February 1, 2012
I forgot to post this – sorry for the delay. My father-in-law is suddenly seriously ill and there’s just too much going on to keep everything straight.
Perfecting Pru chose our recipe this week, Whole Wheat Pasta with Arugula, Lemon, and Pistachios. I admit I was skeptical about this!
I had to make a couple of substitutions. I thought I had whole wheat spaghetti, but I was out, so I used a basil pasta instead. I also could not find Meyer lemons (in fact, I’ve never had them) so I used a regular lemon. I thought this was pretty good and I enjoyed it. I know a Meyer lemon would not have been as bitter as the rind from a regular lemon, so it’s a shame I can’t seem to get them. I admit, I added cheese to this after putting it on my plate. I really did like it though. It was very different and also very fresh tasting, which I enjoyed very much. Mr. MarthaAndMe and TeenMartha also enjoyed it. Did you make it?
January 23, 2012
Thanks to Sassy Suppers for choosing today’s project, Coconut Ice Cream Sandwiches. I am not a huge fan of coconut, but in recent years, I’ve liked it a bit more. For this recipe, you make the dough, freeze it, slice it, bake it, fill with ice cream and freeze again. I thought the dough was kind of hard to mix up. I ended up getting in it with my hands to get it to come together. The recipe said to slice with a serrated knife, but I found a regular knife was better. I thought they were actually pretty good, given that coconut is not at the top of my list. They’re a different play on an ice cream sandwich, which is definitely fun.
January 18, 2012
This recipe is from January Living. I’ve had the magazine open to this page almost since the magazine came and finally got around to making it. Nothing too complicated here really – put your potatoes and chicken in a roasting pan and drizzle some oil and lemon over the potatoes and oil over the chicken. You stuff half a lemon and some parsley into the chicken, then roast it. Meanwhile, you make an uncooked sauce of garlic, oil, parsley, lemon juice and zest and Parmesan. I did this in the food processor so it was quite simple. I served the sauce on the side and did not spread it over the food before serving.
I loved the sauce – very bright and fresh. It went well with both the chicken and potatoes. I was not wild about the way the chicken and potatoes roasted. I had about an inch of juice in the bottom of my pan so the potatoes did not get crispy very much. They were still good. I don’t find that stuffing the chicken with things adds much to the flavor of the dish. I wouldn’t bother stuffing it like that again and that might cut down on the overwhelming amount of juice in the pan. Definitely give this sauce a try!
January 11, 2012
In the winter I usually take on a baking project each weekend. This past weekend I decided to make challah, which probably should count as a dessert, not a bread! It was delicious and made two giant loaves. I use a recipe I adapted from fellow writer Lynne Meredith Schreiber:
Dissolve 2 1/2 tablespoons yeast in 1 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Allow to proof for about 10 minutes.
To this add:
1 cup warm water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
7 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Knead for 5 minutes then place in a greased bowl and allow to rise for 2 hours. Divide in half and then divide each half into thirds. Roll these out like logs that are about 2 feet long. Place 3 of them on a baking sheet and smush one end together. Braid the three pieces and smush the other end. Do the same with the other 3 logs. Allow to rise about an hour. Brush with an egg wash and bake at 325 for 30-40 minutes, rotating shelves and direction of the pans, until light golden brown and the bread feels cooked in the center when you touch it.
This is enough for 4 meals for my family of 4. I think in the future I might make it into 4 smaller loaves, so you can definitely try that as well.
December 23, 2011
I love hearing about people’s holiday food traditions. In my family, the Christmas menu is pretty much set in stone. First, sometime before Christmas, I make Hal Linden’s Hanukah bread. Christmas Eve we always have a ham and potato latkes (recipe from The New Basics Cookbook by the same gals who wrote the Silver Palate Cookbook), which we started making when TeenMartha was tiny and watched a Sherry Lewis and Lamb Chop special where they sang a song called “Everybody Loves Potato Latkes.” It aired on a Christmas Eve when we were snowed in and we whipped them up and it became a tradition. We serve them with sour cream and homemade applesauce. We usually round out the meal with some grapes, and then have cookies while we watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Christmas morning we always have baked donuts. I got the recipe from one of Dianne Mott Davidson’s Goldie’s Catering mysteries (they are called Galaxy Donuts). They’re made with different grains, baked and dipped in cinnamon sugar. We always have hot chocolate with them.
For lunch, we have a fun buffet. The ham from Christmas Eve comes out, along with marble rye bread and rye bread dip. Mr. MarthaAndMe always gets a summer sausage in his stocking, so we eat that with cheese and crackers and an assortment of mustards. Grapes and tangerines round out the meal. The kids usually get candy in their stockings and eat some of that.
Christmas dinner is at my parents’ house. During the afternoon when we are opening gifts, my mom makes gougere, which is a cheese puff pastry. Dinner is always beef tenderloin. She makes a broccoli wreath (cooked broccoli dotted with cherry tomatoes surrounding a bowl of hollandaise sauce). We also have a salad and potatoes (usually roasted potatoes, but this year it will be twice baked for something different). We have cookies for dessert. This year I bought a tray from an Italian bakery and we are going to try that, along with some I made and some that were given to her. My mom doesn’t make cookies anymore and we like to have something different when we go over there, rather than eating our own cookies again.
When we see my in-laws, they always insist on taking us out to dinner although I would be happy to cook for them. Then we have two other family parties which are usually overloaded with tons of wonderful food. One aunt always makes sticky buns. My mom usually makes a pork roast or some kind of chicken breast dish for one of them. I like getting to sample family members’ cookies!
What are your holiday food traditions?
December 14, 2011
This is a recipe I make very often because it’s just so easy, but it also tastes really complex like you spent a lot of time on it!
I start with making the sauce. In a saucepan combine 1/2 tbsp butter, 1 cup orange juice, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium and cook until it is reduced to a syrupy sauce, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
I use about 12 sea scallops for this one. In the summer I like to grill scallops, but in the winter, I pan fry them. When you cook scallops you want to first make sure you rinse them well to get rid of grit. Then you want to peel off the little muscle on the side. Then it’s very important to completely dry them so they will caramelize.
For this recipe, I get the pan very hot and melt 1/2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Then I drop in the scallops (which have been seasoned with salt and pepper). Be sure you have a big enough pan, so there is about an inch or so between the scallops. If you don’t, they will boil in their juices instead of caramelizing. Cook about 2-3 minutes, then flip. Cook until cooked through, another 2-3 minutes.
Remove the scallops and pour the sauce into the scallop pan. Heat the sauce, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Serve with the scallops. This is good served over rice too.
December 12, 2011
Ana at Sweet Almond Tree chose Chicken and Dumplings for this week. I grew up eating chicken and biscuits. I’ve had chicken and dumplings at The Cracker Barrel, but those are rolled, flat dumplings. I actually have the recipe for those and have made it from time to time. I don’t think I’ve ever had drop dumplings before, so this was a new thing to try. This was essentially like making chicken soup, or the base for chicken and biscuits, except I normally don’t use turnips and parsnips. When I make chicken and biscuits, I thicken it with flour. This remains thin, like a soup. The dumplings were easy to make and puffed up so prettily in the pot. It was almost like eating matzoh ball soup in a way, but the dumplings are lighter than that. We really enjoyed this. I would definitely make this again as alternative to chicken soup or chicken and biscuits. It was better the second day, since the broth thickened a bit from the dumplings.
December 5, 2011
Tiny Skillet chose today’s project, pumpkin chocolate chip squares and it was a winner in my house! These are like a blond brownie with pumpkin in the batter. Very yummy, very moist and hard to stop eating. I made pumpkin swirl brownies once from a Martha recipe and did not care for them (so I was worried these were not going to be any good), but these were great, proving once again how fun Martha Mondays is, because sometimes you stumble upon something fantastic. I’m definitely going to make these again.
December 2, 2011
I recently made this as a spin on the recipe in October Everyday Food for Turkey with Balsamic Pears. Instead of the turkey, I used 4 small chicken breasts. This recipe seemed to take forever to make! I guess there were just a lot of steps and different combos to cook at different times. It turned out nicely though. If I made this again, I think I would cook the chicken only about halfway first, then I would add it back in when I added the pears, so that the flavors of the sauce could permeate the chicken more. I might even marinate the chicken in the broth/balsamic/mustard mix for a bit.
I really enjoyed having pears in a completely different way. It was a nice fall meal.
November 28, 2011
Pru at Perfecting Pru chose today’s project – potato gratin in a muffin tin. Did you try it? I made it and it worked but I thought it was a bit lacking in flavor. There’s no butter in this, other than the cooking spray on the tin (maybe I should have actually rubbed a stick of butter on it). Easy to make, but those muffin tins are a pain to clean if you don’t use liners, and this recipe didn’t. I can safely tell you, having cooked hundreds of muffin tin recipes, for my upcoming book The Muffin Tin Cookbook, that you want to use liners whenever possible!
This is a cute little recipe, but I think it’s hard to serve without it falling apart (in a liner it would have stayed together better)!