Zoodles with a spiral slicer

I finally purchased a Paderno spiralizer slicer and it has been a wonderful addition to my kitchen tool collection.  My three blade slicer is able to cut vegetables very quickly into angel hair noodles, shoestrings and even spiral cut strands.  My first attempt at using the tool was extremely successful, as I made zucchini noodles in place of pasta one evening for dinner.

I sautéed the zoodles with some sliced mushrooms, seasoned with black pepper and parsley flakes in one tablespoon olive oil. I cooked the zucchini noodles until soft and served with pasta sauce.  The noodles were extremely tasty, and confirm the recent enthusiasm from many chefs for using this spiral slicer.

I will be experimenting with apples, potatoes, carrots and cucumbers in the coming months. The slicer is an interesting way to prepare and cut these foods for appealing presentation and to increase food excitement.

For more information on this slicer, it can be purchased online at Williams Sonoma cookware.

Spices, seasonings, and more

The anticipation of growing my summer herb garden is starting to build for me this month.  I attended a gardening seminar a couple of weeks ago, and ever since the excitement of what I will be growing this year in my edible garden has stayed with me.  I always have my regular list of perennial herbs that I nurture every year, but add in a few other edibles, including vegetables, garlic, green onions, and a few tomato plants.

However, during the winter months, I have to rely on my kitchen cabinet of spices, seasonings and more.  I have finally admitted to myself that I must have an addiction, as I really love to try a variety of seasonings when I prepare our meals. I love my collection and have several favorites that I have acquired over the years.

My kitchen has three cabinets devoted to spices, seasonings, and flavorings.  My rolling rack contains a variety of salts, spices that are not used most days, and some baking decors.

My upper cabinet near my stove contains the spices I use most often for seasoning our meals.  Here I have a collection of salts, peppers, herbs, herbal blends, a variety of special blends, and some of my favorite mixes from Pensey spices.

I have found that using turntables in this cabinet has helped with the organization a great deal, as well as some boxes of spices organized by use which easily pull out to be accessed quickly.  I don’t buy my spices in large quantities, as I prefer to have fresh available all the time and would not use enough to justify large bottles of any particular seasoning.

I have a third cabinet for liquid flavorings and baking spices, along with more baking decorations.  Having an organized kitchen has helped me to be more efficient while preparing meals.  It has also helped me when planning to purchase ingredients for a new recipe, as I am able to easily check my current supply as I know where every one is located.

Springtime is a great time to get organized in the kitchen!

 

Warm Pears and oranges

Tender pears and Mandarin oranges prove to be a delightful dessert when warmed in a slow cooker.  As I have shared in previous posts, fruit desserts are some of my favorites. Of course, they can also be served with a slice of pound cake, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, or even vanilla Greek yogurt.  This recipe is one to try before the warmer weather sneaks up on us this Spring.  The comforting flavors of this recipe can be enjoyed throughout the Fall and Winter months.

Here is how I make this recipe–gather these ingredients:  1 can sliced pears with juice, 1 can mandarin  oranges without juice, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 2 fresh Bosc pears peeled and sliced.  Additional fresh pears or canned pears could be substituted for each ingredient.

In a small bowl, combine these ingredients:  1/2 cup dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 Tablespoons melted margarine.

Place the first set of ingredients in the slow cooker, and then cover with the ingredients from the bowl.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve warm. I topped each serving with whipped cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  Yummy.

Breakfast fruit crepes

So this is the best crepe recipe ever which I use with my Cuisinart International Chef Crepe maker.  It works every time and has become a classic in my home.  Each person can choose what they would like to enjoy with their crepes.  Options include: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, flavored syrups, chopped sliced almonds or other nuts, Nutella, whipped cream or anything else desired.

Here is how I prepare the batter:  I use 3/4 cup fat free milk and 1/4 cup fat free half and half in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons margarine or unsalted butter.  I melt those together and allow them to come to room temperature.

When ready to prepare, I mix 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, and 3 large eggs together in a bowl and whisk in the butter and milk mixture until the batter is smooth and thin.  Chill this batter for at least 30 minutes and up to two days in the refrigerator, covered.

Preheat the crepe maker and prepare each crepe. I keep them warm in the oven until all of them are cooked.  This recipes makes 8 crepes.

Note: For years I prepared these crepes in a crepe pan on the stove top. Either technique will result in a delicious breakfast for the family.

Beef roast in a multi-cooker

Sunday comfort food for a cold winter’s night is the theme of this recipe that I made a month ago.  We limit red meat in our home, and use it as a treat once or twice a year.  For those special nights, this is a great recipe that provides enough food for a family of six.

Begin with a 3 pound beef chuck roast and sear the meat in a multi-cooker at 350 degrees with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste.  Add 3/4 cup chopped large yellow onion, 5-6 red potatoes cut into squares, 1/2 bag small carrots and 3 cups beef broth.  Cook for 8 hours on low.

Remove the meat from the pot and place on a dish while preparing the rest of the recipe. Separate from the vegetables. Mix 2 tablespoons Wondra Flour into 1/4 cup water.  Drain and separate the broth from the cooker, removing the excess fat.Return the broth to the cooker. Increase the cooker to 350 degrees to boil the liquid.  Add in the flour mixture twice if desired for thicker gravy.  Return the meat and vegetables to the pot and continue to heat through for 10-15 more minutes.  Serve.

Chocolate topped ice cream treats

For those of you who love an ice cream treat, but just can’t have a whole bowl, here is a great way to portion out a delicious dessert.  I scoop out Edy’s Vanilla ice cream into eight large cookie balls with my cookie scoop.  Freeze them on a tray and then make a quick ganache topping.  This time I melted 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate with 4 ounces unsalted butter (or 6 ounces to be able to dip the ice cream balls) and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup in a double boiler on the stove top.  When the ganache is melted and ready, working quickly, pour over the ice cream balls or dip the ice cream into the ganache.

The treats could be topped with sea salt, sprinkles, or chopped nuts.  Return to the freezer immediately until just ready to serve.  They must chill at least 30 minutes to set for presentation.

Shrimp and noodles

Here is a fun recipe for the family that is easy to make and fun to eat.  No need for stopping at your favorite noodle restaurant, this one is great tasting and made at home.

I adapted this recipe from one that I found in Cooking Light magazine last summer. I used 8 ounces of Lo Mein noodles and cooked according to the package directions and drained.

Next, I combined 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and black pepper to taste in a small bowl.

Then, in a large electric skillet, I drizzled 1 tablespoon stir fry oil and added  1 1/4 cups broccoli tops, 3/4 cup sliced carrots, and 3/4 cup red pepper.  Saute these until soft and then add 1/4 cup chicken stock mixture.  Heat for another 2-3 minutes and then add one bag cleaned large shrimp, along with 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 teaspoon minced ginger.  Continue to cook until the shrimp are cooked and pink.  Then add the Lo Mein noodles and the rest of the chicken stock mixture.

Cook until all the ingredients are well mixed and warmed through.  Just prior to serving, add 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.  Top with Sesame seeds if desired for serving.