Friday, May 27, 2011

Black Bean And Tomato Soup

Black Bean Soup
Did you know that black beans stain almost as badly blueberries? Well, they do. I know... I've been scrubbing scrubbing scrubbing dark stains off the once creamy white-ish interior of my enameled cast iron Dutch oven all afternoon.*

I made this really great black bean soup you see, and I tried to use my Dutch oven to make it in. Now, while it probably might have worked, the pot was so full that I got a little nervous. I grabbed my big stock pot and transferred the soup over — now it could have some wiggle (and slosh) room and I could have some peace of mind.

This soup just rocks on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start. It's amazingly easy, super affordable, makes a ton, and tastes fantastic. Oh, and one of my very favorite recipe terms applies as well... "largely unattended". That means I get to go do something else for a while and when I come back dinner is ready. What's not to love about that, right? 

It has a big meaty rich flavor, or as Hubs described it, "Mmm, it's delightful!". Ain't it amazing what a couple slices of bacon can do to a soup? Well, he loved it and so did I.... and that's good... we have a lot of it. Or did I mention that part already?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Muffins For Mondays And Other Mornings

Muffins are great in ways that scones can never be. While a scone is really only at its best when warm and fresh out of the oven, muffins aren't quite so picky. In fact, I like to make a big batch of muffins and then freeze them for a super-quick breakfast (or snack) on days when I don't feel like cooking... like, oh, today for instance.

As soon as space in my freezer opens up...
What's your favorite muffin recipe? Or do you think of muffins as just frumpy outdated cupcakes? 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Scones On Sundays

Scones don't really make a hearty enough breakfast for a hardworking man like mine. If they did, I'd certainly make them a lot more often. A couple of warm scones with butter and jam suits me just fine though, and if there's a pot of hot black tea nearby, well, all the better. 

We don't usually have a big breakfast on Sundays, which makes it the perfect day for making scones. They're fast and easy, so I can throw them together right after church. And I do mean throw... one of the most important tips for successful scone-making is to handle the dough as little as possible.

These are next on my list of scrumptious scones to try...
Now, I wonder what kind of tea would go best with each of these scones? Decisions, decisions...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Four Strings And Double The Ginger

Double Ginger Cookies
My house is a mess, my children are dirty, and my husband is feeling neglected. I'm only kidding about the second thing; but if I had any, they would be. You see, I got an inexpensive second-hand ukulele the other day and...

I can't put it down.

What does this have to do with food? Not much really, except that I haven't been thinking a lot about food since I got the uke. I haven't been thinking a lot about much of anything that's not uke related. So why fight it, let's cruise with it a while.

Like little wooden anti-depressants 
It's impossible to be sad or unhappy around a ukulele. I think that's why I've been wanting one for so long. Well that's one of the reasons anyway. I actually have several. Here then, is the real honest-to-goodness actual list I made in my journal over the last few months... (and some cookies)...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lemon Pepper Pasta With Chicken

Homemade Lemon Pepper Pasta
I've been wanting to make this dish for a while now, but I knew I wanted to tackle making the actual lemon-pepper flavored pasta itself from scratch... so that's just what I did. 

It's nothing more than my favorite go-to pasta recipe, but I added the zest from 2 Meyer lemons and about 20 cranks of the old pepper grinder. It might have been more, I lost count. Let's call it a 1/2 tsp.

The pasta itself turned out great, the only drawback was that the sauce pretty much stepped all over the subtle lemony-pep of the noodles. But, in a good way... it's an easy sauce with great flavor. I'm just thinking that this would be a perfectly fine dish with regular pasta. Or... I might try doubling the lemon zest and pepper when I make the pasta next time. Either way it's an easy and tasty dish that we both really enjoyed. We must've... we ate all of it in one sitting.*

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wanted: Cheese Delivery Facilitators

Homemade Crackers
Homemade crackers are almost always tasty but they're not always crispy. In fact, lots of the homemade cracker recipes I have found are really just savory cookies, often with the cheese baked right in. Let's say that together: "cheese baked right in". Mmm. They are self-contained. They don't need anyone else. They bring their party with them.

What I've been looking for though are crisp crackers I could make at home, crackers that would taste good alone but would be even better if they met up with a fabulous piece of cheese. They have a bit of snap to them, they're friendly, and they get along well with others.

Everything's Better On Homemade Crackers
I found two recipes for the latter variety of cracker and truly couldn't be happier. They are both easy to make, crispy, tasty, and looking for some good cheeses to pal around with.