Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A mess of food

Squash, Turnip Greens and White Bean Stew

(Pork chop shown is the recipe below)
I love turnip greens so when I saw this, it sounded really good to me...and it was really good. Very healthy and satisfying.

(I used frozen turnip greens with diced turnips and canned cannellini beans so it was fast and easy. I felt there was too much red pepper and cumin since I don't like things too spicy. I only used about half of each and it was still too spicy for my tastes so next time it will only have 1/4 of what it calls for.)
1 lb dried cannellini beans (soaked in 6 cups water overnight)
8 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 (10 ounce) cans chicken stock
1 lb turnip greens, torn into pieces (well rinsed)
salt and pepper

1. Drain the soaked beans.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the beans, 8 cups water, 2 tbsps olive oil, the head of garlic and bay leaf.
3. Bring to boil and simmer, covered for 2 hours,or until the beans are tender.
4. Drain and discard bay leaf.
5. In the same saucepan heat remaining 2 tbsps olive oil.
6. Add onion and cook until tender.
7. Add sliced garlic, sage, cumin, and red pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
8. Add the squash, chicken broth, turnip greens and drained beans.
9. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20 mins or until squash is tender.
10. Season with salt and pepper.

Parmesan Sage Pork Chops
Pork chops were on sale at a good price, hence the second pork chop recipe in a short period of time. This one turned out well too, nice and moist, not greasy.

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (I use Progresso garlic and herb)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
1 lemon, rind of, teaspoon grated
2 large eggs, whisked
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with
salt and pepper
4 pork chops, about 1 inch thick (can use bone in or out ones)
1/8-1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. preheat oven to 425F degrees.
2. Mix in bowl, bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, dried rubbed sage and grated lemon peel.
3. Then, on a plate put flour seasoned with salt and pepper; coat chops with flour.
4. Dip in egg.
5. Then dip in bread crumb mixture.
6. Melt butter and olive oil in a oven-proof skillet.
7. Brown chops until golden.
8. Transfer to oven and bake until meat thermometer says 150 degrees, about 20 minutes.

Fall Harvest Packets
Not really a recipe, just threw some stuff together and I liked it. I used hot sausage and it was a good contrast to the sweetness of everything else. It's not overly sweet though.

1 lb breakfast sausage
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2-3 apples (sweet ones), cubed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix the squash, potatoes and apples in a large bowl.
3. Mix maple syrup, orange juice, salt and pepper in a smaller bowl. Pour mixture over the squash mixture and toss to coat.
4. Tear off 4 sheets of foil.
5. Place 1/4 of the mixture in each foil packet.
6. Break up the sausage and put 1/4 on top of each packet.
7. Seal the 4 packets and place on a cookie sheet and slide into the oven (or on a grill).
8. Bake for about an hour or until squash is tender and sausage is done.

Chocolate Toffee Squares
Pic stolen from recipezaar. They are thicker than mine turned out to be, maybe because I didn't use an electric mixer, just me.

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 (6 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 13x9x2 inch pan.
3. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add egg yolk, vanilla and salt.
5. Blend well.
6. Beat in flour just until combined.
7. Turn into prepared pan, spreading evenly.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips.
10. When melted, spread and sprinkle with nuts.
11. Cut into squares while warm.
12. Let cool completely.
Amaranth, Quinoa & Corn Chowder
I used carrots instead of leeks and I had to increase the cooking time for the grains.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
1 cup finely diced celery (peel celery before dicing if desired)
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup amaranth
1/2 cup ivory quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups corn kernels (thawed if using frozen)
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley (optional)
1. In a large, heavy pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks, celery, red bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetable are soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the amaranth and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and thyme. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook at a gentle boil, partially covered, for 10 minutes. (I had to increase the cook time by 10-15 minutes and the grains were a still a little uncooked in the centers but almost done.)
3.Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree 3 cups of the corn kernels with 1 cup of water. When the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, stir the corn puree and the remaining corn kernels into the soup. Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa and amaranth are tender, 3 to 5 more minutes. When the quinoa is done, there will be no starchy white dot in the center of each grain, and some of the germs' "tails" may unfurl and float freely. On close inspection, the amaranth will look like tiney opaque bubble floating on the surface.
4. Stir in the milk and remaining tablespoon of butter. Add more salt, if needed. Divide into portions and garnish each with a little parsley.
5. Note: The soup thickens on standing; thin as needed with additional milk, and add salt to taste.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A new way to cook pork chops

I'm pretty new to sweet potatoes. I have found them revolting in the past but as I have been trying to broaden my food horizons I have found that they are actually pretty good. I really liked this dish and again, it was easy. (The whiteish looking thing in the pot is one of the sweet potato rolls I made.)

Sweet Potato & Apple Pork Chops

4 pork chops (fat removed)
3 medium sweet potatoes, sliced
2 apples, sliced
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp mustard
3 Tbsp apricot preserves
1. Slice sweet potatoes and apples and place in a casserole dish.
2. Sprinkle with raisins, brown sugar and nutmeg.
3. Place pork chops on top of sweet potato/apple mixture.
4. Mix mustard and preserves.
5. Coat the pork chops with the mustard mixture.
6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Puppy love

Since I don't know how much longer I will have Tucker, I wanted a picture with all the dogs. They were pretty cooperative when it came to posing the way I wanted them to be. But like kids, you can't get everyone to look at the camera at the same time. This was as close as I got to that happening. Aren't they a cute bunch?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Glazed chicken

I made this with the cannellini bean amaranth soup I posted a while back. It was really good and super simple...can't beat that! I will double the glaze next time though.

Jam and Balsamic Glazed Chicken

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts (bone in, trimmed, skin removed or boneless, skinless whatever your choice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, divided
1/4 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 400°F Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly oil or coat it with nonstick spray.

2. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, then rub with 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Place bone-side up in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes for boneless or with bone in, 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat jam or jelly, vinegar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme over medium-low heat until glaze is melted. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

4. Turn chicken meat-side up. Brush liberally with jam glaze. Continue to roast, brushing twice with remaining glaze, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes more, (20 minutes for bone in).

5. Serve with some brown (or white rice).

Sweet potato rolls

Sorry, no pic in this post...I have a picture of one for another recipe post coming soon though.

Sweet Potato Rolls

1 large sweet potato
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
3 1/2-4 1/2 cups bread flour (all purpose can substitute)


1. Peel potato and dice into a sauce pan, add enough water to cover and cook until tender, drain reserving 1/4 cup of the potato water.

2. Cool the potato water to lukewarm and dissolve yeast in it.

3. Mash potato and beat in salt, sugar and butter vigorously.

4. Heat milk until a film shines on top, skim and add to potato mixture. When the right temperature has been reached whisk in the dissolved yeast.

5. Stir in flour 1 cup at a time until kneading consistency is reached, lift onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel, let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

6. Punch down dough, pinch off pieces slightly larger than a golf ball and place in greased muffin pan, let rise until doubled.

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 425°F for 13 to 15 minutes or until done (ovens vary), remove to a wire rack to cool.

Atlanta Flood (my birthday)

On my birthday, while I was dry and visiting with my family, Atlanta was flooding. Lawrenceville wasn't hit as hard as some of the other areas but they still got a lot of rain. The reports say that 18 inches of rain fell in a 24 hour period in Atlanta. Rivers all over were overflowing from the week of constant rain and flooding whole subdivisions, tearing up roads and pushing RV's out of their way. ll in all, 7 people were reported dead from the flooding. Back at our house, out basement filled up with ab out an inch of water. Adam, Barry and Lanette worked hard to save our belongings. Most everything we own is in the basement, still packed in boxes while the house is under construction. Wet boxes were thrown away and everything loaded into new, dry boxes and stacked on tables. Then they used a wet vac to suck up all the water and set a fan in there to help dry it out. Thanks so much for all the hard work! These pics below are not pics I took, I swiped them from the internet but it gives you an idea of what was going on here. I did see some flooded areas (including a road) on my flight back home.

neighborhood in Austell

One of the interstates

Six Flags, don't die!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 8

Boulder - Torrey


38:53 miles

4.6 avg. speed

3190 ft ascent 3544 ft descent

In the morning, I was just a bit behind Rob Paull, Cheryl & Randy. We met at Boulder Mesa Restaurant for breakfast. It took about an hour to get the flood and I was starving! I got 2 slices of french toast, sausage & potatoes. They were good but everyone left before I was done eating. I stayed about 30 minutes to digest a bit of food before the climb. You basically start climbing as soon as you hit the road. By the time I got to the other end of Boulder, I hadalready climbed almost 1000'. Cheryl said the climbs last for about 15 miles. There wasn't even a wisp of clouds in the sky when I got started. But as soon as I was making the climb, a billowy cloud started to grow & expand quickly. It became a thunderhead cloud. I taxed my legs & lungs for the rest of the ride trying to stay ahead of it. But it eventually caught up to me as it devoured the sun.

I made it to the summit. I was told that there were still going to be a couple of climbs after that but I wasn't expecting how hard it would be. There were a couple of downhills but the uphills would come back with a vengence. Once the downhills finally started, I had to put on my rain gear just to stay warm enough. I stopped at the old Ranger's station for a bathroom/food break.

Eventually, Rob came to find me in his car. He came just before the real downhills started. 8 & 10% downgrades! It was beautiful! I made it to Torrey just as the rain was starting to fall again.

Day 7

Escalante - Boulder


27.60 miles

3.74 avg. speed

I stopped in town after being the first out of camp, even beating Vince out! I got a foot long sub & some new sunglasses to replace the broken ones. They fit great. I really like them.

The first part of my day wasn't bad. A little uphill then flat for a while. Then the climbing began. Then a beautiful downhill with a few reststops/scenic views. At the first stop, two of the guys from the other group met up wiith me and we talked for a few minutes and took pictures for each other.

At the bottom of this beautiful downhill was Escalante River. There was a short hike to some petroglyphs and pictographs. CHeryl led the way on the hike. Then she showed us a granary on a cliff side.

After that, it was climbing until the descent into Boulder. We went UP the hog's back. Beautiful scenery but exhausting, with no shade. When I got to the top, there was a view stop. I pulled over and got into a juniper bush for shade. The only shade for the last few hours. 2 large tour buses pulled over. I ran over to get my bike out of the way but they were all so excited about my bike and gear that I wasn't actually able to leave that spot. A few of them talked to me. They were German & Swiss so only a few knew English. I was told by a woman that many people were saying they admired me for getting up that hill. The whole time they were there, my picture was getting snapped like crazy. I even had a few people pose with me for pictures.

Then it was slow downhill for a bit. But a great downhill into Boulder. I got to camp (red barn). I ate the rest (2/3) of my sub. Then lounged until I called Betty. I took a shower at her house. She dried my clothes in her dryer. Then we & Laura went to the Burr Trail Grill for dinner. We went back to her house to collect my stuff then she returned me to the barn. It was dark & everyone was asleep so I had to find my flashlight in the dark & set up my bed as quietly as possible. With that done, I fell asleep promptly.

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