Off The Shelf: August Magazines

It’s so fun browsing the various food magazines we receive in the mail and then deciding which ones will make the cut and what recipes we will try. It gives us a chance to try things maybe we wouldn’t and to enjoy our subscriptions. So here are our picks for this month!

Saveur (Alaina) – This magazine features Greek food which I love! I thoroughly enjoy this publication – it has interesting articles about travel, food, techniques and more. It perhaps does not have as many recipes as some of the more well-known cooking magazines but the recipes they feature are excellent. I like that they choose a theme (or a couple of themes) and include several recipes that tie into that theme.

It was tough choosing the recipe I wanted to try, so I made two.  The first I already mentioned a couple of weeks ago – a Greek Salad. The second was this Greek Lasagne. It was wonderful! I’m not generally a big casserole fan but I loved this – it was a little time consuming but so worth it. The flavors and textures worked so well together. It made alot – I served 4 adults and 3 kids and still had half a casserole left which we enjoyed as leftovers. This recipe would be excellent for the occasions that you take a meal to someone.


GREEK LASAGNE (PASTITSIO) – Saveur, August 2010
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FOR THE MEAT SAUCE:
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and minced
2 medium yellow onions, minced
1 lb. ground beef, veal, or pork
3 oz. dry-cured chorizo, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1⁄3 cup red wine
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1  2″ cinnamon stick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL AND PASTA:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cups  flour
4 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, separated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1lb. No. 2 Greek macaroni, bucatini, or elbow macaroni
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1. Make the meat sauce: Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onion mixture to a plate and set aside. Add ground meat and chorizo to skillet and cook, breaking meat up into tiny pieces, until browned, 6–8 minutes. Add reserved onion mixture, along with tomatoes, wine, chile flakes, bay leaves, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat, discard bay leaves and cinnamon, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; let cool.
2. Make the béchamel: Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly toasted, 1–2 minutes. Add milk; cook, whisking often, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat, add 3⁄4 cup cheese and egg yolks; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until smooth; set aside.
3. Heat oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta and cook halfway through, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. Stir in remaining cheese; drain pasta in a colander and then toss with egg white–cheese mixture to coat evenly. Set aside.
4. Grease a deep 9″ x 13″ baking dish with olive oil. Place half the pasta mixture on bottom of dish and cover evenly with meat sauce. Top with remaining pasta mixture. Pour béchamel over pasta, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack; cool 20 minutes before serving.
SERVES 10 – 12

Bon Appetit
(Alaina) – Yum. That describes this entire issue. I was especially tempted by their many desserts – just look at the cover! Even my 2 year old was taken by this issue and insisted on looking at it several times and pointing out the photos of delicious looking food while saying, “Mmm!”
This is an issue I will hang on to and hopefully make many more of the recipes. I chose to make the Sour Cream Pound Cake w/Lavendar Peaches. Cooking with lavendar is new to me and so I really wanted to give this a try. And the verdict is – go.make.this.recipe. It was so summery and absolutely delicious. Halfway through the recipe as I was making the lavendar simple syrup and I was a little nervous – it smelled so floral. But by the end, with the peaches infused into the syrup, the result was a perfect balance of fruit and floral. And let’s not forget the cake – with vanilla bean and sour cream, it was moist and flavorful. I will definitely cook with lavendar again!

SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE w/LAVENDAR PEACHES – Bon Appetit, August 2010
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CAKE
3/4 c. plus 1 Tb. flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 c. sugar
10 Tb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg white
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a metal loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 inch). Dust pan with flour; tap out excess. Sift 3/4 c. plus 1 Tb. flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Combined sugar and butter in large bowl; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for lavender syrup). Using electric mixer, beat sugar mixture until fluffy. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla extract; beat until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Beat in sour cream. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 56-58 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out, then turn top side up. Cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature.)

LAVENDER SYRUP & PEACHES
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 Tb. dried lavender blossoms
4 medium firm but ripe peaches, pitted, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
3 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream

Combine 2 1/4 c. water, sugar, lavender, and reserved vanilla bean in saucepan. Boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 10 minutes. Strain syrup into medium bowl; discard lavender. Pour 2 Tb. lavender syrup into small bowl; reserve for whipped cream. Cover and chill. Return remaining syrup to same saucepan; add peaches and lemon juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. Transfer peaches to bowl. Boil syrup in pan until reduced to 1 c., 12-14 minutes (it took longer for me). Pour over peaches. Chill uncovered 2 hours.

Beat cream and 2 Tb. reserved syrup in medium bowl to soft peaks. Slice cake. Serve with peaches, syrup, and cream.
Cooking Light (Heather): The August edition is a thick, summer issue with plenty of good ideas. We tried the Sweet and Spicy Citrus Tilapia and it was so very good. I don’t cook a lot of fish, but this recipe makes me want to put it on our menu more often. It was easy and delicious and everyone had clean plates.
I also tried their recipe for Quick and Easy Pickles and a huge jar is sitting in my refrigerator right now. It was a great way to use garden surplus (it works for cucumbers and zucchini!).
Summer Squash and Corn Chowder is on my list of things to make — it looks so delicious in the magazine picture and would be a great way to use up extra corn and squash!
The issue is very festive with page after page of summer food. Many of the recipes are a bit more gourmet than I would make, but they are fun to look through and there are a handful of really good and useful recipes for the average cook.

SWEET AND SPICY CITRUS TILAPIA
(Cooking Light, August 2010)
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4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
cooking spray
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lower sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. paprika
Arrange fish in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients (through garlic); pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Sprinkle fish with paprika; broil 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle sauce over fish. Serves 4.
NOTE: I didn’t have any orange juice in the house (and Alaina didn’t either!) so I had to improvise: I removed the brown sugar and put in about 3 Tbsp. of orange marmalade to replace the orange juice and brown sugar. It was perfect!
  Martha Stewart Living (Heather): We don’t often include Martha Stewart magazine because it’s not exclusively a food magazine. However, this month it included the most amazing summer recipe that is also extremely easy — all it takes is time to boil the pasta and you are finished!

Tomato and Basil Pasta is the pasta version of Caprese Salad. If you love that salad, you will love this pasta. My kids loved it too. We’ve made it twice and it is on the menu for this week again. You could also add some Kalamata olives to dress it up a bit.

TOMATO AND BASIL PASTA
(Martha Stewart, August 2010)
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1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked short pasta
4 medium tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
basil leaves

Combine olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss in cooked and drained pasta. Tear tomatoes and mozzarella and scatter over pasta. Garnish with basil leaves and sprinkle with pepper. Serves 4.
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My Kitchen View

I bet it seemed like I fell off the face of the earth! Our internet connection in Kazakhstan became more difficult and I wasn’t able to post much but I did take lots of food pictures to share!!! The food was absolutely amazing and I enjoyed it so  much. I definitely did not lose weight on this trip! 🙂 For today I will just post one of the pictures of some wonderful salmon:

In other kitchen news, my boys gifted me with raspberry and blackberry bushes for Mother’s Day! I can’t wait to get them planted and really to enjoy the wonderful fruits!

Thanks for bearing with us and letting me take some time off. It was much needed and my time in Kazakhstan was very good – emotional, challenging, and wonderful.

Yogurt

I forgot how much I love the yogurt here! In general I am not a big yogurt eater but here, it’s wonderfully creamy and delicious! It made for a quick breakfast with some bread. The bread is inexpensive and so fresh. I love it! It’s all bringing back so many memories.

Weekend Fare: Irish Feast

These Irish recipes are simple, traditional, and great for weekend cooking or for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration!


CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE*
(Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)
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2- to 2-1/2-lb. corned beef brisket
1  tsp. whole black pepper*
2  bay leaves*
4  med. potatoes, peeled & quartered
5 med. carrots, peeled & quartered
2 med.- lg. onion, cut into 6 wedges
1 sm. cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
Salt and black pepper (optional)

Trim fat from meat. Place in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven; add juices and spices from package of corned beef. (*Add pepper and bay leaves if your brisket doesn’t come with an additional packet of spices.) Add enough water to cover meat. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 2 hours or until almost tender.

Add potatoes, carrots, and onion to meat. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 min. Add cabbage. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 min. more or until tender. Discard bay leaves. Thinly slice meat across the grain. Transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter. If desired, season to taste with salt and black pepper and serve with horseradish or mustard. Makes about 6 servings.

*You can use a larger piece of meat and more vegetables, just add the seasonings listed in addition to the packet included in the meat.

This homemade horseradish sauce made the meal! So delicious and so easy!

HORSERADISH SAUCE
(Recipe from Food Network Kitchens)
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3/4 c. mayonnaise
3/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. plus 2 Tb. jarred grated horseradish (with liquid)
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish, zest, and 2 teaspoons salt. Season generously with pepper to taste. Refrigerate the horseradish sauce for at least 30 min. before serving.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

This bread is amazing! So moist and flavorful. It does not have a strong beer flavor – simply wonderful. We especially liked it warm with a little butter.
GUINNESS BREAD
(Recipe adapted slightly from allrecipes.com)
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1 c. regular rolled oats, plus 1-2 Tb. additional
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk
1 (12 oz.) can or bottle Guinness® beer

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.

Mix together the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate large bowl, stir together the butter, vanilla, buttermilk, and Guinness® beer. Pour the flour mixture into the beer mixture, and gently stir until well blended. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan, and sprinkle with additional oats.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 min., then turn the temperature down to 400 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 min. until knife inserted comes out clean and top is a dark golden brown. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

This cake calls for 2 lbs. of raisins and makes a HUGE cake. I didn’t have whisky on hand, so went without – really, it would be better with! It would make it so moist and wonderful! I also think a lemon sauce or creme fraiche or even freshed whipped cream would have been so delicious with it.

IRISH RAISIN CAKE
(Recipe from Food Network – Ann Rafferty)
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2 1/2 c. of buttermilk
2 c. of sugar
5 c. of flour
2 sticks of butter
5 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. baking soda
Dash of salt
1 (16-oz box) of brown raisins
1 (16-oz) box of golden raisins
1/2 c. whiskey, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a Dutch Oven. Cream sugar and butter in large bowl. Add in eggs one at a time. Add seasonings. Mix baking soda into the buttermilk. Alternate adding flour, buttermilk and raisins into mix. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. in covered Dutch Oven (I baked mine in a greased, covered family size skillet – not cast iron – and it took about 1 1/2 hrs. Cake is finished when knife inserted into middle comes out clean.

Optional- pour 1/2 cup of whiskey over cake immediately after removing from oven. Cake is best when cut after a few days.

International Cuisine: Chinese Main Dishes

We love to order take-out every once in awhile. These recipes made me realize that I should make Chinese at home more often!

SZECHWAN SHRIMP
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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4 Tb. water
2 Tb. ketchup
1 Tb. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tb. peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 c. sliced green onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces peeled, deviened shrimp with tails

In a bowl, stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper, and ground ginger. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in green onions and garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in shrimp, and toss to coat with oil. Stir in sauce. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thickened and shrimp is fully cooked – about 5-7 minutes.

ASIAN BEEF with PEA PODS
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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3 Tb. soy sauce
2 Tb. rice wine vinegar
1 Tb. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tb. peanut oil
2 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. beef round steak, cut into thin strips
8 oz. pea pods

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the steak and stir-fry for 2 min. or until evenly browned. Add the snow peas and stir-fry for an additional 3 min. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick. Serve immediately.

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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1 (16 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained (juice reserved)
2 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 3/4 c. water
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. distilled white vinegar
2 drops orange food color
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes
2 1/4 c. self-rising flour
2 Tb. vegetable oil
2 Tb. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 egg
2 c. water
1 quart vegetable or canola oil for frying

In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, and orange food coloring. Heat to boiling. Turn off heat. Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; slowly stir into saucepan. Continue stirring until mixture thickens.

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt, white pepper, and egg. Add 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 cups water gradually to make a thick batter. Stir to blend thoroughly. Add chicken pieces, and stir until chicken is well coated.

Heat oil in skillet, fryer or wok to 360 degrees F. Fry chicken pieces in hot oil until golden. Remove chicken, and drain on paper towels.

When ready to serve, layer green peppers, pineapple chunks, and cooked chicken pieces on a platter. Pour hot sweet and sour sauce over top. Serve with steamed rice if desired.

Market Fresh: Chinese Vegetables

We decided that we would do several posts in preparation for the Chinese New Year! So this week will be an international focus on Chinese food with Friday switching to Valentine’s Day for two. We hope you enjoy!

Today, I’m going to share a few recipes for vegetarian and vegetable-focused Chinese dishes. We invited guests over to enjoy our Chinese feast and this Vegetable Lo-Mein was a huge hit!

VEGETABLE LO-MEIN
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6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tb. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil 
1 Tb. sesame seeds 
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock 
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. hot chili oil
2 Tb. dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 pound linguini
1 c. bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 scallions, sliced diagonally (white and green parts)

Combine the garlic, ginger, oil, sesame seeds, peanut butter, soy sauce, stock, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Stir well to fully combine.

Cook the linguine as directed until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with 3/4 of the sauce. Add the sprouts, red and yellow bell peppers, and scallions; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The remaining sauce may be added, as needed, to moisten the pasta.

CHINESE BROCCOLI
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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2 bunches broccoli, cut into florets
2 Tb. white sugar
1 Tb. cornstarch
2 Tb. soy sauce
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 Tb. sesame oil
3 Tb. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sesame seeds (opt.)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook uncovered until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, ginger, and garlic together in a small saucepan over medium heat until thickened and no longer cloudy, 4 to 6 minutes. Toss the broccoli in the sauce, pour into serving dish, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired, and serve.

EGG ROLLS
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1/2 lb. pork sausage
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
1/4 head of napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 c. carrot, shredded
1/2 c. bean sprouts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb. Hoisen Sauce
2 Tb. Smooth Peanut butter
1 package Egg Roll wrappers

Brown sausage. Add vegetables and garlic and saute until slightly cooked but still crunchy. Add sauce and peanut butter. Divide mixture into egg roll wrappers – about 2 Tb./wrapper.

To Roll: Place filling lengthwise towards end closest to you. Fold sides in and slowly roll. Seal edge with water.

Fry in a deep fryer until golden brown or bake in oven at 400 for about 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with Sweet & Sour and enjoy!

Market Fresh: Haiti

In lieu of our normal market fresh post, we decided that we would focus on Haiti today. Our hearts are heavy for the people of that country and both of us have spent helping our children to learn about Haiti and understand the disaster and devastation that has occured there.

As part of helping my 4 year olds in there study of Haiti, I decided to make several Haitian recipes. They helped out with the fried bananas. We enjoyed the food but more importantly it gave us a chance to continue our conversation about the needs of that country. A special thanks to Islandflave.com for the recipes. I adapted all of them from that site.

CORN MEAL (MAISE MOULINE)
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1 cup corn meal
4 cups water
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 finely chopped onion
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tbs. oil
salt, black pepper, and hot pepper to taste

Saute garlic and onion in oil.
Add water and bring to a boil in a medium pot.
Combine remaining ingredients.
Whisk mixture repeatedly to avoid clumps.

CORN FRITTERS
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1 can corn (15 oz), drained
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter
3 eggs

Mix flour, butter, salt, water, and 3 eggs.
Pour corn into batter and mix well. Drop by tablespoons into very hot oil.
Brown, drain on paper toweling. Serve with tomato sauce.  (We had ours plain.)

FRIED BANANAS
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3 Very ripe bananas
1 Tb. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. sugar
1/8 tsp. baking soda
sugar for topping (optional)

Mix bananas (we mashed the bananas), flour, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and soda in a medium size bowl.
Place spoonful of batter in very hot oil and fry until golden brown. Sprinkle sugar.