23 January, 2014  |   5 Comments

Frodo Risotto Recipe for a Hobbit Dinner

We love Frodo Baggins.We made a hobbit dinner the other night.
James and I love Frodo. Bilbo too. We are Hobbits at heart.

Secure in our snuggly Shire home, we welcome any old man with fireworks to entertain the children.
The barefoot, mildly wild children.

And they all eat Frodo Risotto.

This is Frodo Risotto. It's a baked risotto.

We served Frodo Risotto with local Shire greens.
And some roast game (chicken).

Adapted from a Donna Hay recipe, this risotto bakes in the oven while you catch up with cousin Frieda Baggins about what’s causing the rabbit shortage.

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced about 1/2″ (Probably about 2 cups diced squash)
3 cups arborio rice
7 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup white wine (For cooking, I like Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Additional Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil for frying the sage
10 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cate Blanchette, Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien, will try to scarysexy you into giving her your ring but don’t you let her.

Elvin Butternut Squash.

To avoid all risk, you probably should skin her and chop half of her into tiny bits.

Peeled Elvin (Elvish?) Butternut Squash.

You can mince Samwise Gamgee into tiny bits while you’re at it too.

Nooooooo Frodoooooo

Mix the first seven ingredients in a 9″ x 12″ baking dish.
Combine, being careful not to slosh.

Something lives beneath the surface of that salty lake.\

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and put in oven for 1 hour.

30 minutes into the baking time, take off the foil and stir it. You will be disappointed by the lack of progress. But hold tight, little hobbit, your dinner is right on plan.

This is when I would fry up the sage.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, frizzle the sage in there until crispy, only a minute or two. Remove and drain on paper towels

After an hour, remove the baking dish from the oven.
Stir through the two tablespoons of butter and Parmesan cheese.
Stir through 7 leaves worth of crumbled fried sage.

Garnish with the remaining 3 leaves.

And watch out for fireworks.

Welcome all old men carrying fireworks

7 November, 2013  |   3 Comments

Crocked Shrimp Dip

This recipe, from Ann Hodgeman’s Beat That cookbook, wins raves and recipe requests from all over the land.

The cucumber slices and water crackers didn’t make anyone’s fingers greasy, and the shrimp dip topping was light, whippy and exactly the most non-offensivest of fishy that you want in a dip. We make this dip in two parts, The first, the shrimping. The second, the blending and the third, the melding. The melding is my favorite part, because I have to do nothing.

Dottie's going in for the crocked shrimp dip.

This recipe only serves to reinforce my belief that a food processor makes nearly any food better. I think it has something to do with hoisting it out of its storage space and back and forth again.

First Day Ingredients
2 cups water
1 cup dry white wine (I use Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc)
2 lemons, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 poun raw medium shrimp, unpeeled

Second Day Ingredients
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 small scallions, minced (including a good 3 inches of green)
Salt and ground pepper to taste

Water crackers and cucumber slices for serving

First Day Directions
Mix the water, wine, lemon slices, chopped garlic cloves, peppercorns and mustard seeds (basically, everything except the shrimp) in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring the mix to a boil and let it boil for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low — and add the shrimp (still in their shells). Simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the shrimp cool in the liquid for about 20 minutes. Put the whole mixture in the fridge overnight.

Second Day Directions
Drain and peel the shrimp. Take out that food processor, and add the cream cheese, anchovies, butter, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Process the mix utnil smooth. Drop in the peeled shrimp and pulse to chop it finely, you want some shrimpy texture in that dip.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the scallions and season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill it overnight.

Third Day Directions
Let the shrimp sit for an hour at room temperature before serving it with water crackers and those thinly sliced cucumbers.

5 November, 2013  |   Comment

Peanut Butter Cookie Day!

Peanut Butter Cookie Closeup

One of the reasons I’ve been writing on the internet all this time is that I like having a recipe repository of all the stuff we eat for my kids. When they’re all grown, they’ll be able to have the exact recipe I used for their favorites. (And know what to avoid.)

Please give this child a cookie.

I shared my Brokey Peanut Butter Cookie recipe a few years ago. The recipe (and relative brokeyness) still stands.

It is exciting, to think that my kids can access that culinary history. My mom could sometimes make the same thing twice. But outside of the comforting sameness of lasagna-flavored Hamburger Helper, the flavors of my childhood reside only in my brain.

Sometimes I have deep thoughts, and sometimes I make peanut butter cookies.
It’s peanut butter cookie time.

We eat these a log.

Helen Jane’s Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe 

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter (that’s one stick), soft
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cookie sheet

Mix peanut butter and butter in large mixing bowl until smooth.
Then add all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Put the cookie dough bowl into the refrigerator for 15 – 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

When properly chilled, spoon batter onto cookie sheet with a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper on it.

Flatten cookies with the criss cross fork print which we all take to mean “peanut butter cookie.”
Bake for 10 minutes.

And don’t tell Dottie you’re going to take her peanut butter cookie away.

29 August, 2013  |   1 Comment

Mama’s Favorite Cookies – Dark Chocolate, Dried Cherry and Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Cherry, chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies

These are my favorite cookies.
Right now.
They’re good for lunch-packing, snack-time and Helen’s Zass.

Cherry, chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies

Okay, maybe they’re not so good for Helen’s Zass.
But they are delicious.

Anyway, dark chocolate, dried cherries and oatmeal all in a cookie made of my favorites. The kids love them, I love them and I hope you love them too.

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup dried cherries
2 cups dark chocolate chunks and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cherry, chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Using beaters or a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and keep blending until it’s one harmonious mass. Turn off the beaters.

In a big bowl, put the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and oatmeal. Stir until blended through.

Turn the beaters/mixer to low and add the flour/oatmeal mixture slowly to the batter until barely blended. Or use a big wooden spoon, your choice.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, and stir through the chocolate chunks and dried cherries until mixed all the way through.

Put a spoonful or a scoopful of cookies on a baking sheet in the manner that one does. Wet your fingers and flatten the scoop a little bit. Leave enough space between them to flatten out a little, but I end up putting 12 cookies at a time on each baking sheet.

I like to use this scoop — it’s something I used a gift certificate for — and initially thought would be a silly purchase. Since we use it for a small ice cream scoop AND a cookie scoop AND a muffin scoop, I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth out of it. You might too.

In my oven, I needed to bake each sheet for 12 minutes, turning the pans from front to back 6 minutes in. Your oven may vary.

Cherry, chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies

I hope these cookies make you as happy as they make me.
(And the rest of our silly, silly family.)

After School

21 February, 2013  |   28 Comments

Sweet Dude Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

My friend’s having a rough time lately.

She’s going through a rotten breakup, her job is really hard on her and worst of all of it is that she’s physically attractive.

The world has very little sympathy for the good-looking.
Also: Humans are weird.

Humans like ME are weird in that some of us have a strange compulsion to cook for the people we love.
(No matter how hot they are.)

Compelled, I made that friend this breakfast hash.
And I think it helped, a little.

My specialty love-cooking meal is breakfast.
(See: Pancakes, Sticky Baked French Toast, Eggy Pie)

Cooking breakfast for someone is an intimate act.
It’s a meal cooked for you by only someone that wakes up in your home.
A treat saved for the closest.

This recipe serves four.

Sweet Potato Hash for anytime breakfast

Sweet Dude Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

1 large sweet potato
1 red bell pepper
1 small onion
4 links chicken apple sausage
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 eggs
Canola oil
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Cut the chicken apple sausage into a 1/2 inch dice.
Cut the bell pepper into a 1/2 inch dice.
Mince the onion, fine.
Peel the sweet potato. Cut it into a 1/2 inch dice.
(A 1/2 inch dice is smaller than you think it is.)

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken apple sausage and saute until browned (about 4 minutes). Add the onions and pepper and toss until wilty (about another 3 minutes). Remove the mixture from the pan.

Put the pan back on the burner and add another 2 tablespoons of oil.

Add the sweet potato dice to the pan and let it fizizzle and heat until the corners of the tiny dice are browned and the inside of the sweet potato is well cooked. Because of the size of my pan, I did two batches. Each took slightly longer than it seemed it should, clocking in at about 6 minutes of browning time each. Add the sausage, onions and peppers back the pan and toss, toss, toss all together with the parsley, salt and cayenne pepper until well-warmed and incorporated.

In another pan, preferably a non-stick one, MAGICALLY IF AT THE SAME TIME, heat it up and fry up all 4 eggs, as you are wont to do.
Here are some great instructions for frying eggs.

Serve up the sweet potato hash in shallow bowls with a fried egg atop each bowl.
Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve with love.
(Like all breakfasts should be served.)

Why am I posting this recipe?
I’m posting this recipe because I support ONE Moms.

The sweet potato is serving as the mascot for their cause. Packed with nutrition and blessed with the ability to grow in many places, the sweet potato is literally saving lives. That’s a real, life literally. I only needed ONE sweet potato to feed 4 people. It’s chock full of vitamins. It’s a lifesaver.

You can sign the petition asking for our representatives to make a measurable commitment to reducing chronic malnutrition for 25 million children by 2016 at http://www.one.org/us/food/

Here’s a list to all the other ONE Sweet Potato Day participants.
Get your Convolvulaceae on.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos from This Week for Dinner
Truffle Sweet Potato Frites from Savory Sweet Life
Sweet Potato & Chicken Sausage Stew from Chefdruck
Honey Sweet Potato Biscuits from Food for My Family
Sweet Potato Burgers from Cutie Booty Cakes
What’s Gaby Cooking and Sweet Potato Day
The Mission List and Sweet Potato Day
World Moms Blog and Sweet Potato Day
Go Graham Go and Sweet Potato Day
Cranberry Sweet Potato Crumb Cake from Barbara Bakes
Bourbon and Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes from Boston Mamas
Documama and Sweet Potato Day
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding from Eat the Love
Lamb Shanks with Sweet Potatoes and Sausage from Kitchen Gadget Girl
Sweet Potato Love To Help End World Hunger from Love That Max
Celebrating Sweet Potato Day with Mom Trends
Sweet Potato Chili from Righteous Bacon
Cooking Sweet Potatoes for Picky Eaters from Rookie Moms
Sweet Potatoes and Global Health from Third Eye Mom
Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Kielbasa ONE Skillet Bake from Tickled Red
Oh My Sweet Potato Apple Bake from Bowl Licker
Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin from Non-Reactive Pan
Sweet Potato Fries from When You Wake Up a Mother (also found on Million Moms Challenge)

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