Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vegetarian Chipotle Three-Bean Stew

It's March. It was forecast to be 68 today, snow tomorrow. So, even though we're anxious for asparagus and strawberries, we still need something warm and cozy to nourish us through the storm. This hearty meal does the trick.
Obviously this is a really good food storage recipe. You can tell by my dusty lids that most of the cans came from storage! :)

Vegetarian Chipotle Three-Bean Stew

Dave Lieberman, Young & Hungry

Makes 12-15 healthy servings (This makes a ton! After three adults and two kids dined on this recipe, I had three quarts left over! Freeze some for another meal or feed the masses!)

Serve with Corn Bread (Oooo! I'll have to put that recipe up soon!)

¼ c extra-virgin olive oil (extra light)

2 medium onions, diced (You'll notice I used one huge Vidalia onion.)

One 1 lb bag “baby-cut” carrots (I think those are too big for one bite. I could cut them up, but I'd rather just peel some carrots and cut them into big chunks.)

5-6 garlic cloves, pressed (I always have bottled minced garlic in the fridge. I really prefer using that because sometimes the quality of the fresh garlic is not so great.)

One 26 oz can chopped tomatoes (Since the kiddies don't like chunks of tomatoes in their food, I pour the tomatoes into a jar and puree them using a stick blender.)

Two 15 oz cans pinto beans

Two 15 oz cans red beans (kidney)

One 15 oz can pink beans (white)

Two 15 oz cans vegetable broth

One 12 oz can dark beer (ginger ale)

4 canned chipotle chilies packed in adobo sauce, finely chopped almost to a puree, plus 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce (I only use the 2 tablespoons of sauce. Then I remove all the peppers, pour the rest of the sauce in a jar and freeze that for future use.)

1 teaspoon salt

The next ingredients are added near the end of the process!

One 11 oz can sodium-free whole kernel corn (I usually only have regular corn.)

1 small bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped (I usually use dried.)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring until they start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic, and cook for a few minutes. Strain and rinse the beans. Add them and all the remaining ingredients except the corn and parsley. Add enough water to cover ingredients by an inch or two, about 2 cups. Bring to a boil and then adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering. Simmer for about 1 hour, until the chili has reduced and thickened and the beans are barely covered by liquid. Stir in the corn and parsley, and turn off the heat.

You can make this up to a few days in advance without adding the corn and parsley. Keep it in the fridge and the flavors will really develop, and the chili will taste even more amazing. Just remember that before you put it into the fridge for storage, it needs to come to room temperature—at least a few hours of sitting after it has finished cooking.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Have Faith, Be Good

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. "
John Burroughs

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cheese Ball - Click on the picture to see it better!

Kristen's Prom Pictures found their way onto a cheese ball entry! She, and date, Jordon, had a ball!--but not a cheese ball! :)

Click here for the recipe!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Now, how about something good for you?

Had enough chocolate? You may be saying "Never!", but I'm tellin' ya. You CAN have enough/too much chocolate. So let's try something that can take an ordinary meal to an extraordinary meal! Now, I first found this recipe a million years ago when Food Network was brand new and they had a show called "How To Boil Water". They have a current version with Tyler Florence, but this one was with a goofy but engaging guy and a reluctant female cook. I learned a lot from that show and loved it. The same recipe is still on the Food Network website attributed to Cathy Lowe. I don't think that was the name of the reluctant cook, but I could be wrong.

Steamed Asparagus with Lemon Butter
Okay, right off the bat, I have a problem with this title. The asparagus isn't steamed--it's boiled! Isn't it? I mean some of it may be above the water being steamed, but most of it is entirely submerged!

  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash asparagus and trim off bottom of stems by about 2 inches.
(I learned to trim asparagus by holding the stem at each end and curving the ends together until it breaks. It's faster to just chop the bunch, but you'll end up with less woody bites of asparagus if you do it the other way. Plus, you look really domestic and homey breaking each stalk.)

In a large skillet, bring about 1/2 inch of water to a rapid boil. Season the water with salt and add the asparagus. Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes or until bright green and just tender. Drain the asparagus and add butter to the skillet. Stir in the zest and juice. Return the drained asparagus to the skillet and toss to coat. Serve immediately

  • Variation: After the asparagus is drained, refresh immediately in a bowl of ice water. This will help the asparagus to retain the bright green color. Serve the asparagus cold with vinaigrette.
Now when you're all done, you'll probably have some butter sauce in the bottom of the pan. If you're really lucky, you'll have a little leftover pasta in the fridge just waiting to be tossed in that delicious sauce. Mmmmmmmmmmm. :)

The Third Gift of Chocolate

The third gift of chocolate was a Chocolate Honey Almond Tart I saw made on "Giada at Home" on Food Network TV.
It was delicious and the crunchy crust was perfect with the rich, smooth ganache filling. What you see pictured here is the single tiny slice I had left when I realized I never took a picture of the final product. And while I do suggest small slices, because it is very rich, this may seem a bit stingy. Then again, you could justify a second helping that way. :) Also, I thought this could have been enhanced by some fresh raspberries and whipped cream, or a raspberry sauce. But like I said, by the time I got to this third round of chocolate--I was beggin' for something else! If you'd been in a chocolate desert, it would absolutely quench your thirst!

Chocolate Honey Almond Tart

  • 1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature, plus extra for coating the pan
  • 9 chocolate graham crackers, 5 1/2-ounces total
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Place the graham crackers and almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture forms fine crumbs, about 15 to 20 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until incorporated. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, whisk the cream and honey together over low heat until the honey has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to just below a boil. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour the chocolate filling over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

Loosen the tart from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the edge. Unmold the tart and transfer to a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Second Gift of Chocolate

The next chocolate gift was truffles. These are as easy to make as fudge, except you have the extra work of rolling each truffle. I just use my Fabulous Frosting recipe--I don't remember where I got the recipe originally. I think it's an amalgamation of a bunch of frosting recipes I have tried. Here it is:

Fabulous Frosting with Truffles Left Over!
1 c whipping cream
1/4 c honey
3 T butter
12 oz mini chocolate chips

(Okay, mini chocolate chips seem to melt completely, while the regular chips always seem to have tiny pieces of chocolate running through it--not that tiny pieces of chocolate running through it is bad! Seriously, I could say I meant to do it and everyone would think I was genius! So if you want everything totally smooth--which I usually want for frosting, use mini chocolate chips. But if you want my favorite flavor, use half 60 percent cacao Ghiradelli chocolate chips half Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips--and tell everyone you had to cook everything just right to have those delicious bits of chocolate running through it!)

In a small saucepan, whisk the cream, honey and butter together over low heat until the honey has dissolved and the butter has melted. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to just below a boil. Remove from heat and add the chips. Stir until chips are melted and the frosting is smooth and beautiful! Let cool to frosting consistency.

I've also used the double boiler method and just thrown everything together until it melts completely. This is good for when you have distractions. :) Now for the truffles. I'll use instructions from Giada De Laurentiis' Balsamic Chocolate Truffles Recipe--which is also really goood:

Cool the chocolate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours, until firm but moldable. (If you're impatient, you can roll them straight out of the fridge--they just won't be perfect little balls--which some say makes them look more like real truffles.)

Use a teaspoon to scoop out chocolate. Use your fingertips to shape into balls about the size of a cherry. Set the chocolate balls on a parchment-lined tray. Place the cocoa powder in a small shallow dish. Place 6 truffles at a time in the cocoa powder and roll the truffles around to coat, and return the coated truffles to the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining truffles. Place the truffles in a serving dish or airtight package. (I also like to use finely chopped nuts or Nilla Wafer crumbs.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Have Faith, Be Good

Believe it or not, I found this profundity in the book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back by Esther Gokhale. She said:

"As with any physical transition, you might experience some initial difficulty. While you are learning a new posture or way of moving, be sure to explore the change gradually. Don't force your body to achieve the ideal result immediately, as that may strain your muscles. Instead, let your body gradually adapt to the ideal over time.

Common wisdom holds that you must repeat an action at least 20 times for it to become habit. Be patient as you work to integrate the techniques into your daily movements. You will create these new habits more from a sustained awareness over time than from an infrequent but heroic effort. The only requirement is that you not let your awareness slip away."

Doesn't this apply to most aspects of life? And couldn't it help us be more patient and charitable with ourselves and others?

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." (Alma 37:6)

Geez, did anyone else read "profundity" as "profanity"? Some Sabbath Inspiration that would be! Good grief! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

The First Gift of Chocolate

My entire presidency's birthdays were in the past few weeks and I wanted to give each a small gift. The first was this delicious fudge. The cinnamon makes it unique and gives it warmth. I saw it made on Food Network's
Giada at Home. The recipes shared on that show are delicious and family friendly. It has inspired Kathryn as well. I'll post her adventure making an Italian soup and crostini soon.


  • Butter, for greasing the pan
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) bittersweet (60 percent cacao) chocolate chips (recommended: Ghiradelli) see Cook's Note (I used 1-1/2 cups 60% and 1 cup semisweet [Ghiradelli--most excellent, dude])
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • Kosher or flake salt, optional


Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, about 14-inches long and 7-inches wide, allowing the excess to overhang the sides. Set aside. (This makes it really easy to lift out the fudge--it's worth the effort.)

In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and butter. Put the bowl on a saucepan of barely simmering water and mix until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes (mixture will be thick). Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm. (Someone I gave this recipe to said her salt dissolved--maybe because she didn't store it in the fridge?)

Run a warm knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge. Remove the fudge to a cutting board. Peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 1-inch pieces. Store refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze.

Cook's Note: The fudge can also be made using 1 pound (about 2 1/2 cups) of semisweet chocolate chips.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm officially sick of chocolate.

I didn't think it was possible for those words to ever be in my head. But I've made so much ganache in the past couple of weeks that it's true. I'm officially sick of chocolate. Maybe that's why the Irish Soda Bread with the dreaded raisins in it was sooooooooooo good. But in the next three posts I'll show you the recipes that brought me to my current chocolate status. Don't worry. It won't last. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waaaaaaaay better Irish Soda Bread

I've never been all that happy with the Irish Soda Bread I make every year, and since I heard Ina Garten had done one on FoodTV I thought I would try hers. I've never made a recipe of hers that I haven't liked, and HOLY COW this one did not disappoint. It is soooooooo good. Alas, it has raisins in it (I didn't have currants, so I used raisins) and that means only Mat and I will eat it. It makes a HUGE loaf. So if anyone wants to come over to the house and get a slice, they are welcome to it.

Also, I'm posting her recipe, and you can see right there it says "all rights reserved", so does that mean I shouldn't be posting it? Even if I give her credit? And say buying her books would totally enhance your cookbook library? And you can check out her shows at Food Network TV? Well, I'm sure eventually I'll find out. This is a work in progress.

Irish Soda Bread

2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants (I used raisins)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour. (I whisked the dry ingredients together then cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter.)

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet. (I just use a fork to mix it until just combined. One thing I've learned with bread and pastry, working it too much makes it tough. I touch it with my hands as little as possible.)

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. (Again, hardly touch the thing.) Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Served warm, with real butter, is pure heaven!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If you came to St. Patrick’s Day Dinner at my house …

… this is what you’d see! Way back in 1991 I found this menu in First Magazine and we’ve made it ever since.

On the menu:

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Green-Pea Soup with Mint
Irish Soda Bread

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pie Crust

You feel like a real cook when you make a successful pie crust. And my handsome nephew, Alex, knows the essential ingredient--lard--real lard, not the shelf stable kind--the kind that needs to be refrigerated or frozen. Where do you get that from Alex? Uncle Curt always picks it up for me. Anyway, here's how:

Savory Pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

8 tablespoons cold fresh lard, diced (1/4 pound)

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water or heavy cream, for egg wash

Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the lard and butter and pulse 10 times, until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Divide the dough in half and roll out each half to fit a 9 or 9 1/2-inch round by 2-inch high ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish.

Ina Garten


Perfect Pie Crust:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening (what the ... that should say LARD ... good grief ... thou shalt not consume vegetable shortening!)

6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts

Ina Garten


Update: You can get lard at Circle V Meats in Spanish Fork--thanks Alex!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Welcome to my blog! The name comes from the way I would say goodbye to my kids as they would leave the house to go to school/dates/trips/whatever. What's my intent here? --my mission statement? Hmmmm. To pass on information those same kids might find of value as they fly from the nest. Let's see what happens! :)