Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Onion Pie

Many of the best recipes are "born of necessity" ….or what happens to be left in the refrigerator. This onion pie came together because of a few (past peak) onions and some remaining green pepper slices I couldn't bear to waste. "Onion Pie" is just another name for quiche. The "crust" is also the result of Wasa Crispbread Rye Crackers that were lingering on a shelf, waiting for a more dramatic exit.


Enough crispbread crackers (or breadcrumbs) crushed to cover the bottom of casserole
Dried dill
Sea Salt
Olive oil

Several medium onions - sliced
Green pepper - julienned
6 medium eggs or more - beaten w/a little sea salt & pepper
8 oz. or so of shredded swiss (any cheese)
1 cup water (or milk, etc.)
¼ cup olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 375℉

To make the breadcrumb crust, place crackers w/in clingfilm or a plastic bag and bash them into crumbs. Season with an ample amount of dried dill, sea salt and pepper. In a heated skillet meld the crumbs with a good drizzle of olive oil. Then spread them onto the bottom of an oiled casserole or baking dish.

Slice several onions and place (artfully - lol!) on the crumbs along with the julienned peppers.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together several eggs with a little bit of salt and pepper. Add a cup of liquid, ¼ cup of olive oil, and 1 cup or so of grated cheese. Mix well and pour custard over vegetables in baking dish. It will look a bit sloppy and nothing like a quiche. Persevere. The custard will rise. Bake 45 minutes or so till top is golden brown and bubbly and firm to the touch. Let cool a bit before attempting to it eat :)

As usual, it's not so much the measurements as it is the manner in which delicious food is created. For me, cooking is always an adventure.

**note: this "crust" is not crisp - it is, however, a good compliment of carbohydrate to the protein and fat content of the dish

Saturday, January 28, 2012

American Chile Con Carne

I made this dish for the first time, accidentally, last weekend in the presence of my family who were visiting. Anticipating the possibility of being snowed in, they had brought with them enough provisions to feed us all for a week.  Ground meat, canned kidney beans, and stewed tomatoes were among them. They wanted "chile" and braved icy driving conditions into the village Saturday morning just to purchase chile powder. Thus I found myself trying my hand at something I'd never made before.

Today I experimented again with what was in the cupboard and a few more seasonings. The following 'recipe' is the result. 'Recipe' is a qualified term because I'm not offering any specific measurements. Had to put this one together by taste, and actually doing so is half the fun. So I'm not going to spoil it for you either :D

American Chile Con Carne


Chopped onions, celery, green pepper
Ground beef
Cooked kidney beans
Diced stewed tomatoes

Chile powder
Sea Salt

Garlic cloves

Wilt chopped vegetables over medium-high heat in deep skillet in some olive oil.
Add to it the ground meat.
Add spices to taste - keep tasting and keep adding these seasonings.
Put in rinsed beans.
Add tomatoes with their liquid - tomato juice should cover all ingredients.
Add several whole cloves of garlic.
Turn heat down to a simmer and cook at least until you recognize the warm aroma of spiced chile.

Factors involved in ingredient amounts:

1) Number of people to be fed
2) Price and amount of meat bought (!)
3) Size of skillet or pan in which you're cooking
4) Your taste for spicy - hot or not

This came together and was fully cooked in about an hour. Of course, the melding of flavors improves with time on the stove and in the refrigerator. Fantastic next day. Serve over rice or pasta or in a bowl on its own.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

¡Banana Cake!

I'm known for breaking rules and suffering the consequences. But this cake involves no suffering :)  It is light, fluffy, flavorful, and very easy to make. No butter, no milk, no eggs! Just moist and sweet banana goodness. It is indeed a cake rather than a banana bread loaf.

Banana Cake:

2-½ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cinnamon

3 over-ripe bananas
1-½ cups brown sugar
2 tsps vanilla
2 TBS white vinegar
½ olive oil (or your preference)
1 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350℉

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with sugar and add wet ingredients.

Incorporate dry ingredients into wet.

Pour thick cake batter into 9x9 prepared pan and bake about 45 minutes - checking to see that cake has separated from the sides of the pan and a testing knife comes out clean. Your nose will also tell you when the cake is done. It reaches a peak of sweetness, which you must not allow to burn.

This one is good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between!!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Banana Cocoa Cake

The result was certainly a surprise!!! Having perused several recipes for my two favorite sorts of cake, I wanted to make use of ingredients that were already on hand.

Banana Cocoa Cake:

2-½ cups flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

3 medium-sized very ripe bananas
1-½ cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 TBS white vinegar
@ 2 cups cold coffee (or any liquid, e.g. H2O, milk, etc.)

Pre-heat oven to 350℉.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.
Mash bananas w/sugar and add the remaining ingredients in a larger bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet - mix by hand with a fork.
Pour this thick batter into a large oiled baking dish.
Bake for about 45 minutes till sides separate from dish and testing knife comes out clean.

This cake is rich, not overly sweet, chocolatey, and moist.

Mouthwateringly Delicious Meatloaf

One of best things about this recipe is that most of the ingredients you'll probably have on hand.  This would not have been true, for me, a couple of months ago - because I don't use condiments such as ketchup or prepared mustard often. My sister's house, however, is well provisioned in that sense. Quite certain it's the sugar content in the ketchup that does the trick and tenderizes the meat as well.


1.3 lb of lean ground beef*
1 medium onion - rough chop
1 large celery stalk - diced fine
salt & pepper
1 TBS prepared mustard (of choice)
¼ cup ketchup
3 slices of bread - very small cubes
1 egg beaten with enough olive oil and H2O to yield @½ cup of liquid

Mix all ingredients well. Allow to sit, so bread will absorb moisture, while oven is pre-heating to 350℉.  Form into oiled baking dish and bake for about 1-½ hours.  Should be quite brown on top and down the sides.

*Ratio of ingredients to one another is highly flexible - use your sense of taste.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Glorious Garlic

Many things in life are paradoxical. Garlic happens to be one. Cooked - it is soft, sweet, mild, readily dissolved yet substantial in flavor. Raw - it is biting, sharp, off-putting, basically unpalatable. But oh, what magical powers it bestows in its unadulterated form.

The ancients knew of it's medicinal effect and used it to heal wounds - preventing them from going septic. Today we can rub a bit on an insect bite to eliminate the sting, use it to reduce the inflammation of a blemish, rub it on a cut or scratch to prevent infection or treat an existing infection. Swallowing it whole, at the first sign of your body's imbalance, can prevent the common cold.

I'm not saying anything knew - those who read my tweets have heard it a thousand times. But it always bears repeating.  All praise to Glorious Garlic.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced Cranberry Muffins

Despite my doubts and hesitations, this recipe produced a satisfying muffin ~ tart fruit in a pleasingly moist, mildly sweet crumb.  The entire batch managed to disappear between two of us over the course of a weekend :)

The trick is to let the batter sit for 20 minutes.* The acid of the lemon juice has to interact with the baking soda in order for the muffins to rise.  (Otherwise they can be made with an additional 1 tsp of baking powder. I didn't happen to have any on hand.)


1-½ cups (your choice of) flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
pinch each of nutmeg, allspice, ground ginger

1-½ cups dark brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
tsp vanilla
juice of an entire lemon
1 can of pureed pumpkin

2 medium eggs
2 cups fresh cranberries

Mix the first set of dry ingredients well in a medium sized bowl.
Mix the moist ingredients in a larger bowl.
Add the eggs one at a time to the wet mixture.
Then incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. Do not over mix.
Fold whole cranberries in and let the batter sit for 20 minutes or so*, while the oven is heating up to 400℉. Spoon into papered or oiled muffin tin(s). Bake till edges and top peaks are brown, about 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the muffins.

An enjoyable way to use the cranberries and canned pumpkin remaining from the holidays.