Vegetable Quinoa and White Rice + Butter Poached Lobster

1c quinoa and white rice mix
1T tuscan flavored olive oil
1T butter
½t finely ground black pepper
1T fresh ground garlic sea salt

1c chopped celery
1c chopped purple onion
1⅓c julienned-chopped carrots
3 lg. cloved garlic - finely minced

2-2½c water or low sodium broth
several celery heart tops - snipped

Saute' and stir the first group of ingredients together until everything's snapping and the grains are smelling nutty 😊  Stay with it so it doesn't burn.  Add the next group of ingredients, stir and when they sizzle and continue to snap, after a few minutes add about half a cup of the liquid.  When that's cooking well, stir in the remaining liquid and simmer 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat, or until it's all absorbed.  Keep covered and remove from heat.  Let stand another 10 to finish hydrating the grains.

Butter Poached Lobster

I got a great deal on a lobster tail recently.  It's one of my guilty-pleasure-weaknesses!  I've never like the conventional way of cooking it, and found this works well for me.  If frozen, thaw the lobster completely.  Cut away the shell with kitchen shears, then cut the meat into a few smaller pieces.  Clean and put on paper towel to absorb the water.

Put these ingredients in a small frying pan:

2T± butter
2T± water
2lg garlic cloves - sliced
⅓ frozen - grated lemon *
1t garlic sea salt
½t black pepper
¾t dry dill

8-12oz. cleaned lobster meat

Combine and simmer the first group of ingredients while stirring occasionally.  Bring to a good steady simmer and after 4-5 minutes, add the chunks of lobster.  Cover and continue to simmer 8-10 minutes, turning the lobster at least once.  Cut into a thicker piece and make sure it's white all the way through and not translucent in the center.  Plate the lobster and cover to keep warm.  Increase heat and boil away the moisture.  

Toward the end, you could add a dollop of sour cream or a splash of half and half it you'd like.  Pour the lemon butter sauce over the lobster.  Once in a while, it's really nice to make a special dinner like this for someone you love, or even. . .Just For You 😀 . . . Lin

Spiralized Vegetable Casserole

1 lg. turnip
¼ purple onion
2 sm. zucchini
2 sm. red potatoes
1 med. sweet potato
2T Tuscan olive oil
½-1t lemon pepper

2 sm. frozen tomatoes
*1t Italian seasonings
*⅔c marinara sauce
2 lg. cloves garlic
1t sugar

Spiralize the first group of vegetables.  Toss them in a big bowl with the oil and lemon pepper.  **Spread on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.  Gently stir the vegetables to recoat them with the oil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

**This step could be eliminated, by increasing the baking time below, but roasting adds a lot of flavor.

Partially thaw the tomatoes.  After an hour or so, the skins will slip right off.  When they're at the popsicle stage, dice and combine them with the remaining four ingredients in a medium size pan. *(I switched to these two, instead of the ajvar and curry shown in the first photo.)  Simmer over low-medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Put the vegetable-noodles back in the big bowl, toss with the sauce, then put into a covered casserole.  Return to the oven--with the heat now reduced to 350°--to heat for 10 minutes  **(or if not pre-roasted, bake for 30-45 minutes until the vegetables are all crisp-tender.)  Garnish with toasted pine nuts, chopped pecans or cashews, grated parmesan cheese or fresh chopped herbs.

Serve with grilled chicken or fish, or alone, for a vegan main dish. . .Lin

Berry Lemon Cake - Breakfast Bread

2 eggs
1c sugar
1c sour cream
½c light vegetable oil
½ frozen-grated lemon -*-
1t lemon or almond extract

1# mixed frozen fruit
1T corn starch
2T sugar

1½c organic flour
½c corn flour *
½t salt
1t cinnamon
2t baking powder
1c chopped pecans (optional)

With your mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy in a medium size bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients in that group beating well after each addition.  Set that aside and chop the frozen fruit, stirring that together well with the corn starch and sugar in another medium size bowl.  In a third bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.  Add the dry ingredients to the first bowl with the eggs, etc.  Mix together well.  

Pour half the batter into a well buttered 8"x12" glass pan, then crumble-spread the berry mixture over that.  Pour on the remaining batter, then top with the rest of the berries.  Sprinkle some coarse sugar on top, and bake at 375° for 350minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350° for an additional 20 minutes.  Take out of the oven and cool on a rack, about an hour before serving.  This created the most wonderful scent in my kitchen as it baked!

* I've always loved the combination of corn flour and crushed quick cooking rolled oats as the 'flour' base for my cornbread.  I always add peppery and fruity elements to it.  Instead of just regular flour I decided to substitute a little corn flour to give this 'cake' a hint of that fruity cornbread flavor.

This would be great for breakfast or as a dessert. . .Lin

Seafood "Crab" Salad

1# pollock-cod-whiting
- (a.k.a.: imitation crab)
2 ribs of celery & tops
1-2 lg. cloves of garlic
2T white wine vinegar
⅓c roasted red pepper
½-1 lg. purple shallot
2T sweet-dill relish
½-1t garlic-sea salt
½-1t black pepper
2-3t dry dill weed
2t sugar
½-¾c mayonnaise
½-¾c sour cream

Chop and flake the 'crab' into a medium size glass bowl.  Add all the remaining ingredients, mix together well.  This could be filling for a sandwich, shaped into a patty and quick fried to be a seafood patty-melt, or served over chopped romaine or a handful of baby kale or arugula, as Seafood Salad with some crackers and cheese, or fresh vegetables, for lunch. . .Lin

If someone were to ask me, 'What is your favorite food? I'd have to interpret that loosely, and say. . .Leftovers!

And Now. . .Two Days Later. . .

Here I am again with this great salad and 'sides.'  Not a lot different from the first time I had it, but tasting just as good!  As with many soups and stews, the flavor only improves over time, with chilling and reheating.  😊

Beef and Vegetable Curry

2# blade/flank steak
1 lg. purple shallot
6 lg. cloves of garlic
⅓ lg. white onion
2T coconut oil

4t red AROY-D curry paste
1c vegetable broth
1T sugar

2 turnips
2 lg. carrots
2-4T peanut butter
½ lg. green pepper
3 small red potatoes
5 radishes - quartered
*1 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes*
1" cube fresh or frozen ginger
1-2t cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1½c vegetable broth
1T fresh garlic sea salt
2t fresh ground black pepper

1½c coconut cream

Cut the steak across the grain, into 'ribbons' about ¼" thick by ¾" wide by 2" long.  This is easy to do when the meat is frozen at the 'popsicle' stage!  Combine those in a heavy-bottomed pot with the shallot, 2 of the garlic cloves--finely minced, onion and coconut oil.  Saute' to brown everything in the pot.  Deglaze with a little water, then repeat several times until the ingredients are all browned and nicely scenting your kitchen. 😋  

Add the next group of ingredients, stirring well to melt the curry paste and coat everything.  Chop-slice the vegetables then add that group to the pot.  Simmer, covered, on low heat, covered for about an hour.  *(tomatoes are optional)  Add the potatoes after a half hour since they take less time to cook than the rest.  Stir in the coconut cream just before serving.

There's a show on the Food Network called The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  This curry ranks right up there for me.  A good curry is comprised of complex flavors, and so worth the time it takes to experiment and blend these all into one pot!  Ohhh, it's just sooo good! . .Lin 

Fruity Coconut Frozen Yogurt

Assorted Frozen Fruits - I used a variety today.  Orange peel, half a banana, pineapple, cranberries, and a cherry-berry mix containing sweet cherries, tart cherries, blueberries and strawberries.  I used my chopper on all this while partially frozen.  It measured 2 cups.  Put that aside for now so it thaws a bit more.  The juice will help everything come together in the blender.  This recipe almost filled both a 30 and a 41oz. container, so I had to blend in 3 batches.

1c coconut milk
1½c coconut cream
2c Chobani Greek yogurt
¼-⅓c honey (or Maple syrup)
1-2t pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
2c chopped assorted fruit

Put the ingredients in the blender in the order given, blending well, then pouring out a couple cups into a bowl to make room for the rest.  I've been working on perfecting a couple ice cream or frozen yogurt recipes, rather than buy regular sugar-filled ice cream that often has artificial ingredients and chemicals.

I just put this in the freezer.  It's 7:00 in the evening now, so I may even switch it to the 'fridge if it doesn't freeze to the consistency I want tonight.  Then I'd pop it back in the freezer tomorrow morning.  I don't use an ice cream maker, so it's important to stir this AS it's freezing, to keep it aerated so it doesn't freeze really hard, like a fruity ice cube.  Making this sort of dessert is time-intensive, so it's good to start it on a morning when you're hanging around the kitchen, doing 'house things.'  Last year, I said I was going to try making lemon frozen yogurt.  That'll probably be my next dessert project!
Be Bold, Be Creative and most of all, I wish you Fun and Happy Cooking 😉 . . . Lin

Chicken-Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole

1c mixed wild rice
2T Tuscan olive oil
1-2T butter
⅓c dry white wine

1 lg. purple shallot
4oz. sliced mushrooms
8oz. fresh broccoli
½lg. sweet onion
6oz. chicken thigh meat

2t lemon pepper
1T Italian seasoning
1½c homemade broth

1c Chobani Greek yogurt

In a regular frying pan (not non-stick) heat up the rice, oil and butter until the rice is snapping.  Slowly add the wine, as needed, simmering, covered for about a half hour, adding some of the vegetable broth if needed.  Add the vegetables, saving the broccoli florets for later.

When the wine is gone, add seasonings and more broth.  This is the vegetable broth I made several posts back.  I only used about half of it here, so I'll use the rest in another recipe.  (I did not use the can of soup shown in the first picture.)  Continue to simmer, covered, for about a half hour, adding more broth as needed.  When the rice is beginning to plump up, add the chicken.

(I added the broccoli florets at this point and it was WAY overcooked as you can see from the next picture.)-*-

Combine remaining broth with the yogurt, pour over everything in the pan.  Transfer this to a casserole-type baking dish, bake in a 325° oven for an hour.  After about 40 minutes, gently stir, then continue baking, dropping the temperature to 290°, -*-(add the broccoli florets at this time.)  Continue to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked and tender, about another 20 minutes.  I underestimated the amount of time the rice would take.

This is not pretty, but turned out well in spite of the problem with the cooking times. . .Lin

Chicken and Vegetables

4½# cut up chicken

Bake the chicken in an open baking pan at 350° for about an hour.  Season before baking, in any way you like with fresh or dried herbs, re-hydrated onion and pepper flakes, or a light coating of barbecue sauce.  Cook, poking the chicken, then basting it occasionally, until a fork inserted comes right out, very easily.

Serve now, or cool, portion, and put in ziplock bags and refrigerate or freeze, for future use.  This turned out so well as a 'cook-ahead' for future dinners.  I'll have to do this more often.  Today I had this for a late lunch with vegetables.  For just me, I chopped up:

1 med. red potato
1sm. white onion
1 purple shallot
1T butter

1c frozen okra

Saute' the first group of ingredients until the onions are a little translucent.  Add the okra, and a little water if needed, cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or so.  Add one piece of cooked chicken, cover and continue to heat until the frozen vegetables are cooked and the chicken is heated through. . .Lin

Gorgonzola-Florentine Egg Bake

10oz. frozen spinach
2 hard boiled eggs
½ lg. white onion
6oz. roasted red pepper
1c peeled-diced potatoes

6oz. coconut milk
2 jumbo raw eggs
½-1t ground nutmeg
3 lg. cloves minced garlic
fresh ground black pepper
fresh ground garlic-sea salt
2T oat flour
½t baking soda
½t baking powder

1c gorgonzola crumbles
smokey paprika for garnish 

Thaw the spinach, drain in a colander, then press with paper towels to absorb the water.  Put in the bottom of a buttered 8" x 12" glass baking pan.  Chop or grate the hard boiled eggs and crumble over the spinach.  Chop the onion, peppers and potatoes and add in layers.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the next group of ingredients, pour over everything in the pan, then sprinkle on the gorgonzola crumbles and dust with pinches of paprika.  Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.  Cool slightly then cut in squares and serve with fresh fruit for breakfast.  This keeps well, covered in the 'fridge for 3-4 days and also packs well as a to-go breakfast or lunch for school or work. . .Lin 

Curry Chicken And Egg Salad

12oz. can of chicken breast
8oz. can of water chestnuts
3 hard boiled eggs
2 lg. garlic cloves
½ white onion
2-3T curry powder
2-3T pickle relish
1t black pepper
1t garlic sea salt
⅓c± sour cream
⅓c± mayonnaise
½c golden raisins

Chop the water chestnuts, eggs, onion and mince the garlic.  Break up the chicken chunks then combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl with the sour cream and mayonnaise.  Put the raisins in a ceramic cup and add about ¼c of water.  Microwave for 30 seconds to rehydrate, then drain and add to the bowl.  Mix well, and serve over chopped romaine lettuce, or use as a sandwich filling on a crusty-buttery croissant.

I love the flavor combination of the sour cream, mayonnaise, chicken and curry.  The crunch of the water chestnuts and the acid of the pickles.  The secret though is the raisins!  Their sweetness brings everything together so well. . . Lin

Another Healthy Dog Food Option

1 5oz. chorizo sausage
1# sliced side pork
⅓ purple cabbage
2 chopped carrots
2 sweet potatoes
2c cauliflower
2 stalks celery

2 big chunks of oatmeal cornbread

I was organizing and cleaning out my 'fridge and freezer and this was all in my throw-away pile.  Then I realized, if put together properly, this could be another option to supplement the dry food I feed my dogs.

Start by finely chopping any freezer-dried meat you want to use for this.  Chorizo is pretty spicy, so I decided to only use one sausage.  The other two went back in the freezer for another dog food adventure!  To this I added the finely chopped, old, tired out, cabbage, celery and carrots.  Cover and simmer this slowly, to bring out all the fat in the meat, for a half hour or so, stirring occasionally until everything's starting to sizzle and snap.  If needed, add a little bit of water, then cover and continue to cook until the meat is done and the vegetables are soft.

At the very end, I add the crumbled, gluten-free cornbread I found in the back of the freezer.  I have a 14-year old Pitbull mix dog that has bad issues with grain in her diet.  I've been feeding her grain-free dry food for many years, which totally fixed the digestive problems she used to have.  She does well with oatmeal and cornbread that contains no wheat, and just loves it.

I only use these homemade dog foods as a supplement to their usual dry food.  They normally each get 1c of dry in the morning and evening.  When I make homemade food for them I cut their dry amount back to ½c for the evening feeding only, mixed with ½c of their usual dry food and some hot water.  I let it sit for a while to warm up the homemade food, which I store in the fridge in a Tupperware type container.  Needless to say they're smacking their doggy-lips while they wait. 😋 

If you decide to cook for your pups, PLEASE research what sort of foods they can and canNOT have.  Dogs are very sensitive to raisins, grapes, chocolate, garlic and onion. . .among others.  These can all be quite toxic to dogs.
Be Bold, Adventurous and try cooking for your Furry Buddies!  They'll love it! . . . Lin

A Hearty Turkey-Beef-Vegetable Soup

1# turkey thigh
½# beef steak
1 med. purple onion
5-6 lg. cloves of garlic
2T Tuscan flavored olive oil
2t fresh ground black pepper
1T fresh ground garlic sea salt

½ sm. head purple cabbage
2 med. carrots - julienned 
2 stalks celery - chopped
2 med.-lg. tomatoes
6 sm. red potatoes
1 sweet potato

vegetable scraps (and sprout water)
for homemade vegetable-bone broth

Pull the skin off the turkey and trim all the fat off the little steaks.  Cut the steaks in cubes, cut as much of the turkey off the bone as you can.  Put the meat in a 5qt. pot with about ⅓ of the onion and garlic, finely diced.  Add oil and seasonings then saute' simmer until the meat is browning and sizzling.

Meanwhile, in a 3qt. pot, put all the vegetable scraps you've been collecting and freezing (shown here in an almost full gallon size bag) and fill the pot with cold filtered water.  Simmer, covered, a couple hours.

While this is doing it's soup thing, add the chopped vegetables to the pot.  When I have tomatoes that are almost over-ripe, I put them in the freezer.  When I need some for soup or stew, instead of using canned, I'll put a couple in a bowl to partially thaw.  As they thaw, the skins slip right off.  When they're to this point they're still frozen, similar to a popsicle and are very easy to chop.

When the turkey-vegetable bone broth has cooked for a couple hours, strain it several times into a big bowl, using a finer strainer each time.  Mine turned quite dark due to the beet greens, stems, purple onion and purple cabbage.  Good for a hearty dark meat or root vegetable soup.  Add as much broth (and sprout water - if you have it) to the pot, as you need.  I only needed 2-3 cups, which left me with another full quart for soup or chili another day.

This made about 3-4 quarts of really healthy, flavorful soup.  Perfect for a WAY below 0°F day here at the tip of Lake Superior in Duluth, MN.  Stay warm all you Northern Hemisphere people! . . . Lin

Chorizo-Chicken Gumbo

1# good quality chorizo sausage
1# grilled (or raw) chicken breast
1-2T butter or oil
1 med. purple onion
½ mixed grain rice
1c chopped green pepper
1c chopped celery and tops
7 lg. cloves garlic - minced
1 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes
24oz. of water
3 bay leaves
1t-1T sugar
2t smokey paprika
8-12oz. frozen okra

Slit the chorizo casings and squeeze the sausage out into a 5qt. pot.  Add bite-size pieces of chicken breast, oil and about ⅓ of the onion, minced.  Simmer over low heat until everything's sizzling, for about 15 minutes.  Add the rest of the onion, the rice, celery, green pepper and garlic.  Stir, saute' and continue to cook until everything's snapping.  Add the tomatoes, water, bay leaves, sugar and paprika.  Stir together, cover and simmer about a half hour.  Add the okra and simmer on low another 20-40 minutes.  Check the flavor after about 10 minutes and make adjustments, if needed.

This makes a big pot of gumbo and is perfect for a really chilly day with some biscuits or cornbread.  It's also nice to have a big bowl of this if you're trying to fight off a virus.  If your chorizo is on the greasy side, you'll want to scrape some of that off the top before you heat it the next time.  For right now though, if you fold a paper towel to approximate the size of your pot, drop that on top, let it absorb, remove it, throw it away and repeat a few times. . .Lin

Lamb Stew

1½# lamb 
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 med. purple onion
2T Italian flavored olive oil
1T Rosemary Seasoning *
6-12oz beer
2 stalks celery
2 big carrots
1c Ajvar
1-2c water

Cut all the fat off the lamb, then cut the meat into bite-size pieces.  Saute' the lamb, meat and bones, with the garlic and onion in the olive oil for about 10 minutes.  Add seasoning, beer, chopped celery and carrot, Ajvar and water.  Simmer 30-60 minutes.  This goes together quickly, but you can reduce the heat and continue to simmer longer if you'd like - to develop the flavors.

Makes 3-4 big servings and is excellent on a cold day.  This morning I awoke to -22°F, so this was a perfect late lunch - early dinner.  It would go well with buttered, crusty artisan bread. . .Lin

Multi-Grain Chili-Cheddar Baking Powder Biscuits

1c oat flour
1c unbleached flour
1c corn meal or flour
1t salt
1t ground cumin
1T brown sugar
1T baking powder
1t Little's Red Chili Lime seasoning
~ or your favorite hot chili powder

Whisk these ingredients together, then grate in:

6T cold butter
2oz. sharp cheddar cheese

Then stir together and mix into the bowl:

¾c sour cream
2T vinegar
½c walter

Mix well with a wooden spoon.  Scoop out enough batter to roll into a nice size ball, put onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Put 12-15 on each sheet.  Makes 24-30 biscuits.  Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with Beans and Little Smokies or hearty soup or chili.  Full Disclosure — I made the first sheet then realized something was wrong.  I had only put in 1 teaspoon of baking powder and sugar!  Added that amount to the remaining dough-batter, then kneaded it in well.  The second batch didn't turn out much different from the first.  These are not as fluffy or white as regular baking powder biscuits, but far healthier. . .Lin