Tuesday, December 26, 2006


My friend Phil talked me into trying posole. A New Mexican native who's half Polish and half Mexican, he is a coworker that I can count on to accompany me on many an obscure shopping trip on our lunch hour. A couple weeks ago, we went to John H King Used Books in Detroit and the Mexicantown area of Detroit to go grocery shopping. We went to Honey Bee Market to get our giant white corn. This is where I got my nifty "Our Lady of Guadelupe" calendar! Phil says that posole is a traditional Christmas dish his grandma makes. I followed a recipe suggested at http://4obsessions.blogspot.com/2005/12/more-than-sum-of-its-parts.html. Here's how I made it:

1 lb. pkg giant white corn, soaked over night
8 c. water
2 lb pork tenderloin cut into 1 inch chunks
2 t dried oregano
2 chipotle in adobe sauce, cut into pieces
2 T ground cumin
2 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 T minced garlic
juice of 2 limes
1 T salt
ground pepper to taste
4 T chopped cilantro
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

Toppings (any or all of the following): more chopped cilantro, avocado chunks, grated sharp cheddar cheese
1. Drain corn and put in a crock pot. Add 8 c. water, plus pork, oregano, chipotle, cumin, onion, garlic, lime, salt and pepper. Turn heat low. Cook 8-10 hrs. covered until pork is falling apart
2. About 15 minutes before serving, add tomatoes and heat through
3. Stir in chopped cilantro just before serving. Ladle into bowls and let diners customize their bowl with the assorted toppings

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Low Points Cookies

Okay, for those of us that have been on the WW points program, it can be hard to find a sweet treat that has a low "point" value. WW publishes the point value of foods, but for engineers who can't stand looking up things in a table and have an overwhelming need to describe what we do with math, we like to calculate points in our heads.

Points are calculated per serving by figuring out how many calories, grams of fat and fiber are in it. I understand the formula is patented by WW, but I have figured it out by my own personal nerdly interpolation, geek that I am. By my estimates, there's 1 point for every 50 calories, plus 1 point additional for every 12 grams of fat, minus almost 1 point per 4 grams of fiber.

I used to buy meringues at Meijer because they were a good low point option, but they stopped selling them. So I am going to try making them, based on this recipe (which I modified slightly) that I read about in the AA News this week. Six cookies would be 1 pt., by my estimates.

Chocolate Meringues
Makes 84 cookies

4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Adjust oven racks to divide oven in thirds, then preheat to 250F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a mixer, combine egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat on medium until frothy, about two minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. Decrease speed to low and mix in cocoa until just combined.
Transfer meringue to a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch opening and without a tip. Alternatively, use a large plastic bag and cut off one corner. Onto prepared baking sheets, pipe peaked mounds about 1 inch in diameter and 11/2 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes, then switch baking sheets from one shelf to the other. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until meringues are dry. Turn off oven, open it a crack and allow meringues to dry and crisp in the oven for an hour.

Approximate nutritional content per serving (2 cookies):
Calories..................................... 21
Fat........................................... 0 g
Dietary fiber............................ 0 g

Shrimp on Christmas Eve

At our house, we eat seafood on Christmas Eve, except my daughter, who doesn't like it. She gets to pick something different, and this year, she has selected her current favorite, beef flavor ramen noodles. (to each her own!) My son loves smoked trout from Monahans. I'm thinking this year, we'll go big on shrimp. Here's another recipe featured in the AA News that I am going to try tomorrow:

1 lemon
1 navel orange
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
30 medium shrimp, peeled and veins removed

Zest the lemon and half of the orange and place the zest in a medium bowl. Peel both pieces of fruit, then finely chop half of each. Placed the chopped fruit in the bowl with the zest and reserving the remaining halves.
To the bowl, add the oil, garlic, black pepper and pepper flakes. Mix well. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerated overnight.
Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade, allowing bits of citrus to stick. Discard the marinade. Season the shrimp lightly with salt and grill until opaque and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Use the reserved halves of lemon and orange to squeeze a bit of juice over the shrimp just before serving. Makes 10 three-piece servings.

Awesome Brussels Sprouts

Lately, the AA News food section hasn't really excited me, but this week, there were a few recipes I can't wait to try! First is this one from eve: the restaurant. I have eaten these sprouts there and they are terrific. I'm going to make them tonight for a dish to pass at my brother's house.

Chopped and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
4 cups Brussels sprouts, base removed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra virgin
olive oil
1 Roma tomato, diced
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt, preferably Diamond brand
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare ice bath (to stop Brussels sprouts from overcooking) and set aside.
2. Bring pot of salted water to a boil and blanch Brussels sprouts for about 1 minute.
3. Quickly strain Brussels sprouts and place in ice bath to shock.
4. When Brussels sprouts are completely cooled, strain again and dry well on towels.
5. Sauté Brussels sprouts and tomatoes briefly with a small amount of olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
6. Add butter and stir to combine until just melted but still creamy. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and remove quickly from heat. Serves 4.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Update on the kids crafts

Okay, so there's no snow, only rain....so we didn't do the snowball throwing contest. But the mitten craft was terrific. Thanks to all who helped.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Snowball Throwing Contest

We need snow for this winter party game - we need to ask Heikki Lunta for help here. If not, we will improvise with styrofoam snowballs indoors. Another idea from Family Fun.

WHAT IT IS: A snowball-throwing contest featuring a large bull's-eye target created in the snow
WHAT YOU NEED: Food coloring, spray bottles, sticks with flags

This colorful bull's-eye target is stomped out a flat circle in the snow, then we'll draw rings with spray bottles filled with food coloring and water. Each section's point value was indicated by a numbered flag on a stick. Each kid will get 3 tries

Sweater Mittens

This is an idea from Family Fun Magazine. We will be making these for the 5th grade winter party this week.

These mittens -- made from old sweaters that have been "felted" (shrunken into a dense, nonraveling material). We will also make stocking shapes. Each kid will make one in class.

Old wool sweater (use only 100 percent wool; tight weaves work especially well)
Paper and pencil
Pins and scissors
Tapestry or yarn needle

Time needed: Afternoon or Evening
1. Wash the sweater in the hot cycle of your washer three or four times with regular detergent. Then pop the sweater into the drier for about 45 minutes, or until it shrinks and becomes feltlike in texture. Certain sweaters shrink better than others, and the drying time will vary depending on the sweater's thickness.

2. To make a mitten template, trace around one of your (or your child's) mittens, leaving an extra inch or so around the edge for sewing. Pin the template onto the felted fabric, then cut out four matching mitten shapes.

3. Pin two of the mitten sides together. Using a contrasting color of yarn, stitch around the edges (a blanket stitch, as used here, looks especially nice).

If you don't have any old wool sweaters, check at a local thrift shop (they rarely charge more than two or three dollars per sweater). Keep an eye out for old Fair Isles; the intricate patterns shrink into pretty designs.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Books I like about cooking...and some I don't!

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell. It's about a young woman who spends a year cooking every recipe in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". It is the book version of a blog she kept of the experience. Very funny!

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin. Laurie Colwin wrote in a way that makes you want to cook something. She was a columnist for Gourmet, and she died young at 48.

Speaking of Gourmet, I loved everything Ruth Reichl has written, especially
Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table . It describes her coming of age with food and love and motherhood. She now edits Gourmet.

Pot on the Fire: Further Confessions of a Renegade Cook by John Thorne and Matt Lewis Thorne. They can really write beautifully about simple foods.

Books about food I wanted to like more than I actually did:

"Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany" by Bill Buford is about working in a restaurant and it was really whiny and uninspiring.  I think that Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain covers the subject of working in a restaurant better.

The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand by Jim Harrison. I don't know why I didn't like it, but I didn't. He is a Michigander and an excellent writer. Anyone like it?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Brownies - the Magic Kind....

Zingerman's Magic Brownies

13 T butter
6.5 oz unsweetened chocolate
1.5 C cake or all purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 eggs
2 C sugar
1.25 t vanilla
1 C coarse chopped walnuts, toasted

Grease a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 325. In a heavy small saucepan, heat the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring, till chocolate is melted and smooth; set aside to cool. In a small bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes or till light yellow and fluffy, scraping side of the bowl occasionally. Add cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Stir in walnuts. Spread batter in pan. Bake 30 minutes or until brownies appear set. Cool in pan on wire rack; cut into bars.

The Anti Christmas Cookie

Here's a cookie recipe that doesn't taste anything like Christmas - it tastes like a pina colada. Because it's different than the usual fare, I guarantee it will be snatched up first off of your holiday cookie tray. This recipe made me a finalist in the 2006 Detroit Free Press Holiday Cookie Contest.

Key Lime Bars

3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter softened
2 cups quick OR old fashioned oats, uncooked
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 (3 1/2-ounce) jar macadamia nuts, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

Heat oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add combined oats, flour and salt; mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup oat mixture for topping; Press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack

In same bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, mix well. Pour evenly over crust. In medium bowl, combine reserved oat mixture with coconut and nuts; mix well. Sprinkle evenly over filling, patting gently.

Bake 30 to 34 minutes or until topping is light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

Makes 32 bars.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Check this out! It's a cauliflower that I bought from Tantre Farms at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market this morning. It's called "Romanesco" Talk about fractals! It is enough to inspire the nerd engineer in Mom. What to make? Curried cauliflower soup?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Salsa Fest 2006

In September-ish, when the tomatoes come in torrents, is the time to can salsa. Salsa costs about 3-4 bucks a jar, and it is definitely worth canning. The downside is that salsa is one of the more difficult water bath canning methods to make, because of the prep work. So, a team of 4 gathered for Salsa Fest 2006.

If you decide to can salsa, a psychologist canning buddy of mine suggests that canning salsa takes you through the stages of grief, slightly modified:

  • Initial Enthusiasm "I love salsa, let's can some!"
  • Shock or Disbelief "Wow, peeling, seeding and chopping tomatoes can't be this labor intensive, can it?"
  • Denial "I never wanted to can salsa anyway"
  • Bargaining "If you finish up these tomatoes, I will chop and seed the jalapenos for you, okay?"
  • Guilt "I really shouldn't be doing this when I could be home right now vacuuming"
  • Anger "I never really liked these women anyway, this is the dumbest thing I have ever agreed to do in my life!"
  • Depression "We are NEVER going to be done with this, and this salsa is going to suck."
  • Acceptance and Hope "Thank God the last jars are in the canner. Don't those jars cooling on the countertop look kind of pretty? I feel just like Ma stocking the root cellar in any book by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Maybe someday I will want to eat tomatoes again. Just not today..."

Many hands made the work light, though. I had 3 friends join me for this day long affair this year. The day started at 8 am at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market to buy a bushel of tomatoes, hot peppers, etc. It ended at 4 pm with the last jars out of the canner. Actually, it hasn't yet ended because all of my canning accoutrement is still piled up all over the kitchen. The major downside to canning salsa is that it really isn't activity conducive to wine drinking. There are too many opportunities for injury, i.e. burns from the boiling water canner, cuts from dicing way too many vegetables, broken glass from the jars you drop, botulism if you don't follow the rules, etc. However, once the last jars of salsa are in the canner, we needed some wine.

Later, when I have my jars all lined up in the pantry to show off to my friends, it is really something. I will bring it as my "dish to pass" with a bag of Tostitos to potlucks and parties. When people ask, you can say noncommittally "oh that...it is salsa... I canned it myself". Talk about SHOCK and AWE. Inevitably, a woman or tow will come up shyly and ask how I did it. And the next thing I know, I've got another participant lined up for next year's Salsa Fest. Like childbirth, I will have forgotten the pain of labor - like cleaning up the jalapeno seeds on the kitchen floor, the hot pepper juice in my eyes, and let's not forget the container of Cremora that flew out of the cabinet when I was looking for the pepper and landed in the salsa kettle. Eventually, l will start fantasizing about making a new tomatillo recipe next year.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Here's a good, easy soup that only I will eat at my house. (we've got lots of non vegetable fans here). I can and will eat the whole batch - give it a try. It's great this time of year!

Curried Cauliflower Soup

1 head cauliflower cut into florets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 onions, sliced 1 inch thick
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups water
2 cups reduced-sodium canned chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 450°. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower with vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread out, and roast until the florets turn brown, about 25 minutes.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder, cauliflower, water, and broth; cover, and bring to a boil. Uncover, lower heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 3 cups cauliflower to a bowl, and set aside. Put remaining florets into a blender or food processor, add 1 teaspoon salt, and process until smooth. Stir purée into broth in pan, and reheat if necessary. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with reserved florets and parsley.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Salad Dressing

My son has been making salad dressing in our house since he was in kindergarten. This is his recipe. I don't like bottled salad dressing very much. Besides being lots cheaper to make, I think it tastes better, too. We like our salad dressing more tart and lighter, and so we use a 75/25 ratio of vinegar to oil.

3/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. coarse ground black pepper
1 T. minced parsley
1 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. minced basil
1/2 t. minced oregano

Combine in a jar with a lid and shake. Refrigerate whatever's left over. Tastes better the day after you make it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Tale of The Veal Demi Glace

Okay, I've decided to chronicle my veal demi glace ordeal right here. I have a feeling that the veal demi glace is going to turn out to be an "ordeal" (as opposed to a simple cooking project) on par with some of my other notable cooking ordeals in my past. For example, the time I tapped my own maple trees to make maple syrup, or my semi annual salsa canning experience. The only difference is this time, my former neighbor and fellow cooking ordeal participant Ann has moved away to upstate NY, so I am on my own. I was inspired to do this by Anthony Bourdain - I have just finished his "Les Halles" cookbook and he swears by having a good veal demi glace in your freezer as a "mother" for any kind of sauce you'd like to make. You all should know that I have never successfully made a good stock in my life, so to make a demi glace is risky business for me - it is a stock reduced with wine and shallots - sort of like a stock concentrate. I also have never cooked veal in my life, but he has suggested veal as the universal "mother" base. I admit, I like veal, but can understand why people might be a little squeamish about it.

I got veal bones from Sparrow's Butcher Shop in Kerrytown. I had to order them ahead of time - I ordered 5 lbs. because I thought that's how many would fill my stock pot. When I picked them up, the guy behind the counter, who I think is Bob Sparrow himself, asked if I lived in Dexter This is a neat little bit of info, but the "426" phone number prefix is an old time Dexter exchange, so you can tell someone that's lived in Dex for a while by that number. Someone newer might have a "424". So it's like a Dexter secret handshake or something when you say your phone number. As it turns out, he lives in Dexter, too. I have to hold off from begging him to move his butcher shop/fruit market to Dexter - we so desperately in need of one there. Business is probably better at Kerrytown anyway. So, I have resolved to shop there more often. His beef and veal are naturally raised, not confined, etc., so it takes some of the squeamish "veal factor" away from my demiglace.

So, Chef Bourdain says to roast the bones with some tomato paste and flour on them, so that is what I am doing now. Stay tuned for more of my ordeal - this could be a mutli day affair! I am sure that I will be thinking "Why am I doing this?" several times during the event. I consider this like hitting the wall while running or working out, or going through transition while in childbirth. Every time I have a cooking ordeal, I hit the wall. It is not that Chef B. hasn't warned me - he said to make demi glace and stock a couple times a year, because you definitely won't want to be doing it more often than that. Hmmm, this sounds suspiciously like canning salsa to me.....

...several hours later...

I have roasted the bones. Chef B says not to have any blackend parts, but I do have some. I think I will peel them off before I put the bones in the stock pot. I am now carmelizing my vegetables - another roasting pan, lightly oiled, with peeled carrots (25%) celery (25%) and peeled white onions (50%) - this should be enough to fill 1/3 the stock pot. By the way, I am thinking of using my canning pot instead of my stock pot because it is bigger. Don't know yet. Chef B is right - it makes your house smell wonderful! As soon as I get the pot on the stove started with a flame tamer under it, I am thinking of leaving the house for a while. This makes me slightly nervous, but in theory it should be okay. The stock has to cook for 8-10 hours, it says! Yikes!

Okay, so how browned do the veggies need be to be caramelized, I wonder? I have checked and my stockpot will work, except I have one bone too many. I have put that in a big saucepan to make extra. I am wondering what water to use - we have hard water where I live - should I use hard, I am wondering? I never cook with softened water. Anyway, I've decided to use bottled water, because demiglace is supposed to be clear, not cloudy.

I've started the stock pots on the stove while I am awaiting the carmelization. Supposed to add a spring or two of thyme, some peppercorns, some bay leaves and the vegetables. Then, it is 8-10 hours of making stock.

After the stock is done, then the demi glace starts. That will be tomorrow's adventure, I think.

.... did finish it finally. It yielded about 4 ice cube trays worth. I had to buy the ice cube trays, because I did get rid of the ones I had. They are in the freezer. I am still not sure if I reduced it enough. What you are supposed to do is use a cube or two of it when you are making any one of a number of sauces, or to liven up the taste of soups or stews. I haven't used any yet, but I did taste it and it tastes pretty good. Since finishing, I've been making real gourmet food like Boboli pizza (today) or frozen enchiladas (yesterday). Maybe I will try to use it this weekend. All in all, it probably wasn't worth the effort. Demi glace can be bought.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Home Canning

Every few years, I go crazy with the home canning exploits. As soon as the green beans come in (usually July-ish) I will be doing pickled green beans. Canning pickled green beans are probably the easiest thing you could ever can. It's a great thing to learn canning techniques on.

Pickled Green Beans
Makes 4 pints

2 lbs. green beans
1/4 c. canning salt
2 1/2 c. vinegar
2 1/2 c. water
2 teas. cayenne pepper, divided
8 cloves garlic, divided
4 heads dill, divided

Trim ends off beans. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more to taste), 2 cloves garlic and 1 head of dill to each pint . Ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps. Process pints 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Yield: about 4 pints.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pickled Eggs

In the upper peninsula of Michigan, the locals are called Yoopers. In order for a troll (that's Yooper slang for someone that hails from south of Mackinaw City, i.e. "under the bridge") to claim official Yooperdom, it is the local legend that you have to live in the U.P. for at least 7 years. Thanks to my dual major as an undergrad, and then graduate school at Michigan Tech, which is located in the Keeweenaw Peninsula, I can declare myself a Yooper.

A favorite Yooper bar snack is pickled eggs - but not those sweet, beet colored ones you sometimes see in foodie magazines. It's a spicy pickled egg, that goes really well with cheap cold beer. If you can find it, some Wisconsin local brewery beer is best, like Point Beer or maybe some Rhinelander. Long before there were microbreweries, each little town in Wisconsin had their own brewery, like Steven's Point and their Point Beer, which is one of my favorites. Anyway, if you should find yourself in Wisconsin or have the good fortune of having a cheesehead friend that can bring you some back, that is good. If not, any cheap beer like Old Milwaukee or maybe Blatz would be good, make sure it is very cold. Leinenkugel used to be one of those kind of beers, too, but now it is more widely distributed since they were bought out by Miller, and it's got some boutique beers now and cost lots more. I had made the pilgrimage to Chippewa Falls a couple times as a college student (and even as a grown up) to tour the brewery. When I lived in the U.P. in the 80s, you could get a case of Leinenkugel Original in longneck bottles in one of those hard cardboard returnable boxes for $3.12, plus deposit. Ah, those were the days...

In Houghton, where MTU is located. there is a bar called the B&B which is arguably the most famous pickled egg place in the U.P. It's located on M26 on the way to Ontonagon, but it is still in town. The bar features a sticky floor, an unleveled pool table with crooked cues, and is frequented by locals. Most of them will be kind to you if you care to visit, but some do not like "appleknockers" (another yooper term for downstaters). The B&B used to serve a Wisconsin beer called "Gilt Edge", but it no longer exists. I think they serve Old Milwaukee in it's place. Back in the day, you could get a beer in a small pilsner glass (called a "shell" in Yooper speak) and a pickled egg for 80 cents. This was called a "boneless chicken dinner" by the locals. I know people that regularly make a pilgrimage to the B&B from downstate just for the pickled eggs, but I will save you the 500 miles each way by sharing their recipe that someone once gave me when I was a student.

Check out my method for how to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs,

Interested in other U.P. recipes?  How about a U.P. Style Pasty?

Yooper Style Pickled Eggs
printer friendly

2 dozen hard boiled eggs (peeled)
4 cups vinegar
1 jar sliced jalapenos, including the juice
1 onion, chopped finely
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon salt

Put peeled eggs in a large glass jar with a lid. Put remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and boil for 10 minutes. Pour over eggs and let steep in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 days. Serve eggs in a paper cupcake liner with Frank's Red Hot Sauce, black pepper and plenty of the jalapenos.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bob Talbert's White Chicken Chili

This family friendly recipe comes from a beloved Detroit icon named Bob Talbert - he wrote a folksy, witty and touching feature column for the Detroit Free Press for a long time. I always read "The Way We Live Section" in the Freep first - I would read "Dear Abby" and then go right to Bob Talbert. He wrote about almost everything Detroit....on Mondays, he wrote a list of gripes called "Outta my mind on a Monday Moanin'" which I really enjoyed most. Anyway, this was a recipe he featured once in his column. I think he got it from some bar up north. I am including it as he wrote it, but afterward, I'll tell you about how I actually make it.

Bob Talbert's White Chili

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, washed and patted dry
2 cans (14 oz. ea.) chicken broth
1 jar (48 oz.) great northern beans with liquid
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 can (3 oz.) chopped green chilies, with liquid
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano

Garnish with green chopped onion tops, shredded cheese or tortillachips (optional)Bake chicken breasts at 350 for 30 minutes. Cut in pieces.In a large pot, pour small amount of broth. Add onion and garlic andsimmer until onion is wilted and hot. Add the chilies, stir, then addbroth and beans with liquid. Mix in the cumin and oregano. Bring to aboil and add chicken pieces. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.(Serves 6)

My version:
I put that chicken and broth in the crock pot, I usually drain the beans, too. I'd add all the ingredients. I let it cook on low for 8 hours or so. I make it more spicy by adding some cayenne pepper. I usually make at least double this size of recipe with it in the crock pot. I'd serve it with white toppings - monterey jack, sour cream, and sprinkled with those green onions.

What's for dinner?

It's spring break in our school district, which means I am home from work with the kids for a week. It's been a goal of mine to work on this blog about feeding my family of 4....I guess now is as good of a time as any.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Scottish Food

I find myself dining (against my better judgment) at McDonalds, at least a couple times a month week. I tried to brainwash the kids by calling it "IckDonalds", but they just laugh heartily and ask to go there anyway. If I am going to eat something that's not healthy, I would prefer to do it at a restaurant where the food is really delicious and enjoy the heck out of it!

A meal at IckDonalds usually involves driving while eating. Lately, I have been trying to get their salads there because I figure it will help me eat more vegetables, but it's hard to eat in the car. I can only do that when we dine in. Besides, some of their salads, even without dressing have over 300 calories in them, and over 20 g of fat. Yikes! And let's not even talk about the dressings - some of them have over 15 g. If I am going to eat that, I might as well make some other choices. I do really like McDonald's french fries, but only if they are piping hot. A small bag is only 11 g fat - but who wants a small bag when you can Super Size it - a large fry is 25 g. Chicken McGrill is 16 g, but I get it with no mayo, so it is 4.5 g, but it is still 300 calories. I am getting all this from McDonald's web site, which is pretty neat. http://www.mcdonalds.com/. You can figure out all the nutritional stuff using their "bag a meal" option.

What's the best meal on the menu to you and what is the healthiest option? If I am going all out at McDonald's, I'd probably get a quarter pounder with cheese and a large fry and a chocolate shake. I'd feel guilty the next morning, that is for sure. To try to be healthy and dine in, I'd get a salad and a diet coke. For something car edible, I'd get a small fry and a Chicken McGrill and a small fry and a diet coke. For the kids, it is always a Big Kids Happy Meal. Help!