Friday, January 29, 2010

Voodoo Doughnuts - Jan 29, 2010

Assorted Doughnuts

A box of doughnuts arrived on our doorstep this morning. Jealous? I don't blame you, I would be. Turns out my sister Kate overnighted these bad boys to me from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, OR. Dear soul, she knows how to bring a smile to my face! Voodoo Doughnuts is worthy of being on your foodie destination list during your next visit to Portland. Even if, for some inexplicable reason, doughnuts aren't your thing, it's worth a stop for menu reading and hipster viewing alone.

See that one in the upper left corner? Yeah, that's the O.D.B.'s a good day.

Thanks Kate!
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Celeriac Salad - Jan 28, 2010

Celeriac, Fennel, and Apple Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts

We made this last night after seeing the recipe in the current (February) issue of 'Bon Appetit'. It sounded so crisp and refreshing. I had to make a few changes. Since we didn't have any hazelnut oil on hand for the vinaigrette, I substituted olive oil and decided to toast some actual hazelnuts and add them to the mix. Also, we didn't have enough dijon mustard, so I added a bit of stone ground mustard to make up for it. Topped with thin strips of parmesan cheese, this salad was fresh, seasonal and delicious.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grilled Cheese - Jan 26, 2010

Grilled Three Cheese and Caramelized Shallot Sandwich on Whole Wheat Sourdough

I've decided it is beyond my capabilities to photograph grilled cheese and make it look appealing, and I have the utmost respect for those that can. Regardless, this is what I made for dinner two nights ago and it tasted great. I had baked a fresh loaf of my favorite bread earlier that day and decided I wanted some good, old-fashioned comfort food for dinner. I used sharp cheddar, blue cheese, and something called caprino that I picked up in the odds and ends cheese basket at the co-op. I also sliced up a shallot and caramelized it with a splash of balsamic vinegar. These ingredients were loaded into the middle of the sandwich and grilled, or more accurately, griddled until toasty and melty. Something about the fragrance emitted while this is cooking instantly transports me back to being 7 years old in my Mom's kitchen, warm, happy and well-fed.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quick Smoked Salmon Pasta

Smoked and tinned fish are showing up in big ways here at the Orum home. We have a stack of canned smoked trout, awaiting their fate in our 3-times-weekly fish dosing goal of 2010. There's also a lonesome tin of sardines standing ready for a salad or hors d'oeuvre. And Jess's mom sent a care package to Jess that included a fairly large side of smoked salmon. We decided to put that salmon to use and save the tinned fish for another day.

Here we have pappardelle pasta with smoked salmon in a cream (actually, half-and-half and whole milk) sauce. I sauteed some onions in butter, added a bit of flour, then the cream, salt, pepper, some grated parm, and fish pieces. Once near-boiling and thickened a bit, I just poured it over some pappardelle, mixed it up and served.

Being done in haste, this dish was fairly stripped-down, and could have been improved with some mushrooms, capers or peas for color and a bit more depth.

Still, not a bad dish
For a quick dose of fish.

Split Pea Soup - Jan 25, 2010

Split Pea Soup with Ham

Growing up, my Grandmother called this soup 'Snert.' I think that unfortunate name had a lot to do with why I refused for years to eat it. Lucky for me, I've outgrown that childhood aversion, although I still cringe at that particular moniker. Last night I referenced my "Foster's Market Cookbook," for the recipe, but modified it significantly. I used a 2 cups split peas to 8 cups chicken stock ratio (which, technically makes it a 1:4 ratio, if I am remembering my 6th grade math correctly). I built up the base with a large diced onion and a very large diced carrot, which I sauteed, along with a ham shank, in butter and olive oil. Once the veggies were soft, I added 4 minced garlic cloves, the split peas and stock, 3/4 cup dry white wine, a couple teaspoons of marjoram, a bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste, and let the whole thing simmer uncovered for an hour and 15 minutes. Ten minutes before the soup was done, I removed the ham shank, cut the meat off the bones and threw the diced ham back into the soup. It was really flavorful. I think the wine added a nice lift. And, it had a great hammy flavor, which I attribute to keeping the shank in the pot throughout the entire cooking process.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Variation on Salmon Curry - Jan 24, 2010

Salmon Curry with Sweet Potatoes

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things around here. Cooking is still a bit limited on my part due to a pesky 10 pound lifting restriction. This prevents almost all use of my cast iron pots and pans unless Nick is around to do the lifting. Lucky for me, Nick is a strong cook and has been picking up some of the slack, along with the pots and pans. I'll let him fill you in on the details.

Last night was a team effort. We used JJ's salmon curry recipe, and on her recommendation, substituted sweet potatoes for the regular potatoes. While the original is still my favorite, I liked the slightly more earthy flavor this change brought to the dish. It's difficult to see in the picture, but we also used a red onion, which added a little more color. The peanuts were ground in our handy-dandy hand crank peanut grinder scored at one of my last thrift store runs.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Therapeutic Breakfast - Jan 21, 2010

Steel Cut Oats with Yogurt, Bananas, Toasted Walnuts, and Cinnamon

I had a little outpatient eye surgery yesterday and so am taking some nights off from cooking dinner. We are working on last week's leftovers, and Nick has plans for cooking this weekend. In the meantime, I thought I'd post what I ate earlier this morning. It's my latest oatmeal fixation, and I can't get enough of the flavor combination of tangy homemade yogurt, bitter walnuts, sweet bananas and spicy cinnamon. I'm happy to report that my eye is recovering nicely and I am more than happy to give some of the credit to my breakfast (although, it probably has more to do with my surgeon).
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mies en Place - Jan 19, 2010

Beans, Rice, and Grains

Yesterday's project involved a little cupboard curating. Nick and I have been making a conscious effort (or at least it's been conscious on my part) to eat more beans and grains. It's not difficult, because we really love the taste and variety they add to our diet. What was a problem, however, was the disarray on my shelves, where all of the plastic bags from bulk purchases of said items were creating havoc and not allowing me quick and easy access for meal prep. The solution involved buying a flat of large canning jars and instigating a new storage method. Now, not only can I clearly see where things are, but also easily take stock of what needs replenishing next time I'm at the co-op. Organizing makes me happy!

For those interested our current stash includes: black beans; cannellini beans; garbanzo beans; ojo de tigre heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo; pinto beans, red kidney beans; brown short grain rice; brown basmati rice; bulgar wheat; jasmine rice; lentils; polenta; quinoa; Thai white glutinous rice; wild rice; and whole wheat cous cous
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Sherry Sauteed Veggies on Toast with Egg - Jan 18, 2009

Mushrooms, Onion and Celeriac Sauteed in Sherry with Poached Egg on Toast

Last night was one incarnation of our favorite quick meal. I spent the morning baking a fresh loaf of whole wheat sourdough and decided to incorporate some of it into dinner. We had a handful of mushrooms in the fridge that needed to be used, and so I combined them with chopped celeriac and red onion and sauteed in butter and Amontillado sherry. I threw in a bit of fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste. These we piled on top of buttered and peppered toasts and placed a poached egg on top. A fresh grating of parmesan cheese over the whole thing, and dinner was served. Quick and delicious.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Cafe Rushmore - Jan 16, 2010

Pancetta and Taleggio Lasagna with Treviso and Caesar Salad

Saturday we hosted friends, Katrina and Steve, for a Cafe Rushmore evening. I was excited because it was the perfect excuse to try this recipe from 'Bon Appetit' that I've had my eye on for a couple months. I didn't want to make the whole lasagna for just Nick and I, but a dinner for four made it much more suitable. I made up the lasagna the day before, which is a huge bonus when hosting dinner, and Nick made his favorite Caesar salad dressing and homemade croutons for the side. Dessert was some homemade cinnamon gelato with espresso to complete the subtly Italian theme.

The lasagna was good, if a little bland. The bitterness of the radicchio was tempered by both cooking it and pairing it with the creamy sauce. I'm not sure that I'm a big fan of taleggio cheese, but it did melt nicely into the sauce. I think something with a little sharper flavor might complement the dish better.


The radicchio was so beautiful that I had to snap a quick picture before slicing it all up for the lasagna filling.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Spicy Shrimp and Shallot Glass Noodles - Jan 14, 2010

Pan-Seared Sichuan Shrimp with Mung Bean Noodles

This is a recipe I modified slightly from February's "Food & Wine" magazine. It got voted staff favorite, which is always a good sign. Also, it was listed as fast, which I appreciate on weeknights. The original recipe can be found here. My modifications include swapping out the scallions for one medium shallot, finely sliced, and using Penzey's Four Peppercorn Blend in place of the Sichuan peppercorns. This was great. It packs a little heat, but it's not overpowering. I really liked the sweetness the sauteed shallots and ginger brought to the dish. Next time we make it I will also add some shredded cabbage right at the end. I think the extra crunch provided would be a lovely addition.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuscan Kale and Navy Bean Stew - Jan 13, 2010

Ribollita with Tuscan Kale and Navy Beans

When I was over at 101 Cookbooks finding the broccoli quinoa recipe, this also caught my eye. I had a big bunch of Tuscan kale in the fridge from my last co-op visit. Serendipitously, I also had a half a 30 oz can of tomatoes left over from Monday's sandwiches and my second baguette was already 2 days old and needed to be used. This recipe took care of both of those ingredients. The only thing I substituted was a finely chopped red turnip for the 4 stalks of celery. I didn't have any celery and I am reserving my celeriac for another purpose. The turnip worked out fine. I also added a little dried basil and oregano, as well as a pinch of smoked Spanish paprika since the recipe was light on seasonings. The chopped olives and lemon zest make this dish. Overall, a very hearty and satisfying meal.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Broccoli and Smoked Trout Quinoa - Jan 12, 2010

Double Broccoli Quinoa with Smoked Trout and Walnuts

Nick accurately described this meal as a 'health bomb.' It's packed full of the good stuff, including taste. I used Heidi Swanson's recipe for Double Broccoli Quinoa and tweaked it a bit. I substituted walnuts for the almonds, used half and half instead of heavy cream (it was all we had), and added flaked smoked trout into the mix, thereby adding extra omega 3's and Vitamin D. It was delicious. Perfect warm or room temperature, so leftovers are great too.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Roasted Veggie Sandwiches - Jan 11, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich

Yet another recipe from 'The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook' circa 2001. This recipe was on the same page as the falafel sandwiches from last week. I tweaked it a bit to use up veggies we had on hand. For my version I roasted sweet potato, red onion, kale, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, and a little bit of jalapeno for some bite. Once the veggies were roasted, I piled them on a french baguette, wrapped the whole thing in foil, and baked at 350 degrees for 15 min. Prior to baking the sandwich I also added some shredded parmesan cheese and made the spread they suggested with yogurt, dijon mustard, roasted garlic and balsamic vinegar to brush on the bread. The most exciting part of this process was that I made my own French baguette.

Homemade Baguette

It wasn't difficult, but it was time consuming. I found my recipe here, along with some great tips and tricks. This was a fun project and a tasty meal.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken Mole - Jan 10, 2010

Sauteed Chicken Breasts on Brown Basmati with Mole Sauce

I have been wanting to make mole sauce since early fall when I saw a recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. My resolve deepened after seeing an episode of "Mexico: One Plate at a Time," Rick Bayless' cooking show on PBS, where Rick made mole sauce, a month or so ago. Finally, after stumbling across yet another, very approachable, recipe in my Cooking Light Cookbook last week, I picked up the ingredients and we made it last night. The rich, earthy flavor is perfect on a chilly night. And, it's hard not to love a savory sauce that combines chocolate, cloves and toasted almonds, with the garlic, chilies, and herbs.

*Note: we did not make Rick's version, linked to above, as the recipe was a little too involved for our motivation level last night, however, I would love to try it next time we make this.
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Friday, January 08, 2010

Falafel Sandwiches - Jan 7, 2010

Falafel with Yogurt Sauce and Spinach on Whole Wheat Pitas

I found this recipe while perusing my 10 year old copy of 'The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook' (it's still one of my standbys) earlier this week. Nick and I both love falafel. It's so simple to make, I don't know how it is that we've never made it before. Yesterday was the day. I just put a drained can of garbanzo beans in the food processor, along with 2 garlic cloves, a small chopped onion and some cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes and salt and hit the on button. After my garbanzo mix was smooth I formed into small patties and fried them up on the stove top. Throwing them into a pita with some greens and a lemon-garlic yogurt mix (I'm not a fan of tahini sauce) made for a really tasty dinner. My one complaint is that the falafels didn't get very crispy. I think deep frying would solve that, for any of you that might own a Fry Daddy...and you know who you are. The flavor, however, was spot on.

New Glarus Crack'd Wheat

And another Wisconsin treat with dinner. Nick picked it out especially for me as he knows of my fondness for wheat beers. If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Wisconsin, I would highly recommend trying this beer.
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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Fun Reading - Jan 7, 2010

Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua WI

I came across two interesting reads while perusing Apartment Therapy's the Kitchn today. The first is an online list of Saveur Magazine's top 100 for 2010. It's fun to look through the whole list, but my clear favorite is number 91. Yeah Wisconsin! Also, a thought provoking article from the LA times that brings up some fundamentals to consider so that all parties involved may have a mindful conversation about America's food system. I thought both were worth passing along.

Found via

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Polenta and Black Beans - Jan 5, 2010

Spicy Black Beans over Broiled Polenta

Organizing the fridge yesterday in an attempt to take stock of leftovers and clear shelf space for an upcoming grocery visit, I found a container of formerly creamy polenta, solidified into a cold solid mass. It became my dinner muse. I cooked up some black beans with onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, and a pinch of smoked Spanish paprika. While that was cooking on the stove, I sliced the polenta into half inch thick pieces and put them under a pre-heated broiler until they were heated through and toasty around the edges. Then I scooped a healthy portion of beans on top and smothered the whole thing with sharp cheddar. It was really good. I like how polenta has a bit of a Jekyll/Hyde thing going on.
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Quinoa - Jan 4, 2010

Parmesan Pepper Quinoa with Poached Egg over Baby Spinach

JJ sent me home with a bag of quinoa after I had mentioned that I wanted to start experimenting with alternative grains over the weekend. I did a bit of research so I knew how to properly cook it, and then decided to make something simple, so as to experience the taste and texture of the quinoa better. After cooking the quinoa in boiling water for 20 minutes, I mixed in some oregano infused olive oil and some freshly grated parmesan cheese and pepper to taste. We put it over baby spinach and topped with a poached egg. Nick and I both really enjoyed it. The texture was the perfect combination of soft yet structural, kind of like steel cut oats, and the taste was subtly nutty. I am excited to experiment some more.

Spotted Cow Ale

Another treasure we brought home from Madison and enjoyed with last night's dinner.
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Mustard Museum - Jan 3, 2010

Highlights From the Mustard Museum

One of our Madison (technically Middleton, recently transplanted from Mount Horeb) activities this past weekend involved a visit to the National Mustard Museum. It was a fun little outing and amazing to check out all the different mustard varieties and mustard paraphernalia. Highlights include the new digs of the Mustard Museum; a mustard vending machine; shelves and shelves of mustard; a life sized classic yellow mustard; the Recipe Book of the Mustard Club; funny old advertisements; and an American classic.

Plus, this painting was prominently displayed.

A Tragedy Indeed...
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Monday, January 04, 2010

Madison! - Jan 1 - 3, 2010

Madison Highlights

Madison is a pretty great place to start out the New Year, especially when we get to meet up with fellow Dinner Clubbers. Nick and I headed to our beloved isthmus this past weekend and had a great time as always. Highlights include the draught line-up at the Great Dane; a late night snack from Ian's Pizza (we got there just before the remodel!); chili-poached eggs with prosciutto, shredded manchego, and toasted rosemary French bread from Marigold Kitchen; duck confit hash from Marigold Kitchen; a lovely morning latte from Marigold Kitchen; home-made apple cider doughnuts at Greg and JJ's; a fantastic quadrupel-style beer from Ommegang served with...; massaman curry at G and JJ's. Thanks to all our friends and family for a great visit!

DC'ers at The Great Dane ---We missed you Rima and Jaime!
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New Year's Eve Dinner - Dec 31, 2009

Roasted Squash, Onions and Chevre over Brown Lentils with Smoked Trout and Sunchoke Salad

The last several years, Nick and I have a tradition of staying home on New Year's Eve. We cook a fun meal, usually on the healthy side, and crack open the champagne. This year we roasted a festival squash and some red onions mixed with olive oil, cumin, smoked Spanish Paprika, salt and pepper, all to taste. This we served over a bed of brown lentils and topped with a dollop of chevre and some more olive oil. On the side we made our favorite smoked trout dip out of "Asparagus to Zucchini." It was a tasty way to ring in 2010.
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