Friday, March 25, 2011

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (Recipes)

The cooking here's not "all good." There's "The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly," like the spaghetti western. I like to try new recipes, but in real life not everything I cook turns out. I try to let you know when a recipe I've made and posted is shall we say taste-bud challenged? Here's the list, of what didn't turn out so well just last week.
  • Reuben Roll Ups (St. Patrick's Day)
  • Orange Muffins (Dry, as in Lawrence of Arabia dry)
  • Bread Pudding (Trying to salvage the orange muffins)
After a particularly gross run of recipes I try to make something really yummy so I made Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Bake.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Normandie Cafe & Bakery

When I was a teenager I worked at the front counter of a French bakery called Bakers de Normandie. The bakers, Jean Jacques and Chet, would occasionally still be there in the afternoon when I arrived after school on my ten speed bike. They made the most wonderful things like croissants filled with chocolate, Napoleon pastries, and hard rolls that were crusty and crunchy on the outside and as light as air on the inside. The bakery I worked in closed, reopened in new locations and closed again. My mom told me they were back. (I'm not sure if it's run by the same people though.)
The Normandie Cafe & Bakery is located in Holladay, Utah and they serve a good brunch.
We stopped by before Valentine's Day. I didn't take photos of brunch, just of what we took home from the bakery. Like this heart shaped, shortbread-like cookie dipped in chocolate and decorated with pretty swirls of red sugar.
Ham & cheese filled croissant.
My brunch included a biscuit, scrambled eggs, cheese and potatoes. They give you a basket of muffins as a courtesy while you're waiting for your food (see the poppyseed muffin in the photo above).

Speaking of french food, have you seen Sabrina? It's a classic film from 1954, in which Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn) attends cooking school in Paris, France.

Profitez (Translation: Enjoy),

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Normandie Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 18, 2011

Helping the Honey Bees (Raspberries, Granola & Yogurt)

Have you ever been in a garden or out walking during the summer and heard a big old bumble bee "bumbler" buzz by? It always surprises me how loud they are, it's like the sonic boom of the bee world. Honey bees really seem to like sunflowers and there's always a lot of bees coming and going from the sunflower patch.

The other day I came across a tweet that the UN was issuing a save the bees message. After reading about it I remembered the Hagan Daas campaign, which was when I first heard that our bees were struggling. It appears that pollution, pesticides and a mite attacking the hives (colony collapse disorder) are part of the problem, and it does appear to be a big problem in North America and Europe. I'm not sure what farmers would do if we didn't have bees helping to pollinate our fruits and vegetables. Learning about this made me wonder what would we do? Check out The Very Japanese Art of Growing Perfect Apples where the pollen is applied by hand. Is that what we would do?

How can we help the honey bees? (Please post comments with your thoughts and ideas.)
Based on the list above, I have some reading to do. BTW, have you ever seen a raspberry blossom?
My mom sent over some beautiful raspberries a couple of weeks ago--I know, in March. They don't grow here in March. I wonder how the honey bees are doing in South America?
Raspberries, Granola & Greek Yogurt
1 container fresh raspberries
2/3 - 1 C Greek Gods Strawberry yogurt (approximately)
1/2 C Granola (approximately)

Wash the raspberries in a large bowl filled with water and a little bit of soap, swish them around then drain in a colander. Refill the bowl with water swishing the berries around and drain in colander. Repeat until the soap has been rinsed away. (The "swish" washing makes it so you don't squish the berries.) Drain the berries. Put the yogurt in a bowl, sprinkle in a layer of granola and stir together. Add a layer of raspberries and fold in gently. Top with granola and raspberries.

The granola brought hints of cinnamon like bits of oatmeal cookies. The bursts of fresh raspberries mixed with the tangy rich yogurt, the "live and active cultures" were camouflaged in deliciousness. If you're looking for a fresh take on breakfast, try this out.

P.S. Did you know there are honey bees in the White House garden?

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

Time for another low salt recipe that has some flavor! I came across a great blog that posts Weight Watchers friendly recipes called "Gina's Skinny Recipes." She posts recipes along with calories, Weight Watchers points, carb, fat, etc. I've tried the Spinach dip (also no salt) from her blog (which was amazing) and was excited to find a "no salt" baked potato soup.

Baked Potato Soup*
2 russet potatoes
1 bag of frozen cauliflower florets (or 1 small cauliflower cut into florets)
1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz.)
1 1/2 C milk
1/2 C light sour cream
1/2 C cheddar cheese (grated)
4-6 pieces of bacon (crumbled)
1 bunch of green onions

Wash the potatoes and poke with a fork, microwave for 5 minutes, turn over and microwave for 3-5 minutes (until tender) put aside to cool. Put the cauliflower in a pan with water and heat, then drain (if you're using fresh cauliflower cook until soft and drain). I cut the potatoes in half then holding the potato in a dish towel, used a spoon to scoop out the soft potato into the pan with the cauliflower. Add the broth and milk then place in blender to combine (to make smooth). Pour back into the pan to warm up again. Wash the green onions, chop and add to the soup. Add the sour cream and cook on medium low until combined. Serve with grated cheese, bacon bits and fresh cracked pepper.

*The original recipe is a little different from what's listed here. I used a little more broth (to use the whole can), frozen cauliflower (for speed), and a little more cheese and bacon.

Recipe Source: Gina's Skinny Recipes: Baked Potato Soup

P.S. Regarding the dishes - Make it easy on yourself and rinse the dishes as soon as you're done. :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Saturday, March 5, 2011


Hi there! During the last couple of weeks Superman has been on the brain. It started with the documentary "Waiting for Superman."

Then last night we watched "All Star Superman."

While we watched All Star Superman, my daughter's homework was baking. She had been assigned to cook something for her Spanish class. She chose to make flan.

Evaporated and sweetened condensed milk
Evaporated and sweetened condensed milk.
Flan has simple ingredients eggs, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, sugar, vanilla.

Ramekins with caramel
Caramel in ramekins.
It's what you do with the ingredients that matters. I walked out of the room and came back to find that she had already caramelized the sugar and poured it into the ramekins. "Ka-pow!"

Prepping flan.
Prepping the flan.
If you haven't tried it, flan is a custard baked in a water bath.

Baked Flan
Baked flan, completed.
This photo features the flan cooling on the counter nestled into a bunch of hot pads made by Aunt Vi.

Flan, single serving.
Just after midnight the flan had cooled and we shared a serving. El flan era much mejor que he probado en los restaurantes. (The flan was much better than I've tasted in restaurants.)

2 C fat-free evaporated milk
2 S fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract
3 egg whites
3 whole eggs
1/2 C pure cane sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a bowl, beat together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract, egg whites, and whole eggs. Set aside. In a medium saute pan on medium heat, heat the sugar until syrup-like and brown in color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep stirring the sugar as it can burn easily. Pour the melted sugar caramel into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, coating around the bottom and sides. Pour in the milk mixture. Place the entire baking dish in a larger dish filled halfway up the smaller baking dish with water, but be sure not to let any water spill into the flan mixture. Cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the custard is set. Cook's Note: Insert a knife into the center, and if it comes out clean, it is fully cooked.

Let the custard cool 2 hours before serving.


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