Friday, November 23, 2012

King's Arms Tavern Sweet Potatoes

My family insists we have these sweet potatoes every Thanksgiving. Sometimes they may even appear at Christmas time as well. They are the only sweet potatoes that I enjoy. Perhaps it is due to the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg? Nevertheless, these are fabulous.

This recipe is from The Williamsburg Cookbook given to me by my father. I am quite attached to this book--lots of memories associated with the place and the recipes within its pages. If there is one recipe I am sentimental about, this is it.

King's Arms Tavern Sweet Potatoes

3 pounds sweet potatoes
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed, divided
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.

Grease a 1 1/2-quart casserole.

Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling salted water until done; drain, peel, and mash them.

Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Turn the mixture into the prepared casserole and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Bake at 400˚ F. for 30 minutes.

(8-10 servings)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Barley Burger Stew

I feel so healthy when I eat this stew. I'm sure it is the barley, which I don't eat regularly (unless Grape-Nuts count.)

This recipe is from a cookbook Brian and I received for our wedding (Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two) but over the years I've modified it to serve our current family.

Barley Burger Stew

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 1/2 cups tomato juice (I use one extra large can.)
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup uncooked barley (I almost always double this amount of barley. I like lots of it.)

In a large saucepan, cook and stir meat and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in remaining ingredients; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until barley is done and stew is desired consistency, about 1 hour.

Julie's Notes: The cooking time will be greatly reduced if you use quick barley. Follow the label for whichever type of barley you choose. You also may need to add more water depending on desired consistency.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

For some reason I was quite surprised that this was an uncooked (raw) tomato sauce, but oh, my goodness, it is fabulous! This is a great way to use up the last of your summer tomatoes. The recipe is from Martha Stewart. You can print it here.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce

2 1/4 pounds unrefrigerated ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from 2 garlic cloves)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Finely chop tomatoes, basil, parsley, and garlic, and mix together with oil (or pulse ingredients, including oil, in a food processor to blend.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce. Serve with cheese.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spicy Beans with Coconut Milk

I clipped this recipe out of Southern Living years ago. It was submitted by Judy Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. The coconut milk, lime, and curry paste give it a tangy delicious flavor. You can print the recipe here.

Spicy Beans with Coconut Milk

1 sweet onion, chopped
Vegetable cooking spray (I just use Canola Oil.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons red curry paste (depending on how spicy you like it)
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (13.5-ounce) can lite coconut milk (I always use regular coconut milk.)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups hot cooked basmati or long grain rice

Toppings: 2 green onions, chopped; 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Saute chopped onion over medium-high heat 5 minutes; add garlic, and saute 1 minute. Add red curry paste; saute 1 minute. Stir in kidney beans, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, and next 4 ingredients.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Serve over basmati rice, and sprinkle with topppings, if desired.

Julie's Note: I use Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Oh boy! This is a deliciously fantastic way to use your summer tomatoes. They almost taste like crustless mini pizzas. I originally "pinned" this recipe, but it comes from EatingWell. You can print it here.

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

4 tomatoes, halved horizontally (I cut them into at least fourths horizontally.)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450˚ F.

Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tomato-Chicken Salad

This salad is perfect for late summer when all the vegetables and herbs are fresh from the garden. It was a big hit with my family--definitely a keeper. I found the recipe in Southern Living last year. You can print it here.

Tomato-Chicken Salad

Preheat grill to 400˚ to 450˚ (high) heat. Rub 6 (1-inch-thick) ciabatta or French bead baguette slices with a garlic clove; brush with extra virgin olive oil. Grill bread 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until toasted.

1 lemon
2 lb. assorted tomatoes, halved or chopped
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 large English cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Grate zest from lemon to equal 2 tsp.; squeeze juice from lemon to equal 2 Tbsp. Combine lemon zest, juice, tomatoes, and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Toss with crumbled feta just before serving.

Julie's Note: I toasted the ciabatta in the oven for a few minutes rather than on the grill.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Cucumber, Mustard, and Dill Salad

Rachel found this recipe in Gourmet magazine. I gave it a try last week and it is fabulous--a new family favorite. It's so quick to put together, and I love the fresh dill. I'm definitely doubling it next time, though.

Cucumber, Mustard, and Dill Salad

2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 large seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped; 1 lb.), peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and sugar in a bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking.

Halve cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds with a small spoon, then cut halves crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

Add cucumber and dill to vinaigrette, tossing to coat.

Serves 4

Julie's Note: You can print the recipe here.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beef and Lime Rice Salad

This is a delicious summer main dish salad. The recipe was printed in Southern Living magazine years ago and was submitted by Tamy White of Hartwell, Georgia. I use a rice cooker for my rice so the procedure is modified slightly. You can print the original recipe here.

Beef and Lime Rice Salad

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 cups long grain rice (I cook this in my rice cooker.)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Toppings: salsa, shredded Cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, avocado slices

Cook rice in rice cooker until done.

Cook beef in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until it is no longer pink. Stir in salt, cumin, lime rind, lime juice and cooked rice.

Eat right away or chill and serve cold. Serve with desired toppings.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pasta with Beans

I cut this recipe out of Southern Living years ago. It was submitted by Karen C. Greenlee of Lawrenceville, Georgia. It's a nice meatless meal, and I love it.

Pasta with Beans

1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes, undrained
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

Drain tomatoes, reserving 1/4 cup liquid. Chop tomatoes.

Saute onion and next 5 ingredients in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until onion is tender. Add tomatoes, reserved liquid, salt, pepper, and if desired, sugar. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in beans; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Toss cooked macaroni with butter; top with bean mixture, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with French bread. Garnish, if desired.

Yields: 4 servings

Julie's Notes:  I successfully found this recipe online. It's from October 1999 Southern Living. You can print it here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Simple Vinaigrette

This is my go-to salad dressing recipe. We dip our steamed artichokes in it, pour it over steamed asparagus, and dress traditional green salads with it. Last night, however, Abby drizzled it on left-over pasta and I was reminded how good it tastes in pasta salads as well.

Simple Vinaigrette

6 Tbsp. canola oil
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2-1 tsp. Grey Poupon mustard
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch of sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together in a bowl (or a blender) and pour over prepared salad or vegetables.

Julie's Notes: I usually don't measure anything but the oil and vinegar, but I gave my best approximation.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Steamed Artichokes

All year long my kids beg me to make artichokes for dinner. When they are in season (in the spring) I usually relent. They really are quite easy to prepare and the kids have fun pulling them apart leaf by leaf and scraping the "goodness" off between their teeth.

I always serve artichokes with my homemade vinaigrette. We like that much better than the traditional melted butter or hollandaise sauce. If you've never tried steamed artichokes, give them a try. They're a family favorite.

Steamed Artichokes

1. Wash artichokes under cold water.
2. Cut off the stem of the artichoke close to the base.
3. Remove any of the lower petals which are withered, discolored, or small.
4. With a sharp knife slice approximately one inch off the top of the artichoke.
5. With kitchen shears, cut thorny tips off the top of each remaining leaf.
6. Dip the cut edges in lemon juice to preserve color. Cook them immediately.

I like to steam my artichokes, but I don't have a steamer large enough to do four at a time. Instead, I put about an inch of water in a large pot, add the artichokes upside down, and bring the water to a boil. At this point, I turn the heat down and maintain a simmer until the artichokes are tender when the bottoms are pierced with a sharp knife (25-35 minutes depending on their size.)

Julia Child in The Way to Cook has the best description of how to eat an artichoke:
"Start with the leaves at the bottom of the artichoke. Remove one and, holding it by the top, dip the large bottom end into the sauce, then scrape off the tender flesh between your teeth. When you come to the tender cone of central leaves, pull off the cone, and eat the bottom portion. Where you removed the cone is a cluster of small leaves under which is a hairy growth, the choke, that covers the deliciously edible bottom of the artichoke."
This is always the most competitive part of artichoke eating in my family--seeing who can cut the choke away from the heart and keep it in one piece. When this is successfully accomplished, we cut the heart into bite-size pieces and dip each one into the vinaigrette. Delicious!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Russian Salad Dressing

This is my Grandma Carlson's recipe. It is from the first cookbook she ever owned--the Lighthouse Cookbook. She was born in 1915 so I am very curious about that old cookbook and wonder if any of my aunts or uncles have it.  

This is probably the first salad dressing I ever made, but I haven't made it in years. Kellie decided to resurrect the recipe for Sunday dinner last week. It was a nice change.

Russian Salad Dressing

1 small onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 or 2 small cloves garlic
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. paprika
3/4 cup sugar
1 can condensed tomato soup
3 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup salad oil

Put all ingredients in blender except oil. Cover and run at low speed, about 2 seconds. Turn on high and mix until well blended. While still blending slowly add oil.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Tortellini Soup

I've had this recipe for years--ever since Brian's graduate school days at U.C. Berkeley. It is definitely a family favorite (although Travis always removes the kidney beans.)

Tortellini Soup

1 8-oz package cheese tortellini
2-3 tablespoons butter
2 medium cloves garlic
2-3 cups celery (chopped)
2-3 cups onion (chopped)
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (15 oz) navy beans, kidney beans, or garbanzos (undrained)
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes (undrained)
1 6-oz can V8 Juice
1/4 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot cook garlic in butter until browned. Add celery and onion and cook these until tender. Stir in broth, beans, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Add V8 juice and ketchup for flavor and color. Stir in tortellini and simmer until pasta is cooked.

Makes 10-12 cups of soup.

Julie's Notes: I often add more tortellini, another can of tomatoes, and more broth, depending on how many people are eating.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Creamy Tomato Soup

I had never made tomato soup before my friend, Jenny, a self-described "food snob" (this I say most affectionately) asked me to make this recipe for a women's meeting at my church. For some reason I thought homemade tomato soup could only be made with fresh tomatoes which involved blanching, etc. I was wrong. This soup is so easy and so fabulously delicious. We've had it several times in the last couple months. I especially love adding the cooked orzo pasta. Thanks, Jenny!

Creamy Tomato Soup

1 large can tomato juice (about 1 quart)
1 8-oz Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. basil
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
3 tbsp. butter
1 can diced tomatoes or 2 medium diced tomatoes
1 cup orzo pasta, cooked (optional)

Heat tomato juice and cream cheese in a pot on medium. Cook chopped onion and garlic in butter in frying pan until onions are clear and soft (but not too long). Add to tomato soup when done, along with spices. As soon as cream cheese is melted and blended with soup, add chicken stock and tomatoes. Heat through. At this point you can use an immersion blender for a smoother consistency. Stir in cooked orzo pasta and serve.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Black Beans and Rice

My grandma taught me how to make black beans and rice. Her recipe is delicious, although, to be honest, my beans turn out differently each time--sometimes soupier, sometimes spicier. Either way, my family claims I never make them often enough.

Dried black beans are something we have in our food storage so whenever we have a leftover ham bone (or ham slices) in the freezer, I try to figure this into our menu. I do need to plan ahead because the beans need to soak overnight, but the rewards are scrumptious.

Black Beans and Rice

1 lb. black beans (I use 2-3 cups from bulk.)

The night before you plan to serve them, place beans (rinsed and picked through) in a large saucepan and add 5-6 cups water. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and soak beans overnight.

The next day bring the beans to a boil and add as you prepare them:
3 large stalks celery, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tsp. dried basil (or handful of fresh)
ham, sausage, or bacon (if desired)

Simmer (covered) approximately 5-6 hours until the beans are soft. Add more water as needed. (I usually add several more cups.) Just before serving, remove the jalapeno and add 1-2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Serve over rice.

Julie's Notes: My black beans taste the best when I add a ham bone or chopped up ham slices to the beans as well. The ham is usually left over from some type of holiday feast. Just let the bone simmer with the beans all day, and remove it before serving. Tiny pieces of meat literally fall off the bone into the beans and flavor it deliciously.