Weekend Cooking – Gotta Love It

Hey It’s Jet Here.

colorblindWhile Little Miss Color Restricted and I cannot fully grasp the color green due to evolutionary constraints Paw-Jet, Mom makes up for both of us!  This week, her weekend cooking sessions highlighted green all over the place.   Having had quite enough of orange vegetables since leaving the hospital, she segued Paw-Jet to another band of the rainbow with Dr. V’s permission.  You may have learned in science class that when one sense has limits, another sense shines.  In K9 world, we rock smell, hearing and enjoy taste quite a lot!  With that in mind, Little Miss Kitchen K9 and I secured our kitchen locations for Mom’s cooking endeavors.

Remember Mom’s fascination with fennel a while back? Well, when she asked Dr. V about greens, Dr. V recommended soft greens.  Mom piled the red kale, zucchini, Italian parsley, basil and baby arugula into her cart.  Did I mention ARUGULA?  Yeah, the stuff has like 3 names: arugula, rocket, roquette.  Mom has a new fascination… yes, she’s enjoyed the veggie before, used it in her Kitchen Counselor classes, etc… however this weekend, she put the stuff in EVERYTHING!

Little Miss Show Off/Whoops What Did I DO ate a whole leaf and then casually dropped it on the tile – not enough crunch.  Mom tried again removing the small stems; we liked that idea better.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Ruby participated in one of the cooking sessions!  Little Miss Puppy Dog Face and I LOVE when Ruby hangs out in the kitchen; more tidbits than usual seem to find our chompers!  Ruby wanted to see if we liked parsley!

Pasta with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes and Walnuts  2-23-13 027

Pasta with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes and Walnuts  2-23-13 028

Pasta with Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes and Walnuts  2-23-13 029

Arugula-Caraway Pesto Pasta

  • Arugula Caraway Pesto 2-23-13 0161 cup arugula leaves
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (Mom used whole almonds she already had.)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Caraway Seed, finely crushed
  • 8 ounces periatelli pasta or thick spaghetti (Mom didn’t prepare this part of the recipe.)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red Swiss chard (cut crosswise into thin strips) (Mom didn’t prepare this part of the recipe.)

 1. Place arugula, parsley, oil, almonds, Parmesan cheese, garlic and caraway seed in bowl of food processor; cover. Process until smooth. Set aside.
2.  Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return pasta to saucepot.
3.  Stir Swiss chard into pasta on low heat until greens are wilted. Add pesto; toss to coat well, adding small amounts of reserved cooking water until desired consistency. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Mom’s taking the Pesto to the biscuit earning place today with a grilled chicken breast.  Check out her FB album to see the step-by-step process.

Another great day in the kitchen with Mom and Ruby.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our forty-second participating post!

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Tasty Tuesday: JJ’s Favorite Fruit

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our thirty-seventh participating post!

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DSC03188So far, Mom and I have noticed that JJ’s favorite fruit tidbits include all varieties of apples.  Mom favors Fujis, Pink Ladies and Honey Crisps therefore we do as well.  Mom told us that when she lived in New Jersey, she picked apples off trees!

A few years back, she visited her friend, Flavia, in Pennsylvania and they picked apples, too.  Mom figured out a way to carry about two dozen apples (4 varieties) home for Koko and I to sample.  In honor of Little Miss Gotcha Day’s special week, we give you apples two ways!

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wassailWith Christmas and New Year virtually upon us, Mom thought you might enjoy a classic beverage: wassail.  Mom said I could google… From WiseGeek: Wassail is a traditional drink served during the winter holidays, including Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Twelfth Night. It is especially popular in northern European countries, where it originates. It consists of a hot, spiced drink, often alcoholic, that most commonly resembles cider in the modern day. Originally, wassail is believed to have been closer to beer.

Zesty Wassail  (this link has 2 other cider recipes!)

  • 2 quarts organic apple cider
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced

Mix all ingredients and bring just to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, or leave on the lowest heat (or in a slow cooker) to keep warm. Serve with orange or lemon slices, or a cinnamon stick.

Mom told us some families serve turkey for Christmas.  She thought you might enjoy this wintery stuffing recipe: (As Mom’s faithful Kitchen K9s, we would love the sausage, celery, apples, and bread tidbits! Just sayin’…)

Artisan Bread Stuffing with Apples and Sausage

  • Artisan Bread Stuffing with Apples and Sausage1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 2 medium tart red apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary 
  • 1 teaspoon thyme 
  • 6 cups cubed day-old artisan bread (1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 cup apple cider

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Add sausage; cook and stir until browned. Stir in apples, cranberries, parsley, rosemary and thyme.

2. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add vegetable mixture, stock and apple cider; toss gently until well mixed. Spoon into lightly greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Cover with foil.

3. Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil; bake additional 20 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned.

Another great apple day.

P.S.  Mom’s writing Servings, her Kitchen Counselor newsletter today (yesterday, too… forgive us for getting super duper behind again…)



Tasty Tuesday: Latkes for K9s or Lassie Latkes*

Hey It’s Jet Here.

tasty tuesdaysHave you enjoyed the Channukah Crawl as much as we have?  Boy oh boy, every post is so informative, interesting and uplifting.  Bet you’re not surprised that we selected to post on Tasty Tuesday!  Have to keep the cred as Mom’s Kitchen K9s you know.  Visit Meandering Moodys for another super Hannukah post.  Head over to Pumpkinpuddy and Spike the Cat tomorrow for more Hannukah celebrations.

We’re sending you to our feline pals Ateret, Livia and Abbi who posted the historical background of Hannukah so beautifully, including the detailed version of why we make latkes or potato pancakes.  (Speed version: the oil was expected to last one night and lasted eight, so, culturally, potato pancakes and donuts are featured.)

4Health concerns have entered the picture over the years, so, now, you can find baked latke recipes in place of fried.  Foodies, chefs and creative cooks have put their spin on ingredients, so, now, you can find: sweet potato latkes, parsnip latkes, spaghetti squash latkes, celery root latkes, beet and carrot latkes, zucchini latkes and Lassie Latkes*! (click here to see the varieties offered at this year’s Latke Festival.)

15Since traditional potato latkes contain onions, Mom knew she would make onion free sweet potato latkes.  Knowing that we enjoy parsnips, too, she thought she would search for a combo recipe.  When she found one that also included a chunky applesauce component, she printed and headed for the grocery store! (fever and all… gotta love Mom!)  Mom will share the recipe below, post photos on her Kitchen Counselor Facebook tomorrow with step-by-step pics and show you the experience from our eyes below.

Sweet Potato and Parsnip Latkes with Chunky 5-Spice Applesauce

For the Chunky 5-spice Applesauce:

  • 6 MacIntosh or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (Mom used Fujis! See us testing below!)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder (Mom loved including this!)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the Latkes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup flour (Mom used whole wheat pastry flour, because she couldn’t find the spelt!)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

To finish:

Directions

For the applesauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the apples, lemon juice, apple cider,lemon zest, 5-spice powder and sugar and stir to mix well. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until apples begin to break down, but are still chunky. Remove from heat and cool.

6For the latkes: On a box grater, grate the sweet potatoes and the parsnips. Combine potatoes and parsnip in a large bowl. Season with salt and toss to combine. Add flour and stir to distribute evenly. Add eggs and stir well. In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil (Mom used about 1/4 inch in her cast iron pan). Form the potato mixture into 3-inch latkes that are about 1/2-inch thick. Add to oil and fry until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and season with salt. Repeat this procedure with all of the potato/parsnip mixture, adding more oil as necessary.

Serve with applesauce, sour cream and green onions.

As my BFF, Savannah, says… click on my pics to bigify!

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Among and within Jewish families, there can be a customs debate… do you eat applesauce or sour cream with your latkes?  Mom’s family was STRICTLY an applesauce family, although after asking her Aunt and my  Nana, they could not tell her why.  Mom’s heritage is predominantly (VBP) Lithuanian, although she’s not sure that contributes any insight.  After some research, Mom came up with two thoughts:

  • The history may be one of whether a family following Kosher Dietary rules wanted a dairy meal (sour cream) or a meat meal (applesauce).
  • Does the family prefer savory (sour cream) or sweet (applesauce)?

We agree and echo all the wishes written by our pals so far and wish to add that Little Miss Festival of Lights, Mom and I hope that all creatures have enough safe food and water to keep them healthy.

Another great sweet potato parsnip with chunky applesauce day!

Tasty Tuesday – Collard Green Cigars

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our thirty-third participating post!

I’m not sure what made Mom give Koko *OTRB*and I collard green stems from her garden a few years back.  Maybe it was Miss Margie, from Bee Heaven Farm, who told Mom how much her dogs loved zucchini and ate them like cigars.  Anyway, Mom was preparing the dish below one day and gave it a try.  We LOVED them.  Mom loved the crunch, crunch, crunch sounds we made as we smoked devoured the stems.  From then on, she set aside stems for us as treats.

When Mom shopped for her UMiami class at the new Publix this weekend, the Organic veggie section looked vibrant.  She selected a bunch of organic collard greens along with her grocery list items for class.

I’ll have her list the ingredients now and you’ll see how JJ liked her first exposure to collard green stems!  Click here to see the full series of recipe photos.

Mom’s Collard Greens with Grains & Turkey Bacon

  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed, sliced into ribbons* (otherwise what’s the point of the recipe I ask!)
  • 1 package of turkey bacon (an extra for her faithful Kitchen K-9s would be thoughtful)
  • 1 onion, chopped**
  • Garlic, grated, diced, or sliced***
  • Ginger, grated, diced, or sliced (optional)
  • Grains****
  • Olive oil
  •  *You can substitute kale, chard, dandelion greens, mustard greens or any combination of same.
  • **Use the size which coordinates to how much you enjoy onions!  You can substitute shallot or scallion if you wish.
  • ***Same rule as onion or you can omit.
  • **** Mom used oat groats, a bit of rye berries and kamut this time already cooked in the rice cooker.  She placed 1 ½ c. grain with 3 cups low sodium chicken stock, with a quarter size circle of olive oil.  She added about 1 cup of cooked grains and used the rest in another recipe.  Feel free to substitute rice, pasta, potatoes – experiment!

Heat a smidge of oil in sauté pan.  Place as many slices of turkey bacon as fit comfortably in pan.  Cook according to package directions.  Remove onto paper towels or straight on to cutting board if not too greasy.  Cut into small pieces when cool enough to handle.

As the turkey bacon cools, heat another tablespoon or so of olive oil in the same pan over medium heat.
(Adjust the amount of oil depending on how much grease your turkey bacon left in the pan.)  Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent.  Feel free to keep going to carmelized!   Add garlic if using, then ginger if using.  Add collard ribbons and stir until they turn kelly green, about 2 minutes.  Add grain and stir to warm.  (Add a little chicken stock or water if the pan is dry.) Add turkey bacon back to mix in.  Add any herbs and spices you enjoy.  Mom used fennel with her onions this time. Sometimes she add sweet red pepper.

Another great collard green stem day.



Tasty Tuesday – String Beans for the Holidays

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our thirty-second participating post!

With Thanksgiving around the corner (for our blogpals in the USA like us), we thought you might like a few new ideas for the classic green bean.  Mom steamed hers this week to go along with a new version of turkey meatloaf with fennel and veggies.  (Remember we tried fennel last week?)

Little Miss I’m Getting into the Veggie Thing snapped up her raw string bean tidbit, while I enjoyed mine in repose (VBP – vocab builder project).  BTW, you can get a glimpse of my racing stripes (requested by Daisy yesterday) in the photo.

Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Bacon

  • 1/4 pound bacon, roughly chopped (Mom says you can substitute turkey bacon or vegetarian bacon as you wish)
  • 1 1/2 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (no fussing, Mom says use whatever vinegar you have on hand…)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 (4 ounces) log goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a papertowel-lined plate to let drain.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and transfer to a large platter. Scatter bacon, cranberries, goat cheese and parsley over the top and serve.

Would you like to try a modern/vegan version of the traditional “Green Bean Casserole?”

Green Bean and Wild Mushroom Casserole

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into thin moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces wild mushrooms (chanterelle, morel or porcini), wiped clean and
  • thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh shiitake or button mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 3 cups Silk Unsweetened Soymilk (Mom would use almond milk!)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • Additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Two 10-ounce bags of frozen cut green beans thawed or 1&1/2 pounds of  fresh green beans cooked in salted water for 5 minutes, then drained.
  • 1. Preheat oven to 30°F. Lightly oil a 2-quart baking or casserole dish.
  • 2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil or butter in a large heavy saucepan,  over medium heat. Add the onions, season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and  cook the onions until slightly browned and soft, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the onions with a spoon and set aside.
  • 3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large heavy saucepan and then add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms over medium high heat, stirring often, until they begin to brown and there is very little liquid, about 5 minutes.  Add the red wine and cook for about 1 minute or until completely evaporated.
  • 4. Sift the flour into the mushrooms and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon over medium heat until the flour is browned slightly in color, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 2 minutes.
  • 5. In a small saucepan, heat the soymilk with the bay leaf to just below the boiling point and turn off heat. Remove the bay leaf and slowly whisk the hot soymilk into the mushrooms, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the saucepan to the heat, bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring often and cook for about 8-10 minutes until it reaches the consistency of a thick cream soup.
  • 6. Stir in the tamari, salt and some freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • 7. Add the green beans and 1/2 cup of the onions. Place in the buttered casserole dish, top with remaining onions and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes.

Another great green bean/string bean day.



Tasty Tuesday: Our first Fennel Flip

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our thirty-first participating post!

Mom likes fennel, however, the bulb usually finds its way into Mom’s class menus before her vegetable bin.  Last week, she shopped at a different Publix location and the fennel packages stood like proper soldiers on their shelf calling for Mom’s attention.

Fennel, a beautiful vegetable, has wispy fronds like a dill plant at the tip of celery-like ribs leading to a greenish, white bulb at the bottom.  Mostly, the bulb is used and the fronds decorate the finished dish.  Fennel helps your digestive process, tastes like licorice and can be used raw or cooked. Mom’s colleague, Miss Diana, told Mom yesterday that in her family, they served a platter of fennel after the Sunday dinner meat course when she grew up.  Fennel seeds serve the same purpose and some cultures chew on them after meals to aid digestion.

Mom added small chopped pieces to her salad preparation and will look up some further ideas for the remaining pieces.  While proceeding through salad prep, she decided to flip us a few small tidbits.  As her faithful Kitchen K9s, we keep open minds to new (safe for K9s) veggies.  Turns out, we really like fennel, too!

Searching through her data base for the remaining fennel, this recipe caught Mom’s eye.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese

  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous, cooked (Mom will use other grains like oat groats, barley, rye and kamut!)
  • 6 Bibb lettuce leaves (Mom will probably leave this out, not practical!)
  • 1 (2.5-ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled
  • Garnish: fennel fronds

Preparation

  • Trim base from fennel bulb; cut bulb into thin strips, reserving fronds for garnish, if desired.
  • Whisk together olive oil and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add fennel strips, bell pepper, olives, and green onions, tossing to coat. Add couscous, and toss lightly.
  • Arrange lettuce on 6 plates. Top with couscous mixture. Sprinkle with goat cheese, and garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.

In her Kitchen Counselor role, Mom suggests adding protein of choice for another version of this yummy salad!  Also, you may need to refresh with a squeeze of lemon on the leftovers as grains soak up dressing!

Here’s another recipe for possible inclusion in your holiday menu planning!

Brussels Sprouts and Walnuts with Fennel and Red Pearl Onions

Another great fennel day.



Tasty Tuesday: Little Red and Yellow Orbs of Goodness

Hey It’s Jet Here.

Before we begin, we want to send out our heartfelt hope that all our friends affected by Hurricane/Frankenstorm, Superstorm Sandy are safe.  Mom hails from NJ, so, she has a good sense of where the storm came ashore yesterday.  When you can, let us know what you need and how we can help in the aftermath.

Thanks to Sugar and Kol for initiating Tasty Tuesdays, today is our thirtieth participating post!

Many regular readers know that as Mom’s faithful Kitchen K-9s, we sit in rapt (VBP – Vocab Building Project) attention when Mom prepares salads.  Grape tomatoes, the red kind or the yellow pear varieties, usually conclude the preparation process because they leave Mom’s cutting board a bit sloppy.  We may also favor them because Mom usually tosses one or two to JJ and I whole so the orbs represent our largest tidbits!

Before JJ arrived, Mom grew several varieties of tomatoes including: cherry, grape and Everglades in our backyard garden during the winter, as do many South Florida residents.  When harvest time approaches, a roster of yummy tomato laden dishes helps show off the hard work.  Here’s Mom’s version of the classic Italian Panzanella Bread salad which flew off her table during her Farmers Market demonstration.

Lori’s Panzanella Bread Salad (Adapted from Regina Cowles and Simply Recipes)

  • 1 tb. Italian Herbs
  • ¼ c. Olive oil (best quality you can afford!)
  • 4 c. slightly dried out rustic bread, cubed or torn in small pieces
  • 1 ½ ripe grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ¼ c. red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ c. arugula leaves, torn
  • 1 bunch basil, torn in small pieces
  • 2 tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Mix Italian Spices into the olive oil, set aside.  Place bread in large salad bowl.  Add tomatoes, onion, cucumber, basil and arugula and toss gently.  Add the vinegar and toss again to blend.  Spoon the olive oil mixture over the salad, add the salt, toss again.  Set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature to allow the bread to absorb the dressing and the flavors. Toss once again before serving.

Mom’s Ideas:

  •  Add some fresh mozzarella or feta,
  • Throw in a few garbanzos or leftover roasted chicken, turkey or tuna
  • Switch spinach or other lettuce varieties for the arugula.

Another yummy grape tomato day!