Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gullivers' Gone Wild! and Thai Cuisine Steamed Red Curry Fish

I must stop these visits to Gulliver's Books located on College Blvd. every Saturday I drop $50 every Saturday morning and prance away with books for my classroom as well as feed my own literary appetite. Today I purchased two cookbooks that have been screaming from the shelves for the past month. As an early birthday present to myself I purchased Thai Cuisine ISBN: 97804-88996-094-5 $11.95. I love this book because each recipe has pictures of step by step instructions and a picture of the ingredients needed. I also purchased Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day ISBN: 978-0-312-54552-9 $27.99. I believe if I practice enough, I may eventually learn how to make bread as good as Carol Scott!

Never fear about finding those ingredients you need to complete the meal. If you live in Fairbanks, go to the Asian Market located on Aurora Blvd. behind Randy Smith Middle School. They are very helpful and will have everything you need including frog legs, brown sticky rice, kaffir, seaweed, banana leaves for poaching salmon, Thai style curry, dried mushrooms, exotic veggies and everything else under the sun.

The halibut is thawed and ready to skin. Here is the recipe from the Thai Cuisine for Steamed Curry Fish.

Steamed Curry Fish

1 lb. fish
1/2 lb. medium shrimp
1 TBSP oil
2 TBSP red curry

14 oz. coconut milk
3 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves

Green and red bell pepper slices and kaffir (lime leaves) for garnish.

Clean fish and cut into pieces. Heat frying pan with oil and fry curry 1/2 minute on medium heat. Combine remaining sauce ingredients. Place fish in sauce and heat to slow boil. Cover and bring sauce to a slow boil again. Ladle the sauce over the fish during cooking. Simmer about 20 minutes and serve over jasmine rice. mouth is burning right now and I LOVE it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brocolli Lasagne and Tiramisu

Each month the FEA Board meets on a Tuesday evening and shares a meal before and during the meeting because they generally run long. Last month I was feeling terribly guilty about not offering to provide the evening meal and have only been on the Board a few months. Generally speaking, people usually bring chili, sandwiches, salads and yummy things. I was at a loss as to what to bring and suggested to the other member who I am coordinating with "Lasagna". I mean it's a relatively easy dish to make and everyone loves pasta. Then I thought of the Broccoli Lasagna recipe that I have been using for over 20 years. Broccoli, carrots and mushrooms! What a wonderful blend. I got this recipe from my good friend Sandy Ball when we worked together at Los Alamos National Laboratory way back in 1990. Her husband was allergic to tomatoes, didn't like garlic, and couldn't have the traditional dish. It's a truly good recipe but requires quite a bit of prep-work. You will make this one again and again. I promise! Even the most discriminating "Meat-Eater" will enjoy this dish. But just in case, I've also made the traditional meat one for those who must have their meat-fix.

Broccoli Lasagna
2 10 oz. cans condensed Cream of Broccoli soup
1 10 oz. package frozen, chopped broccoli
olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 large yellow onion, diced
3/4 lb. sliced mushrooms
12 lasagna noodles
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
15 oz. ricotta cheese
2 large eggs

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine cream of broccoli soup and frozen broccoli. Heat until broccoli is thawed. In a 10" skillet over medium heat cook carrots and onion in 1 TBSP. olive oil until lightly browned. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1/4 cup water. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until very tender. Remove contents to a bowl.

Using the same skillet over high heat cook mushrooms in 3 TBSP olive oil. Cook until lightly browned and liquid has evaporated. Stir in the carrot/onion mixture.

While the veggies are cooking, prepare noodles as directed (do nothing if you are using the no-boil noodles and move onto the next step).

In a bowl, mix the mozzarella, ricotta and eggs.

Preheat the oven to 375. In a 9 x 13 dish, spread 1 cup broccoli sauce, arrange 1/2 of the noodles over the sauce, top with 1/2 of the cheese mixture; then all the carrot mixture and 1/2 of the remaining sauce. Top with remaining noodles, cheese mixture, and sauce. Bake lasagna 45 minutes or until hot. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 10 servings. (No Kidding!)

Next up.....Tiramisu! I ask myself, "What the devil did you get yourself into?" So, I'm shopping for ingredients for the Broccoli Lasagna and think, "You can't have lasagna without garlic bread", so I stroll through the bakery and find but what.....LADYFINGERS! I must have been out of my mind when I instantly thought "Tiramisu for dessert!!! This will be perfect after lasagna!" I've only made it once before and do not know how it came out because it was gone before I could sample it. Who better to get the recipe from than Giada De Laurentiis? C'mon, she's beautiful, a chef and ITALIAN!

6 egg yolks
3 TBSP sugar
1 lb. mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled
2 tsp. dark rum (I don't drink rum, but the girl in the liquor dept. directed me to Myer's Dark Jamaican )
24 ladyfingers
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings for garnish (I got nothing less than the best Ghiradelli)

In your KitchenAide large bowl or electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale--about 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. Add 1 TBSP of espresso, mix until thoroughly combined.

In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and rum. Dip 12 ladyfingers into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Break them in 1/2 if you have to in order to make them fit.

Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mix over the ladyfingers. Arrange the remaining 12 soaked ladyfingers on top and top that with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

Top with bittersweet chocolate shavings before serving.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alaskaladas revisited

The original recipe comes from the "Best of the Best from ALASKA cookbook"
I hate to override a recipe, but being from New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment...I don't mind when it concerns my green chile or any ingredient that I feel I personally own. This dish is formally titled, "Alaskaladas"'s a retake on a quick and easy enchilada casserole using moose (which I love). Bake at 350 for 1 hour....let it st for 10 minutes before cutting.

1-2 lbs ground moose
1/2 onion chopped (I like yellow)
1 TBSP garlic minced
2 small cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can stewed diced tomatoes ( I used RoTel)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 8 oz. can diced green chili.( I confess...I used this and another 3 TBSP of the sacred Gallup Green Chile that I hoard)
1 cup cubed Mexican Velveeta (don't bother looking for it....Fairbanks doesn't carry it...just add 2 TBSP of good chile flakes or southwest seasoning if you carry that)
1 tsp. garlic salt....I LIKE garlic and make it a good rounded amount
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
12 corn tortillas, softened in oil

The original recipe calls for mozzarella cheese to top and put in between layers.....No DECENT native of the southwest would approve of this combination. Although I live in Alaska and respect this state and Grannie Annie's Cookin ' at the Homestead (where this recipe comes to you from)...I cannot allow this combination of flavors----YUK! Get some Mexican cheese to repace this, or Montery Jack. Mozzarella and green and red chile should only be combined with pizza, crepes or quiche.....NEVER an enchilada-style dish! And, I have NEVER used Velveeta in a dish....will have to report the success or failure thereof. It is in the oven as we speak.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spruce Grouse McNuggets and High Bush Cranberry Ketchup

My good friend and colleague Chris Pastro gave this wonderful recipe to me several years ago. During Spring Break, I cleaned out the freezer and found 3 lovely spruce grouse just begging to be cooked and consumed. After a frantic search for this quick and easy recipe I am on my way to making a great appetizer. I serve this wonderful delicacy with my own High Bush Cranberry Ketchup. In the fall I collect these stinky-feet smell berries from my own backyard and literally jar and can dozens of pints and half-pints of homemade ketchup to be given to friends and used throughout the year. This is a extraordinary dipping sauce for anything you would use ketchup. The recipe for this comes from the cookbook "Cooking Alaskan by Alaskans" ISBN:978-0-88240-237-6. The recipe can also be found in the cookbook, "Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook" ISBN: 978-0-88240-229-1. Ha ha, I just noticed I have both these books! The only change I made to the ketchup recipe was to add 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.

Spruce Grouse McNuggets

Cut grouse into chicken tender sized pieces
Soak for at least 2 hours in milk in the refrigerator.
Drain milk, but don't rinse the meat.
Sprinkle pieces heavily with coarse-ground pepper
Roll in a mixture of equal amounts flour and Parmesan cheese
Bake in a 350 oven until brown and crispy

Highbush Cranberry Ketchup

6 lbs. highbush cranberries
1 1/4 pounds sweet white onions (2 large)
3 cups water
3 cups mild vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 TBSP cloves
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP allspice
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 TBSP celery salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Cook berries and onions in the water until soft. Put through a sieve and return the pulp to saucepan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until thick and ketchup-like in consistency. Stir frequently to keep from sticking. Pour into sterilized canning jars and seal immediately. Process for 5 to 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

***Note: Do not crush the cranberry seeds. They are toxic.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Skinny Oven Fries

Growing up with potatoes at almost every meal was normal. Heck...Sunday breakfast was fried potatoes, eggs, sausage and biscuits and gravy. This is a great recipe that I don't actually feel like I'm CHEATING with additions of grease, cheese, butter, sour cream, and all of the other nasties we associate with taters. Not to mention that the hunky hubby and I grow at least a 100 lbs a year.

When I open the cookbook for this recipe it automatically jumps to this page. This is because I have made it so many times that the book and I are in sync. I don't remember when I purchased it...probably when I lived in Los Alamos and worked for Los Alamos National Laboratory. I know it was in the 80's when I was completely into the fat-free-all-oil-and-grease-are-bad-for-you phase. This recipe has endured the test of time and there are just those recipes you love and come back to time and again, not necessarily because they are healthy, but because they actually taste good are and you love them. This is the BEST french fry (without the fry) recipe you will try. I swear you will love this one. Please try it only once and it will become your new favorite too.

2 tsp. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
4 large potatoes (I prefer skin on but it's your choice)
2 TBSP Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350. Mix seasonings. Cut potatoes into 8 wedges; toss with oil. Sprinkle potatoes with seasonings. Bake until soft when pricked with a fork, about 45 minutes. For crispy fries, bake an hour.

Oh yes....and the Cranberry Cottage Cake with Lemon Sauce in this book is also a MUST have! I make this recipe 2x a year. Get this cookbook!!!! Simply Colorado: Nutritious Recipes for Busy People-Colorado Dietetic Association. Mail order to Colorado Dietetic Association, 6930 So. Bemis Street, Littleton, CO 80120.

Dove Creek Colorado-The Pinto Bean Capital of the World

It's true! No where should you get your pintos but here! My family has been farming pintos from here since the late 1800's when my Great-Grandfather, Jim Peel came with his family. Thank you Mom for sending me my annual dose of 20+ lbs of beautiful, fabulous, nutritious beans. The family farm is "Sombrero" try and google it.

I am still sick at home and am in need of serious comfort food right now. Nothing speaks to me more than my favorite last meal of a bowl of beans, fried potatoes and Aunt Marcia's cornbread. Because I feel icky, this equates to a ridiculous amount of slow-simmered-over-the-stove pot of pinto beans, which of course, cannot be completed without a smoked ham hock or salt pork. No decent Coloradoan would eat this without! I'm having mooseburgers and skinny fries tonight but thought I would add some baked beans to this fare. I was lucky enough to inherit Grandma Sadie's, "from the Queen's Kitchen: A Collection of Pinto Bean Recipes, from Cortez, Colorado." Copyright 1967. I chose this recipe for baked beans but kind of kicked it up a bit adding grease and a few other things Jim wouldn't approve of. Please know this recipe won the Blue Ribbon in 1961 and was originally created by Mrs. C.C. McAFee from Lewis, Colorado.

3 cups cooked pintos, including about 1/2 cup or more of extra juice (I simmer mine with smoked ham hocks or salt pork---Just like Mama taught me)
1 medium onion, chopped coarse
2 tsp. salt (use your own taster to test that)
1 heaping teaspoon prepared mustard
Black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup molasses (I LOVE this stuff and use the black strap raw)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 slices of good bacon (I cook it first then chop)
2 TBSP. bacon grease (Please don't tell Jim this is in there! He'd die of a heart attack)

Combine all ingredients into a stoneware pan (if you have one) or a beanpot. Cover with foil or a lid. Bake at 300 for 3 hours. Do NOT add anything after cooking if you're using will break you container!

P.S. many pots of beans did I burn before I learned to do it right?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


When I feel ill I always think of my mom and the love and care she gave me when I didn't feel good, and comfort items like a good book, a soft blanket, and hot chicken noodle soup. I am now thinking about HOME--the four corners in the outside. Because I am not feeling well, I made a ridiculous amount of moose and veggie soup and am making a lovely Whole Wheat Chile Bread (the feature of this post). This is on the heels of a wonderful whole-grain whole wheat Boule I made a few days ago. Got to do something with that whole wheat sourdough starter (Jim gets pancakes in the morning topped with blueberry syrup). Also trying out a new recipe for Jalapeno poppers made with chorizo and cream cheese...Funny....I can't and won't eat, I am not feeling well, yet I love to cook. If it is good I will post it.

For my Alaskan RSMS Family----Green chile does not come in a can! It is grown in the ground under the southern hot New Mexico sun. My home state is called "The Land of Enchantment" for a good reason.....CHILE The next best thing to getting it hot off the vine is at the supermarket in the produce section. Select firm, meaty ones, if they have a reddish or orangish color, all the better and consider it your lucky day. Wash and roast them on your grill until the skin is toasted. Remove to cool. Then peel the skin off and slice, dice, or leave whole for rellenos. If I were having them roasted in NM in the parking lot, I would slap one of these happy puppies into IGA's Mashed Potato Sausage and Cheese Burrito made with fresh flour tortillas right from the factory! HA! those tortillas were "snacks" when I taught Kinder at Father James B. Hay Catholic School! On to the recipe.

Whole Wheat Chile Bread from Mark Miller's Coyote Cafe

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 TBSP. Olive Oil
2 tsp. honey
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 Cup stone ground whole-wheat flour (I use spelt)
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. chile powder (Bueno is best)
4 tsp. chile caribe (chile flakes--like what you can get for pizza)
1/2 cup roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and diced New Mexico chile---HATCH is the best btw

Combine the water, oil and honey in a bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer (GOD I love my KitchenAide!) or in a large mixing bowl.

Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, stir in, and let sit 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients. Mix with the dough hook or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes, or until dough appears silky and resilient (springs back when poked). Mix or knead the green chile into the dough until thoroughly blended. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

When baking bread I like to encase the dough in two layers. Outer layer is an electric heating pad, the next layer is a large bath towel. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours or doubled. Punch down dough. recover with wraps and let rise another 30 minutes.

Baking stones ROCK! you MUST have one for your pizzas and etc. Heat your stone to 400 degrees.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into two equal segments. Generously grease 2 loaf pans (again I prefer stoneware) or dust baking sheet with whole-wheat flour. Shape the dough into loaves. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again for another 30 minutes.

Uncover, spray with a light mist of water, lightly dust with whole wheat flour and cut 2-3 slashes in the tops. Use that spray bottle to mist the oven walls with water. Bake 35-40 minutes. Bread is done when the crust is dark and firm and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Let bread cool in the pan or baking sheet for 10 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. Consider serving this with either a cilantro or cumin butter.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Woke up this morning with a sore throat, drippy nose and full of head congestion. Glad it is Spring Break and I don't have to get a sub! Still, I am making the most of it. Cleaned the closets...go to the teacher's lounge-first come first serve get my clothes if you want them. More to the shirts and pants closet tomorrow.

Presently I do not have an appetite and have not eaten all day....but tonight I am making an all time favorite of Veggie Quiche. The first time I had quiche was at my beautiful cousin Judy's baby shower with her first sweet baby Brady! The menu is hand-written in my cookbook (1979-80)...I was all of 19 years old but knew this recipe was important and I needed it. I have used it for for over 30 years but feel I have gone beyond that original creation...spinach quiche and ham and cheese crepes. I have gone way beyond the original spinach quiche recipe....but I always like to reflect back to where I started and appreciate how far I have come.
Tonights Quiche:

1 leek, split and sliced thin
1 shallot diced
3 small zuchinni, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 TBSP chopped garlic
1 pkg. sun-dried tomatoes, reconstitued (leave out the water)'
5 Artichoke hearts, diced
2 TBSP dried thyme (I used my own home-grown lemon thyme)
Salt and Pepper to taste (I like to use Sea Salt)

1/2 cup crisp fried bacon....OR use the precooked stuff
2 pie shells
4 eggs (I use more)
2 cups half and half (I use more)

Layering ingredients in quiche is important.....start with pre-cooking your crust....not long, but enough to hold your wet stuff. Next, put in the bacon...that' s important!.....then put in your it veggies, ham, spinach, crab. chicken....etc..... after that you must put on the cheese. Top all of this with the egg/half and half and bake.

Some of our favorites are:
Chicken and Green Chile
Spinach and Mushroom
Crab and Artichoke

Serve this with some Whole Wheat Multigrain Sourdough Bread and a light herb salad and you are the Goddess of the night!

Don't be afraid of using different cheeses, veggies and meats. I love Goat Cheese, I am also a favorite of the Krab.....use whatever you have on hand.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blackened Ahi Tuna Steak and Orange Curry Couscous

Today I really looked at my pantry and realized how RICH we really are. So many weird and yet normal goods are in there. I think we could live for a year on just the fru-fru that that is in there. Spring Break is upon us and I went to town this morning with a specific agenda.....I must be crazy! I have a months worth of meals prepared that that I plan to do in a week....Which brings me to this point....How many of us cook by smell? Really....the Sicillian Spaghetti I make is judged and monitored by SMELL alone. The NOSE determines when the right amount of spice is added. The dish I am profiling here is kind of the same in that when preparing it, you must SMELL the almonds as they toast. Is there a better scent than toasting almonds and curry? The secret to toasting nuts is this: Microwave for one minute....stir-let sit for another minute- microwave another minute. I used to to the whole non-stick pan on the stove and toss frequently, but the microwave method is just as good.

Sensory overload on this dish! Orange zest, cinnamon, curry, toasted much better does it get? A LOT!!!! If you are a fan of Thai or curry or couscous or warm salads...this is the dish for you. I got this recipe from one of our parents who served this last year during Teacher Appreciation Week. I won't post her name, because I did not get permission to give it.

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful and truly aromatic this dish is. Lovers of Thai will make it often. Easily serves 8 to 10 people.

Orange Curry Couscous

Orange Curry Dressing:
1 cup lite seasoned rice vinegar (you will find this in the Asian Section of the store)
2 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP grated orange peel or zest (in the spices dept.)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt (I ALWAYS use sea salt)
add gradually 1/4 cup canola oil

Combine the above ingredients with a wisk or blender adding oil slowly. This recipe will make more than you need.

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups couscous (uncooked)
1 C fresh parsley, minced
1 C chopped green onions
1 C almonds, toasted and chopped (to toast: microwave 1 minute, stir, microwave another minute, stir..the smell of this will drive you insane)
1 C currants
1/2 C. garbanzo beans

Bring the water to boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. Transfer to a dish and allow to cool. Add 1/2 the dressing, add the remaining ingredients, stir to coat. Add more dressing if dry.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spicy Moroccan Stewed Halibut and Shrimp with Couscous

OMG!!! you MUST add this recipe to your "Best Served" list! This IS on my top ten list of last meals.

The recipe comes to you from my own favorite chef, Jamie Oliver of the The Naked Chef, Jamie at Home, and soon to be released Jamie's Food Revolution coming out in March on the FoodNetwork.

1 cup uncooked couscous
3 TBSP olive oil (divided)
3 TBSP lemon juice (divided)
3/4 tsp. sea salt (divided)
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper (divided)
1 Cup boiling water
2 (6 oz.) skinless, boneless halibut fillets cut in half (can use any firm white fish)
3/4 lb. large, peeled, and deveined raw shrimp
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 small red chile, chopped very fine
1/2 cup clam juice
1 (14.5 oz.) can tomatoes drained and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup of fresh green beans

Place couscous in a bowl. Add 1 TBSP oil, 2 TBSP lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Pour over 1 cup boiling water and cover with a lid or foil for 10 min. then fluff with a fork.

Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper over fish. Toss shrimp with remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Heat a large non-sticking skillet over medium-high heat with 2 TBSP oil, cumin seeds, cinnamon, garlic and chile. Top with fish; scatter shrimp over the fish, add clam juice, tomatoes, green beans and 1 TBSP lemon juice. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 2 minutes or until fish and shrimp are done. Add thawed green peas and heat through. Serve with couscous; garnish with basil if desired.