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I first made this recipe when my family was here for Christmas.  It was okay, but I felt like it still needed some work.  I added ingredients, adjusted the ratios of several ingredients, and made it again while Randall’s parents were here for the weekend.  This time it was nearly perfect.

Regular onions don’t tend to agree with Audra, so I use green onions instead.  Feel free to use a regular onion in yours.  I think a yellow onion would taste best.

Also, this time I used 4 cups of vegetable broth since I was feeding 4 1/2 people.  There was enough for all of us to have seconds.  I like it a little bit thicker, so when we don’t have company I’ll probably reduce the liquid a little bit.

Enjoy!

Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder
    1 large poblano peppers, washed, split and seeded
    1 Tablespoon olive oil
    2 green onions, diced
    2 clove garlic, diced
    2-3 button mushrooms
    2 Tablespoon butter
    3 Tablespoons flour
    1 teaspoon cumin
    pinch cayenne pepper
    1-2 medium potatoes, diced
    2-4 cups vegetable broth
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 cups frozen corn kernels (use fresh if seasonally available)
    1 can cream style corn
    12 oz evaporated skim milk or 1/2 & 1/2
    diced avocado (to garnish)
    shredded cheddar cheese (to garnish)

Place the peppers on a sheet pan and flatten with your hand. Broil until blistered and charred, taking care not to overcook the peppers. Poblanos are thinner-walled peppers and cannot withstand the blackening that bell peppers can. Remove from the pan and immediately place in a bowl. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and allow to steam. After 15 minutes, peel and dice the peppers, set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 4 quart sauce pan. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute. Add mushrooms and continue sauteing for a minute.  Add the butter and flour and stir until the mixture is bubbly and colors slightly. Add the cumin and cayenne, stirring constantly to help the spices bloom. Add the broth, peppers and potatoes. Cook at a simmer until the potatoes are just tender. Add the corn kernels and cream style corn. Cook until the corn is heated through, then add the milk or cream. Heat until hot. Portion into bowls and sprinkle with the green tops of the onions, avocado and cheese if desired.

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Quinoa is a pseudocereal.  It not technically classified as a cereal or grain as it does not grow as a grass.  This hearty plant originated in the Andean region of South America and was an important food source for the Incas.

Quinoa has a high protein content, thus making it a good food choice for those with a vegan or vegetarian diet.  Quinoa is considered to be a complete protein since it has a balanced set of amino acids.  In addition to being a good source of protein quinoa is also a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, iron.

I’ve been trying to add variety to the grains we eat.  We’ve tried quinoa several times.  I’ve learned that Randall does not like quinoa cold.  He also seems to like it a lot better if I toast the “grains” before cooking it.  Unrelated to the quinoa, Audra likes toasted pine nuts.

Hot Asparagus and Potato Quinoa Salad
    2 cups white quinoa
    4 cups water
    4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
    1/2 large yellow onions, chopped
    1 clove garlic, chopped
    1 cup pine nuts, toasted
    1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch segments
    1 green onion, sliced
    zest from 1/2 lemon
    vegetable broth
    olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste

Rinse quinoa until the water runs clear and allow to dry completely.  Toast quinoa over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a large pot.  Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes (until quinoa releases spirals and becomes transparent).  Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and onions.  After a couple minutes, add the potatoes and a little bit of salt.  Toss to coat the potatoes and cover for a few minutes.  Uncover and toss again.  Cook for a few minutes longer until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.  Add asparagus and lemon zest.  Continue tossing the mixture until the potatoes are done and slightly crispy.  Add a little bit of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the quinoa with a splash of olive oil.  Gently mix in the potatoes and asparagus.  Top with toasted pine nuts and green onions.  (You could also dish the quinoa into a bowl and top with the potatoes, asparagus, pine nuts, and green onions.)

Serves 4 – 6.

Recently I’ve had a lot of problems getting Audra to eat at meal time, but she’s always willing to snack on things.  I ran across a recipe for Animal Crackers and adapted it to Audra’s taste.  We’ve made them together a couple of times which makes the whole adventure a lot more fun.

All-Natural Animal Crackers

    1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    1/2 cup almond meal*
    1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, softened
    1/4 cup fine-grain natural cane sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    A few tablespoons big-grain turbinado sugar

 
Whisk the flour and almond meal together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, beat the coconut oil with the sugar and salt until smooth (it should look a bit like a brown sugar frosting). Beat in the egg until everything is uniform in appearance. Add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto the counter-top, knead it once or twice and gather it into a ball. Cut the dough in half, flatten each piece, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.


To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place the racks in the middle and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick. If the dough cracks, let it sit or work with palms for a couple more minutes to warm. Stamp out shapes with floured cookie cutters and place the cookies an inch apart on the baking sheets, sprinkle with a bit of the turbinado sugar (if desired). Bake until the cookie are just beginning to color at the edges 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on racks.
 
 
 
*Almond meal is made by food processing whole unsalted almonds until they are a fine powder (just before it becomes almond butter).  Other nuts may be substituted but may slightly change the consistency of the crackers.

Randall has mentioned several times that I should start a food blog.  So here I am, starting a food blog.

We just purchased a house and I finally have a big kitchen.  I’ve always enjoyed baking and cooking but felt restricted by space in our little apartment kitchens.  Having all the space we now have makes cooking so much more fun.  Our stove cooks things evenly.  We have two ovens.  There is a ton of counter space.  I also received several new items for the kitchen for Christmas including a mandolin, yogurt maker, and huge new rice cooker.

Audra also received a kitchen for Christmas from Aunt Katrina and Uncle Kevin.  Aunt Allie gave her an apron, chef hat, and oven mitts.  We’ve had one baking adventure together so far.  I hope to have many more.

Sometimes I feel like I use the same recipes over and over and over again.  My goal is to try at least one new recipe a week and (if it goes well) share it with you on this blog.  I’ll also work in some of the recipes that we enjoy frequently for you to try.

Lets have some fun.

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