Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cucumber Snack

This is a quick refreshing snack that's great after surviving rush hour.

1 cucumber
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
chili powder, optional

1.  Peel cucumber.  You may skip this step if you are fortunate enough to have an English cucumber.
2.  Slice cucumber thinly and spread out slices on a deep plate -- the bigger the better.
3.  Sprinkle slices with salt, pepper and chili to taste.
4.  Squeeze lemon halves over top making sure to cover all the slices.  Remove seeds, if necessary.
5.  Let sit for 3-5 min.
6.  Eat!  Utensils optional -- I love to use my fingers! :)

Experimental Hors D'oeuvres

Since I'm house sitting at a friend's, I went rummaging through the fridge to see what I could throw together for dinner.  This is what I found:
4 large mushrooms
1 small onion
1 slice ham
1 tube crescent roll dough
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
garlic salt
chili powder

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
2.  Wipe mushrooms clean with a towel, instead of washing them -- it's a trick I learned from Julia Child.  Cut off hard stems and dice.
3.  Heat pan over med heat.  Dice the onion. To be healthy I browned the mushrooms and onion dry.  Stir occasionally.
4.  Cut slice of ham to small squares and add to mushrooms and onions.
5.  Sprinkle with chili and garlic salt and keep stirring occasionally.
6.  Pop open the tube of crescent dough.  Roll out the dough and cut the triangles in half -- pizza cutter makes it easy.
7.  Press the smaller triangles into the mini muffin pan -- alternative: use regular sized triangles for regular muffin pan. I started with a dowel, but found it easier to do with my fingers.

8.  Spoon 1/2 teaspoon shredded mozzarella into bottom of dough "cups"

 9.  Spoon a teaspoon amount of the mushroom mixture into each cup and sprinkle some parmesan over the top.

10.  Bake for 12 min.  Crust should be golden brown.
11.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for no more than 5 min and remove to plate to finish cooling -- if you leave them in longer the moisture will make the bottoms soggy.
12.  Plate up and serve.  Goes great with some ranch dressing on the side (but then, what doesn't?).

Things I would try differently:
1.  I think some mild sausage would be great in lieu of the ham, but then I used what I had.
2.  Use some oregano and basil seasoning instead of the chili powder.
3.  Forget reducing fat and use a teaspoon of butter to saute onions and mushrooms.  Also, add a splash of white wine.
4.  Use more cheese and mix it into mushroom mixture to melt before adding it to the dough.
5.  Forget the pre-perforated triangles.  Roll out dough with pin to be thinner and cut into 2 - 2 1/2 inch squares.  You'll get more out of it, so up the amount of ingredients.
6.  Egg-lovers -- I don't include myself among you -- feel free to scramble an egg or two to the mushroom mixture.
7.  Add a clove or two of garlic, pressed, of course.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I'm getting a new camera!  It's on its way and should arrive in my hands sometime next week.  I'm so excited at the prospect of posting recipes with my own pictures!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A New Beverage Idea

I love water.  That's what we'd always have on the table growing up, unless we had guests or it was tea time.  It's my default drink.  I was shocked the first time someone told me "I don't like water".  I thought it was quite a silly thing to say, like "I don't like air".

Everyone knows that they should drink more of it and beverage companies have capitalized on the idea by providing hundreds of varieties of water -- and I'm not sure that's an exaggeration.  Vitamin water was a really big thing for a group of my friends who thought they were being healthy, until the sodium content and unpronounceable ingredient list was pointed out to them.  (Am I the only one who reads labels?  I know I'm a brat whose friends are very forgiving.)

I found an idea in a book last year, but I finally built up the nerve to try it this week.  I soaked and cleaned some leeks. (Soaking is very important to loosen the gritty dirt that hides between the layers.)  Then I put them in a pot with a quart of water -- no salt.  I let them boil for about 20 minutes and them let them cool.  The book recommended this as a "cleanse":  drink the cooled water and eat the cooked leeks throughout the day.  The water is loaded with vitamins and minerals from the leeks -- and it doesn't taste bad!  In fact, it doesn't have much flavor at all.

A Mexican friend recommended drinking the water from cooked beans to help ease cramps and other "time of the month" ailments.  Think: high fiber, iron and protein.

Last night, my sister boiled an artichoke and as she was pouring out the water, it occurred to me that I should have asked her to save it for me.

I usually salt my veggies when I cook them, so I don't know if that taste good to drink like water.  Hm, it could probably be used as a base for a work-out drink, like to make your own gatorade, or a broth to make a soup.  Hm... so many ideas.