Tag Archives: Diane

Self-sprouting

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I totally judge a book by its cover, especially cookbooks. This looks fab.

-Diane

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Avacado salad by Diane

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I have recently discovered the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I’ve been profoundly affected by the concept of leaning in and have a greater understanding for many of my past decisions, both personally and professionally. Sandberg has created a monster…now I find myself thinking about gender in nearly every circumstance…so it’s not surprising that my ongoing examination of gender has made its way into the kitchen.

So many of the well known professional chefs whose work I admire are men. I am less familiar with female chefs, but I know that they are out there. (In fact, we have one of the best around in Fargo, of all places.) So I did a Google on the YouTubes and discovered this amazing woman. This salad is from her cookbook (which is getting rave reviews) and Stuart proclaimed that it was restaurant quality.

And apparently that can be hard to find, even in the fanciest of places. Seriously funny. (And really, what is more disappointing than a bad meal out when you are expecting fabulous? Which is why where to go out to eat can be an agonizing decision in our house.)

I’m leaning in all over the place. And now in the kitchen. What’s next?

—Diane

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Straight up now…it’s edamame

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Most recently I’ve had the great pleasure to work with a Health Cooking Instructor (not a dietician) at my place of work.  I’ve been able to sample many of her snacks and so far this has been one of my favorites.  It’s pretty easy and quite tasty.  What I like about it is that it’s not pretending to be anything other than what it is.  (I’ve had the shock of dipping into “guacamole” only to discover it’s been made out of peas.  No guacamole without avacados for me, thank you very much.)  I’m not a fan of the veggie burger.  Give me the veggie straight up, no get up needed.  Turkey bacon?  Please.

Try it.  You might like it.

 

Edamame Dip

12 oz. bag thawed shelled edamame

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped

1 clove minced garlic

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

1 teaspoon peanut butter

Kosher salt (to taste)

1 teaspoon red chili paste or red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

5 tablespoons olive oil

To make, simply rev up your food processor until desired consistency.   Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or veggie sticks (carrots, red pepper).

 

—Diane

 

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Nutty about nutmeg

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A friend of mine was recently gushing about the wonders of freshly grated nutmeg in French toast batter. I’ve always been a French toast lover, as is Sweet A. So after years of wondering if it’s really worth it, I invested in (Those little suckers are kind of expensive) the whole nutmeg. Not just one, but 17 of them.

While I’m a fan of spices in general, the jury is still out if these are really so spectacular. Perhaps I didn’t use enough…next time I’ll add a bit more.

And I’m happy to share. I can’t imagine using these up any time soon.

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—Diane

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Valentine’s day coffee

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My Valentine’s Day was spent in Sioux Falls, SD.

I treated myself to a cappuccino at a fabulous local coffee shop called Coffea…and my thanks to the barista for making me smile.

 

—Diane

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Cauliflower soup

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Today I bought the random head of cauliflower at the grocery store. I’m in a bit of a vegetable rut, so I pondered what to do with the thing. It’s getting colder by the minute today, it’s supposed to drop to 15 degrees below zero (yes, below zero) tonight. So it seemed like the perfect night for soup.

I found this recipe on the googles, and figured I’d give it a try. It didn’t call for cream as a thickener (sad, I know…), so I opted in.

I doubled the garlic because I live the by the motto “there is no such thing as too much garlic.” Well, I was wrong. It was a little strong on the garlic…not a bad strong, but a stick-to-the-recipe-next-time kind of strong. I used parmesan instead of the cheddar because that’s what I had in the house. I suspect the cheddar would have added a big more zing. I’ll try that next time.

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Sometimes Stuart and I rate dishes based on their company worthiness. I suspect Clementine and Corbett will be spooning this at our dinner table in the near future.

Oh, and fortunately there are leftovers. We’re gonna need it….tomorrow we’re aiming for 20 below……OMG, I know.

–Diane

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Yogurt

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I typically make a batch of yogurt every week to go with my granola.  It’s pretty simple, I follow this recipe.   Although after taking a closer look, I realize that I’ve never used the honey.  And I use a simple plug in yogurt maker.   Huh.  Guess I don’t follow the recipe after all.   After doing a little research, I realize I’m not as cool a yogurt (or shall I say yoghurt) maker as I could (or should) be.

It’s pretty good.  Little G calls it “Mommy yogurt.”  She likes it drizzled with maple syrup.  (not to be a nag, but yes, the real stuff…)

 

—Diane

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Scones

 

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I love the Google.   Buttermilk, maple syrup (the real stuff), old-fashioned oats…no recipe.  So I did a google on the youtubes and I uncovered this and this.

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Smitten Kitchen’s scones topped with Ina’s glaze turned out to be all right.

 

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The scone.  The perfect baked good.  I tried and didn’t quite achieve perfection, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining.  These just might stay in the Sunday morning brunch rotation.

 

–Diane

 

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Go Fig-ure

Growing up I thought Fig Newtons were among the most disgusting cookies—insert air quotes– ever created.   I haven’t eaten one in my adulthood, but I have discovered a love for the fig that I never appreciated in my earlier years.   The first time I ever had a fresh fig was during an unpleasant tour of vineyards in the Virginia countryside.   I don’t remember much about the trip aside from the bad company…but I shall never regret it.  After all, it led me to the fig.  Who knew!?


I love breakfast, and wish that I could devote more time to it (Beet hash?  Are you kidding me?  How awesome would that be?!).  Sadly, breakfast is usually an afterthought as I rush to get everyone out of the house on time.  Breakfast bars are the perfect answer to crazy weekday mornings…

As one can imagine, fresh figs can’t be found around these parts.  But dried figs, mission and Turkish, are almost as good.  I prefer the Turkish fig as my go to variety.  I have tried out several recipes which star the fig, but never could find just what I was looking for.   Instead, I adapted a recipe from Mr. Michael Chiarello (my Number Two celebrity chef crush).  Thanks, Michael.  Oh, and now I kinda feel badly for the fig newton…

Figgy Breakfast (or Energy) Bars,  adapted from Michael Chiarello’s recipe

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 1/2 dried figs, chopped (preferably Turkish)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli bittersweet dark chocolate chips are the best)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup golden molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat from King Arthur Flour)
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place oats and walnuts on a baking sheet, toast in oven for 10 minutes.  Set aside.
  3. Turn over to 325 degrees F.
  4. Beat butter, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, powdered milk, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to the creamed mixture.  Add the milk and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the dried fruit, chocolate chips, oats and walnuts to the mixture and mix.
  7. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper for 28 minutes (cook longer for cakier bars, shorter for doughier bars).

See that cute little fig poking up?  They store nicely for up to one week at room temperature.  I recommend saving some for later in the freezer.

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Diane 1, Bunnies 0

Despite those nasty little bunnies that were munching my garden all summer…I have carrots!  Loads of them.

I just pulled our crop out of the ground.  It’s been a long fall so the carrots were able to stay snug in the gorgeous coal colored earth well into November.  Lucky for us— that means extra sweet and crispy carrots for weeks to come.

Now the challenge:  eating them all before they lose their crunch.  I try not to bake sweets too much because I have very limited self-control around baked goods.  I may make a carrot muffin batch or two, but really I need to stick with the savory or else the jeans get a little snug.

This is getting predictable, but I started with a simple roasted side dish.

I sliced up the beauties, tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and added some remaining sage from the garden for delicious flavor (there hasn’t been a deep freeze cold enough to kill the sage yet).   Crisped sage is an unexpected, delightful little treat.

Those bunnies don’t know what they are missing.

Mmwa-ha-ha!

 

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