Saturday, December 30, 2017

Eggnog Cranberry Bread Pudding

As another holiday season comes to an end, I hope everyone has had wonderful times filled with family, fun, and lots of tasty food! Personally, I ended up with a rather obscene amount of eggnog and cranberry orange relish after all the other leftovers had been dispatched. What to do... what to do...

To be honest, I'm not at all sure what made me devise this recipe, but I'm sure glad I did! It's not terribly sweet, and I think even people who don't care for eggnog will enjoy it.

1 large loaf cheap French bread (you know... the kind that's mostly air...)
5 large eggs
2 C eggnog
1 C leftover cranberry orange relish
2 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 stick butter, melted

Tear French bread into bite-sized pieces and place in large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, eggnog, cranberry relish, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir egg mixture into bread and let stand for about an hour. Place bread mixture in greased 2 1/2 qt baking dish; drizzle with melted butter. Bake uncovered at 350° for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with additional cranberry relish, maple syrup, bourbon sauce, or whatever moves you.

I even had some for dessert!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Seared Ahi With Wasabi Mayo And Asian Slaw

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to have access to some of the freshest fish and produce around. I try to take advantage of that whenever possible! This does take a bit of prep work, but most of it can (and should) be done ahead of time, making this super-quick to actually get on the table.

Wasabi mayo-

1/2 C mayonnaise
2 t wasabi paste
1 t grated fresh ginger
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t sugar
Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


2 T vegetable oil
2 T grated fresh ginger
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 T brown sugar
2 1/2 T soy sauce
2 T mirin
1/2 t sesame oil
3 T rice wine vinegar
2 C thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 C thinly sliced green cabbage
1 grated large carrot
1/2 C thinly sliced red onion
1/2 C thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 C thinly sliced bok choy
1 C bean sprouts
1 C julienned snow peas
1/4 C sliced green onions

In a small saucepan, add oil, ginger, and garlic; saute until soft. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, and mirin. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat. When cool, whisk in sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.

Mix all vegetables in a large bowl. Toss with dressing just before serving.

1 lb. fresh sushi-grade ahi steaks, about 3/4" thick
1/4 C soy sauce
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 t minced garlic
2 t wasabi paste
2 T vegetable oil
coarsly ground black pepper

In a baking dish large enough to fit ahi steaks flat, combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and wasabi; mix well. Coat all sides of fish and marinate for 7 minutes. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan until smoking. Remove fish from marinade, coat generously with pepper, and sear for 45 seconds on each side. Remove to plate and slice.

Serve sliced ahi over slaw, drizzled with wasabi mayo, with furikake seasoned rice on the side.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Cranberry Orange Cheese Spread

My husband's holiday favorite! Even if I have someone else bringing appetizers, I still make this. It's fast, easy, make-ahead, and most of all, delicious!

2-8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
few dashes hot sauce
pinch of kosher salt
8 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
2 T. orange marmalade
1/2 t. garam masala or curry powder
3/4 C. Craisins

Combine all ingredients except Craisins, mix thoroughly (I use my KitchenAid). Spread into shallow dish, top with Craisins (pressing in lightly), cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers.

*Note- I just discovered this stuff is brilliant on a leftover turkey sandwich!!

Most delicious vegetarian-friendly stuffing

My sister-in-law is vegetarian. Even though my Thanksgiving dinner has always been vegetarian-friendly, I have tried to come up with dishes that she can eat while also satisfying the rest of us carnivores. This year, I think I have come up with the ultimate stuffing recipe that EVERYONE loved. The guys were shocked when I said it was completely vegetarian!

1 large bag stuffing cubes with seasoning packet
1 small onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 C chopped crimini mushrooms
2 T. butter
1 C cooked wild rice
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 large apple, diced (I peeled the apple because Brian doesn't like the peel, but you don't have to)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 C vegetable broth
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Saute onion, celery, and mushrooms in butter until tender. In a LARGE mixing bowl, combine stuffing cubes, sauteed vegetables, wild rice, cranberries, pecans, and apple. In in a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together mushroom soup, vegetable broth, stuffing seasoning packet, and pepper. Combine soup mixture with stuffing; mix thoroughly and let stand for about an hour. Scoop stuffing into a large greased baking dish. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Chicken and Snow Pea Stir-fry

I came up with this recipe back when I had a garden containing an abundance of snow peas. It is both fresh and hearty, and one of my favorite things to eat.

Chicken and Snow Pea Stir-fry

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves, sliced or cubed
3/4 lb. fresh snow peas
2 t. fresh ginger, grated
1/2 lb. fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
1 can sliced waterchestnuts, drained
2 T. oil (give or take)

1 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. soy sauce
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. Mekong seasoning sauce
1 t. sesame oil
1/2 t. chili flakes
1/2 t. garlic powder

hot cooked Calrose rice

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Heat wok over high heat until almost smoking. Add oil and quickly stir-fry chicken until just cooked (a little pink is okay at this point); remove to plate. Reheat wok, adding more oil if necessary.
Stir-fry onion for 1 minute; add ginger and mushrooms, stir-fry 1 minute. Add snow peas; stir-fry 1 minute; add water chestnuts, stir-fry 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, return chicken to wok and add sauce mix. Stir-fry until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Linguine and Clams

I belong to a cooking group on Facebook (big surprise, I know). Recently, one of the members suggested we have a weekly contest. Every Wednesday, we take photos and post what we made for dinner that night. Everyone votes by "like", and whichever photo gets the most votes by the next day is used as the cover photo for the week.

Last week, I was wracking my brain to come up with something. Something beautiful. I had a couple ideas in mind when I happened to drive past one of our local fish shops. The reader board said they had Manila clams. BINGO!! Of course, it was as tasty as it is pretty!!

And yes, this dish won.

Linguine and Clams

1 lb. linguine
2 T. olive oil
3 lbs. Manila clams (steamers)
3/4 C. white wine
4 T. butter
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pinch red chile flakes, or more to taste
few sprigs of parsley (stems and all)
1/2 C. minced parsley, reserving some for garnish
Grated Parmesan

Cook linguine for minimum time according to package directions (you want it to be al dente); drain. Toss with olive oil and set aside.

Meanwhile, scrub the clams and place in a large pot with the wine and parsley sprigs. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes or until all of the clams are open (mine were done just about the time they came to a boil... try to not overcook them). Remove clams to a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth, to remove any debris. Remove clam meat from shells, reserving a few in shell for garnish.

Melt butter in the same pot you cooked the clams in. Add garlic, chile flakes, and parsley. Sauté for a couple minutes, then add the strained cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Add the clams and pasta. Toss everything together to heat through, allowing the noodles to soak up most of the liquid. Garnish with clams in shells, reserved minced parsley, and Parmesan.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fluffy Angel Berry Dessert

Best Husband Ever and I finally got a chance to take our full-week vacation at our family lake place. It's not too far away from home, so I invited our neighbors to come join us for dinner.

Ribs, baked beans, potato salad, and corn... oh my!!

Even though I don't usually go out of my way to make any sort of dessert, I got an idea in my head... and you all know where that leads. Light, fluffy, refreshing, easy, and NO BAKING!! It was the perfect ending to this classic summer meal!

Angel food cake ring, cubed

16 oz container strawberries, sliced

18 oz container blueberries, washed

5.1 oz box instant vanilla pudding

Zest and juice of one lemon

1/2 t vanilla

2 C milk

1 C plain Greek yogurt

16 oz container Cool Whip

In large mixing bowl, combine zest, juice, vanilla and milk. Whisk in pudding mix until it starts to thicken. Add yogurt, whisk until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in 2 C. Cool Whip, reserving the rest for topping. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

In a large bowl, layer 1/3 each of cake, berries, then pudding mixture. Repeat twice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with reserved berries and/or Cool Whip, if desired.

This is especially pretty if assembled in a large clear glass bowl.