Jul 192017
 

Without doubt tomatoes are the leading reason folks get up off the couch in America and out into the garden. After you’ve tasted a store bought tomato and then compared it to a home grown tomato, you will become an avid gardener and you will do so because home grown tomatoes taste so much sweeter, so much juicer and so much better than store bought.

We love tomato season and these days there are many varieties to choose from at the farmer’s market or your local grocery store and that’s fine but we also enjoy growing our own tomatoes and hands-down prefer the taste of homegrown to store bought.

We’ve had all kinds of gardens –from a tilled up spot in our backyard, to the more sophisticated raised garden beds (less weeds), to patio gardens. We’ve grown tomatoes wherever we could and in all kinds of containers. This year we’re growing several tomato plants in 3 and 6-gallon plastic pots on the front deck in full sun.

Nothing fancy about it. Our good friend, Martin, wired up some pretty neat tomato cages from a roll of rabbit wire that works well around the outside of a 3-gallon pot and fits perfectly inside a 6-gallon size pot. Both support heavy summer growth and effectively support the tomatoes while they ripen.

Now when it comes to eating tomatoes we enjoy them every way imaginable. We slice `um and dice `um for sandwiches and soups, skillet caramelizing other tomatoes to adorn rosemary focaccia, we bake them slow in the oven mixed with herbs, cheese and garlic, (http://onepotcookingformen.com/cooking/roasted-tomatoes-with-garlic-and-herbs/) but when it comes to simple, health satisfying meals nothing in our book comes close to Panzanella salad.

When we think of Panzanella Salad, we think of the perfect summer lunch or dinner.  If you search the web for Panzanella Salad you will find many versions. Most have a vinaigrette dressing, ours does not. Our version is simple and fresh – bread, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and Burrata cheese.

If you haven’t discovered Burrata cheese then you must look for it. It’s fresh mozzarella on the outside with a creamy texture on the inside. It’s truly delicious but if you can’t find Burrata, then fresh mozzarella works well too. We buy Burrata at Trader Joe’s in the dairy section in 8 oz. containers. Each container has two 4 oz. rounds and is really worth the effort if you can fine it.

 

Panzanella Salad
Prep Time: About 20:00 minutes
Cooking Time: About 10:00 minutes
Serves 4

Tools you’ll need:

A Large Bowl for Mixing
A Screen Strainer (for rinsing the tomatoes)
A Spoon for Stirring
A Kitchen Knife or Cleaver

Ingredients:
Pint of Cherry Tomatoes
Demi Baguette – we enjoy Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat baguette, day old is best
Olive Oil (to taste)
Burrata Cheese or fresh mozzarella
Lemon Juice (to taste)
Fresh basil (to taste)

Recipe:
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. 

 First, slice your baguette in bite size pieces.

Season with olive oil.

Toast in the Oven for 10:00 or until lightly toasted

As your bread toasts, wash and slice your tomatoes into half and quarters.

Add the lemon juice.

Add the olive oil.

Add the toasted bread and combine.

Add the Burrata cheese breaking into pieces with your fingers.

Add the fresh basil, stir to combine.

Enjoy!

FYI / If you love tomatoes and have yet to try growing your own, either in your backyard or in pots on the balcony or patio, we’ve provided you with links below that will answer all your growing questions, just click and we’ll do the rest.

 

Jan 252017
 

Let’s talk yogurt. Why? Because I don’t get it. I mean, I get it a little. A cold mango lassi on a hot day, sure. Artichokes with Parmesan served under a black pepper yogurt dipping sauce, of course. Adding a pint of plain yogurt (sure, try finding a “pint” of plain full fat yogurt) to my tofu curry rather than sour cream, I get that too.

But in every case I just mentioned, that’s full-fat, plain yogurt I’m talking about. Yogurt is an ingredient to me, not a featured item. I had no clue the extent to which the US yogurt market had been infiltrated by Icelandic, Australian, Greek, French and Japanese yogurt brands. I gotta get out more.

Last week I’m off to the store and Stella (so not her real name) said, “Hey, while you’re at the store, would you pick up some Blackberry Serrano yogurt for me.” “Sure”, I say, like the idiot I am. I should have written it down. What do I find when I get to the store? Yogurt-palooza!

Geez. It looks like the beer aisle.   So I admit it, I’m a guy; yogurt doesn’t really fall into my survival list of foods I can’t live without. BBQ potato chips, on the list. Beef summer sausage, absolutely. Peanut butter stuffed pretzels, of course. Blackberry Serrano yogurt? Blackberry Serrano yogurt? AYKM? Really? Really?

Really, it’s true. Look at this picture.

Yogurt! All of it! Looks like the beer aisle right? Wrong. It IS the yogurt aisle and for the record, Stella loves this stuff for breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or dessert.

Now, fast forward to me, ingredient boy, standing in the middle of the aisle, looking for something called Blackberry Serrano yogurt. I’m calling home, begging, “Stella, what is the brand name of that darn yogurt and, why didn’t you warn me?”

“Noosa, the brand is Noosa,” she tells me, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Then, nonchalantly, just happens to mention that maybe I should’ve written it down. “But baby,” I say, “I can’t help being born a man and geez, let’s be honest, do you really want me to start multi-tasking at this stage of the game? Me? Hmm? I don’t think so.”

Finally, there it is, Blackberry Serrano yogurt, well, yippee-ki-yay, you can take the girl out of Texas but you can’t take Texas out of the girl. Stella and the Hot Stuff, you’d think I was talking about a band but No! My girl eats Serrano peppers in her breakfast yogurt, the kid’s tough.

I blame Australia! I know this isn’t true but if we’d never gone to Sydney, Australia and never gone into the market down the street from our hotel, I tell myself she never would’ve discovered this whole new world of yogurt.

I lie to myself. I do it all the time because it comforts me. There’s a Chinese proverb that goes, may you live in interesting times. Well thanks, I do. Truth is, these days I’m a little stressed and no joke, I’m looking for the guy that proverb belongs to. I guess I’m in need of more wisdom.

For two or three years after returning from Australia, Stella would wax nostalgic about how she’d love some more Australian yogurt. She tried lots of different brands but nothing lived up to her Australian experience. Well, it turns out she wasn’t alone.

Enter Koel Thomae, an Aussie ex-pat now living in Colorado and co-founder of the Noosa Yoghurt Company. It happened that Koel was doing her own “jonesing” for the creamy hometown taste of the passion fruit yogurt she so loved from Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

She seeks out Rob Graves, a fourth-generation dairy farmer with some serious milk credentials and together they decide to make yogurt and this was the beginning of Noosa Yoghurt, a company born out of an itch that needed a good scratch.

Now, Stella can have her thick creamy fix whenever she wants it. Her favorite flavors are Blackberry Serrano, Pineapple Jalapeno, Honey, and Orange and Ginger.

Don’t worry. If you’re not into heat, these guys have gone major creative with lots of other flavors. How about Salted Caramel or Mexican Chocolate or Coconut, maybe Key Lime or Blood Orange? Not enough? Try the Bhakti Chia or Strawberry Rhubarb or Pumpkin; better yet go with the Pear and Cardamom yogurt – one of Stella’s new favorites. Cue the “swooning girls” sound effect.

Ok, I admit that I kind of like it too. I’m sure a lot of guys like yogurt, wink, wink.

Noosa is a big hit around here and is produced in Bellvue, Colorado right down the road from the Howling Cow Café. I realize you probably don’t know where that is but I love saying Howling Cow Café and if you do go there, I suggest the bagel sandwiches.

As for yogurt and me, I’ll do my part but truth is, I’m holding out for Pina Colada. I know, it sounds a little fussy but I eat quiche too.

You can check Noosa out at www.noosayoghurt.com.

Jan 162017
 

Recently we enjoyed a fine evening with some dear friends that featured a really great family style meal. Our friend Peg prepared baked salmon, salad and a rice side dish that I could have eaten single handedly. My wife, Stella (so not her real name) managed to maintain the appearance of propriety and limited herself to a single portion of this amazing rice dish.

I did not even try to resist. I’d never eaten anything like this rice casserole before, said so, and saw Peg’s husband, Terry, look at me with pity and sad eyes. He could see that I sadly had a rice-less casserole upbringing, so he explained to me rice dishes of this type are numerous and wonderful. Wow, what culinary rock had I been living under for decades?

I did help myself to seconds, I used a smallish serving spoon in an effort to minimize Stella’s embarrassment but as it turned out Stella was wishing she had helped herself to seconds too.

On our short drive back home that evening we talked mostly of this rice casserole dish and how we would make it. Two days later we were in the kitchen re-creating “Peg’s” Rice Casserole. We made half the recipe then convinced ourselves it was okay to eat it all because we were only each eating half of the half. (I know that’s disturbing.)

As the recipe evolved, we started imagining ways to turn it into a main course and that’s just what we did. We have no idea where the original recipe comes from but here’s Peg’s perfect side-dish recipe:

Cheese Baked Rice Side Dish

3 cups cooked rice

1 7oz. can of diced green chilies

2 cups sour cream

A Can Opener

1-cup cheddar cheese

Mix it all together and pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  The above recipe is delicious but here’s how we modified it, made it even easier to prepare for the out-of-time-cook and turned it into a main-dish.

 

Cheesy Green Chili Rice Casserole with Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst

Serves:
Four

You Will Need:

Large Mixing Bowl

Large Spoon for Mixing

9” x 13” Casserole Dish

Cheese Grater

Knife or Cleaver

Ingredients:

2 pkgs. Pre-cooked rice (see note below)

1 7oz. can of diced green chilies

2 cups sour cream

1 cup cheddar cheese – or more if you want it super cheesy

2 cups diced ham, sausage, turkey, chicken, fried tofu – your choice

(For the record we used Teton Waters 100% Grass-Fed Beef, Uncured Jalapeno Cheddar Bratwurst and it was great!)


Instructions:

Cook the rice per the instructions on the package and pour the steamed rice into your mixing bowl.

Add the green chilies to rice and stir to combine.

Add your protein choice, in this case the jalapeno bratwurst…

…and stir to combine.

Next fold in the sour cream.

When combined add the cheddar cheese.

Turn into the greased casserole dish.

Smooth out with a spoon and and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until the rice is bubbling around the edges and lightly browned.

This is so easy and so tasty and a great dish to make after the holidays when you have leftover turkey or ham. And now Stella and I are imagining other creations using this recipe idea. Watch this blog for more to come.

Enjoy!

NOTE: You will find pre-cooked rice in packages in the rice section in the grocery store. There are so many varieties these days and all you have to do is pop the bag in the microwave for a couple of minutes. We used Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown rice with Garlic, which we buy economically at Costco. Of course it is much cheaper to cook rice but using the pre-cooked rice makes this an easy dish to prepare in a hurry.

Dec 012016
 

turning-filet

Deep in the heart of Texas you’ll find a cool print graphic and web design company called GRAFIX togo (http://grafixtogo.com) run by Diana Stokely who is so tech savvy I’ve driven from Colorado to Texas, twice, just to bask in the luminosity of her brain.

Diana shepherds our One Pot Cooking for Men website and does her best to keep me out of trouble. Her tech-net-guru understanding appears to come naturally; she served the University of Virginia’s High Energy Physics grad students as a technical administrator for many years. The girl has a brain.

As it turns out, the international diversity of the student body made for some fab dinner parties. This recipe is from one of those dinner parties held by Russian physics students. It should be noted this is the single strangest sounding recipe to ever grace a kitchen table. I simply couldn’t imagine it being a cold weather comfort food staple.

When Diana first told me about this dish I thought, oh the poor dear, she’s one of those high functioning types that doesn’t know the difference between dining and eating.

That was wrong. Not only has Diana forgotten more about high energy physics and website design than I will ever know, she knows good comfort food.

I know this combination of ingredients sounds strange but it only sounds strange. It tastes wonderful, is easy to prepare and is perfect for the budget minded foodie looking to try something uniquely different.

So if you’re looking for a healthy, wonderful comfort meal for dinner or one of those “never eaten that” type of recipe to spring on your friends at your next dinner party, this is one they’ll not see coming.

Serve alongside something green, with rice or pasta and hearty bread for sopping up the sauce. Wonderful!

 

Russian Fish

beauty-shotserve-shot

Serves:
Two

You Will Need:
Skillet
Dutch Oven
Knife

Ingredients:
1 fillet of white fish (about 4oz), per person, cut into fourths (we used frozen Cod)
Flour for dredging
1 T Oil for browning / more if needed (we used Olive)
Onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
Milk (we used whole)
Salt and Pepper

ingrediant-set-up

 

Cooking Instructions:

Mix the flour, salt and pepper together and dredge the cut fish pieces in the flour mixture.

breading-filet
Add the oil to the skillet and when hot, lightly brown both sides of the fish pieces until they color, about one-minute per side.

filets-in-pan-cu
Layer the browned fish in the Dutch oven alternating with onion-strings, adding salt and pepper to each layer to taste.

3rd-filet-to-dutch-oven
Pour the milk over the top of the layered fish and onions until nearly covered.

top-wonion-add-milk
Place the lid on the pot and pop into a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 20:00 to 25:00 minutes.

add-salt-2

Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Enjoy!

Oct 262016
 

Way back in the 1960’s, when people still thought science was a pretty good idea, the Russelmann family of New York, enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon reading the Schenectady Gazette, happened upon a recipe for Choucroute Garnie. Choucroute Garnie means sauerkraut topped with sausages and layered with lots of salty meats. However in this version a layer of lean bacon is used to line a 9” x 9” casserole dish. Sauerkraut tops the bacon and is in turn topped with pancetta and sausages. Then, a couple of bottles of fine German Pils gets poured over the top for good measure and slow roasted to perfection. Sounds good.

Anita, from Texas, sent us this recipe and a photograph of her Choucroute Garnie, and we immediately gave this recipe a try. We did however get tired of mispronouncing Choucroute Garnie so we renamed the recipe, Anita’s German Sausage with Sauerkraut in Beer.

anitas-original-color-corrected

Anita’s Photo of her Choucroute Garnie

This recipe is pure comfort food. It takes very little prep time but does require a smattering of your attention from time to time. It does take hours in the oven to cook but do not be dissuaded, this recipe is one of the best one-pot meals we’ve ever eaten and is well worth the effort. Most of the cooking time you’re free to pursue other activities.

This recipe is a modified version of the original published in the Schenectady Gazette. That recipe had you lining the bottom of your casserole dish with pork rinds rather than lean bacon, and then layering with sauerkraut, salt pork, smoked pork loin, knockwurst and pork sausage links. Yikes that’s a lot of meat. Thankfully, Anita’s version is much simpler.

Anita tells us she often uses bratwurst or a hearty German or Polish sausage ring, as they’re really good and a lot easier to find at any grocery. She made her version with Wenzel’s German sausage rings. If you’re ever in Hamilton, Texas be sure to check out Wenzel’s. Pork butt Fridays are the best.

 

Anita’s German Sausage with Sauerkraut in Beer

Serves 4

Prep Time: About 20:00 minutes

Cooking Time: About 4:00 hours

 

Tools you’ll need:

A 9” x 9” Casserole Dish

 

Ingredients:

Lean Bacon

2.5 lb. Sauerkraut (Anita says the jar variety is best)

3-4 Garlic cloves, Diced

Pancetta (note this is our addition to the recipe and is optional)

4 Brats or German Sausages or Polish sausage rings (enough for 4)

2-3 cans or bottles of beer – your choice

Salt and Pepper to Taste

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

spek

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 9 casserole dish with bacon.

kraut

Drain the sauerkraut. Using half, arrange the kraut in a layer in the bottom of your casserole dish.

knokflook

Sprinkle with half the chopped garlic and add pepper to taste.

pfeffer

Add second layer sauerkraut, top with remainder of chopped garlic and season with pepper to taste.

bier

Pour two bottles of beer over the casserole and cook in your oven for two-hours.

pancette

Remove and add the pancetta, returning the casserole to the oven and baking for an additional hour at 275 degrees.

wurst

Remove and add your sausage, returning the casserole to the oven for an additional hour.

sausage-title-card2

Serve with roasted rosemary potatoes, hearty homemade rye, some good spicy mustard and beer.

Note:  Be prepared to add additional beer if it begins to dry out too much. This is a great dish to make, as the weather turns cooler. Enjoy!

Aug 242016
 
There are a great many things I do not care for, misogynists, racists, haters, bigots, narcissists, dividers, religious fanatics of any persuasion and politicians that utter the phrase, “What the American people want.” I’ve never heard this phrase used and actually had it apply to me. Dorks.
What I do care for are things that bring me pleasure, my wife, the taste of sweet clean rainwater, good friends, good red wine, bacon, a gezellig evening, someone intelligent, acoustic guitars played well and warm sweet muffins.
In particular, Chocolate Chip Carrot and Banana Muffins with Pecans and, I know, it’s a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended. Or is it?
This recipe came about due to an Internet search looking for ways to utilize left over carrot pulp after juicing. We’re talking 5 to 10 pounds of left over carrot pulp every couple of weeks as a result of our juicing and smoothie habit.
carrot bulk
It was a horrible waste to toss all that wonderfully healthy carrot pulp into the trash so, I began searching for ways to put that pulp back into our diets.

So far we’ve used the pulp to make latkes (the carrot makes them sweet), as salad toppings, flavor and texture for dressings, added to hearty soups and even sprinkled on veggie pizza, which for the record was really great.
However, so far, my favorite use has been in muffins. The recipe below for Chocolate Chip Carrot and Banana Muffins with Pecans is really good. It started out as a basic muffin recipe with carrots but as we continued to bake these muffins, over a period of time, the recipe evolved.
One day my wife, who by the way, loves anything chocolate, suggested adding the left-over half bag of mini-chocolate chips in the cabinet to the muffin recipe. I did, it was good. Then, sometime later, a couple of over-ripe bananas softening in the fruit bowl called out and, waste not want not, they too went into the recipe and adding the pecans was a no-brainer, most everyone loves toasted pecans.
There is nothing special or exclusive about the recipe. It’s a basic muffin recipe with lots of healthy and tasty additions. While we’re certainly not the first to add carrot pulp to muffins, we do feel we’ve pushed this envelope a tad further with all the tasty additions.
It has become a favorite or ours and if you’re a juice and smoothie fiend too, this recipe will help you put that pulp to great use. Be creative, use ingredients that appeal to you and share your results with us.
Chocolate Chip Carrot and Banana Muffins with Pecans
Prep Time: 10:00
Cooking Time: 40:00
What you need:
12-Cup Muffin Tin
Mixing Bowl
A Fork
A Large Spoon
Ingredients:
1.5 Cups Organic Spelt (wheat is fine)
2 Cups Carrot Pulp (left uncovered a day in the fridge will help remove excess moisture)
1.25 cups of Soy Milk
2 Ripe Bananas
.25 cups Canola Oil
.25 Cups of Turbinado Sugar (brown is fine)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
.5 teaspoons Cinnamon
.5 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
.25 cups Mini-Chocolate Chips (it’s important to use the mini sized chips)
.25 cups Chopped Pecans
Instructions:
Preheat Oven to 375*
While the oven is preheating, oil the muffin tin.
mash banana
With a fork, mash the banana in your mixing bowl.
add carrot
Add the carrot and mix to combine.
flour
Add the flour and mix to combine.
salt cinnamon
Add the baking powder, salt and cinnamon then mix to combine.
sugar
Add the sugar and mix to combine.
chips
Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
pecans
Add the pecans and mix to combine.
milk
Pour in the milk and mix to combine, the mixture will be moist and thick.
Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 2.37.10 PM
Spoon the batter into the oiled muffin tin.
hot muffins
Bake for 40:00, cool 10:00 in the pan then remove to a cooling rack.
beauty shot
These muffins will keep for several days in the fridge and they also freeze well.
Enjoy!
Mar 162016
 

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 9.27.52 PM

I love eggs. I love eggs scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, baked in popovers, quiches and cakes. I can’t get enough and when I’m not eating whole eggs for breakfast or dinner, I’m eating egg white omelets stuffed with fresh herbs and tomatoes for breakfast or dinner.

One of my favorite sandwiches is the egg salad sandwich. The recipe below produces a classic egg salad perfect for salad or sandwiches. I don’t know where we ran across this recipe originally, if you search the web for egg salad recipes you will find many similar to this one.

After making your salad pile it high on homemade rye bread and give it a generous application of cracked black pepper. Mmm.

We love it and hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.  Enjoy.

eggs in a bowl

Classic Egg Salad

Prep Time: About 10:00 minutes
Cooking Time: About 15:00 minutes
Assembly Time: About 10:00 minutes

Tools you’ll need:
A Medium Mixing Bowl
A Fork

Ingredients:
6 Hard Boiled Eggs
¼ Cup Mayo or Vegenaise
1 Celery Rib, Diced Fine
3 TBS. Red Onion, Diced Fine
1 TBS. Dijon Mustard
1 TBS. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Instructions:

cu saucepan boiling water w:eggs

Boil your eggs gently for 12:00 to 15:00 minutes.

cu egg peal membrane

When cool enough to handle, peel your eggs and add them to your mixing bowl. If you find some or all of your eggs difficult to peal, crack the shells and submerge in cool water for peeling.  During the peeling process water works its way under the shell membrane making it easier to peel your eggs.  You’ll find you’re able to easily remove pieces of shell still attached to the membrane.

egg cu insert

Now, dice your boiled eggs, I enjoy a fine dice and actually create the consistency you see in the above photo with the tines of a fork.

diced celery add to bowl shot

Fine dice a single stalk of fresh celery and add it to your eggs.

slicing onion for egg salad

Add three tablespoons of fine-diced onions.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 10.22.30 PM

Now add a scant quarter cup of mayo.
add mustard shot : CU w:shadow

And a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Follow this link to our homemade Dijon mustard recipe.

add lemon juice cropped

Add the juice of half a lemon.

add fresh ground pepper

And a healthy dose of fresh ground pepper.  Combined and season to taste with salt.

Classic.

cu egg salad

Enjoy!

Feb 042016
 

salsa w:title

The evolution of this recipe is best described by Joni Mitchell when she sings, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I figure Joni was reaching a little deeper than salsa with that line but that’s kind of how it was.

We grew up eating Tex-Mex and all the varieties of hot sauce and salsas regionally available, and in our universe we took for granted that these foods would always be available, in some form, everywhere.

When my wife and I left Texas for California we did not miss Salsa for she was there in all her spicy, lime, tomato, and cilantro goodness. What we lost in Tex-Mex we gained in Baja and Oaxaca styles and it was excellent. The fresh tomato and tomatillo salsas we grew up with now happily shared a place with the new fire-roasted and avocado based salsas we discovered in California.

Then we left California for western New York and we wept in the vast salsa wasteland. So desperate were we for Mexican food one evening we went to a Taco Bell. We ordered everything and at one point my wife said to the clerk, “Please, no red sauce on the frijoles.” To which the kid replied, “What’s a frijole?”

We turned to jar salsas but most tasted of stewed tomatoes with too much salt and varying degrees of heat. This tasteless wasteland lead us to the realization that we were going to need to learn to make it ourselves if we wanted to enjoy a good refreshing salsa.

So after many years of experimenting, we finally found the right combination of ingredients. We hope you enjoy this easy recipe as much as we do.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Homemade Fire Roasted Salsa

Prep Time: About 10:00 minutes
Processing Time: About :30 seconds

Tools you’ll need:
A Knife or Cleaver
A Blender
Measuring Spoons

Ingredients:
½ large brown onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz. can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Whole Tomatoes
1 10 oz. can Rotel w/Chiles
1-cup fresh cilantro
1 TBS Oregano
1 TBS Cumin
1 tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
¼ cup Fresh Lime Juice

Instructions:

First, cut the onion into chunks and drop into the blender.

onion in blender

Mince the garlic and add it to the onion in the blender, pulse several times until well combined.

minced garlic

Add the cilantro and the remaining herbs.

cilantro with herbs

Add the lime juice and pulse several times to your desired consistency.

lime juice

Simple, fast and exceptionally tasty.

Enjoy!

Nov 282015
 

Keep It Simple Stupid Lasagna evolved over the many years my wife spent trying to perfect her spaghetti sauce. Growing up with a step-dad from New York who had very serious ideas about what a good tomato sauce was supposed to be, she formed some extremely tasty notions at a very young age. She’ll occasionally reflect fondly on the hours and joy her step-dad put into each batch of his “secret” family sauce.

When she left for her freshman year of college her step-dad presented her with her very own spice kit, and like most broke, swimming to keep their heads above water freshmen, that spice kit was put to good use.

I am here to testify, brother and sisters that my babe’s spaghetti sauce is blue ribbon good and hasn’t been tasted in decades. I remember it fondly, early in our relationship, during a time of cats and kittens, she would spend the weekend working her alchemist secrets to pour over spaghetti or lasagna, and then we’d eat, took maybe fifteen minutes, then we’d discuss that great dichotomy.

Well that process evolved, twice. Once when we discovered Muir Glen Organic Pasta sauce, which is good stuff. And okay, maybe it’s not slaved over for 8-hours by your grandma but, Hell’s Bells, who has that kind of time?

And then we evolved again when we discovered no-boil lasagna noodles. No more boiling, no more wet noodles, no more tearing of noodles when you picked them up, no burned fingers, nada.

Talk about making it simple, with no-boil noodles and a jar of Muir Glen spaghetti sauce we’re able to enjoy lasagna on the spur of the moment. Throw in some garlic bread and a green salad, which is as easy as opening a bag these days and you got a fine comforting meal in no time.

K.I.S.S. Lasagna
Prep Time: About 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-50 minutes

Tools you’ll need:
9” x 9” Casserole Pan
A Spoon for Mixing
A Medium Mixing Bowl

Ingredients:
1 25-oz jar Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce (or your favorite sauce, we like the Fire-Roasted version)
1 8-oz jar tomato sauce with oregano
1-box no-boil lasagna noodles (we like DeLallo organic wheat noodles but they take longer to cook)
1 16-oz carton low-fat cottage cheese (we love Nancy’s Cottage Cheese for it’s sharp bite but you can also use ricotta cheese)
1-cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
1 large egg
Dash of nutmeg

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

pour the egg

In a mixing bowl crack and whisk the egg then add the cottage cheese and nutmeg. Blend well.

1st noodle

In your 9” x 9” pan, add a layer the sauce, then noodles, ricotta/egg mixture and mozzarella.

1st cottage

Repeat with the desired number of layers you prefer but be careful you might need more cheese and sauce.

next to last layer

Top with Parmesan cheese.

final cheese peg

Bake for 45-50 minutes.

beauty

Enjoy!

Oct 112015
 

This summer’s seasonal tomato flooding at our local farmers’ market is almost behind us as October stretches into mid-month and foodies everywhere scramble to find the last of this season’s farm fresh tomatoes.

Today’s recipe is, Roasted Tomatoes with Herbs and Cheese, one of our very favorite eats and the first time you prepare this mouthful of happiness, you’ve got to be patient because it takes a couple of hours in a low and slow oven for the sugars in the tomatoes to caramelize but it’s a wait well rewarded.

First, pick-up two-pounds of tomatoes, in season and fresh if you can find them, if not buy the cluster tomatoes popular in grocery stores. Slice them about a quarter of an inch think and line the tomatoes in a 9” x 13” baking pan prepared with a tablespoon of olive oil spread on the bottom of the dish.

slice

Next, chop several garlic cloves into pieces small enough to easily sprinkle over the tomatoes evenly.

garlic chop

garlic

Then add two tablespoon each of dried basil and oregano over the top of the tomatoes and drench liberally with olive oil.

herb and oil

Pop the tomatoes into a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 90:00 minutes.   When done, remove and sprinkle liberally with grated Parmesan cheese and return to the oven until the cheese melts and turns a rich golden color.

cheese top

melted 2

Remove from the oven and serve immediately with a hearty dark bread and glass of good red wine.

winepour2

Recipe Note:

Not all ovens heat the same. Some cook fast, others slow. This recipe is truly wonderful when you give it the time it needs, regardless of the posted cooking time.  Don’t be tempted to take it of the oven too soon, keep an eye on it, make sure your tomatoes have caramelized, a hearty browning of the edges is a good thing. Take it out too soon and all you have is stewed tomatoes with herbs. Not bad, but not a good as it could have been with just a little more oven time.  Patience will be rewarded.

Roasted Tomatoes with Herbs and Cheese
Prep Time: 20:00
Cooking Time: 1½ hours

What you need:
9 x 13 Baking Dish
Cutting Board
Knife for Slicing Tomatoes

Ingredients:
Olive Oil
2 lbs. tomatoes
Grated Parmesan Cheese
4 or more Large Cloves of Garlic
2 TBS. Dried Basil
2 TBS. Dried Oregano
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Instructions:

Preheat Oven to 325*

Pour olive oil into the baking dish and swirl to coat.

Slice tomatoes and place them in the dish overlapping as you go.

When the dish is full, sprinkle with herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Place into the preheated oven and cook for 1½ hours.

Remove and sprinkle top liberally with Parmesan cheese and return to oven.

When the cheese has melted to you satisfaction, remove and serve with hearty dark bread and good red wine.

Enjoy!