"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Crispy Latkes

Photo from Boston.com
I got several new cookbooks for Christmas this year.  My sister-in-law gave me the Foodista: Best of Food Blogs Cookbook (and clearly I like food blogs!).  So, this week I decided to try a new recipe.  Potatoes are one of my favorite foods, and I love finding new ways to use them.  This recipe is an entry from Maya Rock in Albany, New York.  To find out more about Latkes, a traditional Jewish dish during Hanukkah, visit her blog - Slice of Earthly Delight

Crispy Latkes
2 large baking potatoes
1/2 white onion
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or matzo meal
1 egg
Vegetable oil

Peel and grate the potatoes and dice the onion.  Place the grated potatoes and diced onion on a paper towel or dry cloth.  Roll the towel up around the potatoes and onion and squeeze to remove any excess moisture.  This step will help keep the latkes crispy while you fry them.  Put the potato and onion in a bowl and add the flour, egg, and a little bit of salt.  Mix together.  Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.  Place spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons) of the batter into the hot oil and push them down to form flat pancakes.  Fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place the latkes on a rack with paper towels underneath so any extra oil can drip off.  Sprinkle them with salt to taste.  If you need to keep the latkes warm, place them in a warm oven while you finish making the rest of the batch.  Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

I've made this recipe several times and always really enjoyed it.  It reminds me of my days in the Tri Delt house - we used to have a very similar dish on a pretty regular basis!  Chicken tetrazzini is a meal all on its own, and  you'll definitely have enough for leftovers. 

Chicken Tetrazzini
1 (7 oz) package vermicelli spaghetti or noodles
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked chicken, diced (you can boil boneless chicken breasts ahead of time and cube or dice it)
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated cheese
1 package slivered almonds (I usually leave these out)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook the spaghetti in chicken stock.  Drain and reserve 1/2 cup broth.  Saute the onion, bell pepper, and celery in butter until soft.  Grease the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish.  Cover with half of the chicken, half of the noodles, and half of the onion, bell pepper, and celery mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste and pour 1/4 cup of chicken broth over the mixture.  Add 1 can of soup.  Repeat layers.  Top with grated cheese and almonds.  Bake covered at 375 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or at 325 for 1 hour.  (Recipe from Remembering Old Louisville School Days)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Photo from http://www.journeytomarvelous.com/
I have loved crepes since my first trip to France.  Crepes are basically the French version of pancakes, but it's a little more complicated than that since there are so many variartions - you can even make savory crepes!  In large French cities you can buy them almost anywhere from street vendors.  I love eating them for breakfast - what a great start to the day!

Making a crepe in cooking school in Arles,
clearly I was worried about dropping it!
(from Alton Brown)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tbsp butter (melted)
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients well (we use the blender) and refrigerate for 1 hour (the mix will keep for 48 hours).  Then, melt a few tablespoons of butter in a separate dish.  Use a nonstick skillet at medium/high heat and brush it with the melted butter.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the buttered pan and swirl the pan to spread the batter until thin.  Cook it for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook for about 20 more seconds.  Repeat!

Kent's the pro at making crepes in our house - mine are always odd sizes and shapes!  This recipe makes about 20 crepes.  We usually freeze the left-overs by stacking them in freezer bag and separating each crepe with wax paper.  Then we can pull them out individually and heat them in the microwave for about a minute.  It makes a wonderful quick breakfast!

There are so many variations on toppings - peanut butter, fruits, or powdered sugar are some options.  I usually smear mine with Nutella!

Eating crepes outside the Musee d'Orsay in Paris with SB and Jill in 2007!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Venison Spaghtetti

Yes, yes, I know - not everyone likes venison.  But, if do like venison, this is a great spaghetti sauce recipe that Kent and I found.  We made it a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it.  We doubled the recipe to make a large amount of sauce, so we were able to freeze half of it.  This is a great meal for cold winter days!

Venison Spaghetti
1 lb ground venison, browned, drained and rinsed.
1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti, cooked
Cooking spray
1 small onion, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 cans crushed tomatoes, drained
1 can tomato paste (optional)
Italian seasonings and salt to taste
(we also added a splash of red wine)

Cook pasta and set aside.  Brown and drain venison - set aside.  Spray skillet with cooking spray and add onion and celery. Saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add mushroom, pepper and garlic and saute until vegetables are just beginning to soften.  Add cooked venison, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and seasoning. Cook over medium heat until flavors are well-blended and the sauce is heated through.

Combine cooked pasta and sauce in a large bowl and serve. Makes 8-10 servings.
(Recipe from Spark Recipes)

Nutritional Info on Venison Spaghetti from Spark Recipes
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 198.5
Total Fat: 3.5 g
Cholesterol: 33.3 mg
Sodium: 223.2 mg
Total Carbs: 29.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
Protein: 15.0 g

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tomato Casserole

Kent's great-aunt, Mary Alice, has been making a wonderful tomato casserole for years.  A few years ago we finally got the ingredients from her and have been working on our own version ever since.  This is a great casserole to throw into the usual dinner rotation.  It's as easy as making a green bean casserole but has a lot more flavor.  We took this dish to some friends last week who had recently had a baby, and it reminded me that I had never posted this wonderful recipe on the blog.  So here goes...

Tomato Casserole
2 (15 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
French's fried onion rings
1 sleeve crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and pepper in butter until the onions become clear.  Mix the tomatoes (with most of the sauce), crackers, cheese, salt, pepper, sugar, and the sauteed onions and peppers.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Add the onion rings and bake 10 minutes more.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to 2011!  We celebrated the New Year with some of our favorite people at a New Years Eve Party we hosted at our house.  We decided to go with a wine and cheese theme for the evening and had a fun time shopping for everything at World Market and Whole Foods. 
We separated the wines, cheeses, and sausages into geographical regions - Italy, France/California, and Spain/South America.

Wines: Chianti and Orvieto Classico
Cheese:  Asiago
Sausage: Peppered Italian Salame

Wine:  Pinot Noir*
(The grapes used to make Pinot Noir on the West Coast are the same variety used to make Burgundy in France - so we had a crossover region.)
Cheese: Brie
Sausage: French Salame

Spain/South America
Wine: Malbec
(Malbec is made in South America, the cheeses and sausage can be found in Spain and South America.)
Cheeses: Manchego** and Bleu
Sausage: Chorizo

* One of the Pinot Noirs that we served was the Gallo of Sonoma Reserve produced in California.  I've had this wine twice, and it is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  It has won several awards along with other wines from their vineyards.  It is said to have tastes of red fruits and earthy elements.  It can be purchased in most grocery stores for around $12.

** The favorite cheese of the night was the Manchego.  We had never had this cheese before, but found that it matched well with Malbecs.  We went to Whole Foods to pick cheeses and narrowed down our choices based on some research we had done.  One of the employees at Whole Foods told us that Manchego (a sheep's milk cheese) was a cheese that most people liked, so we decided to give it a try.  Since I don't normally like hard cheeses, I was surprised how much I liked it.

We also served a Cheddar, a Havarti, and olive bruschetta and finished off the night with Champagne.  I loved spending the night with our friends and hope everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve!  Happy 2011!
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