Monday, February 9, 2015

Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad

This is the original, but the one I brought to class was a bit different:

First, I used a very plain dressing: one part lime juice, two parts olive oil, black pepper, salt, cumin, a little coriander and chili powder. I wish I had this in amounts, but I just eyeballed it. I think you can use a lot more cumin than you might think. It's good to add a tiny bit of water to all these dressing ingredients and then shake them up in a jar or container. I did put a little minced onion in, but the green onion is kind of better I think.

I boiled 6 cups of water, and put in 3 cups of quinoa.
I let it simmer for maybe 20 minutes and then turned it off when a little water was left to let it really absorb the last bit without burning.

I peeled and cubed two yams. I told Dan Arra from our class I normally buy my yams from some farmers that set up a market in my neighborhood, but the yams I used in your all's were exceptionally good and from Target (!). I roast them at 400 with cumin, coriander, chili powder and lots of olive oil until they are soft. I can't tell you how long this is. It might be 35-45 minutes.

I took about a half a cup or raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds and roasted them in a pan dry until they popped for a while. I shook the pan around while this was happening.

I put the dressing in the bottom of a big bowl, put in the quinoa, the yams, the pumpkin seeds and the dressing. Then I cup up a really ripe avocado and put it in. It's better when it's either room temperature or cold. Sometimes it tastes weird when it's still warm. I put lentils in a different one. That should be pretty good too, though technically, quinoa is very protein heavy. (This is what a recipe looks like when written by a poet, sorry to say).

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welcome to some family recipes

I just want it publically known that you asked for these in 2008. I put them on the internet at At the time you had said you were going to be going on the internet more having realized it was not a fad. But six years have passed and I respect that you are not an internet person and may never be. I do feel bad it has taken me this long to make you a book of the recipes. I've ferreted out some ones not previously published on the blog, so I think you can think of this as the second edition.

No one of us can hold a candle to your lasagna, your hashbrown casserole, and probably just about anything you cook. But you know the power of nostalgia and childhood dishes. Here they are. I love you so very much. Thank you for being the kind of person who cared enough to ask for these, who makes me feel like my family is with a big-hearted person. You are a special one. I'm sure you'll make these your own as well. As mom likes to say, "With Alanna, there is always a solution." ;-)


Christmas 2014
Philadelphia PA to Evansville IN

Macaroni Salad

My friend the poet Meghan Privitello often jokes with me about our favorite trashy childhood dishes. Her mom likes to roll hot dogs up in cooked lasagne noodles and then put on tomato sauce and bake them. I'm pretty sure that is an awesome dish. This is what my mom made for my brothers during their extreme growth spurts. It could be healthied up with Veganaise and peas...if one feels like it.

2 pound box macaroni
1 package hot dogs
Hellman's mayonnaise

Boil the macaroni. Boil the hot dogs. Cut up the hot dogs. Put them in a big glass bowl with the macaroni. Do you know where this is going? Put in enough mayonnaise to just get it all to stick together a little, but not a huge ton of it. Add fresh or dried chives. Mix. Serve.

I'm pretty sure I saw three pounds of macaroni get eaten in 15 minutes this way, once. By the two brothers.

Salad My Mom Used to Make

This is like a regular old week day evening salad my mom used to make but we like it and I have a feeling David *might* eat it, in which case please take a photo immediately and send it to me in the spirit of a person who has had a Bigfoot sighting.

Crush a clove or two of garlic and put it in the bottom of the salad bowl.

Put olive oil on top of it, maybe 2T and push around on the garlic with your fingers so its juices get into the oil.

Add a 1/2 t dijon mustard, not fancy, just straight up dijon.

Get half a lemon.

Put lettuce, such as Bibb or Red Leaf, in the bowl. Iceberg is fine too. We definitely had a lot of iceberg, meatloaf, frozen Gino's pizza and Little Debbies, in case anyone tries to see if your husband had some kind of romantic French cooking-filled childhood.

Add some chopped curly parsley if you have it (optional).

Squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the lettuce, not too much.

Add salt, regular fine salt, not chunky sea salt.

A little bit of black pepper.

If you have a hard boiled egg, put it through the slicer and add it.

If you have a can of black olives, those should go on too.

If you are feeling whack, put in a can of tuna. She used to make that a lot. It's good.

Thoughts on Beef and Carrot Stew

David has been asking my mom for the recipe for beef and carrot stew for years. I ate it, I remember exactly what it tastes like. It is not like any beef and carrot stew I see a recipe for right now. There was no brown floured gravy. I am calling my mom right now. She probably will say something hilarious about why she cannot recall the recipe.

"There is no recipe. I just do it like that."

1-2 pounds beef stew meat
1 bag of carrots
bay leaf
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350-375.

Cut up a pound or a pound and a half of stew meat. Brown meat in oil. Transfer the meat to a 9 by 13 inch glass pan (I think it has to be glass--something special happens to the carrots because of the glass). (Yeah, she made everything in a 9-13 pan). Add salt and pepper, some water (a scant cup?), and a lot of sliced carrots. Add a bay leaf. She doesn't think there is a boullion cube, so don't put one in unless, she says, David seems to think something is missing. But I don't think there is one myself.

Cover the pan tightly with foil. My best guess is let it all stew for 25 minutes, open the foil, stir, and let it stew another 20-25 minutes without the foil. This probably is highly experimental and anthropologists will like hearing about it when you manage to recreate it. *I* think. :-)

She is now complaining about the Carrie Underwood Live Sound of Music. "I thought why could someone be do something like that? It is a masterpiece of all time. Nothing could replace that movie. That's stupid. Don't you think it's stupid? How could people be so stupid. Anyway."

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Back when I was little, we would travel to Connecticut to hang out with my father's old friend and his family. Their kids were like my cousins. We would play for hours and days and do things like watch movies in front of my mom that made me want to die because people were in bed together in them (and I was 12). Auntie Heather gave me this recipe. She would make so so many pies and cakes before we got there, probably because she had three teenagers and my mom was bringing two big sons and me. I made these for years and I think Dave likes them a lot. I guess they aren't diet. Just try not to make them often, they're kind of a hostile act. They also aren't from scratch, so you can have the satisfaction of not working too frickin' hard.

2 tubes Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie mix
2 packages cream cheese (the "regular" size)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan. Heat oven to 350.

Roll out one tube of the dough and fit it in the bottom of the pan. I often ended up just whacking on the dough with a floured hand and patching it all together. You are probably better with a rolling pin.

Put it in the preheated oven for 3-5 minutes so the bottom layer gets a head start. (I vaguely remember this part...I think a couple of times the bottom layer didn't cook as much as the top and it got weird, so I started doing this...25 years ago...foggy recollections).

Combine rest of ingredients until v. smooth  (cheese and sugar first, then eggs, and then the vanilla).

Take out the pan and carefully spoon the filling on top so it doesn't mess up the hot dough. Patchwork the second tube of dough onto the top and bake this puppy for 15-20 minutes or until the top looks nice and brown. Let cool, cut into bars, stand back.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Best White Chicken Chili, Gluten Free

1 large chicken breast, can be bone-in or not
2 cans beans: kidney, pink or cannelini
1 small can green chilis or 1 small can Rotel
1 package Williams' chicken chili seasoning
2 soup cans of chicken stock half
half a seeded and chopped jalapeno (optional)
10 oz package frozen corn
cactus or green pepper (optional)
1 T chili powder
 1 t oregano
2 t cumin
salt and pepper to taste (note there is no salt in the Williams' packet)
2 t-1 T cornstarch
juice of one lime
green onion (optional)
shredded Monteray Jack or Mexican cheese
half a cup uncooked rice (optional)

If you are sensitive to gluten, do not use Campbell's Cream of Chicken in this recipe. It's full of wheat products.

In a crockpot, place the chicken breast, skin on if it came with it. Pour over the beans, drained, the chilis, the seasoning packet, the chili/oregano/cumin, corn, pepper, salt to taste, jalapeno and the chicken stock. Stir to combine and simmer on high for 5 hours.

 An hour or two before serving, put a ladel of the soup in a mug and dissolve in this soup the cornstarch. Mix until well dissolved and not lumpy. Pour back into pot and stir. Add rice at this point if you want to have it. 

A few minutes before serving, add the juice of one whole lime to the crockpot. Serve topped with chopped green onion and cheese melted on top. Serve with corn chips or maybe cornbread, though that is a lot of corn. Enjoy!