Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creamy Curried Mushroom Soup

No picture today. It’s really difficult to take an appealing photo of mushroom soup. … and we can’t possibly post an unappealing photo – now can we? On the mushrooms you can use whatever type of mushrooms you like – fresh or dried.

Ingredients:

½ white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 Tbls. Olive Oil
8 oz white mushrooms, I buy pre-cut
8 oz crimini mushrooms, rough chopped
2 cups dried shitaki mushrooms, soaked in hot water to reconstitute
2 Tbls curry powder
4 Tbls flour
4 cups nonfat milk
1 – 1 ½ cups chicken broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Warm the oil in a soup pot; add onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes; add the 8 oz of white mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms become cooked.

Add the curry powder and the flour to the pan. Cook for a moment and then begin to add the milk. Add a little at a time to completely combine the flour and curry powder. Once the milk has been added, add the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer.

Remove soup from pot and place in blender. Blend until smooth; return to pot. Add the crimini and shitaki mushrooms. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes.

Salt & pepper to taste and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Root Beer Float

photo from foodchannel.com

Delicious, refreshing, and sweet... Root Beer Floats! I love them! Haven't had one in ages and then the craving hit me. I looked in the freezer and found some vanilla ice cream, and there was a can of diet A & W Root Beer in the fridge. While certainly not "low-cal", I don't feel quite as guilty as if I was using regular root beer. Of course, that was a week ago. I've since gone through an entire half gallon of vanilla ice cream and countless ounces of diet root beer. Feeling guilty now???? A little. But, oh so satisfied!

No recipe here to speak of.... You know how to make one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fenugreek Masala


This is FABULOUS. I have adapted this recipe from the book, “From Bengal to Punjab – The Cuisines of India”. The title of the recipe is Masala Jhinga Methiwala – or Shrimp with Fenugreek. We really really love this sauce. I’ve always made it with the Shrimp – but recently made the sauce and then added cooked chicken to it. It was just a wonderful; so full of flavor. For this recipe you will need to find Fenugreek Leaves. They are dried – and if you have an Indian Grocer close to you, you can find them there. Or, I’m fairly sure you could order them online. The Indian name is Methi or for a specific leaf from Pakistan they are kasoori methi. If you enjoy Indian food – the search for these leaves is worth it. This sauce is really fab! We’ve had it the last two weekends in a row and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s on the menu for one night this week too!

Ingredients:

1 can of diced tomatoes (approx. 15 oz)
1 can of tomato sauce (approx. 15 oz)
½ piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander
¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp turmeric
2 hand fulls of dried fenugreek leaves
3 Tbls. Olive oil
¼ c whipping cream
Salt to taste
Meat of your choice – Shrimp or Chicken. See note at the end of the recipe.

Directions:

Heat large skillet; add olive and swirl to cover pan. Add cumin seeds; swirl in pan for a few seconds. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent and just barely beginning to brown.

Add coriander, turmeric, cayenne and some salt. Saute for a couple more minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and fenugreek leaves. When you add the leaves hold them in your hand and crush them; rub them in between your hands. This releases the oils and flavor from dried herbs. Continue cooking for about five minutes. Remove from heat.

Place mixture into a blender. Add the whipping cream (I’ve even used milk when I didn’t have cream on hand). Blend until smooth. You want the mixture to be thick – so be careful not to add too much cream/milk.

Return the sauce to your pan, add the meat of your choice.

Note:  If using chicken I cook the meat first and then add to the sauce; cook for just a couple of minutes to let the flavors meld. When I use shrimp, I use frozen shrimp – cooked/tail off. Defrost it in the microwave; pat dry and add to the sauce. When I use chicken, I use boneless skinless thighs because the dark meat is moister and there is less chance of overcooking it. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, saut√© in olive oil. Add a sprinkling of salt and cumin powder while cooking.


Note #2: Sometimes, like in this photo, I don't blend after the fact with cream.  Occasionally I will just serve "as is".  It's all about what you like and how you like it. 

Enjoy!  We sure do!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick and Easy Chili

This is tasty and can be made relatively quickly on a weeknight. Of course, the longer it cooks – the more the flavors will meld. I like to make it ahead of time and then just have to warm it up for dinner on one of those nights where time ( or my energy ) is short.

Ingredients:

Olive oil
1 white onion chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ lbs ground beef, chicken or turkey
3 Tbls chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
2 – 15oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 – 15oz cans diced tomatoes
1 – 15oz can tomato sauce
Small can of diced green chilies
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste – if you like it spicy

Garnishes if desired: Grated Cheese, Sour Cream, Green onions

Directions:

Drizzle olive oil in large heated pan. (I have a very large, deep wide mouthed covered skillet that I like to use for this dish) Add onions and garlic; sauté until translucent.

Crumble ground meat into pan with onions. Add the red pepper flakes, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until the meat is cooked through.

Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chilies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. When I have time, I like to cook this a little longer as it allows all of the flavors to really meld.

Salt and Pepper to taste and cayenne pepper if you desire a spicier chili. Serve in bowls with garnishes of your choice.

Click here for printable recipe.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Baked Cucumbers

This is another of the recipes that I’ve tried from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I would have never thought to take a cucumber and bake it. This is an interestingly delicious side dish.

Ingredients:

6 cucumbers (about 8” long)
2 Tbls wine vinegar
1 ½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar

3 Tbls melted butter
½ tsp dill or basil
3 to 4 Tbls minced green onions
1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

Peel the cucumbers; cut in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into lengthwise strips about 1/8” wide. Cut the strips into 2” pieces.

Toss the cucumbers in a bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Let stand at least 30 minutes or for several hours. Drain; pat dry in paper towel.

Preheat oven to 375.

Toss cucumbers in a baking dish with the butter, herbs, onions and pepper. Set uncovered in middle level of preheated oven for about 1 hour. Toss 2 or 3 times until cucumbers are tender but still have a suggestion of crispness and texture. They will barely color during the cooking.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Been Taking A Break...

Hi All: Sorry for the sporadic posting. It's been a busy few months with our trip to Hawaii and then my husband's surgery, time in the hospital, and slow recovery. But, things are beginning to get back to normal - so I hope to "get back into the swing of things" and be blogging more consistently and frequently now. Thanks for the visits!
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