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Monday, June 16, 2014

Time to Write

It seems that I've not written in quite some time.  Being that I don't measure my ingredients when I cook, I find it quite difficult to remember to measure ingredients for the blog.  So I may start writing like one of the tv chefs that gives her measurements by a pinch of this and a dash of that.  That's just my preferred way to cook.  Even if I am following a recipe, I will adjust it sometimes. I have so many food related stories that I can share that don't really have recipes included.  So,  I decided to write a few posts as yesterday was surrounded by food.

 Yesterday was Father's Day.  My dad never knows what he will get from me, but it will probably be something edible.  At least I know he will use it.  Dad has always been the "fun" shopper.  If it's unusual, he would buy it, we would eat it.......well, most of the time. That tin of steak and kidney pie stayed in the pantry for years!  It became a novelty.  I went to my local Whole Foods store knowing that I would find some wonderful fish.  Red snapper has always been my dad's favorite fish and I can't say that I blame him.  It is fabulous! We ate it a lot as kids. I'm guessing it wasn't as expensive back then as we had a lot of people to feed that had enormous appetites.   I purchased enough fish to feed an army as well as some jumbo shrimp, Greek cheese, and lemon (knowing full well dad has a bowl of lemons on the counter, but just to be safe).  Dad, at 86 still cooks up a storm every day.  His refrigerator is packed to the gills.  We had a great afternoon visit and I heard some stories that had us both giggling and laughing.  As I was leaving, dad said: "wait, I have a cookbook for you and a cooking magazine"!  He knows I love cookbooks and I will gladly share them with my sons. Our family share a love for food. We read about food, talk about food (I think there is "the great omelette debate on here somewhere), cook food together, and finally enjoy food.

On the way home, I decided to go to a farmer's market near my dad's house. Buford Hwy Farmer's Market is 100,000 square feet of wonderful, glorious, and unusual foods.  It may become a weekly visit.  I have never seen a market that was so huge!  Aisle after aisle of specialty foods.  Part of the store was devoted to Asian foods and other aisles were devoted to other areas of the globe. African, Scandinavian, Eastern Europe, Holland, Russia, and of course a lot of the store was for Hispanic cooking. Huge Asian and Hispanic populations in Atlanta are well represented here.  I was like a kid in a candy store....figuratively and literally speaking!  I purchased some Russian cookies, Dutch sprinkles for toast, espresso coffee, Swedish crackers, French mustard and some Mexican spices.  They had an entire row, which is much longer than your standard grocery store aisle full of nothing but Ramen noodles.  To be healthy, I did purchase some ginger and carrots that were yellow, purple, and orange.  I can't wait to try those.  I'll have to get the purple potatoes another time.  I'll skip the "white dirt" which is kaolin from GA and people actually eat it.

Later that evening my dad called to tell me he cooked the snapper for dinner.  He told me that he prepared it  with butter, lemon, and oregano. He hasn't changed in his 86 years! I knew already how he would make it.  He broiled it like he did when we were children.  I would probably prefer it grilled as that is my preference.  He said: "That must have cost you a fortune, you bought so much.  I had so much that I have enough for breakfast tomorrow!" Yep, that's my dad!  Fish, eggs, slice tomatoes, Greek cheese
and a hearty bread for breakfast!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tortillini soup with vegetables

Record lows are expected in Georgia this week.  My first thought is warming soup.  Trying to keep on a budget after the holidays, I decided to use most of what I already had in the house.  Being that snow/ice is predicted for Georgia, I had to make a trip to the grocery store for something. I think it's an unwritten law in Georgia to get milk (which I only use for coffee) and bread. Ha!  I didn't purchase either. Coffee is my main concern for a snow day!   I had planned on making spaghetti with vegetables, but after I returned home I decided that soup would be more warming.  I usually don't measure anything when I make soup, but I do remember all of the ingredients and how much I added. 

Tortellini soup with vegetables

1 32 oz container of vegetable broth (Beef or Chicken would work too) Of course, homemade broth is best but I didn't have any!
1 Onion diced
3 yellow squash, cut in chunks  I purchase the little tender ones
1 thin zucchini, cut in chunks
1 fresh tomato - large beefsteak
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic
basil, parsley, and oregano to your taste (I don't measure, but probably 1 tsp each)
Frozen package of cheese filled tortellini
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes and lemon pepper to taste

Cook the onions and mushrooms in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until onion is tender.
Add the garlic (minced). and heat just a little, but don't brown it.  Add squash, zucchini,  broth, seasonings, and tomato paste and cook until veggies are almost tender. I don't like them over cooked.  In a separate pot, cook the tortellini as directed on the package.  Go ahead and cook all of it, you can always have a pasta salad the next day with the ones you don't use.  Also, you can make antipasti sticks with tortellini, mozzarella cubes, cherry tomato, black olive, salami chunks and marinated mushrooms put on a skewer.  Serve with Italian dressing.  That's for another blog post, but just thought I'd mention it in case I forget.   After the pasta is cooked, add as much as you desire to the vegetables.  I also added some of the pasta water to the soup.  It all depends on how much pasta you add, and how thick you like your soup.  Use your own judgement.

Serve in a bowl with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and lemon pepper.  I would have put artichoke hearts in the soup too, but I didn't think of that when I was at the store. Next time, that will be an addition to the soup.  Serve with garlic toast, and a nice green salad.  I used the cheese filled tortillini, but I bet the other fillings would be just as delicious.


Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar

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