Thursday, February 23, 2006


Speaking of recipes…was I? Anyway, if you’re in Trader Joe’s, you might keep your eye open for the recipe boxes that are scattered around the store. Brightly colored 3x5 cards with great recipes are in the boxes and the recipes call for an ingredient near at hand. (Of course…) I picked up 5 of them yesterday.
I just had to comment on the tomato harvest from last year. I know, that's history...but I made a quick dinner the other night with some angel hair pasta and a spaghetti sauce from the freezer. The sauce was great! The tomatoes were loaded with natural sugars and the frozen storage seemed to accent that. I didn't use any salt in the sauce and no meat. And it was perfect. I only have two of those left in the freezer, so I need to portion them out carefully until the next harvest. You should try it yourself this year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A movie review...Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Rated R

A very good movie and quite opportune. With Kenny Boy on trial, it makes sense to watch this movie. And if you're a Californian, you will be quite "Amused" as you listen to the comments of the Enron traders while they worked the system to make a fortune for Enron.

The language is profane at times...but what is worse is the mindset of those uttering the profanities. These people were less than human.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Superheated steam oven
Is this the new "microwave"? The kitchen appliance we can't live without? I have to admit that it sounds pretty neat...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A good soup. It was certainly soup weather and so I fooled a bit with this recipe and came up with one I liked...

Italian Sausage Soup
1 pound Italian sausage (I used thinly sliced TJ’s Chicken Sausage)
1 clove garlic, minced (I used 2)
2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 cup sliced carrots (I used peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can great Northern beans, undrained (I used White Beans)
2 small zucchini, cubed
2 cups spinach - packed, rinsed and torn
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown sausage with garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes and sweet potato, and season with Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in beans with liquid and zucchini. Cover, and simmer another 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.
Remove from heat, and add spinach. Replace lid allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. Soup is ready to serve after 5 minutes.

I'm sure it would be good with bulk Italian Sausage, but I had some (5) precooked chicken sausage with Chipotle pepper. Trader Joe has a wide variety of these and I usually have one kind or another in my refrigerator. The recipe had very little spice? so I added the Italian seasoning. Feel free to add more of course. I served it with a great bread from Great Harvest.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


It’s our anniversary today and we decided to give ourselves a nice present. Last year at this time, we gave ourselves a new stove and so it seems to make sense that this year we would give ourselves another food related item; a new mixer. Yes, we have what our oldest daughter calls, “A Counter Trophy”, a KitchenAid 5 quart mixer. Every kitchen is supposed to have one, whether it’s used or not. Ours is white…and I know that is so boring! But our kitchen has no bold color theme; it’s all wood and white so the mixer will fit right in.


We enjoyed a good dinner last night and I’m sharing it here…enchiladas. Doesn’t everyone like enchiladas? I started by sautéing 4 boneless chicken thighs. I use the thighs because they have a bolder taste than the breasts, but to each their own! Then I cut up the meat into bite sized chunks and placed them in a bowl. I grated some sharp cheddar and some Jack cheese. A jar of Sunny Select Southwest Salsa (Hot) with corn was opened and I was ready to begin heating the tortillas. And then I decided to add one more thing; spinach. Fresh spinach.

Heating the tortillas briefly in hot oil softens them for rolling. Then I placed a layer of spinach leaves in the middle of the tortilla, followed by chicken, cheese, (both kinds) and salsa. I rolled the tortilla into the familiar enchilada shape and placed it in the shallow baking dish. I made a total of 6 enchiladas and then used one bottle of Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce to cover them. The last of the cheese was then sprinkled over the top.

I cooked them at 350℉ for 40 minutes.

Very good…but here is what I will do next time. More spinach. I will add one more layer of spinach leaves to top the salsa layer. And TJ’s sauce is bland. I will use a different enchilada sauce, an ethnic one or make my own.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Since we all love Tilapia, I spotted this recipe and decided to post it here before trying it first.

Tilapia with Old Bay Butter
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Tarragon leaves
1 lb. Tilapia fillets

Mix butter, wine, Old Bay Seasoning and tarragon. Brush both sides of fish with mixture. Grill or broil 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Turn fish and brush with remaining mixture half way through grilling.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday's Fish...
We had White Sea Bass last night. And it was pretty much a Trader Joe dinner. The bass was TJ's and so was the olive oil. The inspiration was all mine though...

I defrosted two medium sized bass filets. In a saute pan (with cover) I added about two tablespoons of olive oil and placed the heat at medium - low. Then I added a 1/2 tsp of Pappy's garlic spice seasoning and a dozen fennel seeds and let them cook (cover on) in the heated oil for about 10 minutes. I reasoned that it would infuse the oil with the spices and mute their flavors a little.

Then I added the fish and let it cook (cover on) for about 10 minutes. (size will vary cooking times) The fish was very good, moist and flaky...with just a hint of spice. I served the dish with sliced lemons that were beautiful. (From our own tree!) As a side dish, we had "Jewel" sweet potatoes, served with butter and TJ's deep, dark brown molasses brown sugar. A good coleslaw salad complimented the menu perfectly.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I have been a little bit depressed during the past few it was time to do what's best for that kind of thinking; time once again to watch "Young Einstein", starring Yahoo Serious!

A classic movie! From his first experiments where he split the "beer atom" and reduced his father's small brewery to a pile of ashes, and then to the end where young Einstein, the Tasmanian genius, invents "Rock and Roll"...just after saving the world from an even larger Beer Explosion. Co-stars Marie Curie, the beautiful French Nobel Prize (1906) winner.

I feel so much better!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Poached Scrambled eggs
I've got to try this one...
"This method requires a degree of blind faith. After all, pouring cold liquid into hot liquid promises to yield little more than murky yellow water. Following a lot of trial and error, I came to a few basic steps that lead to perfect eggs every time.

The most important factor is using only the thick whites and the yolk. At first I could get this technique to work only with very fresh farmer's-market eggs, whose viscous whites are high in protein (the main bonding agent). As eggs age, the thick part of the white erodes, and the thin, watery part increases, which is why fresh eggs (less than one week old) are best for eating, and older ones are better suited for meringues. This flummoxed me until a quick e-mail message to my friend Harold McGee, the food scientist and author of “On Food and Cooking,” solved the problem. He discovered that using supermarket eggs is just fine if you start by cracking each one into a slotted spoon (or sieve) and let the thin white drain away, then work with the remaining thick white and yolk.

Next, beat the eggs with a fork, but don't add salt. (The grains of salt will tear the structure of the eggs, causing them to disintegrate on contact with the water.) Let a covered pot filled with about four inches of water come to a low boil over moderate heat, then remove the cover, add a little salt and stir the water in a clockwise motion. After you've created a mini-whirlpool, gently pour the eggs into the moving liquid, which will allow them to set suspended in the water rather than sink to the bottom of the pot, where they would stick...
After saying a quick prayer and adding the eggs, cover the pot and count to 20. Almost instantly the eggs will change from translucent to opaque and float to the surface in gossamer ribbons. This all happens very quickly, and by the time you lift the lid, they should be completely cooked.

Tilt the pot over the strainer while holding back the eggs with a spoon, and pour off most of the water. A few bits may escape, but the strainer will catch them. When the rest of the water has drained, gently slide the eggs into the strainer and let them sit there for a minute while you get bowls or remove bread from the toaster. "