Monday, March 17, 2008

inspired cooking space

via cafe johnsonia, i found this link- and an inspired post including purdy kitchens.

seeing as we are in the process of drawing up house plans, i am enjoying every ounce of pictures like this. so, props to a room somewhere for the kitchen beauty and cafe johnsonia to turning me on to her....

really a turn on, seriously. how pretty do these cookbooks look here?

if i were hooked up to medical equipment while looking at this stove, the beeping just might kill someone.......and i am still up in the air about the mantle over the stove. i am really trying to focus on classic....

again, totally turned on here to this "classy" design. i heart white cupboards. they echo timeless stuff really. any stain on wood, unless a deep beautiful mahogany dates a place to me. the sink is so pretty and those windows, but.. my favorite part is the shelf woodwork above, so simple.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

a family favorite

quiche, you say it keesh

this is a fabulous recipe we have every year christmas morning. there are certain techniques you have to use folks, you just do.

i love this recipe because i can buy 2 frozen pie shells already in their shell ready to go (sorry becca, i cheat sometimes)
then, the night before, i do this-

i go to the deli and ask for a 1/3 lb steak of the black forrest ham.
you cut this in half so you have enough for 2 quiche.
you get about a 16 oz block of swiss, you can also get this in a block at the deli or the cold section of the grocer. slice this in half as well and shred. make sure you have 2 piles folks.
so i put that in the fridge the night before and in the morning mix this for each quiche:
in a bowl combine 3 eggs, 1 cup of milk or cream (sinfully awesome with cream), 1/4 t salt, 1/4 t dry mustard (i often take it to a 1/2 t). mix, mix, mix and then add:
your chopped ham

now, do this or else you will FLOP!
in you pie shell get 4 t flour and your swiss cheese, coat the cheese with flour-this will prevent the cheese from sogging together and oiling you out {yes i made that word up}
after you are flour coated, add your eggs to the pie shell.
rinse, lather and repeat if you are doing 2 quiche.
bake for 45 minutes at 375. now, this day my picture was taken i had an ornery oven that likes to cause me quiche grief, so if you experience the joy of serving oven time before you can appreciate a nice one, make sure the top is golden. after it is golden, let it set up for 10 minutes.
it will melt your heart and you will want it over and over.......

i love her stuff

i had this at a german restaurant smothered in the most rich brown gravy, imagine my delight when this wonderful gal posted details of this most amazingly simple and fabulous dish here

i am going to serve this chicken over the top of the above, sounds quirky, but i will let you know how it goes. i made this a couple weeks back, it was so simple and i wanted to lick the sauce lingering on my plate, so i thought it would be good over the above. i am prepared for disaster, but possibly, it just might turn out great! fingers crossed.....

i got this recipe from it wouldn't pull up the specific link so i will give the recipe here, giving full credit to jane:

From: My Mom's Friend Jen :)
Bistro Chicken easy recipe ... chicken breasts browned in a skillet, remove & cook 1/2 c chopped onions 5 min, add 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, italian seasoning, 1 can of Campbell's french onion soup, cook that together to reduce liquid 5 min, pour sauce over chicken in a casserole dish, add swiss cheese on top & bake for 20 min!

how stupid easy......

stupid easy, bistro tasty
yep, that sums it up.

i tried this recipe out of the Taste of Home magazine and thank goodness this reader submitted it to, totally saved me when i was dreaming of this fabulous soup. it seeps into your bones and you need it....... it is so stupid easy, as one taster puts it, but bistro delicious another says.

we are going to partake of this dreamy treat this week with a mozzarella and tomato panini on some crusty bread........please pinch me!
and try it, won't disappoint....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sesame Red Curry Chicken with Coconut Rice

Using a slow cooker is one of my favorite things to cook with. I love how easy and convenient it is-especially with having 2 little ones around needing your constant attention! The smell that comes from your slow cooker is so yummy with this recipe! I love the flavors of the sesame oil, ginger and rice vinegar. This dish is so easy and very tasty.

4 C. chopped bok choy
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves (4 halves)
Salt and pepper
1/2 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. rice vinegar or sake if you have some on hand
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 T. red curry paste
1/4 C. flaked coconut
2 C. quick cooking jasmine rice
2 (14 oz.) cans light coconut milk
1/4 C. freshly chopped cilantro for garnish

-Arrange bok choy and red pepper in bottom of slow cooker. Season 4 chicken breast halves all over with salt and pepper and place on top of bok choy.
-In a small bowl, whisk together broth, rice vinegar (or sake), sesame oil, ginger and curry paste. Pour mixture over chicken.
-Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.

In a small skillet, toast flaked coconut on low heat until lightly toasted (5-8 minutes). In a medium saucepan, add rice and coconut milk and set pan over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in toasted coconut.

Spoon rice onto a serving platter. Top with chicken, bok choy, bell peppers an sauce from slow cooker. Garnish with cilantro.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Butternut Squash Risotto

I really like squash but it hasn't always been that way. Let me tell you a story of squash that my family will never let me live down. I think I was probably 4 or 5. The scenario is the dinner table. On the menu was something and squash. The conversation must have gone something like this:

Mom: Kristy, you need to eat your squash or you can't have dessert after dinner.
Kristy: I don't like squash.
Mom: Well, veggies are good for you so you need to eat it.

We always used those tupperware cups when we were little. Did you have them as a child, too?
The glorious thing that was that you couldn't see through those plastic cups. I thought that I could trick my mom into thinking I had eaten my squash. I would put a bite in my mouth and then take a drink and proceed to spit the squash into my cup. Gross, I know. Well, I "ate" all the squash off my plate and must have thought I was home free. That was until my Mom was doing the dishes and dumped out my cup to find a whole lot of mushy squash in the bottom of the cup. I don't remember what happened from there but I think we just laughed about it. This story comes up on occasion, whenever squash is served.

OK. Moving on....the moral of that whole story is that I have really come to love squash over the years and it is always one of my favorite side dishes. A friend brought me this butternut squash risotto and after tasting it, knew I HAD to have the recipe. So, here is the really yummy risotto recipe, courtesy of my friend Kim T.

Butternut Squash Risotto

you will need :

1 32 oz box of chicken broth
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
2 cups aborio rice (this is a fatter italian rice)
1 12 oz pkg of cubed butternut squash (you can also buy a small whole squash and cube it or buy a box of frozen squash puree)

1 cup grated parmigiano - reggiano cheese
2 T butter
1/4 cup fresh sage cut into really fine pieces

In a large sautee pan cook onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil until soft (few min) add the rice and cook for about another 2-3 min or until mostly translucent. Add hot chicken stock 1 cup at a time and stir until the liquid evaporates. repeat until all of the broth is used up. Sometimes you need to add a little more water as well because the rice isn't quite cooked by the time all of the liquid stock is absorbed. This process usually takes about 20 min on med-low heat. Meanwhile, steam your squash until tender and then puree it and add it to the rice. If you are using frozen puree , then just thaw it and dump it in. season with a dash of nutmeg and salt and pepper and then right before you are about to finish add the cheese and butter and sage.

I love that this is a healthier version of risotto because it is like you replace the cream with the pureed squash. SO yummy! This works as a great main dish, served with a green salad.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

It was love at first sight, really. The moment I clicked on the link for The Pioneer Woman Cooks, I knew I had found a gem of a site. She's witty, creative and her posts are so fun to read. Her recipes usually include step by step instructions and pictures. Her recipes are great (though not necessarily your "go to" for light and healthy meals). For me, her site is all about indulgences. I feel like just reading her site is an indulgence in and of itself. The recipes I have tried have been really yummy.

I made this steak for Valentine's dinner for my hubby and I. It was awesome and the best steak I have ever made (hands down). A word of warning to the wise...if you live in Whitehall or some other place where the smoke detector is sensitive, open a window before putting your steak in the pan. It'll be smokin' baby...but it gives the steak that nice crusty outside!

Check her site out. It's a good one. And hey, we all need an indulgence once in a while!

Friday, March 7, 2008

bacon cups?

don't they look divine?

here is the recipe, and oh how my mind is spinning with visions of these with some fabulous dressing:
(from dad's favorite salad recipe)
1 c oil (salad oil)
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c vinegar
1/4 an onion quartered
1 T mustard
1 t celery seed
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
mix all ingredients in a blender. can store in fridge for a while (maybe a month or so)
i am going to attempt these for a little dinner party we have saturday, i can't wait for the ooh's and aaah's

this month....

we get to share our inspirations with you, our faithful readers and friends.

this month, i have been so inspired with this gal. she has such a fresh, quirky perspective. her posts are so visually appealing and oh, i need this ice cream!