Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fried Cabbage

My mom used to make this growing up, usually as a side dish for teriyaki chicken or other Asian meals.  I love it.  It is super simple, but flavorful.  I feel even a little silly writing a post about it because it seems so common sense, but I like to have things documented so I remember it's an option.  Sometimes I get in such a rut that I can't think of anything to make, so having it here is a good reminder. 

The amounts below are just suggestions and can be adjusted to meet your needs and tastes.  The last time I made this I wanted to use up the bag of matchstick carrots I had so it was a little heavy on carrots, but still perfectly delicious. 

I like to make this to go with egg rolls or sweet and sour chicken.  I would suggest using a pretty big pan.  The cabbage cooks down quite a bit, but takes up a lot of space at the beginning.  I also like  my cabbage very well cooked and a little browned, so depending on how you like it will dictate how long to cook it.


  • oil
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • shredded carrots
  • salt
  • pepper

Heat a small amount (a tablespoon or so, depending on how much cabbage you're cooking) in a large fry pan.

Once the oil is hot, add cabbage and carrots.

Stir occassionally and add salt and pepper to taste once the cabbage has started to cook down.

Cook until carrots and cabbage are soft and some of the cabbage is browned. 

Source:  Marsha Porter (aka Mom)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ham & Cheese Pastry

I had a few friends over last Saturday morning to visit and catch up.  I made this ham and cheese pastry and it was pretty darn good.  Frozen puff pastry can make you feel like a legit pastry chef!  Seriously . . . throw a little gruyere and ham between two sheets and . . . VOILA!

It looked really puffy and impressive when it came out of the oven.  Isn't it pretty?


  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 pound black forest ham, sliced
  • 1/2 pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced
  •  egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches.

Place it on a pan lined with parchment and brush the center with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge.

Place a layer of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border.

Brush the border with the egg wash.

Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12 inches.

Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges.

Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly.

Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, slice into squares, and serve hot or warm.

Source:  Ina Garten

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chicken Taquitos

These are a non-fried version of one my favorite Mexican snacks.  I was so happy they were so good.  I guess I was glad they were fairly healthy as well.  These are flavorful and crispy.  You can make the filling ahead of time and then roll the taquitos right before baking.  I always love a make-ahead option.  You spray (or brush) them with olive oil before baking which gives them an excellent crispy crunch!  I served them as a main dish with this cilantro lime rice and this quac.  Adults probably need 3-4 to fill up.  The amounts below are double the original recipe.  It seemed convenient to double it since I had a whole rotisserie chicken and I always like leftovers to take in my lunch the next day.           

(makes about 24 taquitos)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup green salsa
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions, sliced finely (white and green parts to equal about 4 tablespoons)
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (1 rotisserie chicken)
  • 3 cups grated monterey jack cheese

  • small yellow or white corn tortillas
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with olive oil.

Mix softened cream cheese, green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine.

Then add cilantro, green onions, chicken, and cheese and combine well.

Working with a few tortillas at a time, place 3-4 between two damp paper towels and microwave for 45 seconds, until tortillas are soft and pliable and don’t crack while rolling.

Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the tortilla and roll it up as tight as you can.

Place filled taquitos seam side down on the baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch each other.

When ready to bake, spray the tops lightly with olive oil and lightly sprinkle Kosher salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Serve immediately with pico, sour cream, and guac. 

Source:  slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quinoa Cakes

I like the texture of quinoa.  I like how it sort of pops in your mouth.  I've only made a couple of things using quinoa, but this recipe intrigued me so I had to give it a try! 

I made these the other night when a few friends came over for flank steak.  When my friend walked in and saw them on the table, he asked if they were crab cakes.  Sorry to disappoint, Adam.  I didn't love the quinoa cakes as much as crab cakes, especially the ones at Lynn's Bistro (If you live in the Seattle area, you HAVE to go have Lynn's crab cakes!).  They're pretty unbeatable, and could quinoa ever win over crab?

I feel like I'm not doing a good job of selling this recipe.  I got distracted by crab cakes.  Getting back on track . . . These were REALLY tasty and kind of a fun and different side dish.  I'll definitely be making them again. 

A couple of pointers on quinoa . . .
  • I used 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and it made enough to have 2 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa.  You could probably get away with 3/4 cup uncooked and have enough.   
  • Rinse before cooking. 
  • I cooked the quinoa in chicken broth. 
  • Make sure the quinoa is cooled before you mix it in with the other ingredients.  I ended up making two batches because I was impatient waiting for the quinoa to cool the first time around.  The mixture was too wet even after adding lots of extra bread crumbs.  The texture was MUCH better on the batch where the quinoa was completely cooled. 
  • I also found that the quinoa took longer to cook than the packaging said.  The packaging said it would take 15-20 minutes, but it took more like 20-25 minutes.     
  • I ended up cooking the quinoa and then refrigerating it until the next day when I mixed the cakes.  This is a better plan if you're impatient like me and don't want to wait around for it to cool.   


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup finely crushed saltine or Ritz cracker or bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the cooked quinoa, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Stir in the parsley, cheese and garlic.

Add the cracker or bread crumbs. Stir the mixture until combined.

If the mixture seems too wet, add a tablespoon or two more of cracker or bread crumbs. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water or broth.

Let it stand for about five minutes to allow the liquid to absorb.

Take small handfuls of the mixture and form into little patties, about 1-inch thick, yielding about 11 or 12 patties.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until it is hot.

Add a single layer of patties (about half of them if you are using a 12-inch skillet) and cook until the bottoms are well-browned, about 5-7 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning (or increase heat if the patties aren’t browning well).

Flip the patties and cook about 5 minutes more until the second side is golden brown.

Remove from the skillet and repeat with the remaining patties (adding a bit more olive oil, if needed).

Serve warm or at room temperature and with ketchup, if you so desire. 

Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Monday, January 14, 2013

Flank Steak

Flank steak is my favorite kind of steak.  Especially when my mom makes it.  It makes a regular appearance at our Sunday family dinners.  This is the recipe for her marinade.  Mmm, mmm, MMMMMMM!

  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Marinate for at least 4 hours (can marinate for up to 10 hours). 

Broil or grill for 10-12 minutes on each side. 

Slice in thin strips. 

Source:  Marsha Porter

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli (or Brussel Sprouts)

I was looking for a vegetable side dish to make for Christmas Eve and my friend Gena recommended this. Good call, Gena, good call! This is a nice twist on classic roasted broccoli. The lemon zest and juice give it an excellent, bright flavor. And parmesan? Everything is better with a little sprinkle of parm. (Except in my dad's world. He's convinced it's the worst cheese on the face of the planet.)

Last night I made roasted brussel sprouts using this same combo of ingredients and it was fantastic. The original recipe from Ina calls for pine nuts and basil. I didn't use them either time because I don't typically have them on hand and it was still super tasty. I love it when recipes use ingredients that I already have!

  • 4-5 pounds broccoli or 1 1/2 pounds brussel sprouts
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the broccoli into florets. (You should have about 8 cups.)  Or, cut the Brussel sprouts in half. 

Place broccoli on pan in mound and add 5 tablespoons olive oil.

Use your hands to toss broccoli until well coated with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Roast for 20-25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil.

Source: Ina Garten, Back to Basics book

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Artichoke Dip

Who doesn't love a little (or a lot of) artichoke dip?!?  This is a quick and easy appetizer that is always a hit.  Serve with baguette slices, crackers, and/or veggies. 


  • two 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add one can of artichokes, cream cheese, and mayonnaise to the bowl of a food processor. 

Sprinkle in cayenne pepper to taste and add green onions.

Pulse the mixture 6 or 7 times.

Mix in Parmesan, salt, and pepper (to taste). 

Add remaining artichokes and pulse food processor a few times until mixed.  (Don't over mix; you want some chunks of artichokes left.)

Pour the mixture into an oven-safe dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through and bubbly. 

Source:  Pioneer Woman

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lemon Mousse

Textures get me sometimes.  I either love or hate some foods based entirely on texture.  Cooked mushrooms are too slimy and shrimp and lobster too segmented.  Mousse, however, is a texture I love: light, smooth, fluffy.  And I REALLY love all things lemon.  This is really delicious. 

I made it for my besties the other night for our annual ornament exchange and get together and it was a hit!  It was nice that it could be made ahead so that we had more time to cackle and fa-fa (both terms used to describe what girlfriends do when they have been friends for 15+ years and have a lot to catch up on, in case you didn't know).  There really is something to be said for long-time friends.  Love those girls!   

  • 3 extra-large whole eggs
  • 3 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup good bottle lemon curd, at room temperature
  • sweeteened chipped cream (recipe below)
  • sliced lemons, for garnish

In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together the 3 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly for about 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is thick like pudding. 

Take off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes.

Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight until completely chilled. 

Place half the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

Beat on high speed. 

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until the whites are stiff and shiny. 

Carefully fold the beaten whites into the cold lemon mixture with a rubber spatula. 

NOTE:  If you're insecure about folding, sometimes I am, here's a great little demo video that might help.  There's a lot of folding in this recipe so you want to feel good about it. 

Place the cream in the same bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (no need to clean the bowl) and beat on high until the cream forms stiff peaks.

Carefully fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture.

Fold in the lemon curd and pour into a 7-inch diameter, 3-inch deep souffle dish OR into 6 individual ramekins.


Decorate with sweetened whipped cream and lemon slices.   

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

Whip on medium and then high speed until the cream just forms stick peaks.

Use a pastry bag to decorate the edges of the mousse. 

Source:  Ina Garten

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Happy 2013!  I spent New Year's Eve at a cabin with some friends watching movies, playing games, and laughing our heads off.  It was the perfect way to bring in the new year. 

Let me just start this post by explaining that as a kid I LOVED tater tots.  It was one of those things my mom didn't ever buy so they were a real treat.  When I would pick my birthday meal it usually involved tater tots (and often times fish sticks).  I used to trade half of my sandwich with my friend Crystal for her school-lunch tater tots.  I can tell when I'm walking my kids down to the lunch room if they are serving tater tots; they have a distinct and nostalgic (at least to me) smell.

So, in short, this casserole is my childhood dream come true.  Thanks to our school librarian, Mrs. Davenport, for sharing the recipe with me a few years back. 

I made this for our New Year's day breakfast this morning.  I woke up, threw it together, and went back to sleep while it cooked.  I had cut and grated ahead of time so it was super quick to put together and everyone woke to the smell of yummy, cheesy, tater-tot-y casserole. 

  • 2 pounds frozen tater tots
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound ham, bacon, OR sausage, cooked and chopped
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk

Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

Cover bottom of pan with tater tots.

Top with onions, meat, and cheese.

Whisk eggs and milk together until combined. 

Pour egg mixture over the top.  

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Source:  Diane Davenport