Thursday, September 19, 2013

Potato-Leek Soup

               3 large leeks, cleaned and diced
               2 Tbsp butter
               2 cups water
               2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
               2 lbs potatoes, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
               Marjoram - dash
               1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
               2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
               1 cup heavy cream
               Salt & Pepper
               Garnishes, optional: shredded cheese; diced scallions; chopped, cooked bacon; sour cream

1 Cook leeks in butter with salt and pepper in a large sauce pan. Cover pan, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Check often. Do not brown the leeks.

2 Add water, broth, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Scoop about half of the soup mixture into a blender, puree and return to pan. Or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pan. Add marjoram, parsley, and thyme. Add cream, freshly ground pepper, 1-2 teaspoons salt or more to taste. Serve with garnishes.

Serves 6

Monday, May 20, 2013


This is a recipe for a middle eastern yogurt condiment that is delicious on Curried Rice and Broccoli Pilaf. I concocted the recipe from what I remembered my friend gave me. It is simple but so completes a meal I never leave it out.


1 1/2 C plain yogurt
1 half red pepper, diced very small
1 half seedless cucumber, diced very small
handfull of chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Combine ingredients and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Curried Rice and Broccoli Pilaf

Curried Rice and Broccoli Pilaf

1 1/2 C Basmati (or other long grain rice)
2 Tb olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tb minced ginger or 1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
pinch of tumeric
2 3/4 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 large stalk brocolli, chopped into florets, stem peeled and chopped

place rice into a small mesh colander and rinse under water until the water runs clear. This step removes some of the starch from the rice, reducing stickiness in the end result. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat oil and add onions, garlic, ginger and spices. saute until onions are golden. Add rice and saute about 3 minutes. Add stock and stir, bring to boil. Cover and simmer gently about 12 minutes. Until liquid is absorbed.
While the rice cooks, steam broccoli until tender. Drain well. Add to finished rice and fluff with a fork. Serve with Balti Butter Chicken or as a side to any other lovely thing, and don't forget to have a bowl of Raita on the table to top off your rice and/or everything else you're eating.

Balti Butter Chicken, finally

My dear Ferndale Coop Preschool was so kind to us before and after the twins were born. Much like my heavenly pediatrician in Fort Collins that made it impossible for me to ever feel 100% satisfied by a pediatrician again, I will always have too high of expectations for any new preschool opportunities.

The meals that were brought to us during my "extreme baby largeness" were so lovingly made, so complete, so beyond what I had expected to receive. A meal during tough times is heaven-sent no matter what it is, but the meals from my fellow coop parents made me want to be a better food giver. I'm still working on it.

The meal that clinched my resolve and has ended up on my own table, as well as my sister's, countless times was Balti Butter Chicken with Curried Rice and Broccoli Pilaf, Raita and naan. I had originally hoped that my children and husband wouldn't like the meal so that I could enjoy the leftovers for as long as I could make them last. However, everyone loves this meal. My son turns it into a burrito of sorts, I like to try eating it without a fork, and everyone else loves it their own way. I practically harassed my friend to give me the recipe until I finally got my hands on it. (Finally meaning I had to wait maybe... a whole day).

I make this recipe without hot spices, much to the disdain of my friends from middle eastern countries. But it's easy to make it spicy by adding red chili powder to your liking. The ingredient list is long due to the number of spices, but it's actually a very easy dish to make. Garam Masala is a mixture of spices, similar to curry, that is somewhat easy to find. I prefer the Spice Island brand because it is heavier on the cumin and lighter on the cinnamon.

Balti Butter Chicken

2/3 C plain yogurt (full fat is best :)
1/2 C almonds, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp red chili powder, optional
1/4 tsp crumbled bay leaves ( I often leave this out since I don't love bay leaves)
1/4 tsp clove powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp garam masala
4 green cardamom pods (find for cheap in a middle eastern grocer)
1 tsp grated ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 tsp salt
2.5 pounds chicken (tenders are our favorite), cubed
6 Tb butter
1 Tb olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tb cilantro, plus additional to garnish
4 Tb cream

Mix the yogurt, almonds, dry spices, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and salt into a mixing bowl. Add chicken to coat and set aside.
Melt the butter and oil in a deep saute pan. Add onion and cook about three minutes until soft. Add the chicken mixture and cook through (about 10 minutes). Fish out the cardamom pods and add the cilantro, and cream. Garnish with cilantro and serve with Curried Rice and Broccoli Pilaf, Raita, and naan. I have made naan from scratch, however I prefer the convenience, taste and texture of Stonefire brand.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bran Muffins

Mom used to make a batch each of blueberry and bran muffins. I loved the bran muffins smeared with margarine. That was back when I really disliked the taste of butter and you could find the simple bran muffin boxed mix. Here are some bran-ish muffins that go great with real butter (or Smart Baance.)

 Bran Muffins
 2 C bran cereal flakes, crushed
1 1/3 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 C brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

 Heat oven to 400. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Stir cereal milk and vanilla in medium bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes until cereal us softened. Beat in oil and egg. In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients. Add flourmixture to cereal mixture just until moistened. Divide batter into liberal and bake for 15 minutes or until firm when tapped or toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Photo by Heidi

A friend made granola and gave a jar of it to us at Christmastime. We love it! Dried fruits are a great addition, but I serve them separately so people can choose what they want in their granola. I like to add orange-flavored cranberries and blueberries. Enjoy!!!

Dry Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I like to use white whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup coconut flakes (original recipe calls for unsweetened, but I only had sweetened)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup flax seed

Wet Ingredients

1/2 maple syrup (I use pure maple syrup)
1/2 cup oil (recipe calls for safflower or sunflower; I use light olive)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300. Mix dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until it emulsifies (this just takes a minute or two). Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Pour the mixture onto a greased baking sheet (I just used a parchment liner) and spread to cover evenly. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Return to oven and bake 10 to 20 minutes or until desired doneness (I baked it for 12 minutes because that's what my friend had handwritten on the recipe, and it was just right). Cool completely, then store in an airtight container. Store in refrigerator or freezer to extend freshness. (We ate ours within a week, so we left ours at room temperature.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Clam Chowder

4 slices bacon
½ cup chopped onion (optional - I made this for my dad, who can't eat onions, and it was great)
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced or grated carrot
2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
4 (6.5 oz) cans minced clams
1 bottle clam juice

½ cup butter
½ cup flour
1 quart half-and-half

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of thyme

1.     Brown the bacon in a large saucepan. Remove cooked bacon and set aside (add with clams later). In bacon fat, sauté onion, celery and carrot until soft. Add potatoes and clam juice (including the juice from the minced clams). Simmer until potatoes are tender.
2.     In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Whisk in half-and-half and stir constantly until well-blended and slightly thickened. Add flour mixture to vegetables and stir well.
3.     Just before serving, stir in clams and cooked bacon (chopped). Stir in vinegar and seasonings.