Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Free Bread

Today I came home to a long, slender cardboard box in the mail. Upon opening it I found two full sized loaves of bread. Here's the best part, they were free as a trial sample sent to those of us food bloggers who are members of Food Buzz. They look like good healthy bread too, full of heart healthy fiber and grain. I'd better go start making sandwiches!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

White Chicken Chili

It's really been too hot these days for chili but I was called upon to make a meal that could be frozen for a co-worker whose husband was in a very serious motorcycle accident. I think soups, stews and chili are always perfect for the freezer as you can make big batches and then freeze them in smaller portions, which is just what I did.

This white chicken chili recipe has been a standard of mine for many years. I certainly like regular chili con carne, but this seems somewhat more sophisticated and perhaps a little easier for a sick person to digest. It is not really spicy, though one can alter the amount of cayenne and take it over the top. Because of all the ingredients it takes and because I was in a hurry to get it made, I don't have any pictures of the ingrediants or the prepping of this meal. It really is easy though despite the long recipe. Give it a try for a change of chili pace.

White Chicken Chili

2 whole chicken breasts, cooked, deboned, skinned and cut up into cubes (I always roast my chicken breasts at 375 degress for 30-40 minutes for more flavor)
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
3 cans (15 oz) white canneloni beans, drained and rinsed well
1/4 cup lime juice
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne powder (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


1 cup shredded jack, colby or cheddar cheese
lime wedges
chopped cilantro
sour cream
fried tortilla strips
chopped tomatoes

Heat oil in large pot. Add onions and saute until slightly browned. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth, wine, beans, lime juice, chilies and the spices. Bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and heat through. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with condiments of your choice.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Toad In The Hole

Since I wrote about my old English cookbooks recently, I thought I would create a traditional English recipe called Toad in the Hole. According to my research, this is a recipe that has been around since at least the 18th century and use to be made with pieces of meat rather than sausages. Today the recipe is made with nice meaty sausages and a Yorkshire pudding batter, very similar to popover batter.

We went out for breakfast yesterday morning and my serving of sausages with my eggs was way more than I could eat in one sitting so I took two of them home with no idea what to do with them. After going through the old cookbooks and seeing this recipe, I thought it would be perfect. I cut the recipe in half to make two servings.

I said to The Husband as he was tentatively putting the first bite of this unusually named dish into his mouth, "I would bet our life savings we are the only people in Salem who are eating Toad in the Hole for dinner tonight, dare I say in all of Oregon." Don't you just love adventurous dining? I served our Toad in the Hole with a wonderful tomato and cucumber salad picked fresh from our garden with a light vinaigrette. Toad in the Hole
(serves 2)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided into two portions
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup coldwater
2 meaty sausages

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Make the batter by putting flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and break the egg into it. Mix the milk with cold water. Using a whisk, gradually stir the milk mixture into the bowl with the egg, incorporating the flour and beating well to make a smooth batter. The batter should resemble a slightly thin pancake batter. Let stand.

Pour the oil into two individual baking dishes and add the sausages. Put into the hot oven and cook for about 10 minutes until the oil is very hot and the sausages begin to brown.

Stir the batter and quickly pour it around the sausages and return to the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the batter is puffed up, set and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Holiday

We're on holiday doing some traveling and celebrating a wedding with family so no recipe this week. I will share a photo from our travels to Victoria, B.C. though.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Those Were The Days

In my collection of 100 or more cookbooks, three of my prized possessions are cookbooks I inherited from either my English grandmother or great aunties. These books are VERY old ,very worn, and unfortunately, falling apart. I don't look at them very often as I don't want to damage them, but when I do it is always fascinating.I thought I would share portions of one of them today. Mrs. Beeton's Cookery Book is a small edition of her much more complete and huge Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. This particular edition was a "new edition" published in 1903. My mother has my grandmother's edition of the entire Book of Household management. I remember as a girl sitting in the hallway of my grandmother's house next to the bookshelves, thumbing through this giant tome in complete awe and amazement.

The pictures, some in color, some in black and white, were drawn and painted so beautifully and the names of most of the recipes were completely intriguing and foreign to me. Things like Lark Pudding, Jugged Hare or Tipsy Cake were beyond my imagination. In the chapter entitled Invalid Cookery there is a recipe for Baked or Stewed Calf's Foot. Isn't that just what a sick person craves? Calf's Foot. I will quote a passage from another chapter about serving dinner: "Too often it is the custom to invite just as many people as we can set at our tables, in many cases more than our servants can wait upon." Isn't that quaint??

Published in 1861, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management was a guide to all aspects of running a household in Victorian Britain. Its 2751 entries include tips on how to deal with servants'pay and children's health, and above all a wealth of cooking advice, instructions and recipes. It was an immediate bestseller, running to millions of copies within just a few years. Mrs. Isabella Beeton died at the age of 28 and it's truly amazing her accomplishments considering the age in which she lived.

The entire book of Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management is available to view on line at: I think Mrs. Beeton would whole heartily approve of these little inventions called the computer and the Internet for making our lives more efficient

Sunday, September 6, 2009

When Life Hands You Bread, Make Bread Pudding

A month ago or so, my sister had a disaster with an order she had placed at a bakery in Seattle. She had wanted nice square Pullman loaves of bread to make tea sandwiches for our niece's bridal shower. Instead, she got big, bulky loaves of brioche which wouldn't do at all. Because of this error, I was the lucky recipient of 3 of these loaves. Who am I to turn down wonderful, eggy, buttery brioche bread?I brought it home from Seattle and immediately cut it into cubes and stashed it in the freezer to deal with at a later date. I had thought of saving them for Thanksgiving stuffing and of course, bread pudding. Who doesn't love bread pudding? Well The Husband for one....but he can't be pleased all of the time. I find it to be such a wonderful combination of all things good; bread, raisins, custard, cinnamon. It's right up there and very similar to rice pudding on the comfort food scale. After making this dish, I decided to take up to another level and made a creme anglaise to pour over. Bread Pudding

4 cups bread cubes (bite size pieces)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp melted and cooled butter
2 cups half and half, whole milk, or a combination of both
3/4 cup raisins (any dried fruit will work)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a baking dish and set the dish into a larger roasting pan that has enough room to fill with hot water.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on high speed until thick and lemon colored (about 4-5 minutes so that when beater is raised the batter will ball back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Then beat in the melted and cooled butter and milk.Place the bread cubes and raisins in the baking dish. Carefully pour the prepared custard over the bread cubes until completely covered. Press down the bread cubes so they are covered with the custard.

Prepare the water bath by carefully pouring in enough hot water so that the water is halfway up the baking dish the pudding is in. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Can be served warm or cold with a dusting of confectioners sugar and a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream or creme anglaise.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Carrot Crop

For the first time since we have had a garden, we planted carrots. I so wanted carrots as they are one of my favorite veggies. Well, the crop seen above being held in the Husband's big paw is it. Don't get me wrong, the carrots tasted just fine. It's just that he only was able to harvest that mere dozen and they were on the miniature side. I think the problem was the plants weren't thinned as they started to sprout so there was some overcrowding going on.

I'm not complaining though. Those dozen or so miniature carrots were a delightful treat, once they were washed, peeled and trimmed. I can't wait for next year so we can try again.