Tuesday, February 28, 2006

From Switzerland: Witches, Gadgets, and Geschnetzeltes

When we were stationed in Germany the second time, my husband gave me as an anniversary gift a trip to Switzerland. By myself. He had gone to Spain for a week to do some fishing with some buddies from work, and I had to deal with work and two toddlers all by myself. He felt guilty, as men do, and bought me a Swiss Rail pass, a train ticket on the German rail system to Switzerland, and a stay at a nice hotel in Interlaken. I was so excited! I was in a nice hotel on the banks of a river (I forgot the name) and within walking distance of a couple of nice restaurants and the train station. With my Swiss Rail pass, I could go anywhere I wanted on the Swiss public transportation system, to include the boats that travel across the lakes on either side of Interlaken. I took several wonderful day trips from Interlaken. First, I went to Basel, where I did some shopping and wandering around the historic sites. Another day I went to southern Switzerland to the beautiful little town of Zermatt, in the shadow of the Matterhorn. I remember having a lunch at a sidewalk café of raclette (a special cheese meant to be melted and served over potatoes, pickles, and sometimes mushrooms and bacon). Another day took me up the side of the huge mountain massif that looms over Interlaken to Grindelwald, and then from there up inside and to the top of the Eiger (famous from that Clint Eastwood movie, The Eiger Sanction. One of my favorite souvenirs from Switzerland is my kitchen witch. She’s supposed to be a good luck token, and she hangs over my stove, making sure that I always produce good food.

My absolute best souvenirs from Switzerland, however, are my Börner V-Slicer and Waffle-Cut Machine. The V-Slicer is really a mandoline, though it cost a whole lot less. It makes slices two different thicknesses, great for onions and potatoes, as well as small juliennes and larger ones (as for french fries). In the photo, it’s on the right. I bought my first one back in 1980, when I was first stationed in Germany, and wore it out after 6 years. I bought another one on my trip, and I still use it. It’s lasted longer than the first one, though the food holder, the thing in the middle of the picture, is starting to fall apart. On the left side is the Waffle-Cut Machine, also by Börner, and it’s what I used to make my cucumber salad. It can also be set to a thinner setting, and make julienne cuts instead of waffles that have holes. If you don’t turn the vegetable you’re cutting back and forth, you can make slices that just have ripples. Back when I ate lots of fried potatoes, I used it to make waffle-cut potatoes. Yum.

Tonight’s dinner is a recipe I made up in order to try to copy geschnetzeltes–my favorite Swiss food. Geschnetzeltes can be made using veal, pork, or chicken; I always use pork. It’s small pieces of pork and mushrooms in a creamy sauce, and it’s usually served over rösti, or hash brown potatoes. I normally open a couple cans of mushrooms when I make this, but tonight I had a portobello in the fridge that was originally going to be grilled. I decided to cut it in pieces and use it in the recipe. It turned out wonderful! We also had a romaine and tomato salad, and used some more of the red vinaigrette I made Sunday.

Geschnetzeltes mit Rösti


2 T vegetable oil
1 very large potato, or several smaller ones, shredded as if for hash browns

Heat oil in a large skillet. Spread shredded potatoes in a single layer and cook, covered, until bottom is browned. Using the lid of the skillet, transfer the entire layer, intact, to the lid, and then flip it over back into the pan. Cook, uncovered, until crispy on both top and bottom. Cut in wedges or serve with spatula. Makes 2 servings.


1/2 lb. boneless pork, cut in 1” x 1/2” pieces (or use veal or chicken)
2 T vegetable oil
6 oz. fresh mushrooms (or 2 4-oz cans)
2 T all-purpose flour
3/4 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t Dijon mustard
1/2 c heavy cream or half & half
salt & pepper to taste

Brown pork in oil; remove from pan. Add mushrooms, and sauté about 5 minutes. Add flour and toss mushrooms to coat. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Add broth, Worcestershire, and mustard. Simmer gently, about 5 minutes, or until thickened. Add cream, salt and pepper, and meat. Heat another couple of minutes (to reheat the meat). Serve over rösti. Makes 2 large or 3 regular servings.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Emalene's Burgers - a Recipe from Mom

My mother is a fabulous cook, and I learned a lot of what I know from her. We were the kind of family that had meals together; and with six kids, that was a big group of people at one table. When we had a family reunion back in 1990, one of the best moments was when we all went around the room at the big dinner sharing our favorite meals from Mom. The number one vote from all six of us, even from my youngest sister who rarely eats meat, was her cheeseburgers. She cooked them in a big black cast iron skillet, and when the meat was done on one side, she put the cheese on and topped that with the hamburger buns. The buns then soaked up the meat juices that came out of the burgers, and we had a hearty, greasy, cholesterol-filled (but who cared back in the 60s?) cheeseburger. Another favorite was Emalene’s Burgers–something she got from a friend in Abilene, Texas, in 1950. She could make enough for the whole family on one cookie sheet, and she usually served them with her famous fried potatoes. These, too, were cooked in the big cast iron skillet, which had to be filled to the brim in order to feed all of us. The first time I made DH Emalene’s Burgers he fell in love with them. He’s a bit different from my family, though–while all of us ate them with Miracle Whip (Mom used a lot of Miracle Whip. She hardly ever used mayonnaise for anything), he eats his with A-1 Steak Sauce.

Emalene’s Burgers

1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 T finely minced onion
2 T milk
dash pepper & salt
4 large hamburger buns

Mix ground beef, onion, milk, pepper, and salt by hand in a bowl. Spread equal amounts on hamburger bun halves, spreading as far to the edge (and even over the edge) as possible. Broil 5-6 minutes or until meat is brown and before edges of bun begin to burn. (The meat begins to shrink as it cooks, exposing the edges of the buns). You can eat these spread with your choice of toppings (mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, mustard, steak sauce) or put two of them together with toppings and cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Makes 4.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Great Day in the Kitchen

Since I’ve just about finished my thesis, I was able to spend some quality time i the kitchen today. First up was a cheesecake. I’ve had some cream cheese sitting in the fridge for a while, and lately I’ve been craving some cheesecake. I decided to do a no-bake cheesecake, where you use some form of gelatin to set the cheesecake instead of eggs. I went to the shelf where I keep Jell-o, and saw that I had some orange sugar-free Jell-o. Hmmmm. What about an orange cheesecake? Boy, I wish I had my camera. This one turned out sooo good! Except for the sugar in the graham crackers and the orange juice concentrate, it’s sugar-free. It’s really low-carb, and since I used low-fat cream cheese, it’s got fewer fat calories, too, than a normal cheesecake. I got the original idea for this from a 40-year-old cookbook--the first one I ever bought--from the Jell-o company. The photos in it are vintage 70s--big hair, bright oranges, greens, and browns, and really classic 70s clothes on the people in it. The recipes are vintage Jell-o, too--green molds, Jell-o parfaits, even a main dish that's got meat and veggies in a lemon Jell-o aspic.

(Almost) Sugar-Free Orange Cheesecake

1 pkg. graham crackers (about 10 pieces)
1/4 c Splenda granular
1 T dried or 2 T fresh grated orange peel
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c water
1 sm. box sugar-free orange Jell-o
3 8-oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened (I used 2 lowfat and 1 regular, since that's what I had in the refrigerator)
1/4 c frozen orange juice concentrate (I keep a large can in my freezer and scoop out some whenever I need orange juice)
grated peel from one fresh orange

For crust: Preheat oven to 350˚. In a food processor, mix graham crackers, Splenda, orange peel, and butter. Process until finely ground. Press into bottom of 10-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool.
Filling: Bring water to a boil; stir into Jell-o in a small bowl. Cool about 10 minutes. In a large mixer bowl, mix cream cheese, orange juice concentrate, and fresh orange peel. Slowly add Jell-o mixture. Pour all into springform pan. Cool until set.

Imagine how this would be if you used raspberry Jell-o, or lemon, or lime, or strawberry! This would be good no matter what flavor you used. It set up beautifully, and I served it topped with some mandarin oranges. DH said he didn’t notice that it was sugar-free. If I remember to bring the camera home tomorrow I’ll take a photo of a slice and submit it to alicat’s weekend cookbook challenge. The theme this time is orange.

Dinner tonight was two more of Ruth’s recipes, plus an adaptation of one of Joe’s . Like I’ve said before, I can’t give you Ruth’s recipes. I can just tell you about them. We had Garlic-Rosemary Chicken Roll-ups and Grilled Eggplant. The chicken was good, but I learned I don’t really care for eggplant. Now that doesn’t mean the recipe was no good–I bet the marinade is good on the other vegetables she recommended. The other dish was a cauliflower casserole, using Joe’s recipe, Creamed Cauliflower with Herbed Crumb Topping , as a guide. Thanks, Joe, for the original recipe and for cooking vegetables in such wonderful ways. My adaptation is definitely not as good as your original recipe, but it was based on what I had on hand.

Creamed Cauliflower Casserole

1 1-lb. package frozen cauliflower
2 t butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 med. onion, chopped
2 T flour
1 c lowfat milk
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
dash thyme
2 T dried parsley
1/2 c dried breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 325˚. Boil cauliflower in 1 cup salted water 8-10 minutes. Drain. In a large skillet, melt 1 teaspoon of the butter, and sauté 2 cloves of the garlic and onion over medium heat until tender, about 8-10 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and milk, and add to the garlic-onion mixture in the skillet. Cook over medium heat another couple of minutes until thickened. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cauliflower. Pour all into a greased 8” baking pan. In a small skillet, heat the other teaspoon butter, add the other clove garlic, and cook about 30 seconds until lightly browned. Stir in the thyme, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over cauliflower. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 3-4 servings.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Busy Days, Easy Dinners

My aunt, Gwen Morlan, gave me the recipe for this pasta dish when I visited her in Los Gatos, California in 1979. I had just graduated from college (I was a December grad from Texas Tech), and took off for a two-week road trip. Following some skiing in Colorado and Tahoe, I stayed with Gwen and my uncle John for a few days. In addition to showing me the sights of San Francisco and Santa Cruz, she shared some great recipes with me. Gwen and John eventually moved to Kawaii, then to Ewa Beach on Oahu, and now live on the big island of Hawaii. I’ve been cooking this recipe, Four-Taste Pasta, for 25 years now. It’s a favorite with DH and both of my kids, and it makes fantastic leftovers that can be easily zapped in the microwave. Normally I have it with garlic bread or breadsticks; last night we had some crusty French bread.

Gwen’s Four-Taste Pasta

12 oz. thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
2 cans tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
1 t crushed red pepper
1/4 c dried parsley
1/4-1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese

(Yes, I know that’s six tastes–I guess she doesn’t count the olive oil or Parmesan!)

Cook pasta in boiling water till tender. While pasta is cooking, combine tomato paste, garlic, olive oil, red pepper, and parsley in a large bowl. Add drained, but still hot pasta to tomato paste mixture. Use two forks to combine the mixture with the pasta. Add Parmesan, combine, and serve immediately. Sometimes I have to zap it in the microwave to get it hot again. This is meant to be a thick pasta–it’s not a sauce, but more like a coating. You can add more red pepper flakes if you decide you want it spicier. Serves 3-4

Tonight’s dinner was fairly quick to make, but was pretty “fancy.” I bought several pork tenderloins at Costco yesterday, and decided to cook one using a new recipe. (And I don’t remember where this recipe came from!)

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
1/4 t salt
1/8 t ground black pepper
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 t Splenda brown sugar blend

Preheat oven to 375˚. Rinse pork under cool running water. Trim excess fat. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat; place pork in skillet. Sear each side to brown entire surface. Remove meat from pan; set aside on a warm plate. Add vinegar to skillet, stirring to scrape any cooked bits of meat from skillet. Reduce heat to medium; stir in brown sugar; mix well to make a glaze. Return tenderloin to skillet; spoon glaze over meat. Place skillet in oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove pork fromoven; allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle any pan juices over top.

I served this with some Rice-a-Roni--I still use it, since DH likes it so much. I also made a mixed green salad, and threw together some dressing. Normally I like balsamic vinegar on my salad, but we were already having it in the pork dish, so I had to come up with something else. This tastes a bit like a French dressing.

Red Vinaigrette

1/2 c red wine vinegar
1 T Splenda granular
1 T sweet paprika
1 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c vegetable oil

Combine vinegar, Splenda, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Let stand at room temperature. Re-whisk before using. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

[No photos for a few days–I left the camera at the office!]

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My Own 30-Minute Meal

It was hard getting up and going to work today, but I do have to earn a paycheck! I got caught up in the office, and then decided to NOT go to the school board meeting tonight. Instead, I went to the store and stocked up on produce and dairy since we’d used it all up before we left, and then came home to cook dinner. I threw together my mom’s banana-apple salad, a take-off on waldorf salad, but without the nuts and celery. It’s just bananas, apples, and Miracle Whip. Yup, two tablespoons of Miracle Whip. Love that stuff! And love that salad!

Mom’s Banana-Apple Salad

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1 large crisp apple, diced
2 bananas, sliced lengthwise and then in slices
2 T light or regular Miracle Whip

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serves 2

I then made one of my own 30-minute meals, a recipe I got from a Benson and Hedges cookbook back when I used to smoke 25 years ago: Tomato Beef with Curry. What makes this different is the sugar–or in this case, Splenda–added to the curry powder towards the end, making the dish slightly sweet. It’s quite different, but quite good!

Tomato Beef with Curry

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3/4 lb. sirloin, cut in 1/2” pieces
2 T oil
1 bell pepper, cut in 1/2” pieces
1 medium onion, cut in pieces
1/2 c chicken broth
2 t curry powder
2 t sugar or Splenda
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 2 T water
2 small tomatoes, cut in pieces

Brown meat in two batches in hot olive oil in wok or skillet. Remove from pan. Add bell pepper, onion, and broth. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes. Add curry powder and sugar; cover and cook another 2-3 minutes. (It all depends on how crispy you want your vegetables. I like mine “wilted,” so I cook mine 5 minutes.) Add cornstarch-water mixture; stir until sauce is thickened, about 1 minute longer. Add meat and tomatoes, and stir until heated through. Serve over hot rice. Makes 3 “hearty” or 4 small servings.

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Home from Hawaii

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It was beautiful. Our trip was wonderful. It’s good to be home, but it sure was nice to be in Hawaii. We were able to catch an earlier flight than we’d originally planned, and arrived in Honolulu around noon Wednesday. When we got to the hotel (Hilton Hawaii Village in Waikiki), we hooked up with my friend Kathy and her husband Rob for a late lunch at CJ’s Deli in the hotel. The afternoon was spent walking up and down the beach, followed by some shopping in all the great (expensive) stores. We found the ABC store, though, which is where I got most of my souvenirs. I mean, why pay $115 for a shirt that costs $25 at the ABC store? We spent a few hours out on our ocean-view balcony, and enjoyed the sunset and the far-off rain out in the ocean.
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Dinner was at the Lanai, with a quiet table for two right next to the “moat” full of fish and a lovely black-headed goose.

After an overpriced breakfast at the Tapa Cafe, still at the Hilton, we were picked up by the “Duck,” a big, bright yellow former amphibious assault vehicle that’s been turned into an open-air tour bus. What a blast! We drove around Waikiki for a bit, picking up other folks from their hotels, and then headed to Pearl Harbor to see the Arizona Memorial. That was something that had been at the top of our list to do, and we were all touched by what we saw.
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After leaving Pearl Harbor, we continued on the “duck” through downtown Honolulu, where our driver showed us some of the local sights. Kathy and I spotted the Ala Moana mall, where we knew we’d have to go later, if we could. DH was able to check out Kewalo Basin, where the boat was docked that he’d take fishing on Saturday.

Before we went on our trip, I’d checked out Reid’s site, Ono Kine Grindz , where he has written about lots of restaurants on Oahu. Being fans of German food, we followed his advice and went to the Chef’s Table, an Austrian/Bavarian restaurant out on Keahole on the way to Hawaii Kai. Reid wrote about it here. DH had been wanting some sauerbraten, and the Chef’s Table didn’t disappoint him. He said it was great, and enjoyed the spatzle and red cabbage that came with it. The salad was different–mostly iceberg lettuce, with some carrot and tomato, and a dressing that neither of us could identify. (But it was good) After I ordered my glass of auslese (a very sweet German white wine that I LOVE), I decided to try the jagerschnitzel, since I prefer my zigeunerschnitzel to anyone else’s. I was surprised that it was not breaded and fried before having the sauce put on it. It was unbreaded; but still tasted pretty good. I know that foods are cooked differently in different parts of Germany and Austria, but didn’t expect tomatoes in the sauce. I’m used to a brown sauce with lots of mushrooms. I had asked for potatoes instead of spatzle with mine, but instead of getting the french fries I expected, I got salzkartoffeln. These had caraway seeds on them, an unusual flavor for potatoes. I gave DH my red cabbage, since I also prefer mine to anyone else’s. (I just don’t work well out of my comfort zone!)

Friday morning, we went to Eggs n’ Things, another local place Reid wrote about at the bottom of his post here. We arrived at about 7:15, and were immediately shown to the last open table for four. After we sat down, the crowd started to arrive, so we were glad we’d decided to go at 7 instead of 8. DH opted for eggs with Portuguese Sausage, something he’d heard about and wanted to try. I noticed that one of the specials was crepes with sour cream and mandarin orange filling, and opted for those, plus a side order of Spam. (I really like Spam–to me, it goes well with sweet breakfast items like pancakes, crepes, and French toast) These were fabulous. They weren’t overly sweet, since the only sweetening was in the oranges and a dusting of powdered sugar, and they were huge. And being me, I ate every bite! DH, Rob, and Kathy ordered regular pancakes, and all three commented on how “tough” they were. They said that they tasted wonderful, but couldn’t be cut with a fork–they needed their knives. Why is that? What kind of ingredients make pancakes “tough” but still taste wonderful?

Following that great breakfast, we parted ways. Rob and Kathy went to Hilo Hattie’s and the mall for some marathon shopping, while DH and I headed for the North Shore and a drive around Oahu. First stop was the Dole Plantation for the mandatory “Dole Whip.” It’s a non-dairy frozen treat kind of like sherbet. We had ours in waffle cones, which we enjoyed while we walked around the pineapple garden out behind the store.

From their we continued north on the 99 to the North Shore, stopping at Waimea Bay to check out the surf and surfers.
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We’d noticed at a few stops that most of the surfers were watching the surf, instead of being out in it, and discovered why when we got to the beach.
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Our drive continued along the shoreline, past Sunset Beach, Turtle Bay (where an LPGA golf tournament was going on), Laie, Hauula, and on to Kaneohe, where we picked up the Pali Highway back into Honolulu. That evening, the conference began, and we were entertained at dinner by a 5th grade choir from one of Honolulu’s elementary schools. What a precious, talented bunch of kids!

During breakfast Saturday morning, a local drum group played for us–again, local teenagers and great sounds. DH had gotten up at 5 that morning, and had gone out on a boat for some fishing. They were after marlin, wahoo, mahi mahi and tuna, and caught some great wahoo. He didn’t get to keep it, though, since we had no way to get it back home. So he donated it to the mate, who was going to go sell it at the fish market. After a day of workshopping, I found DH enjoying a beer out on the balcony, and we relaxed a couple hours until dinner. Since we didn’t want to drive, we had made reservations for four and joined Kathy and Rob at the Kobe Steakhouse for some teppan-style dinner. Yum–scallops and steak for me, steak and chicken for DH. It’s funny how much you really do eat. It doesn’t look like much as it’s being cooked, but by the time you’re finished with all of it, the soup, the shrimp appetizers, the meat and scallops, the bean sprouts, and the rice, you’re full. Plus, you get a pretty good show, too!

Sunday after the conference ended, we finally went swimming in the ocean.
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The beach in front of the Hilton is nice, but as soon as you walk into the water, it’s rocky. I should have had shoes. Once we got further out and could tread water, it was okay. Naturally, we ignored all common sense and stayed in the water too long, and paid for it with some painful sunburn that night.

Kathy is a great tour arranger (she’s the one who set us up on the “duck”), and had made reservations for a three-hour dinner cruise on the Ali Kai, a large catamaran. They picked us up at the hotel, too, and took us to join 6 other buses of tourists getting on board. We were on the second floor of the two-story boat, and could go up another flight of stairs to an observation deck. Kathy and I went up for a while, just in time to see a small whale swimming alongside the boat, accompanied by a couple of dolphins.
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Dinner was buffet-style, and was very “American” except for the teriyaki chicken and rice. There was a big bowl of iceberg lettuce, with ranch, Italian, and thousand island dressing, mashed potatoes, roast beef, cubes of orange jello, coconut cake, and spice cake. Our bus driver did triple duty–the drivers were also waiters, and then were also dancers during the show.
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We saw several different types of hula dancing, along with a few different kinds of Polynesian dancing. Then came the audience participation, and we enjoyed watching the group of Japanese young men at our table. They were having such fun dancing and singing, and I think they must have taken a hundred photos of each other along with the dancers and the singer. This was a great way to spend our last night in Hawaii.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

We're Off to Hawaii!

We're getting up bright and early tomorrow morning; flying from Ontario (CA) to LAX, then LAX to Honolulu. I'm going to the National Education Association Pacific Region Leaderhip Conference--that doesn't start until Friday evening. DH and I are going to play tourist for 2 1/2 days--plus an extra day AFTER the conference. Whooo hooo!

So I won't be posting for a few days, unless I get access to one of the computers they set up for us at the conference.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Let's Have Fun with a New Meme

Mrs D over at Belly-timber tagged me for a 4x8 meme, but I did one last month after being tagged by Kalyn. However, I’m going to do something fun, inspired by what Mrs D said:

Wait a sec. There are so many of them. Isn't it a little suspicious? I mean, does anyone know who starts these things? Is it one of us, innocently curious? Or could it be... Alberto Gonzales?

Ahah! Just wait. Next meme, it's gonna be last four books checked out of the library and last four protest marches attended, and then we'll know for sure. Sneaky bastard.

Okay. Here goes.

Last four books checked out of the library:
1. Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman
2. Rage by Jonathan Kellerman
3. The Forgotten Man by Robert Crais
4. Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
(Can you tell I like mysteries? Don’t see much here that Alberto Gonzalez can get me for!)

Last four protest marches attended
1. Last Tuesday night (actually, it was just a protest “tailgate party”)
2. Picketing against Arnold Schwarzennegar in Los Angeles
3. Picketing against Arnold Schwarzennegar in Riverside
4. Protest rally in San Bernardino

Hmm. What next? Let ‘s try:

Four businesses I boycott for my own political/personal reasons:
1. Wal-Mart
2. Carls’ Jr.
3. Mission Inn in Riverside
4. any corporation who donated to Bush

Four politicians I admire:
1. Dianne Feinstein
2. Barbara Boxer
3. Robert Kennedy, Jr.
4. Barak Obama

All right, all right. Enought of the politics. Let’s do some others:

Four places I plan to visit someday before I die
1. New Zealand (just looks like one of the most beautiful places in the world!)
2. Maine (it’s on the opposite corner of the country from me; it’s always too far away!)
3. Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada (gotta see those gorgeous mountains!)
4. The length of the Alaska Highway (really--and in my own motor home or trailer)

Four common foods I just refuse to eat:
(I had to say “common” since there are a lot of exotic foods that could go on this list--these are foods that most other people eat, but my finicky taste buds just can’t handle)
1. Beets
2. Sushi
3. Oysters
4. Fresh Figs

Four artists I liked as a teenager whose music I still listen to:
1. Led Zeppelin
2. Dan Fogelberg
3. John Denver
4. The Beatles

One more, for an even eight:

Four people to tag my new meme with:
1. cookiecrumb
2. Paz
3. Joe
4. Shauna

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Can I Have Seconds?

We started off the day with a recipe I’ve had for a long time but never made–once upon a time I collected healthy recipes, but never used them. Now that I’ve gotten back into trying to cook and eat healthier, especially low carb, I’ve gone through my files and brought out some of those oldies.

Blueberry-Yogurt Pancakes

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1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1 c skim or lowfat milk
2 4-oz. containers Dannon low-carb/low-sugar vanilla yogurt
1/4 c Eggbeaters
1 1/4 c fresh or frozen blueberries

Mix flour and baking powder. Add milk, yogurt, and egg substitute, and mix with a wire whisk to blend well. Fold in blueberries. Cook on griddle sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Makes 12 to 14 4-inch pancakes

I ate mine with sugar-free syrup, but I’m sure they would be just as good with other toppings. DH used his favorite, Log Cabin. I sure miss Log Cabin, but there’s just way too much sugar in it for me. I’m starting to get used to the sugar-free stuff.

I spent another long day on the computer working on my thesis, and posted the third chapter, though it’s still not finished. I’ve been enlisting the support of a group of people who post regularly on the San Gorgonio Wilderness Backcountry Bulletin Board, who can give me information about places and conditions up in the high country where I haven’t gone. Having my thesis posted on its own blog lets them read it and give input. I really am looking forward to getting this thing finished.

Here’s tonight’s dinner:

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Orange Pork Chops, Brown Rice, and Sautéed Spinach

Orange Pork Chops

2 thick boneless pork chops (about 3/4” thick)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c flour
1 T butter
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T orange marmalade (I used Smucker’s spreadable fruit)
2 t cornstarch
2 T water
1 4-oz container mandarin oranges, drained

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Dredge chops lightly in flour, shaking off excess. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add chops and cook, turning frequently, until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Stir in orange juice, wine, and marmalade. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently 20-25 minutes, turning once. Transfer chops to platter and keep warm. Mix cornstarch and water; add to sauce. Continue cooking until thickened. Stir in mandarin oranges; heat through. Spoon sauce over chops. Serve with brown or white rice. Serves 2.

Sautéd Spinach

1 T olive oil
1 small clove garlic, crushed/pressed through garlic sieve
1 7-10-oz. pkg. fresh baby spinach

Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add spinach; toss gently until spinach is cooked through. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Good Food and Lots of Work to Get Done

DH and I decided to have a traditional German breakfast, something he ate often (in one of its various forms) growing up. I like to make it because there’s only one pan to clean up, and I generally have little smokies sausages in my freezer. Some recipes for Bauernfrühstuck (Farmer’s Breakfast) have bacon in them, others have ham, some have both, and some have various forms of sausage. I like to use little smokies in mine. I also make mine quick and easy by using the cubed hash browns from the freezer instead of going to the trouble to peel and slice potatoes.

Bauernfrüstuck (Farmer’s Breakfast)

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2 c frozen cubed hash brown potatoes
2 T oil
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped bell pepper (any color)
approx. 10 little smokies sausages
4 eggs

Fry hash browns in oil in a large skillet until they start to get soft. Add onion and bell pepper, and continue to cook a while longer until potatoes begin to brown. Slice the little smokies into small pieces and add to the skillet. When potatoes are brown, crack the eggs into the pan. Stir mixture until eggs are cooked.

DH likes to eat his with ketchup; I like mine plain so that I can taste the peppers and onions. This is another great camping breakfast, since it’s just one pan.

I spent most of the day working on my thesis , which I decided to post in its own blog so that I can get some feedback from the hikers on the backcountry bulletin board that I frequent. (It’s all about the San Gorgonio Wilderness) If you want to check it out, go right ahead! Just be kind. I have a fragile ego. And it’s not done yet.
I took a break during the morning for a snack, and decided to use up the last three bananas in the kitchen in some bread. I also had about a cup of cranberries left from the bag I opened for some bread earlier in the week, so I threw them into the batter. The recipe called for raisins, which I replaced with dried cranberries. The result is a hearty banana-cranberry bread with lots of fiber.

Whole Wheat Banana-Cranberry Bread

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1/4 c butter, softened
1/3 c Splenda granular
1/3 c honey
3 eggs, beaten
1 c mashed banana pulp (from about 3 small)
1/3 c water
1 t vanilla
1/4 c milk powder (I use Milkman)
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c oat bran
3 T ground flaxseed
1 c chopped walnuts
3/4 c dried cranberries
1 c fresh or frozen cranberries

Cream the butter, Splenda, and honey (with an electric mixer, if possible) until light; beat in the eggs, banana pulp, water, and vanilla. Stir together the dry ingredients; stir them into the first mixture, blending with a few strokes as possible. Stir in walnuts and raisins. Turn the batter into an oiled loaf pan; bake at 325˚ for about 1 hour, until well browned and a tester comes out clean.

Dinner is another dish that I can put in a pot and let simmer while I continue to work on the thesis. I don’t remember where I got the recipe, or why it’s called what it’s called, but it’s a unique stew, with cabbage and kidney beans in it. It sounds like a strange combination of ingredients, but they really cook into a tasty stew.

Normandy Beef Stew

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3 T oil
2 med. onions, thinly sliced
1 lb. boneless chuck, round, or sirloin, cut in 1” cubes
1 1/2 c shredded cabbage
1/4 c dry red wine
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, undrained
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
dash Tabasco sauce
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté onions until tender, about 3 min. Remove and reserve. Add beef, a few pieces at a time; brown on all sides; remove. Keep warm until all pieces are browned. Return beef and sautéed onions to kettle. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over moderate heat until vegetables are tender and stew is thickened, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Serves 4

Add a salad and some bread for DH and this is a great meal for two, with some leftovers. Now that I’m done with this, it’s back to the thesis!

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Chicken Paprika

Yesterday’s dinner was a series of mishaps that fortunately resulted in a tasty dinner. DH spent the whole day working on the back fence that had blown down last month, and I had worked all day in the office, ending the day with two unpleasant (uncomfortable) meetings in which I represented two teachers while they were being either chastised (the first) or given an unsatisfactory evaluation (the second). So both of us were exhausted, and even though I did tell DH to take out some boneless thighs to thaw, he took out some boneless breasts. Oh well, I thought, I’ll just cook the same recipe (Chicken Paprika); the chicken will just be a bit drier. Everything went well until it was time to stir in the sour cream/flour mixture. I didn’t take the chicken out this time, thinking that I could stir everything up together. While I was stirring, using a gravy whisk, one of the pieces of chicken breast literally disintegrated into the sauce. My sauce, instead of being smooth and creamy, was lumpy and gritty. Since my dish turned out orange from the paprika, I thought I’d use it for the next Weekend Cookbook Challenge. But the batteries had died! I didn’t want to eat my dinner after DH had already finished his, so I didn’t get a picture.

It tasted good, though--and here’s the recipe:

Chicken Paprika

1/4 c butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 t sweet paprika
1 c chicken broth (or 1 c water + 1 t chicken bouillon powder)
2 t flour
1 c light or regular sour cream

Dry chicken with paper towels. Heat butter. When bubbling, add chopped onion and sauté slowly until soft (do not brown). Add chicken and sauté slowly, turning often, until bright yellow. Sprinkle with paprika; stir through onions until all pieces are coated. Sauté 3 or 4 minutes more. Add broth; bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer until done (30-35 minutes). When chicken is done, remove from pan. Blend flour and sour cream; stir into broth until thickened. Return chicken to pan; simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over noodles. 3-4 servings.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Taco Pockets

Bad news at work. Both sides agreed to declare impasse today at negotiations. I won’t bore you with the details, but I can tell you that I was glad to come home to my husband this evening. It felt like this cabin was a refuge, and I couldn’t wait to get home.

A taco pocket and a couple of margaritas did the trick for me tonight. This has got to be my most favorite Rachel Ray recipe. I saw her put these together about two years ago on “30-Minute Meals,” and have made them at least once a month since then. DH loves them, too.

Taco Pockets

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 c chopped onion
2 t ground cumin
2 t chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt
2-3 dashes Tabasco
3-4 burrito-size flour tortillas
(this time I used Mission’s Jalapeño-Cheddar Wraps,
and they were great!)

Combine ground beef and seasonings; form into three or four burgers. Cook burgers in a skillet.
Once the burgers have cooked, place a large, burrito size flour tortilla or wrap on a hot skillet or griddle for a few seconds. Turn it over, and place in this order, grated cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato, and the burger.

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After a few more seconds, and tortilla soft and pliable, remove tortilla and burger to a cutting board, where you fold up the edges of the tortilla around the burger.

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Then, turn it over and cut it in half. You then have two “pockets” (sort of like pita bread) with burger and filliings inside. It’s easy to pick up and eat with your hands. And it tastes soooo good!

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Martha Green's Eating Room

Lunch today, in celebration of our 25th anniversary, was quite a treat. I wanted to go somewhere new, and had heard about this place for quite a while. Martha Green is the owner of Dough'lectibles, a wonderful bakery in downtown Redlands, that has decadent cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, and other treats. She also owns a restaurant behind the bakery called the Eating Room. Both bakery and restaurant are in an old JC Penney warehouse, with high ceilings and country-style decor. The walls are bright yellows, greens, and reds, and chickens dominate the artwork. DH and I got there around 12:00, and were seated at the last open table. People who came after us had to wait. The menu had a variety of salalds, sandwiches, and wraps, and DH settled on the Reuben with onion rings. I chose the Asian Wrap with broccoli salad. Other sides to choose from included potato wedges and sweet potato fries. DH's reuben was made on a swirled dark and light rye, and he said it was really good. His onion rings were coated in flour and fried instead of a thick batter, so they were light and crispy. My Asian wrap contained curried cream cheese, lettuce, teriyaki chicken and pineapple, so it was fairly sweet. I should have ordered a not-sweet side dish, because the broccoli salad was pretty sweet, too. I make a similar broccoli salad; though Martha Green's has corn and mine doesn't, and mine has a few other ingredients hers doesn't have. But hers was still pretty good.

The Eating Room is known for its breakfasts, so I plan to go back sometime for their Sinful French Toast, the Eggs Benedict, or what they call the best Biscuits and Gravy in town.

Since I really like my recipe for Broccoli Salad, I'll include it here. It was given to me by a friend named Teresa Cole, whose husband coached my son in soccer, and whose sons were both in my 9th grade English classes.

Broccoli Salad

3 heads broccoli, cut into small florets (7-8 cups)
1 sm. red onion, diced
1 c raisins
1 c sunflower seeds
1 to 1 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 to 1 1/2 c red grapes, sliced

1 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sugar
2 T cider vinegar

Mix dressing and pour over salad ingredients.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Chicken Roll-ups and French Epicurean Peas

Tonight’s dinner didn’t turn out to be what I planned. I had chicken breasts thawed and ready to go for another of Ruth’s recipes, and after I had them smashed thin, I realized I’d left the recipe at my office. So, I had to improvise. I went through my recipes, and found a chicken roll-up recipe that looked pretty good, and since I had the ingredients, decided to give it a try.

Chicken Roll-ups

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2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 3-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 green onions, thinly sliced
dash t garlic powder
2 slices bacon, cut in half

Place each chicken breast half on a sheet of waxed paper. Flatten to 1/4" thickness using a meat mallet. Combine cream cheese, green onions, and garlic powder; mix well. Shape mixture into 2 equal-size balls; place one in center of each chicken breast half. Fold long sides of chicken over filling. Then fold ends of chicken over,and secure with wooden pick. Top each piece of chicken with 2 bacon slices. Place in a lightly greased small baking dish. Bake at 350˚ for 50 to 60 minutes. 2 Servings.

The next dilemma was the side dish. With Ruth’s recipe, I was going to do some rice, but wanted something different with this one. So, out came a can of peas and my mother’s French Epicurean Peas recipe. I grew up on this one. It was Mom’s way of stretching peas for a family of eight. It was also quite tasty. I’ve always been under the impression that this was a recipe that belonged only to Mom and her family, but I just did a google search and it has 176 citations. Most are for “Daryl Johnston’s French Epicurean Peas.” Who’s Daryl Johnston and why does he have my Mom’s recipe?! And I just realized while I was typing the reicpe, I forgot the mushrooms! Oh well, it tasted good without them.

French Epicurean Peas

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4 slices bacon, diced
1 T diced onion
1 T flour
1 (17-oz) can peas, drained
1 c milk
1 4-oz can mushrooms, drained
salt and pepper

Partially fry bacon. Add onion and cook until golden. Drain some of the grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon. Add flour and blend. Add peas and milk. Cook until thick. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Makes 6 Servings

Since Wednesday’s negotiations, I need to bake some bread. Tomorrow night is the school board meeting, and I’ll be there instead of home(on my 25th anniversary!), I needed to bake tonight. I had finally found frozen cranberries at the Whole Foods Market in Santa Monica, so I decided to make Whole Wheat Double Cranberry Bread. They should like that.

I just realized, too, that since tomorrow night’s a school board meeting, that means I’ll miss ARF/5-a Day night at Sweetnicks . But it’s my 25th anniversary, too, (and I have to spend the evening at a board meeting....arrgghh!) and DH and I are going to lunch at a nice restaurant. I’ll try to eat some good veggies there.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl-Super Eating

After making Ruth’s Best Ever Chili yesterday, I had about 3/4 of a pound of ground pork left over. Instead of freezeing it for later, I decided to make some chorizo for today’s breakfast. I added what I thought were the right spices, and came up with some great flavor to put in Sausage-Egg Quesadillas. I’ve made them before using Jimmy Dean sausage, but this time I used the sausage I made from scratch.

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Here’s what I did:

Chorizo from Scratch

3/4 lb. ground fresh pork
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 T chile powder
1/4 t thyme
1 t sage
1 t salt
1 t cumin
crushed red pepper to taste (I used 1 teaspoon, which made it nice and spicy)

Mix all ingredients by hand (and I mean bare hand). Either form in patties for frying or crumble and cook for breakfast quesadillas or burritos.

Lunch was one of my favorite camping meals. Before I put the rest of the whole-wheat tortillas in the freezer after breafast, I used one to make an apple-peanut butter quesadilla. No recipe needed here--just spread your favorite peanut butter, creamy or crunchy, on a whole-wheat tortilla, and add some sliced apples. I prefer granny smith, because the sweetness of the peanut butter brings out the sweetness of the apples, and I love the crispness of granny smith apples. I’ve decided to create a separate category over on the right side for foods that are great camping. By that I mean that they are either cooked in skillets and pots, without a stove, or are eaten cold. Also, they’re dishes that we’ve been eating while camping for the past 25 years. So they’re definitely tried and true!

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Apple-Peanut Butter Quesadillas

Dinner tonight was a reprise (for me) of flavors I’d had last weekend at James’ Beach. Remember my fabulous meal of calves’ liver with pancetta and onions? I told DH about it, and he said, “We haven’t had calves’ liver in years. When can we have some?” We hadn’t had it in years because our children hated liver--beef, calf, chicken–but now they’re gone and we can enjoy it again. So tonight I made fried calves’ liver with bacon and sautéed onions. On the side, since DH requested it, was Salzkartoffeln mit Dill (boiled new potatoes with dill). We also had our favorite salad, mixed spring greens, grape tomatoes, blue cheese, pine nuts, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette.

Calves’ Liver with Bacon and Onion

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2 small onions, sliced vertically across the rings
1 T olive oil
4 slices bacon
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 thin slices calves’ liver

In a medium skillet, sauté the onion slowly over medium to medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until tender, golden, and partially caramelized. Meanwhile, in another skillet, fry the bacon until crisp; drain on a paper towel. When onions are done, turn heat down as low as possible to keep warm. Reheat the bacon grease still left in the second skillet. Put the flour, salt, and pepper in a small plate. Dredge the liver in the flour and fry 1-2 minutes on each side. Blot with paper towel; serve topped with bacon and onions.

Salzkartoffeln mit Dill (Boiled New Potatoes with Dill)

2 small (about 3” in diameter) red potatoes per person
2 T butter
1 t dried dill

Boil potatoes in their jackets (peel away cuts and eyes) until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Add butter and put lid on pot until butter melts. Stir potatoes until coated evenly with butter. Sprinkle with dill and salt to taste.

That's enough of the high-fat cooking for a while. But sometimes you just can't help yourself!

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dinner with a Southwestern Taste

Oh, I love weekends at home! This morning we had Eggs Goldenrod
for breakfast; the recipe I used for my EoMEoTE #14 entry. It’s so rich, so creamy, so wonderfully comforting. Sleeping in, coffee and morning paper, and a great breakfast–great way to start the day.

This afternoon I started dinner, since Ruth’s recipe for chili takes about 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Now I’ve not been one to make chili from scratch. I’ve always used a package of McCormick’s Chili Seasoning, some ground beef and kidney beans, and a can of tomatoes. It takes 15 minutes to fix, and was always good enough for us. Well, I’ll only make that kind again when we’re camping or I’m really short on time. Ruth’s recipe for Best Chili Ever really is–best ever. I can’t wait for her book to come out so you all can try the recipe for yourself. The cooking time was really important here. The canned tomatoes “melted” into the sauce, and the seasonings Ruth had me use were just right. I cut her recipe in half, and now I wish I’d done the whole amount so we could have leftovers. But I will definitely make this again! DH ate TWO large bowls, and says I have to make it this way from now on.

Here’s a picture of it, with some cheese on top. Sure wish you could smell it and taste it for yourselves!

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To go with the chili, I decided to try a recipe I’ve had in my collection for many years:

Cheese and Chile Cornbread

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3 eggs
1 8-oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 4-oz jar diced pimentos, drained
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies, drained
1 t salt
1 T baking powder
1 c sour cream (I used light)
1/2 c butter, melted
1 c grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
1 c yellow cornmeal
1/3 c all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x9" pan. In large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add corn, pimentos, and chilies, mix well. Stir in rest of ingredients. Turn into baking pan. Bake 40 minutes or until golden on top and a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

DH and I ate half of the cornbread, and I froze the other half for another time. You might want to cut back on the jalapeño, as it made the cornbread pretty spicy.

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Weekend Dog Blogging # 20

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Pepper’s bed is in the corner of our living room, behind DH’s recliner. Most of the time she sleeps ON it. Occasionally, though, she decides she’d rather sleep on the floor, and crams herself in between the bed and the small cupboard next to the wall.

Alicat from Something so Clever is hosting WDB this week. Thanks, Alicat!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Hoppelpoppel–What Kind of Word is That?

Today was another one of those days like yesterday, though I ended it sooner. I had been planning all day to make another recipe from Ruth, but realized that I didn’t have the 3 hours it would take for the one we wanted to try next. That’ll be tomorrow. So, as we’re sitting in the living room discussing what to fix for dinner, DH made a special request for Hoppelpoppel. Interesting name, yes? Right after we got married (which will be 25 years ago Tuesday night), I started collecting recipes. This is a German recipe, and the name goes with both a beverage (eggnog), and this hearty dish. It has its origins in the kitchens of poor folk, who took potatoes and leftover meat that they had to use before it went “hops.” They blended it with eggs and made a new dish. I have no recollection of who gave me this one, but we have it often, especially when we go camping. It’s true comfort food–bacon, potatoes, eggs, onions–and while I’m really trying hard to avoid potatoes, I didn’t have the heart to say no when he requested it.


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4 medium potatoes
6-8 slices bacon
1 medium onions, chopped
8 eggs
2 T milk or light cream
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Cook potatoes in their skins in boiling salted water in a large saucepan until barely tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return to pot; shake over very low heat to dry. Peel and cut into 1/4-in. slices. (Slices should be firm, not overcooked.) Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble; reserve. Pour off bacon fat from skillet into a cup. Measure and return 4 T to skillet. Add onion, sauté 5 min. or till tender. Add potato slices; cook for 10 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Add more bacon fat if necessary. Beat eggs in a large bowl until foamy; beat in cream, salt, pepper, and chives. Sprinkle the reserved bacon over the potatoes. Pour in the egg mixture to cover evenly. Cook over low heat for 8 minutes, shaking the skillet once the eggs begin to set to prevent sticking. Eggs should be well set, but still somewhat moist. Place a warm platter larger than the skillet over the top. Holding both together, invert the Hoppelpoppel on to the platter, brown side up. Cut in wedges to serve. Serves 6.

We both eat this with lots of ketchup!

After I got the potatoes going, I decided to use up some apples that we had found to be too mushy to eat out of hand. I looked for a bread recipe that used apples, and adapted one that called for all-purpose flour. I decided to substitute only half of the sugar with Splenda, and this bread is absolutely wonderful.

Whole Wheat Apple Bread

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1 c Splenda granular
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c Splenda brown sugar blend
1 c canola or vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 c plain yogurt or sour cream
2 t vanilla
4 c whole wheat flour
2 t salt
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
4 c diced apples (no need to peel)
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 325˚. Spray two 9” loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together Splenda, sugar, Splenda brown sugar, oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. In another bowl, mix together flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; add to wet ingredients, stirring only until moistened. Fold in apples and nuts. Spread batter into pans. Bake 1 hour.

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Happy Hour at Slim Pig'n's

Yesterday was another long, long day, beginning with a meeting with teachers at one of our elementary schools, and ending with four of us conducting a “covert activity” during the back-to-school night at the high school. In between, there were hours and hours of phone calls, emails, and one-on-ones that just about sapped all my energy. Around 3:00, I decided I needed a little “me” time, and called DH to ask him to meet me at Slim Pig’n’s in Redlands for happy hour. He was glad to oblige, since he enjoys their home-brewed beer.

Slim Pig’n’s is a new restaurant in Redlands, owned by the same people who own the Marie Callender’s next door. It’s a combination brewhouse and barbecue restaurant, with some really great mixed drinks on the menu as well. The most popular item on the menu is the pulled pork sandwiches, but we’ve also enjoyed the pulled chicken, the beef brisket, the ribs, the barbecued chicken, and the hot links. They make a great tortilla soup, full of rich cream, something I’ve not had before in a tortilla soup. The appetizers are good, too, including the carnitas tamale, the beer-batter onion rings, and several different kinds of chicken and pork wings. A unique touch to the menu is the sweet potato fries, though I prefer mine without the powdered sugar they normally sprinkle on them.

Happy Hour is a treat for both of us--DH gets his draft beer at a reduced price, I get a wonderful frozen margarita, and we get several $1 pulled pork sandwiches and an order of onion rings to share. Yesterday I needed to just sit with him, not think about work, and de-stress for a while. After an hour, I was ready to go back to work, ending my day at 8:00 pm.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

EoMEoTE # 14 - Poetic Injustice

I am so excited about this month's End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza! Jeanne at Cooksister! has announced that the theme for this month is poetry, and writing in the style of a favorite poem or poet. It didn't take much racking of my brain to come up with my poem for this entry. I've been an English teacher for 21 years, and Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" (from Alice in Wonderland) is one of my most favorite poems of all time. I memorized it, and used to recite it to my kids (9th graders, no less), who got a kick out of being able to make sense out of nonsensical words. I've chosen one of my favorite breakfast egg recipes, Eggs Goldenrod, since it's one I remember eating as a child, and one that DH loves to eat.

So, with apologies to Lewis Carroll, here's my poem:


‘Twas breakfast and the eight large eggs
Did boil and rattle in the pot.
For fifteen minutes I let them stand
Then peeled them while they were hot.

“Enjoy the Goldenrod, my dear,
The toast so brown, the sauce so white.
Enjoy it and eat until it’s clear
That you can’t eat another bite.”

She took her Calphalon pan in hand,
Long time the eggs had cooked.
She peeled the eggs and chopped the yolks
And consulted again the book.

And as in uffish thought she stood,
Waiting for the roux to cook,
She stirred and stirred and knew she should
Add the milk as it said in the book.

One, two! One, two! and through and through
Two cups of milk went into the pot.
She sprinkled salt, then pepper, too,
And turned the heat a little less hot.

“And has thou finished my breakfast yet?”
He begged from the kitchen door.
“Get the bread into the toaster, pet,
It’ll take only a few minutes more.”

‘Twas breakfast, and the crisp brown toast
Had popped up, ready to eat
We poured the sauce on top, (he got the most)
And dug in, enjoying the feast.

If that didn't make too much sense, here's the recipe:

Eggs Goldenrod

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1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 c milk
8 hard-boiled eggs
4 slices bread, toasted

In medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Separate yolks and whites. Chop whites and stir into white sauce. Heat to serving temperature. Grate or crumble yolks. Arrange toast slices on plates. Spoon 3/4 c sauce over each slice toast. Sprinkle each with 1/4 c yolks. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

For more information about EoMEoTE #14, go to the EoMEoTE # 14 Announcement

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