Archive for April, 2012

“Smart cooks realize that the easiest cookbook to use is the Yellow Pages and the handiest appliance in the kitchen is the telephone.” ~ Miss Piggy

Despite Miss Piggy’s wisdom, I want more from my food than easy.  I want to be mindful of my budget, eat healthy, and still have enough time to do something on a weekday evening.  So, I cook at home.  Lemon caper butter fish with broccoli and cucumber salad is tasty, cheap, relatively heathy, and takes about 20 minutes.

Start water to boil. Wash and slice the brocoli into bite size pieces.

Once water starts to boil, put steamer basket with brocoli into the pot. Steam untill the brocoli is bright green.

Coat the fish in flour. Add to pan on medium heat with a bit of oil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn fish over and cook until solid white rather than opaque. I use the 9 pack of fish fillets sold for $4. Which is to say, the following lemon butter is lovely no matter what you put it on.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add the juice of half a lemon and several spoonfuls of capers. Taste for balance. Drizzle over the fish.


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Chutney Cookies

Kelly Williams Brown offers 387 easy steps towards becoming an adult on her blog, Adulting.  Although I have not had the pleasure of reading through the entire blog, I belive that one of these steps must be Use Leftovers.  Using up leftovers saves money, is ecofriendly, and leads to a cleaner kitchen.  Goodness, do I struggle with the concept.

Seriously, help me out here.  I shop with a list and an eye towards what I plan to make throughout the week.  I plan my meals carefully.  For example, if I know that pork chops come in a pack of 5, I will plan 3 meals around pork chops to use them all up.  Regardless, I end every week with a list of things lingering in my refrigerator.  What am I missing?  Mom, I know you read this occasionally.  Help me out.

For example, I made an apply chutney to go with the aforementioned pork chops.  However, I ended up with about a cup leftover.  What do you do with a cup of leftover chutney?  I liked the idea of an apply chutney pie; new twist on a classic.  I was concerned that the chutney would pack too much of a punch for anybody to want to eat an entire slice of it.  So, I went with a modification of apple pie cookies from Deb of Smitten Kitchen.  She mentioned that the cookies did not contain very much pie filling but rather were a celebration of pie crust.  The cookies seemed like an excellent vehicle for a filling that packed a punch.  Here is her recipe.  I stole was inspired by her technique and swapped out the filling.

I loved the result.  Chutney cookies are easy to make, tastier cold so you can make them the day before, flavorful and surprising, and a sweet snack but does not feel like it should be dessert.  Furthermore, the cookies used up the extra chutney.  Yay!

I admire Kelly Williams Brown’s chutzpah as she stands up and offers to lead her audience to adulthood.  Me, I can’t even claim to be able to solve your leftover problem.  However, if you happen to have some extra chutney cluttering up your fridge, these cookies are perfect.

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“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”  ~Ruth Stout

The week, Portland has experienced snow and sunshine in the same hour.  I revel in the warm sunny days.  I have less appreciation for the cold, rainy ones.  I want to pack up my thick sweaters and forget winter ever existed.  I like Ruth Stout’s reminder of winter’s charms.  Something to contemplate while enjoying this French Onion Soup.

I used the above pictured ingrediants. I also used chicken stock, salt, pepper, cheese, and bread.

Saute the onion in enough butter to keep it from sticking on low heat for 20 minutes. The onlons should be sweet and golden brown. Add no more red wine than will cover the onions and cook for another 5 minutes. Add chicken stock untill the soup is your prefered consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the soup into oven safe bowls. Cover with bread cubes and cheese. Broil uncovered for 5 minutes or until the cheese is metly and brown.

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