Sunday, April 25, 2010


Dexter is sick again. This is becoming an ongoing source of anxiety for me. Not to mention a drain on our already tight finances. I worry about the dog, I worry about the money it will take to make sure the dog is okay. Then I worry more about the dog. And of course, because it's Sunday, it's the emergency room or nothing. So I'm watching him, waiting, seeing if he'll be okay until Monday when I can take him to his regular vet, or whether he needs to go to the hospital today. The anxiety over his well being also makes me completely useless, because I feel shaky, dazed and queasy I have a hard time doing what I would normal do. But I did manage to think up a dinner plan for the week, which is one thing off my mind at least.

Tonight (barring any further dog related concerns)
Pepperoni Pizza - I'll use Ina Garten's pizza dough, although, I'll probably freeze half for later, because it makes so much. Then just top with sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni and bake!

Turkey Burgers - plenty easy, which is good consider I may still have a sick dog on my hands.

I have some dill left over after making Shrimp with Orzo so I'll want to make Cheddar Dill Biscuits and some Turkey Chili.

Unless we're hit with another heat wave, I'm longing to make this Chicken Leek and Mushroom Pie. It looks like a delicious variation of my childhood favorite Chicken Pot Pie.

Enchiladas - We have some flour tortillas left from making fajitas, and enchiladas make enough to freeze some for later, always a huge benefit.

We're on the road to Rhode Island, so no official meal plan in the works!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Do you remember back when a hug and nice freshly baked cookie was enough to solve almost any tearful trouble?

Tonight, the State of New Jersey is holding it's Annual School Elections. This is the time people get to vote for the members of their local school board, but also, and more dramatically, they get to vote for or against the school budget. The governor of NJ, Chris Christie, has all but declared war on the school districts, seeking to make up NJ's budget deficit almost entirely at the expense of the schools. In addition to the governor cutting state aid to all schools, he is asking everyone in the state to vote down their school budget, with the goal of even further reducing funding for education. I'm not entirely clear on what Christie's vision of the future is, when he doesn't feel that our greatest resource for the future, the children, are important enough to receive our support. And so tonight, those who work in education, those who have school age children and those who believe that it's always right to invest in the future of our nation, will wait. They will wait for the votes to come in, wait for the budgets to pass or fail, and see if this governor will have his way. And so, in honor of moms waiting with cookies and milk, kids doing homework at the kitchen table, school bake sale fundraisers and teachers who dry eyes, wipe noses, tie shoes, spend tons of their own money on supplies, resolve disagreements, build character, and oh, yeah, teach - I present, the snickerdoodle. A classic cookie, one that were my woes a little bit smaller, would probably make everything okay. For now, at least they're one thing to look forward to in an otherwise fraught evening.

from Smitten Kitchen

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature - seriously, use unsalted, otherwise, omit the salt!
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. In a separate bowl, mix the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and again, mix until combined. SmittenKitchen chilled the dough before rolling into balls, but I didn't feel like waiting, so I just did it. Needless to say, if you're finding it too sticky, pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

In a small bowl combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll pieces of the dough into golfballish sized balls, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Again, my oven did them in under 10. If you over bake, they're all crunchy and no cakey, so beware. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Use to soothe boo-boos, hurt feelings, broken hearts and night before jitters. Self medication is not only approved but recommended.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

Around here we thoroughly enjoy television shows, especially ones about food. Yesterday we were watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, which isn't exactly the best food show around, but we're both drawn to anything that addresses Americans eating large amounts of processed foods. Jamie's basic goal is to get people to eat foods made from scratch rather than crap from a box. We're not exactly Jamie's target audience, since my idea of crap for dinner is frozen ravioli, but we still were struck with a need for shepherd's pie after he served it on the show. It's such a nice comforting dish, and it was cold as heck yesterday for all of the beautiful spring sunshine.


for potatoes
1.5 pounds boiling potatoes
1/2 C milk (I used 1/4 C heavy cream and 1/4 C milk, so decadent)
3-4 T butter, melted
salt and pepper
for the pie
2 T oil (I used 1 T oil and 1 T duck fat, the duck fat adds richness)
1 C onion chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey (regular shepherd's pie would be lamb, or beef, or a combination)
2 T flour (use brown rice flour to make it gf)
1 C chicken stock
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T tomato paste
2-3 t salt
1/2 C frozen peas
1/2 C frozen or fresh corn kernels

gluten-free note: Lee and Perrin's Worcestershire is gf. Red wine vinegar should be gluten-free.

Set the water to boil for the potatoes. When it comes to a boil, add the potatoes (halve them if they're large) and cook for 15-20 minutes until a fork slides in easily. Then mash with 1/2 C of milk and 3-4 T of butter. Season well with salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Add the oil/fat to a large pan or dutch oven. Add the onions and carrots and cook 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ground meat. Season with 1 t of salt and some pepper. Brown the meat, about 3-4 minutes, stirring as needed. Once the meat is browned add the 2 T of flour and mix well. Cook for 1 minute longer. Then add the chicken stock, the tomato paste, the Worcestershire sauce and the red wine vinegar. Cook 10-12 minutes until a nice sauce has formed. Taste and add the rest of salt and pepper as needed. Add the peas and corn and cook 1-2 more minutes. Pour into a 1.5 Q baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, taking care to seal the potatoes against the edge of the dish so that the pie part doesn't bubble up and take over. I did a lousy job of this.

Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool a bit before cutting into it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Score One for Mark Bittman

It is very hard to get back on track once you've started slacking. First, there was a hectic week at work, tying up loose ends before vacation. Then a whirlwind three state tour, where I spent time with family and then my best friend's delicious baby daughter (who you'll be relieved to know I did NOT eat, although she may be a bit nibbled on around the toe area). Finally, the long drive home from Boston to spend two hours sitting on the floor surrounded by papers trying to draft a fantasy baseball team that will not drive me crazy (I think I failed there). So last night was the first night I'd cooked in well over a week. I'd toyed with the idea during the crazy midweek heat wave, but it's hard to be serious about cooking when it's over 80 degrees in April. The heat did push me into hunting up this fabulous list of fast, easy, hot weather meals that Mark Bittman put together. Last night's dinner was right off the list, all you need is about 10 minutes, a few fresh ingredients and you're all set. The shrimp are delicious and the beans are so creamy. We had it with bruschetta, but crusty bread in any form would go perfectly.

for 2

1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T extra virgin olive oil - don't skimp
3 T vermouth or white wine (these should be gf, skip if you're not comfortable)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (adjust according to your personal feelings on garlic)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, seasoned with salt and pepper
about a half T fresh thyme leaves - I didn't measure.
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, add the oil and garlic. Cook on medium low until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes. Flip the shrimp, sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Add the white beans, cook for 3 minutes, then add 3 T vermouth or white wine, increase heat slightly and cook for 1 minute longer. Sprinkle with thyme. When the shrimp are opaque and pinky, they are done, so they should be done shortly after you've sprinkled with thyme. Check to make sure you like the amount of salt and pepper you used, adjust as needed and serve!


Related Posts with Thumbnails