Monday, December 23, 2013

Melted Snowmen (Chocolate Chip Meringues)

One more quickie cookie recipe before Santa arrives ;)

Forgive me the hyperbole, but these are just about the easiest and fastest cookie you are going to find. Their actual name is *Forgotten Cookies*, because you leave them in the oven overnight, but the snowy-white egg whites with a random peeks of chocolate chip made me think of melted snowmen, and so, a new holiday-appropriate name was born. These are light, airy, and crisply sweet. And! Added bonus, they are gluten-free, so they can be enjoyed by those who may have to abstain from flour-based cookies. Yay! Cookies for everyone!

Melted Snowmen (Chocolate Chip Meringues)

-2 egg whites
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 cup chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350F
-Beat egg whites until stiff, adding sugar a little at a time and beating constantly
-Fold in chocolate chips
-Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet (you could also pipe them through a pastry bag or a plastic sandwich bag with one of the bottom corners cut off)
-Place cookies in oven and TURN OVEN OFF. Leave in oven for 6 hours or overnight. DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR.
-Makes approximately 16 cookies

Note: Because these are meringues, they do not take humidity well, make them on a dry day and store them in a cool place in an airtight container)

(These cookies really are appropriate for any time of year, I've never tried this personally, but I'm sure you could switch out the chocolate chips for M&M's in any color of the rainbow :)

Serve these piled on a plate with a steaming mug of hot cocoa and Santa (or anyone else who tastes them!) will love you :)

Happy Christmas, My Dears!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flavored Butter 2.0 (Chili Garlic Lime Butter and Maple Brown Sugar Sea Salt Butter)

Happy Holidays, Friends!

   I had the best of intentions of getting this post up last weekend, but the holidays are in full force with cooking and baking and wrapping and events to attend, and when I do get a few free minutes, I spend them on the couch in front of my Christmas Tree with my husband and my kittens, not in front of a computer, and that is as it should be :) But! At long last, here I am, and here you are, and I'm thinking a food-gift post might be in order :)

    Those of you that have been with me for the long haul may remember a flavored butter post from the Holiday Season of 2011 :) That was my first adventure into the world of homemade butters, and the recipes featured there were Orange Marmalade Butter and Cinnamon Honey Butter. I'm happy to say that both of those recipes have withstood the test of time and I've returned to them several times since :) This time we're back with two new flavors that I'm really pleased with, Chili Garlic Lime Butter and Maple Brown Sugar Sea Salt Butter :)

   A few reminders on technique:

   -this could not be simpler, just combine ingredients with softened butter in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl.

    -This can be packaged multiple ways, the first time I did this I packed the butter in small canning jars. This time I wrapped the butter in a layer of parchement paper and then a layer of colored plastic wrap and tied the ends with ribbon.

   -The flavoring quantities listed here are only guidelines. Add as much ot as little as you like :)

   -TASTE!!! The only way to know if your porportions are right!!!

   -These will keep for weeks in the fridge and for months in the freezer.

  -These recipes are scaled to 10 sticks of butter, assuming you'll be making large batches to give as gifts :)

Chili Garlic Lime Butter

-10 sticks butter, softened (it works with salted and unsalted, I used salted, use what you prefer)
-10 cloves garlic, finely minced
-3 tbsp chili powder or to taste (go very slowly with this, I added about a tablespoon at a time, you can always add, but you can't take away!)
-Zest and Juice of 3 Limes
-Pinch of Sea Salt

-Combine all ingredients in stand mixer or in large bowl with hand mixer. Adjust seasonings. Package as desired and chill until needed.

Maple Brown Sugar Sea Salt Butter

-10 sticks butter, softened
-1 cup maple syrup
-1 cup brown sugar
-Sea Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer or in large bowl with hand mixer. Adjust seasonings. Package as desired and chill until needed.

Have a beautiful holiday filled with Light and Love :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Placeholder: Don't Worry, I'm Still Here!

Hey Ho,

 Don't worry, I haven't dropped off the face of the blogging planet again, I just encountered some minor snags last week. Technical difficulties with the home computer and wee bit of an accident. I fell down the front stairs of our apartment :( No broken bones, no concussion, thank goodness, just pretty bruised and sore, but I am on the mend! I will get a blog up this week, though it will probably be late in the week or over the weekend, but it will happen! I've really loved getting back into blogging, I won't let it go indefinitely dark again :) Don't have much else to day other than that, I probably won't bother cross-posting this entry on Facebook, because it's just a check-in, but there's lots of great stuff coming up! Biscuits! Cookies! Flavored Butters! Yay Holidays!

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

    I am as good as my word :) A seasonally appropriate breakfast/simple dessert item featuring both pumpkin and chocolate that is NOT pie. Not that there is anything wrong with pie, or eating pie for breakfast, which is what I assume many of us will be doing on Friday morning ;), but the Internet is swimming in awesome pie recipes right about now, and I wanted to feature something just a little different.

    This is a treasured recipe from some very dear friends of mine, and it's definitely one my favorite quick breads. From October to December, this bread is just perfect. Breakfast, snack, dessert, whatever, it is a divine Autumnal or Holiday nibble. This bread has a really nice balance of flavors, the pumpkin and chocolate are both very present, but you don't get bashed over the head with either one of them.  I love that this bread is made basically entirely of pantry staples, and couldn't be simpler in terms of prep. Monkey stir, monkey pour, monkey put in oven. I can handle that :)

   Oh! And for those interested, the pumpkin puree I used in this recipe was that homemade pumpkin puree I talked about in one of my most recent posts :) As you may recall, you are technically supposed to use the smaller sugar pumpkins for homemade pumpkin puree, but all I had on hand was a large, jack o' lantern type pumpkin. I'm happy to report that the puree worked beautifully, to no ill-effect in texture or taste. That, of course, doesn't necessarily mean that it would be a perfect sub in all cases, but there is cause for optimism :)



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
    -from the recipe files of Cheryl Lieberman

-3 cups flour
-2 cups sugar
-2 tsp. baking powder
-2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2-3 tsp. cinnamon
-3 cups pumpkin puree (NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling!!!)
-1 cup oil
-4 eggs
-1 bag chocolate chips (I used Toll House semi-sweet morsels, but use what you like)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Grease and flour (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) two loaf pans or one bundt pan.
-Combine dry ingredients (except for chocolate chips) in medium bowl and whisk briefly to aerate.
-Add wet ingredients to bowl and stir to combine (you could certainly use a mixer if you wanted to, I usually just use a big spoon).
-Once mixture is combined, stir in chocolate chips.
-Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake at 350F for approximately 1 hour or until inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean of batter (a few smears of melted chocolate are okay)
-let cool briefly in pan(s), then remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
-Eat for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning with softened butter while you watch the Macy's Parade and putting the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving Feast :)

*Bread will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days, and (again, well wrapped) in the freezer for several months*

Printable? Here ya go :)

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving :) I'm so grateful for you all!!!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Great Stuffing Debate (Thanksgiving Countdown, Week #3)

    One week out from Thanksgivng and I'm probably gonna set off some heated conversations with this one, but it's one of the great Thanskgiving Debates, so here we go:

    What do you put in your stuffing? Do you stuff it in the bird or bake it in a separate dish? If you bake it in a separate dish, do you still call it stuffing, or do you call it by it's technically correct name of dressing?

   Sandwich bread? Crusty Bread? Cornbread?

   Sausage? Apples? Celery? Sage? Mushrooms? Onions?

   Confession: One of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving spread is the stuffing ;)

   For the record, in my family, we use crusty bread or good quality sandwich bread, the seasonings are simple: celery, onion, occasionally mushrooms, salt, pepper, and a little stock from the bird and an egg for binders. We bake it in a separate pan and do not stuff it inside the turkey.

  And you? Let's hear it!


DISCLAIMER: This is a judgement-free zone, but the food police will come after me if I don't say that if you do choose to cook your stuffing inside your turkey, please make sure that the stuffing, as well as the turkey, have reached the food safety temperature of 165 degrees F. Because salmonella sucks and should not be part of any holiday celebration.

Next up? A pumpkin and chocolate dessert/breakfast item that is NOT pie. Yup. I said it.

Love ya!


Friday, November 15, 2013

How-To: Pumpkin and Squash Puree

   A definite plus of getting back into food blogging is that it has inspired me to dust off my Culinary *To-Do* List. A big one on that list has been making my own Squash and Pumpkin puree to freeze and use for cooking and baking during the winter holidays. This past weekend, finding myself with a rare free-morning, I did just that.

   Was this time-consuming? Yes, but it was not difficult at all, a perfect low-stress, lazy Sunday kind of thing. It probably would have gone a lot faster if I wasn't also making a big batch of applesauce, but on this particular occasion, I was not in any hurry. Also, the hands-on part is fairly minimal, the longest bit is when the veggies are roasting in the oven. These process shots (again, had to use my iPhone, as my USB adapter for my camera hasn't turned up yet) are a mix of acorn squash and pumpkin. As you'll see in some of these photos, I used a regular-sized, jack o'lantern type pumpkin. Technically speaking the smaller *sugar pumpkins* are probably better for this, as apparently the larger pumpkins produce a more watery puree, but I haven't attempted to cook or bake with my pumpkin puree yet, so I will report back and let you know how it went. You won't have long to wait, as I plan to use said pumpkin in my next recipe post. In case it is not clear, I roasted the acorn squash first and the pumpkin second, in other words, I made the two purees separately, I did not mix them together.

   Question: is a pumpkin a squash? Are squash and pumpkins both considered gourds? Are pumpkins, squash and gourds all different things? The interwebs are hazy on this point, help a girl out?

   Unsurprisingly, I am not the first food blogger to tackle a how-to of this type. Ree over at Pioneer Woman has a lovely tutorial (with much better pictures!) here if you want to check it out!

 Pumpkin and/or Squash Puree
 adapted from various Internet sources, but most prominently Ree Drummond at Pioneer Woman

-winter vegetables of choice (I used 3 acorn squash and 1 medium sized pumpkin)
(longest. ingredient. list. EVER.)

A WORD ON YIELDS: Every veggie will probably be a little different, so I don't know how accurately I can tell you about yields. For whatever it is worth, a medium sized pumpkin got me about 7.5 cups of pumpkin puree and three acorn squash got me about 3 cups of squash puree.

-Preheat oven to 350F.

-Give outer shell of squash or pumpkins a quick rinse or wipe with a damp cloth in case there is any lingering dirt.

-Cut squash or pumpkins in half or in quarters and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp.

-Arrange pieces cut-side up on an ungreased baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes or until flesh is soft and easily pierced with a fork (it took about 45 minutes for my acorn squash and about an hour for my pumpkin, start the *fork test* around 45 minutes and go from there)

-When flesh is soft, remove squash/pumpkin from oven and let cool until it can be handled safely.

-When pumpkin/squash is cool enough to handle safely, scoop flesh into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Sometimes the flesh will peel away from the shell in large chunks, other times you will have to scoop it out of the shell with a spoon

-Pulse pumpkin/squash in food processor or blender until smooth. If puree looks dry, add a little water to the mixture. If using a blender, you may need to add a little water at the outset just to help the blender along)

-Place puree in airtight containers and freeze until needed.

   I'm assuming you gathered this, but this treatment would work with pretty much any winter veggies. I used pumpkin and acorn squash, but you could really do any kind of winter squash, or sweet potatoes, or whatever tickles your fancy. Be advised there is no oil and there are no seasonings in this formula, I wanted to leave it plain so the puree could swing sweet or savory as needed in whatever recipe you will be using.


After some advice from the Internet wizard, I believe I have found a way to incorporate a print function!!! Click here and it should give you the option to view and save or print a PDF of this recipe :) Let me know if it works!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mexican Rice

Full Disclosure,

    I have never been to Mexico. I am not Mexican. When I was graduate student, I taught English as a Second Language to Mexican Migrant Workers, and there are several very tasty Mexican restaurants in the city where I live, but I am by no means an authority; and whether or not this rice dish actually resembles anything that real Mexican people would actually cook is probably up for debate. I call it Mexican Rice because it contains flavors that I have come to associate with Mexican cooking, and I brought it as a side dish to a Dia De Los Muertos Party to be served alongside Chicken Mole, Empanadas, Pan De Muerto and other such delicious goodies.

   Here are a few shots from the party :) These were shot on my iPhone. I did actually find my camera (yay!), so now all I have to find is the adapter cord so that I can actually upload photos to my computer!
    We set up a small altar in honor of our dearly departed, and then commenced with the eating and the drinking and the merrymaking :) An awesome time was had by all :) And yes, there were men at this party too, they were the ones taking the pictures! I wish I had more pictures of the actual food, but trust me when I say everything was fabulous!

Onto the rice!

    The shell of this recipe comes from the Mexican Rice featured on Comfort Food Central, aka, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I fiddled around and tweaked here and there, but the bulk of the credit has to go to Ree.

 Let's get to it!

Mexican Rice

Adapted from Ree Drummond at The Pioneer Woman Cooks

-2 tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil
-2 small Onions or about half of 1 large Onion, diced
-2 cups Long Grain Rice (I only had basmati rice, so that's what I used, but any long grain rice will be fine here)
-2 cloves of Garlic, minced
-8oz Taco Sauce (this would be all of an 8oz bottle or about half of a 16-oz bottle, I used Ortega Mild, but if you have another brand that you like, or if the idea of bottled taco sauce offends you and you have some of the real stuff, have at it)
-1 small can Diced Green Chilies (if you like more of a kick, use 2 cans)
-2 cups Chicken Broth (have a little extra on hand in case it is needed)
-Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper to taste.

-Heat oil in sauce pan or saute pan lare enough to hold rice and liquid. Add onion and saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion has softened and taken on a little color.

-Add rice, garlic and diced green chilies to pan and stir all ingredients to combine. Let rice saute for about 3 minutes or until rice develops a toasted/nutty scent.

-Add Taco Sauce, Chicken Broth and Spices to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until rice is done. If rice appears too dry, add a few more splashes of chicken broth or water.

-Let rice stand covered, off heat for about 5 minutes, fluff with fork, adjust seasonings and serve with your favorite Tex-Mex goodies.

- My guess is that leftovers would be fine for a few days in the fridge and would reheat with no trouble, but ours was gone before I could find out ;)

Have a lovely weekend :) Next up, since Pumpkins and Squash are gonna be in the spotlight for the next month or two, I'm hoping to do some Pumpkin and Squash Puree tutorials. Stay tuned!

Love ya!

 (I am so, so happy I started blogging again, and if you're reading this, thanks for sticking with me!)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Talkin' Turkey

    We're one week into the countdown to Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, and I think it's about time we talked some Turkey! (Vegetarians and Vegans and other non-turkey eaters welcome as well!) In case you missd this, I could talk about food all day, and so I shall :) I'll try and do one Thanksgivng-centric post per week, in addition to the other mischief I've got planned for the coming weeks :)

    Here we go:

    If Turkey is the centerpiece to your Thanksgiving Meal, what's your secret? Do you brine? Baste? Rub? Flavored Butter? Low and Slow? Deep Fried? (Around our place we brine using Alton Brown's Turkey Brine recipe that uses orange juice, brown sugar, peppercorns, kosher salt and chicken or vegetable broth). Any tips you want to pass along?

   If you're meat-free, what's your go-to Thanksgiving main dish?

   Discuss :)


Monday, November 4, 2013

Simple Unsweetened Applesauce

I promised you applesauce, did I not?

     DISCLAIMER: My camera has wandered away. It is either in one of our travel bags from when we went away a few weeks ago and never got unpacked, or it has been swallowed by the abyss of our spare room. So, the photos in my next few posts were shot on my iPhone, and I apologize in advance if the photos aren't great. I've never used photos taken on an iPhone in a blog post before, so I really have no idea of how the photos are going to look. Not gonna let loss of camera stop me!

    Anyway. Applesauce.

    This is really just a nice, basic, no-sugar applesauce that is great for baking, to feed to kids and babies, and for people who don't like really sugary or overly spiced applesauce. I found the recipe in the short-lived but awesome baby-food sub-blog over at Smitten Kitchen. The biggest change I made was that I did not peel the apples (okay, I peeled one, and then I realized how long it was going to take me to peel 4lbs worth of apples and I was working in a limited time-frame, so I skipped peeling the apples and everything was fine). This was a great way to use up apples that are just south of being good for eating. This whole thing went together quite quickly, and made my kitchen smell delicious :)

Unsweetened Applesauce
-Adapted only very slightly from Deb at Smitten Kitchen

- About 4lbs apples, cored and sliced (I used a mix of Honey Crisp and Macoun apples, but use whatever you like) Peeling is optional, do what you like.

-4 strips of lemon peel

-1 cinnamon stick (if you don't have a cinnamon stick, about 1/4tsp to 1/2tsp ground cinnamon would be fine)

-1/4 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice

-3/4 cup water

-Core and slice the apples (peel them if you are moved to and if you have more time than I did) and place them in a large pot.

-Add cinnamon stick, lemon peel, cider and water to the pot with the apples and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let the apples cook until they are soft, about 30-35 minutes.

-Once apples are soft, remove lemon peels and cinnamon stick and let applesauce cool a bit.

-Depending on the consistency you like, you can mash the apples down further with a potato masher or whisk. Or, for a smoother cosistency, use a food mill, blender or food processor (PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN PLACING WARM LQUIDS IN FOOD PROCESSOR OR BLENDER). I pureed mine in the food processor and it is sooo lovely and velvety ;)


-The applesauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or two, and for months in the freezer :)

NOTES: As you can see, there is no sugar in this recipe, so if you're expecting a sweet sauce, you're in a for a surprise. The taste of this applesauce is very light and clear, with some really nice background notes from the lemon and cinnamon. The sauce tastes even better the next day after it has had a little chill time in the fridge :)

Next up? Mexican Rice :)

Hope this made your Monday a little brighter!

Lynn ;)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Life Lessons


Happy (almost) Halloween, Everyone!!!

     Forgive the *BOO* at the beginning, but it seemed only fitting because of the date, and the fact that it's been a straight-up ghost town around here for, oh, seven months or so. But that it is going to change. Starting today.

     First, some catchup in 50 words or less:

     Moved from Baldwinsville to Syracuse to give my grandparents a hand. Worked at Sterling Renaissance Festival. Taught Lemoyne College Summer Arts Institute. Mikey went back to college. We adopted two little kittens. Dayjob is stressful.  Miss my Food Blog. Made a pact with a friend to blog once a week.

     A bit more explanation on that last bit. A dear friend of mine and I were commiserating on our life frustrations and in the course of the conversation it came up how we both had blogs that we loved but for one reason or another, we got away from them. We made a promise to each other to dust off those blogs and post once a week for the rest of the year and then see where we were at.

    I love this blog, I have always loved it and for awhile there it seemed like there were at least a few of you out there who loved it too. I primarily got away from it for the main reasons people get away from their blogs, being too busy, too many other commitments on their time, needing to focus on other areas of their lives, etc. But, the other reason I kind of stopped blogging here was because I somehow convinced myself that the blog didn't look professional enough and I'd never get anywhere with it. I'd look at the websites for my favorite bloggers, both food and non-food, and I would just feel so amateurish and defeated and think to myself, *why bother? Your blog will never be that good*. Unsurprisingly, That line of thinking made it very easy for me to push blogging even farther down my list of priorities.

  That line of thinking is over. Here's why:

  -Everyone has to start somewhere. Every writer and blogger I admire was in the exact same place I am right now. In order for there to be a story, there has to be a beginning.

 -I love to cook, I love to talk and write about cooking and when I actually keep up with this little blog, I am as happy as a clam :)

-I know how to cook, I know how to write, I know how to take pictures, all the skills are there, they just need to be refined, and the way you refine your skills is with practice.

-I need to get better at making time for the things to make me happy.

-There is no time like the present.

-I am responsible for my own happiness

So there ya go.

Enough Life Lessons for today? No worries. Soon there will be Applesauce :)

Have a fun and safe Holiday!!!

Love ya!
LynnieBee :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chocolate Chip Bars with Molasses and Sea Salt

  Before we get to the deliciousness that's about to happen, may I draw your attention upwards to the new *Recipes* Tab? Yes, after *coughalmostfouryearscough*, I finally got around to organizing my recipes!!! They are broken down by category (appetizers, desserts, etc), and I'm hoping that this will make them much easier to find :) I'm still working on a way to format them to be printed, I'll keep you updated on how that's going. I'm also going to be going back through some of the older posts to edit them/embed text links/spiff up the photography, etc and generally make them look a little more professional, so keep an eye out for that :)


   Working on these chocolate chip bars was an absolute delight for me, for several reasons; first, um HELLO, they are chocolate chip cookies in bar form. Second, growing up, my Mom usually made chocolate chips bars instead of chocolate chip cookies so this was an awesome trip down childhood memory lane :) And thirdly because the base recipe for these bars was a gift from one of my dearest friends, Jen;  it is her favorite cookie recipe from childhood, and recipe sharing with loved ones is always the very best :) I fiddled and tweaked a bit, cause that's just what I do, adding a bit more depth of flavor to the dough and suchlike, but the base recipe is essentially intact :)

  I know there are hundreds if not thousands of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, each one with a slightly different spin or secret ingredient, and that's fine, I just happen to really enjoy this one. I brought this to a friend's house where a few of my girlfriends had gathered to watch an SU Basketball game, and they were a huge hit :) These go together in a snap. Less than an hour from now, these cookie bars could be on your table. GO!!!

Chocolate Chip Bars with Molasses and Sea Salt

-1 cup salted butter, softened (see Note)
-3/4 cup sugar
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 tsp. molasses
-3 cups flour
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. sea salt
-1 bag chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

*Note: Every foodie in the world is rolling their eyes at me for this, but I really, really prefer this recipe with SALTED butter, it gives the dough much more flavor. It does not make the dough taste salty, just well-rounded. Trust me on this.

- Preheat oven to 375 F.

-In a large mixing bowl or bowl of stand-mixer, beat together butter, sugars, eggs, molasses and vanilla. 

-In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture, mixing until combined. Stir/fold in chocolate chips.

- Pour into greased or parchment paper-lined 9x13 inch baking pan and spread into pan evenly. (For the record, I am a total convert to lining my baking pans/sheets with parchment paper, there hasn't been a burned cookie bottom in our house for months. Parchment paper, where have you BEEN all my life?)

-Bake at 375 F for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

-Enjoy with cold milk and your favorite people :) Love you Jen!!!

Love and Chocolate :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lime Tzatziki: Mexico,by way of Greece and India

    Hello My Foodie Friends!!!

     If you've been following along on my other blog, you know that blogging more frequently is a big goal of mine this year. I've been posting most days on my personal blog, but the more I blog there, the more I miss this food blog here, for two reasons. One, I love cooking and I love blogging about cooking. And two, posting with a theme or niche in mind is much easier than just posting about whatever thing happens to be in my head that day. Sometimes I find myself struggling with coming up with interesting content for my personal blog, but a food post? No problem, I could talk about food all day, and um, I kinda do..sort of...*halo*.....

    So! I'm going to make a concerted effort to get this food blog back into a regular posting groove. And actually, there are several improvements I want to make to this blog as well. I want to figure out a way to categorize the recipes and make them searchable and printable, and I want to to make it look less amateur and little more professional. If there's anyone out there in blog land who can teach me how to do this, I would greatly appreciate your help.

   On to the Food!

    I'm sure I'm not the only cook who experiences this, but do you ever start a recipe and then realize you're missing some of the ingredients? Oh, good, I'm glad it's not just me ;) This happened to me last night as I was making tzatziki, possibly my favorite dip/condiment in the history of ever. I'm going along in the recipe, about to add the lemon juice, when I slice into the lemon and realize that it has gone bad on the so I rummage a little further into the crisper and I find limes :) Perfect! Crisis averted! I continue with the recipe and I realize I have no, lacking an acceptable substitute, I just left it out.


   Cool, Tangy, Creamy, Refreshing and So.Very. Dippable.

   Don't get me wrong, I think tzatziki is perfect the way it is and I wasn't necessarily looking to change it, but I worked with what I had and what I got was a three-way meld of Tzatziki (Greece), Raita (India) and Lime Crema (Mexico). So very smooth and silky but made interesting by the lime and the cucumber. Mikey and I cut up come carrots and celery, brined some cucumbers and toasted up some whole wheat pita and went to town. OM NOM NOM. I had this for dinner last night and for lunch again today, licking my plate and the serving spoon clean both times and I'm not ashamed to admit this.

Lime Tzatziki
( based on and adapted from recipes from both The Barefoot Contessa and Smitten Kitchen)

-2 cups (or about 16 oz) STRAINED Greek Yogurt (I used fat free Chobani Brand. *I cannot stress enough how important it is to strain the yogurt first. Straining is your first line of defense against runny, gloppy tzatziki. To that end, see the Notes below.)
-1 English/Seedless Cucumber, unpeeled
-1/4 cup sour cream (I used full fat)
-Juice of one lime (if your lime is being stingy, use 2, or to taste)
-1tbsp. white wine vinegar (cider or distilled may be subbed, depending the level of acidity you like)
-2 cloves minced fresh garlic
-2 tsp. kosher salt

- Place strained yogurt in medium bowl.
- Chop cucumber,or,grate cucumber on a box grater or shred in food processor fitted with shredding disc ( it all depends on how chunky you want the cucumber to be in the final dish). Place the chopped/ grated cucumber in cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and wring out the excess water.
-Add cucumber to yogurt along with the sour cream, lime juice, vinegar, garlic and salt and stir to combine
-Can be eaten immediately or chilled. Serve with veggies of your choice and grilled pita (or on top of souvlaki/ gyro, etc).

   *NOTE: As I said above, make sure the yogurt has been strained BEFORE you start this recipe, otherwise the tzatziki will be a glopfest (technical term).  May I refer you to my post on Yogurt Cheese for my fave straining method? If you don't feel like clicking through, just take a 32oz tub of Greek yogurt and place it in a sieve/strainer lined with a few layers of cheese cloth or clean paper towels and place the sieve/strainer over a bowl so the excess liquid can drain out. I like to do this the day before I want to make the tzatziki, so the yogurt can drain in the fridge overnight, but if you're pressed for time you can just let it drain for a few hours. If you're using paper towels, you'll have to change them a few times. Overnight, a 32 oz tub of yogurt will have reduced down to about half it's previous volume, which will leave you with the approximate 2 cups/ 16-ish ounces you need for this recipe.

   Not that this was necessarily the objective of this recipe, but it wins major points in the health department. Fat free yogurt as a base, high protein, and only 1/4 cup of sour cream in the  whole thing. But, believe me, there's nothing lacking in the flavor or texture of this tzatziki, it is positively luxurious :)

It's good to be back :)