"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Brown-Sugar Squash & Brussels Sprouts: French Fridays with Dorie

brown sugar squash & brussel sprouts
brown sugar squash & brussels sprouts

The only way I stood a chance of getting my family to eat brussels sprouts was to roast them. My son thought the squash were carrots until my daughter corrected him...darn he almost ate them all. This dish was supposed to be wrapped and steamed...en papillote. An interesting technique that I only reserve for delicate foods such as fish... but squash, brussels sprouts, apples... all cry ROAST ME! 

So this is what I did:


Brown Sugar Squash, Brussels Sprouts, & Apple


by Diane Balch

simplelivingeating.com


adapted from: Dorie Greenspan's Brown-sugar squash & brussel sprouts en papillote


Preparation: 20 minutes                              Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash peeled and chopped
10 brussels sprouts cut in halves
1 tart apple peeled and chopped
4 fresh sage leaves minced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2) Mix all ingredients together in a large lasagna pan. Roast until brussels sprouts begin to darkly brown about 40 minutes.

I served this dish with pan fried cod in a mustard caper sauce. The mustard and the salty capers were a good contrast to the sweetness of the butternut squash. This vegetable mixture was enjoyable but it was no endives, apples, & grapes. 

mustard cod with squash & brussels sprouts
mustard cod with squash & brussels sprouts

Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 

 





This post is shared on the following food/craft parties. Be sure to check them out:


Tuesday Food:
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ Premeditated Leftovers
Tempt my Tummy @Blessed with Grace
Trick or Treat Tuesday @ Bru Crew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Tasteful Tuesday Party @ Nap Time Creations 
Traditional Tuesdays @ Cooking Traditional Foods
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ SS& GS
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
Tasty Tuesday @ 33 Shades of Green
Tuesday Talent Show @ Chef in Training
Hand Made Tuesday @ Ladybug Blessings
Share it Link Party @ Winthrop Chronicles
Wednesday Food:
What's Cooking Wednesday @ Confessions of Overworked Mom
Wholesome Foods Wednesday @ This Chick Can Cook
Cast Party Wednesday @ Lady Behind the Curtain 
Whimsy Wednesday @ The Melrose Family
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Recipe Box @ Bizzy Bakes
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wednesday Adorn from Above @ Adorn from Above
Show and Share @ Semi Homemade Mom
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ Home Take 2
Seasonal Celebration @ Natural Mother's Network
Wednesday Extravaganza @ Hunger Little Girl
Thursday Food:
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Link it Up Thursday @ Seven Alive
Creative Thursday @ Michelle's Tasty Creations
Fantastic Thursday @ Three Little Chiefs
Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity
Tasty Thursdays @ The Mandatory Mooch

Friday Food:
Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Gallery of Favorites (DYI too) @ Premeditated Leftovers
Friday Favorite Finds @ Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
I Freakin' Did it Friday @ Miss Information
Friday Food Fight @ Run DMT
Freedom Friday @ My Turn
Weekend Wonders @ The Thriftiness Miss
Friday Food Frenzy @ Mostly Food and Crafts 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to Write a Recipe: Simple Living in Practice

recipes
recipes

I have come across a lot of recipes that have a beautiful picture of the finished dish... yet when I make the dish it doesn't look the same or taste quite the way the cook described it to be. Now at this point in my life I am pretty sure that I can follow a recipe, and I am also confident that the person who wrote the recipe did make an excellent dish... something got lost in the translation.

I have been told that my recipes are pretty clear and easy to follow and that results are good... so let me share with you how I put a recipe together in hopes that these tips will help you to better communicate your delicious dishes to others, whether you are writing them for a blog or for friends and family.

1) Title: Include 2 to 3 main ingredients and/or cuisine type in the title of the recipe. This helps a person know immediately if the dish is something she will be interested in making without having to read the ingredient list. For example the last recipe I wrote was called: Asian Seafood Mushroom Noodles. Not the most exciting sounding recipe, but you know the type of cuisine and 3 of the main ingredients just from the name. 

2) Source: Especially if you are posting your recipe on a blog it is important to include the name, source and webpage of the original recipe. State if the recipe is:
Adapted from: Which means you made minor changes to ingredients and/or preparation technique. 
or 
Inspired from: Which means you used the stated recipe as a guide or inspiration for your own recipe which may include some of the same ingredients and techniques.

3) Preparation time and serving size.  I often find this isn't included on recipes. It is a really important piece of information for someone to be able to decide if she has enough time to prepare the dish, and if it will feed the number of people she is having for dinner that night. 

4) List Ingredients: Clearly state the exact amount of each item in the recipe (not just a bag of this... or a can of this)... state the ounces or pounds that are written on the container. It is helpful for a person following a recipe to list the ingredients in the order they will be used. Also note in the ingredient list how the item is to be prepared such as chopped, minced, grated... then you will not have to mention it later. This enables a person to be able to prepare all the ingredients before she begins cooking. 

5) Directions: Number your directions and do not spread them out between pictures of the dish. It makes it very hard for a person who wants to print out your recipe to do so if there are many photos dividing the directions. 

Be as specific as you can in your instructions. Note the size and type of pan that you are using and at what heat. Also state about how long each direction should take and what the outcome the cook is looking for. For example: In a large skillet on medium high heat saute the onions in the olive oil for about 2 minutes or until they wilt and are lightly golden.

2) Pictures/Videos: I know the Pioneer Woman has made photos of every step of cooking a dish popular, but honestly I find many photos distracting, unless it is a complicated dish to prepare, and I need to see the technique that is involved in making the item. It is one thing to show photos or a video of how to braid an intricate bread, but it another thing to see several pictures and a video of a stir fry. 

Also, from a technical stand point, many photos/videos slow the load time of your blog... especially to mobile devices. 

OK, well these are my 2 cents on writing recipes. Please share any other tips you can think of... I would  love to hear from you.
Thanks,
Diane







Monday, January 28, 2013

Flavors of Morocco: Healthy Eating

carrot salad
carrot salad

It is the middle of January, the winter doldrums, I need some spice in my life. So, I headed down to Williams Sonoma's for a free Taste of Morocco cooking class. Morocco is a country in North Africa that is probably most famous for being the setting of the movie Casablanca in this country than for it's aromatic tagine cooking. 

William Sonoma, a quality cooking store, offers weekly free classes and more involved paid cooking classes on a regular bases. Check out their schedule

I got to sample and see prepared:





The carrot parsnip salad was my favorite. I can't say that I ever ate raw parsnip before, but I liked them in this salad. I sometimes find carrot salads to be too sweet, but parsnips only have a slightly sweet taste, so they helped to bring the sweetness level down a notch. The exotic Moroccan spice mix Harissa which is a smoky blend of chili flavors also helped to make this a really balanced salad.  The flavors were a warming, yet fresh, burst of tastes that I really needed during this grim cold time of year. 

The cookbook that was recommended at the class is by Mourad Lahlou who grew up in Morocco and has created a beautifully illustrated collection of modernized versions of his childhood favorites. 




Weekly Menu Plan:


Sunday: Mushroom Risotto and Kale

Meatless Monday: Baked Spaghetti Squash & Zucchini


Wednesday: Trader Joe's Asian Vegetable Stir Fry with Egg & Brown Rice

Thursday: Spaghetti & Meatballs (from the freezer) with Salad


Saturday: Pasta Fagioli (from the freezer)

This post is shared on:

menu plan monday


Note: I am not under any type of affiliate or advertising contract with William Sonoma at this time. My opinion of this store is unbiased by any type of business relationship.
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara: Foodie Friday

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara

Everyone likes Spaghetti Carbonara... truly. This is my go to dish when we are having a family over for dinner and the parents tell me, "My kid is a picky eater." Well, I have given this recipe to a few shocked parents whose picky eater asked for MORE. 

What is not to love: bacon, eggs, and cheese lovingly embracing pasta... delizioso!!!


I often try to strip a recipe down to it's bare essentials and give you the simplest most flavorful version I can make... but this is one of those recipes that is already semplice. It is from the chef Tyler Florence and it comes out terrific every time. My advice to you when making this is to have every part of the recipe prepared before hand. Chop your parsley, mix your eggs, etc... because you need to put all the ingredients together quickly to prevent the eggs from clumping.





Foodie Friday Features: 

From: enPlace

French Onion Cauliflower Soup
French Onion Cauliflower Soup
A wonderfully warming soup made from seasonal vegetables.


From: Call Me PMc

Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto
Pan Seared Catfish over Champagne Risotto
Classic Catfish preparation paired with an very tipsy risotto.



From: Life is Sweet

Tiramisu Cupcake
Tiramisu Cupcake
This is one of the most unique cupcake recipes I've ever seen... complete with coffee soaked cake and mascarpone cheese icing!


Instructions for Foodie Friday linky:

This is a food party please link up only 3 food related posts. Thank you. 

Click on at least 3 other recipes.

SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG BY EMAIL OR RSS... 

or FRIEND ME ON FACEBOOK

SPREAD THE WORD: PIN, FB, TWEET ETC... this party. It is good for you and me.


1) Copy the Foodie Friday Button's html from this website's sidebar.
2) Paste this html to the html page of the recipe you want to link to Foodie Friday. You can also make a word link or post our button on your sidebar.   Please link back.
3) Copy the link to the recipes you want to add to Foodie Friday, not your homepage. 
4) Click on "your next" on this page.
5) Past your link and type in the name of the recipe, not your name.
6) Choose how you want to download the photo.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shrimp and Cellophane Noodles: French Fridays with Dorie

Asian Seafood & Mushrooms
Asian Seafood & Mushrooms

I read through Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Shrimp & Cellophane Noodles several times. I was really intrigued by the Chinese Tree Ear Mushrooms which came in a large box filled with tiny packets of mushrooms that looked like hashish. (I spent a little time in Istanbul, needless to say they don't just smoke tobacco in their hookahs). 

Chinese Tree Ear Mushrooms
Chinese Tree Ear Mushrooms

Everything about the recipe was appealing except: the tomato puree. I just could not put tomato sauce in an Asian dish.  I dipped a noodle in a little bit of ketchup... not a totally fair comparison, but yuck... I couldn't do it. So I made my own adaption of this recipe without the tomato puree... and it was wonderful. 

The Chinese Ear Mushrooms have a very mild flavor and a super interesting texture that did not over power the seafood (I used a mixture of squid, bay scallops and shrimp). Cilantro was key for blending all of the ingredients together and the touch of toasted sesame oil added depth to the dish. 

My family loved adding their own chili sauce. The heat of the chili sauce was a direct contrast to the cool mellow flavor of the noodles...it worked extremely well. 

Ingredients for Asian Seafood & Mushrooms
Ingredients for Asian Seafood & Mushrooms


Asian Seafood & Mushrooms Noodles

by Diane Balch
simplelivingeating.com

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's: Shrimp & Cellophane Noodles

Preparation: 20 minutes                                   Serves: 4 - 6

Ingredients:

1 ounce dried Chinese Tree Ear Mushrooms chopped (a.k.a: auricula, black tree fungus)
2 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 teaspoon of Chinese-five-spice powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 pound of seafood ( I used Trader Joe's Seafood Blend unthawed)
1 pound of rice noodles
1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame oil
3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro minced
Asian Hot Chili Sauce (I used Sricacha from Huy Fong Foods)

Directions:

1) Put dried mushrooms in a bowl with 2 cups of water and microwave them for 3 minutes. Let sit in water until ready to chopped them.

2) Bring a large sauce pan of well salted water to a boil.

3) While waiting for the water to boil heat on medium-high the Grapeseed oil in a large skillet or wok. Saute the onions, and garlic until wilted. Do not brown the garlic. 

4) Chop the mushrooms and add them to the skillet. Cook for a minute and then remove all vegetables from the pan. Set aside.

5) Mix the Chinese-five-spice powder with the sugar, salt and cayenne pepper.

6) Put the seafood into the skillet on medium high and coat it with the spice mixture. Cook for about 1 minute or until the fish is opaque. 

7) Add vegetables back into the skillet and remove it from the heat.

8) When the noodles are cooked pour them into the skillet and mix them with the vegetables. Add the toasted sesame oil and cilantro.

9) Individually garnish with hot chili sauce to taste.

Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 

 





This post is shared on the following food/craft parties. Be sure to check them out:

Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ Premeditated Leftovers
Tempt my Tummy @Blessed with Grace
Trick or Treat Tuesday @ Bru Crew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Tasteful Tuesday Party @ Nap Time Creations 
Traditional Tuesdays @ Cooking Traditional Foods
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ SS& GS
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
Tasty Tuesday @ 33 Shades of Green
Tuesday Talent Show @ Chef in Training
Hand Made Tuesday @ Ladybug Blessings
Share it Link Party @ Winthrop Chronicles
Wednesday Food:
What's Cooking Wednesday @ Confessions of Overworked Mom
Wholesome Foods Wednesday @ This Chick Can Cook
Cast Party Wednesday @ Lady Behind the Curtain 
Whimsy Wednesday @ The Melrose Family
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Recipe Box @ Bizzy Bakes
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wednesday Adorn from Above @ Adorn from Above
Show and Share @ Semi Homemade Mom
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ Home Take 2
Seasonal Celebration @ Natural Mother's Network
Wednesday Extravaganza @ Hunger Little Girl
Thursday Food:

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Link it Up Thursday @ Seven Alive
Creative Thursday @ Michelle's Tasty Creations
Fantastic Thursday @ Three Little Chiefs
Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity
Tasty Thursdays @ The Mandatory Mooch

Friday Food:
Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Gallery of Favorites (DYI too) @ Premeditated Leftovers
Friday Favorite Finds @ Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
I Freakin' Did it Friday @ Miss Information
Friday Food Fight @ Run DMT
Freedom Friday @ My Turn
Weekend Wonders @ The Thriftiness Miss
Tuesday Food:
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ Premeditated Leftovers
Tempt my Tummy @Blessed with Grace
Trick or Treat Tuesday @ Bru Crew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Tasteful Tuesday Party @ Nap Time Creations 
Traditional Tuesdays @ Cooking Traditional Foods
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ SS& GS
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
Tasty Tuesday @ 33 Shades of Green
Tuesday Talent Show @ Chef in Training
Hand Made Tuesday @ Ladybug Blessings
Share it Link Party @ Winthrop Chronicles



Wednesday Food:
What's Cooking Wednesday @ Confessions of Overworked Mom
Wholesome Foods Wednesday @ This Chick Can Cook
Cast Party Wednesday @ Lady Behind the Curtain 
Whimsy Wednesday @ The Melrose Family
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Recipe Box @ Bizzy Bakes
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wednesday Adorn from Above @ Adorn from Above
Show and Share @ Semi Homemade Mom
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ Home Take 2
Seasonal Celebration @ Natural Mother's Network
Wednesday Extravaganza @ Hunger Little Girl


Thursday Food:

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Link it Up Thursday @ Seven Alive
Creative Thursday @ Michelle's Tasty Creations
Fantastic Thursday @ Three Little Chiefs
Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity
Tasty Thursdays @ The Mandatory Mooch


Friday Food:
Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Gallery of Favorites (DYI too) @ Premeditated Leftovers
Friday Favorite Finds @ Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
I Freakin' Did it Friday @ Miss Information
Friday Food Fight @ Run DMT
Freedom Friday @ My Turn
Weekend Wonders @ The Thriftiness Miss
Friday Food Frenzy @ Mostly Food and Crafts 
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