Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Veggie Wednesday: Pissaladièra


Pissaladière (pissaladiera in Provençal) is a beautiful onion tart from Nice that is typically made with sautéed onions on a 'pizza' crust and crisscrossed with anchovies and dotted with black olives before being baked. As fond as I am of anchovies, I don't like their tiny little bones and so, I make my pissaladière with a puree of anchovy and olive spread beneath the onions.

I made this yesterday and it was so delicious. My older girls raved about it and the almost-three- year-old ate his fair share as well. The rest of the kids (as can be expected) turned up their little noses and ate something else for dinner.

Printable Recipe

I use my own 'recipe' for pizza dough, which isn't a recipe at all; it's one of those things I throw together until it 'feels right'. The crust yesterday was superb, if I do say so myself. I can only share with you that it starts with one packet of dry yeast, a cup or so of warm water, about a 1/4 cup of oil (olive, if you have it!), a healthy pinch of sugar, a fair amount of salt and enough flour to make a pliable dough. Once the dough is formed, let it stand for about half an hour under a towel and in a warm spot in your kitchen. Punch it down and form into a 'pizza' round. I have a 16" pizza pan, and that was perfect.

The olive and anchovy paste is similar to tapenade, but not exact.

1 cup of pitted oil cured black olives
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 garlic clove

Blend this all together until a fine paste forms. Spread onto the pizza dough.

Before any of this, and while the pizza dough is rising, slice up 3 large yellow onions and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Sauté the onions in a large pan in olive oil until limp. Add the garlic, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and a tablespoon or so of sea salt. Continue sautéing until the onions begin to caramelize; don't overdo on the coloring.

Spread the onions over the olive and anchovy spread and top with more black olive halves. Bake in a hot (400 degree F) oven until the crust is browned.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Cooking 101 Part VI, Desserts

Summertime desserts are the best ... as long as you don't have to bake them! It doesn't have to be all fruit, either. Several websites are out there with great no-bake dessert recipes: -- the list here is to-die-for! -- Recipes and tips both. -- Not just desserts! A list of no-cook recipes from start to finish.

A few of my favorites ingredients to keep on-hand for easy summertime desserts:

  • Non-dairy whipped topping in tubs
  • Heavy cream
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Chocolate chips
  • Sandwich cookies (Oreos)
  • Graham crackers
  • Different flavors of gelatin and pudding mixes
  • Marshmallows
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Lemon and lime juice
  • Honey

I posted a really great and simple Honey Lime Melon recipe over at Short Order Mom, and these recipes here are awesome examples of no-cook dessert bliss!

My favorite .

Mocha Trifle

2 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup instant coffee-dry
2 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix (3.5 oz)
16 ounces non-dairy whipped cream, thawed
2 loaves pound cake--cubed
Grated semisweet chocolate-about one ounce.
Ground cinnamon

Mix together milk and coffee granules until dissolved-set aside one cup.
Add pudding mixes to the remaining milk mixture. Beat until thickened.
Fold in half of the whipped topping.
Place a third of the cake cubes in a trifle bowl.
Layer with a third of the reserved milk mixture and pudding mixture
and a fourth of the grated chocolate.
Repeat layers twice.
Garnish with remaining whipped topping and chocolate.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Serves 16

Rocky Road Freeze
This is all over the 'net with no real author credited.

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

In small bowl, combine condensed milk and
chocolate syrup until blended.

In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat
cream just until stiff peaks form. Fold chocolate
mixture, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and peanuts
into whipped cream just until combined. Cover bowl
and freeze overnight.

To serve, let mixture stand about 15 minutes
at room temperature for easier scooping, then
scoop into dessert dishes.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'm a GIRL!

I have been awarded a Rockin' Girl Blogger award by Rippin Kitten!

What she says of me: " a self-proclaimed foodie, her site has a lot of great recipes & insights. This is one of her three blogs. Oh, and she has seven children! Seven…whew! "

Now it's MY turn to choose 5 "girl" bloggers. If you've been tagged, place the button up on your site (only if you'd like, of course) and choose 5 other women to be given a Rockin' Girl Blogger Award!

My choices for this award are:

KFarmer at KFarmer & the Dell--K is one of my oldest and dearest "blog buddies". She is a true beauty--inside AND out, a generous and kind spirit. Her garden is to-die-for, her writing is as soothing as a mint tea on a hot day. Her posts make my day--often.

Jenni at One Thing--What's NOT to say about Jenni? She writes in a very enviable way; I wish I had half the talent she does, and this woman is a mother of ELEVEN! Beautiful, scary intelligent, and witty beyond belief ... you must read for yourself.

Krista at Going Gluten-Free--Krista is the other half of my brother, Bobby. She is one heck of a mama; smart, funnneeeeeee, beautiful, and man ... can she COOK! She doesn't just blog gluten-free recipes, she retro fits recipes that she loves and makes them her own.

Dalene at
Compulsive Writer-- Another of my oldest "blog buddies", Dalene writes about life-in-general in a not-so-general way. Her stories of kids, friends and day-to-day life along with photos of it all are something you don't want to miss.

Mary at
Fireflies and Frogs-- Yet another mom of many, she deserves and award (or two or three). She is steadfast and REAL, and doing it alone. Give her a look.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Balasia-A Green World Cafe

Local hot-spot, Balasia, is celebrating it's One Year Anniversary! Wendy Landiak, former owner of The Green Cafe in South Side Bethlehem has reprised her role as an expert in vegetarian cooking with her newest venture, Balasia-A Green World Cafe. There is now a website (!!) that covers everything you could possibly want to know about the restaurant. Click on over and have a look. With daily menu changes, it's a must to check back often!

There's a special offer for members of Lehigh Valley Vegetarians, so stop by, offer congratulations, and sample some of the best vegetarian offerings available!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fruity Cheerios Contest Winner

Remember those Fruity Cheerios? There was also a contest mentioned and the winner has been chosen! Click Here to see the winning photo at ModernMom.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Here it is... Poulet Tchoupitoulas

Bread Pudding

Collard Greens

Poulet (served on top of the pudding)

I wouldn't change one thing about this meal at all. It was really, really GOOD. It was a bit time intensive, but that was mostly due to my cutting my own chickens in half, having no onions pre-cut and in the freezer, and a few kids that wanted to help and/or needed attention. I made enough chicken for 6, and followed the recipes for the bread pudding and greens and fed 8 of us too well on that amount! I have leftovers of each; not that I mind that one bit.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Poulet Tchoupitoulas

Poulet whatsis? If you are a true foodie and haven't seen yet, you must. I loved this film, not just because it was cute and funny, but because I related so well to all the food scenes!

that Georgia Byrd was making in the beginning of the movie. It comes from , so you KNOW it'll be good! I'll be making it this week and I'll get pictures up as soon as I can ... if we don't eat it first.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sick Baby

Baby Girl has RSV, any parent knows exactly what that entails, see you all in a few days or so!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stuff I'm Posting Elsewhere

Just in case you're bored here...

Recent Posts at Cookies to Caviar:

What to feed the kids all summer
Chicken in under 30 minutes
Few Ingredients and Almost No-Cook

The Rest of Me:

Garden photos
Contest at
Stories at dinner

A Question

Over at BlogCatalog (which is a really awesome resource and blog community) in the Discussions Forum, Gabrielle asked this question:

What foods remind you of your childhood?

It's a good enough question that I wanted to repeat it here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

I found this in an old Everyday Food magazine. I'm sure it would be great as is, but I know once I got started I'd be changing things. For example, I think cashew halves would be better than the peanuts. Thinly sliced red-pepper would be a great addition, too; and the changeover to non-veggie would be fabulous with grilled chicken added.
Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Peanuts
Serves 4

Coarse salt
1/2 pound whole-wheat fusilli
2 (2 pounds) broccoli
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain, and rinse under cold water; set aside.
Meanwhile, trim 1 inch from the stem end of broccoli stalks. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel outer layer of stalks; thinly slice crosswise. Separate florets into bite-size pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium.Add pepper flakes, broccoli, and 3/4 cup water; cover and cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid has evaporated and broccoli is tender, 2 to 4 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, peanut butter, and soy sauce until smooth. Add cooled pasta, broccoli, scallions, and peanuts; toss to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #35

Our ingredients today were inspired by my Sunday Dinner post this week. Chicken's so versatile it's hard NOT to use it! So, click the button above for rules of play, and GET COOKING!

boneless skinless chicken breasts
lime juice

See you next Tuesday with submissions!

Monday, June 04, 2007


I'm on a full-steam-ahead schedule today so I'm rushing to get a post out. Today is the last day of school here which means school until 12 for the older elementary kids and a half day for K...that means that Katie goes to school from 10:30 to 12. I've already been there once today to drop off two of the other kids! Back again at 12 to get them all and we are DONE for the year-whew!

My oldest graduates tonight, so we have the ceremony to look forward to this evening as well. That and the forum I help moderate that needed a weekly set-up and the usual "kid stuff" like feeding and diaper changing and, know.

Busy mama.

SO...check out this blog I found over the weekend called
#1 Jerky Ramblings written by Greg Mathers. He is a distributor for Jerky Direct and shared this recipe with me and gave me permission to pass it on. I love jerky, and this recipe looks delicious!

Smoked Shredded Buffalo Jerky Cheese Log

8 oz cream cheese
2 teaspoon lemon Juice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup (1 pkg) Hickory Smoked Shredded Buffalo Jerky

Put cream cheese, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion salt, Worcestershire sauce, grated cheese, and ½ cup jerky in bowl. Blend well. Take 12 in of wax paper and pour ¼ cup of jerky onto the wax paper. Take ½ of the cheese mixture and create a log of cheese by rolling it over the jerky. Completely cover the log with jerky, roll it up in the wax paper, and place it into the refrigerator overnight. Makes 2 logs.

When ready, cut log into disks and serve with crackers.

You can get the Shredded Buffalo Jerky at AVFundraiser.

Hickory Smoked Shredded Buffalo Jerky can be used as a low fat substitute for bacon. Use it in breakfast burritos, tacos, baked beans, quiche, Sloppy Joes, to top salads, and generally whenever you need a smoky meat flavor in your recipe. Keep a couple of bags handy for an emergency.



Tomorrow is our monthly game of Ready, Set, Cook!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Dinner - Summer Style

Sunday dinner is a comfort food sort of thing for me, so when it comes to Sunday dinner in the summer, my head is in a cooler climate state of mind, if that makes sense.

Even so, there's no reason Sunday dinner can't be special even when the weather is not complying. A real table set outside with a pretty tablecloth and real dishes and silverware is a nice way to "picnic" without the usual paper plates and plastic forks. Making use of the grill for something beyond hot dogs and burgers is a nice way to set the day apart from the norm, as well.

Grilled Chicken with Fruit Salsa
Mixed Greens with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Herbed Butter
Minted Iced Tea
Fresh Peaches and Cream

Grilled Chicken with Fruit Salsa

Heat grill to medium-high.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil

Rub breasts with olive oil. Place on heated grill and grill over medium-high heat for 20 minutes, turning once during cooking. Serve with fruit salsa.

Fruit Salsa

1 small ripe mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small banana, diced
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (optional)

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and let stand refrigerated for an hour before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Raspberry Vinaigrette

6 oz. balsamic vinegar
6 oz. raspberries
4 oz. honey
24 oz. salad oil
2 tsp. Chambord liqueur
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 T. fresh garlic-minced
1 T. fresh shallots-minced
1 egg
pinch each-oregano, basil, parsley
to taste-salt and pepper

Put raspberries through a sieve to puree and remove
Pour vinegar, honey, oil, and Chambord through sieve.
Add mustard, egg, and remaining ingredients.
Whip to mix completely.
Check seasoning.

Serve cold-but well mixed.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Summer Cooking 101 Part V, Salads

I fully realize that I never finished my 12 week-series on Summer Cooking last year. Look on the bright side, I'm 5 posts ahead now! Ha ha. I'll be finishing this series up some summer, I suppose!

This part is all about everyone's favorite hot weather fare: salads.

Salads are on of the most versatile dishes ever created. From side to main, hot to cold, cheeses to meats, grains to greens ... the possibilities are endless. Vegetables and fruits abound this time of year, and there isn't anything easier or cooler to whip up for lunch or dinner.

Keep the heat down in the kitchen by making anything that needs to be cooked for your salad early in the morning or later at night. Many things can be grilled as well, keeping the heat where it belongs - outside.

There are websites galore about choosing the freshest and best produce, here are a few I like:

Produce Oasis
North Dakota State University
Pick Texas
Family Circle

There's no reason not to cut things up ahead of time so that you have them on-hand for quick salads. As long as they are wrapped properly and used within safe time limits, you're good to go. If guests stop by you can throw something together in minutes.

If I had it my way, I'd make a week of meals out of these salads:

California Club Pasta Salad
6 servings
(I don't know where this came from, or I'd gladly credit the author!)

3 cups uncooked medium pasta shells (7 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup fat-free ranch dressing
1 medium tomato -- chopped (3/4 cup)
1/4 pound deli-style sliced fat-free ham -- cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 pound deli-style sliced fat-free turkey -- cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 medium green onions -- sliced (2 tablespoons)
1 (10-ounce) bag washed fresh spinach
1/4 cup imitation bacon-flavor bits

Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.

Toss pasta, dressing, tomato, ham, turkey and onions. Place spinach on
serving platter. Top with pasta mixture. Sprinkle with bacon bits.

Ginger-Lime Chicken Salad
Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
1 cup snow pea pods, long-bias cut
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon sliced green onion

Mix yogurt, lime juice, and ginger in a medium bowl.
Add chicken, stirring to coat. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Toss pea pods, celery, and onion together.
Mix vegetables and chicken mixture together and serve.

Sirloin Citrus Salad
4 servings

1 lb boneless beef top sirloin cut in 1" thick slices
1 T olive oil
4 c Romaine lettuce, torn
2 oranges, peel and separate into segments
1/4 c toasted walnuts
Sliced strawberries (optional)

Citrus Vinaigrette
makes about 1/3 cup

2 T Orange juice
2 T Red wine vinegar
1 T Olive oil
2 t Honey
1 1/2 t Dijon style mustard

Mix ingredients for Citrus Vinaigrette, reserve. Cut steak into 1/8"
thick strips; cut each strip in half. Heat oil in a large non-stick
skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef (1/2 at a time) 1 to 2
minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; season with salt, if desired.
Toss beef and oranges in a large bowl. Sprinkle with walnuts. Drizzle
with vinaigrette, garnish with strawberries, serve immediately.

Source: Beef Board pamphlet

This Fresh Fruit Salad from looks delicious, too!