My Wonderful World

W e l c o m e... And Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thanks ...

Thanks to All for the wonderful Birthday Wishes.    Today was wonderful and every day I am blessed with a better day than yesterday.  

Hugs to y'all!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Is In The Air

Fall is in the air...well, a little bit.  We are still experiencing 90 plus temps...but  with the cool nights, you can see the changing season in the trees.   Last evening's low temperature was hovering about 50F. ....quite a change from the middle to upper 70's at night. 

Friends are coming for dinner on Saturday!   What do we enjoy for supper?   The first thing that came to mind was a Fall Vegetable Roast.   So many wonderful things are in the market now and I must take advantage of the choices including butternut squash and Yukon Gold potatoes.    Here is one of our favorites.

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Fall Vegetables Roasted


1 small butternut squash; cubed
2 red bell peppers; seeded and diced
1 sweet potato; peeled and cubed
3 md Yukon Gold potatoes; cubed
1 md red onion; quartered
1 tablespoon fresh thyme; chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary; chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  salt and pepper; to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato, and Yukon Gold potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces, and add them to the mixture.

In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

Yield: 6 servings

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This side dish works so nicely for many meals, but today I am serving Salmon Wellington with a fresh salad of mesculin, glazed pecans, bleu cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette.   Arriving at my favorite market, I go to the freezer chest to get Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry....and THERE WASN'T A SINGLE PACKAGE IN THE CASE!!   I stood there in disbelief since I have had the opportunity to buy this freezer staple for weeks now.   What to do...a little late at this point to change my entree.  The invitations were "in the email" and I couldn't back out now.  

Desperation was not an option at this moment...and then I saw Athens Phyllo dough.  I have never used phyllo dough and was a little hesitant...but what was I going to do.   I bought the package and back to the kitchen.    After reading the instructions about thawing, etc...I forged ahead.   My result was absolutely wonderful...the same effect as the puff pastry...but more flaky.  Sometimes, things really do work out when you have to stretch your imagination.

Salmon Wellington with Fall Roasted Vegetables 
For dessert...everyone enjoys 
Orange Creme Brulee and Pirouettes .    

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Orange Creme Brulee

1 c heavy cream
1 tb orange zest
3 lg egg yolks
1/4 c superfine sugar
  pinch of  salt
1 ts orange extract; I prefer Penzeys
  For The Topping:
3 tb superfine sugar
  orange peel; for garnish

Preheat oven to 300F.

Measure cream into small saucepan.  Grate orange zest into cream.  Heat, stirring constantly but do not let boil.  Set aside.

In mixing bowl, mix the egg yolks sugar, salt and orange extract.  Begin adding the hot cream a couple of dribbles at a time to temper the eggs.   Don't pour all at once or you will scramble, i.e., cook the egg yolks.  After adding all the cream, strain the mixture through a fine sieve.

Pour the cream and yolk mixture into small four ounce  ramekins dividing evenly.    Place them into a hot water bath and bake for about 35 minutes, until the custard jiggles only slightly in the center.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in the water bath.  Cover each with wrap and refrigerate for at least on hour before serving.

To serve, sprinkle remaining sugar over each ramekin.  With brulee torch, caramelize the tops of each.  Return to refrigerator to cool for 20 minutes.

This is an excellent recipe to prepare in advance...and torching top with guests watching is an easy impressive event!

Notes:  WHStoneman 2010

Yield: 4 servings

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Orange Creme Brulee

And the Last of the Summer Flowers for the Table

Monday, September 20, 2010

Huevos Ranchero

What a great breakfast!!   I just love this and always have some left over rice and beans in the refrigerator.   This has become one of our favorites and so easy to make.    I prepare my Ranchero Sauce and always have that in the refrigerator.  When making extra, I use my Tilda Vacuum 550 and freeze the extra sauce in Ball wide mouth pint jars.   After sealing, freezes very well for three months. Along with this hearty breakfast, I have fell in love with Ocean Spray Diet Blueberry Pomegranate juice.  

Dig in and remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day if you are enjoying a weight loss lifestyle! 

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Huevos Ranchero

breakfast, Mexican

Ranchero Sauce, recipe below

8 corn tortillas
8  eggs
3/4 c Monterey jack cheese; grated

Add sauce to a skillet. Warm if needed. Make depressions in the sauce and break eggs into it. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover with a lid and cook eggs to desired doneness. Light fry corn tortillas in oil, until soft and pliable. Place on a plate and top with egg and sauce mixture. Sprinkle with a little fresh cilantro.

Notes:  WHStoneman

Yield: 4 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.86 **

Huevos Ranchero...for a satisfying breakfast!

Here is my version of Ranchero Sauce.   Had this recipe for many years and really don't know the original author's identity.   I am sure they wouldn't mind if I shared this recipe.

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Ranchero Sauce

Mexican, sauces

1 tb oil
1 md onion; chopped
2  garlic cloves; minced
1 md green pepper; chopped
1/2 c roasted green chilies; chopped
1 sm green chilies; canned
2  jalapeno peppers; diced
4 md tomatoes; chopped
1 tb white vinegar
2 ts sugar
1 ts cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 ts salt
1/3 c fresh cilantro chopped
1 tb fresh lime juice

Warm the oil in a skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion has softened. Add peppers, tomatoes, sugar, white vinegar, cumin and salt. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and cilantro last 2 minutes of cooking. If it gets too dry add a little water.

This can be made a day ahead.  Stores refrigerated very well.

Notes:  WHStoneman

Yield: 4 servings

** Exported from Now You're Cooking! v5.86 **

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sesame Noodles With Chicken

Chicken Tenders are a handy thing to have in the freezer.   Usually, I  fill  up on them when they are running a good sale.   Great for Stir Fry, Deep Fried with chips and a handy item for a quick pan saute for a salad.   This version is a better low carb recipe since it features whole wheat pasta...and I used the Ronzoni brand of  whole wheat  linguine.  

Today, I needed to try something a little different.   Browsing through my recipe file, I found a recipe that I have intended to make but just  never got around to it.   This recipe came from Fine of my go to sources for great recipes and a good magazine to have in the kitchen.   

Courtesy Fine Cooking Magazine

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Sesame Noodles With Chicken

Oriental, Stir Fry

1 lb. whole wheat pasta
6 tbs. Asian sesame oil
4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tbs. rice vinegar
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar

1 ts red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lb. chicken tenders
2 tsp. peanut oil
  freshly ground black pepper
6  scallions; sliced

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions until the pasta is al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water until cool.  Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, and toss with 1 Tbs. of the sesame oil.

In a food processor, pulse the garlic until roughly chopped. Add the remaining 5 Tbs. sesame oil, and the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt. Process until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down the bowl, about 30 seconds. I found this original sauce needed red pepper flakes.   I started with 1 teaspoon but you can add more or less, to your taste.  Set aside to blend flavors. 

Trim off any exposed tendon ends from the wide tips of the tenders, if necessary. Season the tenders with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Heat the peanut oil in a in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the tenders until well browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and slice crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the chicken to the spaghetti along with half of the scallions.

Pour about 1-1/4 cups of the dressing over the pasta and chicken and toss to coat. Add more dressing to taste you may not need to use it all.

Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining scallions, and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

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This turned out to be one of the best "creations" I have experienced!! a matter of fact, I see Sesame Noodles with Shrimp and/or Pork in the near future....what an exciting array of flavors!    As I was enjoying the preparation, I took a few liberties and added fresh chopped onion and seeded cucumber.   I am sold on the flavor of cucumber...more fresh and lively than any other stir fry addition, i.e. zucchini and or yellow squash! 

Great Thai Peanut Sauce flavors

Vegetable Egg Roll for a treat

And nothing would be better than beautiful cantaloupe for dessert!    Enjoy you evening..since we  have been given the ability to create our life long enjoyments.  

Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Labor Day Picnic 2010!

As the summer season winds down, we still are having mid summer weather and lots of sunshine.   Seems like every holiday in East Tennessee, we have a thunderstorm of major proportions.   

One of my all time favorites is Apple/Walnut Cole Slaw.   I will let you decide the proportions since everything in this salad is to taste!  After sure you get three to four hours in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly and the flavors combine!  

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Apple Walnut Cole Slaw

1  Granny Smith apple; peel, cored, diced
1  orange
1/2 head cabbage; chopped fine
1/2 c walnuts; toasted
  Slaw Dressing:
1/2 c mayonnaise; or more, as needed
2 tb heavy cream
2 tb Splenda Brown Sugar; or to taste
1 tb poppy seeds
  salt & pepper; to taste

Peel and chop apple.   Slice orange and juice over apple to prevent turning brown.   This acid does the same as lemon juice but the orange juice added needed sweetness.

Chop cabbage to your preference.  I prefer small dice...some like long strands to cabbage.   Toast chopped walnuts in a small skillet until golden, releases the oils in the walnuts and make them more fragrant.

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, cream, Splenda, (or use  superfine sugar), if desired, poppy seeds.   Whisk until smooth adding a little more cream if necessary.    You may find you need a little more dressing...and you can add extra to your taste.

Add salt and pepper, to taste and refrigerate three hours or until flavors combine.

Notes:  WHStoneman

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Along with the Cole Slaw, serving Grilled Chicken 
and Baked Sweet Potatoes. 

And for dessert....tart shells filled with pistachio filling!

Wishing Y'all a wonderful holiday and looking forward to the 
Fall Season here in East Tennessee!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

I received a challenge to made something different for a steak dinner side dish.   Sometimes it is just fun to look in the refrigerator and see what can be created.   I had spinach, but no tomatoes!   Had to go to the grocery to get some since  my crop was a total failure this year.   Hoping better for next year.  

I did find some firm hot house tomatoes....removed the tops and cleaned out the seeds and pulp.  Be sure to save pulp for tomato sauce or soup., etc.  Sauteed onion, added toasted walnuts and put a huge amount of spinach on top.  Covered and let the steam do its job.   Of course, the spinach reduced and we were ready to prepare for the oven.  The bottom right photo was ready for the oven!

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Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes

2 lg tomatoes
salt for draining tomato
1 tb butter
1/2 c onions; finely chopped
6 oz baby spinach leaves; stems discarded
salt and white pepper; to taste
nutmeg; to taste
1/2 c cottage cheese
1 tb cornstarch
1 large egg
2 oz cream cheese; room temperature
1/4 c walnuts; toasted
1/4 c Parmesan cheese; grated
1/4 c Italian parsley
bread crumbs

Wash and dry tomatoes. Cut off tops. With a sharp paring knife, cut the ribs and seeds and remove. Save for soup stock if desired. Remove all being very careful not to pierce the sides of the tomato cavity. This is the cavity base for your spinach stuffing.

Salt interior of tomato shells with kosher salt. Set tomatoes upside down to drain for 30 minutes, minimum.

Melt butter in skillet and add chopped onions. Saute on low for 25 minutes until golden.

Add spinach leaves, salt and white pepper, nutmeg, REMOVE from heat and cover with tight fitting lid. The heat from the onions will wilt spinach. Let cool completely.

Mix cottage cheese, cornstarch, egg, and cream cheese. Whisk to combine.

Remove lid from saute pan and add cottage cheese mixture to the spinach
pan. Add toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.

Mix dry bread crumbs and parsley together.

Mound spinach mixture in each drained and patted dry tomato shell. Pack top with bread crumb mixture, adding extra shavings of Parmesan cheese if desired. 

Bake in 350F preheated oven for 35 minutes or until topping has browned and tomato is bubbling.

I have tried this recipe with vine ripe tomatoes and also with hot house tomatoes. I find the hot house tomatoes hold their shape a little better in the oven while the garden tomatoes sometimes split.

Notes: adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook

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Enjoy the rest of this summer....gonna be over soon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Stir Fry Ginger Beef

Ran across a recipe this week that needed exploration....Ginger Beef.   I started with the original version but decided to make a few additions, one being cubed cucumber.   I have never considered cucumber for an ingredient but after visiting a couple local restaurants, I found it was common.   I believe the taste is refreshing and a little more lively than a yellow squash or zucchini. 

First on the agenda, egg rolls.   I used to buy a full package and wouldn't use them up.   They always this time, I took four out of the package, wrapped the balance in four sheets each and froze them.   They thaw very quickly and remain fresh and pliable.  

Keep your temp up to 375F  Use that Thermometer!!
I have made egg rolls ahead of time and tried to keep warm in the oven.   I don't get good results with that method.   So now, I prepare my Stir Fry and fry egg rolls at the very end....right out of the oil, drain on paper towels and immediately serve!  

And on to the entree.....very easy to present with a little advance preparation.  

Diced Serrano, sliced garlic, julienne ginger

Beef in HOT wok or Cast Iron Skillet

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Stir Fry Ginger Beef

2 tbsp rice vinegar
5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp ginger; grated
1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
  Stir Fry:
24 oz sirloin steak
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 c cucumber; small cubes
4  scallions; sliced
2  garlic cloves; sliced
2  serrano chilies; sliced
1  nob of ginger; julienne

Chill the steak in the freezer for 30 minutes before you slice it, this will make it easier to cut in thin slices. Slice the steak first crosswise in 1/2-inch thick slices. The cut each slice lengthwise into strips.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients; the soy sauce, vinegar, grated ginger, honey, red chile flakes, and cumin. Mix the beef in with the marinade to coat and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours, in the fridge.

In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.

Heat the oil in a wok, or a large sauté pan, over high heat until it is nearly smoking. As the oil is heating up, pat the beef dry and separate it into small batches no larger than what can fit into the palm of your hand.  Working in batches, sauté beef until just brown outside but rare inside, no more than 1 minute. Transfer beef to a bowl.

When all of the beef is cooked, put the chiles and garlic into the pan and stir-fry 30-45 seconds. Add the julienned ginger, cubed cucumber and cook for 30-45 seconds more. Add the beef back to the pan. Add the cornstarch slurry. Add the scallions and mix everything together. Cook for 1 minute.

Turn the heat off and mix in the cilantro. Serve immediately.

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Quick cooking keeps everything fresh

Ready for the table!!  Enjoy. 

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The Fine Art of Cooking involves personal choice. Many preferences, ingredients, and procedures may not be consistent with what you know to be true. As with any recipe, you may find your personal intervention will be necessary -- © WHStoneman 2017