Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Omlet Sandwiches


For Filling number one:
  • About 1/2 LB or so cremini mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parmigiano reggiano
Filling number two:
  • 2 slices applewood bacon
  • 2 or 3 red baby romas
  • 2 or 3 green baby romas
  • about 1 tsp agave nectar
  • cheddar cheese
For the omlet:
  • 6 eggs
  • A splash of milk

Filling number one:
  • Saute the garlic in olive oil, and then add the other ingredients, except cheese.
Filling number two:
  • Chop and fry the bacon, add the other ingredients, except cheese, and saute.
  • Make the omlet.
  • Cut omlet in half, put one half aside.
  • Put filling number on one half of the first omlet, filling number two on the other half.
  • Sprinkle on cheese, if necessary, melt under broiler.
  • Put the second half of the omlet on top of the other, and cut into four sandwiches.
  • Serves two people, one sandwich with each filling.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oven Dried Tomatoes with Green Tea Noodles


I adapted this dish from a recipe in
Biba's Italy by Biba Caggiano. The version in her book is from the Hotel Hassler in Rome, by chef Paolo Londero. His has shrimp, we but just had ours with the tomatoes. I plucked about 8 baby roma's from the garden, cut them in half and then in half again, and dried them in the oven at 250 degrees for two and a half hours before dinner.


About half an hour before dinner I made
Egg Pasta with the addition of 2 TB of Japanese green tea, that I ground into a powder in my spice grinder.


While cutting the pasta, I put water on to boil.


When I got done cutting the pasta I chopped up a clove of garlic and tossed it and some crushed red pepper in some olive oil, and then added the dried tomatoes. A dash of salt, a splash of white wine vinegar, about a tablespoon of butter and some chopped parsley finished the sauce.
I cooked the fresh pasta for about two minutes before it was al dente and then tossed the pasta with the sauce and served with Parmigiano Reggiano. The dried tomatoes were bursting with flavor.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hen of the Woods and Tomato Sandwiches


When I asked a fellow blogger (Dianne at A Stove With a House Around It ) who mentioned that her Italian American grandfather used to forage for hen of the wood, what she suggested I do with the next batch of it I bought, here's what she had to say:

"I just consulted Dad, who is my hen of the woods expert, to remind me of how he cooks them. After cleaning them, he blanches them in boiling water for about five minutes, then drains and cools them. When they're cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess water.

You can then proceed with cooking them, or you can freeze them in plastic baggies in single-serving sizes to use later.
Regardless of how he's going to eat them, Dad always begins by sauteing the cleaned, blanched and drained mushrooms in olive oil with a little garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper until the mushrooms are tender and a little crispy on the edges.

His favorite way to eat them is to add some fresh tomato to the sauteed mushrooms, near the end of the cooking time. Cook the tomatoes gently, combining them with the mushrooms. He eats the mushroom-tomato mixture as a sandwich, on some fresh Italian bread with a little mayo.

He also adds the sauteed mushrooms to tomato sauce to eat with pasta, but says that mushroom sandwiches are his favorite. He reiterates: the key is to blanch them in advance of however you're going to cook/prepare them. Otherwise they won't be fully cooked and the texture/flavor will be off."


I served them for dinner tonight with hen of the woods from the farmer's market, tomatoes from the garden, home made
mayo, potato cakes cooked with oregano and parmesan melted on top, and cucumbers from the garden in a dill vinaigrette.

Dianne, tell your Dad I think I love him. I don't know if I'll ever bother eating hen of the woods another way.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Garden--June 23nd


I found this cicada shell on the bottom of one of the okra leafs this morning when I was weeding. I remember collecting these shells like crazy with my niece and nephew one year when we went camping at Petit Jean State park, so immediately thought of the kids this morning.


Aren't okra blossoms beautiful? Forgive the dirty fingernails--I was weeding!


My cucumbers and tomatoes are certainly going to be the crops that yield the most produce in my first garden!



I'm afraid the pole beans are probably going to yield the least! :(

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Zinnias from Wye Mountain


We met our friend Michelle at the farmer's market again, because we were all craving huevos from the Casa Manana taqueria in the River Market. And, of course, I ventured off my list again. The zinnias were to beautiful to pass up!


The Big Stack!


We are infatuated with
Blueberry Pancakes !!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

My First Harvest


I was very excited today when I went out to the garden and saw that I had three ripe romas. I had planned on making a recipe on another blog with my first tomatoes, but unfortunately I didn't have mozarella in the house, so I whipped this up instead, using some basil from the garden and some garlic from the farmer's market.

  • Fresh egg pasta for two
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, small dice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup basil chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • Boil water for the pasta.
  • Heat the garlic in the olive oil until tender, medium heat.
  • Add the tomatoes, black pepper, and vinegar.
  • Meanwhile cook the pasta, if using fresh this should take between 30 seconds to two minutes.
  • Drain the pasta and return to pan.
  • Pour the olive oil and vegetable mixture over the pasta and mix.
  • Add the basil and mix.
  • Add the cheese and mix.
  • Serve in two bowls with additional cheese on the side.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thai Basil Pesto


This is one of my mad "foodie" science experiments! I had a huge amount of Thai basil from my last trip to the farmer's market and wanted to use it before it went bad. So I thought, why not make a paste based on Italian style pesto? I substituted common southeast Asian herbs, peanuts for the pine-nuts, cut down the amount of oil since I wouldn't be including a cheese, and voila! And I would like to acknowledge that I based some of my measurements on Dianne's Arugula Pesto at A Stove With a House Around It.

  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup Thai basil
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 small red chili (I left the seeds in, if you aren't a spice fiend you might want to scrape the seeds out)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (although, next time I'm going to try peanut oil, I was out when I made this)

I am sans food processor right now, so I just tossed all peanuts, herbs, garlic, and pepper in my spice grinder, tossed the resulting paste in a mixing bowl and added the lime juice and the vegetable oil and used a hand mixer to combine everything. I used half of it for Rice Noodle Stir Fry with Thai Basil Pesto , and froze the other half in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

Note: Because of the lack of a substitute for the cheese in Italian style pesto, this paste doesn't have much in the way of a salty flavor. Next time I make this I may add a TB of fish sauce--but then again may not, since almost everything I will probably cook with this with with have Nuoc Cham on the side.

Rice Noodle Stir Fry with Thai Basil Pesto


So after I created my Southeast Asian style pesto, what to serve it with but noodles? The dish I came up with has some similarities with pad thai.

  • 2 Dried mushrooms (to be honest I'm not sure what they are called, I get them at the Asian market and the writing is all in ideograms)
  • 1 Cup hot water
  • 1/2 Package of flat rice noodles
  • 8 Scallions, cut in inch long pieces
  • 1/4 cup Thai Basil pesto
  • 1 TB Fish sauce
  • 1 TB Lime juice
  • 1/2 Package of flat rice noodles
  • 2 eggs whisked together
  • 4-8 Oz. thinly sliced pork depending on how big of a meat eater you are (I used pre-cooked pork slices that I had marinated in oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper and had frozen earlier for future use)
  • Heat water to boiling and add mushrooms to hydrate. I do mine in a little jar to add steam into the mix, you can also do it in a bowl, just put something on top of the mushrooms as a weight because they will float.
  • Also bring 4 quarts of water to boil on the stove. Turn the heat off and add the noodles. Leave to sit for 8 or 10 minutes, or until al dente.
  • Remove the noodles and drain in colander. Spray with cold water so they will stop cooking and allow to drain.
  • Slice the scallions.
  • Slice the pork.
  • When the mushrooms are hydrated, slice them thinly.
  • Heat some vegetable oil on medium high heat in a wok, or other heavy pan, and add the scallions and the mushrooms.
  • If you are using raw pork, add it to the mix at this point.
  • Then add the pesto and heat it through until fragrant, and (if using raw) the meat is browned.
  • Add the noodles, and stir fry until will coated with the pesto.
  • Flatten the noodles out around the pan, and add the egg and let it cook until it is starting to set.
  • I used pre-cooked and pre-marinated pork, and added it at this time.
  • Continue stir frying until everything is warmed through.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Garden--June 17

I know I've already posted once today--but I'm just so excited since coming back in from the garden, that I had to share these pictures. This is the first time I've ever attempted gardening and I can't believe how well everything is doing!

My first tomato is ripening!

Little Cucumber!


Peach Blossom Green Tea Cookies

  • 5 tsp peach blossom green tea (or another fragrant tea, jasmine or Earl Grey for example)
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons, plus one tsp butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Steep 1 1/4 tsp of the tea in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and dispose of leaves.
  • Place the tea in the refrigerator to cool.
  • In a blender combine the sugar and the remaining tea and blend into a fine powder.
  • In a medium bowl beat together the butter, and tea sugar at high speed until pale yellow and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg, 3 TB of the brewed tea, the vanilla extract, salt and flour.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes to let the tea flavor develop.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease two nonstick cookie sheets with butter.
  • Drop scant teaspoonfuls of the batter onto one of the sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, spread the cookies out to make 2 inche\ circles.
  • Bake for 9 or 10 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown.
  • Let the cookies cool on the pan for 1 minute and then using a thin metal spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
This recipe is based off a recipe for Earl Grea Tea Wafers in one of my favorite cookbooks A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Silk Road Cookies


These are spicy--and would make great Christmas cookies.

  • 12 TB soften and unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TB milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup ginger spread
  • 1 TB finely round black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground star anise
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp finely ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 TB honey
  • 2 TB mollasses

  • Preheat the oven to 340 degrees.
  • Cream together the egg and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix in the baking soda, ginger spread, black pepper, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, and,cayenne pepper
  • Mix in the flour one cup at a time.
  • Mix in the honey.
  • Mix in the molasses.
  • On a non-stick cookie sheet dot a scant teaspoon of dough, spaced 2 inches from each other.
  • Bake for 9 minutes.
  • Makes about 64 cookies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Brunch--Blueberry Pancakes


Mom and Dad dropped by to visit for a little while on their way home from a trip to Little Rock yesterday . Mom very thoughtfully brought along 2 quart size bags of blueberries that she picked at my Uncle Jeff Marlow's blueberry farm outside of Hagarville, Ar. After reviewing several recipes online for blueberry pancakes, I went with my old everyday pancake recipe and just dropped 8-10 blueberries evenly on top of the pancake as it cooked on the griddle.

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • Vegetable oil
  • In a large bowl mix the first four ingredients.
  • In a smaller bowl beat the egg and stir in milk and 3 TB of the vegetable oil.
  • Add to the flour mixture and stir until flour is just moistened.
  • Heat griddle over medium high heat and brush with oil.
  • Pour batter by the 1/2 cup onto the hot skillet.
  • Cook until the top bubbles, and the sides look try.
  • Turn over with a flipper and cook until underside is golden.
  • Serve with honey, maple syrup, or syrup of your choice.


Monday, June 8, 2009

The Garden--June 8

Everything is really starting to take off now. I don't think it'll be too much longer before I'm posting up recipes using home grown veggies.


Cucumber blossom

Cucumbers and Okra

Pole Beans

Pole Bean blossoms


Roma Tomatoes

There are flower's blooming all around the yard as well.


Trumpet Vine

Tiger Lily

Athelia or Rose of Sharon