Closing Shop

As school approaches, I realize, I can’t maintain this blog. It is time to empty the bookcase of some of the cookbooks and replace them with Math, Science, History and Writing.  It is time to focus on my precious class, I have not yet met.

I have enjoyed this blog and handled it differently than my other two blogs.  I kept a distance here, I think knowing, I could not keep it up.  I did not become attached the way I am to the other blogs.

I am thinking of moving some of these posts to Bizzy Bakes and My Sweet and Savory.  I love some of the recipes, I have shared here and don’t want to lose them.  I hope, you will continue to visit me there.  I am going to move Power Foods to My Sweet and Savory.

Thanks for your support and interest in Bookcase Foodie.

To say, “See ya” with a little humor.  I am looking at the sidebar which has a place for recommended tags for this post and I see, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Shannon Donnely, Canada, Roller coaster, rice and sweet.  Perhaps, you understand why my few words have prompted these choices.

I am going to include a few of the photos, they suggest, I use.

Sweet at the height of their career in the mid...

Sweet at the height of their career in the mid-1970s. Clockwise from top left: Steve Priest, Brian Connolly, Mick Tucker, and Andy Scott. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Sweet Shop

Sweet Shop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

English: Hackthorn Shop & Post Office A sign d...

English: Hackthorn Shop & Post Office A sign declares “closing down, everything must go” and today (8th May 2008) I’m reliably informed by the lady in the shop is the last day ….. fortuitous timing ! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The York Sweet Shop Traditional sweet...

English: The York Sweet Shop Traditional sweet shop on Low Petergate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Balsamic Smoked Chicken – Thanks Hubby

We got a brand new, free smoker (the kind you cook in).   We have used it a few times and surprisingly the simple chicken won over the turkey and beef.  There is something to be said about smoking food although, I can only speak for poultry and beef.  The smokiness is two fold.  It makes the food delicious and it fills my house with air that makes one cough. (The smoker is outside but it comes in through the window, which gets closed, very quickly.)

I hate to admit it but I was not really tuned in to my husband.  Our conversation went like this. 

Husband: I need a marinade.

Me: Uh Huh.

H: Would you find a marinade for me?

M: Uh Huh.

H: I want to do this now so it will marinate overnight.

M: OK

H: So, will you get me a marinade?

M: (springing to action) )I remembered seeing one online using balsamic vinegar so I did a search and found the following at CD Kitchen.

Balsamic Smoked Chicken

Ingredients

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 whole chicken

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a resealable bag.

Add marinade and seal closed, removing as much air as possible from the bag. 

When ready to grill remove from marinade, discard the excess marinade and grill until chicken is fork tender and no pink remains.  Hubby was in charge of the grilling and I don’t know how long it was in the smoker.It was succulent and had the smoky flavor permeating every pore.  It stole the show.

This is linked to Made From Scratch Monday

Hide the Salmon

I found this recipe on the The Lean Green Bean.  It is one of those recipes that you immediately know was put there, just for you.  No ego here….

It has so much of what I like, salmon, spinach, eggs, tomato and feta cheese.  How could I not think, it was just for me?  It is perfect and actually, after making some changes that meet my family’s needs, it was perfect.  If you have a moment go over there and see the original recipe.  I do want to make it that way but I took a shorter route which is what I mean by my family’s needs.

I presented my husband with the plate which is a colorful presentation and he happily was eating.  I wondered out loud, if I should have put the salmon on the bottom or the spinach.  His head popped up and he said, “Did you say salmon?  Is there salmon in this?”  He prodded the vegetables and sure enough, he found the salmon.  He asked, “Why did you hide the salmon?”

Hide the Salmon  (adapted)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red pepper, chopped

1/2 an onion, chopped

1 cup frozen spinach

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 piece of salmon, cooked

3 – 4 eggs

4 slices tomato

1/2 cup Feta cheese

Heat  the olive oil in a large skillet over medium hear. Saute the pepper and onion  for  8 minutes.  Add the spinach (Defrosted) and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Push the vegetables aside and drop the eggs in the free side of the pan and let them cook to your liking.  I turned ours over but either way is going to be delicious.

I, also put the cooked salmon slice in the pan to heat up.  Yes, I used a very  large skillet.

Now is the creative part but I am not creative so do as follows:

I used a square soup bowl which may work better than a round one.  These are the layers.

Salmon on the bottom

Spinach, onions and bell pepper on top of salmon

Cooked eggs on top of spinach layer

Sliced tomatoes with feta on the very top.

This is a delicious combination.  My husband commented on the many flavors.

Thanks to the Lean Green Bean.

This is linked to Hearth and Soul Hop     Slightly Indulgent Tuesday      Fat Tuesday         Naptime Creations Tasty Tuesday Link Party    The Gathering Spot            All My Bloggy Friends    Trick or Treat Tuesdays

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

I haven’t been baking  like I used to.  I do bake when the grandkids come to visit.  Either I make cupcakes for them to frost and decorate or I make cookies.  They like some kind of chocolate cookie, either a chocolate chipper or a real chocolate cookie.  These cookies are filled with that wonderful ingredient and taste outrageously CHOCOLATE.

The parents monitor the amount the kids eat.  If you are a parent who are blessed with living parents, please let the kids indulge a bit with the grandma’s and grandpops or in our case, the Bubbys and Zaidys.  I am good and don’t say a word but these are bonding moments and memories for the little ones and they mean the world to us.

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies   From Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (adapted)

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces chocolate cut into chunks (small)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high-speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Using cookie scoop (teaspoon or tablespoon – baking time varies), drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers,9 – 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool completely.

These are yummy.

This may be linked to the following:   See Ya in the Gumbo      Mealtime Monday       Meatless Monday

I Will Tell You a Story

Sunday was a 25 hour fast.  It is the second most serious fast day in Judaism.  Usually, we break the fast on an omelet with cheese.  When I asked my husband, what he felt like having, he asked if I would mind making spaghetti pie.  It sounded so right to me.  I make it without meat so it is not a heavy dish.  I was planning on using light cheeses and a plain filling.  Sounds good.

I put up the water for the noodles, cooked them, and went to drain them.  I drained them right into the soapy water.  Klutzy me.

While the pasta was cooking, I made a filling of eggplant, onion and tomatoes from the garden.  I stayed away from seasoning since we were looking for more to the bland side.  As it turned out, the tomato flavor is strong when it is a “real” tomato, just picked and ripe.  I had the filling for the spaghetti pie but no crust.  On another day, I would have very likely cooked more spaghetti but, I was grumpy, tired and hot but not hungry.  I was not in the mood to cook it again and I found a way to blame it on the good husband who wasn’t even in the room.  How do we do that?  Maybe, you don’t.  I did.

Bottom line, my filling became the main course.  We took some leftovers out of the refrigerator.  I had potato salad, Oriental spaghetti salad and a yummy egg salad.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that made for the right meal to break our fast.  That is making the best of what one has.

We had the same kind of happening on Saturday, our Sabbath.  At the last-minute, two more guests joined us for dinner.  I usually cook tons of food for the Sabbath but this week, because of the fast that began Saturday evening as the Sabbath ended, I cut way back and made just enough.  It is truly amazing, whatever food, there was, seemed to expand so that everyone had plenty to eat.  Honestly, I can’t figure it out.

I also had to feed the extra guests before the fast.  Keep in mind, we do not cook food on the Sabbath, so it had to be something ready to eat.  I don’t panic when these things happen but before a fast, I have to admit, I was concerned.  We all had to fill ourselves to get through the next 25  hours with food or drink.  Again, we had enough and I think everyone was full.

I do want to share this eggplant dish with you.  The tomato was the dominant flavor of the dish.

The Dish That Wasn’t

1/2 eggplant cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1/4 cup chopped cheddar

Heat olive oil in large skillet.

Put eggplant and chopped onion in skillet and keep gently mixing them around.  The eggplant browns quickly.

When onion is translucent and eggplant, slightly brown(about 6 minutes), add the chopped tomato and cheddar cheese and cook for an additional 2 minutes until tomato is hot  and cheese is melted.  If  you would like the tomato to really permeate the other ingredients, cook for another then minutes.

You could fill a taco or tortilla with this.  You could use it as a filling in a spaghetti pit.  You could use it in a sandwich.  You could use it as a sauce for rice, pasta or meat.  Feel free to spice it up.  I would have if we weren’t purposely keeping it bland….it really wasn’t.

 

As you can see, the photo, is not clear.  This is still in the skillet.  I apologize but I think, at least, this gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Poached Soy Salmon

Poached Soy-Ginger Salmon

I made this recipe, a while ago and improvised my way through it.  When I completed it, I looked for the recipe online.  I had never poached salmon before and wanted to be reassured, I was doing something acceptable.  The truth is, that at the point, it didn’t matter.  We had eaten the salmon and it was delicious.  It seems lighter when it is poached.  It picked up the soy flavor but lightly.  I think, I added a little honey, one teaspoon, but I am not positive.  I know, I would add it, if I made this again.  I like a little sweetness when I use soy.

2  salmon fillets

 ground black pepper

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped onion
Season the top of salmon lightly with black pepper.

Fill a large saucepan with just enough water to cover the salmon fillets. Add the  onion, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Place the salmon into the simmering broth and cook gently  10 minutes.
Remove the salmon from broth with a slotted spoon and serve.

Mini Veggie Pizza Toppings

There is a pizza crust to go under the toppings but the fun is in the topping.  I keep, mini pizza crusts, in my freezer, for the times, we want pizza for dinner.  The two of us eat two each with a heaping bowl of salad.  What I started doing, was making two pizzas with one type of topping and a the other two with something different.  It makes the meal more interesting and enjoyable.

Tonight, we had a more traditional pizza with tomato sauce,broccoli, onions, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.   The other pizza had carrots, radish, spinach with ricotta, Parmesan and Cheddar.  This is a nice change from pizza as we knew it, a few years ago.

For two mini pizzas……

Pizza 1

1/4 cup Marinara sauce for each of the two pizzas

1 teaspoon chopped onion for each

sprinkle of Parmesan for each

1/4 cup chopped broccoli for each

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Lay out the mini crusts.  Pour marinara sauce on two of the crusts.  Cover with vegetables and cheese.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake completed pizza for 10 – 12 minutes or until cheese is browned.

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Pizza 2

1/3 cup Ricotta cheese for each of the two

1/4 cup thin sliced carrots for each

1/4 cup spinach

1/8 cup yellow tomato

few thin sliced pieces of radish

1 teaspoon of Parmesan

1/4 cup of cheddar cheese

Cover crust with Ricotta leaving a small space at the edge that is plain crust.

Spoon spinach on Ricotta.  Top with carrots, tomato and radish.

Sprinkle Parmesan and grated cheddar cheese.  I grate right onto the pizza.

Bake in the same manner as above.

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This is linked to

Hearth and Soul Hop     Slightly Indulgent Tuesday      Fat Tuesday         Naptime Creations Tasty Tuesday Link Party    The Gathering Spot      Delicious Dishes      All My Bloggy Friends      Trick or Treat Tuesdays      Kids in the Kitchen       You’re Gonna Love it Tuesdays   Keep it Real Thursdays

My First Experience with a Daikon

You should be getting a picture of me as someone who is discovering lots of new tastes and textures.  It is exciting and I am discovering tastes that I really like and want to incorporate into my cooking.  Today’s treat is the Daikon radish.  I picked one up at the store, looked at it strangely, and brought it home.  “Now what?” was my question.

I wish my one individual daikon was as clean looking and graceful as the above.

Roasted Daikon Radish

1 daikon radish

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel the daikon radish and then slice into several pieces.  They pieces should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray with olive oil.

Place slices of daikon on cookie sheet.  Bale at 450 degrees for 35 minutes.  The daikon  should be browning.  If it is not, leave in longer until it is cooked and brown.

Remove from oven and take a taste.  I think it is delicious.  I would like to use these in salads.

This is linked to Grocery Cart Challenge

Double Sesame Broccoli

This week our Power Food is broccoli.  Each week, we choose a recipe based on the power food which comes from the book, Power Foods, 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients from the editors of Whole Living magazine.

Broccoli is a favorite food in our home.  It is rewarding to eat food, we enjoy and know we are getting health benefits from it.  It is high in fiber, calcium rich and has Vitamins A and C.  It is a fighter of cancer and other health hazards.  It seems to me that the vegetables from the cabbage family such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy are quite a variety and from all of these, broccoli wins in the benefits department.

When it came to selecting a recipe, it was difficult.  Broccoli does beautifully in a stir fry.  It is delicious plain or with a little garlic and butter.  I make a kugel out of it, sometimes mixing in cauliflower.  I think broccoli is pretty and I love to steam it and add it to a salad.  I make a mean broccoli cheese soup.  Finding a recipe meant eliminating many delicious and nutritious dishes.  I decided to make it simple although, just his week, I used broccoli in a number of dishes including a pasta dish, a salad and a stir fry.  There is something about roasting vegetables that make them better than with any sauce.

Double Sesame Broccoli    

2 – 3 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 T. olive oil
2 T.  lemon juice
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch sugar
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 tsp. sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Cut broccoli bunch in half lengthwise.
Toss with olive oil and place on cookie sheet.
Cook broccoli in oven turning occasionally with tongs – 10 to 12 minutes
Dressing: While broccoli is roasting place lemon juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger,  sugar and oil in a blender or small food processor. Blend until smooth.
When the broccoli has finished roasting, transfer to a serving dish and pour the dressing over the broccoli.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
The beauty of this dish is that you can serve it with anything.  Salmon, chicken  or tofu would pair beautifully with the broccoli.

Check out the other Power Food cooks and see what they did with the bell pepper.  Mireya is the originator of the group.  If you are interested in participating, please contact her.  My Healthy Eating Habits,  

Alyce - More Time at the Table                       Ansh - Spice Roots,           Casey - Bookcase Foodie  – Me           Jeanette -Jeanette’s Healthy Living          Jill - Saucy Cooks             Martha - Simple-Nourished-Living              Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits,              Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink      Pennywise Platter

Coming up – Brussels Sprouts

Patty Pan Rice with Sausage

The photo above is to show you the adorable patty pan squash in the rice dish.  The dish is a result of my independence in cooking.  There was a time that zucchini was an exotic vegetable, to me.  I stuck to green beans, yellow potatoes, carrots and other basic vegetables.  What do I mean by basic?  The vegetables my Mom used to cook as did my Mother-in-Law.

The joke in our house comes up when I make a new dish or use a new ingredient and the husband says, “My mother made it differently,” meaning he never saw that dish, in his Mom’s home.  There are times, we struggle to remember the food we ate, as kids and get stuck at the vegetables above plus corn, chicken, ground beef and salads with tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.

We come from another generation and the world was different.  I was going to say, money was tighter but it is probably not true.  My in-laws were comfortable (not at all rich – comfortable) and my parents struggled.  Dad had a small business which meant sometimes, it was easy to get what we needed and at other times, without saying a word, my parents held back.  I never felt those changes.  At the time, I had no idea that money was not flowing.  No one said a word.  When I was an adult, my Dad filled me in and I bless both of them for allowing me a normal childhood without the stress of financial concerns.

Mom was a plain and simple cook and the food was nourishing and good.  My mother-in-law was a disaster, bless her soul.  My husband remembers burnt food or raw food.  His grandmother and aunts were fabulous cooks so I don’t know what happened to the cooking gene, in his immediate family.  His sister is also a really good cook.

As a family, we also have had our ups and downs but food was never affected.  Since, I used to be a plain cook, also, I didn’t have even seasoning, in the house.  Of course, if you had seen my first kitchen in our newlywed apartment, you would understand why we had very little.  If I stood in the middle of this kitchen, I could almost touch all the walls.  When I opened the oven, it would not open, all the way and bumped into the side of the refrigerator.  I cooked in the dining room. Strangely enough, I had a large living room and dining area and worked in there.

We got to know our neighbors, above us, quite well because we could hear anything they said in the kitchen.  It came through a shared vent.  At night for years, we heard one shoe drop and could only envision  someone with a disability.  Nope, it was where a rug ended.  One shoe on and one shoe off ……….  Of course, they heard us also.

We did get to know each other and did become real friends.  When we both moved out of our apartments, within the month, we moved a few blocks from each other.  Our kids grew up together and went to the same school, for a number of years.  They moved away and then we did and we have lost contact.  My husband ran in to the other husband once when he was sent to the place mine works at , for a few days.  They caught up on life.

My cooking expanded but I never bought something, I did not know, intimately.  No butternut squash, no zucchini, no beets, no garlic………..no patty pan squash, not even fresh mushrooms.  If it came in a can, it might be on my shelf, but little fresh vegetables other than potatoes and carrots.

The big change in my life was through blogging.  After reading so many blogs and cookbooks and internet recipes and seeing certain words, over and over again, I decided to try some of them.  Now, I am open to a lot of new items but still don’t want time-consuming recipes, if I can avoid it.  I want, what I call the magic food which comes out tasty with a minimum of labor.  I use little in prepared food, despite this, and have  a refrigerator filled with fresh produce.  A trip to the supermarket usually results in a new vegetable or fruit like the patty pans in this recipe.

When, I picked up a small package of the cutest patty pan yellow squash, I did not have a clue, how to make it but I knew, I was going to find out.  For those of you, who are new to the patty pan squash, you can do almost anything to it, you do with other squash.  Of course, I purchased these tiny ones and while they could have been stuffed with the rice, I decided to turn the dish into a main course and added other vegetable and sausage.

Before Cooking Without Sausage

I was a little afraid of the squash because, I knew, it could not need much cooking and the other vegetables would take more time, but all I wanted to see was that adorable squash cooked and to taste it.  I bought a package of about a dozen and cooked five of them, cutting them in half, horizontally.  The above photo should give you an idea of the size.

I brought home another new item, yellow pear tomatoes and had to use them right away to see what they were like so I made a two-tone tomato salad to go with the rice and sausage.

As far as the rest of the dish, I had no idea what was going to be in it.  Whatever, I found in the refrigerator, was going to add to the flavor of this dish.  Actually that is how one sausage and one hot dog got added.  I found 3/4′s of a red pepper and chopped it up, four scallions (both white and green), fresh cauliflower which I broke into small pieces.

This was going to be a stir-fry with very little oil.  I used about 2 teaspoons olive oil and cooked up the food in that.  If it is moved around, it works well without a lot of fat.  I wanted some browning on the vegetables.

Patty Pan Rice with Sausage

2 cups cooked brown rice

6 small patty pan squash

1 1/2 cups cauliflower broken into small florets

4 scallions, snipped

3/4 red pepper, chopped

1/4 green pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons olive oil (more if needed)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

1 teaspoon 5 spice Chinese seasoning

up to 1 tablespoon sugar or honey

salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  While it is heating, slice the sausage into 1/4 inch pieces.  Brown these for  few minutes, until you can see they are cooked.  I like them to slightly crisp up.  Remove from pan.

Put all the chopped vegetables into pan.  If you think, at this point, there is not enough olive oil, add some more.  The cauliflower takes longer to cook but we like it almost raw.  If you want it cooked, put that in first and cook for a few minutes, then add the other vegetables.

Add to the rice in the bowl or saucepan, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, Chinese seasoning, honey, salt and pepper.  Mix it thoroughly through the rice and then add the rice to the vegetables, mixing so you have different vegetables throughout the rice.  Go ahead, taste that patty pan squash.  These are also called scallop squash.  Look at the pretty scallops around the outside of the squash.

If you do use patty pan, please let me know, how you like it.  We enjoyed it and I am looking forward to using the other half of the package.

This fed the two of us but by that, I mean, I ate one quarter of it and the man of the house ate three-quarters.

This is linked to  Keep it Real Thursdays      Creative Link Thursdays