June 20, 2009
I have never heard of a hand pie before, but Tomato Hand Pies (Martha Stewart Living July) sounded quite good.
First, you roast sliced tomatoes and onions. Next you make pie crust (I cheated and used refrigerated pie crust that I bought – shhh – don’t tell Martha!) and place squares of the crust in muffin tins. The recipe says to put feta cheese and oregano at the bottoms of each. I opened my feta cheese and found it was growing a big furry mold colony, so I had a bit of a crisis. I ended up using some smoked mozzarella that I had.
You spoon the tomato/onion mix into the cups and Martha says to add olives, but I hate olives so I skipped that step. Fold in the edges of the crust and then brush it with an egg wash.
This takes about 50 minutes to bake (which really seemed like a long time when I read it, but it did work). They were really, really good. I’m addicted to roasted tomatoes. They are so sweet and good. These were like tiny quiche with no egg. I really liked them and will make them again. I think that with feta it would be very tasty – the mozzarella is so mild I didn’t really taste it. Love this one!
June 19, 2009
My grocery store finally has quinoa – hidden in the organic/gluten free/ health food section. I’ve had it before and enjoy having a different kind of grain to use. Martha has a recipe for Quinoa Salad with Cucumber (Martha Stewart Living, July) which I decided to try out. First I cooked the quinoa. Since I was in a hurry, once it was done, I spread it on a baking sheet and stuck it in the freezer to cool it quickly.
The recipe for this salad is very simple. Basically it is just quinoa with cucumber, herbs and a light vinegar/oil dressing. I got it together and it looked and tasted a bit boring. So I decided to add some cherry tomatoes for color and flavor. That helped things a bit. This was an ok side dish, but nothing to get excited about. If you’ve never had quinoa, it tastes like a very light barley and is also similar to tabbouleh. I doubt I will make this again, but it was something different to make and a nice change from a boring lettuce salad.
June 18, 2009
I am a fan of the fish sandwich. This wasn’t always the case. There’s a fabulous place we eat at every few years in Florida called Gramma Dot’s and they have a terrific grouper sandwich. Because that is so amazing, I’m now open to other fish sandwiches. Martha has a recipe for Grilled Fish Sandwich with Cabbage Slaw in July Everyday Food (no link on Martha’s site).
I made this recipe, but there was some improvisation involved. The recipe says to use thick sandwich bread. Instead I cut a ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise and made open faced sandwiches. Martha also says to shred cabbage, and let it sit with salt and then drain it. I bought a bag of cole slaw mix and used that.
I used salmon for the fish and just grilled it. I mixed my coleslaw mix with mayo and vinegar. We found that we needed to put some mayo directly on the bread. And I always squeeze some lemon over the fish in the sandwich, which really brightens it up. This sandwich was good. The slaw was good, but I would have been just as happy with lettuce and tomato. I also think grilled the bread might have added some extra flavor, so maybe I’ll try that next time.
June 17, 2009
I’m tired of the same old salads. I need new and fresh ideas and happily, Martha has come through in the July issue of Martha Stewart Living. Beans with Skillet-Toasted Corn and Tomatoes (Hello? Martha? Could your people work on getting these recipes up on the site???) sounded fun and different.
Now it’s confession time. The recipe calls for dried beans which you are supposed to soak. So not happening! I used canned pinto beans.
The first step is to cook the corn until it browns. Add garlic and cook a little longer until it makes popping sounds. It really did! That tickled me pink, I must admit.
Next you cook the tomatoes. I used cherry tomatoes, but Martha says to use plum. Cook them until they are slightly charred. The dressing is easy – oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. I added a little sugar, which I always do to my dressings and Martha never does – a major point of contention between us.
You serve the salad warm, over lettuce leaves with some smoked cheese grated over it. I could not get it enough of this! It was delish! The corn had this wonderful sweet, roasted flavor and so did the tomatoes. The dressing gave it some added flavor. I cut up the lettuce leaves and ate them with the salad. This was a perfect lunch and it was good cold the next day too. I know that this salad sounds so simple – it is simple to make, but it really has a wonderful complex flavor to it. You must try it!
June 16, 2009
I’ve had some pork chops in the freezer for a while and I decided it was time to make them. I have cut way back on meat in my cooking and have not made pork in months, so it was a welcome change. Martha has a recipe for grilled pork chops with spice paste (Martha Stewart Everyday Food, July). I’ve found that pork chops always need something to wake them up. Just grilled by themselves, they are dry and boring. I have a great recipe where I marinate them in buttermilk and herbs overnight, but that takes advance planning! This was a night for something I could make with little notice.
This recipe was very easy. You chop up some garlic and mix it with oil, paprika, brown sugar and pepper. Slather that on the chops and then cover them with plastic wrap and let it sit for an hour. Grill it and you’re ready.
Results? Terrific. I would not have expected such a simple rub to create such wonderful flavor but it really did. This is going in my ‘quick and easy’ file. Thumbs up!
June 14, 2009
I thought yogurt cheese sounded like some sort of unpleasant byproduct when I first ran across Martha’s recipe for it in Everyday Food (June). But then I got to thinking about it. I like cheese. I like yogurt. And it would be so fun to make my own cheese from yogurt, so why not?
I bought Greek yogurt and cheesecloth and set up my strainer. You put the yogurt in the cheesecloth and put a plate (a glass measuring cup worked for me) and a heavy can on top and let it sit for 48 hours. Mine actually sat for about 12 hours longer than that.
Then you take it apart. Only a little liquid had strained out of my yogurt, which made me worried.
I started to roll it into balls. It did make balls, but they were very soft, and it got all over my hands. Martha says to eat the yogurt cheese balls plain or you can dress them up with oil and herbs.
Plain: they tasted like yogurt. Nothing magical happened to the yogurt to make it taste like anything else. It was just slightly dry yogurt. It tasted nothing like cheese.
So next I added olive oil and herbs. I let this sit several hours. I tasted it and it tasted like yogurt with olive oil and herbs. It was very difficult to stir or toss it in the oil and herbs. The balls are very soft and sticky and have a tendency to mush.
This one is not a good thing. It was a lot of work for results that were not impressive in the least.
June 13, 2009
I made Martha’s Crispy Taco Picadillo (Martha Stewart Living, June). I had never heard of picadillo, but when I read the recipe it just sounded like tacos, so I went with it.
This was amazingly easy. I’m used to Living recipes being long and complicated, but this was simple. I substituted ground turkey for ground beef. You cook onions, then add your meat and garlic and add chopped tomato and spices. Simple. It cooks for about 15 to 20 minutes. Easy as pie.
I liked the idea of making tacos with my own ingredients instead of using some horrible powdered taco mix. Both children viewed this with suspicion because there were chunks of tomato (horrors!). The oldest ate it with trepidation and then declared you couldn’t even tell there were chunks of tomato (shocking!) and tried to convince the younger to try it. He scowled and refused.
Mr. MarthaAndMe thought it was quite good. I would definitely make this again. I like tacos a lot and this is really just as easy and quick as using some godawful mix. Thanks Martha!
June 12, 2009
Martha’s calendar is a popular feature in Martha Stewart Living, and the magazine recently brought it back after a long absence. I like to look at because it gives you a glimpse into Martha’s life. I have to say I find it hard to believe though. I don’t really think Martha is doing many of the household and garden tasks on the calendar. Supervising them, maybe, but doing them, no.
Despite this, I decided to make a calendar for myself for May in the style of Martha’s calendar and then see if I was able to actually fulfill it. The results are in. For about 50% of the days on the calendar, I did not do what was planned. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do the household tasks I had planned though – most of them got done, but on other days. There were a few that never happened. I found that it was nearly impossible to know three weeks ahead of time which day would be the best for dusting the inside of my curio cabinet or buying new carpet for the front porch. In my life, things just come up. With two kids at home, a husband, parents, and work, most of the time I don’t get to dictate my schedule at all.
I did find it helpful to take some time and think about what needed doing that month. I would love to get to the point where I had a revolving calendar of jobs that get done in certain months. It would help me feel so much more organized. But at this point in my life, I’m not as focused on household tasks as I am on people tasks – driving someone to an activity, getting medical records for school, buying milk when we run out, keeping kids and husband in clean clothes that actually fit, and so on. The calendar is a nice idea, but not practical for my life.
June 11, 2009
Congratulations to Donna Hull, winner of the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book!!!
I’ll be doing another giveaway soon, so check back for details!