Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, November 7, 2010

thanksgiving reading

before preparing my menus for the holidays, i look to my resources for ideas, instead of falling back on the same old dishes.  this week i plan on spending some time reading cookbooks and coming up with some new recipes for thanksgiving week.

these two cookbooks are a great start for ideas.  one year i tried a classic peanut soup from williamsburg, and this year seems to be on the rotation for soup again.

classic egg foo young

my recipe collection spans thirty years of clipped magazine recipes, found recipes from newspapers and from a whole host of stores and restaurants.   i have saved this recipe from Joyce Chen, a television food host long before there was even a food network.  i remember watching her on PBS when i was in my twenties.  i have saved this recipe, and we enjoy eating this classic Asian dish with white rice. some might call this a vegetarian omelet, but the sauce makes it egg foo young.  for this evening, i made vegetarian egg foo young.  however, i have added shrimp or chicken to the dish quite successfully.

here is the recipe:
5 eggs mixed with a fork in a bowl, 1 cup fresh bean sprouts or shredded lettuce, 1/2 cup celery, 1/4 cup sliced onion, 4 oz canned sliced mushrooms drained, 1/2 cup of shrimp or chicken if desired, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tsp sherry.  mix all ingredients.  drop by large tablespoonfuls onto a skillet sprayed with canola oil.  brown both sides.  it is easy to tell when the dish is ready as the egg takes only a few minutes to cook through.  keep the egg foo young warm in the oven while preparing the sauce.

sauce recipe:  2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tsp catsup, 3 1/2 tablespoons of flour dissolved in 1/4 cup water.  mix all ingredients except flour/water mixture in a saucepan over a low heat.  slowly add the flour/water mixture to thicken the sauce as it comes to a boil.  it is important to stir constantly as the flour/water mixture is being added, or the sauce will form lumps.
serve this entree with white rice. 

breakfast crumpets

every saturday morning i try a new breakfast recipe.  this recipe comes from a cookbook i have used for years called tea time at the inn.  this book features recipes from many bed and breakfast inns from around the county.  most of the recipes within the cookbook are basic recipes that seem to be time tested over the years.  this crumpet recipe is very similar to an english muffin recipe i have also used successfully. however, these directions are even more simplified and require less ingredients.  by using english muffin or crumpet rings on the griddle, these morning biscuits are very easy to prepare, shape, cook and serve.   after cooking, the crumpets cool on a wire rack for a bit, or can be served warm right off the griddle. i enjoy them sliced in half and toasted with jam or marmalade.  we used stonewall kitchen's lemon pear marmalade for this meal.  here is the recipe:  1 package of dry yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 3/4 cups of warm water, 2 cups flour, 1 tbsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp salt. dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water.  whisk well.  heat griddle to 400 degrees.  grease crumpet rings and place on griddle.  pour batter into rings until half full.  cook until bubble form.  flip with ring to brown other side of crumpet.  serve and enjoy.  this is one half of the printed recipe and makes about nine crumpets. they are light, airy and oh so delicious!

roasted pumpkin seeds

every year after halloween, i roast pumpkin seeds from our halloween pumpkins.  yesterday, i cleaned the pumpkin seeds thoroughly, and placed them on a sheet pan sprayed with olive oil.

next, i drizzle them lightly with olive oil and season with a slight amount of fine ground sea salt.  mixing with my hands to distribute the seeds evenly on the pan, the tray is ready for the oven.

bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes and then continue to flip with a spatula until the seeds look dry and toasty.  this process could take about 20 minutes or so, depending on the amount of seeds and how evenly they are spaced on the sheet pan.  i baked these around 25 minutes yesterday.  the seeds could also be seasoned with pepper, cinnamon or any other sweet or savory spice from the pantry.

these are a delicious fall treat to enjoy every year.

asian chicken salad

over the years, i have tried several different recipes for an Asian style chicken salad that can be used for a meal or served for a luncheon.  this recipe comes from a hometown cookbook from traverse city michigan.

first, a selection of lettuce, spinach, or sliced cabbage is used based on preference.  then, sliced green onions are added to the salad. grill the chicken in small slices and add to the salad.

 next, the crunchy Asian noodle topping is stir fried.

i used 2-3 packages of broken ramen noodles, the seasoning from the chicken noodles, one stick of margarine, and 3-4 ounces of slivered almonds.  i stir fry these ingredients in a wok. the crunchy topping is allowed to cool before using over the lettuce greens.

next, i prepare the dressing.  using 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup of canola oil, i mix these ingredients in a cup until the sugar is dissolved.  some recipes suggest heating this mixture, but slowly stirring works well.

then, assemble the salad.  add the crunchy topping, drizzle the dressing and enjoy.  this is a great year-round salad selection and can be served with a popover or breadstick.  the dressing seems to be the key to the salad.

old fashioned ginger cookies

one of my very favorite cookie recipes comes from my friend cindy.  she shared this recipe with me about one year ago.  every time i bake these cookies, i think of her as the wonderful ginger smell fills my kitchen.

these cookies are very similar to a ginger snap and are very tasty.  i bake them more during the holidays and especially recommend them for fall meals.  they are great served with ice cream, or even with a cup of tea on a cool afternoon.  here is the recipe:

2 cups flour,1 Tbsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt, ¾ cup unsalted butter (or shortening), 1 cup sugar, 1 egg , and ¼ cup molasses

Mix dry ingredients (flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda and salt) together in a bowl.
Cream butter, sugar, egg and molasses in mixer.
Add dry ingredients to the mixer and blend well.

If shortening is used, chill mixture first, and then roll into small balls. Coat with additional sugar. If butter is at room temp, must chill cookies as well.

I use unsalted butter and do not chill. Use a small cookie scoop to form the cookies, and flatten with the bottom of a glass or spoon dipped in sugar.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. These cookies are flat and crispy; similar to a ginger snap. I have also tried demerara sugar for the rolling stage for an added crunch.