Monthly Archives: January 2015

Public Service Announcement

First of all, let me say right out that I don’t have any connection with the software/app I’m going to be plugging today.  I just really love it.

I got my iPad shortly after the original one came out. I looked around long and hard for a cooking/recipe app that would save my own recipes.

I finally decided on a recipe app called Paprika.  At the time, it was expensive as far as apps go.  Most were $1.99 or less, but this was a bit higher.  I loved it instantly.  You can browse the web through the app and automatically download recipes from many different sites automatically.  For those sites that aren’t compatible, you can just copy and paste the recipes.  Unfortunately, at the time it was only available on Mac and iPad.

I’m an Android phone type of gal.  Then it became available on Android.  I immediately bought that version.  The two versions sync well and now whether or not I have my iPad with me, I always have my phone.  I can easily look up recipes when I’m in the grocery store.

Then tonight I found out that there has been a Windows version for a couple months now.  I immediately downloaded that.  I do most of my recipe browsing on my computer so now I can save recipes and they automatically sync with my other devices.

The downside is that each of the different versions have to be bought separately.  You can’t just buy once and use it on different platforms.  To me, that makes sense since the programming required for each of the platforms is different.

If you’re a foodie like me who loves technology, this is a great app.  Whether you have Apple products, Windows products or Android products, you’re covered.  And they all sync up perfectly.


When you whine about a mediocre snowfall, karma is a bitch

Saturday, as luck would have it, we only got about 6 inches of snow.  I thought that we were doing pretty well until I saw the news last night.  Seems that Monday night into Tuesday and all through the day on Tuesday we’re going to get smacked by a huge winter storm.

snowfall_fim

This is our snowfall forecast.  And to think I was whining about 4 to 6 inches.  I suppose it could be worse, though.  We could live in the eastern part of the state (Massachusetts) where they are expecting more than 2 feet of snow.

Today I’m pretty sure that Dinah had her first ever experience with Greenies.  We were out near a PetSmart, and being the great mom that I am, we stopped in to buy Greenies for each of the dogs.  I’m not sure if Nicholas has had any before but I’m pretty sure it was Dinah’s first time.  And Hannah, well as far as Hannah is concerned Greenies are the equivalent of doggie crack.  Needless to say, I had three very happy dogs tonight.


A Post About Nothing

You know, sometimes life just gets pretty boring. Not that that is a bad thing….most of the time. But it does make it difficult to come up with snappy and interesting blog posts.

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Dinah, on the other hand, finds things interesting in the strangest ways. She’s really big into decapitating and de-stuffing her stuffed squeaky toys. She’s also been interested in de-stuffing my quilts. Now, granted, I’m no Harriet Hargrave when it comes to quilting but it’s still disheartening to find a hole chewed in one of my quilts.

In other news…
• I reformatted my hard drive on my laptop computer and I’m in the process of putting everything back together.
• I promise that this time I will be more careful to keep my hard drive organized.
• It appears that I have not lost anything in the reformat. (That’s really strange – I, invariably, forget to back up something).
• I’ve been continuing to play with cooking in the pressure cooker.
• I’m so ready for summer, but we’re supposed to get 4-8 inches of snow Saturday. (To me, Saturday is “tomorrow” but since it’s nearly 2:30 am, Saturday is really today)

As sad as it is, that’s all the news that’s fit to print.


Wok Wednesday!

I belong to a group online called Wok Wednesdays which is a group of people who like to stirfry and are working their way through the book Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, by Grace Young. It is a great book, look for it at your local bookseller or here is a link on Amazon.  it is also available for the Kindle and the Nook.

To be honest, I’m the new member of the group and this is the first recipe I’ve cooked along with the group but I have had this book for a while. I’ve always had a really hard time with Chinese food. It turns out what I’ve been doing wrong is overfilling the  wok. And this book has helped me with that.

This week’s recipe was Chinese Indian Chicken Manchurian. The author tells us that she got this recipe from the Cantonese chefs at a restaurant in New York City. The family of the owner of Chinese Mirch restaurant also own Chinese restaurants in India. This recipe is of the type you would find in India in a Chinese restaurant.

Chinese Indian Chicken Manchurian

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1/4 inch bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons of mashed garlic +1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons peanut vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1-2 Thai chilies cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions

The best way to get a really good result from this recipe is to run out to buy this book. Ms.  Young gives specific directions that really makes all the difference in the world to the success of this dish. I’m afraid that I can’t just copy  her directions because that would be a copyright violation and I’m not going to do that. I could put the instructions in my own words but then you would feel that you were getting the complete recipe and if I didn’t tell you something exactly right and the dish didn’t come out well then y you’d blame her. And I don’t want that either. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to give you just an overview. Please do get the book and try this recipe you won’t be disappointed.

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As with any Chinese food lover, I first spent a few moments gazing at the wonderful patina I am developing on my  wok.

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Then I mixed the cornstarch, garlic, ginger, some of the oil, and some water, poured it over my chicken mixed well and then stored in the refrigerator for about half an hour.

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Next I started by stir frying my chilies and my onions, added the garlic and cilantro.  Added the chicken and stir fried until it was almost done. Then I swirled in my sauce ingredients and finished cooking the chicken through.

Finally, I served it over steamed rice.

20150114_162056unfortunately, I didn’t have any green onions to garnish the dish with. It would’ve been so much prettier if I had.

This is a really good, spicy chicken stir-fry. I think that if I had added some broccoli or some other vegetable it would have just pushed it over the top. I definitely recommend the book and this recipe, and in particular.


Penne Pasta with Black Beans

I’m absolutely a horrible blogger.  I made a delicious supper tonight and failed (AGAIN!) to get any pictures of it.  I swore that I’d do better with pictures this time around the blogosphere.

chipotle-pepper-can-150x150The recipe (below) calls for one chipotle pepper.  They are sold in cans at your local supermarket — usually in the Mexican food section.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or freezer paper.  Use a spoon to transfer one pepper and some of the sauce to a spot on the paper.  Then transfer another and another.  Put the cookie sheet in the freezer.  After they are frozen, transfer the frozen peppers to a zip top bag and store in your freezer.  You’ll have a chipotle pepper ready whenever you need it.  They thaw quickly, too!

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen’s book The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles.  I seldom ever have plain Monterey Jack cheese on hand.  I substitute what I have on hand.  Sometimes that’s pepper jack, but tonight it was a combination of cheddar and mozzarella.  The one chipotle pepper gives it a pretty nice bite.

Penne Pasta with Black Beans

  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounces penne pasta, cooked
  • 1 chipotle chile, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and chipotle chili and cook for about 1 minute more.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until it thickens a bit.
  4. Add the beans and warm through.
  5. Salt to taste.
  6. When penne is cooked, drain it and return it to its pan.
  7. Add the sauce, cheese, and cilantro to the pasta and stir.

Even my husband, who isn’t a fan of Meatless Mondays, doesn’t whine on Monday when I cook this.


Log Cabin Quilt

I’m working on a Log Cabin quilt.  I’ve never made one before; I’m more of a stars type of gal.  I’m really enjoying the simplicity of just sewing strips though. There’s really no rhyme or reason to my coloring of the blocks.  I meant there to be at first but that would have ended up driving me nuts.  I’m really liking all the different looks of the quilt blocks (I’m making 2 each of every colorway) but this one — tonight’s squares — have won my heart so far.

Capture

I’m usually not one for the bright colors.  That’s my husband’s tastes.  I’m more of a beige and brown and cream sorta gal.  But I really do like this pattern,.

As of now, I have 14 of 80 squares completed.


Tortellini at Chez Maple

Ah… I made sure I took pictures while making supper tonight all so I could share them with you, dear readers.  My computer had different ideas .about that,  though.  You will soon see what I mean.

Tonight I decided to make tortellini for supper. I keep trying to find new things to make for Monday’s supper since I’ve been doing Meatless Monday and Jody (the husband) just doesn’t think that dinner is a dinner without meat. I went all out tonight. I decided to make cheese tortelliniin a cream sauce, both from scratch. Who could say that that isn’t a full meal just because there is no meat? I’ll tell you who! Jody.

Anyway, first I made the pasta dough. It was simply 3 cups of flour, two large eggs, a teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. I used my KitchenAid pasta roller attachment and rolled out sheets of pasta to the number six setting on the rollers.

Next I cut them into 2 inch squares.

IMG_0157 I swear I really did take a picture of this. However, the picture has disappeared into the recesses of space.

Next I made up some tortellini filling using 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese  1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped spinach (I used frozen spinach, thawed it and squeezed it to remove excess water), one egg, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.  After mixing up the filling I put it in a Ziploc bag and snipped off the cornersaid that I could use the bag as a pastry bag.

IMG_0158I put about a quarter teaspoon of filling on each one of the pasta squares.  See previous comment about picture taking.

20150105_161555Finally I shaped them into tortellini.  See? I really did make them. I have seen prettier tortellini but these made me happy.

My next task was to make the sauce. I decided tortellini I wanted a tomato-cream sauce.

Tomato Cream Sauce for Tortellini

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large skillet, sauté the onion in oil until it’s tender.   Add garlic; cook 1 min. Add the tomatoes, spinach, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 min.
  2. Stir in the cream and Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 min. or until thickened.
  3. Meanwhile cook your tortellini according to package instructions or 3 to 5 min. for freshly made tortellini and toss with sauce.

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It was super yummy. My husband, Jody, would’ve preferred it with chicken. He was born and raised in Kansas where a meal isn’t a meal if it doesn’t have meat.