Category Archives: Cooking

What’s For Dinner? Steak and Cheese Subs

Do you know how important family dinner is?  A favorite new find is The Family Dinner Project, which I think is wonderful and weird. Wonderful that we recognizing dinner’s importance. Weird that we have to be reminded just how important it is.

Is it really so hard to gather all together for just one meal? Looking back at our fall schedule, I may need to raise my hand with a guilty, “sometimes.”

Fascinating article on rituals HERE. What’s a good family ritual?  Bruce Feiler, bestselling author of The Secrets of Happy Families, says it’s THE FAMILY DINNER! Feller writes in his book:

“A recent wave of research shows that children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, commit suicide, and develop eating disorders. Additional research found that children who enjoy family meals have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthier diets, and higher self-esteem. The most comprehensive survey done on this topic, a University of Michigan report that examined how American children spent their time between 1981 and 1997, discovered that the amount of time children spent eating meals at home was the single biggest predictor of better academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems. Mealtime was more influential than time spent in school, studying, attending religious services, or playing sports.”

Yikes. It’s so simple.

I’m going to help you out with a simple family favorite: steak and cheese subs.

It’s so easy you can sit back on the couch while the kids make the dinner!

Easy, yummy, filling, with carbs, fat, and protein. Add a side of brussel sprouts and you might have perfect 🙂

 

DSC_0497 We used to buy these subs before we had children. Now, to save money, we make them ourselves.

Start with a little olive oil over medium heat. Throw in sliced green peppers and onions. The Professor loves mushrooms, but the darlings vetoed them. Feel free to add!DSC_0458 Cook a few minutes until softened! If you like your onions caramelized, keep on cooking.DSC_0471 Add shaved steak. I can find this in the frozen section of my grocery store and one pound costs about $6.DSC_0474 It cooks really, really quickly. Add salt and pepper to taste.DSC_0484 In less than ten minutes you’re ready for the cheese.DSC_0487 Put slices of American Cheese atop the steak, onions, and peppers. This is personal preference – I like cheesy!DSC_0492 In about three minutes you’re done!DSC_0495 Add a side of broiled sprouts, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper – YUM.DSC_0510 And that my friend is all it takes – dinner in less than 30 minutes. Wouldn’t Rachel Ray be proud?DSC_0512

Steak and Cheese Subs

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 6 Bulky Rolls
  • 1 lb. Shaved Steak
  • 9 pieces American Cheese
  • 1 Medium Onion, sliced
  • 1 Green Pepper, sliced
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions, pepper, salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add shaved steak. Cook until steak is no longer pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add American cheese. Let melt, stir.
  4. Toast bulky rolls in oven, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately! (with the brussels :))

Enjoy – and have a spooktacular weekend!

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In the Land of Trees and Apples

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Fall in New England, with more apples than we know what do with. We start by eating vast quantities and then move on to applesauce. Um, by the way, have you eaten the Honey Crisp apple? Oh yum, I can now die a happy woman.unnamed-15 Finally, after seven years, our apple trees are bearing fruit. We don’t spray (because I’m lazy and afraid of chemicals) so our apples are not “perfect,” on the outside, but they sure are perfect on the inside. There’s a lesson somewhere in there, isn’t there?unnamed-5 We also picked up all the drops from a tree at Hogwarts on Columbus Day when we all miraculously had one full free day, with no other obligations except apples. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do applesauce this year. But Brynne persisted – and I’m glad she did! “It’s a tradition, mom!” And traditions must be followed.unnamed-6 The weather could not have been any more perfect, where I could cut and core apples outside (surrounded by bees 🙂 The colors were popping!unnamed-4 I didn’t feel guilty about not cutting off every speck of apples – off to the compost it goes (as the chickens are no longer.) It comes from the ground and goes back to the ground.unnamed-7 After the apples are cut, they are put in a small bath, and onto the stove until they are mush. unnamed-13 Then it’s all pushed through the strainerunnamed-11 Out comes the applesauce! unnamed-9 The seeds and skin all get pushed out another chute.unnamed My 6th-grader, the newly-appointed domestic diva. She loves cooking.unnamed-3 Her sister was especially helpful! Paige was in her pioneer clothes…obviously acting like a lady.unnamed-8  The green funnel (from Amazon) makes this job so much easier when you’ve got small-mouth mason jars.unnamed-10 The applesauce doesn’t need any help, but we give it a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Mmmm. Brynne likes it best served warm.unnamed-2 What you don’t gobble, you can can. Can you do the can can? Think Thanksgiving and neighbor gifts! For the step-by-step canning, Click HERE.unnamed-1Our neighbor, Mr. Goody, is the best. So he gets applesauce. We know that in a few weeks he’ll be plowing us out of our driveway. We’ve got to make sure he feels appreciated. And doesn’t he have the best neighbor name evuh’?

DSC_0101 But don’t worry, you don’t have to give it all away.

DSC_0118I give full permission to lick the jar clean…

Happy Fall!

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Omelette + Panini = Panomelette!

This, my friends, is something you must try. When Lynne B. put this on my lap, it was almost too charming to eat! It looked like an omelette, but had the tell-tale signs of a panini grill. I thought it brilliant (and delicious!) Thus, the panomelette was born.1531495The finished panomelette is just so perty, no?

DSC_0005 How to make such a masterpiece? You’ll begin with the omelette basics: eggs, milk, and cheese. Aren’t you glad we have cows?DSC_0008 Bacon is always a nice touch. Aren’t you glad we have pigs? Omelettes are wonderfully diverse. My husband would add onions and peppers. My kids would pick them out. I’d like hash browns. You see, add anything you’d like.

DSC_0011 If I didn’t mention, you need a panini grill. Want to borrow? Make sure it’s nice and hot. Spray with something nicely organic and chemical-free like olive or coconut Oil. panomelette You’ll pour that omelette on the panini machine nice and slow. It will drip down into the gutter (probably gutter is a no-no word in the world of cooking enticements). Have a little bowl to catch eggies. You can pour it right back on the panini grill. Ta-da! Out of the gutter.panomelette2It only takes a moment to cook before you have a fabulous panomelette. Exciting, no?

Is this not exactly what you’d like to eat in bed this Sunday for Mother’s Day breakfast surprise? I have a feeling more women are reading this post. No matter – forward this post to the man! Subtle hints are highly underrated.

So, when the panomelette is done, cut with a pizza cutter. I did three strips.

1531497Then I rolled that panomelette up, sprinkled with cheese, and topped with tomatoes. And everyone ate it and cooed at its loveliness.

Omelette + Panini = the Scrumptious Panomelette.

For complete story details, including ingredients (uh, eggs, milk, cheese, and bacon), click here. (and then go make it 🙂

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Simple Homemade Tomato Soup

Yesterday morning we had another school delay, due to 3-5 inches of SNOW getting dumped on New Hampshire. These are the times that try the souls of men. And mothers. The kids need to be outside romping! Dear Mother Nature, it’s time to move on to a different season. How do we cope? We make the ultimate comfort food: soup.DSC_0059 I owe the deliciousness to Curt, my dear brother-in-law, who prepared this classic tomato soup one year ago when I was in Utah, preparing to run the Salt Lake City Marathon. They don’t eat much meat in their family due to my sister’s stomach issues.

My mouth dropped open as his children devoured this tomato soup, asked for more, and ate it as leftovers the next day. I mean, I had to elbow my way in for a slurp; a soup is filled with vegetables. And the kids were loving it! It’s filling, delicious, and gut-friendly (and believe me, before and after a marathon your gut needs friends).

IMG_6991Let me introduce you to the leek. I’d never cooked with leeks before. What a beautiful food.

garlicFresh garlic was a Christmas gift. Priceless.

leeks1 Leeks, celery, onion, garlic will be your base, sautéed in butter.

DSC_0065 Topped with fresh cilantro. Are your salivary glands working?

DSC_0068 No fresh tomatoes? No matter. Canned work well in the middle of winter.

DSC_0063 Light, fresh, and packed with whole foods, you’re going to make your body happy with this dish.

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
Easy Buttermilk Biscuits There are times when I like chunks in my soup. Adding vegetables adds nutrition and substance. Using an immersion blender makes this soup is classically smooth – and the kids are much more likely to eat it.. Paired with the easy buttermilk drop biscuits, this is one beautiful night at home. Does nothing spell love for the man like warm soup on a cold night? DSC_0064Homemade Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 Leeks, chopped

1 Onion

1 Stalk Celery, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 20 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 Cup Water

2 Cubes Chicken Boullion

1 32 ounce Plain Tomato Juice

1 dash Nutmeg

1 dash cayenne pepper (depending on spice factor

1 Tablespoon Honey

Cilantro

Directions:

1. Saute butter, garlic, leeks, onion, and celery until soft.

2. Add lemon juice, crushed tomatoes, water, bullion, and tomato juice.

3. Add dash of nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and honey.

4. Bring to simmer so all the ingredients can meld into deliciousness.

5. Use an immersion blender (love this) or blender to puree soup. Add cilantro as a tasty garnish if you like.

And that, my friends, is all there is to it. May you eat soup, live long, and prosper.

xo.

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How to Make Homemade Indian Naan

Super Bowl food? I think so!

Last week I waxed longingly of my Indian food obsession. Here’s the accompanying naan that will complete your life in every way.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

DSC_0084 For the dough: combine 1/ 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast, 3/4 cup warm water (not hot!), and 2 teaspoons honey. Stir to dissolve. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and a couple grinds of pepper.

Pour foamy yeast mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. It will look like this:DSC_0085 Add a little flour and knead the dough a few times in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until about double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. It will look like this:DSC_0087Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes, forming into a ball, like so:DSC_0092Cut the ball in half because you get to make two naans!DSC_0095Roll out on floured surface, making a circle of some sort. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If it was, I wouldn’t be the one showing you the recipe 🙂

The dough is done and ready to cook! But let’s give it some mouth-watering death-defying flavor…DSC_0097In a saucepan: add 1/2 a tablespoon butter, lots of salt and pepper, chopped onion, and a glob of chopped garlic. Let it cook until fragrant smells rise…mmmmm. Salivary glands are working.DSC_0103I over-rolled the dough, then awkwardly put it in the pan, smoothed it out and it was all good. It’s hard to mess up. Let dough cook for just a few minutes, checking the underside until it looks like this: naanFlip! Cook the other side until they both look like this.naan2 Admire it until your children jump up and down impatiently to just eat it already.DSC_0112Slide the naan onto a cutting board. You can cut or pull apart.DSC_0115Take a sniff, pat yourself on the back, and know your work for the day is done.

Indian naan is what my sister-in-law calls a “pusher,” you know that tasty piece of something you push the food around with that really completes a dish? This naan completes this Chicken Tikka Masala perfectly. Now you’ve got a dinner the whole family loves – my children gobbled so fast I had to fight for my share!

I don’t have anything against purchasing naan, especially from an authentic market or restaurant. Trader Joe’s does a nice one, but homemade is a hands-down winner. We don’t have to make everything by hand (thank goodness), but spending time to plant a seed or pick some kale or roll dough reminds me of this quote:

“The fast food culture sees that we forget – the best things take Time and Presence.”    -Alice Waters

Recipe is adapted from Iron Chef’s Alex Guarnaschelli’s Flatbread with Charred Broccoli and Roasted Grapes (we just happen to like onions and garlic 🙂

Indian Naan with Roasted Garlic and Onion

For Dough:
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 teasoons honey
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
 
For the Topping:
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic or 1 whole garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
 
Directions: 
1. Combine yeast, water, and honey. Let sit until frothy about 5 minutes.
2. In another bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Incorporate wet with dry ingredients.
3. Knead in bowl a few times, adding flour as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead about 2 minutes. Split dough in half. Roll out into a circle.
5. In round sauce pan, add butter, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper over medium-high heat. Cook until fragrant, a few minutes.
6. Add the rolled dough to pan. Cook until underside is brown and toasty. Flip and cook.
7. Transfer onto a cutting board. Pull apart or cut to eat!

 

May you have a most marvelous weekend! Love, Amy

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Quick and Tasty After School Snack: Baked Apple Bites

Are you in an afternoon snack funk? For that magical combination of fast, quick, tasty AND healthy?

Check. Baked apples to the rescue!

True, you need an oven, but baked apples are so different than the usual fare, that I was just tickled apple pink at such a quick, healthy, and tasty morsel.DSC_0056 Man, I love this season. The apples are in full bloom (are we really into fall?) so it’s time to pick yourself some yum-yum.

Turn the oven on to 400.DSC_0057 Take a knife and cut a circle out of the top

DSC_0058 Just like that!DSC_0060 Now, darlings, use a melon baller and scoop out the middle, past the seedsDSC_0061 It’s surprisingly easy.

DSC_0176 Isn’t that pretty?DSC_0179The gorgeous apple! And I love stars. Star was my alias in college. Really 🙂

DSC_0062 Eat the tops or feed them to the chicken. Or doggie.DSC_0063 There. All scooped out and ready to fill. I suggest putting down foil to prevent dishwashing.DSC_0066 Put a little brown sugar in the center and on the sides. Just a tad. Totally optional.DSC_0067 Add a little cinnamonDSC_0069 Perfect, no?

Now, put in preheated oven for about 15 min.DSC_0084 An apple full of love. Isn’t that a perfect heart?

DSC_0096If you accidentally overbake them, no worries, just eat that warm, mushy apple pie right up.

Can you only have these for after school? Heck no! They’re pretty terrific for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even Valentine’s.

Baked Apple Bites:

Preheat oven to 400.

Wash apples, cut off top

Spoon out seeds (scraping sides a little bit), making a little well

Put a teensy bit of brown sugar and cinnamon inside

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or so, depending on how crunchy or soft you like to eat baked apples.

I just inherited a bag of apples from my middle school soccer team so I gotta go – baked apples await! And remember, apples contain quercetin: an apple a day, really does keep the doctor away.

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Tomatoes Four Ways: How to Make A Delish Dish

The end of summer means the tomatoes have popped. We have so many tomatoes I don’t know what to do with them all!

tomatoes

But we’re giving it a try. And I think you should, too.

#1: Easy Peasy Tomatoes:

DSC_0032 DSC_0034Tomatoes, a dash of Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, Basil. Simple and delicious.

#2: Easy Garlic Bread Caprese

DSC_0057Cut french bread or a ciabatta loaf in half. Spread Garlic and Butter. Liberally. Add chopped Basil.DSC_0060 Add Mozzarella Cheese. Liberally.DSC_0065 Add those fresh Tomatoes.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melting into yummy goo.DSC_0082 Add Balsamic Vinegar, if you like.

Die happy.DSC_0085Like, real happy. Thank you, Cassie, for feeding us this. And Two Peas & Their Pod for original post.

#3: Homemade Tomato Sauce

Since tomatoes only comes once a year, it’s worth the time in the kitchen.DSC_0095 Score the Tomatoes (I started with about 30 perfectly imperfect ones).DSC_0102 Pop them into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute-ish. Look at those beautiful colors.DSC_0097Spoon them outDSC_0096 Plop them right into a pot of ice cold water for 1 minute-ishDSC_0100 The skin will peel right off! Put in separate bowl. Feed to chickens later?DSC_0099Give the Tomato to your child. Have them squeeze out the juice and seeds. Oh, they’ll like this part! You now have three bowls: skin, tomatoes, juice and seeds. DSC_0113Now, add Olive Oil to a pan and saute Carrots, Onion, and Garlic. Add Salt and Pepper. The kitchen will smell divine by now. Our children are more likely to eat sauce that isn’t chunky so we put our sauteed deliciousness and Tomatoes into the Vitamix for 20 seconds. Done.DSC_0128Simmer that sauce for a few hours until it’s no longer watery. Add Basil and Oregano and 1 Tablespoon Sugar.

So. So. Good.

Use for pasta, lasagna, or store in the freezer for those cold winter nights.

#4: Freshly Squeezed Tomato JuiceDSC_0116All the juice and seeds couldn’t go to waste! We added some Salt, Pepper, and Celery and gave it a whirl in the Vitamix. Done.DSC_0123And have been guzzling for days.

May the tomato force be with you.

Happy Weekend. xo.

 

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Summertime Peach Cobbler

The other day, on our 17th(!) wedding anniversary, the man and I picked from a tree dripping with peaches. In two minutes we had two full bags, with dreams of smoothies, cobbluhs’ and pies dancing in our head. One very ambitious bike ride later (he hurts me) we did make peach smoothies. And then came my attempt at the cobbler.

Tastes like a luscious peach pie, only it’s so quick and easy, with no dough to roll out. This cobbluh’ is a little different because batter is poured rather than thickly dolloped on top. It’s sooo divine and just the thing to make my husband say yes to one more year with me 🙂

The first thing I would do is blanche the peaches. Drop them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, then drop in ice water. The skins should fall right off. If they don’t, drop in boiling water for another minute, then back into the ice.

butterWhile peaches are cooling, melt 1 stick butter in the microwave (about 45 seconds and yes, take off that wrapper 🙂 I used Kate’s Homemade Butter so I feel better about such things. While butter is melting, mix the dry ingredients.

DSC_0005

This is the flour you are going to use – Self-Rising!

brown sugar  DSC_0004  DSC_0006

In a separate bowl, add 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, 1 Cup Self-Rising Flour, and 1 Cup Milk.

Whisk. The original recipe came from a friend who used 1 cup white sugar and blackberries or blueberries. Both fruits make a terrific cobbler. I wondered though, if we could reduce the sugar and have more of the natural fruit flavor come out. It worked. The cobbler was sweet and not at all tart.

Once the dry ingredients are mixed, go get your buttuh’

DSC_0009  DSC_0012  DSC_0018

Whisk in melted Butter.

Spray pie dish with coconut oil (or any spray or butter) and pour batter in.

Add Peaches*. Yum!

DSC_0015I could have added more peaches but I didn’t want it to spill over.

DSC_0037Bake about 1 hour or until top is a golden brown. We like a little bit of crunch on top of the golden peach goo so we kept the cobbluh’ bakin’ until the edges were a little crispy.

DSC_0036It’s so good it’s not even fair.

Anniversary Peach Cobbluh’

1/2 Cup (1 stick) of Butter

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Self-Rising Flour (very important)

1 Cup Milk

1 Cup Butter

3-5 Cut Peaches*

Directions: Melt butter in microwave. While butter is melting, mix dry ingredients In a separate bowl: brown sugar, flour, and milk together. Whisk in cooled butter. Pour batter in greased pie dish. Drop cut peaches* into batter. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

*I blanched the peaches first which just means dropping them in boiler water for a few minutes and then in a bowl of ice water. The skins come right off. You can see pictures of such a thing HERE.

Lest you think Maisymak has become a food blog…it hasn’t, I’m just cooking a lot these days and can’t seem to catch up to the rest of life documentation. With school starting, I hope to be a better and more consistent writer. For now, off to eat some anniversary cobbluh’. For breakfast.

 

 

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Two Delicious Summer Salads with the Amazing Squash Blossom Flower

Today I’d like to introduce you to a magical summer salad ingredient you never knew you were missing.

But must obtain now.

Thank you to dear Tamar for introducing me to the delectable, edible squash/zucchini blossom.

If you are growing zucchini or any type of squash, you already have these edible flowers right in your background. But perhaps you’ve never tasted them?

You can pick the squash or zucchini blossoms and it will not affect the plants. The blossoms are beautiful, local, seasonal, healthy and incredibly unique. They will also prompt many oohs and ahhhs from your guests 🙂

Salad #1: Kale and Quinoa Salad with Squash or Zucchini BlossomsDSC_0168First, go find that blossom! (Come on over if you’re local!) Pick in the morning when the blossoms are open. They will all have bees doing their business. Gently pluck the the blossom off their stem and shake the bees out. Easy peasy. Now run!

DSC_0170Add flowers to the bounty – including that kale you see poking out. You’re going to want both for the amazing kale, quinoa, and squash blossom salad.

Don’t have any blossoms? Pillage the neighbor’s garden, visit a farmer’s market, or, pin this page and grow some next spring 🙂 DSC_0006 Gently rinse the blossoms and pat dry.DSC_0002 Cut them in nice stripsDSC_0010They’ll look like this. Aren’t they so beautiful? A rare August treasure.DSC_0030 Kale and Quinoa Salad with Squash or Zuchinni Blossoms:

1 Bunch Kale (Tuscan best)

2 Cups prepared Quinoa

2 Cups cut vegetables: Tomato, Zucchini and Cucumber

Directions:

Saute cut kale in olive oil, salt, and 1 clove garlic

Put Kale, Quinoa and Vegetables in bowl. Use a light vinaigrette or make your own!

Homemade Vinaigrette:

2-3 Tbsp Orange Juice

1/2 Lime, squeezed

2 tsp Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1-2 Cloves Garlic

Salt and Pepper

YUM!

Garnish with the squash/zucchini  blossoms

Salad #2: Kale Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese and Grilled Peaches and Plums.

Oh my goodness this is good. peaches Wash and cut peaches and plums. How many is up to you – 3 or 4 each? Someday we will have peach and plum trees around here…DSC_0014 Put them on the grill. No seasoning required.DSC_0015 Mmmm. Just for a few minutes until they become soft – but not mushy!DSC_0050 Something like this with those nice grill lines.

Throw some onions and cut beets on the grill if you like.DSC_0023 That’s about it my friends. Add the cheese, walnuts, kale, and mixed greens and you’re in business. optional: grilled onions and beetsDSC_0060 Last night’s dinner.DSC_0063Kale Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese and Grilled Peaches and Plums

1 Bunch Kale and Mixed Greens

1/2 Walnuts

1/2 Cup Gorgonzola Cheese

Grilled Peaches and Plums

Squash/Zucchini Blossoms, cut

Optional: Grilled onions and beets (we used both!)

Use a light balsamic vinaigrette or make your own!

Light Vinaigrette:

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Salt to Taste

Directions:

Wash 1 Bunch Kale and Mixed Greens. Put in bowl. Grill 2-4 cut Peaches and Plums (each) until soft but not mushy. Let cool. Grill onions and sliced beets (optional). Saute 1/2 Cup Walnuts on stove top. Put on salad. Slice Peaches and Plums. Put on Salad. Add Gorgonzola Cheese and sliced Squash/Zucchini Blossoms. Put on Salad and add Vinaigrette.

YUM.

Looking for more Squash/Zucchini Blossom recipes?

Here’s Giada’s Fried Cheese-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms. Woah.

And Mother Earth News Squash Blossom Tempura. 

Enjoy!

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A Mike’s Pastry Rival: Cream Puffs For Mumsie

My mother hates to cook. Oh sure, she’ll enjoy a good meal, but as she will tell you, eating is a perfectly good waste of time when you could be reading in bed. Or pruning a tree. So on this mother’s day eve, I applaud her kitchen sacrifice. To this day, I can see her sitting on the counter absently stirring a tomato sauce, completely absorbed in a book about English history. She may have disdained and detested the thankless task called dinner every single night, but she always made or delegated 🙂 There were few things more important to my mother than the family sitting down together every single night.

Breakfast was the same. We gathered. Every morning, she dragged herself out of bed to make sure something was on the table to eat. I even heard rumors that after the three oldest left home, she frequently cooked a hot breakfast for my brothers – bacon and eggs! This was her way of showing love. The value of food, was always about gathering the family. So she did it, because food brought us together.

There are a few recipes my mother passed down. she laughs at the very thought. Just last night we had the most favorite baked dish of all time: Tuna Fish Casserole. Delish!

Today I have the favorite dessert: The Cream Puff.puff2My mother also subscribes to the belief that food should be simple. She wouldn’t be caught dead with a Bon Appetit in the house. If, for one second, I could imagine her flipping through any sort of food magazine, she would roll her eyes boring and toss it aside. Which makes it all that more funny that I married a foodie, the son of a chef!

But this dessert is something my mother made frequently. It’s not hard, but has a simple complexity to it. It’s the dessert my children devour like wolves, and every single time, reminds me of my mom.

Here’s How. Remember: we are simple. this is simple.

The first step is to make chocolate pudding and put in the refrigerator the night before, or at least 5-6 hours before wanting to eat a cream puff. Now sure, you could use instant pudding, but the Cook to Serve Jello Pudding Mix is far superior. This too comes from directly from my mother, ick, I can’t abide instant chocolate pudding!

glopFirst you will make the batter, combining 1 cup of water, 1/8th teaspoon of salt, and a stick of butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add a cup of flour (whole wheat or white) all at once, stirring vigorously.

Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat. Cool ten minutes. Add four eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth. It will resemble the above picture. This is where your muscles come in, missies!

Then you will drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet. No need to grease.

puffsWhen they come out of the oven you will have most adorable puffs! Look at those glorious puff puffies. Sadly, those sweet puffs will deflate a bit as they cool.cream puffAnd then you will fill them with the pudding. And whipped cream if you so desire. The possibilities are quite endless, but I never deviate from my fillings. It’s a formed habit that I don’t deviate from. It’s a childhood thing.

Cream Puffs for Mumsie

1 Cup Water

1/2 Cup or 1 Stick Real Butter

1 Cup Flour (whole wheat or white)

4 Eggs

Pudding

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan combine water, butter and salt. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat.

2. Cool ten minutes

3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition. Muscles!

4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons (I do a bit more and come out to about 12), 3 inches apart, onto an ungreased baking sheet.

5. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Split puffs in half and fill with your hearts desire. Lightly sift powdered sugar (optional…we rarely make it this far)

Did you notice? There is no sugar in the pastry puff. There are so many eggs I eat these for breakfast.

We also  eat these cream puffs without the top so they last longer. And wouldn’t you know, the last time I had a cream puff from Mike’s Pastries, I liked Mumsie’s better! This dessert mimics my favorite pastry of all time: the eclair from Mike’s Pastries. It’s ever so easy but feels a little more decadent, a little more fancy pants than cookies.

I recall a time my mother made these for my sixth grade birthday party and my uninformed classmates used the pastries to throw at each other. She was not amused. And now, dear friends, enjoy the Cream Puffs for Mumsie. She’s not English, but sometimes I think it’s fun to call her names like Mumsie.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mumsie. I love you so. Thank you for doing the highest, holiest service assumed by mankind. Even when you hated to cook. #itwasmom Tweet that! 🙂

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