Foodie Blogroll

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Baked Gnocchi

 Even though it is still very warm here in Florida, there is nothing better than a baked comfort dish. We often do a quick stove-top gorgonzola gnocchi which is great, but this one really hit the spot. Using what I had on hand, fresh tomatoes and greens...that does seem to be a common thread with me...and cotija and fresh asiago cheese (I know that's strange but it's what I had). If you want it more saucy you can add tinned chopped tomatoes.

 Baked Gnocchi with Tomato and Spinach
  • 1 package gnocchi (500g)
  • 1 teaspoon herbs (you can use Italian I use Penzey's Parisien Bonnes Herbes )
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves (or garlic seasoning)
  • 3 tablespoons grated cotija (or Parmesan)
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste or 2 T tomato sauce if that is what you have 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons cream/yogurt
  • large handful fresh spinach, chopped (or chopped frozen) 
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 oz mozzarella, sliced
Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package. In the meantime, make the sauce, in a sauce pan add a little oil, heat it and add the garlic and paprika and cook for 30 seconds, then add all of the tomatoes and the sugar, allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream/yogurt, spinach and seasoning. When the gnocchi is floating at the top remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce, stir in the cotija/parmesan cheese...transfer to a baking  top with the mozzarella. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
 Of course you can add bacon or mushrooms or kale or cilantro, or any kind of cheese you make it your own. I have just started using gnocchi, and my daughter just loves it enough so she will prepare it herself! Now I will have to have her make the gnocchi from scratch!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

I originally posted this so long ago on my first blog Aqua Sunday. I make this all the time to bring to gatherings and everyone asks for the recipe, my daughter's school just says "you'll bring your orzo salad right?" well yesterday I told my sister that it was on my blog when she asked for the recipe and she said she couldn't find it...oops wrong blog, so I moved it hereto my food blog where it belongs.

I first bought something like this at the Granary in their deli area. All I had was a list of ingredients, but I liked it because it had lemon juice instead of vinegar. It was a really nice pasta salad so I added a few other ingredients and tweaked it a bit the way I liked it. I do make a similar salad using Quinoa I sometimes add tomatoes to that. So feel free to do the same thing add what you like.
It's nice for a light summer lunch or a side dish. Again I had to measure when I made it, usually I just toss the ingredients in. So here it goes.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

1 C orzo (uncooked) cooked per package directions
1/4 C Greek Olive Oil (you don't have to use Greek olive oil, but you should try it. it's great).
2 T lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp marjoram (or you can use oregano)
1/2 tsp mint
1 clove garlic minced (or granulated garlic works really nice here)
1/2 cup spinach leaves chiffonade
1 2.25oz can sliced black olives (or 2oz Greek olives, sliced)
4 oz Feta Cheese
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Feel free to add grape tomatoes, or cucumbers if that is what you like.

Set cooked orzo aside and let it cool some. In another bowl whisk olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. Toss with remaining ingredients, end with salt and pepper. Let cool in refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Quick, easy and tasty!

(Karen it's on my blog now! Sorry for the delay!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ginger Mango Boba or Bubble Tea - and some vintage finds

Bubble tea or boba is such a fun drink. We bought some at a Vietnamese store next to my husband's shop, it was good but they made it with the powder flavors and it just tasted so artificial. So time to make it at home with fresh ...or frozen fruit.


I found some of the large tapioca pearls at the same Asian store, I have some black ones too. I couldn't find anything but the quick-ready in 5 minutes ones.

Cook them in boiling water and then pour honey or sprinkle with brown sugar, stir and let them cool. I cooked 1/2 cup in 2-3 cups water. Let the water boil first then add the tapioca pearls, cook according to the directions or for 15 minutes then turn off the heat and let set for 15 minutes, then drain, sprinkle and cool until ready to use.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  •  1-2 tea bags (green or black tea)
  • 3 pieces or peeled and cut ginger
  • honey or sugar to taste
  • 1 cup milk (coconut, almond, sweetened condensed, any milk you like) to taste
  • 1/2 cup mango puree, or any fruit nectar that you like ( I should of used more)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cooked cooled tapioca pearls

In a sauce pan heat up the water and add the ginger and let it cook for about 10 minutes...add the tea bags and if using sugar add it now so it will dissolve...let steep until tea is nice and strong and sugar dissolved, if using honey add it after the tea is strong and turn off the heat so honey is not cooked just dissolved. If using sweetened condensed milk add it to the warm tea mix so it will melt a little. Remove the tea bags and ginger pieces and let cool some before combining.

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker (I added the pearls last) or just mix it all up really good add the pearls and serve with a fat milk shake straw so you can suck up all those yummy, soft, chewy tapioca pearls...and enjoy.

I has been hard for me to keep up with all my posts, so sorry to fall so far behind. We went up to Michigan to help my sisters go through my parents estate, it was a long and hard process and something we all never thought we would be doing so soon and all at once like this. It did bring back so many things that my mom had hung onto from our childhood. They were in this house for about 25 years, before that were in the house we all grew up in, so it was a treasure to use to have some things that were in our childhood house.

Anyway I'm back and I wanted to share some of my thrift store vintage finds. Going through the family items reminds me of my many vintage things I pick up along the way...many thing I already got was because I remember my mom using them so I find one for myself. I was lucky enough to get her pyrex nesting mixing bowls in primary colors. My mom had told me she was able to find a replacement for the one little bowl she had missing for many years.

I don't have this color anywhere in my kitchen, but these came with two lids and were a nice smaller size.
One of my favorite thrift store find is this pink pyrex mixing bowl...just the one, but it was a steal at 3 dollars.
This is the first I've seen some Fire King luncheon plates, kind of an odd size at 7 1/2" in the milk glass, with pretty pink flowers, I got 11 of them.

And two milk glass custard dish in the "blue heaven" pattern. This is just a few I will be sure to post my mom's mixing bowls and more as we go later.

I sure hope you try to make your own bubble tea, again it can be made any flavor you like!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dip

 I have been enjoying all of the Buffalo chicken items the restaurants are offering now. I first had this dip at a place we went to for my work Christmas gathering the year before last. Served piping hot with melted cheese over the top, big crisp tortilla chips to dig into it with. yum!

You know I have to make my my family (mostly my daughter) loves to eat it up too.

 So basically this is what I did to create my version.

Nothing is exact but I'll give you about what I used.

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken would work great)
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing (I added some ranch dressing powder)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup red hot sauce like Franks
  • 1/4 cup of blue cheese (I like blue cheese, but you can leave it out)
  • 6 oz shredded cheese to sprinkle on top

Shred or dice up the cooked chicken then set aside. In a glass bowl mix the cream cheese, I used the microwave just a bit to soften it enough to stir around. Add the hot sauce and adjust it to your liking...more or less depending on how hot you like it. Mix in the milk and dressing, I used powdered ranch mix and some powdered blue cheese dressing mix I picked up at a new bulk food store near us that just opened, but you can use the dressing. Add enough liquid to get a nice consistency to add all that chicken and mix it up well. Pour it into a baking dish and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top whatever cheese you like I used a Cheddar Jack blend. Bake in a medium hot oven (350°) for 20-30 minutes until heated through and cheese is bubbly and nicely melted.

 Serve with some good thick tortilla chips so they won't break when you dip into it.

 This is the only way my daughter will eat blue cheese. She first was okay with Gorgonzola cheese when I made the Gorgonzola gnocchi from Trader Joe's not too strong, and I didn't tell her it was a blue cheese until after she ate now she is willing to get a little more adventurous with blue cheese, but with all the ingredients here it is not too strong at all....she must not mind it because she finished the dip the next day for lunch. Do you like blue cheese?

A great dip for the weekend! Dig in!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Make your own Ginger Liqueur

This is my new favorite drink!! I have always liked ginger, (how do you like the above photo in front of some of my ginger plants?) even as a child I loved ginger cookies, but I've never really liked ginger ale except for Vernor's...but it wasn't until I was in England in the lake district and tasted some of the best gingerbread that I've ever had. That is when I discovered I love crystallized ginger too. I was searching for a recipe that was like that wonderful gingerbread, and have not found one yet. I did come across a really good recipe for ginger shortbread cookies with crystallized ginger. I now make them every Christmas and then some.

When I asked my friend Biren of Roti n Rice if she ever made ginger ice cream and she came up with this great Ginger Tea Ice Cream
I have not tried to make this yet because I would be the only one eating it. That was before my daughter started drinking ginger tea... is just one of the kind  that she enjoys...this is so good on toast too. Now I know she would eat the ginger ice cream along with me, she enjoys ginger as much as I do.  So that's on my summer "to make" list.

She isn't old enough for the ginger liqueur, but that's okay! Let's get started...

I've been experimenting with some infused vodka lately and I will post some of those later. I used organic vodka and organic that was fun. The ginger vodka will take a little longer, but using brandy in can be ready to drink in a few days. I used mostly all organic except I could find organic brandy.

  •  2 ounces or more of organic ginger root (I like the bite of strong ginger taste)
  •  1 organic vanilla bean
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (scant, not packed unless you like it really sweet)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sugar (scant)
  •  1 1/2 cups water 
  •  1 orange I used a few strips of peel only non of the white part
  • 1 1/2 cups brandy
  •  I added a tablespoon or so of the ginger tea too

 Peel the ginger and cut it into thin slices. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Bring the ginger, vanilla, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon stick and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until ginger is soft—about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the honey, let the mixture cool. Place the orange peel glass container along with the syrup and brandy. Seal and shake, then let this mixture steep for one day. After one day, remove the vanilla bean and let the mixture steep for an additional day. Strain mixture through a fine sieve and return it to the bottle or jar for storage. Let it sit for one more day before using to let flavors mellow.You can strain it though a coffee filter or a yogurt strainer to make it clear

I had to try it before it was all strained clear, and it was a delightful drink on the rocks...

..or as an after dinner sip on for dessert. I actually will enjoy this is very good. I have to try it in a cocktail yet...maybe with some ginger ale.  I might add some more spices next time and make it like a chai spice liqueur. Add a little bit of cloves, maybe some cardamom. What do you think? How would you enjoy this ginger liqueur?

Mika is too young to try it too...but everything interests her.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I'm Back!! With One of My Dad's Concoctions!

It has been awhile since I've been on blogger. I am off for the summer and I figured it was time I came back. Working at an elementary school sure helps me get through each day. I only told a few of the kids what had happened to my parents. We are doing okay, just trying to get through one day at a time. My parents were the best at creating a strong close family, we think about them everyday. I miss them so much it really hurts. I know that there are no words that can even come close to express how we feel, and I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support.
I am back with a new computer and an internet service that now should make things a lot easier.
This one is for my dad...I would like to come back with one of my dad's favorite breakfast sandwich...peanut butter and pickles on toasted bread.

 Really...don't knock it until you try it! The last time I was with my dad he would fix himself this and had it for breakfast. When I was a kid we would eat this as a sandwich for lunch, but seeing my dad make this reminded me of it again, so I have been having it for breakfast too.

I even used the plates that we had when I was a kid, my mom gave the dishes to me a few years ago. Ahhh brings back such good memories. I love vintage dishes and have been collecting many mid century dishes made in the USA. I will be sure to share my finds some day.

Coming back to the sandwich...I would bring this to school where my morning job is monitoring breakfast in the cafeteria. They would always check out what I would bring in to eat for my breakfast. They would wrinkle their noses at this. Hey I thinks it's better than when they put chocolate milk on their Frosted Flakes!

The only difference from my dad's sandwich is he used his homemade bread and made his own peanut butter. I did a post a long time ago on his peanut butter. He knew how to make it right!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Tragedy

There has been a tragedy in my family and I will be away from the computer for a while. Just as I was getting back into blogging again. I am heartbroken and really don't know what else to say right now. I just needed to say something to all my friends.

 Update: suspect arrested: