Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back to the Kitchen:

With me it always goes back to the Kitchen when I feel stressed, anxious or need to figure out what is best for me.

Health issues are never something most of us want to discuss especially with our children. It is a sensitive topic and either can harm or help.

To have that test ordered by the Doctor or not! The consequences lye with you the patient. My instinct tells me to hold off until it really becomes necessary. My Doctor is concerned!

Hence I am in the kitchen to relax, thinking how to solve my problem while dealing with a bag of yellow tomatoes I received from a friend.

 I cleaned the tomatoes, pureed them coarsely in my food processor, packed the puree in individual containers and put them in the freezer to use during the cold weather season. I feel that this is a good move. I know of no one who ever tried that, if you have let me know.

The following recipe is one of my favored for pasta, it is so easy and refreshing and no cooking. Of course you have to cook the pasta.

Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce over Pasta

2 large ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped scallions or shallots
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Pasta can be any you like, best is Angel hair or linguini

Parmesan Cheese or Blue Cheese for topping.

Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 2 minutes, remove and drop in cold water for 1 minute, remove and peel. (If you do not want to blanch the tomatoes, puree them coarse and do not worry about the seeds proceed with the recipe)

In a bowl cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds, safe the juice. Dice the tomatoes.

Combine diced tomatoes with the juice and olive oil. Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

If not used the same day refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove from refrigerator one hour before cooking the pasta. Cook pasta, drain add the tomato mixture and toss well. For extra moisture you can add a dash of chicken stock or white wine to the pasta, toss well.

Makes about 2 cups of sauce

Note: this is a great way to entertain unexpected guests. A salad and Italian bread go well with it.

A nice red Italian red wine and voila you are ready to party!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Writing a Book

Let me tell you, it sounds so easy to sit down and write a book. However, over the last few months I learned that there is nothing easy about it. Since I am writing a memoir going all the way back to where I was born, it is painful and also exciting. This memoir is not just a memoir; it is also a cook book. I am incorporating all the blogs I have written over the last 2 years. Finding the right way how to bridge it, from blogs into a manuscript has been difficult. Sometimes it gets me so frustrated that I want to chuck the whole project, ha, ha. My kids keep saying. “Just write Mom.”  Well Mom is writing and is reluctant to show the manuscript to anyone except my editor and, as of now she wants the whole manuscript not just parts of it, yikes! Patience is the major ingredient right now.

Thinking of writing this blog will keep me moving forward with this book. It is not the first time I attempted to publish a book. My first attempt was in New York City while living in Connecticut. The Galley was done and ready to go to the Publisher through my then agent. By the way, this was a teaching cookbook, titled: How to be a Gourmet without a Cadillac Kitchen.

It was not to be. Our home went up in flames and the manuscript pages which were in single plastic sheets, melted together. It was not readable and this was my only copy; we did not have computers at the time (late 70th) I abandoned the whole project. At the time I was working at a demanding job, raising 7 children as a widow and I just could not see myself starting that book again. I had/have a lot of the handwritten notes, which are black from the fire but still readable.

My second attempt was when I took on the Dream Inn Hotel in Santa Cruz, California only to have my PC burn out. Yikes, you would think I have had enough bad Karma with writing that I would give up, ha, ha. They say three times is a charm so everyone who follows my blogs send good vibes that I will get this book down and published by the end of 2015.

While contemplating all this, I am usually in the kitchen while cooking or creating a new recipe. I did just that. My friend Josie gave me a lot of veggies so here is what I did with those:

Curried Carrot Vegetable Soup:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of curry powder or to taste
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 222 inch pieces
½ lb green beans, cut the ends and remove string if need to be
6 stalks of baby broccoli
1 cup celery cut into 2 inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Heat olive oil in a 4 quart pot add the curry powder and stir for about one minute, add the onion and sauté on medium until soft, do not brown, add all the vegetables and sauté until covered with the curry. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and coo for about 45 minutes to one hour. Remove from heat and let it cool.

In a food processor or blender puree the vegetables adding the stock until the consistency is to your liking.

Serve with chopped eggs or grated cheese and chopped parsley.

Makes about 8 to 10 servings.

NOTE:  I like to use about a half cup of half and half when I puree the soup.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Having Fun with Friends at my Test Cooking/Tasting Party

On Thursday, 4/3/14, I invited friends to a tasting of two of my recipes: I had not cooked either of these recipes in more than 20 years. The recipes needed to be cooked and tested because they will be part of my book to be published in 2015.

I had to make sure the Lamb Pot and the Yam Apple Soup are as good as I remembered.  Boy, they are.

My friends from all walks of life got really into this. All loved the Lamb Pot and made suggestions as to what wines would be better to go with the lamb than the Riesling I chose. The recipe calls for curry and I like a Riesling or Gewürztraminer with curry.

 I agree that a Pinot would bring out the flavors more.

The Yam Apple Soup, which I chose to use as dessert, (cold)  received good reviews as well. The soup calls to be served topped with whipped cream. Some liked the soup better without the whipped cream. This soup can be served hot or cold and is a great summer soup.

The discussions were lively and the suggestions plenty. I am so grateful to my friends for indulging me with this venture: it is a motivator to keep writing this book. I am, after all, almost 79 years old and finishing this book will be the highlight of my career and a gift to my family.

This is a great way to entertain and have fun with friends.

One recipe will be attached.

Here is the recipe first, ha, ha.

Apple Yam Wine Soup:

2 ½  to 3 quarts of  water
2 ½  lbs Yams cleaned, peeled cut into thick slices
2 ½  lbs Apples peeled, seeds removed sliced into thick slices
2 large Onions chopped
Fresh Thyme to taste
Lemon juice from 3 to 4 fresh lemons
1 cups sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 to 2 cups Marsala wine
Whipping cream for topping, whipped

Sauté onions for 5 to 10 minutes, do not brown, add thyme, apples, yams sauté for 3 minutes add the water bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour.

Cool the soup, puree, put back into pot add the wine, lemon juice cinnamon sticks, sugar bring to the boiling point turn down the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve hot or cold topped with whipped heavy cream.

Makes 8 to 12 servings

Note: This is a great summer soup or for dessert. It has a 5 to 6 day shelf life