Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Monday, March 28, 2011


This is not a recipe, this is just me saying that I'm making progress!!

A few nights ago, I took stock of what I needed to use up in the cooler, bought chicken and chicken stock, and made a delicious chicken and rice soup (with carrots, celery, onions and a wee bit of broccoli).

This may not seem like much, but I was previously almost afraid to buy chicken, because I really had no idea what to do with it (and have it still taste good).

As proof of this fear, I offer up this semi-incredible bit of information: When following the recipe for one of my earlier posts, I wanted to ask someone's advice on cutting up the thighs into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces. There was no one to ask. I could have called the friend who helped me through my earlier sherry crisis, but really. Really! What would he think of me? I won't say how old I am, but I should be able to slice chicken. And I did. And it was fine! And when I cut up the chicken for my soup, I had no fear.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham!!

And cheese! I was super excited to find this recipe that colors the eggs not with food coloring but with spinach!! How healthy is that?? And, I had a sneaking suspicion that my kid would eat spinach once it was responsible for some very cool Seussian eggs. Plus, it could be a breakfast or a dinner (we did dinner).

Another huge pro for this recipe is that it is easy and ingredient friendly (i.e. requires few). I haven't figured out any real cons yet...

Green Eggs and Ham Omelet

serves 1, slightly adapted from "everyday Food"

2 cups tightly packed spinach (trimmed and washed)
I bought the pre-washed and trimmed, which made this recipe even faster
2 large eggs (recipe calls for room temp. my eggs are usually close to that anyway...)
sea salt and ground pepper
1 T. butter
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar, shredded (I only had regular cheddar)
2 thin slices deli ham

1) In small skillet, heat 1 T. water over medium high. Add spinach and cook, tossing, until completely wilted. This doesn't take long, about 1 minute. Move spinach to colander and drain, pressing out as much water as possible.

2) Finely chop spinach, transfer to a medium bowl along with eggs. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper.

3) Return skillet to heat and melt butter, tilting to coat pan; add egg mixture. Cook, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until eggs begin to thicken, ~30 seconds. With spatula, pull edges of omelet in toward center, tilting pan so uncooked eggs flow underneath. Cook until just set, 15 - 30 seconds.

4) Arrange cheese and ham on top of omelet. With spatula, fold omelet in half. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

NOTE: I made my daughter the first omelet, halving all the ingredients and using a little pan, and it turned out perfectly. Then I got a a little cocky and decided to double the recipe and make one big omelet (in a large pan) for my husband and I to split. Don't do this. While it worked out, sort of, it was not simplicity itself like the first omelet. The bottom of the omelet was over-browning before the top set, and when I went to cut it in half for us the ham all sort of slid out. That said, it still tasted great, my daughter ate a full cup of spinach, and we will be cooking this again!

I wish I had taken a pic of my daughter's omelet. Curses! Here you can see the big one, cut in half, ham sliding out... the eggs were actually all a sort of pale green, but the flash was too much for such delicate color...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings

This amazing meal is supposed to be cooked in a (drum roll) Dutch Oven!

Before I begin, I have to say that it came out perfectly. So perfect that I'm pretty darn sure mine looked even better than the pic in my little magazine. Take that Martha! That said, I got caught up in letting my daughter pick out which dumpling she wanted, and I spooned out the first dumpling before I took a picture. Curses! So, here is my almost better than Martha picture. You'll note the dumpling gap... something Martha never would have done.

Now we can get started. Here is what you will need:

Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings

serves 6, from "Everyday Food"

3 T. unsalted butter
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
(I only had a little over a pound, and it was fine)
sea salt and ground pepper
1/2 bunch scallions
(this is my onion week... what are scallions? they are green onions)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
celery stalks... the recipe called for 2. I had very slender ones so used 6 or 7.
2 medium carrots, diced medium
1 shy teaspoon ground, dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 bottles pilsner (12 oz) or another light or medium lager
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
recipe called for 1-2 T. red-wine vinegar... I didn't have any so didn't use.
1 recipe Cornmeal Dumpling Dough (to follow)

1) In Dutch Oven (or heavy pot with tight fitting lid -- you don't have to use a Ducth Oven) melt 1 T. butter over med. high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, ~ 5 mins.

2) With slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a small bowl.

3) Add 2 T. butter, scallions, bell pepper, celery and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions and celery are tender, ~ 4mins.

4) Stir in thyme and flour and season with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute.

Return chicken to pot and whisk in beer.

With your hands, roughly tear tomatoes and add to pot along with juices.

Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes (While simmering, make your dumpling dough. Recipe below). Season to taste with vinegar.

5) Reduce heat to a simmer and drop dumpling dough by rounded tablespoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 7 - 10 mins.

Dumpling Dough

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup all purpose flour, 1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Using your fingers, work in 1 T. unsalted butter until small crumbs form. Stir in 1/2 cup buttermilk.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beef, Potato, and Leek stew

I found the leeks!

I am easily seduced by recipes calling for me to purchase fewer than five ingredients. For this stew, I already had the potatoes, so I had to buy 3!!

Beef, Potato, and Leek stew

serves 4, adapted from "everyday food magazine"

1.25 lb cubed beef (stew meat)
sea salt and ground pepper
1 bunch leeks (1.5 lbs), use white and green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced crosswise
5.5 cups organic chicken broth
3/4 pound red potatoes, diced medium

1) Season beef with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch Oven (!), cook beef over medium until some fat has rendered, ~5 mins. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned on all sides.

2) Add leeks and cook, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot, until leeks are translucent. Add broth.

3) Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes and beef are tender, 15-20 mins.

4) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I don't think a delicious stew could get much easier. I've never cooked with leeks before (no surprise there!), and found the resulting broth sooo good.

Happy stewing!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This soup was an accident, for me. I had planned to make a different soup, and bought all but one of the right ingredients for it. As proof of my "not-a-cook-ness," I will confess that I bought one bunch of green onions instead of one bunch of leeks. When I returned home and began to read the recipe, I noticed the improbable smallness of my "leeks." There was no way my "one bunch" weighed one and a half pounds. Their true name surfaced in my mind, and I knew I had to shake up the dinner plans. A trip to the cooler revealed broccoli needing to be used, and a block of cheese. Aha!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

if serving solo, only two adult dinner servings
Adapted from Food Network

6 T. unsalted butter (I only had 1 T. so subbed 5 T. canola oil)
1 bunch green onions, cleaned and thinly sliced (use only white and light green portion)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head of broccoli, minced to oblivion (see pic)
2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish if desired.

1) Melt the butter in Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add oil. Add the green onion and cook until tender, ~5 minutes.

2) Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3-4 minutes. Then, gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

3) While base simmers, prepare broccoli. Add the broccoli to the base. As the pieces are so small, it will cook very quickly. Once broccoli is cooked, remove bay leaves.

4) Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese if desired.

5) YUM! (would look better if I had anything besides white bowls!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Carmelized Carrots

This is a most excellent side dish. Simple. Quick. Mostly healthy. And it makes preschoolers eat their vegetables!

For two adult servings, you need:

1 Bunch carrots (~4 medium size) cleaned and sliced in rounds
1 T. Butter, divided
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar

1) Warm 1/2 T. butter in pan over low heat. When melted, add carrots. Stir gently until carrots are well coated with butter.

2) Add second half of butter and brown sugar. Again, stir until carrots are evenly coated. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until just tender.

3) Remove lid and cook until sugar/butter mix thickens and is no longer runny, about 1-2 minutes.

Don't overcook these! You want them to be tender, but not soft.

The natural sweetness of the carrots is highlighted by the sugar, but not overpowered.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Light and Quick Version - Couscous Casserole

Yesterday I needed to whip up a quick lunch. Remembering what I'd learned from the Couscous Casserole dish, I quickly:

1) Warmed three cups seasoned pasta sauce + 1.5 cups soup stock. ( For stock I cheated and used a boullion cube).

2) Added 1/2 cup couscous to lightly bubbling sauce. Stirred. Covered. Turned off heat. Let sit 10 mins.

3) Sliced 1/4 leftover onion, chopped one zuchinni, and sauteed lightly olive oil in a small sauce pan. Put your onions in first, when translucent add zuchinni. Lightly salt and pepper.

4) While veggies sauteeing, grate about 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

5) Spoon lovely couscous mix into bowl, sprinkle a light layer of cheese, top with sauteed veggies.

PROS: Fast (less than 15 min), yummy, good for you, hardly any dishes.
CONS: With three adults and one kid, there was only enough for one healthy serving each. We were full, but kinda wanted more!