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Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
28 January 2008 @ 02:50 pm
Ultra simple and quick and my kids loved that it was an all green plate because they're weird like that. :)

It's just penne with your choice of pesto. I used Knorr powdered sauce for it and it was wonderful. Top with parmesan cheese. Sautee some sliced button mushrooms in butter and salt and one or two cloves of minced garlic and once they're done, throw spinach on top, mix and remove from heat. It can be served with parmesan on top, too. And throw some garlic-stuffed green olives and pepper rings on the side.

The flavors all compliment each other really well and like I said, quick and easy.

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
28 January 2008 @ 02:16 pm
This is a from-scratch bread recipe from Fleischmann's yeast with my own modifications. It's a double rise bread, but relatively easy and very, very good. My family loves it. I can't make enough.
2 envelopes Active Dry Yeast
2 cups warm water (100° F - 110° F)
2/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
(keep 1/2 cup aside to sprinkle on top of bread before baking)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried leaf basil
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 to 1 cup bread flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.

Add oil, sugar and whole wheat flour. Mix until smooth. Let rest with a damp towel over it for 20 minutes.

Mix down; add salt, parmesan, garlic powder, basil, oregano, and pepper. Stir in enough bread flour to make dough easy to handle.

Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Shape into two rounds. Place dough on greased baking sheets (for round loaves, for rectabgle loaves, use bread pan).

Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Preheat oven to 350° F.

Sprinkle set aside parmesan on top (as well as some extra spice, if you like) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from baking sheets (or bread pans) and cool on wire rack.

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
23 August 2007 @ 12:36 pm
Wasn't feeling it so much last night and craving beef. I guess if you want to make it more appetizing you can say beef and mushrooms over pasta in a Parma Rosa sauce. :)

Easy Beef and Noodles

1 package of petite sirloin (as much or as little as you like)
1 package of egg noodles
2 packets of Knorr Parma Rosa sauce mix
1 yellow onion
1 package of button mushrooms
1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
coarse salt
ground black pepper

Cook sauce according to directions on package. (Requires milk and butter or margarine.) I always add extra milk, about two tablespoons, because I prefer thinner sauce.

Cook egg noodles.

Mix egg noodles and sauce and set aside on low heat, stirring occasionally.

Dice yellow onion and slice mushrooms and sautee in one tablespoon of butter.

Add to noodles, butter and all, still stirring occasionally.

Place sirloin on broiler pan and salt and pepper each side. Place in broiler, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. (This time will vary, I have an electric broiler and it sucks!)

Slice the sirloin when finished and place over noodles and serve.

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
22 August 2007 @ 12:30 pm
Introduced the kids to flounder last night and they loved it. I can't get over how adventurous they've been of late. Seems like only yesterday it was macaroni and cheese and fish sticks and frozen Salisbury steak all the time.

It was frozen flounder from Kroger, so I didn't have high hopes. I rarely have high hopes for frozen fish, but this was really good and relatively cheap (about four bucks for 5 small filets) so I was a happy cooking camper last night.

Served it with garlic herb parmesan risotto and sauteed spinach.

Baked Paprika Flounder

4 to 5 small flounder filets
butter cooking spray
Italian herbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Place filets on baking sheet and spray them lightly.

Sprinkle coarse salt, ground pepper, Italian herbs and paprika to taste. It's good with a lot of paprika.

Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes or until white and flaky.

Garlic Herb Risotto with Parmesan

1 cup risotto
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans of chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Italian herbs

Preheat skillet for risotto and heat chicken stock in a separate, but handy saucepan. (Pouring cold chicken stock into hot risotto makes for bad risotto.)

In hot skillet, melt butter and add one cup of risotto. (Do NOT rinse risotto, the starch that comes out while cooking is necessary for creamy risotto.) Stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes translucent with a still visible white core.

Add about a half cup of chicken stock (it will sizzle and boil) and continue to stir constantly.

You will know when it's time to add more chicken stock by running your (wooden) spatula or spoon across the bottom of the pan, if it appears dry except for a shiny layer of butter, it is time to add more.

During the chicken stock and stir process, add salt (not too much salt as it all cooks down and will become too salty by the end, I use a pinch and that's all) and pepper to taste. Add garlic. Add parmesan.

First taste test for al dente risotto should be at 15 minutes.

When risotto is done (between fifteen and twenty minutes), let rest in serving bowl for five minutes and then stir again before serving.

Then I made apricot coconut cookies for dessert. This is a no egg cookie recipe.

Apricot Coconut Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
3 ounces of block cream cheese
1/2 cup flake coconut
1/2 cup apricot preserves


1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 1/2 teaspoons softened butter or margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons of cream, half and half, or milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder.

Cut in butter and cream cheese until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Add coconut and preserves and mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoons about two inches apart onto greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool completely before adding glaze.

Glaze: Combine glaze ingredients in small bowl, mix well, and spoon over cookies.

Yields about three dozen.

Note: My glaze is a little runny here and the reason why is I eyeballed the measurements for the preserves and the half and half, obviously using too much. I keep forgetting you can eyeball ingredients in cooking, never in baking.

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
17 August 2007 @ 11:49 am
Served this for dinner last night. Just a simple seared tuna steak par-marinated in ginger, lime, and garlic, and served over (boxed) long grain and wild rice with a side salad of romaine, green olives, and pepperocini with a champagne vinaigrette.

Ginger Lime Seared Tuna with Wild Rice

1 and 1/2 pound tuna steak, cut into 4 even pieces (high to sashimi grade if you're cooking it rare or medium rare)
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (about thumb-size) piece of ginger
course salt and ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter

While rice is cooking (20 minutes or so), mix olive oil and lime in mixing bowl.

Crush ginger and mince, mince garlic, and add them and salt and pepper to the bowl, whisking thoroughly.

Place tuna pieces in bowl, turn them over in 10 minutes. (10 minutes on each side in "marinade".)

In hot skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter and then place tuna pieces in, pouring the rest of the marinade over them, about two to three minutes on each side to sear to medium-rare.

When rice is done, spoon onto plate and place tuna on top, using the leftover marinade and butter in the skillet to drizzle over the tuna and rice.

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
27 July 2007 @ 03:49 am

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
27 July 2007 @ 03:20 am
Monday we had Mediterranean:

Greek olives and garlic-stuffed green olives
Steamed artichokes
Flatbread with two different kinds of hummus: red pepper and garlic
Roasted eggplant with olive oil, garlic, and feta cheese
and braised lamb shank.

It's a microwave recipe from my favorite cookbook, I got it for a wedding gift, sort of my guide to cooking for real, The New basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I modified it to my tastes.

Braised Lamb Shank

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 cup diced red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 small lamb shanks

In a 2 quart, microwave safe casserole dish, cook the 2 tablespoons of olive oil on high (650 to 700 watts) for 2 minutes.

Stir in the bell pepper, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, wine, and tomato paste. Cook uncovered on high for 5 minutes.

Remove half the vegetable mixture and set it aside.

Oil the lamb shanks with the 2 extra teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt and ground pepper. Arrange shanks in a triangle over the vegetables in the casserole dish. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Turn lamb shanks, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Spoon reserved vegetables over the shanks and cover and cook for an additional two minutes, then let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

It was fantastic and nobody would know it was cooked in the microwave unless you told them.

Tuesday we had:

Green beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic with diced red pepper and yellow onion
Red potatoes with butter and dill
Sauteed mushrooms and onions in olive oil and red wine (to top the steak)
Fresh white corn on the cob
and broiled ribeyes, rare to medium-rare for us, and medium for the kids

By Wednesday I needed and a break and gave the kids soup and sandwiches.

And Thursday we had a concoction of bread and white sauce, sort of my take on chipped beef on toast, only I modified Giada De Laurentis' recipe for lemon and basil eggs over foccacia and then made a white sauce that I sliced ham into and poured over the top.

The picture doesn't make it look as appetizing as it tasted. I'm still perfecting the arts of food photography and presentation.

Basil Eggs Over Foccacia

1 large loaf foccacia bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the top off the foccacia and hollow out the bread inside. Tear the top of the foccacia and the inside bread into 1-inch pieces and save for the egg mixture. Brush the inside of the foccacia with the olive oil to prevent the eggs from soaking the bread. Place on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the basil, cheese, salt, pepper, and milk. Whisk lightly. Stir in up to 4 cups of the bread pieces.

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the toasted foccacia bottom. Return to the oven and bake until the eggs have cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cut the baked foccacia into 6 to 8 slices.

Ham in White Sauce

About 6 to 8 slices of deli ham
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk

Slice ham into strips.

Make a roux with the butter and flour and slowly stir in the milk. When it has reached the desired consistency, add the ham strips.

Plate the slice of egg foccacia and pour ham and white sauce over the top and serve immediately.

The kids LOVED it and both had seconds. I thought it was a nice variation on the chipped beef on toast theme.

Tomorrow I'm cooking Mediterranean pasta. I was supposed to serve it tonight, but my foccocia loaf was getting stale and the vegetables are still in good shape. Will post pictures if I remember to take them!

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
20 July 2007 @ 11:22 am
Monday was my mom's birthday and as is tradition around here, I make the birthday boy or girl whatever they want for dinner. My mom decided she wanted German and since I was sous for the crazy German chef, I was on good footing there.

Unfortunately, as is also tradition, I forgot to take pictures because with family get-togethers there's usually so much going on that I just lose track of what I'm doing except where cooking and eating are concerned.

We had Weiner Schnitzel (veal) and and optional mushroom paprikash sauce my mom made, and red potatoes with butter, garlic, and dill, and sour red cabbage with apple compote (my mom made the compote), and spaetzle. It was fantastic, if I do say so myself.


Spaetzle is incredibly difficult to work with and you need a good sieve for it. I bought a thick metal pasta strainer with medium holes and that worked wonderfully.

The trick is rubbing and rubbing the dough over the strainer and then when you have all the little spaetzles hanging off, move it closer to the water. The closer it is to the steam the more gooey and liquid it becomes, so it tends to fall through the holes when you move it closer. This is sometimes physically uncomfortable, but we do what we must for our food!

18 ounces of sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream (I used half and half)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Mix all ingredients and keep mixing until you think your arm is going to fall off. It is properly mixed when pepper and nutmeg are distributed evenly and spaetzle dough takes on a glossy quality.

Take a handful of dough and place it on strainer over boiling, salted water, and start pushing it into the holes, rubbing back and forth, until most of the dough has fallen through.

Work in small batches, removing the cooked spaetzle (you'll know when it floats) before adding more.

Coat with oil or butter to prevent them from sticking in the bowl once they've been removed from the water.

When you're ready to serve, reheat them in a skillet with butter.

The family loved it. The Son, who is becoming a teenager, proved himself so with hollow legs and several servings. This is not a meal I would make often, it takes a lot of time in both preparation and cooking, and it's incredibly bad for you...butter, eggs, cream, but so good for that every once in a while special occasion!

The next night I made Moroccan food. My mom was with me at the grocery store for her birthday meal shopping and I was eyeing the couscous and she asked me about it, so we bought some and said I would make her some so she could try it.

Spicy Vegetable Couscous

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups of diced yellow squash
2 cups of diced zucchini
1 diced red onion
1 diced yellow onion
3 sliced stalks of green onion
1 can black olives
about 10 large green olives, minced
1 tablespoon minced banana pepper
2 cups golden raisins
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups of cooked couscous
chicken stock or broth

It is best to prep all your vegetables and then make the couscous, then cook the vegetables.

In a large skillet or wok or dutch oven, heat your oil and butter and add spices and garlic, whisking them together till blended, then add all three onions, letting them cook until yellow onions are translucent. Add some chicken stock or broth once onions are underway. You have to eyeball it for the amount of couscous and ingredients you end up having, I probably used a cup or a cup and a half.

Add vegetables, olives, and raisins, and stir and cook until vegetables are almost done.

Add coucous and cook for about five more minutes, letting the couscous absorb some of the oil and butter and stock.

I served this with flat bread I heated and browned in the skillet with butter spray.

Serves 8.

I was surprised that my daughter LOVED it. (She had leftovers the next night.) My son not so much, because he wasn't fond of the texture of the couscous. The adults ate it all up.

I was done with cooking for the week by Wednesday, which is just as well as there were German and Moroccan leftovers and Thursday we went to Atlanta to go to the zoo, so we ate there. No idea what I'm making tonight.

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
10 July 2007 @ 10:20 am
Had beef stew and fresh bread last night. VERY excited about the fresh bread. It was my first attempt at yeast bread in a conventional oven (I don't have a bread maker) and it turned out great and I can't wait to try more! I got the recipe from the back of the yeast packet and unfortunately, forgot to write it down before the Husband took out the trash. It was a parmesan herb wheat bread.


(This is for the big crock pot, so adjust accordingly.)

1 cup butter (or margarine)
1 cup flour
3 cans beef broth
1 can chicken broth
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon crushed pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 cloves of garlic
6 large potatoes
3 stalks of celery
2 carrots
1 can of corn
stew beef (your choice on amount)
1 large yellow onion
2 stalks green onion

Start with a roux, 1 cup butter, melted in a large saucepan, stir in 1 cup flour and stir like mad until it becomes an even paste with no lumps. Slowly stir in beef broth. (The chicken broth will be added to the crock pot later when you dump everything else in. Chicken broth generally has more flavor than beef broth so it's used to kick up the flavor a little bit.)

Add your spices and sauces, mix thoroughly and dump into the crock pot at low heat.

Prepare vegetables, I usually just dice everything bite size, and dump into crock pot.

Now, I started the recipe at noon and the potatoes were not as soft as they should have been by six on low heat, but if you start in the morning before work (or the night before), it will be ready for dinner that evening.

Just your typical beef stew, filling and yummy and great with bread.

Epulae Delecto - The Love of the Feast
05 July 2007 @ 11:12 am
We grilled for Fourth of July. I prepared the shish-kebobs and my Mom stood over the hot grill, bless her.

Sirloin chopped into bite-sized chunks, mushrooms, red, yellow, and orange pepper, red and yellow onion, Campari tomatoes, and some with pineapple.

I love shish-kebobs and they turned out just wonderful.