Wednesday
Feb102016

caesar salad dressing

I make a caesar salad type salad for myself almost every day.  I have been craving greens since December so I have been eating salad for breakfast instead of toast.  I get my toast as croutons because I use my bread and toast it in a pan but I also get greens, a bit of cheese, and some pine nuts.  I was buying salad dressing until I saw April Bloomfield making caesar salad dressing on Mind of a Chef and thought "I can do that."  So I hunted down her recipe and did.

There was only one tiny problem.  I had all the types of foods that were used in the dressing but I did not have the specific foods.  But, even with the substitutions, the salad dressing is so good that I will lick the spoon clean as I am making my breakfast to take with me to work.

An immersion blender really helps here.  But, no matter what, try this!

caesar salad dressing

Note:  based an April Bloomfield's but with what was in my pantry.

Half a tube of anchovy paste (original recipe calls for 10 anchovy filets.  May just have to try it.)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons bavarian style fermented mustard (mine is homemade)

2 smashed garlic cloves

1 large egg

1 cup walnut oil

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper, or to taste

1/3 cup grated parmesan

In a small bowl, put the anchovy paste or anchovies.  Add the vinegars and mustard.  Add the garlic.  Mix well.

Get out the immersion blender and blend until smooth.  

Mix in the egg.  Slowly mix in the oil with the immersion blender.  This will cause the dressing to thicken like a mayonnaise.

Mix in the salt and pepper.  Mix in the cheese.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.  

This will thicken with refrigeration, so you might wish to put it in a jar and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  I could not wait.  SO good!  

And so easy.

Tuesday
Feb092016

orange cranberry bread

The boyos have been enjoying quick breads or maybe it would be better to call them tea cakes.  I had some oranges that needed to be used and cranberries in the freezer so I decided a cranberry orange bread was in order.  I modified my banana blueberry bread and used whole wheat flour so I know there was some nutrition in it.  I do have to wonder at times how the boyos survive, especially a couple of them.  I swear they live on fast food and beer.  Sometimes just the beer!  But this disappeared very quickly!

orange cranberry bread

juice and zest from three oranges

1/3 cup walnut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 12 ounce bag of frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Butter a large loaf pan.  It may sound picky but if you put a piece of parchment paper over the long sides and bottom with edges hanging over, and butter, the bread comes out even easier.

In a large bowl, mix the orange juice, orange zest, oil, brown sugar, and two eggs.  Mix until there is no more visible white.  Mix in the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Do not mix too hard.  There can be lumps.  Mix in the cranberries.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife stuck into the cake comes out clean.  It will also be golden brown.

Eat.  When it cools, it is also good toasted with butter.  A frosting could be made for it but I never do and it never really lasts that long.  Life with boyos around the majority of the time.

Monday
Feb082016

life with safety pins

After I got the piecing done, I really wanted to start quilting.  It helps to keep me sane because there is nothing sane about the part of my day or week that is called work.  Time to baste.  I laid the backing and the batting out next to my smaller open water row boat.

Then came the top.  This quilt is going to travel halfway across the world.  It will be gifted to a very little girl.  She has not been born yet.

A couple hours of working with safety pins in a bit of sun and I am ready to start quilting.  More time on my sewing machine.  More sanity.

Thursday
Feb042016

homemade pasta

In my past, I have made fresh pasta.  I always thought it was 1 cup of flour 1 egg.  Since I have been doing so much reading I came to find out it is 1 etto (Italian) which is equal to 100 grams to 1 egg.  One good egg which is actually very hard to get in the United States.  An egg from a local farm where the chickens have room to run and are loved.  Not in my neighborhood.

Guess what I am making now.  Fresh pasta.  This is one of those quick meals where quick is relative.  It is faster then going out to eat and so good.  It is a sooth the soul type meal.  I have put red sauce on it.  I have put a leftover type toppings together for it.  It works.

I do not put any salt in this dough so I dough suggest you salt the water when you cook them.

pasta

Note:  This recipe is per serving.  Increase for each person.

100 grams flour

1 good egg

1 to 2 tablespoons water

On a scrubbed counter, put the flour (you can do this in a bowl too if you wish).  Make a deep indentation in the mound of flour and crack the eggs into it.  Beat the eggs just a bit.  Working from the outside in, mix in the flour.  I find I chase the egg back to the center with the flour.  Incorporate all the egg into the flour.

Mound the dough mixture.  At this point it should come together into a ball.  If it does not, add a tablespoon of water.  It might take two.  Start to knead.

A very smooth dough will develop.  I find that the counter is almost clean of all the mixture and there is no leftover flour.  I also do not have to add anymore at this stage.  Cover with cling wrap and let sit at least 20 minutes.

After scrubbing the counter again, flour the counter.  Unwrap the dough and press it into the flour.  Turn it over and press that side in the flour.  Start rolling the pasta dough out.  Keep the dough well floured so it will not stick.  This takes some work but a very thin large sheet of dough will develop.  My counter is not really big enough so I hang about half the dough off the side and work with one half and then turn.  Really.

To cut the pasta (I do not have a pasta maker), flour the dough well.  I was never able to do this next step until using this recipe.  Roll the dough up making sure it is well floured.  Cut in 1/8 inch strips or what width you wish.  Unroll and put into a pile of flour.  Keep doing this and fluffing the pasta pile so it does not stick.

Put the water on to boil.  A large pot.  Much water.  Seasoned with salt to taste like the sea.  When the water is a rolling water, put in the pasta.  Bring the water back up to a boil and cook for two to three minutes.

Drain.  Serve with what you wish.

This dinner I reheated some pot roast in a very hot steel skillet with olive oil.  I sprinkled it with some basil.  That went on top of the pasta with some pine nuts and parmesan.  Yum!

And I cleaned out the refrigerator a bit!

Wednesday
Feb032016

sauteed apples

I like dutch babies.  They are a hit around here and I have been making them for many years.  Easy to make.  Do not need to hover.  What more can you ask?  But I have been finding that my sweet tooth is not as sweet as it was so cooking the dutch baby with the apples, spices, and sugar on top is making the pancake less  enjoyable.  So what did I do?  I took all the the ingredients for the topping and sauteed them together.  That way the can be put in a bowl or straight on top but there are many more options.

And I think this is easy.  But I keep getting told I am a bit crazy and odd.  Oh well.  That is life. 

This are similar to my roasted apples but I think they are a bit moister.  Both are yummy.

sauteed apples

two small apples, peeled, and cored.  I used honey crisps

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium low heat.  Quarter the apples and cut each quarter into thin slices.  Add to the melted butter.  Mix in the spices.  Let cook a little bit until the apples start to soften.  Add in the brown sugar.  Mix.   Let cook until the apples are soft enough to be pierced with a fork.  Make sure they do not burn.  All the sugar makes this something easy to do.

Serve with pancakes.  Or ice cream.  Or . . .