Welcome To My World

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not sure!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rhubarb Pie Raviolis

Recently I was lucky enough to receive some of my grandma in laws pie dough that she had frozen. I despise making pie dough, yet I have a deep love for pie. Now Grandma Caroline is the Queen of Pie. Everyone around town knows it. Her usual flavors of choice are apple, strawberry rhubarb, marrion berry, coconut cream, and everyone's favorite, chocolate cream. I've noticed she prefers to use good 'ol fashioned cool whip (not the light, full fat) instead of whipped cream or stabilized whipped cream. She's old school. Which is probably why everyone enjoys her pies so much, they always taste the same, utterly delicious. I love them and her so much that I asked her to bake pies for my wedding treat. She made 25 pies for my wedding day! TWENTY FIVE! Nothing tastes better than wedding pie. In my opinion it blows cake out of the water.

So in my excitement and reminiscence of good times with pie & trying to decide what kind & size, I decided to make Mini Rhubarb Raviolis! I just ate one. It was still warm. Don't be jealous. Okay you can be a little jealous.

Here are the ingredients that I used to create these cuties:
Rhubarb filling: frozen rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg
Pre-Made pie crusts that were frozen then thawed
One egg Yolk, & a little water, and flour to roll out the pie crusts.



Here are the tools I used shown above, except the fork and pastry brush:
a canning ring, a scalloped cookie cutter and a rolling pin.


Here's what they look like egg washed about to go in the oven

The Rhubarb Filling


This is the finished product. It was really cute and really tasty. Make Some for your grandma even. This time you can be the super cool pie maker.

Filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup Sugar + a little more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup H2O
Pre-Made pie dough, enough for 1 9'' pie

Egg Wash:
  • 1 Egg yolk + 1 Tbsp water
Flour for rolling

Instructions/How to:
  1. Pre-Heat oven to 375*
  2. Start by Heating together all the listed rhubarb filling ingredients and allow to simmer until thickened allow to cool before filling in crusts
  3. Roll out the pie dough using as much flour needed so it's not too sticky. Liberally flour your pin too.
  4. Cut out the circles using your canning jar ring or large cookie cutter shape of your choice. Re-roll out the scraps and cut out a smaller shape for decoration
  5. Place about 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of the filling in the middle of the larger shaped pie dough cut out. Brush edges with egg wash and top with other large piece of cut out dough. Press around the filling on the outer edges gently and press to seal with a fork.
  6. Brush top with more egg wash, place decorative smaller cut out of pie dough on top and egg wash that too. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
  7. Place on un-greased glass baking dishes and Bake @ 375* for about 15-25 minutes or untill golden brown.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spicy Lime & Ginger Beef Stir Fry




This evening I decided stir fry was on the menu, but what flavors would I fuse together to get those taste buds tingling? At first I thought about a lovely little curry number, then about making sweet and sour sauce. The curry seemed all too common for our household, & the sweet and sour just wasn't exactly what I was after. So I did what I always do and scanned my fridge and pantry to see just exactly what I had on hand and or needed to be used. I saw two sad little limes that were going to die soon if I didn't utilize them & I also wanted to ensure that my family got their vitamin C so we couldn't develop a rotten case of scurvy.




The above are two poorly taken photos of the ingredients needed to prepare this dish. To be honest my camera ran out of batteries & at the same time I was running out of day light, so I just had to go with what I had. Of course it wouldn't be an indecisive homemaker post unless something wasn't included in the photo of ingredients. In this case it's ketchup. Yes, ketchup. When I think Asian flavors I always try to include sweet, sour, salty, and in this case spicy all in one. So at the last minute I decided to add the ketchup for the sweet part.


First I started my rice. I always like to make a little extra so I can have a little lunchie for the next day. I measured out 2 cups of basmati rice and 4 cups of water. I brought it to a boil capped it, and turned it down to medium. Allow it to simmer until rice is fluffy. An indication of all the water is absorbed is when you will see little holes or gaps at the top of the pot of rice. When done cover and set aside.


Next is the beef and veg. While the rice is cooking add the following together into a bowl to marinate for a bit: about 7 & 1/2 ounces thinly sliced sirloin cut steak, 1 Tbs Siracha chili sauce, 1 Tbs vegetable oil, the zest of two smallish limes with the juice of one, 1/2 a Tbs powdered ginger, 2 Tbs's ketchup, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar, and 1 Tbs soy sauce. I sadly didn't have fresh garlic or ginger but fresh is always best.

You will need 1 yellow or red bell pepper, 1/2 a yellow onion, 3 medium sized carrots peeled, and about 1 1/2 Cups thinly slice green cabbage.

Slice your vegetables so they are about the same width so they cook all at the same pace. Keep the cabbage separate from the other veg.


In a screeching hot wok or large saute pan with 2 Tbs of vegetable oil, you can now add the marinated beef. Ensuring the pan is hot hot hot, is a must. You are trying to sear the beef so that its tender, otherwise you might end up with a more chewy result in texture. Once the beef is just cooked through (taste a piece to ensure it's done and if you need to adjust seasonings,) remove from the pan and leave the seasoned oil and juices left over. Set the beef aside and cover. Return the pan to the stove and let it heat back up again before adding your veggies. Then place the carrot, onion, and bell pepper and saute just a bit because you want them to retain a bit of their crunch. Then add the cabbage, mix it in and deglaze the pan with just a bit of water. Stir for just a bit more and remove from the heat.


For plating you can use the cup that you measured out the rice with to make a little rice tower in the center of your plate. Scoop and press it in the measuring cup, and flip on to the plate. You may need to squeeze or tap the side of the cup a bit to loosen the rice. Then plate a scoop of the veggies in front of the rice tower with a little well in the middle. Place a good scoop of the beef in the well of the veg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and viola! Your spicy lime & ginger beef stir fry is complete. Give this a try the next time you want something a little different, or if you're feeling a little indecisive.

List of Ingredients
  • About 7.5 ounces of thinly sliced sirloin beef
  • 1 Tbs siracha chili sauce
  • 2 table spoons ketchup
  • the zest of two smallish limes w/the juice of one
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbs ginger
  • 1 Tbs Vegetable oil
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • Sesame seeds for garnishing
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beginning Gardneing from a Beginner.


Today while my son was taking his nap I was thinking, "am I going to take my usual nap too?" No. I decided I was going to take advantage of the beautiful day that was unraveling before my very eyes and garden in the little space I have left in my newly roto-tilled gardening square. Here's one thing I planted today and what I used to do it: A package of Ed Hume Seeds brand Kentucky Wonder Beans, two claws, and gloves with rubber on the palms. Ed Hume is a local Seed company to the Northwest and so I like to support that. You also may be wondering why two of the same tool? I actually have several reasons for that, one, the spacing between the the claws for poking holes, two, its good to have several of one kind of tool so that if you leave them all over the yard you can always find one, and three, I like feeling of the different weights between the plastic and the metal claws.


First I clawed up the dirt with my little metal claw because its heavier it just seems to get in the dirt quicker and easier than the plastic one. Then I made a straight row with the dirt, and used my more spaced apart plastic claw and gently poked holes all the way down so it does the spacing for you.




Then drop in the beans, and press while cupping your hands over the row to seal in the seeds.


Then water.


My Husband decided to join me & he planted some habenaro peppers to make hot sauce this year. He loves himself some hot sauce!

So if you are feeling productive and decide to skip your daily cat nap, pick up a packet of seeds, dig in the dirt, and soon you see little sprouts of joy, that will grow into your next meal of homegrown goodness!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Totally Terrific Tortilla Soup

Yesterday I had gotten home late because Wednesdays can be a hectic and fully loaded day for Olie and I. He and I spend the night at our Grandma's houses on Tuesdays. I get to sleep in a comfy warm bed all to myself with an electric blanket in the golden silence that is my Grandma's house, while Olie gets to snuggle up in his little crib in the cozy upstairs nook of my mothers cabin. We all get up early on Wednesday mornings and go to Bible study together, then lunch, then my Mom and Grandma have to go to several thrift and antique stores. There is always a lot of talking, story telling, interrupting, and cackling when my Grandma, Mom and I are in a small space together. So by the time we get back to our own home we are pooped, but I still needed to make my man dinner. So I opened up my fridge and cupboards to see what I had. I decided to make a hearty tortilla soup. It was more than just delicious. It was amazing. Seriously not to toot my own horn but this is certainly some scrumptious & slurp worthy soup!


I took a picture of almost everything that I put in the soup pot minus the bacon, chorizo, green bell pepper & black pepper. Which is sad because the bacon and chorizo are beautiful things. So try to imagine them in the shot for me please.


I took a close up shot of these two ingredients because I feel that they really set of the flavor profile of the soup. Roasted diced tomatoes, and Mexican Sour Cream. Mexican sour cream if you've never had the pleasure, is a bit more creamy and viscous in texture than regular sour cream, which makes it great for stirring into stuff.


I decided to take a shot of the soup with a moracca that I got in Mazatlan Mexico when I was a wee one on a family vacation. For what reason I added it in don't know. I guess I thought it would add a little cultural flair and really get the point across of "hey this is a Latin inspired dish."


This is the finished soup garnished with a piece of fresh oregano and the Mexican sour cream. Stir in the sour cream before enjoying, it's fun.


Totally Terrific Tortilla Soup:

(*Note* I don't measure when I cook so aside from the measurements on cans or bags of things I'm gestamating as far as the exact amount of spices I put in. I can't help it I was taught that way.)

Ingredients:
  • 8oz chorizo sausage
  • 5-6 strips of bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
  • 1 smallish Yellow Onion (diced)
  • 1 15oz. Can Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 15oz. Can Yellow Corn with juices
  • 32 oz. Beef Broth
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • A sprinkling of salt
  • 5 Crumbled Tostadas
  • 3 smallish Potatoes (diced)
First in a tall soup or stock pot add the diced bacon and turn on the stove top to a little below high and cook until crispy. While its cooking chop your veggies and potatoes. Cook the potatoes on the stove or in a microwave safe dish until fork tender, drain and set aside. Add the chorizo to the pot with the bacon, break it up with wooden spatula until almost cooked through. Now add the diced Onion & Green Bell Pepper and sporadically stir them around until the onion becomes translucent. Pour in the Beef broth, Roasted Tomatoes, the can of corn with the juice, potatoes and spices. Allow to simmer for a bit and add the crumbled tostadas. Allow to simmer some more for about 15-20 minutes or until the soup has thickened a bit. Serve with a dollop of the Mexican sour cream and if you have it, a sprig of fresh oregano. It's fun to have a pretty presentation for your plate even at home. It really completes a meal and gives off that gourmet aesthetic that any diner is looking for, even if its just your husband and a toddler.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Best Chewy Granola Bar Recipe I've found.

I found this recipe on www.allrecipes.com and
revamped it a bit to the ingredients that I had on hand.
Which is the best thing about this recipe in my opinion.
As long as you have 4 out of the 10 ingredients its easy to swap
some things out for others to adjust to what you've got in
your cupboards and your flavor preferences.

The Vanilla, Wheat Germ, Sesame Seeds,and Almonds are missing from the above picture of the ingredients, but hey nobody's perfect.


First you mix the wet ingredients and then
add the dry and it will look like this.


Then you liberally spray an 8 by 8 inch baking dish and get a spatula. Its a must for evenly pressing this very sticky stuff.


When you're pressing down the granola mixture it might look somewhat like this, especially if you've recently painted your fingernails fuchsia. Make sure its an evenly pressed layer.



This is what it looks like in its raw form.
Wipe your lip I think your drooling.


Then you put it into a 350* Oven for 15-20 minutes until the edges are crispy and browned. My oven usually takes 19 minutes



This is a bad picture I know. Give me a break though because I working with a 3 year old Kodak Easy Share, so yeah, that's that. Anyhow these are the finished product. They are chewy with little bits of chocolate, seeds, nuts, and healthy wheat germ and oatmeal, even with decadent peanut butter. Everything you could want in a granola bar, and you can make it almost as easily as going to the store to buy a box. I keep these things in my pantry just in case I feel the urge to make them. I've gotten these urges regularly ever since I found the recipe.
So make some won't you?

Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
  • 1/4 cup chopped Almonds
  • 3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips chopped up

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in the oats, sunflower kernels, chopped almonds, wheat germ and sesame seeds. Fold in chopped chocolate chips.
  2. Press into an 8-in. square baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until set and edges are browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars.
Note* I've swapped out the brown sugar for granulated sugar when I was out, and you can easily substitute some of the nuts or seeds for something equally delicious like coconut or raisins! Also I store my wheat germ (Bob's Red Mill Brand,) in my freezer. It makes it last longer.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Memories Made, French Fries at Hal's


Yesterday I decided to have a very simple but fun Mother Son outing at a local burger joint called Hal's.


It has a fun 1950's theme of black and white checked details and those well know shades of turquoise and pink adorning the walls and decor. The outside of the building has signs that read sundaes, burgers, milkshakes, all of the culinary delights that you might expect to come out of an old school drive through. The girls that work there all wear pink Hal's shirts and for some reason pink bandannas around their foreheads and under their pony tails, perhaps as a tribute to rocker Bret Micheals of Poison. Not a look that I would want to embody, but to each their own. There are lots of vintage signs for different soda pops and beverages of the era they are trying to evoke in the theme.


The inside of the restaurant is cozy with only five booths and three tables. There is also a great collection on the wall of actual bottles of vintage sodas along with some that are more modern but still have a neato aesthetic of a elaborately decorated glass bottle. It's so much fun to sit and wait for your order because no matter how many times you've been there its still entertaining to be able to take the time to soak in a little small town culture. After I got married I found out that my mother in law grew up in the same town as my mother and was just a few years behind her in school. They both have memories of Hal's in their home town. My mother in law (Bobbi) got a job there being a cook when she was twenty, and as for my own mother (Gretchen) she actually was not allowed to go there as a young girl because my Grandpa said it was a "hang out," and "no daughter of his was going there."

French Fries and Tartar Sauce

Modern day Hal's has the same reputation as its past, good food, good friends, and good times. Above is a picture of an order of fries that olie and I shared.

I showed him how to double up on the dipping of sauces, first tartar, then ketchup, then eat and repeat. It's a necessary process.


Good thing we also recently received this combination Harness/Backpack/Leash thingy from Bobbi for Olie and I. It's pretty adorable actually. Its a super soft lion that can fit a few toys or small books in the zipper pouch part, and it clicks in the front to keep it locked on easily. In the back the "tail" acts as a leash to allowing your tenacious toddler to roam free but only with in a few feet of yourself. Olie absolutely loved it! I couldn't believe it to be honest. I thought he wouldn't go for it and maybe chew or pull on it like a puppy, but I could tell that it gave him the opposite effect. A sense of doing something on his own which is becoming very important to him.

So the next time you find your self up river in good 'ol Sedro-Woolley in Skagit Valley Washington stop on by Hal's on State Street for a time warp and an order of fries with tartar.



Bye Bye for now!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fresh Mango Compote Parfaits






Mango Compote Parfaits


Today I was in my kitchen being indecisive. I knew I wanted a snack, but what? So I decided to go through my fridge, which is beginning to look sparse because its the end of the month. Three ingredients stuck out to me, Mango, Vanilla Yogurt, and a Lemon. So I put those on the counter and started to slice up my Mango. Slicing a Mango can be tricky. If you've attempted it before you will notice it has a rather large pit.


My Method for Cutting Mangos:

Lets see if this Make Sense...

1.) Stand up the Mango so its tall and cut down the broad flat sides first.

2.) Slice those broad slices in half and run your knife starting at the tip of the slice where the flesh and skin meet all the way down & discard the skin.

3. Then I cut the smaller sides and the little tops and bottoms away from the pit and do the same process of removing the flesh from the skin.

4.) Lastly I cut them into thin slices and then in half again Julianne style and then once again into
a small dice.

I saw some delicious local fire weed honey in a mason jar that my mother in law gave to me so I added that to the chopped Mango in a small mixing bowl . Then I added a sprinkling of salt, some powdered ginger, the zest of half a large Lemon, and a squeeze of Lemon Juice. I mixed it all together and let it just sit together and marinate for a bit.

While the compote was compoting, I saw that I had a box of Grape Nuts and a few Pecans.

Thats when it hit me.

Mango Parfaits Baby. Oh Yeah.

(Completed Mango Compote)


So I grabbed my stemless red wine glasses which now double as elegant parfait glasses, and began to layer like I've never layered before. First some Vanilla yogurt, then the Grape Nuts Nuggets ( I like the word Nugget,) then the star, the Mango Compote ( compote is another word I like, dont ask why.) Then to make it really special another sprinkling of Nuggets and a half a pecan.


Luckily My Mother stopped by today so I could share this delicious treat with her. She LOVES to pose for pictures with my son, her only grandson, the most perfect child alive, Olie. Okay I'm getting a little carried away.

Now don't you want that kind of smile on your face?


Recipe for Mango Compote
:
  • 1 Mango peeled and chopped into a small dice
  • 1/4 C Honey
  • Zest of 1/2 a Large lemon
  • A Sprinkling of Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Powdered Ginger
  • A Little Squeeze of Lemon Juice
Combine all ingredients above. Layer Yogurt, Grape Nut Nuggets, Mango Compote, and garnish with more Grape Nuts and a Pecan. Maybe even a few.