Seared Salmon and Greens

September 24, 2009

seared salmonYou can never have too many ideas for salmon. We eat it a lot. In September Everyday Food, Martha suggests preparing it seared with bok choy, rice and a sauce made of soy sauce, fresh ginger, lime and agave. I didn’t have any agave and we ate this with some bread from the bread machine instead of rice. I also did not sear the salmon, but grilled it. This is a nice preparation. You wilt the bok choy and cook it with some garlic. When you plate it, you add the sauce to both. I enjoyed this and it was a quick way to brighten up salmon. It tasted best when we ate it together – salmon and bok choy together on the fork. It would be very good with rice as well.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

September 23, 2009

tunanood1Mr. MarthaAndMe LOVES tuna noodle casserole. He asks for it for his birthday dinner every year. I never had tuna noodle casserole until I met him (my parents fooled around with all kinds of crazy food things, but never anything so traditional!). And I have to admit I’ve never been a big fan of it. Over the years, I’ve learned to make it so that I can choke it down. Usually I use 2 cans of tuna, one can of cream of mushroom soup, and egg noodles and I add in mushrooms, broccoli, peas, Worchestershire, Italian herbs, and lots and lots of cheese. Even so, I’ve never really cared for it.

In the September edition of Martha Stewart Everyday Food, Martha has a section on foods made using a bechamel sauce, one of which is tuna noodle tunanood2casserole. I knew Mr. MarthaAndMe would be happy to find tuna noodle casserole on his plate for dinner, so I gave it a try. First I made the bechamel sauce, which is very easy – cook some onions (1/4 cup chopped) in 3 Tbsp butter, add flour (1/4 cup – I doubled this to make it thicker) to make a roux then stir in milk (4 cups) and let it thicken. It does take some time to make, but it’s not hard at all.

I cooked the green beans (10 oz – what a great idea – I never thought to add those!) and then cooked my whole wheat spirals (1/2 lb). I mixed the tuna (2 cans) with the noodles, beans and bechamel sauce and poured it into a casserole dish. Then I used some whole wheat bread (5 slices) to make breadcrumbs and mixed them with melted butter (2 Tbsp) and poured them on top. That was it! This was incredibly easy.

I baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes and it came out bubbly, warm and pretty. And here’s the newsflash. I actually liked it! All these years that I’ve been making this for him, it never occurred to me to substitute a real sauce for that nasty canned cream of mushroom soup. If only I’d known! This was simple, but very tasty. I loved having the beans in it. They gave it some substance and balanced out the creaminess of the sauce. The breadcrumbs on top are the perfect touch (in the past, I’ve used crumbled crackers or potato chips). This is really a terrific recipe.

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Martha Mondays Assignment for 9/28

September 22, 2009

mondaysApril from AbbySweets has chosen Apple Brown Betty for our next project. Sounds perfect for this time of year! I’ll post my results on Monday. Share yours as a comment or link to your blog posted to my post on Monday. As always, if you would like to join, let me know and I will add you to the blogroll.

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Martha’s Find: Raye’s Mustard

September 22, 2009

rayes mustardLast week, on one of the new season’s episodes of her tv show, Martha introduced viewers to her latest ‘find’ – Raye’s Mustard, which she discovered in Maine. She showed several varieties and raved about the mustard. So of course I had to try it. I ordered a 4 oz jar of the Down East Schooner Mustard. The jar was $2.75 (reasonable) however the shipping was $9.95!

Despite the outrageous price tag, I kept an open mind about the mustard. And I’m glad I did. Because it was good. In this house we have several mustards in the fridge – store brand yellow, Gray Poupon country style Dijon, store brand honey mustard and Nance’s sweet hot mustard. In general, I am not a big mustard fan, but Mr. MarthaAndMe is. We sampled this mustard and while it is a basic yellow mustard, it was much, much better than store brand yellow mustard. It had a purer mustard flavor and had no aftertaste. We really liked it. I’ll give this find a thumbs up (but I probably won’t be footing the $10 shipping cost again).

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Martha Mondays: Donation Bag

September 21, 2009

mondaysThis week’s Martha Mondays assignment was a donation bag. I loved this idea.  I try to take a bag to Goodwill once a month or so but I generally toss items into a closet and let them pile up and then stuff them into a bag when I’m ready to take them.  Martha’s suggestion was to designate a bag you keep things in. This actually is a really donation baggood idea. Not only does it keep it all together, but it makes it easy to grab and go when you get a chance to drop it off. Seeing the bag hanging there also reminds you to look for items to put in it and to regularly take the bag to be donated. Inspired by this, I’ve also designated an area in my pantry to pile up food pantry items. In the past I’ve tried to make mental notes of what I should donate from my pantry but I almost always forget. Now I’ve got an area set aside for those items so I won’t forget. I’ve also designated a shelf in a cupboard in my office for book donations to my local library. It’s amazing how a very simple project like this can make you feel so very efficient!

I haven’t heard back yet from the Martha Mondays member who is scheduled to choose for this week, but when I do, I’ll post her pick.

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Halloween Blondies

September 20, 2009

blondieI have a long history with blondies. My friend Jean, who lived down the street from me, used to make the best blondies. We would bake them together all summer at her house. I have fond memories of mixing up blondies, putting them in the oven and swimming in her in-ground pool (such a big deal!) while they baked. We would get out dripping wet and eat them while watching General Hospital. Heaven.

I thought they were so good, I shared the recipe with my home ec class in junior high when the teacher gave extra credit for bringing in a recipe. I still have the original piece of notebook paper I wrote the recipe on and took to school.

Mr. MarthaandMe is a big blondie fan. He doesn’t like chocolate a lot (I know, I still can’t accept that), so blondies have always been one of his favorites. My kids have grown up eating Jean’s blondie recipe too. So we’re definitely blondie aficionados here.

With that history, obviously I had to make the Halloween Blondies on the last page of October Martha Stewart Everyday Food.

The recipe was quick and simple – butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, salt and fall colored M&Ms to put on top. I couldn’t find those fall colored M&Ms though! I did find Reese’s pieces in orange, yellow and brown so I bought those.

This is the first Martha recipe I’ve ever made that was done before the time it said. These were ready for me in about 40 minutes, as opposed to the 45-50 minutes the recipe says.

As you can see from the photo, the hungry hands in this house got into these before I could even take a photo. These were pretty good, but first of all, using the Reese’s pieces was a mistake. It really needs chocolate. Secondly, this recipe has too much salt. I would cut it in half.  Other than that, these were good. And the colored candies on top are really cute. This would be a great bake sale item.

Because Martha would, I’m going to share Jean’s recipe for blondies with you, which I think is better than Martha’s.

Jean’s Blondies

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Melt butter, add sugar and stir till dissolved. Add eggs and vanilla and stir. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into a rectangular baking pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

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Spinach with Nutmeg and Lemon

September 19, 2009

spinach lemonI was thrilled to see the section on side dishes in October Martha Stewart Everyday Food. I get tired of making the same old veggies the same old way. Spinach with Nutmeg and Lemon caught my eye since I love spinach.

This is a very simple recipe  – you just wilt your spinach, add salt, pepper and nutmeg. It says to serve with lemon wedges (and never says to add lemon juice) so I added it into the dish itself. The lemon juice intensifies the spinach flavor, but I found it to be a little too sour for me. The nutmeg is a nice flavor to add though. As you can see, some of my spinach turned brown, which was really weird. I may not have checked it over as thoroughly as I should have.

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