Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012!

This was super-frugal Christmas this year. (Thank you Heather for bringing the salad and thank you Sooz for providing groceries!)

Menu: Christmas Mojitos*, Roast Beast, Polenta Lasagne* (gluten free), Heather's Salad, Christmas Trifle*, Schober Springerle, Peppermint Extra Chocolatey Brownies*, Coconut Shortbread Cookies*, Oatmeal Raisin Blondies* (gluten-free), Orange-Chocolate Swirl Blondies*


Tomato Sauce Layer:
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. oil
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil (I used Herbs Parisien cuz that's what I had.)
Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until golden. Add the basil or (Herbs Parisien if using). Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. I did this part the day before and stored in the fridge overnight.

Polenta Layer
2 cups polenta (corn grits. I used Bob's Red Mill coarse-grind polenta)
6 cups broth (I used Better than Bouillion  Chicken flavor)
1/2 tsp salt (omit if your broth is salty)
teeeny pinch of turmeric (less than 1/8 tsp.)
 Mix together the broth (cold) and polenta and salt (if using) in a cooking pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium low and slowly cook and stir occasionally for 30 minutes until thick. Use a long handled spoon because it may bubble and splatter. Stir in 2 T. butter or olive oil.

"Ricotta" Layer:
This is poor (wo)man's ricotta. 
1 pint cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used mace cuz that's all I had)
Buzz ingredients in a blender (I used a stick blender).

Pesto Layer: (I had some pesto on hand in the freezer. I used about 2 T. total)
Basil leaves, garlic, sunflower seeds, Romano cheese, olive oil, orange juice.

Shredded "Italian Blend" cheese - 8 ounces. (I used Kroger brand w/ mozzarella, assiago, Parmesan, Romano blend.)

To assemble: spoon 1/4 of the tomato sauce into a large lasagne pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon on 1/3 of the polenta (don't spread it into a layer - just leave in blobs). Add 1/3 of the ricotta mixture (in blobs) and little blobs of pesto. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers again twice, reserving the last layer of shredded cheese to add at the end of cooking. You can cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate until you are ready to heat and serve it. 

To heat: Cook in 350° oven for 45 minutes, then add the last layer of cheese and cook another 5 - 10 minutes.



12 oz. container frozen limeade mix (don't judge! this is low-budget Christmas!)
3 limes
1 cup mint leaves
fizzy water
rum (optional)
garnishes: mint sprigs, cranberries, lime slices.

To "frost" the glasses: Powder sugar, meringue powder (1/2 tsp. mixed with 2 T water). Put the egg white in one bowl and the powder sugar in another. Dip edge of glasses in each and let stand to harden.

In a large pitcher mix the limeade mix with 2 cans of water (instead of the 3 cans the container calls for), the zest of 1 of the limes and the juice of 2 of them. Put a little of the lime juice mixture into a glass or jar with the mint leaves and muddle until the mint is crushed (or use a stick blender.) Add to the pitcher.

To make a mojito: put ice cubes in a glass, add lime juice mixture halfway full, top with fizzy water, rum (if using), and garnish (cranberries, mint sprigs, lime slices.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Frugal Eatin': Dandelion Greens Fritatta
The recent rains have helped lots of tender new dandelion greens sprout up.  Gather up new shoots of dandelion leaves before they form flowers. (Don't pick them where doggies do, or where sprayers spray.)

 Heat up some oil / fat in a fry pan (I used about 1 tsp each bacon fat, olive oil, butter):
Cook some chopped garlic and shallot / onion just a minute or two (heat medium/high), then add the greens:
With a fork, beat some eggs in a bowl (I used 5, cuz that was what I had), and pour over the greens in the pan. The temperature should be hot enough that the eggs start to set/cook immediately, but low enough that they don't burn:
Sprinkle on some shredded cheese (I used Peccorino Romano).
Turn off the burner (the top of the eggs are still runny) and turn on your oven broiler. Put the skillet under the broiler for 2 - 3 minutes until the top of the eggs set:
Served with foraged fig & pear, and milky coffee-in-a-bowl (the way they do it in French movies).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Made with black rice noodles, broccoli-carrot slaw, sesame/pineapple vinaigrette, lots of garden herbs (celery, mint, chives, lemon-mint), tangerine marmalade pickled red onions, apples, orange peel and fruit, shoyu, sesame oil, sunflower seeds.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rosemary Waffle Fries

I found two potatoes so I decided to try to emulate the rosemary waffle fries I had at Burgerville last year (and have been remembering them ever since!) I got a little waffle edge knife at Ross for a couple bucks. It isn't easy to cut the waffley slices from the potatoes - you turn the potato after each slice, and you have to get close enough to make waffle holes but not too close or it just cuts off a useless sliver.

Put the sliced potatoes into a bowl of cold water for awhile (one recipe said 4 hours but I only lasted about 1 hour) then drain them and spread them on a towel. Cover with another towel and blot away all the moisture.

Get your receiving place ready before you start to fry.: line a pan or bowl with brown paper (I cut up a shopping bag).

Heat 1" of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until it is 325°.

Using tongs or a spider tool, ease the cut potatoes into the oil a bit at a time; don't over-crowd the pot. You will be frying in batches, so only cook as many as will fit in one layer at a time. Cook them for 3 or 4 minutes or just before they start to turn golden, then lift them out and place them on the prepared paper.

Bring the oil up to 375° and fry the potatoes a second time (again, in batches. Don't crowd them!) Cook them for 3 or 4 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove to the prepared paper and sprinkle with seasalt, chopped fresh rosemary, & parsley.

Duck Hearts! :-(

I don't know what came over me, but I bought a package of duck hearts at Fubonn, local Asian market here. For 94 cents, this package contained 77 duck hearts. Oh the duckmanity!! All those ducky lives! :-(

I stir-fried them with Asian greens, enoki mushrooms, shallots (a huge bag goes for 98 cents at same store), ginger, garlic, and reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms. I guess you wouldn't want to serve this at a bris.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012