I also knew that Melissa would appreciate a mostly vegetarian menu that I could create, keeping her likes and dislikes in mind. I was right. I'm not going to lie, it was a lot of work and thank God for my good friend Barbara whose help was invaluable. I owe her big-time. This was truly a labor of love and I enjoyed every minute of it. I wish I had taken photos of the process, but I knew that playing photographer would slow me down. Everything was homemade with the exception of the rolls, which were purchased at a local bakery and the mini cupcakes, courtesy of Mike's mom Diane. In the end, it was all worth it. It turned out to be a beautiful day and Melissa has yet another backyard memory.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Are you tired of zucchini yet? Yes, like everyone else who has a vegetable garden, we've been eating a whole lot of zucchini. When zucchini isn't the star of the meal, we've been eating the obvious side dishes: grilled zucchini, sautéed zucchini, zucchini with tomatoes sprinkled with a little feta cheese and on and on and on....
So the other night when Paul said, "I don't think we have anything in the house for dinner."
I quickly replied, "Are you kidding, we have zucchini!"...... I thought I heard a groan.
I poked my head in the fridge and saw we really didn't have much in the house. There was a small piece of Gruyere, eggs, milk, a little bit of cream, a few strips of bacon, some berries, salad greens, cucumbers, and two bottles of Guinness that have been hiding in the back for several months. I opened my freezer drawer and saw a pie crust from...I don't know when. Looks like we are having quiche. Having a pie crust in the freezer made it a no brainer. Although I would usually prefer to make my own crust, it was a warm humid night and even with the AC on, it wasn't the best of conditions to start messing with pie dough. We were hungry, not picky. It was already 6pm, so I defrosted the frozen dough in the microwave, grabbed the Gruyere, eggs, milk, cream, bacon and a few shallots I found hiding in my onion basket. By 7:15 we were enjoying a piece of silky quiche, green salad and glass of Pinot Noir. Not bad for having nothing in the house!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
cornmeal cakes on Annie's Eats. Cornmeal, that's it! Cornmeal would be the perfect ingredient to give my fritters enough body without being bland. Annie's recipe inspired me to try again. This time, in my humble opinion, I came up with a blog worthy recipe.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Zucchini has taken over my garden. We've had a bounty of zucchini over the past few weeks. Several days ago, I checked on my garden before I left for work. I eyed several young zucchini, and decided they needed another day to grow and planned to harvest them the following morning. The following day came along with torrential rain, so I never made it out to the garden. The day after that was hot and steamy. I was running late that morning and didn't get a chance to check on the zucchini until I got home from work later that evening. To my horror...my zucchini turned into 10 inch monsters that resembled stubby baseball bats. I'm guessing the rain and the intense heat accelerated their growth and left me with these monsters. I know some people intentionally let their zucchini grow like watermelons, I'm just not one of those people. Bloated zucchini tend to become seedy and flavorless. It was depressing. Never-the-less, I made the best of it. I picked about a dozen of the oversized beasts. As I picked, I thought about all the things I would not be able to do with them. One thing for sure, I could stuff them. The other thing I could do, was give some away along with this recipe!
Don't be afraid to use what you have on hand. You can add mushrooms or diced summer squash. Make them meatless and add some cooked rice or quinoa. The possibilities are endless.
Monday, June 11, 2012
A few days after we returned home, Melissa and Mike announced their engagement. Not only did they announce their engagement, but they also announced that the did not want a long engagement and planned to get married this September. Yes, I said THIS SEPTEMBER...time to kick it in gear. They are young, they are in love, and they have energy. They will make this happen even if it kills them! All wedding craziness aside, I couldn't be happier for them. Melissa found her soulmate and we are so pleased to welcome Mike into our family. They complement each other...just like chocolate and raspberry.
this tart. If you are not familiar with a Maryann pan, take a look at it here. I've read that Crate and Barrel also carries them. It's sort of an old fashioned cake pan, so maybe your grandma has one buried in the cupboard.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Today was one of those lazy days that I just didn't feel like doing anything. The air was warm and summer like. A light breeze blew the wind chimes on the deck, begging me to come out of the house and enjoy this rare April day. At first I felt guilty, having a long list of things I should be doing. But I gave in quickly and enjoyed the quiet of a Sunday afternoon in my own back yard. My yard has come alive again. The grass is green, and the garden is growing. My herbs are growing like crazy and for the first time ever, they all survived the winter. The few cool weather vegetables I've planted have been off to a slow start. The peas are up, as are some of the lettuces, but my radishes and arugula have been the victim of some evil critter. Whatever ate them has good taste. They were heirloom seeds. I hope this is not a foreshadowing of things to come. Anyway, it was too beautiful a day to get aggravated about something over which I had no control....so I decided just to appreciate the moment.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Until you can get your hands on some local salad fixings, add some zip to a salad with citrus. I've made this salad with both ruby red grapefruit and clementines. I prefer the tartness of the grapefruit and the beautiful color as well. Use what you like, or whatever you have lurking in your refrigerator.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Today was a glorious day in New York. It felt like it was mid May. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and it was one of those days that I had to get outdoors the minute I got home from work. We've had a mild winter and things are blooming, budding and growing (and people are sneezing) earlier than usual. I had to remind myself not to jump the gun and start planting my garden too early. It will only lead to disappointment. It isn't too early though, to start some peas, snap peas and radishes in my raised beds. I spent the afternoon playing in the dirt and potting some pansies as well.
Trying to eek out every last ray of sunshine would cut into dinner prep time, so I opted to prepare a big salad for dinner. A while back I found this recipe for Thai Chicken Salad in a Cooking Light magazine and thought it would be a perfect, quick dinner. Again, this is a great thing to make if you have a rotisserie chicken from Costco or your grocery store. If you read my blog, you already know I think Costco rotisserie chickens are a great time saver and frequently work their way into my cooking repertoire. I guess I could say they are my favorite time saver. The interesting thing about this salad is that the peanut dressing is heated and tossed into the salad while it is warm. If you don't plan on eating it all at once, divide your salad and save some dressing on the side. Just remember to heat up the dressing before you toss it. I'm looking forward to a delicious lunch tomorrow. Oh and did I mention, it's less than 300 calories a serving? ...... that is, unless you go crazy with the peanuts like someone I know.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
For Valentines Day I decided to swirl some with raspberry jam, some with Nutella, and top a few with a little Hershey's Kiss. I used a basic brownie recipe, but the add-ins make them special. As I am writing this I just thought to myself, I should have swirled in some peanut butter. That would be wonderful! Oh wait, then I would be making them more for me. Anyway, this recipe makes about 50 bites, so you can experiment if you so desire. Sorry Paul, you can't have all 50. I'm packing up a box and the rest are headed to my office. There are a few chocoholics working there as well.
I hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day and share it with someone you love!
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-The-Pooh
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-The-Pooh
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Melissa likes chocolate chips in her banana bread, no nuts. Mike and Paul are very open minded, welcoming both nuts and chocolate chips. I like nuts, no chips. Mini loaves were definitely the way to go. Everyone was happy. I made them again this morning. Over-ripened bananas tends to prompt banana bread baking around here. Again, I went with mini loaves, this time adding a Nutella swirl loaf. Since these loaves are baked in 6 x 2 1/2 x 2 inch paper molds, they are perfect for 2 people. This recipe makes 4 loaves so you can share a loaf or two, or wrap up them up and freeze them for anytime that "I need a piece of banana bread" mood hits you. Just take a loaf out of the freezer and allow to thaw about an hour before serving. If you are wondering where you can get these nifty little paper cake molds, I purchased mine at Home Goods. You can also find them at Sur La Table, King Arthur Flour or even Target. An added bonus if you use paper molds...no need to grease the pan, just mix up the batter and pour it into the mold and bake. I put the filled molds on a jelly roll pan to make it easier getting them in and out of the oven. Just leave enough room for the air to circulate around each loaf.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
It's difficult to eat a substantial breakfast on a work day. I leave the house around 7:30AM and the thought of eating a big breakfast is the last thing on my mind. The weekend is a different story. I've always enjoyed making something special breakfast or brunch. Weekend breakfasts are probably my favorite meal. Unfortunately, they usually contains many of the foods we are trying to avoid. In an effort to keep weekend breakfasts interesting, I needed to get creative. I love pancakes, but I usually make them with white flour and top 'em off with butter and pure maple syrup. I decided to make a healthier version. These pancakes didn't require any special ingredients, just ingredients that I pretty much keep stocked in the house. It does require the use of a food processor though. I topped the pancakes with fresh berries, but a sauce made from frozen berries would be a good option if you can't get fresh. This recipe made 12 three inch pancakes which fed me, Paul and another serving left over. They are hearty pancakes! Leftovers can be wrapped and refrigerated. For a quick weekday treat, just pop them in the microwave for a minute with some berries and you can pretend it's the weekend.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Disclaimer: I am not a pea soup aficionado. I don't have much experience with pea soup. For years I didn't think I liked pea soup. (That was a learned behavior) For years I wouldn't try pea soup because I was told by my mother that I wouldn't like pea soup. (She HATED even the sight of pea soup). Then one day about 15 years ago I made a ham. When we finished eating the ham, my husband said, "You've never made me pea soup. Why don't you make pea soup with the ham bone?" I looked at him like he had four heads. "I don't do pea soup,
This past Christmas I made a delicious ham for dinner. After days of eating ham morning, noon and night, and Matt and Lauren went home (Lauren loves ham like nobody's business - sorry Lauren, your secret is out), I stuck the ham bone in a freezer bag and popped it into the freezer for safe keeping. Last week I found that ham bone and decided to commit myself to making a better pea soup. I'd been analyzing why pea soup doesn't do it for me (besides being pea-ish). Then it dawned on me. It's sort of one dimensional and I object to its pasty texture. I started researching pea soup recipes and decided to use Ina Garten's recipe as my starting point. I've come to trust Ina, except when it comes to her use of butter and salt...it can be over-kill for me.
I have to say, this soup was a winner! Maybe pea soup purists would scoff at it, but this is exactly what I wanted my pea soup to taste like. I will be making it again for sure, but I won't be waiting two years this time. If you like pea soup, give this recipe a try. If you don't like pea soup, suspend your belief and broaden your horizons and maybe, just maybe, you'll be a convert like me.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
I don't know why, but when snow is predicted overnight, I have difficulty sleeping. I wake up frequently and I'm compelled to look out the window. It sort of makes sense if I had to go to work in the morning, but last night was Friday night, and whether it snowed or not really didn't matter. Once I established in my brain that it was indeed snowing, I decided it would be a good morning to sleep in. I tried, but Paul has been waking up early these days. He has been very ambitious, tackling some long put off projects around the house. But seriously folks, 5:00AM on a weekend??? He's not particularly loud or anything, he just pops his head in the bedroom every half hour or so, and if I stir, that gives him permission to speak.
"Do you want me to make you a cup of coffee to drink in bed?"
"No" I grumbled, not wanting to engage in conversation.
About half an hour passed, "Do you want bagels this morning?" he asked.
"Why would I want bagels while I am sleeping (hint, hint)? Besides, why would you want to eat bagels at all?"
We've been making an effort to eat healthier this year and bagels with cream cheese doesn't fit the bill. Actually, rather than feel totally deprived, we are trying to eat healthy Monday through Friday, reserving occasional indulgences for the weekend or special occasions. Bagels just seem like an unnecessary indulgence so early in the game. In a desperate attempt to get a little more sleep, I told him I would make him a smoothie when I got up. He kept me to my word.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Almost a month has passed since I've posted anything, and it feels like an eternity. We had a full house for Christmas week, and even though I did a lot of cooking, there was no time to take photos let alone write about what I had cooked. The day after Matt and Lauren went back to Florida, we received the news that my father-in-law had passed away and we were off to California. These past few weeks have felt like a whirlwind.
I'm home now and have come to realize that I sort of missed my routine. Don't get me wrong, I loved having the kids home for Christmas. And as sad as it was to say goodbye to Paul's father, we had the rare opportunity to have the entire Kipp clan together, a bittersweet gathering. Time passes all too quickly, and with the family spread all over the country, it seems as if weddings and funerals are the only times we all get to be in one place.
So, I'm back in NY, I've gone back to work, and wouldn't you know it, it's a three day weekend! I LOVE three day weekends. They allow me time to do my normal weekend things, with a bonus day to play and do whatever I see fit to do. My "play" usually involves some culinary or photographic adventure. Since it was absolutely FREEZING this morning, I opted to bake something and play around with my new lens that I have been dying to put to use since Christmas. I've been also browsing through a cookbook I received for Christmas, and decided to make a simple breakfast cake. It was a very good decision. It was quick and easy to prepare, and quite delicious. I had plenty of time to play with my camera. I'm still learning my camera, determined to avoid using the auto mode, so photographing anything takes time...I'll get there eventually.