Friday, August 8, 2014
Every year around this time, I go on vacation. I'm almost on my way... I miss the blogs while I'm gone, but not as much as I miss the dogs!
This year, we're going on a northern European cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We are two days in Rotterdam and then one day in each port with the exception of Glasgow, where we're in port for two days. A day in Amsterdam at the end and then home by September.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Maybe there are moments when you don't want a large, bountiful breakfast. And those days, you grab a spoonful of yogurt or a handful of granola and go on about your business. Maybe you try to get through the morning on coffee. (Ugh...) But if you're truly hungry, looking for something filling and healthy, this frittata is for you. If you've got a friend, make one, put in in the oven to keep warm, and make the second. Frittatas also lend themselves to leftovers, so if you have some cooked vegetables, meat, pasta, rice, or nearly whatever, throw it in.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
(Above: Soup is easily vegan without the feta garnish.)
This is the last week I’ll feature a recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order). Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me: email@example.com. If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book! Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe. Now get “cooking!” I can’t wait to hear from you.
My first for-real book signing is Saturday, July 19 (11am – 1 pm) at Aspen Kitchens and Design Studio here in Colorado Springs: 5134 North Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, 80918 –University Village Complex. I’ll have a few books with me, but you still have time to buy one and bring it! There may even be some soup or something else to taste. Come see! Next up is Shouse Appliances at Academy and Austin Bluffs; date tba. There'll be some cooking going on at Shouse, of course.
The book itself is divided into seven chapters: one soup chapter for each season, and then one each for Breads and Spreads, Salads and Fast Sides, and, saving the last for best, Desserts. The desserts are very simple recipes and only one or two require any baking. Most are nearly instant (think individual microwave chocolate pudding cakes) and there’s a whole page of ideas for truly instant desserts (parfaits, etc.)
But this week is the lovely, light, perky and favorite of my testers soup, TOMATO-CARROT with FETA. I include cook's notes if you'd like to use fresh tomatoes as it IS July! I love many things about this soup --mostly its taste -- but it also is easily made vegetarian or vegan (use vegetable broth for both; substitute croutons for the feta for vegan) Try and it and put on your happy face:
TOMATO-CARROT SOUP WITH FETA and Salt and Pepper Bread with Parmesan Cheese
Everyone loves Tomato-Basil Soup, often swooning with cream or Parmesan cheese. This, however, is not THAT soup, despite the fact that there is basil in the soup and maybe a little cheese on the bread. Voted one of the favorite soups by testers, Tomato-Carrot Soup is light with a touch of sweetness and most happy with a big piece of toasted bread dunked right in the middle. Or it would kiss a companion grilled cheese sandwich because that's what tomato soup does, right?
This soup also makes a delicious first course for special or holiday meals and could take the place of a green salad. It can be kept warm easily in a crock-pot in the dining room while you prepare the rest of the meal. Then you'll hear, "Oh, wow! You made soup!"
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 5 medium carrots, minced
- 6 stalks celery, minced
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
- 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes (Cento is good.)
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (Use vegetable broth for Vegetarian/Vegan option)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
- 2/3 c feta cheese, crumbled (in bowl at table) Skip for vegan option or add croutons to serve.)
SALT AND PEPPER BREAD WITH PARMESAN CHEESE
- 4 ½ slices baguette for salt and pepper crostini (Skip this section for Passover meals.)
- 2t olive oil
- 4t freshly-grated parmesan, opt. (Skip cheese for vegan option)
- Kosher salt and pepper
1. In an 8-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add carrots, celery and onion. Sauté five minutes, adding garlic for last two minutes. Stir in fresh herbs and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with fork or knife. You could food-process the tomatoes beforehand if you'd like. Cook briefly, one-two minutes to marry flavors. Add broth and salt and pepper.
2. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer until veggies are tender, 10-15 min. Add extra broth or water if soup becomes too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot.
3. Ladle into small bowls and pass feta cheese at table. Serve w/ salt and pepper crostini if serving for Easter; skip bread for Passover meals.
SALT & PEPPER BREAD WITH PARMESAN CHEESE: Preheat broiler. Slice French baguette into ½ in slices and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Top with a dusting of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and a little grated parmesan cheese if desired. Broil bread 4-inches from heat, watching closely, until cheese is melted, bubbly, and brown. Alternately, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet about 10 minutes or until toasted through.
To make one day ahead and bring to a holiday dinner: Cook as above. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before refrigerating overnight. Day of the dinner, heat a crock-pot full of water on high. Just before dinner or before leaving for a meal elsewhere, heat pot of soup on stove top. Pour water out of now hot crock-pot and pour in soup. Place lid on top and secure firmly with large, thick rubber bands. Wrap crock-pot in old towels and place in cardboard box for transporting if you don't have a crock-pot carrier. Bring feta in a separate container.
COOK'S NOTES: If you'd like to substitute fresh tomatoes for the canned (and it's the right time to do it), choose 10-12 lovely medium, ripe and fresh tomatoes. Dig out the cores and cut an "X" into their bottoms. Bring a big pot of water to boil and gently lower the tomatoes into the pot in batches--say 3 or 4 at a time. Let cook about a minute or until skins will easily peel. Cool briefly, peel quickly with a small sharp knife and chop well. Add the chopped tomatoes to the soup and cook an extra 10-15 minutes during the second step.
DREW'S WINE RECOMMENDATIONS: Red: Nebbiolo. Prefer white? Sauvignon Blanc, though avoid the New Zealand wineries.
Dessert: Cheese plate.
Happy Anniversary to us!! Yesterday found us celebrating at The Broadmoor---40 years of bliss. Well, mostly.
Sing a new song; cook a new soup,
I somehow left off a post last week on Dinner Place for Cook the Book. Read it on More Time at the Table HERE.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Summer and caprese go together like iPhone and plug-in, Mika and Joe, ice cream and hot fudge, or pick your simile. This is true at my house and perhaps it is at yours. It may be more true (is that possible) if you live in the places where the juicy, sweet tomatoes appear each year -- Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, or add your state here _______________. This is not true in Colorado where our nights are cool, rain is sketchy at best, and the growing season is oh, about a month long. Maybe two.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
For the next three weeks, I’ll at some time during each week feature one recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order). Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book! Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe. Now get “cooking!” I can’t wait to hear from you.
If you haven't had a chance to look at the book yet, it's a soft covered paperback, 174 pages, and was a more than two-year effort that included a wonderful team: Patricia Miller, editor; Amanda Weber, designer; Daniel Craig, artist; and Drew Robinson, CS, sommelier. I had a dedicated team of testers and they're all listed in the acknowledgment section.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
First Up: Spicy Cucumber with Feta and there's no cooking involved! Happy summer soups! Thanks for all of your lovely support during this last week. You're helping make my dream come true. You're wonderful! (This blog will share some posts with More Time at the Table for the next few weeks. Enjoy.)
For the next four weeks, I'll at some time during each week feature one recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order). Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to: email@example.com. If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I'll mail you a book! Don't forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe. As my own stash of books is still on the way from the printer, be patient if you don't get your book immediately; it could take just a little while. Now get "cooking!" I can't wait to hear from you.
SPICY CUCUMBER WITH FETA
When cucumbers are plentiful, cheap, and the weather is sultry, it’s time to make cucumber-yogurt soup. Lebanese to start with (Kh’yaaf B’lubban) and very like the Indian Kheera Raita, Americans have made this creamy, cooling dish their own. Perfect to eat as a cold first course or for a light meal, it’s ready in the time it takes to whir a few things through the food processor. This is also a great soup to personalize. A bit more hot sauce? Add avocado? Top with smoked salmon? A bit of cumin? Chopped scallions or tomatoes as a garnish? However you make this, you’ll want it again and again. My own version holds some heat (skip Sriracha—a Thai hot sauce-- if you don’t like heat) and includes some salty feta and chopped red bell pepper on top. I first encountered some of the flavors from this soup in Melissa Clark’s fabulous Greek Goddess Dip (NYT, “A Good Appetite,” 2/10/10), which utilizes some of the same ingredients in a perfect herbaceous dip for fresh vegetables. When I began to test cucumber soups for this book, I again and again returned to the combination of herbs Melissa uses in her dip.
If you don’t have a food processor, simply chop up the vegetables as finely as possible, whisk together the yogurt and buttermilk, and mix up all of the ingredients using a spoon or large spatula.
Serves 8 -- Or Cut in half for 4
- 4 English cucumbers unpeeled, sliced in half, seeded (pull a big spoon down the center of each half), and cut into 1” pieces*
- 4 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and mint
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or a few drops of other hot sauce)
- Juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons honey
Garnish: 1 cup each: feta cheese, crumbled, and finely chopped red bell pepper
Cook’s Note: If using regular American cucumbers purchased from the grocery store, please peel them before blending to make the soup; they’re often waxed.
Combine all ingredients (except feta and red bell pepper) in the food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for a few hours in refrigerator if you have the time. Divide soup between the bowls and top each with a bit of feta cheese and red pepper.
Accompaniments: This soup is lovely all on its own, but if you have a hungry group you could add some smoked salmon and crackers to the table or even a basket of pita or naan. If it’s not too hot, bake up a batch of your favorite biscuits early in the morning.
Wine: Sauvignon Blanc is a great go-to wine with feta cheese, and Pinot Grigio would be good as well. (Drew Robinson, CS) Note: Drew expands greatly on this theme in the book itself; I've edited it in the interest of space for the blog.
Dessert: I love the idea of some fresh fruit and a bit of cheese—nothing more.
Sing a new song,
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Weekend breakfasts should be...what? Laid back? Slow? Simple? I'm not sure, but I do know they need to be delicious. If you have someone to cook for, that's fine. This would be lovely for Father's Day for family or friends. If not, cook for yourself. I often hear people say, "Oh, it's too much trouble to cook for just me." (Or "us" if there are two.) Au contraire. It's simpler than cooking for a crowd and often more fun. Hey, you get to cook things exactly as you'd like them. And that's what breakfast is all about, right? Everyone likes their eggs just so. Yes!
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Evidently Mother Nature didn't get the memo that it's Mother's Day, which is supposed to be sunny and gorgeous with irises and lilacs in bloom. (Instead, we have a snow storm.)
Monday, May 5, 2014
A refrigerator with a few items that need to be used.
A hungry cook.
A small skillet.
Makes a meal. Unless you'd like bread? (Scroll down, please.)
kalamata egg salad with charred red peppers
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 sweet red or yellow bell pepper, large dice
- crushed red pepper
- 4 eggs
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- a big handful of greens -- any
- a small handful of pitted kalamata or other olives
- sherry or balsamic vinegar
- olive oil for drizzling, optional
With a plastic spatula, loosen the egg salad and tip onto a plate. Add the olives and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, as well as some olive oil, if desired. Using a sharp knife, cut the egg salad in half and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Serve with corn muffins if you like. (recipe below)
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
It is a tradition amongst many Christian bakers to produce a batch of Hot Cross Buns (Click to sing the nursery rhyme!) for Good Friday. And, if not, we stop at the local bakery and see if THEY made any. These barely sweet firm rolls, served on a day when no meat is eaten, are hearty tea treats of the first order--complete with a light buttery hum that is almost topped by the spice notes. The pretty "X" snipped into the top (and often emphasized with a bit of icing painted into the grooves) lets the world--and you, too-- know what kind of bread this is. An "X" on bread can also be assumed to keep evil away. (Or as some might put it: the "X" lets the devil escape from the dough ensuring great bread!)
Posted by Alyce at 2:55 PM
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
|My most recent lentil love soup -- happily vegan, curried, and garnished with sunflower seeds and scallions.|
Once, while visiting my sister, I said, "How about some lentil soup?" knowing I was cooking dinner. She shuddered and made as if to retch, all the while saying, "I love lentil soup, but..." Turns out that years ago, when she was still cooking for her family, a very large and delicious kettle of the soup went uneaten by anyone except by her. Days went by, the soup remained, she kept eating until....well, you might get the picture. If you are not used to eating lentil soup (or bean soup or beans) every day for days on end, and you embark on such a journey, you might find you are in a tad of intestinal distress. No one can fake-retch like my sister or show a horror of food quite like her; I wish I had a picture. I made chicken noodle or asparagus--something else anyway. Maybe we went out?
|Here's one of my oldest lentil soups.|
Friday, March 21, 2014
I am not a terribly accomplished stir fry cook, but when I need to, I can pull together a fairly happy Asian-style meal in about the time it takes to chop and cook the vegetables if I have rice made. This particular meal is mostly vegetarian, but it needn't be. (Skip the fish sauce or honey in the sauces if you'd like a vegan meal.)
Saturday, March 15, 2014
|Here is it out of the cup.|
|Here it is in the cup. You can eat it either way.|
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
When I was a kid, my dad often took soup in a thermos for his lunch. He did not eat cold food unless he was out on a boat or the food was ice cream on a hot summer evening--in which case he'd have ice cream for supper. When I started school, he bought me my own thermos and made my lunch, too. Of course the only way that was possible was because he'd made soup the night before, intentionally making enough for lunches. He came from a generation of country people, farmers, who knew enough about life to not waste anything. Chicken necks and butts, bones, the ends of celery bunches, onion peels, and sometimes things we didn't want to know about, went into Dad's soup. Waste not….
These days, there can be an easier method, though there doesn't have to be. I'll admit I rarely buy a rotisserie chicken, for instance, but I do on the rare occasion. The carcass or the cooked flesh itself are both good soup materials. More often, I'll roast my own chicken or boil one up to make homemade broth a la Dad. However you end up with a little extra chicken, this quick, nutritious, soup is a good weeknight undertaking and stretches the protein into another meal or two. You can eat off of it a couple of days or invite a neighbor, or even take leftovers to work. Leftover takeout rice can make the soup nearly instant, though, given a choice, I like letting the soup cook with raw rice. All the elements seem to come together and the flavors marry in a way they don't with already-cooked rice. I also give a tiny idea for a more Asian-style soup; check the notes below the recipe. However you make this, enjoy soup and maybe you'd like to….
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Happy Valentine's Day to You!
Here's a menu you can make just for you with great leftovers. This post features big double lamb chops that are grilled first and then finished in the oven; a piquant tapenade tops them at the table. Meantime, you'll oven-roast large, whole carrots laced with ground cumin. There's a make-ahead green bean salad you'll fix again and again and I also give suggestions for wine and tiny, light desserts. Don't want leftovers? Cut the amounts in half for a one-time dinner. Don't want to eat alone? Invite a friend or neighbor; there's plenty..
Start with a beautiful sparkler that needn't cost much. I heartily recommend a New Mexico sparkling wine such as Gruet rather than splurging on French champagne. Despite all, I've found sparklers do keep a day two. Or, if you'd like, choose a half-bottle of a very special sparkling wine from the wine shop. Add some of the tapenade with baguette or crackers or a bowl of great potato chips--my favorite sparkler pairing. Stay away from cheese; fresh vegetables would work wonderfully. Just stick with something light; lamb is loving, but filling.
If you're cooking for just you, open the wine, turn on the music, set the table, and enjoy a beautiful night. Afterward, get out that novel you've been meaning to read and take it to bed with you along with the last glass of wine. You could write letters or cards to a few people you adore; make yourself post them in the morning. Whatever you do, have fun cooking and taking care of yourself!
Monday, January 27, 2014
A cold and snowy morning at home. Kept looking at my granola and wondering what I could do with it that would turn it into something warm. Pancakes came to mind. Eggs popped up right after that. What came to be was a short stack of pancakes that had granola and minced, cooked bacon in them --all topped off with a fried egg and a swizzle of real maple syrup, garnished with a bit more granola. Heaven as I know it.
Years ago, I used to make Marion Cunningham's granola pancakes (just add granola), but I now make my own….She has always been a great breakfast inspiration and her Breakfast Book is one of my favorite cookbooks.
|Alyce's granola--recipe below in purple make my own granola link|
Monday, January 20, 2014
Readers: If you also read my posts at More Time at the Table, please know that I've moved the blog to WordPress: http://www.moretimeatthetable.com. Do follow me there! (Migration by gorgeous and oh-so-smart daughter, Emily Suzanne Morgan--follow Emily @fightthebees)
If you have tortillas, salsa, and perhaps a little cheese in your fridge, you can nearly always find something for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you have baby kale, the sky's the limit. After the long siege of football games yesterday -- complete with potato skins, (recipe coming from son Sean…)
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Readers: I recently moved my cooking blog MORE TIME AT THE TABLE to WordPress. If you're a MORE TIME reader, too, please reset your favorites, links, and so on. Do come check out the new site and follow me there!! Click here for new site.
The number of chickens-in-a-box (think wine in a box, but these are also often called rotisserie chickens) I see in shopping carts makes me sad. It can't mean people don't know how to roast a chicken, can it? A little oil, some salt and pepper, stick it in the oven or even in the slow cooker. No. Mostly, I think it's the time factor, fatigue, or simplicity. Maybe the inability to think any more that day. The chicken-in-a-box is often cheaper, too. That just shouldn't be so.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
|Pintos garnished with plain Greek yogurt and Frontera salsa|
This is a favorite pot of "good luck" beans I'm reposting for New Year's. Invite a friend, put on a movie, and enjoy a wonderful pot of healthy, inexpensive goodness. If you have a slow-cooker, all the better! Nobody available? Cook them anyway. Enjoy the movie and freeze a few containers for lunches.
When I was a kid, a pot of beans sounded nasty to me. It smacked of nothing to do out in the country (except make a pot of beans) and I didn't particularly like the taste of beans--particularly pintos. My parents grew all kinds of vegetables and they were fond of many sorts of beans and peas; our neighbors were of a similar ilk. Married during the depression, but first raised on or near the farm, they all knew every trick for saving money on food. Moving to the big city, they searched for a piece of land out a ways in order to plant that garden every year. (Weed, can, water, repeat.)