the peppers.  If there is a difference in flavors between store bought and farmers market, I think I am going to only purchase the farmers market ones IF I have to.   Making this dish with the smaller peppers did not bother me,  since we have a smaller family, and the kids do not have the desire to really eat the peppers anyways.  I just cooked them for less time.

Results:   The filling was great.  I loved the walnuts and the orzo made a great texture.  I sat and stared at the pepper.  I think it stared back at me.  I really did not want to eat it.  I did how ever try a little bit and I liked it.  Anyways,  this one is over with.

Other news:

  I made some pancakes from my Joy of Cooking book.   I made the Whole-Grain Griddle Cakes (pp.236).  They reminded me of the Blini I once ate in Russia.  
These were of course much thicker and not been made with buckwheat.  But I think the whole milk yogurt made the wonderful flavor.  

Monday, May 24, 2010

Steamed/Boiled Broccoli with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic pp.43

    I love broccoli (Squeaker calls it 'gwawkli').  Sometimes I crave broccoli.  So, making some tonight seemed like a great idea!   This particular recipe has more than just one recipe.  It's instructions with how to boil/steam and then many ways to prepare them after the instructions.
   I loved it (of course).  Sous Chef Squeaker loved it for a while, until he met a part of it with garlic.  He does not really like garlic- I think the flavor and the spiciness.  But other than that, he wolfed it down.  I think Chef Turbo got some garlic on the first bite.  He did not eat another bite.

Other Notes:
My grass I planted on my birthday is now growing. You will not believe how happy that makes me!!   I thought it would be painful and hard to grow grass.  But, other than watering it all the time,  it's pretty easy!

I found some Sorrel at a plant nursery today,  after it grows a bit I can make some of the recipes from the Sorrel chapter.  I also found some Lemon Verbena.  I do not know why I bought it,  but I think I remember a movie where someone was so happy to encounter some Lemon Verbena, and so I thought I had to have some too.   I cannot wait to try it with tea, rice, and fish!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Green Beans with Bacon and Onion pp. 173

   I am sorry for not posting yesterday.  It was a very special day for me (I got older!) and I wanted to take the day off and have a little fun.  One of the ways I did that was to find another farmers market in my area.  This (to the right) was my bounty!  Local, fresh vegetables.   I have been finding that the "farmers markets" are in need of more farmers and variety.  Sometimes there will be three vendors all selling the same thing.  I find it quite frustrating.  None the less,  I got some green beans and peppers.  The peppers are for next week,  but the green beans I used tonight!

   When it comes to summer, there are two foods I really enjoy,  strawberries and green beans.  I love fresh green beans!  I love to just wash them off and nibble on them.  I could practically have them for a whole snack that way!  But I had to prepare them to meet my goal tonight.

  I was able to get Chef Turbo to help me snap the ends.  He seemed to have a lot of fun when he figured it out.  I guess I take snapping green beans for granted since he had a hard time with it for a while.  I still had to go back into the discard pile to rescue usable ends.

I really enjoyed it.  It was refreshing,  had no form of fat (except the turkey bacon fat, which was not really there at all!) and the parsley was a nice touch.  It called for an onion,  so I used a shallot.  And I ate it without gagging!  So happy.  It also called for bacon, and as I mentioned before,  I used Turkey Bacon.  I really prefer going with the healthier alternative and the lack of animal fat in the pan did not mess the dish up one bit.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Basic Guacamole pp.24

  Since I tried cooking through chapters,  I quickly got tired of having the same vegetable every day.  I decided to just start cooking different vegetables throughout the week.   I was hoping to make guacamole tomorrow, but since I could not find any Kohlrabi, I had to make it tonight.   No regrets!

New Things Learned Every Time...
     The last time I cut open an avocado I learned how if I twisted the avocado I can take the seed out from one side without smooshing the avocado.  Well,  Mr. Bishop opened my eyes on how to peel the avocado without getting messy!  Just by using a spatula to separate the peel from the fruit.  IT WAS AMAZING! It worked! It was the least painful time I have ever had dealing with the avocado.

My son asked me what the inside of the pit looks like,  so instead of risking my fingers with a knife,  I used Google and found this.

Delish!  Unfortunately,  I did not have cilantro, and I decided against purchasing the jalapeno because I did not want the heat.  The results was still good.  Chef Turbo really enjoyed this,  he could not stop eating it.  Another great thing,  it had shallots (a type of onion), and I was able to mentally handle it!  YAY I am growing up and out of my hatred for onions.

  We only ate them with chips.  You as my reader,  if you have eating Guacamole,  what have you eaten it with?  Any suggestions?  I still have plenty left for tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sauteed Bell Peppers with Garlic Flavors pp. 250


is what I thought when I saw this critter on my floor.  I have been determined not to allow any form of amphibian in my home.  They are not welcome.  And he had the audacity to make his home in my kitchen.  Do you know how loud these things sound, scurrying around your kitchen floor?  They almost sound like a mouse.  God did not create them to walk on tile floors, but rather in grass and dirt.
  It took me about 15min or so to capture this Skink.  I placed a box right outside of the hole (that I discovered was there when I discovered the skink).  After a little while of sitting on my stool to research what kind of lizard this was,  he walked into my trap (an open box).  I scooped him up and the preceded to take him outside.  Glad to have that ordeal done with!  A mom can only handle so much in one day.

Tonight's Dish
I'm having a hard time getting used to peppers, no matter what color.  I really do not care for their flavor.  So far I have only had them roasted, so there might be another way that I can prepare them and finally be able to enjoy them.  Who knows.  Anyways,  I had my thank you bite, and then ignored the rest.  It was good,  but I really do not like peppers.
  Chef Turbo was excited to have them again, although he only took a few bites.

Last Thoughts
I have decided that I like to make bread with milk and butter.  It really makes a huge difference in the loaf.  So worth the calories.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sauteed Bell Peppers pp. 250

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Peppers,  I really do not care for them.  There a whole bunch in this chapter, and I will be making these recipes here and there.  This week there will be two.  Today I made Sauteed Bell Peppers.

What are Bell Peppers?
They come in different colors, green, orange, red, and yellow.  The younger form, that being the green variety, is the most consumed color,  and from what I read from Mr. Bishops book, the less sweet.  It's better to let them ripen to their color.
  Other names: bell pepper (US); peperone (IT); pimiento dulce (SP), cayenne, paprika, pimento. Capsicum annuum

 What the Kids Thought...
Chef Turbo ate one without me looking and then ran into the kitchen to announce that he liked it.  He then ate a second one.  Great progress for the first try!
Sous Chef Squeaker would not even touch it.  But I am not surprised.  I give 2 year olds leeway.  Sometimes they need time for their taste buds to grow up. 
My Thoughts:
It was ok.  Again,  Bell Peppers are not my favorite flavor in the world.  But who knows, maybe by the end of this book I will enjoy them more. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grilled Asparagus and Stir-Fried Asparagus...

It's been a few days since my update.  I had the wonderful blessing to have our first guests visit over the weekend.  I was able to cook the last three recipes for this week and had a blast serving these and cooking with our friends. 

Grilled Asparagus pp.15
    My grill is still broken.   I cannot wait to get it fixed.  The nut that holds the burner is rusted and it kind of stripped when I wanted to take it out.  So... next best thing is to broil.   I prepared the asparagus as directed and broiled the lovely prices.   I found prepared in the oven by broiling instead of roasting, tasted much better.

In Search...
   I made a list of all the vegetables I will be needing to purchase through this adventure.  The rough part is I am beginning to realize that the spring vegetables are mostly gone.   I finished (or at the time of this picture was about to finish) the asparagus section.  I now know who to go to for dandelion greens,  but the others I will have to wait till next spring.  I might go head with dandelion springs,  but I may also start off with an early summer vegetable since they are in season.  While at the farmers market,  my friend purchased some herbs for me.  I am now the proud owner of three little basil plants!

Stir-Fried Asparagus and Basil with Spicy Orange Sauce and Chinese Egg Noodles with Spicy Asparagus Sauce pp.19
  I am still trying to find ways to involve my little chefs while I cook.  One of the things Chef Turbo loves to do is to clean the lettuce in the lettuce spinner.   It took some encouragement to get him to help me finish tearing the lettuce,  but after that he had a blast spinning the lettuce.   I cannot wait to teach him about the non-exsistant forces cause the water to leave the leaves and cling to the sides of the container.  Even My Beloved got into the fun and wanted to see how fast he could spin the lettuce.

Now about the recipe... I needed some Chinese Egg Noodles.  I did not really have the time to look for an Asian market,  so the closest thing I could find were these chow mien noodles.    They seemed to work.  Also, this recipe, was two recipes in one!  It was like two birds with one stone.   It was a wee bit to spicy for me,  but for My Beloved it was not spicy enough.  The noodles were a fun texture,  but I do not think this will be a regular family meal.

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