Posts from February 2014

Chicken & Dumplings


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This recipe is a family recipe passed down from Gary’s grandmother. The correct way to pronounce it, too, is “chicken n’ dumplin’s.” Saying it this way – letting the constants soften in your mouth – is similar to eating this dish. It’s comfort food, and like any good chicken soup, it’s good for the soul, too.

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1 small chicken
1 1/2 c white flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour (you can use 3 c total of white flour, if you’d prefer)
2 t salt
6 T melted butter
10 T water
2 beaten eggs
3 large carrots, chopped
1 c peas


First, make your broth. This can obviously be done way ahead of time. Boil the chicken, bones and all, in 10-12 cups of salted water for at least 3 hours. (I like to add onions and celery to the boil for flavor, too.) Once the broth is ready, strain out the chicken, and discard the skin and bones. Cut up the chicken and return it to the broth. Add the chopped carrots and peas. Bring to a boil.

To make the dumplings, first beat the two eggs in a bowl. Add the flour, salt, melted butter, and water. Mix until a dough forms. Flour a clean surface, and roll out the dough in batches. Roll the dough the same thickness you’d roll pizza crust, and then cut them into long strips with a pizza cutter. I like them about an inch long, and half an inch wide. Throw them into the broth and boil for 10 minutes.

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Appetizers



Smoked salmon + cream cheese + dill = deliciousness. Last weekend, when the sun was out and there was nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon, Gary and I spent it smoking some fish to bring to a potluck.

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We used the last package of our Kokanee salmon that we caught in Oregon. (Sigh. Looks like we’ll just have to head out there again to replenish our stash.) We encrusted the salmon with crushed pepper and a little bit of Kosher salt and smoked them with applewood for 2 1/2 hours, or until completely dry. However, if you don’t have access to fresh salmon, or a smoker, packaged smoked salmon from the store will work just fine.

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Fresh dill, though, is a must.


1 lb (or one package) of smoked salmon
1 baguette
1 package cream cheese
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh dill


Let the cream cheese get to room temperature, for it’s easier to mix. Add half the chopped dill, onions, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper. Mix together. Spread on bread (or gluten-free crackers) right before you’re ready to serve, top with a sliver of salmon, and sprinkle the remaining dill over the top. If they’re made too far in advance, they tend to get soggy. But fortunately, they’re too tasty to last for very long to get to that point.

Carrot Cashew Curry


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Veganism is admirable, although I admit it’s difficult for me to wrap my head around. Being a lover of meat and cheese, it’s challenging for me to think of meals to serve friends of ours who are vegan. However, I do have this one (and only one) dish that I go to for when I have to entertain them; it has enough protein with the nuts to satisfy the non-vegans (Gary and I), too. (However, I should probably get a few more vegan recipe notches on my belt. In due time.)

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Unlike my radishes, my carrots are awesome! The ball-shaped one on the left is a Paris Market heirloom, the red one is a Dragon Carrot, and I’ve forgotten what the orange one on the right is. They’re all heirlooms, and all are delicious!

This recipe comes from Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.


1 T olive oil
1 T fresh grated ginger
1 t mustard seeds
1 t dill seeds
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t turmeric
2 c sliced red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t salt
2 medium potatoes, sliced
5 large carrots, sliced
2 c orange juice
1/4 t cayenne
1 medium red bell pepper
1/2 c toasted cashews
1 c yogurt (optional, if you’re serving vegans)
1 c rice

Instructions (I’m taking this almost verbatim from Ms. Katzen):

First, start your rice. Add 2 cups water to your 1 cup of rice, and let it cook while you prepare the rest. Next, heat a large, deep skillet. Add oil, ginger, mustard seeds, and dill seeds, and sauté over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the seeds begin to pop. Add the remaining spices, and the onion, garlic, salt, potatoes, and carrots. Sauté for another five minutes, then add the orange juice. Cover, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender (15 minutes). Add the cayenne and bell pepper. Cover and let it stew for another few minutes until the peppers are just barely cooked. When ready to serve, if you’re serving non-vegans, you can stir in the yogurt at the very last minute.

Serve over rice, topped with cashews and cilantro.

Pasta Puttanesca with Scallops



For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make something Italian and romantic for dinner, and a red-sauced pasta puttanesca came to mind. While accompanying me to the store to get the ingredients, my dear husband informed me that puttanesca was definitely not the best thing to be making for a V-day meal; puttanesca was allegedly invented by Italian prostitutes and has different myths behind its origin. Because this is a “quick and easy” sauce, some legends claim that prostitutes at the turn of the century didn’t have time to make real tomato sauce, others say that the smell was so enticing that it was used to lure customers into the brothels. Nevertheless, I did NOT know this story before my romantic meal was planned, but suffice it to say I won’t be making puttanesca for another Valentine’s Day anytime soon.

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I used the last remaining bag of scallops from our last summer’s catch.


1 lb dried spaghetti
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 t anchovy paste (or 2 anchovies)
1/2 red pepper flakes
1/3 c olive oil
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
1/2 c pitted Kalamata olives
2 T drained capes
1 t salt
pinch of sugar (optional)
1 lb scallops


First get your pot of water to cook the noodles in ready. Next, heat a large skillet to medium high heat in which to cook the scallops. Take your scallops, and dry them as best you can. Sprinkle with S&P. Add 2-3 T oil to the skillet and wait until it is hot. Add half the scallops to the pan. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute. Remove. Repeat with the other half of the scallops. (Note: if you dump all your scallops in the pan at the same time, your pan will loose its heat and won’t give your meat a good sear.) Remove and set aside. (At this point, add your spaghetti to your boiling water.) Using the same uncleaned and hot pan that you just cooked your scallops in, add the rest of the oil, garlic, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, and stir until the garlic is golden (about 2 minutes). Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the juice in a blender or food processor.

Next, add the tomato puree to the garlic oil. Add the olives and capers and simmer. Drain the pasta when it’s finished cooking, and add to the sauce. Add the scallops, and serve. You can top with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.

The smell is so delicious, I actually can’t promise that you won’t attract sundry folks off the streets, so do beware.

Turkey Meatballs and Chickpea Salad with Parsley



I just got back from a *fabulous* trip to NYC, where I got to see my mom and brother and sister-in-law. Outside of seeing great art, we spent much of the cold February weekend eating fabulous food. So, of course this recipe cannot compare to tempura watercress or venison tartare or grilled skate that the brilliant New York chefs create. However, what New Yorkers don’t have that I do is a garden full of fresh vegetables in February.

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This recipe is from a New Yorker, actually; Ms. Perelman of Smitten Kitchen added this wonderful recipe to her new(ish) cookbook (which is fabulous, by the way). It’s easy and healthy and really delicious.

Ingredients for the meatballs:

1 lb ground turkey
2/3 c fresh breadcrumbs (optional, if you want this gluten-free)
1/4 c water
1 t salt
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Form into meatballs, and put into oven once the oven is hot. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatball is cooked all the way through.While the meatballs are cooking, make the chickpea salad.

Ingredients for chickpea salad:

1 can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Handful of green olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 c chopped parsley
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything together. Pour olive oil over the salad to coat. In Deb’s recipe, she smashes some of the chickpeas to give it a semi-hummus like consistency. I’ve found that’s hard to do, and it’s just fine left as is. Serve the meatballs over the chickpea salad. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Gratin


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It’s Gary’s birthday today! To celebrate, we had a small group of friends over last night for dinner. Gary requested cauliflower gratin; our cauliflower is ready, and we’ve been meaning to attempt a recipe we had made by a fabulous French cook back in the Midwest. Her dish was amazing; she kept the whole head of cauliflower in tact, and used some of her French magic to make it incredible. This dish was good–I’ll give it that–but then again anything is good with a little cheese sauce on it.

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I used Ina Garten’s recipe I found online, and it turned out well. I amended it some by cutting out just a little of the cheese and butter, and it was still just as good.


1 large head (or two small heads) of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 T butter
3 T flour
2 c hot milk
1 t Kosher salt
1/4 grated nutmeg
1/3 c grated Gruyere cheese, divided
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375. While cutting the cauliflower, start a pot of salted water on the stove, bringing it to a boil. Once boiling, throw in the cauliflower, and cook for 5-6 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Next, melt the 2 T of butter in a saucepan over low heat. While this is melting, put 2 c of milk into another pot, and heat. Once melted, add the flour and stir for about 2 minutes. (The mixture will become a rue, and will have the consistency of peanut butter.) Add the hot milk to the rue and stir until it comes to a boil. Once it’s at a boil, stir for one minute, or until the mixture is thick. Take it off the heat, and add the salt, nutmeg, pepper, and half of the cheese. Stir.

Pour 1/3 of the mixture into a greased 8 x 11″ baking dish. Put the drained cauliflower on top, and pour the rest of the mixture over it. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.

We ate outside and had it with good Iowa steaks (brought back with us from the Midwest) with our homemade horseradish and a salad. May my dear Gary have many more happy birthdays to celebrate!

Radish Slaw with Dill


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We’re off to a Super Bowl potluck tonight, and I needed a dish to bring. So, my Radish Slaw will probably be the last choice among potluckers between the cheesy dips and other unhealthy but attractive items, but it’s what I’m bringing because it’s what I’m growing.

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Sooooo, our radishes were kind of forgotten about, and this is what happened. They turned into bulbous, ugly roots. There will be no blue ribbons for these babies, unfortunately.

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(What the….????)

But after peeling off the ugly exterior, the inner radish was still good enough for some slaw.


2 c shredded radishes
2 c red or yellow bell pepper
2 c shredded cabbage
1 c shredded carrot
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/8 c olive oil
4 t sugar
1 T chopped fresh dill
1/2 t fish sauce

I grated the radishes and carrots in a food processor, which made it slick and easy. Chop up the pepper and cabbage. Mix the other ingredients in a small bowl, and pour over the vegetables. Chop the dill, and add to the rest.

***Post-Super-Bowl update: Just a disclaimer, this recipe off-gasses majorly!! I don’t know if it’s the cabbage, or what, but by the end of the evening it smelled like kimchee. We drove home with the windows down after blaming the smell on the other passengers’ bodily odor. HOWEVER, it still tasted mighty fine. Just wanted to add this to say MAKE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

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