Dishcloths and Other Things

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They make great gifts.

A few years ago, I started knitting dish cloths. Being a busy mom, business owner, wife, etc, I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I do enjoy knitting, and I like projects that don’t take too long.

One of the first times that I met my now mother-in-law, Barb, it was at her house. We were in the kitchen and I was helping with the dishes after dinner. She had a loosely knit dish cloth she was using, basically for everything. Washing dishes, wiping the counter clean, etc. I had never seen one before, and I thought it a bit strange. Sponges were my go-to for all of that.

Turns out that Matthew’s Aunt Jean made them and gave them to everyone as gifts. Aunt Jean was so lovely, funny, vibrant, and warm. She was at all the family gatherings, and I was always happy to see her.

I love this picture of Aunt Jean, taken by my husband Matthew.

Almost two decades later, I decided to pick up the torch and start knitting these dish cloths. My mom-in-law Barb swore by them, and I needed a fun and easy knitting project.

The first one I made was actually quite complicated, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a quick and easy knitting project. I won’t make that one again. I think I gave it to my niece Joelle.

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Too complicated!

I did a little poking around on the internet, and found a pattern that I really liked. It has a basket weave, much tighter than the ones that Barb used to use, and I liked the texture of it. It wasn’t too complicated. This is the pattern that Sue likes best. She says they are good and tough.

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Basket weave dish cloth. Look at that texture!

I started giving these as gifts. I’m not sure how this happened, more than two decades later. But yes, I am now the aunt that gives hand knit dishcloths as gifts. And the recipients either love them and get hooked on using them, or they use them in different ways. My sister Jane uses hers to put under a candle. She says, “It’s too pretty to use as a dishcloth!”. So I sent her an ugly one that had some mistakes in it. Not sure what she’s doing with that one.

Later, I looked into finding the pattern for the dishcloths that Aunt Jean used to make. They were a slightly looser weave, and had kind of a lacy border. My friend Kate’s mom had a pattern for it, so I got it from Kate. I wish I had gotten to meet Kate’s mom (she’s the one that made the great snickerdoodles). I think I would have really liked her.

An old workhorse. But still pretty.

The dishcloth with the lacy border is the one that Barb likes best. She really likes red ones, but said that they fade into a not-very-pretty color after several washes. So I looked into that as well, and figured out that the quality of the yarn really matters. Yarn made with high quality dyes. I found the best yarn of all for these dish cloths.

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Barb’s favorite dishcloth with lacy border.

Now Barb tells me, very emphatically, that I make the best dishcloths. She usually repeats this a couple of times. I like the way she says it. And it is her birthday today, so happy birthday Barb! I’ve got more dishcloths coming your way.

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The yarn I use, both the solid and variegated types.

As you can see, you will have to turn your skein of yarn into a ball for easy knitting. You can have them do this on a machine at the yarn store, or you can enlist the help of your family members, which is what I do. All of my sweet family members have helped me. There’s something kind of wonderful about the process.

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Matthew, helping me with my yarn. About eight years ago….

Now, for those of you that can’t imagine wiping your counter clean with a hand knitted dishcloth, that it might be too pretty, or somehow too special, please wipe that idea out of your head. These are made to be used. You might just feel a little extra special while doing your chores. You might just remember the person that knit that dishcloth for you, and have some warm and fuzzy feelings. Your eyes will rest on something beautiful, you will feel the natural fibers in your hand, and you will feel loved.

And here’s the beauty of it: when they get dirty, you toss them in the laundry and they come out as good as new. And they even get a little sturdier and tougher with every wash.

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These are well loved and in the rotation.

Thank you, Aunt Jean.

 

 

 

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Posted in Crafting | 4 Comments

Snickerdoodles

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I went on a huge snickerdoodle frenzy a while back, trying to find the perfect recipe. After many attempts, I gave up. Maybe I was trying too hard.

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But recently, my cousin Carol asked me if I had a good snickerdoodle recipe, so I decided to give it a go one more time. This time, I remembered that my friend Kate had given me her mom’s snickerdoodle recipe a couple of years ago. I had asked for it, because I tried the ones that Kate made, and they were delicious! I noticed that the recipe didn’t have cream of tartar in it, so I dismissed the recipe as not being an authentic snickerdoodle, somehow ignoring the fact that they were really very good!

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So I read up on snickerdoodles, and it turns out that you can replace cream of tartar and baking soda (they usually come as a pair) with baking powder, and vice versa. So I made Kate’s mom’s recipe, replacing the baking powder with cream of tartar and baking soda, and they were lovely! Homey and delicate. Crisp on the edges, crinkly on top, soft in the middle, with the signature tang that comes from cream of tartar. A cozy cookie.

And after a bit of research, I come to find out that this recipe is fairly standard. I’m mystified at how I didn’t just come to this recipe the first time.

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So here’s where I get in trouble. I want to make them extra special, so I make another batch, and roll them twice or three times in the cinnamon sugar, so they are extra cinnamon-y, and I bake them at a slightly higher heat to make them extra crispy on the bottom. My entire family whole heartedly (is that a word?) agreed that the first batch was better. [Sigh] Sometimes the original is just very good and simple and no changes are necessary. I get upset when I go to a restaurant and I order scrambled eggs and potatoes, and everything is overly spiced and trying to be exotic. I just want plain old scrambled eggs, and I don’t want them to taste like something else. And my family just wants homey and comforting snickerdoodles, not some fancied up version. I get it.

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So here is my recipe for Snickerdoodles, slightly adapted from Kate’s mom’s recipe.

Snickerdoodles

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp (or more) cinnamon (for rolling)

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes or so.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda.

Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Don’t over mix!

Cover and chill dough in fridge for at least two hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop out cookie dough into 1 1/2 Tbsp balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

Flatten balls with your hand just a little bit – cookies should still be thick.

Bake one tray at a time on center rack in 400° oven for about ten minutes. Edges should start to brown a bit.

Let cookies rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

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Posted in Comfort Food, Cookies, Fun in the kitchen! | 1 Comment

Slow Cooker Chili

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This chili is very simple. I got the recipe from my friend Shelli. When our oldest kids were just teeny tiny, they were good buddies.

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Me, Shelli’s son Asher, and Mara.

We spent a lot of time together back then. Long luxurious days where we talked about sleep issues, eating habits, our families, our history, and all the while watching our sweet babies discover the world.

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Asher and Mara.

Another thing we shared with each other was recipes. I remember having this chili at Shelli’s. I remember sitting in her kitchen, and being impressed that Asher was going to eat that chili. At the time, I wasn’t a big chili fan, but that was the best chili I had ever had. Maybe because I was with Shelli, and she made it, and we were sharing pieces of our lives with each other.

Shelli and her family moved to Colorado shortly after our kids turned two. I still miss her. Whenever I make this chili, I think of her, and I remember those days that seemed to last forever.

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Brunch in our old back yard. Shelli is in pink.

For the record, I have changed the recipe many times, because I am often in a hurry, and will make it with just the ingredients I have available. But what I like is how simple it is. This recipe really is a blank slate; you can add or take away whatever you like, and it will still turn out great. But it is best exactly how Shelli made it.

You can ignore the writing in red, that was my addition, back when I wrote down everything I did. As you can see from the recipe, the original is not a slow cooker recipe, and it is perfectly simple and delicious exactly as written. Make it that way.

But, if you have a day like mine… today I have to work in the afternoon, and then work again this evening… then you can make this in your slow cooker in the morning and have it ready exactly when you need it. It just simmers all day long and the flavors blend nicely after all that time. And there is no need to sauté things first. That’s what I like.

But there is an order to it that is important. Here’s how I made it today, with just the things I had on hand.

Slow Cooker Chili

  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound leanest ground beef (must be leanest!)
  • 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsps chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Place chopped onion in a layer on the bottom of the slow cooker. Break up the ground beef with your hands and layer it over the onions. Then layer the tomatoes, then the beans, and finally the herbs. You can gently stir the herbs into the top layer of beans, but do not disturb the layers of onion and beef and tomatoes. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or high for 6 to 8 hours. Shortly before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar and cayenne and let cook for a few more minutes.

Add ins: A few minutes before serving, if I have time, I like to sauté up some veggies, like perhaps some chopped zucchini or bell pepper, so they get a nice grill to them and intensified flavor, and add them to the chili when I add the balsamic vinegar. It takes about ten minutes. You can also just use those sautéed veggies as toppings. You can add whatever you like, or nothing at all.

Toppings: Grated cheese, raw onions, avocado slices, fresh cilantro, sautéed veggies… whatever you have on hand!

Tip! I don’t enjoy chopping onions (sorry!), but when I do, I chop more than one, and put any extra in bags in the freezer. That way, when I have a recipe that calls for chopped onion, chances are I can just grab some already chopped out of the freezer. It comes in really handy when I am in a hurry in the morning, and frozen onion works just fine for slow cooker recipes. Bon apétit!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Busy-day meals, Comfort Food, Crock Pot Recipes, Gluten-Free | 1 Comment

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Warning!

This recipe requires making the dough a day in advance and freezing it for best results. Or at least two hours in advance. And these cookies may be addicting. Now keep reading.

I have to write about these cookies right away, before I forget everything. My neighbor Shannon told me about a recipe she had tried that had a ton of stuff in it, like walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips, rolled oats, and even flax meal (her addition to the recipe). I told her that it sounded kind of like my favorite cookie at Specialty’s – the Oatmeal Wheatgerm Chocolate Chip Cookie – and she said that was kind of what she was going for. But hers became hard and dry the next day, so I asked her to send me the recipe so I could try it out and tweak a few things.

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And I did make some changes. And here are a few tips if you are trying to achieve a specific type of texture, amount of baked-ness, etc. Or really, just follow these tips every time you try a new recipe:

  • Only make a half batch. Really. What if you don’t like it? And for goodness’ sake, write out the entire halved recipe before moving forward; don’t try to do it in your head, or you might forget partway through and end up with a disaster!
  • At first, bake only a few (maybe 6) cookies at a time. (6 because everyone in your family, and even a neighbor or two, might want to be involved in the taste testing.) That way you can adjust bake time or oven temperature with each mini batch without ruining an entire batch (or half batch) of cookies.
  • Trust your instincts. For example, if the recipe doesn’t call for salt, but you like a bit of salt in your cookies, by all means, add a little salt. Experiment!

By the way, I wasn’t trying to achieve the exact Specialty’s cookie experience, but just a few things about the Specialty’s cookie that I like, like a tall cookie, crisp on the bottom, and still a bit gooey in the middle. And lots of flavors and textures.

The recipe called for walnuts and coconut and rolled oats. I like all these things, but I didn’t really want chunks of any of the above in my cookies, so I decided to give them all a spin in my Vitamix blender, so that I would have all the flavor, but a finer, more grainy texture. I didn’t turn the oats into flour… that would be too fine. There were still a few whole rolled oats here and there.

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Rolled Oats after a spin in the blender.

And I didn’t turn the walnuts into walnut butter either. I put the walnuts and the coconut together in the Vitamix and pulsed it a couple of times.

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Walnuts and Coconut after a few pulses in the blender.

I also didn’t add flax meal, which can act as a binder and make the cookies harder. I added some flax seeds instead.

And too many oats can dry out a cookie, so I reduced the amount.

I also took out the baking powder, because I wanted these gooey and moist.

Oh, and I added cinnamon, because everything is better with cinnamon.

Another thing I wanted was the tall cookie, consistent in size, so I used a cookie scoop (1.5 Tablespoon size). You really need one of these if you don’t have one already. I have been known to give them as gifts.

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This will change your life. And ignore the dough in the bowl. It’s snickerdoodle dough.

I then scooped out the dough onto wax paper, and flattened each ball only just a teeny tiny bit. Remember, I want them tall. I also want the cookies to look kind of like a hockey puck a thick galette, not rounded mounds. At this point, I froze these little discs of cookie dough (this helps with the tall part and the gooey part). I believe that this part is essential. I’ve tried just refrigerating the dough, and it does not have the same effect. FREEZE PLEASE. Once the discs of dough are frozen, put them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer until you are ready to bake. At least twenty-four hours is good. I suppose if you are in a hurry you can skip the freezing part (cookies will not be as tall, and may spread out), or just freeze the dough for a couple of hours. Just freeze the dough.

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These ones might even be flattened a bit too much, but you get the idea.

Now, I also wanted the crisp on the bottom, so these cookies get baked at 360°, give or take a few. But there’s something else I am doing lately, and it’s probably not necessary, but if you can do it, you should try it. I put my pizza stone in the oven before preheating. Then when everything is ready to go, I slide the parchment paper and cookies directly onto the hot pizza stone, kind of like when you use a pizza peel. I have a couple of cookie sheets that have always annoyed me because one of the sides does not have a rim, but now I am so happy that I didn’t get rid of them, because they are great both as a pizza peel and for sliding my cookies onto the baking stone.

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Baking sheet: notice no rim on the right side.

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Cookies on parchment paper on a baking stone. Sorry, they are snickerdoodles. Don’t be confused.

So, after several batches of 6 cookies each, I figured out that the cookies were perfect baked at 360° on the center rack of my oven for about 10 minutes if I used the 1.5 Tablespoon scoop, plus an extra teaspoon of dough. Ugh. I know, I know. But it’s true. I only found that out because the last batch I only had enough dough for 4 cookies, plus a bit extra, so I just smooshed the extra onto each cookie ball before slightly flattening them, and those ones were by far the best. Exactly how I wanted them to turn out. Crisp bottom, tall, and a bit gooey in the middle, but not raw. So if you are using a 1.5 Tablespoon scoop, make it a hearty scoop!

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Hello, gorgeous.

If you hear of where I can find a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop, please let me know.

Sorry for all the chit chat. Here is the recipe, (adapted from Heather Carter’s Loaded Oatmeal Cookies), which makes about 3 dozen, plus a few extra.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt (or a tad more)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking), chopped up a bit in blender
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, chopped up a bit in blender (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped up in blender (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or more if you like)

Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes or so.

Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, again, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl.

Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until barely blended. Do not over mix!

Add oats and mix until just barely blended.

Add walnuts, coconut, and flax seeds, mixing until barely blended.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Line baking sheet or cutting board (needs to fit in your freezer) with wax or parchment paper and scoop balls of dough (a hearty 1.5 Tablespoons). They can be close together.

Flatten ever so slightly with your fingers. Place tray of dough in freezer and freeze for two hours. At this point you can bake the cookies, or place the frozen discs in a freezer bag and bake them a day later, or up to a month later. (I find it very handy to always have frozen cookie dough ready to be baked. You never know when a friend is going to drop by and you want to make something lovely, or you forgot about that potluck or bake sale.)

Preheat oven to 360°

Place frozen dough discs on parchment paper lined cookie sheet about two inches apart.

Bake on center rack of oven for about 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown but the top is still light in color and still glistens a teeny bit. That part is important. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on your cookies!

Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container.

Great thing about these cookies: If you do it right, these cookies will still be delicious and gooey/chewy the next day, and even the day after, if they last that long…

Oh, and if you really really want a cookie that looks and acts like a Specialty’s cookie, try this: take you cookie dough and spread it out about 1 inch thick onto a sheet of wax paper on a small tray or cookie sheet.

Then cover it with wax paper and smooth out all edges; top and sides, and put in freezer for a couple of hours. You can use a rolling pin to get the top nice and smooth, but just one or two swipes will do. Don’t agitate the dough!

After an hour or two, cut into squares. This is a half batch, and it makes twelve square cookies…

Separate squares, cover, and put in freezer until you are ready to bake, at least 2 hours, but longer is fine, if not better. If longer, store squares in a freezer bag.

Bake the same way as you would the round cookies, using parchment paper. Because of the square shape, you will get more gooey center, and more crisp edges.

Whichever way you make them, I hope you like them! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Comfort Food, Cookies, Fun in the kitchen! | 2 Comments

Café au lait

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I’m not really wanting to give a recipe for café au lait. I just feel a great urge to talk about it. Yesterday while I was heating up milk to make yogurt, I noticed that that skin was developing on the top of the hot milk. I skim it off so the texture of the yogurt stays smooth. As I skim, I hear a voice saying “J’aime la peau”. This happens every time. And no, I’m not hearing voices. It’s a memory. The first time I went to France, I was 18, and had just graduated from high school. I stayed with a family in the suburbs of Lyon. When I say suburbs, I mean really old suburbs, like hundreds of years old. Hard, working class suburbs. The girl that was closest to my age was 16, and her name was Cathy (pronounced Kah-tee), short for Catherine.

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Me on the left, Cathy on the right, and one very cool car, in the courtyard.

I fell in love with France, and with that family. I was enchanted with every detail. One thing I found funny (at the time), was how they drank coffee. This is not news to most of you, but I’m going to talk about it anyway. After dinner, they would serve very very strong coffee (not espresso, just strong coffee made in a drip coffee maker) in teeny tiny cups, with sugar cubes. The kids liked to dunk the sugar cubes into the coffee and eat them like candy. I still remember exactly what it tasted like. Bitter, strong, and sweet.

In the morning, the coffee pot still had leftover cold coffee in it from the night before. This is the part that surprised me most. They didn’t make fresh coffee in the morning. That first morning, Cathy got out a pot and poured some milk into it. She heated it up to almost a boil. While the milk was heating up, she got out some bowls, and poured what was left in the coffee pot into the bottom of the bowls. Maybe about a quarter cup or so. All I could think was, “I want a LOT more coffee than that!”. She then got out a strainer thingie… looked like this one:

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For straining the milk. But I don’t strain it.

She asked me, “T’aimes la peau?” In English, do you like the skin? Meaning the skin that develops when you heat up milk. She was offering to strain the milk for me. And then she said, “Moi, j’aime la peau”. Me, I like the skin. I guess a lot of people don’t like the skin to go into their coffee. As you pour the milk, suddenly a big chunk of skin will plop down into it. It has texture to it. Kind of creamy and filmy, kind of chewy. Barely chewy. And the flavor, extra sweet. I had to try it. When you are drinking your coffee, the skin will surprise you. You won’t know when you’re going to get it. It’s unpredictable. (If this sounds yucky, keep in mind that I am a texture girl. I love oysters, mussels, eggplant…. all that gooey stuff. )

I loved that they served their café au lait in bowls. They would take the leftover baguette from the day before (there was always leftover baguette), cut it in half lengthwise, slather unsalted butter and jam on it, and dunk it in their coffee before eating. Nothing was wasted. And everything was delicious.

And for the record, J’aime la peau.

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Posted in Comfort Food, Musings | 3 Comments

Sesame Noodle Salad

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Every year at my daughter’s elementary school, they have a festival called “International Night”. All the kids (and sometimes the parents and teachers) perform dances, there is a big potluck of the most amazing food, and of course, a bake sale. This year I taught the third graders a Rumba to perform, and I danced Sevillanas with one of the dads… it was kind of spur of the moment, because my original partner got sick. He was a great sport!

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¡Olé!

I also made white chocolate macadamia nut cookies for the bake sale. I am working on perfecting that recipe, so I will be posting soon about that. In all the chaos of trying to find a dance partner, I panicked when I realized I hadn’t thought about a potluck dish. Then DING! I remembered my default potluck dish – sesame noodle salad. I got this recipe from my friend Monica. It is so simple and delicious, so much so, that there are never any leftovers when I make it. It’s fast and easy, and makes a LOT.

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Delish!

You don’t really need a lot of fancy ingredients, but there are few that you might not have on hand. Mainly, the sesame oil and chili oil. I now keep those handy for making sushi and fried rice, and this noodle dish, of course. They add such great flavor.

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Some things you will need. Those are sesame seeds on the left.

I changed the recipe just a bit. Here it is:

Sesame Noodle Salad

  • 1/4 cup Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 cup Black Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Hot Chili Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/8 lb Thin Spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Carrots

In a large bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, chili oil, and vinegar.

Cook spaghetti (or vermicelli) in boiling water until barely tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

With your hands, immediately toss the pasta with the dressing, making sure pasta is completely and evenly coated. Add seeds and continue folding dressing through the pasta, literally “wiping” the bowl with the noodles.

Remove to a shallow platter, top with cilantro and shredded carrots, and serve at room temperature.

Note: The original recipe calls for thinly sliced green onions, but I’m not a fan, so I use cilantro and carrots. Either way, add the cilantro and carrots (or green onions) only shortly before serving. Enjoy!

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Posted in Busy-day meals, Comfort Food, Fun in the kitchen! | 2 Comments

Quick and Delicious Tomato Sauce

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I make this pasta sauce frequently, and some of my favorite things about it is how quick it is to make, it only requires three ingredients (tomatoes, butter, and onion), and it is delicious! This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking cookbook.

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Matthew and I received this book as a wedding gift from our friend Dave, who is now a piano tuner extraordinaire in the heart of the Midwest, in Indianapolis. His inscription reads: Wishing you many, many joyful meals together! Nothing can replace good old cookbooks that fall open to your favorite recipes, pages warped from spilled ingredients of years gone by. I often look up recipes online, but my tried and true cookbooks are like old friends; there is history there.

When you are pressed for time, and need to make something just a little extra special, I say this is the ticket. Homemade pasta sauce. I am going to tell you how to make it just the way I make it. From memory. Hehe. It’s so easy.

Get out your dutch oven or heavy bottom pot. Open a 15.5 oz can of very good tomatoes (the San Marzanos, please), and pour tomatoes and juices in the pot. Crush up the tomatoes with your hand; it’s easier and quicker that way, and you will feel rustic while doing so.

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You must use good tomatoes!!!

Now peel a medium yellow onion, cut it in half, and put both halves cut side down in the tomatoes. Add a chunk of unsalted butter… 5 tablespoons, but sometimes I go crazy and just throw in an entire cube.

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I am just noticing that this looks like a face with googly eyes and a scared mouth.

Bring the sauce to a very slow but steady simmer. Let the sauce simmer uncovered for at least 45 minutes. I like to let it simmer for longer if possible. Stir it every now and then without breaking up the onion. You’ll notice it changing color a bit, and the butter separates a little from the tomatoes.

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Now the googly eyes are getting a bit scary.

The nice thing about this is that you can just go about your business and do other things. As long as the sauce is at a slow simmer, nothing will burn. At your leisure, when it suits you, you can make a little tossed salad and get some pasta into boiling water, all the while knowing your sauce is simmering and doing its thing. Now, when the sauce has been simmering for at least 45 minutes, and you are ready to put your dinner together, drum roll please: … for people like me who don’t like biting into onion chunks, this is so great: remove the onions and discard. Gosh, I love this recipe. Now give it a final stir and it’s good to go. The sauce is deliciously sweet and fresh tasting, and just perfect for an easy meal with a touch of homemade love.

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Fresh and delicious.

It is also wonderful with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

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I had to take a bite.

Feel free to add salt and cracked pepper to taste, or throw in some fresh basil at the last minute. The simplicity of this sauce is its secret, so don’t overdo it. I add nothing, because I like the sweetness of the tomatoes, just the way they are. You might just want to dip bread into the sauce and eat it that way…Buon Appetito!

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

(recipe from Marcella Hazan)

  • 1 15.5 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, including the juices
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5 Tablespoons (or a bit more) unsalted butter

Place the tomatoes in a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot and crush the tomatoes with your hands, or a wooden spoon. Add the onion halves, cut side down, and the butter. Bring to a slow simmer and let cook uncovered for 45 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally without breaking up the onion halves. Remove onion halves and discard, and give a final stir before serving. Enjoy!

Tip: I sometimes use the leftover sauce to cook frozen meatballs. I like the Trader Joe’s “Party Size Mini Meatballs”. I put the leftover sauce in a sauce pan, add frozen meatballs and stir to coat. Then cover and let simmer for about twenty to thirty minutes. The result is so so good! And again, quick and easy!

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Posted in Busy-day meals, Comfort Food, Fun in the kitchen! | 1 Comment