Corn Pudding

While other parts of the country are sweltering, we are having dreary, dreary days. This corn pudding recipe is the perfect side dish to have as we approach the summer solstice in drizzly Washington state.

I usually include this as a Thanksgiving side, but the other day we had it with grilled burgers. I always think of this as something Colonial, perhaps shared by native Americans all those years ago. It’s soft and chewy.

2 cans (15 ounce) creamed corn

2 cups Bisquik (I usually prefer Jiffy Baking Mix)

2 eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 pound grated Jack cheese

2 small cans diced green chilies

Combine first 5 ingredients.  Mix well and pour half into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Layer with cheese.  Put remaining batter on top.  Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

*****From the Recipe Box:

This recipe is easily halved.

I used a 3 cheese blend and since I had no green chilies, I finely diced some green pepper. That worked out so well, I’ll probably use a full range of bell peppers in the future.

and remember: Virginia Woolf said it best: In case you ever foolishly forget, I am never not thinking of you. Big kiss, Lynn

Egg Foo Young

My reticulating activator system has been working in high gear lately.  We all have one, but it’s like a Spidey sense, it’s not always tingling.  So what is it?  Say you just found out you are pregnant.   You go to the mall and you swear everyone you see is pregnant.  Or you get a Mohawk and it looks like everyone gets a Mohawk.  In my case, I heard someone mention Egg Foo Young and suddenly everywhere I looked, Egg Foo Young was being discussed.  Now for me, I take that as a sign from the gods I’m supposed to be making Egg Foo Young.

I used to make it fairly often.  Is it truly Chinese food?  I don’t think so, but it is fairly exotic if you’re used to ‘white Norwegian food’ like my family was growing up.  It’s also a good way to introduce different vegetables into a kid’s diet.  C the MP loved them.  They look sort of like pancakes so you’ve won that battle.  It’s not like the aliens have landed and want you to eat aardvark tails.  I’ve heard the recipe was developed in California during the Gold rush, in southern China to use up leftovers; you get the picture, no one knows for sure.

Bottom line, I like to use the ratio of 2 cups veggies, meat, etc. to 4 eggs.  This is the perfect ratio for me.

  • 4 eggs
  • 8 ounces fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 cup cooked small shrimp or chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Beat together the eggs, bean sprouts, green onions, shrimp, and garlic powder in a bowl until well-combined. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and scoop about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into the skillet to make a patty. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side, and repeat with the remaining egg mixture. Set the patties aside.
  2. Whisk together the chicken broth, cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sauce simmers and thickens, about 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the patties.

*****  From the Recipe Box:

Easy fast dinner with plenty of protein and veggies.

and remember:  If you’re going to be weird, be confident about it.  Big kiss, Lynn

Cabbage Crisp

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Sometimes you just have to branch out and try new things. I’ve mentioned in the past that I am not a vegetarian, but if I never had meat again I’d be OK with that. I love all things vegetable, almost to the exclusion of protein foods. I can always tell when I get the shakes, it’s time for a piece of cheese or a hard boiled egg.

So, I found this recipe on YouTube. It looked ever so interesting to me. I love the versatility of cabbage. I started loving it in corned beef and cabbage. I next moved on to adding it to my Asian stir fries. And of course, Hello!, I almost forgot cabbage rolls.

3 medium-sized potatoes (approximately tennis ball sized or smaller)

2 carrots

1/2 cabbage

Grate everything with a blender or by hand.

Add 2 eggs, 3/4 cups breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Lay down a piece of parchment paper in a rimmed baking sheet 10 x 15 or so. Spread mixture in pan. Drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil. Cook in the oven at 400 ° for 25 minutes.

*****From the Recipe Box:

This comes out crispy and needs to be cut into squares.

I added granulated garlic and onion. Bland food is boring food.

I’m using it as a side or I crisp it up like hash browns and fry an egg on top.

and remember: It’s OK to make mistakes, to have bad days, to be less than perfect, to do what’s best for you and to be yourself. Big kiss, Lynn

Creamed Spinach…don’t judge me

When I was younger, one of the most popular cartoons on TV was Popeye. My little brother wanted to be Popeye when he grew up. He was constantly begging our mom to buy him canned spinach even though she knew he wouldn’t eat it.

Finally, the big day came. Mom bought spinach. She went to heat it up, but P said no, Popeye ate it straight out of the can. In the hopes of teaching someone (my brother) a valuable lesson, she opened the can and P took a huge bite. It did not go down well. He immediately threw up all over the kitchen.

So, what have we learned here? Listen to your mama and don’t eat spinach straight out of the can. Eat it like it is served at the fancy steakhouses. Pretend you are part of the Rat Pack.

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This may be an acquired taste.

creamed spinach in pan unmixed

bowl of creamed spinach

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh spinach or 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon seasoning salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • Wash and dry spinach if using fresh. Remove any tough stems and roughly chop.
  • Cook spinach in a pan with olive oil over medium heat until wilted and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a strainer to drain.
  • Add onion and butter to the pan and cook on medium low heat until onion is softened. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer while stirring until smooth. Simmer 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Squeeze any excess moisture out of the spinach. Add back to the pan and stir to combine. Heat through and serve

*****From the Recipe Box:

G did not like this, not even a little bit.

I know it’s a lot of work for a side dish, but what the heck. Make it when you have time.

I like it over a baked or mashed potatoes.

Like I said, don’t judge me, it’s really good.

and remember: Stop wasting your life away doing nothing. Big kiss, Lynn

Glazed Carrots

G and I took the grandson and sous chef extraordinaire to the American Legion for dinner the last night he was here. J loves their chicken fried steak. We all had glazed carrots on our plates. What surprised me was how much everyone loved the glazed carrots.

My Grandma used to make the kids glazed carrot coins long, long ago.

Ingredients

  • bag of baby carrots  or any sliced up carrots
  • ½ cup of butter
  • ¼ cup of light or dark brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Put carrots, brown sugar, and butter in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn.
  2. Once the liquid reduces and becomes like a glaze, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve once they are tender.
  3. For garnish, you can sprinkle in some chopped parsley, thyme, rosemary, or other herbs (optional).

*****From the Recipe Box:

Believe it or not, these carrots don’t take long to cook, but I still put a lid on them for a smidgy bit. J’s already planning on these for Thanksgiving.

and remember what Ken Keyes said: To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.  Big kiss, Lynn

Porchetta Part 2

On April 18th of last year I shared a recipe for faux porchetta I got from the neighbors who found it at Bon Appettit.  As much as we loved it, it wasn’t enough.  I kept thinking about apples and pork, so I decided to do a little experimenting.

Today was the day things came together to form the perfect mix.  I roasted a small pork butt.  The porchetta could not be easier.  While the meat was resting, I got out the rest of my ingredients:

1 Fuji apple, sliced thin

1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

S & P to taste

I put approximately 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet.  I added the apple slices and brown sugar to the pan and sauted them on medium high for about 5 minutes.  I added the cabbage at this point and sauted for another minute or 2 before adding the sweet chili sauce.  I wanted the pork roast to rest on the apple mixture.

I must say both G and I were totally pleased with the results.  I’ll continue to work with this but I’m not quite sure what I’d do to change it.

 

* From the Recipe Box:
As you can see from the picture, I forgot to grind the fennel seeds.  Both G and I agreed nothing got lost in the lack of grinding.  So, if you want to take the “lazy butt” method to the next level, don’t grind. I also think it intensified the fennel flavor a bit more this way.  I won’t be grinding again.
Don’t forget what a great sandwich this makes.
and remember:  I’m making changes in my life, so if you don’t hear from me, then you are one of them.  Big kiss, Lynn

Risotto in the Oven

The first meal my Italian daughter-in-law made for me was risotto.  I don’t know where it had been my whole life, but I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  It was amazing.  The best part about risotto is how creamy it gets.  I’m never sure if I should use a fork or a spoon.  Yes, of course I use a spoon: I don’t want to miss a single grain.

According to D, it’s the warm broth that makes all the difference.  I decided it was time I learned how to make this fabulous dish.  I don’t understand how something as hard as rice grains can end up so smooth and creamy.  Lots of people use it as a side dish,  but for me it’s the main course all the way.  I don’t need anything else on my plate, but if you want to throw in a little asparagus and a few green peas, I’m happy.

I really enjoyed this recipe, but I will be trying another.  This one needed a little more depth.  Since I am a total lazy butt, I owe it to myself to search out the easiest, I mean the best.  I didn’t have a recipe so I combined several I found on-line, but why wouldn’t I try one that cooks in the oven first.  Hello!

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup frozen peas

1 pound blanched asparagus

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and asparagus, stir until heated through.  Serve hot.

 

*  From the Recipe Box:

We’re back to easy-squeezy.  Why do you have to stand over a burner and stir the rice?  Why not bake it it the oven if you can?

Considering how easy this was, it was so good.

and remember:   The older you get, the earlier it gets late.   Big kiss, Lynn

Cauliflower and Potato Soup

My grocery shopping elves bought me the most beautiful cauliflower.  They know what I like without even asking, so I received a wonderful haul of vegetables.  Unfortunately, G does not feel the same way about veggies, so I ended up with a mini glut of the ones he particularly dislikes.  As a result, I decided it was time to make my mom’s potato soup.  But, what’s the fun of making soup if you can’t hide things in it?
I included a Potato, Cauliflower and Corn Chowder recipe in December, but this one is a bit different.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1.5 lb. russet potatoes (I do not peel potatoes for anything)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken because that’s what I had)
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used regular ground paprika)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 4 oz. medium cheddar, shredded
  • 3 green onions, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Dice the onion and add it to a soup pot along with the olive oil.  Sauté the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Add the cubed potatoes and cauliflower florets to the soup pot along with the vegetable broth. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the pot up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and cauliflower are extremely soft.
  • Add the evaporated milk to the soup. Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture, or allow it to cool slightly, then transfer the soup in batches to a blender to purée. Blending hot liquids is extremely dangerous, so make sure to let it cool until warm first (adding the evaporated milk will help bring the temperature down), and drape a towel over the lid of the blender as added protection against unintended splatter.
  • Once the soup is puréed, season with smoked paprika, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. The amount of salt needed will vary, depending on the salt content of the broth used.
  • Place the soup back over medium heat and allow it to heat through. Once hot, begin stirring in the cheese, one handful at a time, until it has fully melted into the soup.
  • Serve the Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup with sliced green onions on top.

*  From the Recipe Box:

The green onions really add a pop of flavor to each bowl, so I don’t suggest skipping them, but G is not a green onion fan so we added bacon to his.  I also added some crispy fried onions that were pretty nummy.
and remember:  When you see crazy coming, cross the street.  Big kiss, Lynn

Caprese Salad

I made the most amazing salad for dinner the other night.  I know, I know, everyone knows how to make a caprese salad, but wait.  Look at this beauty.  I used small mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes that I halved, micro greens for garnish and to top it all off, balsamic reduction.  OMG!!!

You’re thinking, Lynn, get a grip, but I want you to realize how wonderful a plate of veggies can be.  Sometime you just want something light and refreshing.  I’m not a good meat eater, so after a day or 2 of having meat, I want something light.  G had this with a pork chop, but this is all I had for dinner and I was totally full and happy.

I bought individually wrapped mozzarella balls at Costco.  They are so cute.  They actually come 3 mini balls in each package.  The only problem I have sourcing ingredients is the micro greens.  I currently pick them up at Trader Joe’s, but I don’t know how long that will be an option for me.  Unfortunately, I’m currently housebound.  I’ve had some absolutely incredibly loving helpers, but it’s hard to expect them to go to TJ’s for micro greens.  If anyone knows of any here on my Island, please let me know.

Balsamic Reduction:

2 cups balsamic vinegar

1 cup Ruby Port (it must be Ruby, not Tawny)

1 large tablespoon brown sugar

Combine all in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until sauce has reduced to 1 cup.  This should take about 45 minutes to an hour.  You will want to use it on just about everything.  I keep it it a squirt bottle.  It will last quite awhile, unless you are like us and use it on everything.

*  From the Recipe Box:

I originally included this reduction recipe in Sept. 2018, but it deserves to be included twice.  Trader Joe’s and Costco each sell a good reduction as well.

and remember:  The Dalai Lama said it best:  Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them, humanity cannot survive.  Big kiss, Lynn  ( I thought of this quote after reading about the woman who was making brown bag lunches and leaving them out for people who needed them.  About the teacher who drove by each of her student’s houses and held up a sign that said “I miss you”.  About the hot meals at rest stops being made for the truckers.  Ultimately, it’s about the people on the front lines:  the doctors, nurses, EMT’s, grocery workers, your help at the drive up window, truck drivers.  A huge thank you one and all and a major big kiss!!!!!!)

Asparagus Cheese Tart

Another recipe from the Costco Magazine.  They had me at asparagus this time.  I’ve mentioned my 2 favorite foods are watermelon and asparagus, so you know I’m in.  This one looked totally la-di-da and yet super easy.  Our favorite nephew, his wife and daughter were here and it was voted a total winner.  Our 2 year old great niece even helped roll out the puff pastry dough and grate the cheese.

This is a really nummy nibble.  I will be making it all year, or at least as long as I can get fresh asparagus.  Look at the intensity on her face as she grates the cheese.  Isn’t it more important  than the squiggly cut puff pastry?  Yeah, I think so.  I wish you could have seen her piercing the pastry with a fork.  It sort of reminded me of the Psycho shower scene.  She was into it.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

1 tablespoon flour

1 sheet (about 8 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated Gruyere Cheese

1 pound medium asparagus, trimmed

S and P to taste

Sprinkle flour onto the work surface, roll out the pastry dough to a 14 x 9 inch rectangle.  Trim the dough for neat edges, then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Score the pastry dough lightly with a 1-inch border on all sides.  Pierce the interior dough with a fork.  Bake until light golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle with the cheeses.  Place the trimmed asparagus on the interior of the tart, alternating with ends and tips.  Drizzle the asparagus with the olive oil, scattering thyme on top and season with salt and pepper.

Bake until puff pastry is golden and asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes about 6 servings.

*  From the Recipe Box:

This recipe was from the March 2020 Costco Connection.  I get really good recipes from that publication.

G would like to see twice the cheese on the tart.  We like our cheese.

Even with a 2 year old sous chef, it turned out fabulous.  Appearance isn’t everything.  Let these kids help people.

and remember:  Erin go Bragh my darlings.  Big kiss, Lynn