Sunday, August 1, 2010


On Friday afternoon, a friend on Ravelry posted about having potstickers for lunch and set aflame a craving in me. I had to have potstickers, and there was no way I wasn't going to get them!

So I trolled the net, looking at recipes. I finally found one that was incredible! - the instructions were clear and easy to follow, and including a recipe for the wrapper dough so that I didn't have to buy that pre-made.

So I called Hans, who was going to the grocery anyway, and asked him to get the ingredients I needed. He did, along with a few other things (we had decided to have an impromptu little dinner party). So I set to work when he got home making the potstickers.

I got a bit of help from Jeff when it came time to assemble - he filled the dough and closed it as I rolled it out. Then I lightly fried them so they were browned on one side, then transferred them to my stockpot/steamer unfried side down and steamed them. They were wonderful!!

I also made my own sauce - homemade chili oil (just put about 1/4 cup crushed red pepper into a glass jar, topped it up with twice as much veggie oil, closed, shook vigorously, then let sit), soy sauce, a splash of fish sauce and a splash of sesame oil.

So very, very good.

Oh - and instead of cutting the cabbage, Hans went ahead and just got a bag of coleslaw (it was on sale, heads of cabbage weren't), and it worked beautifully! We didn't skimp on the ginger, though - that was fresh!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Way To A Man's Heart Is Through His Stomach

I decided yesterday morning that, since Hans has worked so hard all week - 65 hours in 6 days - that I would reward him with a nice, romantic, home cooked meal. I planned and schemed, went to the grocery and got everything to make real, honest to goodness gourmet eggplant parmesan.

The fates intervened, and it was not to be last night. So last night we went to the pub with friends, and then today, after not waking up till 1pm, I got started. Sauce, made from scratch, eggplant, dredged, coated and fried to a perfect, golden brown.

By eight this evening, I was plating a lovely meal of eggplant parmesan, sautéed green beans and baby bella mushrooms with butter and lemon zest and Cuban bread. Add candles and soft music, and it was a near perfect romantic dinner!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fishes and loaves....

So maybe just fishes, although I'm sure some loaves were used in the creation of the stuffing....

I'm not big on words tonight, so I'll just tell you what it was and show you the pictures.

Salmon, baked in foil with lemon, butter and a wee spot of kosher salt. Fresh green beans sauteed with lemon zest, butter, kosher salt and baby bella slices. Stove top stuffing (yeah, I know - I went a little off with that last one, but I love the stuff and no one else in the family is as fond of it!). It was divine. It will be divine when I have it again, tonight!

I guess that's the benefit of Hans working these wicked late hours - I get to have what I want, how I want it for dinner. Which is great for a day or two, but I'm ready to eat what he wants with him again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Atonement of the Lazy

For three nights in a row I have had spectacular dinners, and yet the last two I was just too tired, too beat, too worn out to bother posting them. Tonight I will make up for that. Now, I don't really have any recipes for night before last or tonight, as one was prepared by a friend, and the other (tonight) was actually a frozen meal from a bag. It was, however, extremely noteworthy!

Okay, so Monday was Memorial Day. Our friend Jeff and his son, Ben, came over to grill and relax for a bit. Jeff was in charge of dinner, and he brought all the fixings for his Santa Fe Chicken Sandwiches. They were delicious - teriyaki marinated chicken grilled, then topped with fresh pineapple and swiss cheese on King's Hawaiian buns with some sort of mustardy sauce that was just lovely! Oh, and we topped them with avacodo, too, for a little something extra that we all loved!

It was a pretty awesome dinner, and we are very thankful to Jeff for sharing it with us!

Last night was lasagna that Hans' mom made for us and froze so it would make the trip from South Florida to Central Florida. It was delicious! So good, in fact, that I didn't even think to take pictures! We just ate! Hans also sautéed zucchini to go with it, and it was wonderful, as always. The recipe for the lasagna is one that has been in Hans' family since he was a kid. It was given to his family by their neighbor and friend, Vicki Fales. I think I have the recipe around here somewhere. Aha, yes, it's right here in the family cookbook! The recipe is really for the meat sauce because, as Hans has said about six times in the last four minutes, the meat sauce is what makes the lasagna - otherwise it's just noodles and cheese!

Meat Sauce for Lasagna
Vicki Fales

1lb ground chuck
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 large onion, chopped

Brown above and drain off the grease.

2 16oz cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
1 Tbs. oregano
1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed

Cook until messy and thick (several hours). Stir frequently, as it tends to stick. Be sure burner is kept on low.

To assemble lasagna:

Small package lasagna noodles
15oz. part skim ricotta cheese
16oz (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

Layer meat sauce, then noodles, then cheese, as many layers as fit into pan (9x13). Finish with cheese. Bake in preheated 350° until hot through and bubbly, about an hour.

Tonight was a quickie dinner night - kids had leftover chicken, and we had some of the PF Chang's General Chang's Chicken that has cropped up in grocery store freezers recently with some frozen egg rolls. I have to admit, while I think that PF Chang's took a risk going into the frozen food arena with as awesome as their restaurant is, I think they have succeeded! We were really impressed! The sauce was very tasty, with a nice bite to it. The chicken didn't have any weird bits in it like some frozen meals do - it was all true white meat, and very tender and tasty. The broccoli was crisp and tasty, too. All in all, a great meal!

Baking Is Love You Can Eat

I have decided that, today, right now, I am going to bake some Portuguese Sweet Bread. Provided I have all the necessary ingredients, that is. I may also bake some of my herbed Irish Soda Bread. I also need to find a recipe for these wonderful potato scones that my friend brought in for my team lead on Monday....

So, since I have been a bad, bad blogger, I am going to give you all the recipe for my Portuguese Sweet Bread. If I make the soda bread, I will post it as well. While it all bakes, I will either be cleaning my house, or posting about dinner from the last two nights! Cleaning should take priority, but we'll see! Enjoy!

1C milk
1 egg
2T margerine
1/3C + 2T sugar
3/4tsp salt
3C bread flour
2 1/2tsp (one envelope) active dry yeast
Add ingredients in order suggested by machine mfg (usually wet ingredients on bottom, then salt & sugar, flour creating a barrier between liquid and yeast)
Select sweet bread setting, then wait (about 3hrs all total).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tired and cranky....

So the last two nights have yielded wonderful dinners prepared for me by even more wonderful men, but I have been so wiped out from working that I can't even bring myself to blog them. So, tomorrow, I promise to blog about Jeff's Santa Fe Chicken Sandwiches and the lasagna Hans (or rather, Hans' mother) made for tonight's dinner.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's Feast

Today was one of those roller coaster days - either things were really great or really shitty. Dinner, fortunately, was really great.

Hans planned and took credit for all of this dinner - He went out and bought an entire beef tenderloin, then cut it himself, cutting 4 filets for our dinner tonight. These were tempered, seasoned and grilled, then topped with premiere blue cheese crumbles. Also on the menu: grilled portabello topped with lump crabmeat, steamed fresh broccoli and baked potatoes. Dessert? Blueberry pie with double vanilla ice cream.

Usually I would have pictures at the end of the post (and the post would be more verbose), but we ate everything before I thought to take the pictures.

And now I'm going to take my nasty, nasty, mean and terrible medications and curl up in a fetal position. Dig in, ya'll!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Breakfast for dinner!

All right, I promised a post tonight, and a good dinner. Hans is helping friends move again, so I'm flying solo. The kids wanted bologna sandwiches, so that was quick and easy and out of the way. Now that they're in bed, I've started making dinner for myself.

Maybe I should preface all this by explaining a bit about myself. I'm from rural Northeast Georgia. I grew up mere miles from my Granny and Papa. I learned at an early age how to make some of the foods that epitomize the South and Southern fare, some from my mama, though truth be told, she's one of those "Damn Yankees,*" so most of what she taught me wasn't strictly Southern, but most was learned from my Granny. One of the things I learned from her was how to make biscuits. Biscuits aren't difficult, they don't require many ingredients, and the best way to screw them up is to try to overwork them. Some flour (I'm a cheater and use self-rising, but she usually did too, once it became as easy to find as all purpose!), some shortening (someday I will buy lard and make them truly authentic), and some ice water.

I also learned how to make sausage gravy, though that was from my Uncle Farrell. Most summers my family, which consisted of Mama, Daddy, my sister and I, would go camping with my Daddy's sister, Barbara, and her family, my Uncle Farrell, and cousins Chad and Jamie. It was a big to-do, usually lasting a week, and meals and groceries were split between the two families. I always remember the mornings that Uncle Farrell made breakfast, though - he would make sausage gravy from scratch over a Coleman stove. That was the best sausage gravy ever. I learned to make mine from watching and remembering his....

Okay, so now you know a little about my past. Today was one of those days where it seemed like the world was against me, so since I'm alone for dinner, I decided to turn to my comfort foods - gravy and biscuits. I browned up the sausage, some of which I will put aside for another dish, some of which will end up in my gravy. The biscuits are in the oven, and in a few minutes, I will start the gravy.

This is the part of the post where I would normally post recipes. However, because of how these were obtained, and because of what they are, like so many good Southern recipes, they're a lot less recipe, and a lot more suggestion. So let's start with the biscuits....

I started off with my little red bowl, since I was just making for me tonight. Poured in a bit of self rising flour - probably around 2 cups - and added 3TBS of shortening and used my pastry cutter to blend it. Then I used my 2 cup glass measuring cup, filled it with ice, then with water. Slowly mixed the water with the flour and shortening until I thought there was enough, then added about that much more. Took all the water in the measuring cup (I should add that I have a lid for this cup, and that I put it on and pour through its strainer), actually. Then I dropped by handfuls onto my pizza stone that had been pre-heated in the 450° oven and baked for 20 minutes.

Now, before I started my biscuits, I browned up a pound of spicy bulk sausage in my large cast iron skillet. I put half of that into the fridge, and kept half in the skillet. I also kept the fat in the skillet from browning the meat. I took my "gravy jar" (a spaghetti sauce jar that I keep just for this sort of thing because I find it gives me the best result), filled it halfway with milk, then added 2 tbs of self rising flour (Because it's what I had out already). Then I put the lid on it and shook it up till it was well mixed. Pour that into the skillet that has been kept hot, stirring the whole time. This will take about five minutes, with you stirring the entire time. You may have to add more liquid, depending on how hot your skillet is, or how thick or thin you like your gravy.

If the timing is right, the gravy and the biscuits should be ready about the same time. Pop the bisciuts out of the oven, slice one open, put a dab of butter on the biscuit, then load the gravy on. Dig in, ya'll!

*Damn Yankee - someone who comes to the south from the north, then falls in love with it and decides to stay. Not meant in any sort of derogatory way.

Last Night Was A Quiet One

So I didn't post last night because, well, dinner wasn't anything of interest. Hans was helping a friend move, so the ids had TV dinners and I ended up heating a frozen pizza. Tonight, though, will be something good. I hope....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Meal to Dissolve a Bad Day....

Today was just one of those days. Started at 2am with being awakened because I was fighting (violently, evidently) with my pillow and had knocked over my night time glass of water. Then work was pretty epically bad (for me, anyway - I snapped at a manager when I am but a lowly underling, and she wasn't even deserving of my snapping, really....), I'm sore and have a migraine hangover (ie:the day after a God-awful migraine tends to lack energy and brain power). Add to all that the dunderheads on the expressway (really, people, where did you get your licenses? A Cracker Jack box??) and the vicious circle automated phone system that I was attempting to navigate and, yeah, it was a pretty crappy Tuesday-that-is-like-my-Friday-but-felt-just-like-a-Monday. Oh yeah, and I get bitchy with Hans for no real reason.

And yet, despite my bad attitude, he made dinner. Not just any dinner, but a true family favorite: Sausage Rice Casserole from the cookbook his parents made for him when he went off to college.

It's one of those dishes that just comes together. It's simple, it's hearty and it's tasty as all hell. It's one that I like to have leftovers of, too, because it melds well for lunch the next day, but one that we have very little left over!

Hans also had bought a fresh pineapple at Aldi last week as a special treat for the girls. He decided to cut it tonight, and the next thing I know, he's putting a fresh pina colada into my hand!

Ah, yes. Good food, good drink, healing and restorative powers....

And now, the recipe for the Sausage Rice Casserole, as written, with our modifications in blue.

Grandmommy's Sausage Rice Casserole

1lb bulk pork sausage (we use sage sausage, but have had great luck with plain sausage and hot sausage as well. We even used leftover chicken once. Tasty, but the whole dish was just a bit beige....)
1c. uncooked rice (may use white or brown)
2 pkg dehydrated chicken soup (we use chicken bouillon)
1/4c. finely chopped onion
1c. sliced celery
2 1/2c. water (may use chicken stock or broth instead, but omit bouillon/dehydrated soup)
1Tbs. soy sauce (we usually use 2-3 Tbs.)
1/2c. sliced almonds (I've been known to use chopped or slivered, if that's what I have on hand)

Break apart sausage and brown. Pour off grease. Mix sausage, uncooked rice, soup, onions, celery and place in 2qt. casserole (we like to use our dutch oven because we can brown the sausage in it, drain it, then use the same pot to bake the casserole. Less dishes! Yay!). At this point you may refrigerate to bake within 24 hours, seal and freeze to bake at a later time (after thawing, of course) or finish.

Mix soy sauce with water, add almonds, then mix. Pour over sausage rice mixture. Cover and bake in oven preheated to 350° for at least 1 hour, or until rice is done.


I'm starting this blog because a number of friends have asked for the recipes for the wonderful foods that we eat here for dinner most nights. I have to admit that, while I'm the one blogging it all, Hans is the one that cooks 90% of the time or more. It's not that I can't, but rather that he really enjoys it. We're both good at it, but I'm more of a baker, while he qualifies more as a chef.

So here we go! First recipe/dinner coming up soon!