A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Oyster Casserole

Okay, I have no idea what to call this dish.  I used Joy of Cooking's recipe for Oysters Rockefeller to make some appetizers in muffin cups a while back, and they were great.  This time I put  a pint of jarred oysters (drained) in a shallow buttered  dish and then covered them with this topping:

1 1/2 cups cooked drained spinach (I used frozen)
1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
2 chopped green onions
4 strips crumbled cooked bacon
Salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

I put a little Italian grated cheese on the top just because, and I baked it at 400 degrees for ten minutes, then bumped up the temperature to 450 because it wasn't browning enough.  The total cooking time was about 20 minutes.


Way too lazy after the recent change from daylight savings time to do anything real fancy.  I had a frozen multigrain baguette, so I served that, and I sauteed zucchini and tomatoes in the leftover bacon fat.


I want to say that I miss the convection oven in my previous house so much!  It was a wall unit, maybe 25 years old by the time we left there, and it was awesome.  It baked fast, with very even browning, and everything was just a little quicker and better.  It had a conventional bake setting as well, but I only used that for egg dishes that might blow up.  I now have a microwave/convection oven combo and it's very scary.  Anything might happen when you put something in that thing.  I also have a standard electric range.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lamb Meatballs with Garbanzos and Spinach

It's harvest time in South Carolina, and we are enjoying it so much!  The last two weeks at the downtown market there has been a farm stand offering all-the-produce-you-can-put-in-your-box for $10.  Eggplant, butternut squash, blackberries, okra, summer squash, bell pepper, onions, radishes, green beans, peaches--the list goes on and on.  Tonight we're enjoying the bounty and having a dish
from a Claudia Roden Middle Eastern cookbook that we've enjoyed through the years.  I want to document it here because it's so easy and delicious.

Lamb Meatballs with Garbanzos and Spinach

1 pound ground lamb
1 chopped onion
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Mix the lamb, onion, and seasonings (I use a food processor).  Form smallish meatballs and brown in a large skillet in hot oil.  Pour off extra fat if it seems like too much.

I bag prepared spinach

Add the spinach to the skillet and cook until wilted.

1 can garbanzo beans

Drain the garbanzos and add to the skillet and heat everything together until the meatballs are done to your liking.  You may add a little water to make a sauce if necessary.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and then add  this condiment:

3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Olive oil

Brown the garlic in a little olive oil in a small skillet, then stir in the coriander until fragrant.  Add into the meatball dish at the last minute.

We serve this with pita bread or couscous, a cucumber/yogurt salad, and some sriracha or other hot red sauce.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Homemade Granola

When I was pregnant, I finally started eating breakfast regularly, and now I can't imagine missing it.

And because I'm now breastfeeding and oats are a galactagogue, I started eating a lot of oatmeal. I love oatmeal. I cook basic Publix-brand old fashioned oats with a big pinch of salt, a drizzle of honey and some ground cinnamon, and eat it with milk or soy milk and some kind of fruit, depending on the season. Sometimes it's blueberries, sometimes sliced bananas, sometimes dried prunes cut up with scissors.

But I don't want oatmeal every day. And something I gained a taste for while pregnant was granola. But storebought granola is horribly expensive, especially when you compare it to the cost of basic Publix-brand old fashioned oats. Which, seriously, is almost all it is.

Will has done most of the cooking since Max was born, but granola is one nice, easy thing I can make that scratches my cooking itch. I can mix up a batch and throw it in the oven as soon as Max goes to bed, and it makes the house smell good. One batch lasts me about a week and a half.

Here's my basic recipe.

Mix in a big bowl:
3 cups oats
1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I like it relatively salty; you could use less)
1/2 cup almonds

Mix in a Pyrex measuring cup:
1/3 cup olive oil
a few tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix with hands until thoroughly coated. Press into a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for around 30 minutes, until slightly browned. (Stir partway through if things are looking too uneven.) Let cool on sheet, then remove and toss in any dried fruit (raisins, etc.).

Of course, you can add all kinds of stuff into the granola. Here are some thing I've tried that didn't work:
ground ginger - just didn't do much
cayenne - heat without flavor, didn't work for breakfast
diced dried apricots - meh
an egg - I'd read that adding an egg white would make the granola clump up more, but it just made it tough and not crispy

And here are some that did work:
raw almonds
raw quinoa

The version I've made a few times successfully has cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon, giving it a sort of chai flavor. I use maybe half a teaspoon of each spice.