Thursday, September 11, 2014

Citrus Cucumber Salad

It's been forever since I've posted a recipe--and it's not that I haven't been cooking.

I prepared this salad for school lunch today and think it turned out wonderfully and is well worth sharing. I'll give you the at home proportions rather than the somewhat larger amounts for when prepping for a couple hundred servings.
All dressed up with spinach and tomato.

Citrus Cucumber Salad

(Serves 4)

2 medium cucumbers peeled and chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 green onion, white and greens, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

How to:

Stir together the cucumber, pepper, green onion and garlic in a medium bowl.

In a smaller bowl or shaker, whisk together the juices, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.

Drizzle dressing over the veggies and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

**And now, since you know I have to's what I did differently...
I used 3 small, sweet peppers in red, orange and yellow for a bit of color. Also, I only partially peeled the cucumbers to have some of that dark green as well.

I think next time I make this, I'll add some of the lemon and lime zest to really brighten the flavors. I would imagine, if you like cilantro, a little would be a great addition, too.

Of course, serve this salad next to a margarita and you're all set!

Just sayin... 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

mz *lizzie's Mexican Dip

When I received this recipe from a friend, it was titled simply "Dip". So, after approval at the staff meeting at work, it's now...

mz *lizzie's Mexican Dip

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed
1 can mexi-corn
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch green onions-sliced thin, including green
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Stir together, chill, then enjoy with chips or crackers.
~ * ~
I used cheddar, but I'll bet this would be fantastic with one of the Mexican blends of shredded cheese. The original recipe called for a pinch of salt, but I didn't find it necessary. Nor did the original have the white pepper, but I like the added note of flavor when mixed with the cayenne.

Wrap some of this dip up in a flour tortilla or a crispy lettuce leaf  for a great snack! 

Yummy, yummy dip!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oatmeal Carrot Cake Bread

I tried this recipe at work today (for my **100 blog challenge) with some left over shredded carrots. I haven't cut into a loaf yet, but, the aroma is delightful. I found some pumpkin spice cream cheese at the store to try--I'm sure it'll be a tasty combination!
Oatmeal Carrot Cake Bread
     (Recipe from Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods)

1 cup Oats, Rolled, Quick Cooking
1/2 cup Milk
2 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 1/2 cups Shredded Carrots
1/2 cup Raisins
1 8oz. can Crushed Pineapple in Juice
4 Egg Whites or 2 Whole Eggs
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray bottom only of 9x5 loaf pan or grease lightly.

Combine oatmeal and milk and set aside

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in carrots.

Combine the oat mixture with pineapple and it's juice, eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Add to dry ingredients, mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 60-70 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean and crust is a golden brown. Cool 10 minutes, turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

Serve with cream cheese spread:

Beat together until smooth:
4 oz. reduced calorie Cream Cheese
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Saturday, October 1, 2011

100 day challenge on a recipe blog?

Sure, why not? As a writer, I can relate writing to cooking...and as a cook, I can relate cooking to writing. Actually, it's pretty easy.

Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg and butter. The end result of making hollandaise is to incorporate two things that really don't mix--the proverbial oil (or fat) and water.  Done over a water bath, melted butter is slowly added to a thick mixture of beaten egg yolks and lemon juice, while whipping furiously. Add the butter too quickly or whip too slowly, ah, you end up with a broken sauce. (Just let me add here, that there are numerous way to create a tasty hollandaise, this is simply my example for today. If you're interested. use your fave search engine and you'll find a wealth of recipes and techniques)

My sauce is broken--what does that mean? It means instead of being thick and creamy, your sauce is grainy looking. Liquid rises to the top. It looks---ugly.

So, my sauce is what? You can throw it away and start over, but that's time consuming and expensive. A simple fix is to find a clean bowl. Add a splash of warm water to it. Add a few tablespoons of your broken sauce and beat until the sauce is emulsified. Then add a little more. This is a slow process, but the end result is a fully emulsified, thick and creamy hollandaise.

I have a craving for eggs benedict now!

Okay, I have a lovely hollandaise. What does that have to do with writing? This is easy. How often do we put our characters into places, situations, relationships, where there is a meeting of oil and water? We slowly add more conflict, stirring the characters around in the mess until a solution comes together--then we do it again. (Don't you love to torture your characters?--You should!) Sometimes we have our conflicted characters, but they just don't come together--so we add a little something extra to the mix or put them in a new situation. Ta da! A saucy tale to delight our readers.

And then there's other ways of making hollandaise. Alton Brown uses cold butter...some folks use a blender. My thoughts...whatever works. Just bring on the hollandaise!

What? Now you want a recipe? Well... I guess this is a recipe blog after all.

This is Tyler Florence's recipe from Food Network. He uses a classic method.


4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt


Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Yummm. Asparagus. So, what's your favorite thing to put hollandaise on?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slow Cooked Sweet & Sour Pork

Slow Cooked Sweet & Sour Pork

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds pork shoulder cut into large chunks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large green pepper, cleaned and cut into large chunks
1 4oz. can mushroom pieces, drained
1 14.5 oz can reduced sodium tomato sauce
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
Cooked rice

Coat slow cooker with nonstick spray. (Or line with appropriate liner)

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Saute 3 minutes on each side.

Add pork to slow cooker and layer in onion, green pepper and mushrooms.

In small bowl combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over pork and vegetables.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Serve with steamed rice.

Okay, that was the original recipe thanks to Family Circle Magazine. Here's what I did differently.

No green peppers. What can I say? I don't care for them.

I added only half the onions in the beginning, reserving the rest for later. I added a few drops of Louisianna Hot Sauce to the liquids.

Just before I started the rice cooker, I added the remaining onions, some sliced raw carrot and drained pineapple chunks. My cooker has a WARM setting, so I turned the control there. When the rice was done, the veggies and pineapple were warmed through, but still crunchy. I would suggest if you like green peppers, to add the majority at this later time to retain the crunch.

My household enjoyed this easy recipe--placing it into the 'we can have again' pile.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Zucchini Cupcake Muffins

It's that time of year--when the monster zucchini arrive, sometimes miraculously on your doorstep in the middle of the night.

Cupcakes and muffins are made with differing methods and end up with different textures. This recipe is a combination, so you can call the resulting goodness whichever you want. If you have any left over, store them in an airtight container or they do freeze well. Plop a frozen muffin in your lunch bag in the morning and by break or lunch time you'll have a fresh treat.

Zucchini Cupcake Muffins

1 1/2 cup cake flour (all purpose or a combination of all purpose and whole wheat works just as well)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice *
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup oatmeal
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cup packed shredded zucchini
1/2 cup optional raisins or walnuts

*the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon cloves--neither of which I keep on hand because they're not my favorites. Pumpkin pie spice made a great substitution. If you like a stronger spice flavor, use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

Mix butter, sugar and eggs together for 3 minutes. Add zucchini and mix well. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients then add to the wet mixture and stir until just blended. Add optional ingredients.

Portion into sprayed or paper lined muffin tins. Bake at 350. Regular sized muffins for 20-25 minutes. Mini-muffins for 12-15 minutes.

I sprinkled a little turbinado (sugar in the raw) sugar over the muffins before baking to add a little crunchy sweetness to the top.

These cupcake muffins would be great with sunflower or toasted pumpkin seeds for a true fall treat.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mexican Rhubarb Chocolaate Chunk Brownies

Mexican Rhubarb Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
50 min
12 brownies


For the rhubarb compote:

  • 1 cup rhubarb, strings removed, cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the brownie batter:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico chile powder (not chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Shortening spray, for baking dish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the rhubarb compote: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring rhubarb, water and sugar to a boil. When sugar is dissolved, lower heat to a simmer and cook until rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Puree in a blender until smooth, if necessary. The rhubarb should break down to a smooth compote.
To make the brownie batter: In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, Chile powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a clean microwavable glass bowl, melt bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate together in the microwave at 50 percent power or in a double boiler. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, combining well. Add in the vanilla and rum. Stir the rhubarb into the chocolate mixture, then add to the batter. Mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and gently fold in the semisweet chocolate and walnuts. Do not over mix. Spray an 8 by 8 by 2-inch clear glass baking dish with shortening spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, then spray parchment. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Cut into squares and serve.