What's Cooking with Jean
Friday, August 21, 2009 New Site!


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Mark Bittman's Banana Bread

Yes, yes, I know. The rage is Julia Child. I did love the movie. But this cookbook has simplified my life in the kitchen and kept my love affair with food alive. Oddly enough, it was dwindling. Blame it on a newborn, hormones or this city. You can thank my sister.

Even though it doesn't have yogurt OR buttermilk, I present to you my new favorite banana bread recipe.

Mark Bittman’s Banana Bread

8 tablespoons butter, plus some for greasing the pan (I suggest unsalted)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 grated dried unsweetened coconut

Preheat the overn to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas (I just used a whisk). Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients; do not mix more than necessary. Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts, and coconut.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted in the center of the bread will come out fairly clean, but banana bread is excessively moist compared to other breads. Do not overcook.

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Posted by Jeannie :: 1:29 PM :: 0 comments

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Boursin-like cheese spread

Who doesn't love the yummy boursin spread? Well, here's a simple way to do it yourself, use your summer herbs, and not fork over $7 for a great appetizer!

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 T lemon juice
½ tsp garlic powder
fresh basil, dill weed, & parsley chopped
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ tsp celery salt

Use mixer or food processor to blend well.


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Friday, August 07, 2009 Pork Tenderloin with Tomato-Peach Compote

another from Gourmet | July 2009
an amazing use of tomatoes and peaches!
you can also grill the pork, instead of roasting. I preferred browning then roasting.

4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 (3/4-pound) pork tenderloins
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 pound tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 peach, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Mash garlic, ginger, curry powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to a paste. Rub all over pork.

Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on one side, about 5 minutes, then turn over and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 145 to 150°F for juicy meat, 10 to 12 minutes. Let pork rest, uncovered, on a cutting board while making compote.

Add onion to skillet (handle will be very hot) and sauté over medium-high heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and peach and sauté until just softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and, if desired, sugar.

Slice pork and serve with compote.


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Green Beans with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

from July 09 Gourmet

1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
2 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Stir together onion, vinegar, mustard, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Marinate about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook beans in a large pot of well-salted boiling water, uncovered, until just tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large ice bath to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry.

Whisk oil and parsley into onion mixture, then toss with beans.

Beans can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled in a sealable bag. Bring to room temperature, then toss with vinaigrette just before serving.

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Posted by Jeannie :: 5:19 PM :: 0 comments

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Cold summer pie

This has become a summer favorite--my mom's friend, Ann, made this recipe up years ago.

Pie Crust:
1 ¼ C flour
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 C slivered almonds
1/3 C oil
3 to 4 tbsp. water

Combine all and press into a 9” glass pie dish. Flatten with hands and press into sides. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes (until beginning to brown.) Cool completely.

1 C sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 C water
¼ C (1/2 box) lemon jello
4 to 5 cups of sliced peaches and whole blueberries

Bring sugar, cornstarch and water to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in jello. Let mixture cool. Add sliced fruit. Put the fruit/jell mixture into cooled crust and refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream or Cool Whip.


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Friday, June 05, 2009 Pork Medallions with Lemon and Parsley

a delicious, simple use of pork tenderloin. I used two pork tenderloins and used more wine (probably 1 Cup)--the result was great leftovers and more sauce!

1 pork tenderloin (16 to 20 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
Flour for coating, liberally seasoned with salt and pepper

1/2 cup dry, white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon quartered

Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Cut the tenderloin into 1/2-inch-thick slices (medallions) and pound gently (using a flat rolling pin, back of a skillet or meat mallet) between two sheets of waxed paper.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Also, pre-heat large skillet over medium heat with olive oil; when skillet is ready (a pinch of the flour mixture will sizzle), dredge the medallions, one at a time, in the flour mixture and place them in skillet. Cook them over high heat for about 5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature of pork is 160 degrees F. Be careful not to crowd the skillet. Once meat is cooked, remove it from skillet and place on an ovenproof platter. Keep the platter in oven until sauce is ready.

For sauce, pour off all of the fat from the skillet. Return the skillet to the stove and add the wine, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the wine is just about evaporated. Add the lemon juice and stir (there won’t be more than a few tablespoons. Pour sauce over the medallions and garnish with fresh, minced parsley and lemon slices.

Makes 4 servings.

from Mark Bittman


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Saturday, April 18, 2009 Chicken Salad

4 medium chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on or boneless breasts)
olive oil
salt and pepper
about a quarter of a medium sweet onion (or red onion if you prefer)
½ C chopped celery (2 medium stalks)
¼ C chopped almonds, toasted
¼ C chopped green or red pepper
¼ C dried cranberries or cherries
handful of chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rub some olive oil over the chicken breasts and season them with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, depending on how thick the breasts are. The skin does not need to brown; you just want the meat to cook through. Let cool slightly, then peel away the skin (if you didn’t do skinless) and shred the meat. Drizzle the chicken with a bit of the juices from the pan, just to keep it moist.

Combine the onion, celery, peppers, cranberries, almonds, parsley, and shredded chicken in a large bowl.

Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stream in the olive oil, whisking vigorously, until combined.

Pour in the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Refrigerate--better the next day!

This is adapted from this recipe using ingredients I had in my fridge.

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Posted by Jeannie :: 11:45 AM :: 1 comments

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009 Some great sites!

Just thought I'd pass out some blogs/sites that I've been enjoying lately to inspire cooking....

Rarely "healthy" or light but ALWAYS delicious: The Pioneer Woman

Texas Monthly's Food index

Check out the other sites with this one, especially Apartment Therapy for any of you city dwellers

And once again, the one I use probably every other day Epicurious.com

and new to me...this


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Monday, April 13, 2009 Warm Spinach-Orange Salad

a delicious, simple side dish

1 package fresh spinach, stems removed
1 orange, peeled and sliced
1/4 C sliced almonds (toasted, if you prefer)
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp honey

Combine spinach, orange and almonds in a serving bowl.

Bring vinegar, juice, oil and honey to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour over spinach mixture, and toss. Serve immediately.


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Friday, April 10, 2009 happy spring

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009 Crock Pot Chicken with creamy sauce

This recipe is from Southern Living (November 2008) and I liked it, since it's a great 4 hour crock pot recipe, instead of the normal 8-10. (You can always keep it in the crock pot longer than 4 hours, but it's nice to make in early afternoon and then come home around dinnertime and have it waiting!)

I made brown rice and roasted some vegetables on a cookie sheet with olive oil for about 20 minutes on 400 (eggplant, squash, green peppers and onions with rosemary) and then put the chicken mixture on top of the rice and veggies when serving.

I didn't use the packet of Italian dressing mix, and instead stirred in some spices like basil, oregano, and rosemary/thyme.

* 6 skinned and boned chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 lb.)
* 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
* 2 tablespoons canola oil
* 1 (10 3/4-oz.) can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
* 1 (8-oz.) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1 (0.7-oz.) envelope Italian dressing mix
* 1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1. Sprinkle chicken with seasoned salt. Cook chicken, in batches, in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or just until browned. Transfer chicken to a 5-qt. slow cooker, reserving drippings in skillet.

2. Add soup, cream cheese, white wine, and Italian dressing mix to hot drippings in skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.

3. Arrange mushrooms over chicken in slow cooker. Spoon soup mixture over mushrooms. Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours. Stir well before serving.

To make ahead: Prepare recipe as directed. Transfer to a 13- x 9-inch baking dish, and let cool completely. Freeze up to one month. Thaw in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours. To reheat, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake at 325° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.


Posted by Jeannie :: 4:33 PM :: 0 comments

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Crock Pot Pork Loin by Miriam

To all of you asking for crock pot recipes.....

this post by guest blogger, Miriam C. Rudolph, who finds herself a recent bride and future mother like myself :)

This meat was DELICIOUS and sooooo easy. I doubled the recipe (but sliced the meat into two pieces for thorough cooking). It sounds weird (and looks weird when assembling), but the sauce cooks down and tastes neither overwhelmingly like cranberry, nor like chili.

2 pound pork loin
12 oz. chili sauce (I used 98% fat free turkey chili WITHOUT beans -- Hormel brand, I think)
16 oz. can jellied cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Place pork loin in slow cooker.
Mix together chili sauce, cranberry sauce, and brown sugar. Pour over pork.
Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours, and then on low 3-4 hours. (I cooked on HIGH for 10 hours because I was gone all day, and it was great!)
Serve over rice. (we had cornbread instead)


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Friday, January 09, 2009 Beef Stew

I've mentioned before to check out the weekly specials at your grocery store (usually in the Wednesday and Saturday papers), and this is an excellent recipe to use with beef stew meat (beef chuck) when it goes on sale. I use my dutch oven and I've cooked this both in oven and on stove. When I cooked it on the stove, I allowed it to simmer for 2 hours instead of the 2 1/2 hours in the 200 degree oven. Both were great, and I love being able to make in the afternoon and let simmer during the time leading up to dinner. I add steamed carrots and green peas and mushrooms at the end!

  • about 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2" cubes (I usually trim excess fat)
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-large onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Côtes du Rhône, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)
  • steamed carrots, mushrooms, green peas, etc!

Preheat oven to 200°F. Place meat in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large nonreactive soup kettle; add meat to pan in two batches (if needed.) Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding an additional 1 tablespoon oil if necessary. Transfer meat to a platter.

Add onions to pot; sauté until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; continue to sauté for about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour and cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to pan. Add chicken broth, bay leaves and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat and return to a simmer. Cover and place in oven, and simmer until meat is just tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Stew can be cooled at this point, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days.)

Before serving, bring 1 inch water to a boil in a steamer pot. Place carrots in steamer basket and lower into pot. Steam until just tender, about 6 minutes.

Add steamed carrots and uncooked peas to fully cooked stew; cover and let stand to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings and serve.


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Sweet onion dip

a simple appetizer to serve with baguettes, melba toasts, and/or veggies.
compliments of Mandy Booker!

1 C grated Vidalia (or sweet) onion
1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C Parmesan cheese, grated
1 C mayonnaise

Mix by hand and pour into a dish.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Posted by Jeannie :: 1:49 PM :: 0 comments

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Roasted Pineapple with strawberries

A delicious recipe from the Washington Post's food section this past week. I used a combination of fresh strawberries and frozen raspberries last night and even less brown sugar that the recipe calls for, and it was a delicious dessert.

From Stephanie Witt Sedgwick

One of my favorite winter fruits to work with is pineapple. Sweet, juicy pineapples are almost always available. I slice the pineapple and roast it for just 10 minutes, then top it with a strawberry sauce made with frozen berries. It’s a delicious combination and could just as easily be served at a Sunday breakfast or brunch. It also happens to be fat-free.

To make it a little more indulgent, add a scoop of nonfat or low-fat frozen yogurt.

Frozen strawberries are less expensive and better-tasting than the strawberries shipped in from warmer parts of the world. Cooking the berries gives them a deep, wonderful flavor. The sauce is easy to prepare and can even be made a few days in advance. It makes a wonderful topping for yogurt, cottage cheese and pancakes.

Refrigerate any leftover sauce for up to 1 week.

6 servings

  • 1 pound frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 to 4 -pound pineapple, peeled, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices to yield about 1 pound of fruit
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the strawberries, sugar and water in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat; cover partially so the saucepan lid is slightly ajar. Cook until the berries thaw, then uncover and cook until the berries are soft, allowing the mixture to maintain a low boil. In all, the process will take about 25 minutes.

Combine the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add to the saucepan, stirring until the mixture comes back to a low boil. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the sauce is cooling, line 1 or 2 large rimmed baking sheets (depending on the size of the pineapple) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Lay the pineapple slices on the prepared sheet(s) in a single layer, then roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until any excess liquid has evaporated and the slices look dry. (They should not be brown.)

Use a large spoon to mash the cooled berries against the sides of their saucepan to form a slightly chunky sauce. Add the vanilla extract; taste and add sugar as needed.

Divide the pineapple slices among individual plates. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the sauce down the center of the slices and serve warm.


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Saturday, December 13, 2008 Cookbooks for Christmas

While I love the internet and blogs, nothing beats a good cookbook in your hand. I love sitting down in front of my shelf of cookbooks and looking through for ideas. Plus, you don't use more printer paper at your desk! Forget how to best bake a potato? Pull out the Better Homes and Garden standard. Need a casserole? Turn to the good ole church cookbooks from the South. Cooking your first Thanksgiving turkey? Let Julia Child hold your hand through the process. So, if you're wanting to make a wish list of great cookbooks that someone could buy you for Christmas, here are a few that I would suggest!

The Best of BetterBaking
This is an awesome cookbook for anyone who loves to bake. I think my husband went off of a hint from his mom who suggested this book one Christmas. I especially like the section that suggests best flours, cooking gadgets, and fun suggestions.

Any Julia Child
If you pass a rare and used bookstore, stop by and browse the cooking section. I've found some great, old cookbooks there. I found an old copy of From Julia Child's Kitchen on our honeymoon in Maine, and it is becoming a favorite. Even though I had grandmothers and a mother who taught me so much about cooking, you can feel mothered by the voice of Julia Child in any of her books.

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
A great present for newlyweds, or so my sister seemed to think. She says she uses it all the time.

Priceless, old family recipes
Sitting around at Christmas wondering what to talk about with your family? Take the opportunity to sit down with a grandparent and copy an old recipe. Don't let a blog take the place of their handwriting and years of tested recipes.


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Friday, December 12, 2008 Gingersnaps

Christmas at my house as a child meant my mother rolling out gingerbread dough and letting us cut out and decorate trays and trays of gingerbread men, women, and children. The dough, I loved. The baked cookies, I oddly never acquired a taste for. My brother, Daniel, could eat a dozen in one sitting.
But these simple gingersnaps that my mom would make...i love with a glass of milk.
A very simple cookie, no decorating needed.

NOTE: I often double this recipe.

3/4 C butter (a stick and 1/2)
1 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 C molasses
2 C flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Sift all dry ingredients together, set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses. Add dry ingredients and mix. Form 1" balls and roll in a dish of sugar (about 1/4 C.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.


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Wednesday, December 03, 2008 Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika

I'm always looking for simple recipes that I can make ahead of time. This is great to prep in the afternoon, cover with foil and slide in fridge, and then just roast in the oven later in the evening when you need dinner ready. A great way to use those chickpeas in your pantry, and it was even better the next day for leftovers.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
4 chicken breast halves with bones
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Preheat oven to 450°. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in yogurt and set aside for sauce. Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat. Pour bean mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. Serve with yogurt sauce.

(from Bon Appétit | May 2008)


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Matchbox set to open this weekend!

For all of you locals, this is exciting news! Matchbox is set to open this Friday on Barrack's Row!


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Monday, October 20, 2008 Cider Roasted Winter Squash

This is becoming a favorite way to roast veggies. The vinegar provides a great kick. The original recipe from Cottage Living calls for acorn squash, but I've been doing all butternut squash and sweet potatoes.

  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 small sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 small butternut squash (halved, seeded, and cut into 2-inch wedges)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add squash and potatoes and remaining ingredients, and toss to coat. Place vegetables in a single layer on a shallow baking pan, and roast at 400°, turning once, for 50 to 55 minutes or until tender and light golden brown around the edges. Serve immediately or at room temperature.


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Mary's Pizza Dough

1 ounce fresh bakers yeast
1 tablespoon of 100% maple syrup
1 cup of warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
3 cups of white flour
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. A pizza stone works best for cooking the pizza. Place the pizza stone in the oven on the very bottom rack.

Crumble yeast in a small bowl then add ¼ cup of warm water and maple syrup. Stir together and let sit for 5 minutes.

Put flour and salt in a kitchen-aid mixer with dough hook attachment. Give the mixture a quick spin to mix the flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, remaining warm water (3/4 cup) and oil.

Spin on low until the flour and liquids come together. Put the ball of dough in a large bowl and cover with a few drops of olive oil to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with a dish towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough on a floured surface; you can use your hands or a rolling pin. Put toppings on the pizza and bake for 15 minutes at 500 degrees.


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Sunday, October 19, 2008 The Kitchen




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3 months later....here I am.

Ahhh! I was just visiting a friend’s blog and noticed she had a link to What’s Cooking with Jean and underneath it was the phrase “2 months.” I then realized that lets her know how long ago it was that I have posted! And then I counted, it’s been 3 months technically. SO sorry! My newlywed sister also called begging for a change from the long posted vinaigrette recipe.

So folks, here’s the confession and revelation. The past 3 months pulled us through a chaotic, crazy house renovation (including gutting our kitchen), an additional job title at the school where I teach, the first days of school, AND my first trimester of pregnancy. I’m nearly 15 weeks pregnant, so I have not only been kitchen-less but also quite sick.

Probably way more information than you wanted, but honestly, this has revolutionized “What’s Cooking with Jean.”

But I’m back. With new tastes and some new recipes. Oh, and yes, a new kitchen. New kitchens are great things, but the basics haven't changed to what happens to get a meal on the table! And no matter what, dishes still have to be washed.

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Monday, July 21, 2008 yes, another vinaigrette

I took my first ever cooking class (other than some 4-H classes in elementary school) this past weekend. It was awesome. Call it, a birthday present to myself, I suppose. And all thanks to a dear friend, Cathy, who is an assistant at the school. For those of you in the DC area, I highly recommend taking a class. It was worth every cent.

the menu: salade nicoise, seared salmon with braised leeks & fines herbes beurre blanc and creme brulee

and what do I have to share with you? yes, the vinaigrette. Don't get me wrong, the entire menu was amazing. But beurre blanc sauce calls for 2 sticks of butter, and I'm struggling to pass along such fat. Maybe I'll just save that for special occasions. But the vinaigrette was heavenly.
The chef insisted on three things:
1) a very slow, steady stream (no compromises) as you whisk in the olive oil. Droplets even.
2) that we experiment with all salt and pepper measurements.
3) 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar

Here's the adapted recipe. Store in glass jar in refrigerator and shake vigorously before serving.

1 tablespoon wine vinegar
Mix the salt into vinegar to dissolve.
Then add
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Slowly whisk in 1/2 - 2/3 cup of olive oil (by droplets even) to form a smooth "emulsion." Toss in freshly ground pepper.

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Posted by Jeannie :: 12:37 PM :: 1 comments

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Fresh Corn Salad

I'm going to try to make up for the lull in posts for any of you out there that might be following this blog. I could use my sister's wedding as an excuse, some summertime trips or being mid-kitchen renovation (we're gutting it and starting from scratch!), but I've also just been lazy about posting. Send me any requests for particular types of food.

I hope you can enjoy this fresh corn salad with all the summer produce. It's an awesome side dish with grilled meat!

3/4 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears) You can use raw corn or cook for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing off the cob.
1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
1 cup chopped green onions

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add corn and remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.


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Friday, June 20, 2008 whole wheat cinnamon rolls

These are so yummy, I made the recipe 3 times in a week! And yesterday when I made them, I had six 4 & 5 year olds with me. So they are kid-tested and a really fun thing to make with kids. Think about how fascinating it is to find out how the cinnamon gets swirled in the dough!! :)

Note: Butter has to be softened. Doesn't work if you compromise on this.


1 1/2 packages dry yeast (about 3 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm fat-free milk (100° to 110°)
1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Cooking spray

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins (I use golden raisins)

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons fat-free milk

To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm milk and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.

Add butter and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir well. (I use a whisk.) Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Punch dough down; roll into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Coat surface of dough with cooking spray.

To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; sprinkle over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle raisins over dough, pressing gently into dough. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam to seal. Cut the dough into 16 rolls. Place the rolls, cut sides up, in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Uncover rolls. Bake at 375° for 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

To prepare glaze, place powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Add 5 teaspoons milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring to form a thick glaze. Drizzle glaze evenly over rolls.

From Cooking Light, June 07


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Friday, June 06, 2008 France

Provence offering of spices

A little late in posting, but a journey through Italy and France was a delight a few months ago. Here are some of the delicious photos from France to inspire us all to celebrate food.


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Banana Pudding Pie

Banana slices are about the only healthy component, but this is a delicious summer pie! I grew up with an aversion to bananas and definitely to banana pudding. But my first bite of a fresh banana in Rwanda changed that. And leave it to Southern Living to change my opinion about banana puddings!

Note: don't toss the egg yolks. Vanilla Cream filling will call for those to be used.

1 (12-oz.) box vanilla wafers, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large bananas, sliced

Vanilla Cream Filling (see below)

4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

1. Set aside 30 vanilla wafers; crush vanilla wafers (I put them in a ziploc bag and used meat mallet. You could pull out food processor too.) (you should end up with about 2 1/2 cups.) Stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter until blended. Firmly press on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a 9-inch pieplate.

2. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool.

3. Arrange banana slices evenly over bottom of crust. Prepare Vanilla Cream Filling, and spread half of hot filling over bananas; top with 20 vanilla wafers. Spread remaining hot filling over vanilla wafers. (Filling will be about 1/4 inch higher than top edge of crust.)

4. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. Spread meringue evenly over hot filling, sealing the edges.

5. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and let cool 1 hour on a wire rack or until completely cool. Coarsely crush remaining 10 vanilla wafers, and sprinkle evenly over top of pie. Chill 4 hours.


3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together first 5 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until it reaches the thickness of chilled pudding. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will be thick enough to hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted.) Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Use immediately.


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Thursday, June 05, 2008 DC places: Hill's Kitchen

So between the opening of a new Harris Teeter and now this awesome store in our neighborhood, I am pretty excited. Check out Hill's Kitchen
at 713 D Street SE
and you can read more about it, since the Washington Post already gave it a shout-out in their Food section this week!


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Tuesday, June 03, 2008 new, favorite kitchen tool: the garlic twist

The Garlic Twist...

If your local kitchen store carries this, it is worth every penny. So much better than a press.


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Thursday, May 22, 2008 30 ways to be a good guest

Next time you're headed to a bbq, and you offer to bring a dish and then panic...
Check this out!

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Cast Iron Vegetables

I get in "ruts" and make the same thing over and over again. This is a rut right now, but oh what delicious spring side dish.

Preheat oven to 400 as you slice any combo of vegetables (squash, red potatoes, mushrooms in photo.) Prepare cast iron skillet by pouring olive oil to coat the skillet. Heat oil on medium high heat and add a few cloves of minced garlic. Saute for a minute or two. Add vegetables, pepper, fresh herbs, and salt to skillet and toss to coat with oil. I allow vegetables to "brown" slightly (4 to 5 minutes) then slide in the preheated oven until vegetables reach your desired tenderness (usually about 10 minutes).

[ Onions, zucchini, red potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, squash, eggplant...all work well!]


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Pork Chops with Pineapple Relish

I made this a couple of weekends ago visiting my parents as a little mother's day treat for my mom...wonderful dish to welcome summer!

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 (1-inch-thick) boneless pork loin chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dark rum

Toss together pineapple, onion, thyme, vinegar, cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (I also added one shake of ground red pepper.)

Pat pork dry; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté pork, turning once, until well browned and just cooked through but still juicy, 6 to 10 minutes.

Transfer pork to plates. Add pineapple mixture and rum to skillet and sauté, scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Serve pork with relish.


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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Pantry Predicament

I think there are two responses to reading a new recipe.
you scan a recipe.
you notice it has more than 4 ingredients.

#1 go buy every ingredient and end up using it once (maybe twice) and then you have 25 different vinegars, 7 different mustards in your fridge, and 9 different opened boxes of rice and flour products.
#2 you throw your hands in the air and say "this is why I will continue to make my 6 favorite dishes until I die!"

If money grew on trees and I had endless pantry space, I would always be a #1. But I think we should find a balance. I have contemplated studying this further and contracting myself out to houses across the nation as a "pantry stocker expert." Until then, I'll offer from our Food Section this morning, a feature article about what to do with "the biggest pantry -clogging culprits."
In the article was a GREAT resource that I wanted to pass along about spices:

How do you know how old they are? Your nose can often be your guide, but some spice companies are also stepping in to help you analyze and decide. At www.spicecheckchallenge.com, McCormick lets you enter a code from old spice jars that can help you decipher their use-by date. (It also offers other clues: Unless it's black pepper, any McCormick spice in a tin jar or with "Baltimore, MD" on the label is at least 15 years old.) At www.spiceislands.com, Spice Islands lets you register any of that company's products and then get recipe ideas plus an email reminder when that spice is set to expire.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 Strawberry and Fresh Mozerrella Salad

No "recipe" but a salad suggestion...
lettuce + strawberries + fresh mozzarella with balsamic


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dried mangoes meet black beans

Having recently discovered the joy of dried mangoes has been a delightful addition to my life.

my old stand-by when unexpected friends stop by has been a simple dip since I usually have the ingredients on hand...and I tossed in a handful of dried mangoes this weekend and viola! Here you have it.

1 can black beans
1 can corn (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes (Rotel, if I have it) or fresh tomatoes, diced
1 tsp cumin
ground red pepper (a few shakes to a 1/2 tsp...it's up to your taste)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
a quick pour of Italian dressing
(I add fresh cilantro when I have it)
and toss in dried mangoes

serve with chips.


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Wednesday, April 09, 2008 WEDNESDAYS!

yes, it's Wednesday. I've never embraced the term "Hump Day" not to mention, I've never embraced living for the weekend. And just in case you didn't know, Wednesdays are quite a big day in the world of food. why you ask?

1) weekly specials...for those of you on a budget, and really who shouldn't be on a budget?...Check out the weekly specials at your favorite grocery stores on Wednesday mornings. (Either in your newspaper inserts or online.) Almost every store runs their sales Wednesday - Tuesday evening. Have you ever been grocery shopping on Tuesday night and wondered why pickings are slim? I like to check various stores' prices on Wednesday morning for meat and produce and get some ideas for what fun meals are in store. It's better than wandering around the stores letting random cravings guide your buggy.

2) the Food section! The food section is printed on Wednesdays of almost every major newspaper that I know. Recipes, restaurant reviews, food happenings in your area, the list goes on! That also means that the NY Times food section's online clips (like The Minimalist) gets posted on Wednesday mornings.


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Saturday, April 05, 2008 Grown up Mac and Cheese

Dinner with our friends, Jesse and Kristen, this week provided a delicious meal thanks to Kristen. She served this with a mixed salad and asparagus w/ baby tomatoes.
Here's a great recipe for all those men who love mac and cheese...

4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

from Barefoot Contessa


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Friday, April 04, 2008 Why nothing has been cooking with Jean

My new inferiority complex has kept me from posting. Sure, I’ve been busy and out of the country for a couple of weeks, but honestly I have become slightly obsessed with everything I do not know about sausages in their casings, brining meat, wine, truffles and Gruyere. This is a force trying to wreak havoc on what I enjoy and love. No doubt about it.

As mentioned in the last post, books on food haven’t help. They’ve hindered. Remember when you walked into college orientation as a freshman? Suddenly you were a small fish in a very big sea. Maybe you were able to avoid that feeling by going to a college the size of your high school, but then came the job market. Yes, you know that feeling. Well, I’ve been getting to know food snobs and those self-acclaimed “experts” in books, France, blogs and my local market. I could blame these influences on creating an inferiority complex, but I should confess to you that I feel inadequate now to type anything from my youthful, inexperienced, and middle class fingers.

Enter my mother and Granny. Thankfully, they didn’t let this larger world hinder them from enjoying food, teaching me how to pick strawberries, cut shortening into a bowl of flour, fry okra, cut corn delicately off the cob, peel a cantaloupe, and delight in putting a meal on the table. You should see the sheer delight plastered on my mom’s face as she puts her fork in the mound of fresh field peas topped with her homemade chow-chow or the sight of her petite frame wearing grubby clothes carefully picking baskets of green beans.

So, I must press on. In most areas of my life, I tend to focus on what I do not want to be. Materialistic, complacent, unaware of the larger world’s needs, inhospitable, predictable, unfaithful…the list goes on and on. But my April’s Resolution is to think about what I know I was made to be. More like my own mother who fights against these fears by loving and serving others and embracing the simple joys of this life.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008 Talking with My Mouth Full

For all of you out there who have been struggling with this flu going around, I joined your company this week. The lingering sick has provided time for me to quickly plan for our trip that we leave for on Thursday, as well as finally read this book by someone from our neighborhood.

A year ago, my mother-in-law asked if this was indeed the neighborhood where we lived, after she read the book from her local library. The book is not only great press for our neighborhood ("it is very much like a village within the city"), but the recipes and words surround them are beautiful reminding me why i love this thing we called food.

From one of my favorite chapters, "An Ode to Toast"
There is an innocence and purity about toast that you turn to in times of need. You smell toast and you feel better. Let it snow. Let it get dark at 4:30. You're in a warm house, wearing fuzzy slippers and a flannel nightgown, and you're making toast. If you're really lucky, you have a shaker filled with cinnamon and sugar.

if you want her amazing recipe for "Toast," you'll have to buy the book. For now, I need to return this borrowed copy to my dear friend.


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Why I Never Buy Vinaigrette

By Mark Bittman

Naturally fresh? I don’t think so. In fact, just by looking at the list of more than fourteen (I stopped counting at that point — my eyes aren’t that good) ingredients on the one-ounce container of vinaigrette dressing I was given on an airplane recently, I could tell there was little fresh or natural about the stuff.

And without dismissing every brand out there — as I’m sure some are well intentioned (though still not very good) — my belief is that there’s never a good reason to buy vinaigrette. It’s just too easy to make your own.

Vinaigrette in its purest state is acid and oil combined, with other added ingredients up for grabs. The acid is usually vinegar, but it can also be freshly squeezed lemon, lime, or other citrus juice.

The oil is most often olive, but can be any nut or neutral oil you like. Then of course, you have to choose the ratio of acid to oil, whether to emulsify or not, what other flavors to add, but pretty much any way you go with it, it’s going to be tough to hit ten, let alone more than a dozen — many of which I can’t pronounce let alone tell you why they’re in there.

I know some people are intimidated by vinaigrette. I think this comes from the belief — put out there by some chefs and cookbooks — that the only way to make it is to slowly add the oil so you don’t “break” the dressing as you feverishly whisk it. And of course, this works fine.

But you can also put all your ingredients in a jar and just shake it. Or use a blender, which works perfectly and even gives creamy results. Or, drizzle your oil over your salad and add a squeeze of lemon. At the end of the day, it’s still vinaigrette, and still better by a factor of zillions than anything you can buy. Cheaper, too, unless you start stealing these little packages from airplanes.



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Tuesday, February 12, 2008 Flourless Chocolate Cake

I try not to reveal my intense love of chocolate on this blog. But just looking at this recipe again, I had to run downstairs and break off a piece of dark chocolate.

This past weekend, I made a little pre-Valentine's dinner for some couples who were visiting us. We were all craving chocolate so I made this cake and garnished with a few slices of strawberries and a chocolate sauce. Kahlua, raspberries, caramel would all be nice too. I used bittersweet, and I highly recommend. This is a staple recipe to keep around when you need a nice, but simple dessert. Here's to celebrating those we love.

12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

6 large eggs, separated
12 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper or waxed paper; butter paper. Wrap outside of pan with foil.

Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, stirring often.

Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Fold lukewarm chocolate mixture into yolk mixture, then fold in vanilla extract. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until top is puffed and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack (cake will fall).

Gently press down crusty top to make evenly thick cake. Using small knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Place 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round atop cake. Invert cake onto tart pan bottom. Peel off parchment paper.

*watch the time on this, because I think 40-50 minutes is more accurate.
*I served warm from the oven but I think this would be great made in advance.

from Bon Appétit | January 1999


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Friday, February 01, 2008 gadgets

A perfect way to start February...a deep chill in the air (but not the raw cold that inhabited January), rain that rushed through the gutters along the street reminding me that spring will come, and a fire at home. My confession: I'm making the carrot soup again right now. Get ready, I might start a slight obsession with cilantro. I have no new recipes to share right now; however, after tomorrow night (I'm cashing in my Christmas present from my husband and going to a restaurant that I've been lusting for since before it opened) I'm hoping that my palate will be invigorated.

Until then, I thought a winter day would be a great time to share just a few favorite gadgets.

Zester wonderful for lemons, Parmesan, and ginger

Bowl keep batters in this if you're not ready to use immediately

pastry scrapper Yes, a random tool. Not sure where I got the one I have, but this one is similar. I love using this to cut bars and brownies, as well as slicing edges of crusts and biscuits when I roll them out.

Pastry blender can not remember life before this fork (thanks, mother)


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Saturday, January 26, 2008 Carrot Coriander Soup

At first glance, you might think this is a weird combination of tastes. Carrots + cilantro (also known as coriander) + nutmeg? Yes, I assure you it's a delicious soup for these cold winter days. Introduced to me by the one and only Hannah Gilbert-Smith.

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a pot. Add 1 large onion (chopped.) Saute with pot covered for about 10 minutes.

Add 2 cloves of garlic (minced) and one bag of carrots (sliced thinly.) Continue to saute for about 4 minutes.

Add 3 cups of chicken broth, 1 tsp of nutmeg, and 1 tbsp of cilantro.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Puree in batches through blender or with immersion blender.

Add about 1 C milk (or cream, if desired.)


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Friday, January 18, 2008 DC places: Le Pain Quotidien

This article got my attention earlier in the weekend, and a dear friend and I headed for lunch today. Little did I know she was driving to Le Pain Quotidien.
One of the best salads I've had in ages. Mesclun, pecans, three cheeses, and pumpkin seeds with a drizzle of pesto and fresh baked bread.
So next time you're in Georgetown....
Le Pain Quotidien
2815 M St NW


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Basmati rice

This is quickly becoming a staple side dish. Depending on the night, I change the "add-ins" listed below.

teaspoon olive oil

1 cup uncooked basmati rice (white or brown)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pour olive oil in skillet over medium-high. Add rice and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until rice is lightly toasted. Add 1 cup water, broth, and salt to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes (or so) before stirring in freshly ground pepper and
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
fresh basil and/or thyme and oregano

*adapted from several Cooking Light articles


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Thursday, January 17, 2008 no recipe attached...

No recipe. just suggestion.

My father once admonished me to stop wallowing around in self-pity, "get up, get out, sing, and do something for someone else." There's a lot of truth in those simple words.

So, if you happen to be struggling with ever changing moods, discouragement, and all of the changes of this life, take a break and do some baking with a friend. I invited my friend (who happens to be a four year old with an adorable British accent) for an afternoon of baking cookies and sipping on warm milk.

I couldn't stop smiling. My little friend ended up snoring and drooling.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2008 Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Yes, another cranberry recipe. But I can't help passing this along. It's becoming a real favorite for just a little sweet treat but also good for an addition to a brunch or shower. The hint of orange mixed with cranberry is wonderful!
adapted from the Washington Post's December Cookie Section

• 2 cups fresh (frozen if necessary) cranberries
• 1/2 cup sugar
• Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange (about 2 teaspoons)*
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking)
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with a double thickness of aluminum foil so that the foil extends beyond 2 opposite ends of the pan. Fold the overhang down to form handles. Lightly grease the foil with the spray.

For the filling: Combine the cranberries, sugar and orange zest in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the filling has thickened and reduced to about 1 cup.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter and use your fingertips to work it into the dry ingredients until well combined; the mixture will be crumbly. Press half of the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and spread the cooled cranberry filling on top. Sprinkle the remaining crumbly mixture over the filling and gently press into an even layer.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is evenly browned.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Run a knife around the 2 inside edges of the pan to release the bars from the sides. Lift up on the foil handles to remove the bars from the pan. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 16 bars. Cool completely before storing.

*One day when I was mid-baking, I realized I didn't have an orange in the house. I added about 2 tbsp. of Cointreau liqueur and it worked just fine keeping the hint of orange.


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Friday, December 14, 2007 once again, a must watch: The Minimalist

Can't recommend enough. In a world where recipes and cooking shows make cooking and life seem so complicated this guy brings sanity to it all.


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Thai Ground Beef

This has become one of our favorites to throw together with ground beef or turkey on those weeknights when you crave a little Thai.

a few thinly sliced green onions
about a tsp. of minced garlic
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. grated lime rind
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (optional)

3 cups rice or noodles

Coat a skillet with cooking spray. Add onions; sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add beef; cook 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. (Drain grease, if necessary.)
Stir in curry powder and tomato sauce; cook until half of liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes). Add milk and next 4 ingredients (through fish sauce); cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
I serve over rice or noodles. (Sprinkle fresh cilantro if you'd like and green onions.)


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007 DC places: Big Bear Cafe

For those of you in DC, you should check out Big Bear Cafe if you're ever in the area (First and R St, NW--very close to Washington Hospital Center.) I had a delicious cup of coffee yesterday afternoon...

Great press today in the Post

and here is their website!


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Sunday, November 11, 2007 La Bebe Shower

La Bebe Shower was produced Saturday at my home by the desire of 10 women who wanted to celebrate our dear friend (who loves all things French) and her daughter who we pray will arrive in December....

Our menu for the 40 or so women who dropped by:
Gratin dauphinois
plat des immersions assorties
Petits Pissaladières
potato leek soup
Parisian cookies

Potato Leek Soup
I was forced to tweak the "fancy" Martha Stewart recipe since I lacked the cheese cloth to make a bouquet garni. Here's my version:

3 small bay leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 quart homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
3/4 cup milk
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat butter and oil in saucepan. Add leeks and shallots; cook on medium-low heat until very soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown. Add potatoes, chicken stock, and top with bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce to gentle simmer. Cook until potatoes are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Working in batches, pass soup through blender. Warm over medium-low heat. Slowly stir in milk and cream; season with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley. Once milk is added, do not boil. Spoon into small cups; serve hot or cold, garnished with parsley.

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Friday, November 02, 2007 Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos

A mom of one of my student's passed along this delicious burrito idea! I have always loved sweet potatoes, and since I have a huge bin filled with my uncle's sweet potatoes from SC, I'm learning some fun ways to use this vegetable. And an interesting tidbit:

“The Nutritional Action Health Letter rated 58 vegetables by adding up the percentages of USRDA for six nutrients) Vitamins A and C, folate, iron, copper, and calcium), plus fiber. Sweet Potatoes topped the list with a whopping 582 points; its nearest competitor, a raw carrot came in at 434.”

3 cups of peeled and diced sweet potatoes
½ onion, chopped

Saute in large frypan in 1 tablespoon oil until just tender.
(Add apple juice as needed to prevent sticking. )

1 can of black beans
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Add and cook until heated through.

8 wheat tortillas
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese (shredded)

Divide bean mixture and cheese among the tortillas and roll up. Place in a 9x13 inch baking pan. Lightly spray tops of burritos with cooking spray or olive oil.

Cover pan with foil (I didn't do and they were crunchy on top which we loved)
and bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with sour cream, salsa and fresh cilantro.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007 Green Pea Soup


2 medium shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 or 2 boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups water
1 lb frozen baby peas (3 1/2 cups), thawed
1 tablespoon crème fraîche or sour cream, either one mixed with 1 teaspoon water

Cook shallots in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add potato and salt and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Add water and simmer, covered, until potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
Add peas and simmer, uncovered, 2 minutes.

Purée in batches in a blender (if you'd like, you can then pour through a sieve.)
Reheat soup and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle servings with crème fraîche.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007 Banana Nut Muffins

a simple and tasty recipe for anyone who loves banana bread...

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine flours and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine banana and next 4 ingredients (through egg) in a bowl; stir well. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; fold in nuts. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups.

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.


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Tuesday, October 09, 2007 The Gourmet Shop's Apple Bread

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks. It includes great tips all throughout!

The Gourmet’s Shop Apple Bread


2 cups warm water
2 tbsp. Instant yeast
½ C (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate (optional)
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 C sugar
1 ¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
5 to 6 cups bread flour

5 to 6 large apples (I used McIntosh), peeled or unpeeled, cored and diced (about 4 to 5 cups)
½ C fresh or dried cranberries
¾ C sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1. Hand whisk the water and yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Stir in the butter, apple juice, vanilla, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and 5 cups of flour. Mix to make soft mass. Turn on mixer (with dough hook) on the lowest speed of the mixer for 8 to 10 minutes, gradually adding more flour as required until a soft and elastic ball of dough is formed. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray, and place the dough into the bowl. Place either wax paper over the bowl or the bowl inside of large plastic bag. Put in a warm (free from drafts) place, and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.

2. Gently deflate the dough. Spray the top with nonstick cooking spray and return to the bowl. Cover again and let rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the filling by tossing together ingredients.

3. If you are going to use 2 loaf pans (instead of one very large loaf pan) separate the dough into 2 balls and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a circle. Press ¼ of the filling onto each circle (as seen in the photo.) Fold the dough over to completely cover the apples. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin to distribute the apples, and then press the remaining filling into the top of the dough. Fold the dough over again and pinch the edges to seal. (Dough will be bulky and some apples may push through, which is fine.) Shape the dough into an oblong, flat roll and place into loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let rise for 30 to 50 minutes, covered, in a warm place.

4. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until well browned. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

Some side notes....

**If you are an owner of a Kitchen Aid mixer, this is an excellent use of that machine! Simply put on your dough hook, and you can leave the mixer "kneading" for 8-10 minutes.

**When the recipe calls for bread flour, it means bread flour. :) Highly recommend King Arthur.

**You may substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast, but allow for a slightly longer rise period.

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Posted by Jeannie :: 7:24 PM :: 0 comments

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