Monday, August 30, 2010

Coming soon to a blog near you.....

A recipe for clam chowder inspired by Happy Camp weekend....but first I must crash and get a nappy in first!



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Que pasa? (is that some kind of cheese?)

Last night I was really bored, so I went back and read all my posts and realized that I asked for requests, then thoughtlessly pretended they weren't there because they all had issues. I felt really bad about that, mostly because I know you look up to me, and you've probably been eating the same dish over and over, hoping and praying that I would grace you with something that would make the birds sing, the sun shine, and bestow color in your life once again. Or you just quit reading my blog, and told all your friends on fb that I'm a stuck-up jerk who couldn't cook her way out of a paper bag. Which would be really mean, and inaccurate because who cooks in a paper bag anyway? Probably the same guy who wires foil packets filled with cheesy mushroom soup hashbrowns and weenies with bbq sauce on their air cleaners and drive 2 hours and 15 minutes only to find their dinner stretched out for the last 60 miles because foil will catch on fire if you get it hot enough.

When I say "issues", I mean I am still refining some of my recipes, and don't want to unload them on you unless I know they're gonna be good - I've tried my share of recipes that made me wonder if the person who wrote them up played pin-the-tail-on-the-ingredient to create something they thought would be good, or maybe they just have horribly deficient taste buds. So here is one for Lisa and Tyler that came from a cookbook, but is made in my own special way - lazy, ingredient deficient and stubborn as the day is long about certain things...and it is HELLA good!

Chicken Enchiladas

8 corn tortillas (I ALWAYS get the white ones, and Guerro brand are the BEST)
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 C. sour cream; regular, light, fat free or crema...I do not care
1-1/2 C. chicken broth (use a cube, paste, a can, homemade...whatEVER)
1/2 C. salsa
1 can chopped green chilis
1 can chopped jalepenos IF you've a cast iron stomach & flame proof tongue
2 C. shredded jack, cheddar, Mexican or pepper jack cheese (crazy), or a mix
2 C. chopped cooked chicken, Costco-whole and DIY or they sell just the meat!
1 can sliced black olives
1 or 2 or 5 tomatoes, chopped (I just LOVE tomatoes!)

Get a salad plate and a stack of napkins or paper towels and put near the stove, putting one napkin on the plate. In a small frying pan, put about 1/4" of oil in it and heat on med-high until it starts to shimmer, then using tongs, put one tortilla in and as soon as it start to form bubbles on the surface, turn with tongs and wait 3-5 seconds before removing it to the plate with the first napkin. Put another napkin on top, then put the next tortilla in the oil. Continue until all tortillas have been softened, put a napkin on the top one to blot the excess oil. This is a deal breaker for me - I know someone (Pam) is gonna tell you that you can heat them up in the microwave/in tomato sauce/in the oven wrapped in foil/on a skillet with no oil to save on those horrid fat calories, but SONOFAGRINGO don't buy it! A corn tortilla achieves it's greatest flavor cooked gently in oil...I don't know why, but try it sometime if you don't believe me - it give is a nutty, fabulous flavor you can't get any other way...SWEARS!!

Now in a larger skillet, put the butter, onion, garlic and pepper until onion is tender. Stir flour into sour cream, add to onion mixture. Stir in broth and salsa and whisk until smooth, add chilis or jalepenos (or maybe part of them and taste it before you set fire to your entire HEAD) and cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Prep a square 8x8 glass pan (or whatever you have that 8 of these will fit in) by lightly greasing or spraying it. In a medium sized bowl, put chopped chicken (we're talking 1" cubes or so) and 1/2 cup of the sauce, then peel a tortilla off a napkin and sprinkle a little cheese on it, then put 1/4 cup of the filling on it and roll up. Place in pan, seam side down, then continue to fill the rest of the tortillas until the filling is gone. If there's any left over, you can soften another tortilla or two, or fry one hard until it's crunchy and make yourself a pre-dinner tostada with the filling left and some more cheese. If anyone asks what you're doing, just tell them you're checking to see if it has enough salt. Cover with remaining sauce, then bake at 350 for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese and put back in for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes, or just sprinkle with black olives and tomatoes over it and eat it like a man who doesn't care that the skin on the roof of his mouth will blister and hang down in shreds for a couple days because it smells SO GOOD and he hasn't eaten anything since a bag of trail mix from the vending machine at lunchtime.

Haha, this recipe makes 4 WHOSE universe?? I would probably have to quadruple it to make it a viable meal here at Casa de Moose....or include a stinkin' salad. Ever notice that when you go to a Mexican restaurant, the veggies only come to your table in salsa form or as a garnish? I rest my case....the olives and tomatoes ARE the salad, just make sure you have a never ending basket of chips and bowl of salsa and you'll be mui bueno.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More pig, please.

My daughter posted on Facebook that she was making a "creamy Italian potato (soy) sausage soup", and one of her friends suggested it would taste better if there was some real pig in it. Altho I am now fixated on my newly invented word, "Soysages", and think with her help we could invent them and make a zillion bucks off people who shun food with mothers, I must say "I LOVE MEAT". I heartily agree with the bumper sticker "If God didn't want us to eat meat, why did he make animals so delicious?" and am slightly resentful of God's rule that we can't eat it on Fridays during Lent. But I also will not stand in the way of those who do not, for whatever reason, enjoy our yummy non-human friends as long as they respect my right to carve off a hunk of Ferdinand the Bull and wave it over the barbie for my dinner.

Becky (above mentioned daughter) is a talented cook, and I know this because she has made many vegetarian and even vegan dishes that have totally not made me barf - and I'm sure that her Soysage Soup was quite tasty, even though she didn't have kale to put in it. This recipe was developed from a few I found on the internet using a search for Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana. If you've never had it there (I have not), it's like a potato soup, but with kale and spicy Italian sausage in it - it's not like a chowder, but has lots of goodies and a broth that packs a punch. There is nothing better on a crisp, cool fall night than this soup with some rustic Italian bread warmed in the oven right on the rack so the crust is crispy, then spread with some delicious sweet butter....I love butter too, but that is another blog.

Now if you're scratching any part of your body and yelling "Fer cryin' out LOUD, what the freak is KALE?" at your monitor, I am gonna learn ya. If you go to your produce section, and find the parsley, nearby there should be some other things that look like bundles of weeds or leaves. Kale is quite's green with silvery haze over it, and the leaves are about the size of your hand but very ruffly. It's fairly tough...not like a salad green, but cooked in this soup gives it an interesting texture and flavor, and I think a little peppery-ness as well. Altho you can't tell so much with the red pepper in it....mmmm, I am SO not a spicy lover, but I will eat this and let the tears of pain rain down my face it's so good. Give it a try when the weather cools down a bit - I know some people say when it's hot, hot stuff cools you down, but people say the stupidest things sometimes....

Zuppa Toscana (Italian Kale Soup)

1 lb. Spicy Italian sausage, casings removed (or soy sausage if you must)
Olive Oil (or you can use 1/4 lb. sliced bacon, cut in 1/4" slices - more pig!)
2 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
1/2 to 1 onion, cut in quarters and sliced 1/4" thick (I love onion - use it all!)
1 bunch Kale, washed and stems removed, then cut into 1" to 2"-ish squares
4-6 Red spuds w/skins (or brown, I've used both), washed, quartered & sliced 1/4"
8 cups chicken broth (that is 2 quarts and 4 knorr chicken bullion cubes)
3 cups 1/2 and 1/2 OR two cans of evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Start cooking the bacon if you're using that, otherwise put some olive oil in a large soup pot and toss in the naked sausages. Use a paddle (or a spoon I suppose) to stir and break up into chunks, when it doesn't have much pink left throw in the garlic and onions and continue to saute until the onions gets soft, several minutes. Add the kale and cook a few more minutes until it also goes limp (could be your wrist too from all that preppin' and stirrin'), then add the broth and spuds and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium for a low boil, and cook until the potatoes are tender; add whatever dairy you've chosen , then salt and pepper to taste. If you like it more spicy, add red pepper flakes to your liking....I have used them when I didn't have spicy sausage and it worked just fine.

You could also use's probably no worse than using equal amounts of canned milk, but I choose to not think about that and don't buy it often because I can contain myself and not try to make whipped cream to eat off the beaters, the bowl, my shirt and the top of graham crackers out of evaporated milk because there is "nothing else good in the house" when I'm PMS'ing. (I just came back from the freezer with Tillamook Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream, is that wrong?)

Now go and enjoy your Zuppa Toscana with some crusty bread and sweet butter, and don't go to the Olive Garden. It just encourages more stupid commercials; going to Olive Garden does not make you a happy family any more than going to church makes you a Christian or visiting a tattoo parlor makes you a freak of nature that your mother prays for because you've mutilated your body so heinously that only other freaks will be attracted to you and she can't even show her face at Bunco anymore. Oh, and eat more pig!

Friday, August 13, 2010

This is a LONG one....and yes, that IS what I said.

It's HOT. And I HATE HOT. When I'm hot I feel like the air is jello and I have to fight my way through it, and I don't want to expend any energy on cooking, which is good because it makes me not very hungry. Nothing is better in hot and humid weather than a big, cool salad...light, crunchy and NOT heavy. Another good alternative is bbq - something that doesn't take forever and that you can add to something you see a trend here? Add a little bit of carb to it, and you have a nice healthy meal that will fill you up without loading you down - because there is nothing worse than a hot, cranky old lady except a hot, cranky bloated old lady.

Across the Intel compound next to my work there used to be a restaurant called Teriyaki Woo that we would occasionally visit at lunch time, but not often enough to keep them in business apparently because now it sits empty, shaming us as we drive by, eyes averted and head down.
My favorite thing on their menu was the Chicken Teriyaki Salad, and it was just what I was talkin' about - a nice cool salad with a healthy serving of grilled sliced teriyaki glazed chicken on top and a scoop of rice on the same plate. YUM. After buying quite a few large styrofoam cups of the dressing for 5 bucks a pop and being denied multiple times for the recipe, I had my daughter taste it and she developed a "copy cat" recipe for me - it is now in the annals of recipe history (really just a binder with a bunch of recipes glued or written on paper and put into plastic sleeves to be able to wipe the goo off them because I'm a messy cook); aren't you glad I am anal about my annals?

My niece and God-daughter Colleen is married to a delightful young man (OMG, I sound like a blue-hair) who is of Pacific-Islander descent (Hawaiian for those of you who have not read the 400 page manual the feds sent to us hapless public school employees on how to label children without offending ANYONE), and...

Reader: "I OBJECT! Relevance?"
Blogger: "Sorry, your honor, I'm attempting to complete the dinner menu"
Imaginary Judge: "Objection overruled - get to the point, counselor"

So anyway, Sean shared his family recipe for home-grown teriyaki sauce with me. He did not say it was a family secret, so hopefully he will not be shunned from future luau's on the sacred grounds of his forefathers, but after finding out that "Gramma Meeuwsen's Chocolate Chip Recipe" turned out to be straight out of Betty Crocker, it's possible that they swiped this one from never know! I will give it to you exactly as it was dictated because it ALWAYS makes me laugh when I read it...Sean is a funny guy. Because you will want to get the chicken marinating ahead of time, and you have to have the sauce to do that, I'm starting there and working my way through the salad. You really should make the sauce and the dressing ahead of time, that way you just have to whip out some salad and rice and throw the chicken on the grill - EASY! So keep on takes about as long to read as it does to make.

Here is Sean's very precise & scientific recipe:

Sean's Teriyaki Sauce

One part soy sauce (I prefer Kikkoman)
One part brown sugar (I prefer, well, brown sugar)

Chopped garlic to taste (I love garlic so I really load up on it)
Shredded ginger to taste (I don't like ginger so I use a tiny bit)

Soak at least one hour


OK, I think they told me that they heated it on a low burner until the sugar was all dissolved, but I think it would eventually without - up to you. I don't usually have fresh ginger because it's not my fave either, so I sprinkle in some powder - do what works for you. And I too LOVE garlic, so a full head of cloves is not too much if you're using 4 cups of soy and 4 cups of keeps forever in the fridge, so you CAN make a lot - SOOOO good!


Put some thawed out or fresh boneless, skinless thighs OR breasts OR tenders in a big ziploc bag, then dump in some teriyaki sauce - enough to coat it, not to COVER it. Then close bag, pressing out all the air so all the chicken stays in contact with the sauce; put in fridge to marinate a while, flipping it over at least once to make sure marination is even. Heat up the bbq, throw it on and cook it, basting with sauce towards the end to create a glaze; remove from grill when done and let stand about 10 minutes. Slice diagonally (you could leave the tenders whole) and put on top of salad.


Cook some jasmine rice to go on the side - trust me.


1 medium head green cabbage
1/4-1/2 small head red cabbage
1-2 carrots (or equiv. "baby" carrots)
Almonds (I pref roasted/Winco bulk) or sliced or those little sticks...for sprinkling on top

Cut green cabbage in half, peel off outer leaves as needed, cut each half in quarters and cut out core; rinse with cold water. Thinly shred cabbage, then cut shreds in half and put in large bowl. Do the same thing with the red cabbage (it's up to you how much you want in it, then peel and grate 1-2 carrots (whatever turns your crank) and mix it all together. Set aside.

After a year or so they started mixing half romaine into it and I felt cheated....I love cabbage and romaine seemed too fluffy. But that's the beauty, you do what YOU want.

And the key to it all......

Becky Woo Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise (I don't need to say Best Foods, right?)
3-4 T. honey
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. seasoned rice vinegar (if you still don't have some, use cider or white but come ON)
A couple grinds of black pepper

Whisk all ingredients until smooth, adjust to your own sweetness level. I use those plastic bottles like the red and yellow ones you can buy for ketchup and mustard - you can get white ones at Cash and Carry and they are WAY COOL for putting dressing on individual salads. Alternatively you can pour it in a ziploc bag and cut the corner works, but is a single-use kind of tool.


Big plate
Scoop of rice (run small bowl under water to wet, pack w/hot rice & unmold on one side of plate)
Couple handfuls of salad
Drizzle dressing over salad (I like to make zig-zags one way and then the other)
Place sliced chicken on top
Sprinkle with almonds

Have extra dressing on the side in case you want's really good on the rice too!

Tonight I made this for Walt for dinner, and didn't have cabbage so he got romaine, and I forgot the almonds, and used roasted chicken I drizzled teriyaki over and reheated. He didn't lick the plate, but might have if I wasn't sitting right there...shoot, if I made it the right way he might have eaten the plate and saved me from washing it! (Like I wash any dishes....) AlooooooHA!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

You will "relish" this one....

Groooooaaaan. Sorry, sometimes it's easier to go with the obvious even if it's stupid. My sister-in-law is a stay at home mom, but don't make the mistake of thinking she doesn't have a "job". She works harder before most of us even get up than I do all day - you have to when you're married to a farmer. Deb is my produce Goddess from May to October, and trips home from the produce stand at her home are now filled with sinful thoughts of what I"m going to do with the prize submarine-sized zucchini I just scored for only 33 cents...GET your mind outta the gutter, I MEANT Sweet Zucchini Relish!! (Yes this is a canning recipe, but you have to start somewhere, right?)

She gave me this recipe a couple weeks ago, and I am determined to make a butt-load of it - she had me try it and THEN gave me a prized jar to take home...I was slightly nauseated when she told me she had a craving and ate some recently just spread on a piece of bread, but when I tasted it I realized the error of my ways....this stuff would be good on ice cream! Not a big fan of sweet relish, but somehow the zukes do something to it that makes it magically delicious....but without the marshmallows.

Before I pass it on, I will offer 3 fun facts about my sister in law: 1. She is deaf in one ear due to mumps when she was a kid, so if she's on the phone you can talk about her and she won't know unless you're pointing and laughing; 2. One time when she was babysitting her siblings, her evil younger brother (I MAY be married to him) scared her so bad with a fright mask she peed her pants; and 3. Deb won't eat eggs, and will ONLY drink milk in her coffee....this always makes me chuckle since she's married to a DAIRY farmer and her daughter was a DAIRY princess! Love ya Deb....and the rest of you go to Mike and Debbie's Farm Fresh Produce on Cornelius Schefflin Road between Cornelius and Verboort - you won't be sorry unless a giant poop sprinkler goes rogue all over your car! (does that ever happen?? I would laugh if it did, as long as it wasn't me..)

Sweet Zucchini Relish

12 cups shredded zucchini, peel and all (great use for those the pickers miss that then morph overnight into buick-sized missiles)
4 cups chopped onion
5 T. canning salt
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 cups white sugar
2-1/2 cup white vinegar
1 T. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. turmeric (the yellow curry stuff)
1-1/2 tsp. celery seed (if you don't normally use these spices, buy in BULK, just what you need!)
1/2 tsp. black pepper (everyone uses pepper for cryin in the rain...)

Put the zucchini and onion in a LARGE non-metallic bowl and sprinkle salt over the top. Use your hands (wash them first please, and don't ruin it by drying them on your pants) to evenly mix the salt throughout the zucchini onion mixture.

OH YEAH....I forgot. You need to clean out your fridge so you can fit this giant bowl in there overnight - time to make "Goulash" for dinner and get rid of all the leftovers and bits and pieces of stuff you were sure you would use for something before they went bad - as Miles stage whispers to his sisters in Uncle Buck, "He's cookin' our GARBAGE!!". Three birds, one stone - delicious relish, a clean fridge AND more room in the garbage can!

After the zucchini sits overnight, drain zukes and onion in a colander and rinse well with cool water. Squeeze as much water as you can by the handfuls (if you want to be a sissy and use cheesecloth, go ahead. But that cheesecloth could cover naked children in China so wouldn't you be ashamed?) and set aside in another large bowl. Put red and green pepper, sugar, vinegar and cornstarch into a large pot. Add spices, stir to combine and add DRAINED zucchini/onion mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium low and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, during your SPARE TIME, sterilize 7 one-pint jars and lids to hold relish. Pack finished relish into jars, running a butter knife around the edges to release any air pockets or bubbles. Fill to the top, wipe edges of jar with a wet towel and screw on lids.

Put a rack in large stockpot or canner and fill halfway with hot water, lower in the jars and place at least 2" space between jars. Pour more boiling water in if needed, tops of jars should be covered by at least 2" of water. Bring to full boil and process COVERED for 30 minutes. (that means boiled...keep the water boiling for the full 30 can turn it down, just make sure it's still bubbling)

Remove jars from pot and put on towel lined surface or wood cutting board, several inches apart until cool. When completely cooled, take rings off, clean tops of jars and make sure they sealed and the lids don't "pop". Mmmmm....if any didn't seal, those are ready to eat waste!

Now you need to figure out how often you can make hot dogs, hamburgers and macaroni salad to put this stuff in....or you can always use Deb's fall-back and just spread it on bread! I swear to you, if I had ice cream right now I would be trying it that way....dang ice cream hogs!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Piece of Resistance

I know it's not spelled right, but I thought it was a nice play on words - I have resisted writing this recipe down other than in very vague terms, but decided that part of responsible recipe sharing I needed a bit more specificity. (Haha, I love making up ginormous words) You will be SOOOOO happy with me when you take a bite and wonder where this has been all your life!

Once upon a time, I went to Fred Meyer hungry. As I promenaded past the deli case, something caught my eye - a beautifully creamy pasta salad with bits of chicken and GRAPES in it! My royal hunger roared (some fellow shoppers heard it and moved quickly away...), and I decided to throw convention to the wind and actually buy some pre-made supermarket salad. Upon tasting said offering, I was amazed AND perplexed - how was it possible that a grocery store could make something so delightful, or saints preserve us, dump it in a pretty bowl from a large cardboard carton?

With the taste fresh in my memory and the sketchy ingredient list from the ad copy in my head, I set about cracking the code and created a copy cat that has defied all expectation - it's a perennial favorite at family and work functions, and is even on the menu at my sister's cafe - DonnyMarlu's Deli Cafe in Scappoose Oregon! Check them out if you ever venture through a town known for a gigantic red candle (I find this hilarious) that sits across the highway from the cafe...their food is excellent!

Gorgonzola, Grape and Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad

1 lb. penne pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts seasoned w/lemon pepper
2 cups red grapes
4 green onions, sliced thinly
1/3 cup coarsley chopped pecans
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (Winco in tubs, or you can buy chunks & crumble yourself)
1 cup mayo (don't be cheap, use Best Foods)
2-3 T. olive oil (I don't like the taste all that much, so I try not to let it take over)
2 T. seasoned rice vinegar (yes I use it a lot - what of it? Use cider vinegar if you aren't hip)
3-4 T. sugar (to taste - some like it sweeter than others)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
A few grinds of black pepper

OK, we've gone over this before....cook the pasta according to direction, NOT al dente. And when it's done, drain in a colander and run COLD water over until it's completely cold...stick your hand in the middle and feel it to make sure (AFTER you wash it, silly...). Dump in a large bowl.

I "grilled" my chicken in a panini type grill, but have also done it outside, and even resorted to cooking it in the microwave when I was in a real hurry. No one cares...I just like the grill marks and eating the crispy edges. Cool until you can handle and slice thinly, then cut slices in half so they aren't really long. Spread out and let cool until you have everything else ready.

Dump everything else in the bowl, nuts, grapes, onions, cheese and all the dressing stuff and mix well - give it a taste and adjust as needed, then throw in the cooled chicken and give it a stir. Voila! You now have a salad so fabulous that you should take a picture...which WILL last longer! Not everyone likes gorgonzola - it's like a milder version of blue cheese to me - but you can add less or more to your taste - that flavor will be more pronounced if you make it ahead, so be forewarned. And if you need to refresh it after keeping it in the fridge, you can do so with a tad more olive oil, warm water or even milk products...just enough to loosen it up if it's gotten clumpy.

Alrighty then, time to wipe the drool off the keyboard and get to it - time's a wastin' and you can't afford to go another day without a plateful!

ps, if you choose to season the chicken with italian seasoning, use vegetable oil instead of olive, use crappy mayo, walnuts, feta cheese and raisins instead of grapes, don't tell people you got the recipe from me, k? BECAUSE IT WILL TASTE LIKE CRAP! Just sayin.....

Keep your eyes peeled....

Something good this way comes....very soon!