Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Contemplation

"I will work in my own way, according to the light that is in me."
                                               ~Lydia Maria Child

Monday, July 15, 2013

Anne's Steak Salad

In the mid-70's I was a young wife stationed with my, then husband at Homestead Air Force Base (another life!). We lived on base next to the most delightful couple, John and Anne Anthony. John was a nurse at the base hospital and Anne was a prolific cook, crafts-person, mom, and good friend. In fact, I credit Anne with convincing me that motherhood was a meaningful and worthwhile endeavor. Not by her word, but by her deed. She was and is a terrific mom. She was also a seasoned cook and schooled me, using kindness and humor, in the kitchen. I would like to share with you, Anne's recipe for steak salad, a recipe I like as much today as I did thirty-six years ago.

This easy breezy recipe requires one plan-ahead ingredient, a good, grilled steak. When we have steak for dinner I like to grill an extra one just to make this salad. I have also been known to save half of my steak just so I could make this recipe the next day. Use the same cut of steak you love to grill. We prefer a ranch steak or a nice small sirloin. I cook ours medium rare, grill it, let it cool, then toss it in the fridge in a covered dish. The next day I slice it up with the veggies put it back in the fridge and let it soak up the marinade overnight.

My photographs show a slightly altered version of this recipe using what I had on hand this week; sweet peppers and no mushrooms, but the recipe below is the real deal. Easy to change out the veggies to your liking but keep the tarragon, as it adds a nice depth of flavor to the steak. This is one of Michael's favorites!

Anne's Steak Salad
From the kitchen of Anne Anthony
Serves 4 for dinner or 6 for lunch

1 1/2 lb. beef sirloin 1 1/2" thick (or steak of choice) grilled medium to medium rare
1 jar slice button mushrooms drained (4 1/2oz)  (I only use Green Giant brand, as they are packed in glass)
1 medium green bell pepper, cored and sliced into rings

Slice the meat against the grain into 3/8" strips. Arrange in the bottom of a 9" x 13" glass baking dish. Layer mushrooms on top of meat and top with sliced bell peppers.


2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and crushed with flat blade of knife
1/3 cup good quality red wine vinegar
1/4 cup salad oil (I also use grape seed oil)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/4 freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.
Pour over meat and vegetables.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and as long as 24, spooning marinade over vegetables occasionally.

For the Salad:

Wash, drain and tear fresh leaf lettuce or use one bag of prepared lettuces.
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half

To finish the salad: Place salad ingredients in a large bowl, add meat, vegetables and marinade and toss well. Serve with a crunchy French bread and light bodied red wine...great for hot summer evenings and good enough for company! Thanks Anne! Miss you!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Contemplation

Image:Original Painting Michael Copeland 2008

                                           "I'm being tuned like the mandolin wind"                                                                               ~ Michael Copeland

Monday, July 8, 2013

Creamy Quiche

Cooking in the desert...I should write a cookbook with that title. It is neither physically nor financially prudent in Southern New Mexico to turn the oven on from June 15-August 30. That said, baking up a pie crust or two early in the day is worth the heated kitchen especially if you fill it with this yummy quiche recipe.
You can use your favorite pie crust recipe for this quiche or use the cheater pie crust from the grocery. I usually opt to buy the more mess averted. Marie Calendar makes my favorite ready-made crust. You can find it in the frozen food section of your grocery store if you live in the big city. In our tiny berg I make do with the store brand. It works.

To blind bake the crust:
Heat the oven to 350°F and place a large rimmed baking sheet on the center rack.
Crumple a 12-inch square of parchment, then flatten it, and line the crust with it. On top of the parchment, place dried beans or pie weights and gently press them against the sides.
Bake the crust on the hot baking sheet and bake until the edge is a deep golden-brown and the bottom no longer looks raw (carefully pull back the parchment to check).
Bake about 40 to 45 minutes; protect the edge with a pie shield or ring of foil if it’s getting too dark. Remove the parchment and beans and pie shield and cool on a rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. You're going to bake the crust a second time, so be sure the edge of your pie crust does not get too "browned." Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before filling. Turn the oven down to 325°F and make the filling and prep the ad-ins. :)

Custard Filling:
8 large egg yolks (freeze and save those whites for meringue!)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup Fresh herb(s) of your choice ~ optional I used chopped fresh thyme

In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Set aside.

1 cup diced cooked ham
1 cup steamed bite-size broccoli florets (be sure to drain the steamed broccoli)
Of course, you can vary the ad-ins based on your own preferences. This custard recipe is the perfect base for your own creation. 

Place the baked crust on the rimmed baking sheet. Scatter the ham and broccoli over the bottom of the crust. Whisk the custard filling and slowly pour it into the crust, careful not to disturb the add-ins.

Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield or make one out of a ring of foil. Transfer the quiche on the baking sheet to the center rack of the oven and bake at 325° F until the custard feels set to the touch in the center, 45 to 55 minutes. It should be golden-brown and slightly puffed and not loose in the center when you jiggle it. Let cool on a rack for at least 45 minutes.

The custard filling of this quiche is creamy and wonderful, so don't fill it too full with the add-ins. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Of course you could eat it while still warm, but at my house in the summertime that's at 9am. Wait, quiche for breakfast AND dinner? I say, "Yes" to that! Bon Appetite!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Contemplation

"Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it."
                        ~Mary Oliver

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Case of the Missing Sparklers

4th of July Recipe: Red, White, and Blue Trifle from TheKitchn

When it comes to the 4th of July, I'm a sparkler sorta gal. Big fireworks are nice for viewing, but I don't want things on fire blowing up in my yard. Neither does my Jack Russell, Guinness, who has to wear his Thundershirt just to get through the night. See more about that here. So, weeks ago I squirreled away my box of sparklers and set about making plans to host a 4th of July celebration with friends.

I love to end dinner parties with a memorable dessert so I chose a wonderful, (patriotically correct!?) English trifle for the finale. The recipe comes from my favorite foodie blog, The Kitchn with Faith Durand. You can find this amazing recipe for 4th of July Red, White, and Blue Trifle here.

This show-stopping dessert takes a little effort but the "WOW" factor is well worth it.
You begin by making a vanilla pudding from scratch. No Jello-o pudding here please! If you have never made your own pudding, this recipe is a good place to begin. Just remember, when making the pudding, Do Not Stop Stirring, especially as the pudding thickens, and watch your heat (brown scorched bits are not pretty).

Once you've made the pudding, basically this is a "no-cook" ice-box dessert, it's all about the layering. The first layer, a combo of cubed angel food cake and half of the warm pudding, takes an hour to set up in the fridge. It is the infrastructure that keeps all of layers from mushing together. While the pudding layer is chilling you prep the fruit and make the whipped topping.

Let the layering begin! Red fruit on top of the chilled layer, half the whipped topping, another layer of cake, then the remaining vanilla pudding, the blue fruit and then the remaining whipped topping. A final decorative layer of fruit is the finishing touch.

 Best made the day you serve it, so be sure to plan for three hours of chilling time.

What I LOVE about this recipe? It is NOT sweet. Surprising, I know! It looks heavy but it is light and refreshing and has a creamy, unctuousness. It's everything a summer dessert should be and it feeds a crowd. But don't let the size stop you. Everyone went back for seconds!! At the end of the evening I scooped generous helpings into "to-go" boxes for my guests. Mike and I enjoyed French toast smothered in berries and cream for breakfast the next morning. This is a trifle that keeps on giving!!

Oh...and the sparklers? The plan was to put them in the trifle and light them as a spectacular finale to a great 4th but could this squirrel find them? Sigh... No doubt they will resurface sometime in December!! A wee American flag did a perfect job as stand-in. Happy summer and Bon Appetite everyone!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Prayer for Independence Day

This  beautiful prayer came to me from my dear friend Gloria Drayer. Thank you Gloria. Have a safe and fun 4th of July everyone, God Bless and protect our troops! 
A Prayer for Independence Day and Every Day
By Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson, edited by Maggie Oman

May we as a nation be guided by the Divine
to rediscover the sacred flame of our national heritage,
which so many have given their lives to safeguard;

Let the wounds of separation and division be healed
by opening our hearts to listen to the truth on all sides,
allowing us to find a higher truth that includes all;

May we learn to honor and enjoy our diversity
and differences as a people, even as we
more deeply touch our fundamental unity;

May we, as a people, undergo a transformation
that will draw forth individuals to lead our nation
who embody courage, compassion, and a higher vision;

May our leaders inspire us, and we so inspire
each other with our potential as individuals
and as a nation, that a new spirit of forgiveness,
caring, and honesty be born in our nation;

May we, as a united people, move with clear,
directed purpose to take our place within
the community of nations to help build
a better future for all humankind;

May we as a nation rededicate ourselves
to truly living as one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And may God's Will be done for the United States,
as we, the people, align with that Will.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Campari + Mojito = Bliss

I have totally swiped this recipe from "in The Kitchn" and I am unashamed to say I did not change one thing, this cocktail is perfection. This recipe originated in London, where they know Campari! If you are having an outdoor shindig this week make this for your guests and they will rave! It is not too sweet, not too minty, not too potent...the perfect cocktail to cool a hot summer's day. I served this in 12 oz. Ball canning jars to tone down the "fancy" factor so we could enjoy with no worries. The straw is a must and if you have glass straws, well it's a real party now! Enjoy!

Campari Mojito
Recipes from The Kitchn
Campari Mojito for One
Serves 1

1/4 ounce (about 4 large sprigs) fresh mint, plus additional for garnish
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce white rum
1 1/2 ounce Campari
Crushed ice
2 lime wedges
2 to 4 ounces good tonic water, such as Fevertree or Q Tonic (I used Canada Dry and it was fine)

Place the mint sprigs in a large glass or cocktail shaker, and add the lime juice and rum. Muddle with a muddler or a wooden spoon for several minutes, crushing the mint and releasing its aroma. Add the Campari and a few cubes of ice, and shake or stir until well chilled. (I muddle up some base in my metal shaker in the morning and pop it in the fridge so it's icy cold at cocktail time)
Fill a 12-ounce highball glass with crushed ice and squeeze a lime wedge over top. Pour in enough tonic water to fill the glass a quarter full, then pour in the strained Campari mixture. Garnish with a little more tonic water, the second lime wedge, and mint. Best with a straw!

A Pitcher of Campari Mojitos for a Crowd
Serves 8

3 packed cups mint leaves, plus more to garnish
1 cup lime juice
1 cup white rum
1 1/2 cups Campari
Crushed ice
16 lime wedges
3 to 4 cups good tonic water, such as Fevertree or Q Tonic

Place the mint leaves with the lime juice and rum in a pitcher. Muddle with a muddler or a wooden spoon for several minutes, crushing the mint and releasing its aroma. Stir in the Campari and refrigerate overnight or until chilled. (I chilled overnight and the mixture was icy cold wonderful)
To serve, fill 12-ounce highball glasses with crushed ice and squeeze a lime wedge over top. Pour in enough tonic water to fill the glass a quarter full, then pour in the strained Campari mixture. Garnish with a little more tonic water, the second lime wedge, and mint. Best with a straw!

Have a wonderful and SAFE 4th of July everyone and remember not to drink and dive...or drive!

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