Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spanish Omelette

The other day we had lunch at the Columbia Cafe outside of the Tampa Bay History Museum. It was delicious! And since Wayne's eaten at the original Columbia Restaurant a couple of times and really enjoyed the food, we decided to purchase the cookbook they had on display. Wayne made the very first recipe in the book for our breakfast Saturday. And he said the leftovers on Sunday morning were even better!Tortilla de Espárragos, Papas, y Cebollas
(or Asparagus, Potato, and Onion Omelette)
1 pound fresh asparagus, steamed and cut in 2-inch pieces
2 medium-size potatoes, peeled and sliced in half-moons, 1/8 inch thick
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in 9-inch omelette pan. (He used our cast iron frying pan.) Fry garlic until golden and discard. Add potato slices; cook over medium heat. Add onions after 5 minutes. Lift and turn potatoes and onions as they cook. When potatoes are tender, add asparagus and mix thoroughly.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, salt, and pepper with a fork until slightly foamy. Add vegetables to eggs; drain with a slotted spoon as you do so. Return egg and vegetable mixture to the pan, adding more oil if necessary (didn't do this, and it was necessary!), so that the eggs will not stick. Spread evenly and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan. (Don't forget the shaking.)When eggs leave sides of pan, invert a plate over top and flip omelette onto the plate. Slice the omelette back into the pan to brown on the other side. Repeat this process one more time. Serve hot or at room temperature on a round platter. Serves 4.

Dutch Oven Beans

Bob's Special Waltz Beans

1/2 pound bacon
1/2 pound sausage
1 pound lean ground beef
1 15-oz. can oven baked beans
1 15-oz. can kidney beans
1 15-oz. can pinto beans
1 cup catsup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large green pepper, chopped fine
1 tablespoon bottled mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Place the Dutch oven on top of the stove. Brown the bacon, then add onions and peppers and brown them. Then add sausage and ground beef. Brown well, then drain off the excess grease. Season to taste. Mix in all the remaining ingredients. Put lid on the Dutch oven and bake in the oven at 350° for one hour. Serve with grated cheese if desired. Serves 8. (Can also do outside using charcoal briquettes for heat.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A New Easter Tradition

A few years ago we noticed that around Easter Costco had boneless leg of lamb available that was less expensive than a standing rib roast and a new tradition was born - roast lamb for Easter Sunday dinner. And with a family that's growing smaller, that means there are leftovers. So, another new tradition is lamb curry later in the week. Here's one of the curry recipes we like. (And it also used those Easter eggs!)

Chicken Madras

1 tart apple, pared and diced
1 cup cooked diced carrots
1 stalk celery, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon sage
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup light cream
2 tablespoons chopped chutney
hot cooked rice
curry accompaniments
(bacon bits, chutney, raisins, chopped hard-cooked egg, sliced almonds, coconut)

Cook and stir apple, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix flour with curry powder, salt, mustard, and sage; stir into butter mixture. Cook, stirring until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth. Add bay leaf. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minutes. Stir in chicken, cream, and chutney; heat through. Remove bay leaf. Serve over rice with curry accompaniments. Serves 4-6.

Okay, that was the original recipe from Betty Crocker. Last night I left out the carrots and served them on the side. I forgot to buy celery so that wasn't in it either. Lamb was substituted for the chicken. (Pork also works.) And I sautéd the vegetables in a smidgen of olive oil and left out the butter and only used a 1/4 cup of cream. (Trying to lower the fat content!) I used Wondra flour and mixed it directly with the chicken broth before adding to the pan. I totally forgot about the bay leaf and used double the amount of curry. The recipe is very flexible!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


On one of his recent trips to Europe, Wayne had Baklava and decided it was delicious and thought we should have some at home. I found a recipe, but it's really more of a process. So, here's what we did:
Prepare a syrup by bringing 1 1/4 cups water and 1 1/4 cups sugar to a boil. Then add 1/2 cup honey and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and let it cool.Melt some butter (about 3/4-1 cup). Lightly grease a 9x13" pan. Take one package (16 oz.) of phyllo dough and start layering the sheets in the pan, brushing each of them with butter.
Every 6-8 sheets, sprinkle with finely chopped nuts, cinnamon and sugar. (I chopped about 2 1/2 -3 cups of nuts with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon.)
When all the dough is used, carefully score the pastry (don't cut all the way to the bottom of the pan, but almost) and bake at 325° for 45 minutes. Take it out of the oven and pour the syrup over it all. Let cool and finish cutting all the way. Leave uncovered or it will get soggy.
Today we had it just like this. However, I was informed that the restaurant served it á la mode topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. I guess I'll go shopping for ice cream before serving the leftovers!

I went shopping! It was delicious before, but this was even better!!

Traditional Easter Breakfast

Here's one breakfast we usually only have once a year, but it wouldn't be Easter without it. You have to use up the hard-boiled Easter eggs somehow! Creamed Eggs on Toast

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
salt, pepper, dry mustard to taste
1 cup milk
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Melt butter and stir in flour and seasonings. Whisk in milk and cook until thickened. Stir in eggs and heat through. Serve over toast. Serves 4.
We discovered that an easy way to cut the eggs is to use an egg slicer. After doing one direction, carefully take out the egg and turn it 90° to slice it the other way into cubes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tortilla Stack

I was thinking about making enchiladas for dinner last week. But when it got right down to it, I didn't feel like making that effort, so we turned to an old stand-by instead.

Lightly grease a 10" pie plate. Place a flour tortilla in it and top with a mixture of mashed beans, cooked hamburger, and taco seasoning. Sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese. Repeat layers 2 or 3 more times. Bake until heated through and the cheese melts. Top with sour cream and salsa if desired.

Szechwan Shrimp

Szechwan Shrimp

1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons catsup
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup sliced green onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or sesame seed oil)
1 pound shrimp
Hot cooked rice
Hot cooked pea pods
Combine first seven ingredients and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok and quickly stir-fry green onions, garlic and shrimp. Stir in the catsup mixture and cook until thickened. Serve over rice with pea pods. (We mixed it all together.) Makes 4 servings.

Habichuelas con Arroz

Habicheulas con Arroz
from Melissa Sosa
This will be a recipe without exact measurements, at least for now!
For the sofritos: chop one onion, one green pepper, one red pepper, and several cloves of garlic. Sauté in a small amount of oil until tender. Add some oregano and black pepper if desired. To this mixture, add your dried red beans and enough water to cover them. Then cook for several hours until the beans are tender. Add additional seasonings as desired - salt, cumin, tomatoes. Serve over rice.

Garlic Shrimp with Rice

Garlic Shrimp with Rice
from Sofia Wirthlin
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
4 1/2 cups water, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound shrimp (smaller size)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil
onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt to taste
2 cups cooked peas
Cook rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 3 cups water. Add shrimp and garlic to remaining 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and marinate for 10 minutes. Strain shrimp and cook in olive oil with desired seasonings. Stir in rice and peas and heat through. Serves 6-8.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Saucy Stir-Fried Pork

This recipe came from a Kraft Foods magazine, but of course we made a couple of changes. Here's our version.
Saucy Stir-Fried Pork

1/4 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips (or use cooked, chopped pork)
1 cup thin red pepper strips
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup water or chicken broth

Heat dressing in a skillet. Add meat and cook until done. Stir in peppers, peas and onions and cook for about 4 minutes. Combine cornstarch and ginger in a small bowl. Stir in soy sauce and water. Then add to hot pan and stir until thickened. Serve over hot, cooked rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Wheatberry Salad/Dessert

I was intrigued when I came across this recipe and so had to try it. It was called a salad, but you can definitely taste the pudding and cool whip in it, so you could probably get away with serving it for dessert. It's one of "those" recipes! It's also not low calorie, so we won't be making it frequently, but it turned out well. So, here's another way to eat your wheat!

Wheatberry Salad

4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces cool whip
1 package dry vanilla pudding (4 serving size)
1 can (15 ounces) fruit cocktail, undrained
2 cups cooked wheat berries

Combine cream cheese and cool whip. Stir in pudding mix. Stir in fruit cocktail and wheat berries. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 9 - 1/2 cup servings (of about 175 calories each).