Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011 Cookbook Challenge: Kumquats

Kumquat Salsa from Simply Recipes

2 cups chopped cleaned and thinly sliced kumquats

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Dash of cayenne pepper

Pinch of kosher salt


Combine all ingredients. Add more or less red pepper and cayenne to desired heat. Let sit for 1 hour for the flavors to more fully blend.Makes about 2 1/2 cups of salsa.

Great served with steak or seafood such as halibut, black sea bass, or salmon.

Candied Kumquat Recipe from Simply Recipes
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4 cups of roughly chopped kumquats (roughly 1-1½ lbs.)

1 cup of water

2 cups of sugar


1 With a pairing knife roughly chop the kumquats. Discard any seeds you can that are easy to get too, but they're edible so don't fret if some get chopped up or stay in the fruit. Feel free to leave any small kumquats whole.

 Heat the water and sugar over high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add the kumquats and simmer for 10 minutes.

3 Drain the kumquats through a sieve set over a bowl. Return the syrup to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the syrup. Combine the kumquats and 1/4 cup of the syrup together.

Serve or jar and refrigerate. Can be stored for up to two weeks.

Kumquat Mojito from Chowhound message boards



7 or so mint leaves

2 tsp sugar

3 tbsp fresh lime juice (1/2-1 lime)

1 1/2 oz light rum

4 kumquats quartered

Muddle the mint leaves with the sugar in the bottom of the tumbler. Toss in the kumquat slices and muddle some more. Pour in lime juice & rum and stir. Dump in some ice and top with club soda, place shaker cup on top, flip and shake gently to mix club soda, flip back and serve. Take a whole kumquat and cut a slit half way through and rest on the rim of the glass. Delicious and refreshing summer adult beverage!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2011 Cookbook challenge: Crockpot Coq Au Vin

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cookingis a great slow cooking cookbook. It evolved from Stephanie O'Dea's blog where she challenged herself to A Year of Slow Cooking- using her slow cooker every day to make healthy gluten free meals for her family. I really like this cookbook. The layout is straight forward and easy to read. She uses the slow cooker to make a lot of unconventional items such as desserts or drinks. This is a huge help when preparing a lot of dishes. Having the slow cooker, stove, oven and toaster oven all cranking at the same time definitely increases the chance that we will have everything ready to serve at the same time. She also gives a "verdict" on many of the recipes.

The recipe we tested as her Coq Au Vin recipe. The only modification was that we used dried thyme instead of fresh thyme.

Coq Au Vin

--6 to 8 frozen chicken thighs

--6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon (I used turkey, but you could use PORK)

--8 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms (they are right next to the regular mushrooms)

--1 cup baby carrots

--1 chopped yellow onion

--3 cloves chopped or minced garlic

--1/2 t black pepper

--1/2 t kosher salt

--1/2 cup chicken broth

--1 1/2 cup cheap red wine (you can use non-alcoholic wine, if you wish)

--2 large fresh thyme sprigs (I really think the fresh thyme is the key, here. Go steal some from your neighbors garden.)

The Directions.

Cook your bacon. I used turkey bacon, and baked it on a broiler pan. Dump the frozen chicken into your crockpot and start layering in the rest of the ingredients. This is really a no-fuss (albeit amazingly gourmetish) preparation. Just throw it all in.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. You could cook it on high for 4, but it won't taste as good. The flavors meld so nicely when cooked low and slow.

We served it over pasta. We both really enjoyed this recipe. We felt it needed a little more salt added at the end of finish it. The use of fresh thyme matters. It would have given the dish that subtle, but important extra kick of flavor so make the trip to the grocery store.  Next time, we will lightly sautee the mushrooms in the bacon fat. The mushrooms released a lot of water during the cooking that diluted some of the flavors.

Because chicken thighs are so cheap and this recipe is so easy, I can see this becoming a staple in our week work menu.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2011 Cookbook Challenge: Breaded Pork Chops and Roasted Kohlrabi

Today's recipes come from and Girl's Gone Child.

Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.

4 to 6 pork chops (bone-in) or boneless pork loin chops 1/2-inch thick

2 c. crushed cracker crumbs

1/4 c. flour

3 tbsp. paprika

2 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. onion

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Sprinkle pork chops lightly with salt and pepper.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large plastic bag or bowl with lids. Add pork chops and shake.

Bake at 350°F for 1 hour on a shallow sided baking sheet (like a cookie sheet) or until pork chops are tender and juices no longer run pink when poked with a fork.

I halved the recipe and used the boneless pork chops from the Omaha Steaks variety pack. I cooked it in the toaster oven since the regular oven was filled with the kohlrabi from the recipe below. These pork chops turned out really well. The breading had a great flavor and the pork was cooked very well. We will definitely make this again.

Roasted Kohlrabi
 (serves 4)

4 kohlrabi, peeled, sliced ¼ inch thick and cut in half

2-3 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic

salt and pepper

grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450. Peel and slice kohlrabi into ¼ inch slices. Cut in half (if kohlrabies are big, cut in quarters). Mince garlic. Toss kohlrabi, garlic, and oil in a bowl with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and return to oven to brown for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

I have been struggling with what to do with the kohlrabi from our CSA. Girl Gone Child’s mom to the rescue! This is a fantastic recipe. It was full of flavor. I could have eaten bowl after bowl.

Overall, dinner was a winner!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Movie Review: Easy A and KickAss

Easy A

 Easy A– Easy A is the story of a high school gal who lies about having sex and becomes the school slut – even resorting to accepting gift cards in exchange for lying about having more sex. I really like this movie. The dialogue was witty and sharp. It was one of those movies where you end repeating the lines for months afterwards. My favorite scenes were the ones with her loving, accepting, slightly wacky parents. It was good to see a movie with fun parents. Definitely check it out .

Kick-Ass (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)

Kick-Ass - Wow! I did not expect so much blood. I thought the dialogue was fun and witty. When it took a turn to actually killing – especially bloody killing by an 11 year old I wasn’t quite as enthralled. Overall though I thought it was a good action flick with more of story than we usually see in a movie with that many guns.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2011 Cookbook Challenge: Curry Kohlrabi Carrot Soup

So I made up this recipe all by myself  after pursuing the interweb for some curry carrot soup concoctions:

1.5 lbs carrots
2 medium kohlrabi
8 cups chicken stock
4 Tbsp curry
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingrediants in a slow cooker.


It was full of heat and virtually no flavor. The carrots were not sweet enough to offset the cayenne. There was no fat to give the soup body. It does however, make a lot of soup that I am stuck trying to eat for the next week. So I had to figure out how to offset the heat to make it edible.

Here's some useful knowledge:  Acid and dairy offset heat. I added parmesan cheese which helped a little. I added some apple cider vinegar which helped a little and I am serving with a huge dollap of greek yogurt which helps a lot.  There you go - maybe my failure be your learning opportunity.