Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer ‘Shroom Addiction


I went to the gym one day this summer and went to the first elliptical that had the TV turned on.  It was just easier to get started without messing with any buttons.  The TV was on the Food Network.  I thought, what a novel idea/bad idea.  Who watches the Food Network while working out?  I mean making yourself hungry while you workout seems to be the antithesis of what you would want.  But, I was short on time and did not want to waste time channel surfing. 

The show of the hour was Giada at Home.  She said that she was going to make her favorite salad that she fell in love with while she lived in Paris.  She went to a local café and ate it every day.  The Parisians are notorious for their simple salads.  The salad looked as though it would be a great cool summer salad and my in-laws were on a mushroom kick, so I wanted to try it.  I made a few modifications and now I am addicted.  I can see how Giada could eat it every day of the week. Here is the salad recipe:

Summer ‘Shroom Salad

8 oz or more of white button mushrooms, sliced
3 Tb lemon juice
2 Tb White wine vinegar
2 Tb Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
a big handful of fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Wash and slice mushrooms (do not use pre-sliced mushrooms-too thick and tough).  Put the mushrooms in a medium bowl. Add vinegar, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Then mince parsely and add it to the bowl.  Finally add parmesan and toss the salad until every mushroom is coated in dressing.  Serve immediately.  The mushrooms will marinate and brown if you keep it over night, but they are still tasty.

Now go get addicted to ‘shrooms.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Archangel Michael and All Angels (Casserole)

Archangel_michael Remember Archangel Michael.  He fought Lucifer the Angel who defied God and cast him out of Heaven.  According to my Byzantine Eastern Catholic calendar, today, November 8, is the feast of St. Michael and the Archangels.  However, on the Roman calendar the feast is on September 29.  I missed September 29, because I was caring for our newly born baby.  So I am glad to have another opportunity to celebrate.  I often celebrate feasts choosing one calendar or another, depending on how our lives are going.  But I do not consistently choose only the Eastern, or only Rome.  We regularly attend a Roman church, because we are 1h45min drive from the nearest Byzantine church.  It just makes sense to celebrate Roman Catholic feasts unless Rome does not celebrate certain feasts and then we go Eastern.  Anyhow, I wanted to share how I celebrate this feast.  I developed this recipe that I think is lovely for the day called, “Archangel Casserole.”

This casserole is symbolic of Angels/Heaven, earth/humanity and Holy Spirit/Holy Trinity.  The chicken represents the Angels’ wings and Heaven.  The vegetables are earth and humanity.  The white sauce is the Holy Spirit, but also has triune ingredients making up the Trinity. (I’m a Catholic nerd. But, it’s a tasty casserole)

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients for Casserole:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 lb. / 16 oz. frozen California blend vegetables
  • 3 ½ cups homemade Alfredo sauce
  • ½ cup fine breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  • 2 T. butter

Ingredients for Alfredo:

  • 3 T. butter
  • 3 T. white flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper


I use leftover roast chicken from one I made the night before, but for a simpler version you could use a 14 oz canned chicken breast or bake a couple breasts in the oven while you prep the other ingredients and sauce. The frozen California blend vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

Pre-heat the oven to 350oF

Alfredo Sauce Preparation:

Pre-measure the 3 cups of milk and set aside. Melt the butter in a sauce pan (1.5-2 qt. pan) on high heat. Once the butter is melted and frothy, but not browned, add the flour 1 T. at a time whisking continuously until completely blended. Turn down the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the milk. Keep whisking to be sure there are no lumps. Slowly bring sauce to a soft boil. As the sauce begins to thicken add the parmesan and keep stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Mix the chicken and vegetables in a casserole. Pour the Alfredo sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Cover the top of the casserole with bread crumbs and then cover with remaining ¼ cup of parmesan.

Bake 45 minutes. Let stand uncovered for 15 minutes after baking.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

“Pickle In The Middle”

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Success! A snack that everyone enjoys. 
From my new favorite kids’ snack non-cook book “Pickle in the Middle”


6 graham crackers
3 prunes, cut up
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbs. honey

Put the graham crackers in a sealable bag and crush them into crumbs.  Add them to a medium bowl.  Cut up prunes with child-safety scissors into the bowl.  Add peanut butter and honey; mix it with a spoon until mixed thoroughly.  Roll into 1 inch balls and let stand for 10 minutes.



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Can a Cook Book Change a Person’s Life?

A couple of year’s ago my mum sent me a first edition copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Mum was really excited about it and I thought it was cool. I looked inside it and felt dizzy. The book had many intricate recipes and they were organized by genre, i.e. poultry, eggs, deserts, and so forth. “But wait! How do I make a meal of this? And why would I need to know how to bone a duck?” I fancy myself a good cook, but I am a thirty minute cook. If I cannot throw it together in that time, familial disasters occur. I also could not figure out which dishes go together.

One evening I came home and said to my husband, “I think we need more sauces in our lives. Sauces make everything taste better!” So I opened up MtAoFC, found a sauce, and proceeded to make it. I am pretty sure that I did not read all the instructions and I probably did not have all the ingredients, because that is typical Renee. I am the queen of substitutions. Even if I plan a meal, my mood will change during the week and I will have to make do with what I have (it’s a working mom thing). Needless to say, my sauce turned out mediocre and I didn’t go there again.

Flash forward to a month ago, Andrew said that he was going to start making some dinners. I had a meltdown. I should have been happy my husband wanted to cook and help out. In my head, he was saying to me that he did not like my cooking and he was tired of it. The man who is a self-professed bad cook wants to replace me! In his head, he was thinking that the children are going through an exceptionally clingy phase and I should make dinner so they can spend some time with their mother.

Andrew is not a cook. In fact, he has never made me a meal that did not come out of a box. But he said, “I want to do this right.” He knew we had MtAoFC, because I had told him that the cook book in the movie, “Ratatouille” was a play on MtAoFC and I showed it to him. He is a fan of that movie and the T.V. show, “Top Chef,” and he appreciates fine cuisine. Andrew went to the cupboard and pulled out the cook book. The next day he went to the store bought a bounty of fresh ingredients and made the finest steak with a lovely sauce and sautéed mushrooms. It was not exactly a “meal” per se, since it had no sides. But, I did not care. The steak was so delicious I could not think about anything else.

A couple of days ago, I saw the movie Julie/Julia (warning you have to be a big fan of fine food to enjoy this movie). It was such a lovely movie. The main character Julie speaks of how Julia Childs’ cook book MtAoFC saved her, and indeed it did. But could this cook book save others? It saved this woman because she gained the writing career out of it that she so desired. It saved her in other ways as well. Julie got to know herself. She showed her true colors through cooking.

Last night, I sautéed mushrooms, onions, and green bell peppers. But before I did, Andrew stopped me and said, “Read what Julia says about sautéing,” and he opened the page in the book. Initially I thought, “How dare he tell me how to sauté? I know how to sauté.” But, I figured I was not in a position to argue. He had already made a perfect gourmet meal and Julia Childs’ is an expert. I read it. I did NOT know how to sauté. I followed Julia’s instructions and it was a revelation. I made something that did not just taste good (my usual saute). It tasted beautiful. It tasted like heaven.

I feel like a new woman. Can a cook book change a person’s life? Indeed. I think Andrew and I are happier people now for having made fine French food--food that tasted like heaven bathed in butter. I think I would like to set a resolution to make one meal out of MtAoFC every week. No pressure--It's not an ultimatum. It's just a goal.

Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (check your local library) and make one recipe, and follow it to the letter. When you do, you will feel different about food, yourself, the world--something. You will feel triumphant. “The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” --Henry Miller