Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wedding and Funeral

My grandson got married one day and on the next, his mother, my daughter died.  At this point, I don't know when I will return but not as quickly, as I thought.

I do want to continue and I do want to share and as soon as I am stronger, I plan to be back and I am hoping, with some good thoughts and great recipes.

I thank you for your kind thoughts and condolences.

Chaya

Monday, January 20, 2014

Maple Noodle Kugel - Blog Direction

Quick, Easy, DeliciousI would like to continue my train of thought from the last post about changes to this blog.  Besides adding a new dimension of life in school, I want to focus on my cooking and baking.  I asked myself  questions and the answers made my think, quite clear.

To work in my schedule, I want to make quick and easy and delicious recipes.  That was the initial intent of this blog but at that time, I was labeling these recipes, as special.  They are not special.  They are what makes me a cook.

I learned a long time ago that the difficulty of a recipe does not make its merit.  There are times two or three ingredients, mixed together, make magic.  Usually, they are not as beautiful or intricate as those that we put hours into.  I don't have those hours, not if I want to keep my life to open to family,  job and other interests.

Life throws us curves and we can only go with them and make the best of them.  At this point in my life, we have two biggies going on and the need for that QED cooking is even more than it used to be.  This is what I plan to share with you.

Recipes that come together with less effort and don't take an inordinate amount of time to cook are what is on my menu.  I will still find these in cookbooks, magazines and online.  I will rely on cooks like Donna Hay who pull this off with ease.  Donna who is the basis for two groups, I participate in, has ingredients that are usually in my pantry and her recipes surprise me, week after week, with the ease they are made.

If you take a good look, I think you will find that some of our "famous" chefs, Ina, Paula, Mark Bittman, Nigella, Giada, Tyler Florence, Rachel and all of our first name friends have recipes that are easy to make and yet seem to come together with deliciousness.   The mark of a good cook is not how long s/he spends in the kitchen.

Let me add, I certainly appreciate the masterpieces made many of you bloggers.  I would love to have a few bites of these beauties.  I just don't want to make them.  So look for some recipes that you will be able to make with a minimum of fuss but that should be a pleasure to eat.

We will start with this Maple Noodle Kugel by Estee Kafra who is the focus of my cooking, these days.






Maple Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:

1 package fine noodles (I used a thin gluten-free spaghetti since I have not come across fine noodles that are GF).
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup crumbs (I used cornflake crumbs that are gluten-free - you can use bread crumbs)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I used black.)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook noodles according to package directions for al dente.  Drain.

Place all of the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Add noodles to this mixture.  Mix them in.

Place noodle mixture into a nine inch round pan (square is fine also).  Sprinkle top lightly with additional cinnamon.  (I am sorry I did that.)

Bake in 350 degree 0ven for 50 minutes.

Estee recommends brushing top with maple syrup  after it is done and is still hot.  It seeps through the entire kugel and you  have more of a maple taste.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pecan Crunch Cake ---- Still Having Blogging Difficulties

Hi Everyone,

I am still can't access my blog normally.  I call my route in, the back door, and I am hoping someone relates to the problem and can help me.  Google has stopped responding so I am sitting out here on a cloud, in the sky, just floating around, not being able to ground myself and walk into my blog through the front door.

This feeling of floating is not a bad one and I have enjoyed a full week off.  I had hoped, there would be a solution and since there is not, I plan to hobble along.  I do miss my blog.

I have had a lot of thinking time and in that span, idea after idea popped up and then of course, disappeared. I must carry a small notebook with me to jot down these thoughts.

I was giving consideration to what changes, I would like to make.  I know, my dream has always been to mix my new passions, teaching and cooking.  I have never found a way to mix the two.  I could use some thoughts from you.

I came to writing something about my teaching day and then talk less about the food and share a recipe.  I don't want a traditional teaching blog with methodology and teaching ideas.  I want the flesh and blood of a classroom.  What are children like today?  What challenges do they face in and out of class.  Since, I teach boys in a Jewish school, there are some differences from this and the public school but school is school and children are children.

I will say the the "difficult" children are more interesting.  Those kids who do well easily, behave beautifully, care about others and just shine are not as exciting.  They are loving and wonderful boys and they are as complex as their classmates but from the point of view of a teacher, they are a true blessing and less challenging, although there is  huge challenge in finding work that will keep them occupied in a positive way..

Yes, part of the allure of teaching is the challenge.  If I can reach the heart of one child, the frustration found on the path getting there is worth it.  I do  believe, we are in this world, to make a difference and this, for me, is the place, I choose to make it.

I have been doing a lot of cooking and have tons of recipes that have not been blogged.  When I made this Pecan Crunch Cake, Hubby was one happy camper.  It had all those special elements, he loves, crunchiness in the right place, a soft cake, and lots of  flavor.  This is another recipe from Estee Kafra's Cooking Inspired.  I adapted this slightly.

Pecan Crunch Cake

Cake Ingredients: 

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mixture
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon rum extract

Crunch Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (brown rice)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground  ginger
4 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut (If your are not a fan of coconut, I am sure, it would work without it.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a bundt pan (I used a 10 inch) with baking spray.

Crunch - Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Cake - In the bowl of an electric mixer, place all ingredients, in the order, listed.

Mix with the paddle attachment in electric mixer.  Mix until combined.

Pour one third of the batter into bundt pan.  Cover with half of the crunch.  Repeat layers once, ending with the batter.

Bake  for 55 minutes or until thin knife comes out clean.  Cool for five minutes.

Remove cake.  Remove pan .  Cool completely.  Eat and enjoy.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Spinach, Mandarin and Almond Salad


I have not gotten access to my blogs but I have found a back door, so to speak, which does get me here.  Of course, each time, I can't find it and search for a while before I have arrived here.

The blog is like a little house with a front door and a back door.  Right now, the front door is locked and I at first, felt helpless as to what to do.  Actually, I still  feel pretty helpless.  I have written to Blogger and they are attempting to help me.  Hopefully, I will be able to come in through the front door again, soon.

I am happy, we built this Blogger cottage with a back door though.  Can you imagine having no way in to your home or blog.  I could write a great story about the family who could not get into their home.

I had been, in the middle of sharing some of Estee Kafra's recipes with you and then I ran into blog trouble and some complications in life in general.  Hoping to get back to myself and to changing this blog a bit.

I have not used mandarin oranges in a salad in a while.  There was a time, this was the big thing, and I threw them into dishes often.  Then there were less recipes with the canned oranges and I was just as happy.  When I first saw this recipe, I was going to sub in some fresh fruit, but now mandarin oranges are unique.  The salad was great and the mandarin  oranges were just right.  I would make this with sliced pears in the future.


Spinach, Mandarin and Almond Salad - Estee Kafra

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and well dried 
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced 
1/4 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced  (Looks like it got hidden in there.)
½ cup carrots, grated 
½ cup dried cranberries 
¾-1 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained and patted dry 
black pepper to taste
¾ cup toasted slivered almonds 

Honey-Mustard Dressing

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper

Method:

Wash spinach and dry thoroughly. Combine spinach with onion, bell pepper, carrots and cranberries in a large bowl.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients and place everything in a mini food processor and blend until smooth. Chill before serving.

At serving time, combine spinach mixture with salad dressing, mandarin oranges, salt and pepper; toss gently to combine. Transfer to a large platter or serving bowl and sprinkle with almonds or pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Eat and enjoy.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Blueberry Yogurt Cake - Donna Hay and My Blog Problem



In case, I disappear, I want you to know that I can't access my blog.  There is no login on top and although you can see the blog, I don't know how to get to the dashboard.

So what am I doing here?  Accidentally, through some backdoor, I arrived but I am not sure, I can do this again.  I have no idea what I did.  Since, I am here, I want to share this delicious cake with you.  It is my pick for WWDH, Wednesdays with Donna Hay.  I selected it because I know that hubby always wants a new cake, a rather plain one with nothing but nuts or fruit inside.  This fills the bill.  

I used frozen blueberries since it is off season.  The recipe was an easy one but I say that every week.  Donna is a realistic chef and makes cooking and baking easy.  Rarely does one of her recipes take more than 30 minutes.  Her recipes are also usually delicious.  We have liked almost everything I have made.




******Please check out our other members and see what they have made this week. Gaye, Margaret, Sarah and Kayte.*********



I am also using this for IHCC who this week is celebrating time for tea.  I think this pairs beautifully with a cup of tea although my preference would be coffee.  I have not cultivated a taste for tea.

Go on over to I Heart Cooking Clubs by clicking below and see what other members have made for their tea parties.



IHCC Donna Hay Badge resized

Monday, January 6, 2014

Thoughts

Dear fellow bloggers,

My apologies for not getting the weekly meatless Monday post out but. at the last minute, I had to go out of town, and there was no time.


If you heard the stories of JFK closing down several times, the past few days, you may have a clue what I have been doing.  Sitting in crowded airports and sitting on crowded planes that stayed in one place.  I am pleased to say, I handled this well, little frustration and a good attitude.  I am getting to a point in life where so much is just not that important and that it can be handled with a smile.



It also gave me time to think about how I am feeling about this blog.  It has become static and I am getting bored or even burnt out so I am going to make some changes.  It has been a while since I have linked up recipes except on two or three sites and I have left messages at even less although I have enjoyed visiting many of you quietly.  My heart has not been in this.

I am going to continue posting recipes but I want to write more about life and food thoughts.  I am putting my linky and yours on hold.  I do want to visit other bloggers and leave messages.  I do want to participate in my cooking groups.  I want only to do what is interesting to me, at the present time, and hope that what will come out of this is something more interesting to you and to me.
BBB
Please bear with me if the road is a little bumpy but watch for some changes. If you have suggestions, shout them out.  I am interested.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad - Ina Fridays - Ina Garten

I have linked this to a wonderful  link-up  s  Cook-Your-Books in found at the outstanding  Kitchen Flavours.  If you have cooked a recipe from any cookbook, you might want to go on over and link it up also.
 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg



My husband returned home from out of town and I wanted to make him something special so I asked.  Not a giggle out of you guys, please..........

He asked for mac and cheese.  I am guessing he was eating a lot of meat while away.  I know that every time, I spoke with him, he was eating on the run or making food for his grandkids.  For a man who usually eats vegetables and dairy, I don't think he got too much of these.

He asked for it so he got it but I made a delicious salad to enhance the pasta dish.  Please keep in mind, I had all kinds of exotic plans, for this meal.

Since Ina Friday is this week and we are doing sides, I am using this dish as my Ina contribution.  The recipe is found on page 101 of How Easy is That?  I got the book when it first came out and made a number of recipes, liking each one, but it got put on the shelf and has only been used on occasion.  Considering how many tempting recipes are found in this book, I should keep it in the kitchen as a go-to source. 

This salad was filled with yummy flavors and there was a mixture of textures.  I took three servings and I never take three servings.  It is also colorful and brightens the table - a bonus.

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad  adapted from  2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:


4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

10 grape tomatoes - 1/2-inch-diced
1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise, 1/2-inch-diced
1 can  chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil 
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup good olive oil
4 ounces good feta cheese, 1/2-inch-diced

Method:

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley,  and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.


In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with  pepper, and toss gently. 



Please visit our other Ina members and see what side dishes they brought to the table.


Anshie @ Spice Roots

Barbara @ Moveable Feasts

Alyce @ http://www.moretimeatthetable.com

Chaya @ Bizzy Bakes

Linda @ Tumbleweed Contessa

Martha @ Simple Nourished Living

Mary @ mary@bucknrunranch.com (please welcome our newest member)

Minnie @ The Lady 8 Home

Mireya @ My Healthy Eating Habits

Nancy @ My Picadillo

Ria @ Ria’s Collection

Rocky Mountain Woman @ Rocky Mountain Woman

Veronica@ My Catholic Kitchen

If you are interested in joining us please contact  Alyce @ http://www.moretimeatthetable.com