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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

asian chicken fried rice

this rice dish can be used for a side to any asian meal.  it can be made with grilled chicken or grilled pork.  to prepare the dish, cook 2 cups of white rice earlier in the day and chill. also, prepare the grilled chicken.  then, when ready to make, use 1/3 cup of egg beaters and scramble in skillet.  then add, 1/2 cup green peas, 1/2 cup of chopped or shredded carrots, and sliced grilled chicken. stir fry to warm.  then, add rice and 1/2 cup of green onions sliced on the diagonal. 

to finish off the recipe, add a simple sauce.  mix 1-2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce with 1/2 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp of deli mustard, and 1 tablespoon of molasses.  add to rice and continue to heat to warm.  serve with won ton soup or egg rolls. any asian chili sauce could be used as well for variation.

focaccia tiles

this is a great go-to recipe for a party bread, or a side to soup or salad for everyday meals. any of the tiles can be made with a variety of toppings.  today i used black olives, sunflower seeds, green olives, roasted red peppers and canned sliced mushrooms.  other toppings could be herbs or chopped bacon or specialty sausages.

to make the bread dough:  combine 1 package of yeast in 2/3 cup of warm water and proof for 10 minutes.  then add, 3 cups flour, 1 tbsp olive oil, dash of salt, and 1 cup of warm water.  mix gently and slightly knead and place in bowl prepared with olive oil.  cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for 5 hours or more. 

then, later in the day, prepare a sheet pan with olive oil, easily stretch the dough with well oiled hands, to make a flat dough presentation, and then allow the dough to rest again for 1 hour.

when ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  score the dough into tiles, and place the toppings as desired.  lightly spray with olive oil and dust with herbs of choice.  i used parsley and basil.  a nice herbs for pizza mixture would work well also.  bake for 25 to 30 minutes until edges are brown.  serve warm.

tuscan tomato soup

this Tuscan soup is delicious.  it works with a variety of fresh or canned tomatoes.  i have used roasted cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, or even just canned diced tomatoes.  each of these variations is wonderful and easy to prepare for your family.  ingredients include:  4 cups of tomatoes, chopped, diced or crushed, 3 cups of tomato juice or V8 juice or a mixture of juice and vegetable stock, 1/2 cup minced onions, 1 1/4 cups heavy cream or half and half, salt, pepper, and basil.

in a large soup pot, saute onions in a dash of olive oil.  add tomatoes, the juice and/or juice and broth (2-1), and seasonings.  heat and serve.  i usually allow the soup to simmer, not boil, for at least 20 minutes. just prior to serving, add the cream to lighten and slightly thicken the soup.  options for this recipe include:  add celery with the onion or add fresh parsley from the garden.

to serve, use a hearty Tuscan round bread found in the deli of your favorite store and tear small pieces to serve with the soup at the table.  i use a basket and the bread adds a great texture to the soup.  people from Italy call this soup pappa al pomodoro.