Planting Tomatoes with OXO Outdoor Gardening Set

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Planting tomatoes with oxo gardening tools (9)

The last couple of days in Seattle felt like we were in the midst of summer. Blue skies above us. Flip flop temperature. Late warm evenings when it’s still light outside. This gave me a green light to plant tomato starters on my patio. Last year, planting the tomatoes was a bit challenging. The problem? I didn’t have the right tools. I might have used an old screw driver, a butter knife and a plastic cup to do the digging.

This year? Things got easier! Thank you to the good folks at OXO who sent me the beautiful, durable, user-friendly Outdoor Gardening Set for testing. As a disclaimer, I got the set for free. The opinions of this post are all my own and were not paid for.

Ready to get started?

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I’ve had the large pots of dirt sitting out through the winter. Abandoned. Before planting the tomato starters, I used the oxo watering can (beautiful blue color!) to give the dirt a nice soaking. Notice the spout? It actually rotates backwards and fits nicely with the body of the water can – easy storage! The can holds about 2 gallons of water so you don’t have to fill it up too many times before getting all your watering duties done.

Full details: Outdoor Pour and Store Watering Can

  • Spout rotates back toward the body for easier filling and space-efficient storage
  • Water levels in the clear spout line up with measurement markings on the body for easy measuring
  • Continuous soft, non-slip handle for a comfortable, secure grip when carrying and pouring at all heights
  • Removable rose attachment stores conveniently in the back of the Can
  • 2.11gal/8L capacity

Next tool? Cultivator! The name is fitting of a super hero, don’t you think? I hardly had to do anything, the tool did all the work in loosening up the soil and getting it ready for the plants.

Cultivator

  • Perfect for stirring and loosening soil, and pulling up weeds
  • Constructed of high-quality stainless steel for durability and strength
  • Two outer prongs longer than center prong to easily maneuver around plant stems
  • Comfortable, two-position handle provides extra strength and reach when striking and pulling

And finally, it was time to plant the little starters. Enter the trowel. Shiny, super sturdy and easy to hold.

Trowel

  • Constructed of high-quality stainless steel for durability and strength
  • Comfortable handle is non-slip, even when hands are wet
  • Cushioned handle absorbs pressure while digging
  • Large measurement markings at one-inch and one-centimeter intervals are easy to read
  • Trowel head is large for efficient digging and serrated edges make it easy to open bags and cut roots

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I look forward to seeing the tomatoes grow and using the OXO tools in my other gardening projects throughout the summer.

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#OXOSpringGardening Outdoor Gardening Set

One-Skillet Simple Roasted Chicken Dinner

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I just came back from a short trip to Vancouver, Canada. For a few days, I walked around the city and ate. And drank. And then I walked some more and ate more food. There was the Korean hot pot, the Japanese blossom sushi roll, the Mediterranean spread, and the chocolate hazelnut croissant. And these are just the highlights.

Back at home, the refrigerator didn’t offer much in terms of produce. But there was a package of frozen chicken breast halves, some potatoes, carrots, and a few sweet peppers. There was also a grumbling stomach and the desire to eat a few healthy, wholesome meals.

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With this, I present you this super simple and super satisfying meal of One-Skillet Roasted Chicken Dinner.

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1.5 pounds baby red potatoes
6-8 mini sweet bell peppers
1 jalapeno
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the chicken.
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 chicken breast halves, skinless and boneless (this will work awesome with chicken thighs and legs)
fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary
lemon slices

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place a cast iron inside the skillet.

2.  Combine vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper.

3.  Transfer the vegetables in a single layer to the preheated skillet. Top with chicken breasts. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top with lemon slices. Tuck herbs around the chicken.

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4.  Roast in the preheated oven until the chicken registers at 165 F and the vegetables are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.

And that is all. Roasted, juicy chicken with a medley of vegetables. Eat it hot as it comes out of the oven the first night. Second night? Chop it up, stir it up, and make a roasted chicken salad out of this.

One skillet chicken dinner

Banana Zucchini Bread and Muffins

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Confession time. I don’t like bananas. Maybe it’s one of the reasons I’m not a fan when I get called Anna Banana. The riper the banana, the less I like it. The overwhelming aroma, the dark brown spotted skin, it all makes me want to run away.

But then there’s banana bread and banana muffins, that make it worthwhile to have an overripe banana in your kitchen. For this project though, I’ve combined the sweet, soft banana with the crunchy, fresh zucchini in a recipe that yields one loaf of bread and 12 muffins. Perfect, isn’t it? If you wish, turn this into 2 loaves or 24 muffins. You’re the boss!

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Banana Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Ingredients

4 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Beat eggs, sugars, oil, apples sauce and vanilla extra in a bowl. Stir in bananas.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir to combine.

4.  Fold in zucchini and walnuts.

5.  Transfer half of the batter to a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Transfer the remaining batter into a greased 12-cup muffin pan. Bake in the preheated oven until the toothpick inserted into the bread/muffins comes out clean, about 50 minutes. The timing for the muffins might be less, be sure to check earlier. Cool on a rack.

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And that’s all folks! Now you have bread and muffins to eat up, share and enjoy. These are quite good on their own. Do try the bread sliced, toasted and buttered (with either regular butter or peanut).

Spring is Here – How to Grow Herbs

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Spring is here! Earth Day is right around the corner. It’s time to get your garden growing. But where does one start? I suggest starting with herbs. It’s easy, rewarding, inexpensive and you’ll reap daily rewards in your kitchen.

How to regrow herbs at home

Rosemary and thyme growing on a window sill. Rooted and grown from a plastic clam herb packages.

I’ve tried growing herbs from seed. And while mostly successful, it takes a long time. The other option is to buy herb starters from your local nurseries or grocery store. That is a good option but you might not feel as smug about your diy abilities.

Here, I present option #3. You know those plastic clam herb containers you can find at your grocery store? Will you believe me if I tell you that you can root them and plant them to turn into potted herbs? Believe!

Last year, I successfully rooted sprigs of Italian and Thai basil and enjoyed a summer full of pesto, basil salads, dressings and Caprese salad.

This year I decided to try the same trick with rosemary and thyme. I simply placed sprigs of rosemary and thyme in glasses of water and waited for the roots to appear. Be sure to change the water and get rid of any fallen leaves.

Once the roots are about an inch long, go ahead and plant the herbs in a pot or ground. If planted in pots, these guys get pretty thirsty, so be sure to water them regularly. For now, I’m keeping them on my window sill. Once the weather stabilizes a bit and it gets warmer outside, I’ll move the pots to my balcony.

Curious what I’ll be doing with all the rosemary and thyme? I’m thinking rosemary potatoes, thyme roasted chicken, herbed ricotta, and so much more.

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As a little bonus, here’s a photo of my succulents. I’ve been regrowing the “babies” the same way as discussed earlier for the herbs. Once the babies are formed on the “mother” plant, carefully cut them off and root in a bit of water. Then, plant in dirt and watch them grow!

How to regrow succulents at home

Mama and baby succulents. A little family.

Give this a try and share your photos of growing herb garden.

Easter Breakfast Eggs

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I wanted to share a really fun and easy idea for your Easter breakfast. You’ll need a few slices of bread, a few eggs and bunny-shaped cookie cutters. Wait till your kids see this breakfast plate hopping to the table. Hopping, get it?

Start by cutting out the bunny shapes from two slices of bread. I had two shapes on hand, so I used one of each. You can certainly cut out the same shape, if you wish.  Individually saute the cut outs in a little bit of olive oil until golden brown and crisp on both sides.

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For the main toasts, sautee each slice of bread in a skillet over medium high heat until golden on one side. Then flip and carefully add in an egg. I used one whole and one scrambled egg for each slice. Lightly salt the eggs for flavor.

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And really, that’s all. I served the toast with some baby spinach and added Sriracha eyes to each bunny. If Sriracha is too hot for your taste, you can use ketchup.

Happy breakfast!

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Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs ~ 50 Shades of Grey

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This is what happens when a girl who celebrates Passover is assigned to test natural egg dyes for Easter at work. I lovingly call the results of this project “50 Shades of Grey”. What do you think? To me, these eggs are quite beautiful. Ranging from lightest, barely-even-there grey (from spinach) to a really dark, stone-like grey of grape juice.

If first hollowed, I would happily keep these eggs forever, perhaps displayed in a large glass jar or a shallow bowl.

Natural Dye Easter Eggs

The beauty of this project is that it can be done at any point with the items you are likely to have on hand in your kitchen and pantry. Here, I used paprika, turmeric, grape juice, spinach (unsuccessfully), tea bags and onion skins.

The methods vary depending on the source you use. There are cold-overnight methods. There are hot-quick-and-easy methods. You decide what works best for you. Here, I boiled the color agent in water with white vinegar and then submerged boiled eggs into the solution and simmered for about 30 minutes.

Do you see the splotchy, blotchy, imperfection in the color? To me it’s beautiful. If you are looking for a more perfect, even color, I’d suggest straining the color agent first and simmering the eggs in the dye with the vinegar.

I am a fan of the matte look. For a shinier, happier exterior, rub the dyed eggs with a little bit of vegetable oil.

Enjoy!

Seattle Seahawks SuperBowl Cocktail

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since the last SuperBowl. It’s even harder to believe that I watched the last SuperBowl and saw Seattle Seahawks’ win! What will happen this year? Who will win? Who will lose? Who will have a clothing accident during halftime? It’s hard to tell.

What’s easier to predict is your drink of choice during the game. Last year, the allrecipes.com video team gave you Beast Mode Vodka.

This year? We have the 12th Man-Hattan. It’s not for the faint in heart. The drink is strong, and powerful, just like Seahawks are.

So, watch the video, check out the recipe and cheer on to our team!

12th Man-Hattan

 

How to Make Lattice Crust ~ Video

Happy Thanksgiving my dear readers! I have missed you much and am sorry for my absence. In order to repent and gift you with something wonderful in time for Thanksgiving, I am sharing this quick video we made at Allrecipes.com that will teach you how to do a lattice topping for any pie.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Strawberry Bread with Strawberry Compound Butter

Have you been enjoying the summer strawberries?  I find these beauties especially sweet and plump in the summer months, especially when picked right from the garden.

Strawberry Bread and Butter Recipe (1)

The other day, I was shooting a video for Strawberry Bread and it just happened that it made two beautiful loaves.  We shared one loaf at the allrecipes.com studio, and I took the second one home to share with friends at a going away party.  The recipe really rocked out – the bread came out moist, studded with pecans and strawberries.  Notice the sliced strawberries on the top of the loaves?  That was the extra flare I decided to add, mainly for food styling purposes.  Try the same when baking banana bread as well.

The time of the party was approaching, and I wanted to elevate the bread by making a quick Strawberry Compound Butter.  I’ll confess to having the leftover butter on a toasted baguette the following morning, and it was quite a success!

Strawberry Compound Butter

Ingredients

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup strawberries, pureed

Directions

1.  Beat together butter, sugar and cinnamon.

Strawberry Bread and Butter Recipe (2)Strawberry Bread and Butter Recipe (3)

2.  Fold in strawberries.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  About 30 minutes before serving, remove the butter from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.

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Judging by the reaction of guests at the party, this combination was a success.  Want a recipe variation?  Bake up the bread as muffins, and adjust to butter to a more spreadable frosting consistency.

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Enjoy this recipe and summer’s strawberries.

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Shishito Peppers – Culinary Memories from Spain

The other day, I picked up a package of shishito peppers at a local Asian supermarket. It’s somewhat amusing, because to me, padron peppers are associated with Spain. That’s where I had them for the first time, on my first trip to the country. In fact, they were part of the first meal my sister and I enjoyed in Madrid. The memory has stuck, and I have often ordered these relatively small and mild green peppers at Spanish tapas restaurants.

Back to the pack I bought. It has been sitting in my refrigerator for a bit too long. Every time I’d see the green peppers staring at me, I thought I should roast them or perhaps broil, but preheating the oven on these hot summer days is just unbearable. And so, today I cooked them in my trustworthy cast iron skillet. Boy, were they delicious!  I could almost taste Spain as I ate one, by one, finishing up almost the entire skillet.

Note: the same could be done with padron peppers.

Padron Peppers from Spain

Ingredients

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 pack shishito peppers, 2-3 cups
coarse sea salt, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat cast iron skillet to high. Add oil and wait for it to start shimmering.
2. Add peppers to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the skins begins to char and blister, about 5 minutes.
3. Season immediately with salt and eat (seeds and all!)

My smoke alarm went off several times as the peppers were cooking and continued to sound off after the peppers were off. You might want to open your windows and turn on the exhaust fan (fair warning!).

Enjoy :)

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How to “Grill” Lettuce ~ Broiled Romaine

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Salad lovers, rejoice!  Romaine lettuce, it’s your time to shine.  You are no longer the supporting role, the “bulk” or the “bed” for the salad.  You are the main ingredient!  No longer cold and chopped, you are heated and charred, held together, and presented in all of your beauty.

I’m talking about grilled lettuce.  Have you had a chance to try it yet?  I’ve had my first grilled Caesar Salad a few summers ago and was hooked.  The thing is, I don’t have a grill at home, and spent many months without this delicious take on salad.

And then, almost like in a dream, I thought of trying preparing grilled romaine under a broiler!  A miracle of miracles – it worked!

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“Grilled” Romaine Lettuce Salad

Ingredients

1 romaine lettuce

1 tablespoon of olive oil

salt and ground black pepper to taste

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Directions

1.  Slice romaine in half, lengthwise.

2.  Drizzle with olive oil on the cut side and season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.  You can use your favorite seasonings here and spices, but I chose to keep the salad simple and let the natural sweetness of romaine lettuce shine.

3.  Place lettuce on a baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the desired charred is reached.  I broiled mine on both sides for extra char.

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What’s next is up to you.  I topped romaine with diced cucumbers, red bell pepper, crumbled feta and basil.

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What will you put on your “Grilled” romaine?

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Easter Mini Bundt Pan Frittatas

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Easter Mini Bundt Frittatas Breakfast Recipe1

If you are celebrating Easter, I’m wishing you a Happy one!  While Easter is not in my holiday rotation, I did want to share this recipe for Easter Mini Bundt Pan Frittatas that will be ideal to make with Easter ham leftovers.  Serve this up for brunch and make an extra batch to pack for easy breakfast throughout the week.

You can certainly bake these in a standard cupcake pan, but I was fortunate to find these gorgeous mini bundt pan at my parents’ and was happy to make it my own.  The frittatas were my first project and I’m certainly looking forward to future bundt creations!

Easter Mini Bundt Pan Frittatas

Ingredients

nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil

1 cup diced ham

1 cup diced asparagus

1 cup diced yellow bell pepper

1/4 cup diced green olives (used jalapeno stuffed)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

6 eggs

salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 6-container bundt pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

2.  Combine ham, asparagus, bell pepper, olives and dill and divide evenly among the bundt pan cups.

3.  Whisk together eggs with salt and pepper and pour over the filling.

4.  Bake in the oven until puffy and the eggs are set, 20-25 minutes.

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And that’s it guys!  Hop on over to your table to enjoy these delicious frittatas.  And as always, experiment with your favorite filling ingredients – cooked chicken, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, add a jalapeno for some spice – all appetizing possibilities!

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Passover Chocolate Covered Matzo with Hazelnuts, Cranberries and Ginger

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Cover Title Passover Chocolate Covered Matzo with Hazelnuts, Cranberries and Ginger09

Passover starts tonight.  This year I have decided to follow the no-gluten rule as a way to show my solidarity and test my will power.  To lessen the blow of giving up bread and cookies, I made this sweet Passover Chocolate Covered Matzo with Hazelnuts, Cranberries and Candied Ginger. I used the chocolate-covered-strawberry method, where I melted the chocolate with a little bit of butter and spread it over oven-toasted matzo crackers before topping them with chopped hazelnuts, cranberries and candied ginger.  This is in my opinion a much easier and faster way and gives you a splendid result.

Let’s give it a try!

Passover Chocolate Covered Matzo with Hazelnuts, Cranberries and Candied Ginger

Ingredients

9 matzo crackers

24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

3 cups roasted hazelnuts, chopped

2 cups dried cranberries, chopped

1 cup candied ginger, chopped

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil and arrange matzo evenly among the sheets.  You might need to break a few crackers in half.

Passover Chocolate Covered Matzo with Hazelnuts, Cranberries and Ginger

2.  Toast matzo in the oven for 10 minutes.

3.  Place chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between with a spatula.  Once melted, stir in butter.

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4.  Spread chocolate evenly over matzo crackers and sprinkle with hazelnuts, cranberries and candied ginger, lightly pressing the toppings into the chocolate.

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5.  Set the matzo crackers at room temperature or refrigerator before breaking into individual pieces.

Now that you know the basic method and proportions, it’s time to play.  Try this with sea salt, candied orange, different types of nuts, or a drizzle of white chocolate over the top.

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I wish you all a happy Passover.  May you have a sweet year.

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My Love Affair with Burrata Cheese

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And so begins my love affair with Burrata. The what?  Burrata is Italian cheese made out of water buffalo or cow’s milk. Think of it as a sphere that holds a creamy, soft, decadent cheese inside that is encased in a fresh, stretched mozzarella.  Apart from calling it burrata, I prefer to refer to it as Angel Pillows.  I imagine angels resting their heads on burrata as they fall asleep.

The other day I went to DeLaurenti and Pike Place Market to pick up a few must-have items.  In my bag, I collected burrata, broccolini, tomatoes, olive roll, watermelon, rainbow olives, and Castelvetrano olives.

The fist night, I roasted broccolini and carrots (simply drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and ground black pepper, broccolini got a healthy sprinkle of garlic).  Give this a try in a 425 F for 15 minutes.

I drizzled the broccolini with pomegranate molasses and added a few slices of burrata.  Once the plate was composed and photographed, I quickly moved burrata to a toasted olive bread and cheered my success with a glass of white wine.

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Two days later, I could hardly wait until breakfast.  The whole grain slice of bread was already getting warm and crisp in the toaster.  The tomatoes were sliced and lightly salted.  The olives scattered on the plate.  Then it came time to delicately slice a ball of burrata cheese.  Be gently, you don’t want the creamy filling to ooze out.  Once out of a toaster, I quickly topped the bread with slices of burrata and a drizzle of olive oil.  And then I inhaled and took a bite.

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And just for fun, here’s a shot of what some of my plates really look like, when they are not photographed.

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Your turn!  Are you having a love affair right now? Do share – keep it PG13 please :)

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Aside

Preserving Herbs: Dry Freezing

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How to Preserve Herbs ~ Freezing3

How is it that there is always a bag of herbs, slowly wilting in my fridge?  I try my best to use them up, wash and dry them ahead of time, but still I fail.  It seems that almost weekly I end up throwing out bunches of cilantro and parsley.  I’m sorry my dears! I wish I would have taken better care of you.

In the past, to solve this unfortunate death, I’ve made pesto, and froze it in ice cube trays for later use in sauces, soups, etc.  But what if I didn’t want to use oil, salt, pepper, garlic, etc. to store the herbs?

In comes my friend Dana.  When visiting her home, I peaked into her freezer to find a glass jar with something green inside.  Turns out it was parsley!  Dana claims her family has been using this freezer method to preserve herbs for ages.  Good enough for them?  Good enough for me!

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The method is quite simple.  You start by thoroughly washing and drying herbs.  A salad spinner works like a charm, or you could dry them in multiple layers of kitchen towels.  If you would normally not eat the stems of the herb you are preserving, go ahead and discard the stems (or better yet, save them in the freezer to flavor soups and stocks).

All clean and dry?  It’s time to get chopping.  I used my mini food processor to chop the herbs, but you can certainly use a knife.  I’d suggest going for a rough chop vs a mince, you don’t want to release too much juice.

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Once you are all chopped up, transfer the herbs to a freezer-safe container.  You might want to even label and date the containers.  Try freezing individual herbs  or make a blend of a few.

They stay bright green and fragrant.  So much better than premature death, don’t you think? :)

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April Fools’ Day Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potatoes Frosting

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Happy April Fools’ Day.  Have you been fooled today yet?  The day is still young.  While there are no announcements of engagement, pregnancy, or moving to Australia in this post (who am I kidding?), I am going to share with you this April Fools’ Day recipe and video I got to style for Allrecipes.com ~ Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potatoes Frosting.  These are so believable, you might just fool your friends and family at dinner.  Better yet, they are also delicious.

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For the frosting, I chose to color the mashed potatoes with red and green food coloring.  Feel free to pick your own colors and try going with natural colors, using beet and spinach juice (or even blueberry juice).  Add as much color as your wish to achieve desired shade, but don’t go too wild, making sure the color is still frosting-believable.

When it came to decorating, I designed Vanilla Raspberry cupcakes with natural mashed potatoes and cherry tomatoes, Strawberry Shortcake with red mashed potatoes and Parmesan cheese, and Mint Chocolate with green mashed potatoes and bacon bits.  What combinations will you come up with?

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Be sure to check out this video to see how to make the Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potatoes Frosting: http://allrecipes.com/video/4506/meatloaf-cupcakes/detail.aspx

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Thai Sticky Rice with Mangoes from Pok Pok Restaurant ~ Dessert


Thai Sticky Rice with Mangoes Recipe08

The last time you dined at a Thai restaurant, do you remember what you ordered for dessert?  More likely than not, you enjoyed a bowl of sticky rice, topped with sweet mango.  If you were lucky enough to taste this at a Portland Pok Pok, consider yourself lucky.  This is probably one of the most talked about Thai restaurant in the United States.  Although I haven’t had a chance to eat at Pok Pok yet, I got a chance to try many of its dishes few weeks ago, during my cookbook club meeting.  Our cookbook selection was Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand” by Any Ricker, JJ Goode, Austin Bush and David Thompson.

Among the dishes, there was pad thai, fried egg salad, pork ribs, and much more.  For my selection, I picked Andy’s recipe for Sweet Sticky Rice with Mangoes and Sesame Seeds, published in Food & Wine magazine.

You can find the full recipe on the site.  I found out, later, that it was different from one published in the book, perhaps an easier, more shortcut version.  In this version, the rice is prepared in the microwave instead of steaming, and there are several ingredients missing, that perhaps could be harder to find at a local grocery store.

As such, I adjusted the Food & Wine published recipe but cutting down on the salt and adding vanilla to the coconut sauce.  I also chose to use black sesame seeds to offer contrast to white rice and yellow mangoes.

You start by combining coconut milk with sugar and salt in a saucepan and simmering it until slightly thickened and the sugar melts.  Feel free to throw in a vanilla bean into the sauce.

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For the rice, you might need to head down to your closest Asian grocery store.  You’re looking for long grain Thai rice, also called sweet, sticky, or glutinous rice.

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Soak the rice for an hour, then rinse it, and cook in the microwave in three stages, until it’s tender.

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Meanwhile, you’ll make the second batch of coconut sauce (i added a vanilla bean to this one as well) with sugar and salt – you will add it to the cooked rice and stir it in until it’s fully absorbed.  Be sure both the rice and the sauce are still warm.

Toast black sesame seeds and peel and slice mangoes.  If at all possible, it’s best to use champagne mangoes.

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Serve the rice in individual bowls along with coconut sauce (the first batch you made), mangoes, and sesame seeds.  I arranged the mangoes over the bowl of rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds – looks like a happy bumble bee, doesn’t it?

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Faro and Vegetable Salad Recipe

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Do you love whole grains?  Are you a fan of bringing in daily lunch but making it only once a week?  Are you tired of pb&j sandwiches?  Then this Faro and Vegetable Salad just might be what you will want to make and pack up for your daily lunch this week.  Packed with nutrients and vitamins, it’s colorful, cheerful, crunchy, and delicious.  The zesty lemon-mustard dressing is light and can be kept separate from the salad, to be added right before serving.  Don’t have faro on hand?  This will work equally well with brown rice and wheat berries.

Faro and Vegetable Salad

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Ingredients

1 cup faro
2 cups water
1 bunch kale, torn into pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 carrots, shredded
2 tablespoons dill, chopped

Dressing:
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Faro and Vegetable Salad

Directions

1.  Add faro and water to a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer faro until tender, about 15 minutes.  Add in kale, cover, and let sit for a few minutes for kale to wilt.

2.  Combine cooled faro and kale with the remaining vegetables.

3.  Whisk together dressing and pour over faro and vegetables.  Toss gently.

Pack this lunch daily and you’ll be happily fed.  Want to mix it up?  Add grilled chicken, tofu, or shrimp along with the salad.  Love cheese?  Add crumbled feta cheese to your daily lunch.  As the salad sits in the fridge, the vegetables take on somewhat of a marinated quality and the faro soaks up the dressing nicely.

faro and vegetable salad recipe2

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