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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Posting

For some reason some of my posts have disappeared. I am not sure why but I will repost over the next few days. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

All Clad Pans

Okay I finally broke down and bought a great set of cookware.  After years of trying some others I can honestly tell you that All Clad Stainless Steel Cookware is FABULOUS!!. The difference in the way it cooks on my stove is amazing. I had other sets - most notably one that had Emeril's name on it- and they do not compare to All Clad.  So once again the quality is the key.  If you have never used an All Clad Stainless pan you owe it yourself to get one.  They are expensive. But they will last you a life time.  So take a look at them and if you have to start saving. You will be glad that you did.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Greek Yogurt

If you have never tried Greek Yogurt I recommend that you give it a taste.  It is thicker that the usual yogurt you may get. It is very good as a diet topping for baked potatoes and as an ingredient in smoothies. I use the no fat type and find that it has a great taste and mouth feel.  Here is a recipe that makes a quick and tasty desert.

Fresh Blueberries
Fresh Peaches
Fresh Pineapple
Honey    - about 2 tablespoons
Greek Yogurt - 8 oz.

Mix the honey and yogurt and then add the fruit.  Top with lemon zest.  It is fresh and filling and healthy1

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A twist for Mac N Cheese

I decided to take my own advice and made some Mac and Cheese yesterday.  I wanted to kick it up a notch so I added a 1/2 teaspoon of Smoked Sweet Paprika. It was a winner! It added a great color to the sauce and a subtle background note of smoke.  It shows what you can do with just a little imagination to change a standard dish to a stand out dish.  Give it a try.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cold Weather Comfort Food Tips

Even in the desert it is cold this time of year. There are several places that are even colder. BRRR! We all like some comfort food to make it feel better. Here are some tips that I use to make that easier.

Baked potatoes - I always put extra in when I am making bread or cooking anything in the oven.  Once baked they can be stored in the fridge for a few days. Great for cottage fries! I also will peal them when cold and then cube them to add to soups or stews.  I will also freeze some of the cubed potatoes. And they make a great potato soup!

Mac and Cheese.  Who doesn't like homemade Mac and Cheese? A quick  Béchamel sauce is easy to make. I add several kinds of cheese.  Whatever you have on hand will work.  Some of my favorite are Cheddar - both white and yellow; Swiss and American. Asiago and Parmesan are good to add with any of these.  I also will use a touch of Bleu Cheese - but just a touch to give the mac and cheese a little zip. Try a different combination and don't be afraid to add some Bacon or other meat if you like.

Soups - if you have been saving chicken parts or left over vegetables now is the time to use them.   A Simmering pot of soup is easy and you can add more protein such as rice or beans.  Economical and practical.

Bread - this is the time to make bread. Any kind you like.  Give it a try. If it does not turn out as you wanted, turn it in to bread crumbs.

Pot Roast, Baked Chicken, and casseroles all add that special comfort. So try something different. Experiment and see if you can make a recipe "yours".  Then share it with all of us.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Super Bowl Party

So now that the teams have been chosen for the Superbowl, it is time to get your party ready. No matter which team you are backing,  you know you will need some great food.  So here are some ideas to help.

If you want to have hot dogs or bratwurst I suggest using the Hot Dog Boil recipe I posted. It will add a lot flavor and if use the liquid to keep the dogs or bratwurst hot it saves a step. (You can still grill the Brats or dogs once they are steeped in the boil and then return them to the liquid to stay hot.)

Nachos - everybody loves nachos.  Use the "Tacos My  Way recipe"  in the cook book for the meat and either make or pick up some cheese sauce.  Keep the meat and the sauce hot in a chaffing dish with separate pans or in separate crock pots and let the  guests make their own.

Sandwiches - I don't like the idea of meat and mayo hanging out for several hours waiting to be made into a sandwich.  I prefer to make a large sub with my favorite meats and cheese.  I cut into serving size and keep it cold until needed.  I have the lettuce, pickles, onions, mayo etc. in small bowls set in ice.  The guests can add what ever they like and not run the risk of any food bourne illness.  ( Does not prevent hang overs!)

Drinks - You know what you like just have them separate from the food so that when your guests go to get one or the other, they are not waiting as one person ties up the entire selection.

Lastly if you are serving alcohol, have a designated driver. In many states you can be held responsible for any accidents cause by a guest driving drunk.  Not worth the possible loss of life.

Have Fun!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe from Class Today

Today I will be talking about Grilling VS Baking.  One of the recipes that I will use is a marinaded flank steak that I will grill.  The marinade is one of my recipes. I will also be cooking a flank steak without a marinade and using a fresh herb sauce when used. 

Here is the marinade recipe

Enough for a 1 - 2 flank steak

1 Cup of Olive Oil or Canola Oil
1/4  Cup of Sherry Vinegar
1/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
2  Clove of Garlic - pressed or finely minced
1 Shallot - minced
1 Tablespoon of Oregano

Put all of the ingredients in a sealable plastic bag - seal and shake to mix.  Add the flank steak - seal and massage the marinade into the meat. Place in a bowl or large plate and refrigerate for at least 4 hours up to overnight.  When ready to cook remove the streak and and discard the marinade.  Get a grill pan hot and oil using a paper towel dipped in oil.  Grill steak until it is to the temperature you like.  You can also use a gas or charcoal grill.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cooking Class Sunday 1-22-12

The Technique Class this Sunday will be on Grilling and Baking.  There is a difference between the two.  Do you know what it is?  If not come by and find out!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Results of Sourdough experiment

Here are the loaves of bread that I baked yesterday. I wanted to have one good sized sandwich loaf and one small round that could be cut for Bruschetta.


The breakthrough was adjusting the amount of flour in the recipe I was using so that the dough would have the structure I wanted and still be light. The adjusted recipes follows.  The first few times I did not have enough flour.  Too much flour and the bread will not rise and be tough.

Sourdough Bread

1 Cup of fed starter
1 1/4 Cup warm water
1 Package of yeast
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
4 cups of Bread flour +/-
1 Tablespoon of salt

Put your water, sugar and yeast in the bottom of your mixing bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook for a few seconds.  Let the yeast start to bloom then add the starter.  Mix until the starter is starting to dissolve.  Add three cups of flour and the salt. Mix with the dough hook until the dough forms a soft and sticky ball.  Then add enough flour to make a soft smooth dough. You may have to adjust the amount of flour.  Once the dough is formed, kneed for at least 5 - 7 minutes with the machine.   Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Make sure it is in a warm area to rise.  ( I use the oven preheated for about one minute and then turned off I leave the light on and put a bowl of hot water on the bottom rack. You want a temp of about 105 - 110) This may take 90 minutes or longer.  Be patience.  When the dough has doubled in size, cut off one third of it to make a small round loaf and put the rest in a large loaf pan.  The dough will deflate - that is OK.  Cover and let rise until the dough is at least 1  inch over the loaf pan - more is OK - just do not let it goo too long or it will collapse in the oven. 

Bake in a preheated oven ( 425 F) for 25 - 30 minutes.  You may want to put a small metal bowl of water in the bottom of the oven. And/or mist the loaves with water before baking.  This will give you a nice crust.

Let me know how it works for you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sourdough Bread

I have been experimenting with sourdough recipes. Over the last month I have made dozen of loaves of bread.  Not all were what I wanted and at least one made it to the compost heap!  But today I have found what I think is the best out come yet.  I was able to make a great sandwich loaf and round loaf too. I will have pictures tomorrow and a recipe recap. 

I will say this, sourdough is not that hard. You just need patience.  (Something I sometimes forget.) But the results are worthwhile!  I have only purchased bread in the supermarket twice in the last month.  I find that the sourdough is cheaper, and taste a LOT better.  I also see that I eat less of the sourdough than the store bought.  I think because it is more satisfying.  No matter what I am hooked on making bread at home.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cooking Class Today

Come by the Williams Sonoma in Green Valley today and join the class! I will be talking about Sauteing and Steaming as methods to cook and how they can enhance food. Class starts at noon.  If you are not signed up you may have to stand in the back as there will be a large class today. You can also sign up for future classes.

See you there!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Packet Cooking

One of the easiest and healthful ways to cook is to steam.  To add a little dramatic flair try using a parchment paper packet.  It is very easy to do. This is a recipe for Salmon but you could use any fish.


6 oz portion of salmon fillet (take the skin off)
Two tablespoons of Olive Oil
Diced Shallots or Red onion
Splash of white wine or Lemon Juice
Julienne of Orange Pepper
Williams Sonoma Pizza Spice  - 1/2 teaspoon
Parchment Paper sheet

Preheat your oven to 400 F

Take the paper and fold it in half on a baking sheert.  Open it like a book with the seam to your left.  Brush the bottom where the fish will go with some of the olive oil.  Set the salmon on top of that section.  Mix the lemon or white wine with the rest of the olive oil and add the Pizza seasoning.  You can use any dried spice you like.  I used this since it had a lot of seasoning including sun dried tomato flakes, garlic etc.. Fold the paper over the fish. Starting at one end use your fingers and make a sharp fold along the edge in about  half inch sections. The end result should look like a Calzone -  half moon shape. if necessary staple the last section to keep it sealed.

Cook the package for 15 minutes.  Serve the package on a plate and let each person open their package. Careful there is a lot of steam in these! You will be surprised how easy this is. You can use this method with any fish.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

BBQ Chicken

Yes it is winter and most grills are on vacation.  But that does not mean that you cannot have the taste and tang of some good Bar-Be-Que. No matter what the weather is like this method will perk up your taste buds.

Use any type of chicken you like. Whether it is a whole bird, or pieces. Season the chicken with DAVIS DUST or any seasoning that you like.  I cook the chicken on the bone with the skin. But if you want to lower the calories then take the skin off.   Place the chicken on baking sheet and roast in 375 degree convection oven or at 400 in a regular oven for 25 - 35 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes, baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.  I turn the chicken over and baste the underside and then turn it over and baste the top.  cook until the sauce is hot and the chicken is done.  Make sure the chicken is at the proper temperature - use an instant read thermometer. Take it out, cover with aluminium foil and let it rest  for 5 - 7 minutes.  While that is resting heat some of the sauce then baste just before you serve.

This is a great way to liven up a rainy or snowy day.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quick Healthy Breakfast

I know that many of us are watching our intake right now.  But you should not skip breakfast.  I stumbled on a great healthy breakfast.  I wanted to have some cereal but was out of milk so I used non-fat Greek Yogurt.  WOW what a flavor boost.  I did add some honey but not a lot.  It was very good.  It also was very satisfying and filling.   It does not mater what kind of cereal you use.  Use one you like.  I found that the yogurt with its tangy taste help cut through any sugar that the cereal had.  So give it a try.

Monday, January 9, 2012

BUSY DAY DINNER

Monday - seems like some weeks are just busier than others. I have one of those weeks.  So today I am cooking a pot roast in my Multi Cooker. It is great as I can sear and brown the meat add the liquid and then set it on slow cook.  When I get home after a very busy day it is done.  All I have to do is make the mashed potatoes and gravy.  Not quite diet food but very tasty!!  Here are some tips for you if you have a multi cooker or are using a Dutch Oven.

1. Make sure that your liquid is hot before you add it.  Cold water can make the meat tough.
2. Slow and Low is better than fast and high.  If you are using the oven - set it for 225 - 250 and adjust your time.  Your meat will be tender and your gravy will be better.
3. For Multi Cookers - remember that unit will automatically go the "Warm" setting once the time is done.  So make sure that you allow for this. Warm will not cook the meat but it will keep it moist and tender.
4. Use a Bay Leaf - just one or two small ones will do.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

LENTIL SOUP

This is one of the recipes from class today.  Try it!!

LENTIL SOUP


INGREDIENTS

2 CUPS DICED CELERY
1 LARGE ONION DICED
2 CLOVES GARLIC – SMASHED OR DICED
2 CUPS OF LENTTLS
BAY LEAF    1
OREGANO    1 teaspoon dried
THYME          optional – ½ teaspoon
PARSLEY      optional – 1 teaspoon
6 – 8 CUPS OF CHICKEN OR VEGTABLE STOCK
I CAN DICED TOMATOES
OLIVE OIL

Optional

1 Cup Fresh Spinach sliced thin
2 Teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar

Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven and add the olive oil.  Add the celery, onions and garlic.  Sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the lentils, tomatoes, seasoning and stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about an hour or until the lentils are tender.  Add the spinach and the Balsamic and serve.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cooking Class Sunday 1-8-12

This Sunday we start a series of three classes focusing on Healthy Food.  Sunday I will talking about Super Foods - foods that are nutrient dense and low in calories.  There is an amazing array of these foods that are delicious and easy to prepare. The list includes everything from smoothies to soup and salad.  I will be featuring some of the Zursin Heirloom Grains grown in Idaho for Williams Sonoma. We will also feature the Vitamix Blender and other tools that help to make you time easier in the kitchen. Drop by the Williams Sonoma in The District at Green Valley Ranch on Sunday January 8.  Class starts at noon.

For those who come by and tell me that they read the Blog I have a special Gift for them a free bottle of DAVIS DUST.  If you would like to order some just click on the link below and tell me how many you want.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Healthy Snacks

Healthy Snacks can help  you lose weight and also avoid the afternoon slump. Just remember these are snacks - not another meal.  I saw several listings on Google that have great recipes. Here are some ideas that I found.

Fruit and cheese - 2 - 4 oz cottage cheese with apples or oranges

Mozzarella Cheese - 2 - 4 oz

Half a piece of rye or whole wheat bread with peanut butter or cashew butter - You could also add some fruit like blueberries or strawberries

The idea is to use what you like and eat small.  Think Tapas - small plates. If you keep your body fueled with small healthy snacks it is easier to avoid the feeling of starvation which leads to over eating. Processed foods with lots of sugar are not good choices.  There are some good choices including some with chocolate that do not have a lot of sugar. Use in moderation - say once a week.

It is hard to lose weight. But with some planning and determination it can happen. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Milk As An Ingredient

If you are going on a diet chances are most will want you to use non fat milk or low fat milk.  How does that affect any recipes? Truth is it won't in most cases. If you get the dry non fat milk rather than the liquid, the powder can be added to recipes.  In a lot of baking you need that powder anyway.  It will affect the fat content but it should not affect the texture. It is a great way to have the protein and not the fat. It can also be used in sauces and gravy instead of milk.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Diets and the New Year

OK how many of you are thinking about starting  a diet??  Go ahead - raise your hands!!  If you are I would encourage you to  find one that fits your lifestyle and is not a fad or a "quick fix".  The most successful people I know who lose weight prefer to look at a "diet" as a change in the way they eat.  They also do their research and  talk to others on the diet.  Yo-Yo dieting is dangerous as it can cause radical changes in blood chemistry and fluctuations in key nutrients.  Take your time and make the commitment to a change in how you eat as well as making smart choices on what you eat.

You should also check with your doctor and get his/her recommendations.  See if the proposed changes will affect any medications that you are taking.  Simple foods like Grapefruit or Orange Juice do affect how some medications are absorbed.  So before you try any juice diet find out.  Likewise potassium can be increased or decreased by certain food and drug combinations. 

Lastly remember it takes time to lose weight.  It took time to gain the weight. Any over the counter fix may have some very harmful effects. There have been deaths from some of these so do your research.  Make 2012 a healthful year.

I will be teaching three classes on Super Foods at Williams Sonoma this month.  Come by and learn. I will post the classes on the Thursday before.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Food Tradtions

If you are from the South, you most likely will be having Black Eyed Peas today.  That is a traditional good luck food in that region.  Others may have a hard boiled egg or a special soup.  Whatever your cultural tradition for food to start the new year, I say go for it!  Teach your children about it.  Food and culture go hand in hand and need to be preserved.  That does not mean that you cannot change it or make it better. Spending time in the kitchen with family is a blessing that needs to be passed on and preserved.

So Happy New Year! Eat and join with friends and family to bring in the new year. Worry about the calories later today is special!