Roasted Cauliflower – A Beautiful Little Side Dish

 

Serve hot and watch it disappear!

Cauliflower was one of the vegetables my Little Missy used to eat with no problems back in the days before she went on veggie strike.  She ate it steamed, straight up. Then I was able to convince her to eat it by melting some cheese on it, but soon no amount of cheese would get her to eat it.  The only way I’ve been able to get her to eat cauliflower has been to puree it and mix it into spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, or soup.  But even then, if by some freak accident a teensy bit of a cauliflower floret made it through without getting pureed, she would find it and stop eating.  I kid you not.  Recently I was watching Lucinda Scala Quinn making roasted cauliflower on Mad Hungry.  Little Missy saw her pull the sheet pan of cauliflower out of the oven and said, “That looks yummy, crunchy, crispy.”  This little comment completely threw me for a loop.  I wanted to ask her if she was crazy, did she not know this was the stuff she always called yucky and absolutely refused to eat?  But of course I couldn’t waste this little sign of interest in food and I had to run with it. So, the next time we were at the store I picked up a head of cauliflower.

 

A few days later I called her into the kitchen when I was starting dinner and I showed her the cauliflower.  Being three years old, with a brain like a sponge and a rapidly developing memory, one of her favorite phrases is, “remember, last night…?” She hasn’t quite grasped the concept of time, so anything that happened in the past is “last night.” I used her little favorite phrase and asked if she remembered when she saw the lady making the crispy, crunchy white stuff on TV and if she wanted to have some with dinner.  Jumping up and down, she goes, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!” She’s gotten excited about dinner before, only to completely refuse to touch it when it was done, so I tried not to get too hopeful about her exuberant response.

 

I sliced the cauliflower and offered some of the little “crumbs” to Little Missy to nibble on and she actually ate them all.  In my mind at this point dinner was already a success since at least I knew that at the very least, I could always get her to eat cauliflower raw.  She kept coming back asking for more and was actually disappointed when I told her the rest was in the oven.  I was a little nervous after that wondering if she would eat them once they were done. Sure enough she turned her nose up at them at first, but by then she was in a funny mood and was even refusing to eat the spaghetti and red sauce I had made to go with the cauliflower.  However, once I started to feed her, mixing the cauliflower pieces with the pasta and sauce she downed them all.

 

If like me, you have never before had roasted cauliflower, you should try it. The flavor is sublime and sweet and slightly nutty.  Interestingly when it first starts to cook in the oven, you get the slightly pungent odor of cooked cauliflower but as it continues to cook that odor is replaced by a sweet aroma that turns out to be similar to the flavor.

 

Here is my method for making roasted cauliflower and the link to Lucinda Scala Quinn’s recipe follows (including a tasty fancy version).

 

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

Head of cauliflower

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Procedure:

  • After washing and coring the cauliflower slice it into about ½ inch slices. Some pieces will remain intact, looking a little like the cross section of a tree but others will fall apart, which is OK.
  • Lay the pieces flat on a sheet pan and drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly distribute the oil and spices.
  • Roast in a 425F oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping over the pieces half way through cooking.
  • Serve hot as an accompaniment to your favorite entrée.

 

The link to Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Caramelized Cauliflower: http://www.marthastewart.com/285444/caramelized-cauliflower-plain-and-fancy

 

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Posted in comfort food, recipe, Side Dishes, Vegetables, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Creamy Polenta and Chorizo Bake

 

Fresh from the oven

Totally stumped for dinner ideas and with a fridge desperately in need of restocking I was looking around the web for inspiration for some chorizo that needed to get used up.  I had an idea that I wanted to do something with polenta but I needed a little more than just an idea to get dinner on the table.  Plus, I’ve always struggled with polenta. Despite following the directions on my packet it always ends up sticky and gunky. And if I try to go the extra step of frying it, I can’t even get it to set up enough to fry. I wind up with a hideous, crumbly polenta scramble.  Not a pretty sight and definitely not appetizing.  So I landed on a polenta blog post that seemed to be written by my food soul mate as she started by describing her struggles with the stuff (http://scandelights.com/2011/06/10/creamy-polenta-with-mushrooms-and-chorizo/). It was comforting to know I was not alone and I got an interesting new idea to add some cream cheese to the polenta.  This post was the push I needed towards the stove, even though what I ended up making was not exactly the same, but was delicious nonetheless.  Little missy found it a little spicy, though funny enough her 1 year old little brother gobbled it up (mixed with plain yogurt).  If you prefer milder flavors, you can try this with kielbasa instead of chorizo.

 

 

Creamy Polenta and Chorizo Bake (serves 4)

Ooey gooey goodness

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow corn meal

½ fresh jalapeno pepper, finely diced and with the seeds and veins removed (or other peppers depending on your heat tolerance)

2 wedges laughing cow cream cheese (plain is fine though you could use the chipotle and queso fresco for a bit of a kick). You can also use a couple of tbs of regular cream cheese.

¼ yellow onion, thinly sliced

½ lb chorizo sliced

Extra virgin olive oil (for sautéing)

1 cup frozen corn kernels (or fresh if you have it)

1 or 2 handfuls Mexican blend shredded cheese

 

 

Procedure:

  • Cook the polenta according to package instructions (or not).  My package of polenta says to cook it for 40 minutes, or until it reaches a desired consistency. I have always cooked it for the full 40 minutes but tonight, primarily due to time constraints, I didn’t, and would you believe it was much, much better?  I only cooked it for 10 or 15 minutes, until the consistency resembled oatmeal.  I happened to have a cup of chicken stock left in the fridge so I used that and topped it off with water. I added the diced jalapeno at this stage.
  • When the polenta has cooked to the desired consistency take it off the heat and add in the cream cheese and stir to begin melting the cheese. Set aside and cover the pan to keep it warm.
  • Sauté the sliced onion and chorizo in some EVOO.  Stir the onion and chorizo into the polenta.
  • Thaw the frozen corn in the microwave (skip this if you are using fresh) and stir it into the polenta ensuring that all the ingredients are combined and the cream cheese has melted.  Leftover grilled corn on the cob would add a lot of flavor to this dish too.
  • Pour into a greased 8 or 9 inch cake tin and top with a couple of handfuls of Mexican blend shredded cheese.
  • Bake in a 400F oven until the cheese has melted and browned slightly (about 15 minutes).
  • You can garnish this with some fresh cilantro and serve with plain yogurt and salsa and a fresh green salad.  If you serve this hot from the oven it will be soft (sort of like a risotto consistency). If you let it cool down it will set up and you can slice it.

Enjoy!

Posted in cheese, Cold Weather Food, comfort food, Grains, Mains, recipe, Spicy | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

When Good Recipes Go Bad

 

I tend to view recipes more as insipiration rather than instructions to follow to the “T.” That is of course, unless I am baking, in which case I measure meticulously and never stray from the recipe.  I like to experiment and improvise and use recipes to learn techniques and methods that I can use with a variety of ingredients.  There are some exceptions however and tonight’s dinner was one such example when I followed the recipe as written.  Or I should say tonight’s attempted dinner, as it turned out inedible.

 

I had a notion of making fish dumplings, which were a childhood favorite of mine and are generally quite popular in Scandinavian home cooking. I have a recipe for fish dumplings in a beautiful Finnish cookbook that really tries to create upscale versions of Finnish home cooking classics.  This was a recipe for fish dumplings in a lovely creamy white wine sauce served with spring vegetables.  I was just planning to make the dumplings with a basic white sauce an serve it woth mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. This was mainly as an experiment to see how they’d come out and and whehter the kids would even eat them.

 

The recipe seemed straightforward enough: mince some fish fillets in a food processor, mix in some spices, egg whites, and cream, and then form into dumplings and cook them in simmering broth.  When looking at the recipe, one thing both my mom and I noted was the lack of any type of flour to bind the dumplings. But I thought, “Well, it’s a recipe published in a book, written by a person who used to own a restaurant with a Michelin Star. It has to work.” Then I thought, “Hey, if this works, it’ll be a great gluten free option.”

 

Well, I’m sure you know where this is going.  The dumplings were a disaster.  They just fell apart in the broth.  I made beautiful little canelles of minced fish and carefully lowered them into my simmering broth and then watched as they just disintegrated. If you can imagine what it would look like to put wadded up lint from your dryer vent into some water, that’s what was happening to dinner, with a three year old hanging on the gate shutting the kitchen off from the living room whining about how hungry she was.  My mom came in to see the mess and even attempted to make a dumpling herself but of course it just fell apart too.  There was just no conceivable way to rescue this disaster. What was I supposed to do with a bowl of raw minced fish and and saucepan of simmering broth with bits of fish floating about in it?

 

Only minutes earlier my hubs had asked my mom, who’s been visiting us and leaving in a few days what she’d like to eat before leaving.  Without hesitation, she said, “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” because you can’t get it where she lives in Finland.  It is definitely a guilty pleasure and one that we don’t have often (actually, only when my mom visits).  So, having nothing of substance to serve and frustrated with having essentially wasted a bunch of time that I could have spent with the family in the kitchen, I sent the hubs out to pick up a bucket of chicken.  And what about the floating fish bits?  I cooked up the rest of the fish and stored it along with the broth to see if I can infact make something of it.  If I do, I’ll definitely let you know.  I’m also going to play around with the dumpling recipe to see if I can get it to work. And I’ll let you know about that too.

Posted in Musings | Tagged , | 2 Comments

My Christmas Post: Traditional Gingerbread Cookies

 

With Christmas fast approaching my mind turns to the traditional foods and treats I grew up with in Finland, especially gingerbread cookies.  Now I could just head to the grocery store and buy a box of Anna’s cookies and call it a day, but there’s something special about making Christmas cookies yourself and filling the house with the lovely aromas of sugar and spices.  Making gingerbread cookies is such an institution in Finland that you can actually buy frozen gingerbread cookie dough, which is what most people seem to do there. In fact you can buy just about all the traditional Finnish Christmas foods premade, so Christmas dinner preparation can be as straightforward as peeling the cover off an aluminum pan and heating it in the oven.  Though the convenience of premade holiday food is priceless, it somehow takes the special magic away from Christmas.

 

Gingerbread cookies are a bit tricky to make because the dough is quite difficult to work with (so even if you buy the premade stuff, you’ve only eliminated half of the work).  There are numerous versions of gingerbread cookie dough recipes and I decided to make a version from my hometown in southeastern Finland.  What’s unique about this recipe is you boil the syrup, sugar, and spices and then melt the butter into the hot mixture, as opposed to creaming the butter and sugar, as you normally do with cookies.  Having seen enough episodes of Alton Brown where he warns about the perils of melting sugar, I was more than a little nervous about attempting this recipe.  But as it turned out I did not have a disaster on my hands and the cooking of the spices, syrup, and sugar together made the house smell like a Yankee Candle store.  After the nerve-wracking step of boiling the sugar and spices, the rest of the process was straightforward as it just involved mixing in the egg and flour.  At this point, the dough is too soft to work with and it needs to harden in the fridge for a day (so you definitely need to plan ahead if you want to make these).

 

When you are ready to roll out the dough, you should only take a small portion of it out of the fridge at a time as it warms up very fast and becomes very sticky and unworkable.  You need to work on a well floured surface and keep your rolling pin and hands floured too.  When you first take the dough out of the fridge it’s quite stiff but it loosens up fast and by the time it’s rolled out and your shapes are cut out, it’s softened to the point where it’s difficult to transfer the cookies to a baking sheet.  If you have cookie sheets without edges, you can try to roll out your dough on the cookie sheet and remove the extra dough from around the cut shapes.  The only issue I’d have with this is you would have to cut the shapes leaving enough room in between each cookie to allow for some expansion during baking and so you get fewer cookies each time you roll out the dough and you end up working the dough more often and getting it even softer.  Another suggestion which I read at http://www.di-liciouscupcakes.com/2011/10/week-1-xmas-baking-gingerbread-cookies.html is to chill your cookie sheets, which will keep your cookies firmer before they go in the oven. My mom confirmed that this is what her mom always used to do as well.  Still, you need to work fast and keep refrigerating the extra dough to keep from ending up with a sticky mess.  I rolled my dough on a piece of parchment paper and then very carefully used a spatula to transfer the cookies to my baking sheet. Some of the cookies got a bit stretched or bunched but you can smooth them out a little once they are on the cookie sheet, and in my opinion part of the beauty of homemade cookies is they are all a little different.

 

My gingerbread cookie recipe is from a Finnish magazine that I clipped years ago. The flavor is mild and not very gingery.  I’ve had ginger cookies that have pretty much cleared my sinuses. These are much milder in taste! The original measurements are in metric and I’ve converted them into US measurements, which is why they are a bit odd.   As always, my notes are in italics.

 

Gingerbread Cookies from Parainen

Makes 70-80

250g/8.8 oz. butter or margarine

2 ¼ dl/0.95 cups sugar

1 egg

¾ dl/0.3 cups syrup

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 ½ tsp cloves (ground)

2 tsp bitter orange peel (ground)

6 dl/2.5 cups flour

1 ½ tsp baking soda

 

Boil the syrup, sugar and spices. Add the butter/margarine and allow to melt. (You’ll need to mix this quite a lot to get the butter to incorporate. Don’t despair it’ll come together.) Set aside to cool.

Sugar, syrup, spices and butter all melted together

When cooled, add the egg, vigorously mixing. Mix in the flour and baking soda. (I used a stand mixer for this part.)

The dough is mixed

Allow the dough to stiffen in a cool place until the next day.  (Wrap it in plastic to prevent it from drying.)

Wrapped up for the fridge

After the dough has stiffened, roll out a piece at a time to ¾ mm thickness. Flour your surface and roll several times so the dough does not stick.  (Work quickly with small pieces of dough, leaving the rest in the fridge to stay cold.)

Ready for the oven.

Cut out shapes and bake in a 200C/392F oven for 5-8 minutes. Be careful not to place the cookies too close to each other so they do not stick together as they expand a little during baking. You’ll know they are ready when they turn slightly brown around the edges. Keep an eye on them though as they burn very quickly.  The cookies will be soft when they come out of the oven but will crisp up once they cool on a rack.

 

Ready to eat. As you can see the cookies were too close to each other. You can gently separate them when they are still warm and soft.

Posted in baking, Holiday Foods, Traditions | Leave a comment

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie, or What to do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

 

More appetizing than a turkey sandwich

After a couple of days of straight up Thanksgiving leftovers I was ready to see something different on my plate and clear out my fridge at the same time.  I was first going to make Turkey Pot Pie, but then it occurred to me that I’d still have a mountain of mashed potatoes hogging valuable fridge real estate if I did that, so for dinner on the second day after Thanksgiving I decided to make turkey Shepherd’s Pie instead. Now, if you ask a purist such as my husband, what most of us know as Shepherd’s Pie is actually Cottage Pie, since real Shepherd’s Pies are made with ground lamb, not ground beef. So I’m not sure whether calling this dish a Turkey Shepherd’s Pie is accurate, but it helps you get the picture, right?  A Shepherd’s pie is essentially meat and vegetables in gravy topped with mashed potatoes and browed in the oven.  Depending on the leftovers you have from your Holiday Turkey Dinner you may just be able to put this together without making anything at all.

 

The leftovers that went into my Turkey Shepherd’s Pie were mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (French’s Fried Onions and all), carrots and onions that lined the bottom of my turkey roasting pan (no I don’t discard those), gravy, and of course turkey.   As it turned out, I didn’t have enough gravy, so I needed to make more of that, but that was OK since I had a half a carton of chicken broth that I needed to use up.

 

Turkey, Vegetables, and Broth all mixed up

I diced and mixed the turkey and vegetables. Then I made more gravy by making a quick roux from butter and flour, adding 2 cups of chicken and simmering it for about 10 minutes, allowing it to thicken (and adding the leftover gravy).  I combined the turkey/vegetable mix and gravy and poured it into a baking dish.  I topped it with the mashed potatoes (that I had loosened up with a little bit of hot milk) and put it in a 375 F oven for 20 minutes, until the gravy bubbled around the edges of the potatoes and the potatoes were slightly browned.

 

Warm and bubbly

I served our Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with stuffing, Brussels sprouts and of course cranberry sauce.

 

 

Posted in Holiday Foods, potatoes, Round Two Recipe, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Thanksgiving Countdown: 7 Days to go, Do You Know What You’re Making?

 

It’s a week before Thanksgiving and my email inbox is flooded with food related newsletters touting new and exciting recipes to replace the same old, supposedly boring, tried and tested favorite recipes.  My question is does anyone actually try a new recipe for Thanksgiving, or for that matter, any holiday?  I know that with two little kids at home, getting a holiday dinner on the table is a challenge in and of itself, forget about trying out a new recipe.  Yes, I watch all the Food Network specials and read through (and drool over) the email newsletters and magazine recipes and I fantasize about making some exotic version of cranberry sauce or a totally unexpected stuffing but that’s where it ends.  There is enough to do just on a daily basis that planning to make (and God forbid test) a new holiday recipe is totally unfeasible within weeks or mere days of the event.

 

My holiday cooking is pretty much on autopilot. It has to be. Just getting through the grocery trip in one piece is an achievement.  I bought our turkey the other day and Little “I Want To Walk” Missy was running laps around the freezer case as I compared birds (Whole bird, or breast? Frozen or fresh? I went with a frozen breast, there will only be 3 adults and 2 toddlers after all and it will be soooo much quicker to make).   She then proceeded to run up and down the aisles and scream bloody murder whenever I tried to get her to hold my hand.  Even with a shopping list I had to back track because I missed so many items since I had to keep chasing down my little darling. Meanwhile the little guy was happy enough gawking at everything on the shelves and trying to grab stuff whenever the cart got close enough. I’m gonna be in so much trouble when he decides he too wants to walk in the store, but I digress. Our Thanksgiving table will feature roast turkey, gravy from the drippings, cranberry sauce (from a can), stuffing (from a bag), mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts (because the hubs likes them), green bean casserole.  Dessert will be store bought pie and probably ice cream.  So that’s the menu.

 

The game plan will be to start thawing out the turkey in the fridge on Tuesday (again, quicker than a whole bird) and then start cooking after a sandwich lunch on Thanksgiving in order to have dinner on the table on time. Apart from the turkey, the biggest effort will be the Brussels sprouts. I will shred them and sauté them with bacon and onion. It’s the only way I can stomach Brussels sprouts! Everything else will be from a can or a bag.  My plan is to have a tasty and stress free Thanksgiving without any surprises from flashy untested recipes. What’s your plan?

Posted in Holiday Foods, Musings, Thanksgiving, Traditions | 1 Comment

Potato and Ham Casserole – Five Ingredients and It’s Done!


I’ve been struggling lately with the whole cooking business. Maybe it’s the nightly power struggles to get my little girl to eat; maybe it’s the shorter days and dreary weather, complete with a recent October Nor’Easter that knocked out power in some nearby communities for almost a week and even canceled Trick or Treating in one place; maybe it’s general exhaustion from dealing with a teething baby who won’t sleep at night and makes this momma feel like a zombie; or maybe it’s the mental gymnastics involved in trying to wean the little guy from baby food to regular food and planning meals around stuff he can eat.  In any case, cooking has been a challenge and the temptation to serve chicken nuggets and fries on a nightly basis has been great.  But in the last few months we’ve made great progress with making mealtimes a routine with everyone sitting at the table together.  The little guy has moved from his recliner to the high chair (now that he can support the weight of his big head), Little Missy is in her new big girl booster, and mom and dad are getting used to eating dinner waaaay earlier than they used to.

 

I find that eating dinner together makes for a calmer evening and on the nights that I simply can’t pull off cooking and Missy gets a kiddie dinner on her own, everything just goes to pot and the hubs and I wind up eating junk for dinner around 9 PM.  That said, between 3 and 5 PM, when I try to carve out some time to prepare dinner all hell breaks loose at our house with the little guy energized from his afternoon nap and Little Missy overtired from refusing to nap. Seriously, if I go down to the basement freezer to grab something it sounds like there’s a horde of shrieking elephants traipsing through the house. I would feel sorry if we had downstairs neighbors. Because of this logistical constraint, anything I make for dinner has to be super fast and easy to prepare. Any easier and it would actually prepare itself.  This potato and ham casserole is one such dish and it’s made in the tradition of the ultra Scandinavian Jansson’s Temptation (a potato and anchovy casserole).  This dish is also one of my childhood favorites so I’m excited to introduce it my kids and all of you.  The beauty of this dish is that you can adapt the method to include other meats or even make a vegetarian version and adult it up with the addition of stronger cheese (how about a potato, cauliflower and blue cheese casserole?).

 

Ham and Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

1 lb ham steak, diced

1 packet frozen shredded potatoes (30 oz. For example, Ore Ida Hash Browns, Country Style Shredded Potatoes)

Half a medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 pint half and half

½ to 1 cup shredded cheese (depending on how cheesy you want to make it)

Salt and pepper to taste (note, because of the saltiness of the ham you won’t need much salt)

 

 

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Finely dice onion and sauté until translucent. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While onion is cooking, dice the ham steak to about ¼” cubes . You can also cut these into strips approximately the size of the hash browns.

Pour the still frozen hash browns into a casserole dish (the one I use is 9x12x2”). Mix in the onion and diced ham and add freshly ground black pepper. Since the ham is already quite salty be careful about adding salt.  If you want, you can also mix everything in a large bowl and then pour into the casserole, but why dirty another dish?

Pour the half and half over the potato mixture.

Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until browned. In the last 5 minutes, add shredded cheese to the top and allow to melt.

 

When this comes out of the oven the top will be browned and crunchy and the potatoes will be soft and creamy and nicely flavored by the ham and onion.

Serve with a fresh salad or your favorite vegetable side dish.

Posted in cheese, Cold Weather Food, comfort food, Family Meals, potatoes, quick, recipe | Leave a comment

Seriously, Chobani?

Dear Chobani:

You need better quality control. This is the second effed up tub I found in my multipack in recent weeks. This is not exactly good value for money.

Mind the gap

 

 

"Only natural ingredients" and whatever naturally gets through our poor packaging

 

Who wants yogurt? Not me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Grown up Fare – Caviar Pie – An Appetizer That’s Sure to be a Hit

Just add crackers

Even though I love my little ones to pieces my food isn’t always prepared with them in mind. Sometimes moms need some grown up time and grown up food (think wine, cheese, and a group of friends sitting around a coffee table).  This appetizer is perfect for such an occasion, or any party.  It’s a really expensive looking dish because of the caviar, but it’s not that pricey because you don’t actually use a lot of the stuff.  Also, in case it hasn’t occurred to you to search for caviar at your local grocery store, you can find it there for a decent price. There’s no need to go nuts and buy a $100 jar of the stuff.  I found caviar for $8.99 at my local Stop & Shop and it came with a $2.00 coupon too (it was in the same section as the canned tuna).  Incidentally I’ve found the same brand online for $25 plus shipping and handling!  This is a recipe I’ve adapted from my husband’s step mother who serves it at just about all of her parties. I say adapted because among other things she sticks a stick of butter into the recipe and that’s just uncalled for. I mean it’s pretty decadent as it is. I recently brought this to a get together at a friend’s house and everyone liked it and I’ve have had a couple of requests for the recipe. So I figured I might as well share it with the larger world and help brighten up all your parties.

 

Caviar Pie

You will need a shallow serving dish with about a 3 cup capacity. I like to use a small rectangular (7x5x1.5”) Pyrex dish because it comes with a cover for easy storage or transport. This recipe will make enough for such a small dish (with a little extra filling left over for snacking) so if you want to use a traditional pie plate, there should be enough filling but you should use twice as much caviar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large hard boiled eggs
  • 1 packet cream cheese (8 oz) -I use Neufchatel as it’s a little friendlier to the waistline
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt -I use non fat for the same waistline reason, but feel free to use whatever you like
  • ¼ of a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jar of caviar (2 oz)
  • A few stems of chive, finely chopped, for garnish (optional)

Process:

  • Peel and crumble up the hard boiled eggs in a bowl. Mix in the diced onion.
  • Add the cream cheese and yogurt and mix with the egg and onion. It helps if the cream cheese is a little softened.
  • When the ingredients are combined spread the mixture into a serving dish. At this point you can cover it and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.
  • When you are ready to serve the pie, spread the caviar in a thin layer over the cream cheese mixture. Top with finely chopped chives if you wish. The 2 oz jar just covers the cream cheese with a thin layer. Of course you can get more caviar of you want to have a thicker layer, especially in case you have one of those guests who likes to skim the caviar off the top… a la Tom Hank’s character in You’ve Got Mail.
  • Serve with your favorite crackers.
Posted in cheese, eggs, Holiday Foods, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall Harvest

All summer I have lovingly tended a tomato plant under Little Missy’s eager supervision. When we’d go out to water the tomato, she’d dance around the plant yelling, “OK! eat?” They say having your kids help with growing veggies will get them interested in eating them too.  Well, it worked in the case of tomatoes, but didn’t really extend to other veggies.  Actually, she’d discovered she liked tomatoes even before I got the plant.  But still it was nice to see her make a connection between the tomatoes that come in the plastic clam shell and the ones that grew on my little vine.

 

So far, as of mid September, my plant has produced a whopping 6 ripe tomatoes. Actually there were 8, but two were cruelly swiped by a neighborhood critter. Can we say, “Swiper no swiping?” Even with a chicken wire cage around the plant. Like a fool I’d left the top open. Silly me for wanting to make watering the thing easy! Ironically it was the very first and very last ripe tomato that were stolen. Both were gone in the night right before I intended to pick them. When my plant started to produce I thought I’d get a nice long break from the bland store bought tomatoes but then the heat set in and the factory shit down despite my efforts to keep the plant sufficiently watered. That was until sometime in August when I noticed new flowers that soon had little green orbs sticking out.

 

With renewed interest I watered and checked on the fruit daily and was happy to see them growing and even new ones sprouting. I hoped against hope that the warm weather would continue long enough to allow this one last crop to ripen on the vine but with night time temperatures falling into the 50’s and 40’s and pretty much staying in the 60’s during the day, I finally harvested the tomatoes that had grown and brought them in to ripen on my window sill.  This was my biggest haul and sadly there are plenty of tiny tomatoes left on the plant that will not make it.

Saved from impending frost

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