When it comes down to it, everything I know came from Michigan. And hey, that good ol’ state has seen its ups and downs, but dammit, it’s not going anywhere. Some awesome folks just created a new site, www.mittenstretcher.com where they’re helping to spread the greatest news about Michigan to displaced Michiganders around the world.
I’m going to avoid the obligatory apology for not posting in quite some time, and instead just dive into the lovely St. Patrick’s Day feast that we enjoyed this year.
Every Friday afternoon, I get a text message from the Humane Society, promoting their weekly Meatless Monday recipe. As mouth-watering as they always sound and look, I’ve never actually sat down and made one. But with this week’s recipe for Corned Beefless Brisket and Cabbage, celebrating everyone’s favorite drunken holiday, I knew I was in.
In my first venture into Breakfast Lasagna, I knew there were a few things that I needed to tweak. It was good, but it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. But I knew what I had to do: throw some cheese on it.
And I did just that. Taking complete health-consciousness out of the picture for a moment was key. Instead of my usual dance around “how can I cut the fat” or “well that’s lower in sugar” I gave in to my dream and let the food steer me.
And I made this:
Once you’ve gotten used to baking with the “normal” ingredients of flours, sugars, milk, eggs, etc., the idea of changing that up can be rather frightening. And I have to admit, I’ve had some pretty big flops in the kitchen in the “non-traditional” baking world.
But, I just can’t quit. I welcome the challenge (not the frustration and shouting that often follows) and know it’s all about trial and error and patience. Yeah, that P-word is not one of my favorites…
But it’s summer, and there are few desserts that shout summer as much as a sour cherry pie.
It was a sad year for these beautiful fruits. My home state of Michigan, the state that grows more sour cherries than anyone else, suffered a huge loss of around 90% of their crop this year. A crazy warm front came in early spring, and then lots of frost followed it, so those baby buds couldn’t even compete. Hey, I’ve heard of this thing called global warming, have you?
Funny story, Michigan was actually somewhat able to survive, due to sour cherries imported from Poland. Rather interesting, but apparently the Polish variety are similar enough that the Michigan fruit production industry could make do.
Back to pie. Gluten free baking is definitely a challenge, or can be for a novice. But if you can set some time aside, as well as a pile of something to throw every now and then, you’ll do just fine. And the end result (even if the cherries are from the NW)? The flakiest, most delicious gluten-free crust ever. Continue reading
I was at a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and somehow on the topic of cooking and eating and drinking (things I like talking about) we stumbled upon something.
What to do with lasagna noodles, when you want to clean out your cupboard? And it hit me like a speeding train: BREAKFAST. LASAGNA.
I mean, think about it, it’s doable, right? You have a carb, you have a sauce, and you have a protein/ veggie filling. It’s gotta work, right?
Well yesterday I embarked on just that, my first venture into breakfast lasagna. It was definitely good, but I have some new ideas for the next one that I might just have to make this weekend. Who’s coming to brunch?
Woa, where has the time gone? I’m going to have to stop trying to make excuses as to what life obstacle got in my way and took me away from blogging for so long. A new job. Vacation. Summer sunning. Summer drinking. Sumer cooling. The list could go on.
Instead of pretending that I will be able to finish every saved draft I’ve created and forgotten about. Let’s try killing a few birds with one stone. I present to you my compilation: My Month in the Kitchen (or so). Here are some of the fun things that I’ve been up to over the last couple of months…
Wow. I can’t believe it’s been one year already! But yes, one year ago today, we brought this little bundle of love home with us from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.
And let’s face it, we’ve had our share of hurdles with the little princess, but any way you shape it, this little girl has changed our lives for the better. She may not be the most dog-friendly, and she still may have accidents (or puke on the carpet right after we had it cleaned) but she’s one of the best cuddlers a guy could ask for, and helps make the apartment feel warmer.
To celebrate her one-year since being born again, I decided she needed a special treat. Instead of having a full-blown party like I actually debated, I just went for a cake for the little girl.
As much as I wanted to let her eat the whole thing… I knew it was in the best interest of my floors that it be divided up over a few days.
Firstly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that although it was Mother’s Day (just wait for Georgene’s comment on here shortly…) I in fact did not spend it with mommy dearest. Instead I was in Houston with Gabe’s family, spending the weekend at his godmother’s house.
So of course, I had to find a way to go overboard with brunch — and not without some… hiccups, because it wouldn’t be a day in the kitchen without them, right?
In full disclosure let’s just get the dirty laundry out of the way quickly.
1) Only one oven of the double oven was working. And to make matters more complicated, the one oven that is working is a broiler oven, unbeknownst to me.
2) I made it to the grocery store at 11:30, when they closed at midnight, the night before brunch. We were able to get what we needed, but of course, I was up at 6:30 to go and get a bag-full of items I forgot, oops.
3) Being in a stranger’s kitchen, I had to improvise some kitchen tools, of course, later to find them hiding somewhere.
So problem #1 considered, we went for more of a …. 6-ish hour, spread out “brunch tapas” event. Yeah, that’s what we’re calling it.
I LOVE Kale. And I LOVE Feta cheese. And heck, I’m Greek.
I’ve been making spinach pies for years, but lately, I’ve been substituting kale in the mix. You could use any green, leafy vegetable, but how can you go wrong with kale?
- 2 bunches of kale
- 1 bunch of green onion
- 1 package of phyllo dough
- 1 pound of crumbled feta cheese (feel free to use low fat)
- 1 egg
- dried or fresh dill
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- olive oil
- Chop kale leaves, stripping them from stems.
- Quickly blanch kale in boiling water.
- Finely chop green onions and sautee in olive oil.
- Add sauteed green onions, kale, feta cheese, dill (to taste) egg, sour cream and feta cheese to bowl.
- Mix to incorporate all ingredients.
- grease a 9 x 17 baking dish.
- Layer 4 pieces of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan, coating each layer lightly with olive oil.
- Pour kale mixture on top of phyllo.
- Layer 4 more pieces of phyllo on top of mixture, coat top with oil.
- Bake in a 400 degree oven until top is browned, about 40 minutes.
Of all the cooking that I do, I have a couple of recipes that are staples in the kitchen and really bring me back to my childhood. Growing up in a Polish-American family, pierogi were always one of the dishes that was served along any big event. For Christmas and Easter, they were there, and each year at the church festival, they were also there, golden and crispy on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside.
After my grandmother Zosia(Sophie)’s passing 6 years ago, no one in the family really had an interest in continuing the labor-intensive tradition of pierogi making. And then there was this weird little gay boy who liked getting dirty in the kitchen.
To celebrate my mother, the sheeny herself, coming for a DC visit, I decided to role out the cabbage-lined carpet and create a feast that would please even the frumpiest Stasho at the PLAV.
The centerpiece was a behemoth platter of pierogi. And in full disclosure, I have to confess, that in the heat of the day of cooking, I somehow managed to forget to take photos of much of the end results. Not sure how this happened exactly, but I’ll blame the wine.