Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fabulous Freezer Finds

I was in the garage yesterday, expecting to pick up a pint of chicken stock from the big freezer to use in a sauce for the ravioli I’d bought at the Farmer’s Market earlier this week. I was imagining a creamy sauce, based on the good homemade chicken stock, seasoned with fresh marjoram, for a fall-ish flavor. It was Friday, a day when Rick and I enjoy dinner together. But once in the freezer, I beheld a pint of lobster stock I’d made last month. Oooooooh!

Please don’t think I always have lobster stock awaiting me in the freezer. I’d prepared a lovely arranged lobster salad in celebration of our anniversary, and, unwilling to discard the shells and small legs, had made a quart of simple stock and froze it in pint containers.

The serendipity of this find demanded a change in my sauce plan: a lobster sauce for my pasta, with a bit of fried sage for a garnish.

I made an easy velouté sauce using the stock, and added a tablespoon of tomato paste for color (again, from the freezer) and a few tablespoons of a local dairy’s very heavy cream (again: from the trusty freezer). The sage was from the pot on the deck.

The found aspect of the freezer's ingredients was quite fun and added a lot to my enjoyment of the dish. As for Rick, he didn’t much care how it happened. He was happy that it happened.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I came upon a recipe in the paper today that looked nearly perfect. I always love a lemon-y something, especially a lemon-y dessert and more especially a no fuss dessert! Don’t let the word pudding turn you away.
Because I did not have any milk I used vanilla soy milk and I decreased the sugar by about a quarter cup. I also increased the lemon zest and juice by about a half a lemon. This was also a perfect time to use the whip attachment to the great immersion blender Wesley gave me several years ago. It made easy work of those egg whites.
The best thing about this, aside from from the ease, the (mostly) have-in-the-pantry ingredients , and the lemon-yness is the cool sponge cakey and sauce thing that happens.

Lemon Pudding from CW Cameron for the AJC, 2010

1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish. Set baking dish inside a roasting pan and add 1 inch warm water.
In a medium bowl, combine sugar and flour; stir in milk, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice and salt.
In a medium bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. Fold into sugar mixture and pour into buttered baking dish.
Set pans into oven and bake 35 minutes or until a knife blade inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.
Per serving: 287 calories (percent of calories from fat, 11), 6 grams protein, 59 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 4 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 111 milligrams cholesterol, 200 milligrams sodium.
Adapted from the 1950 edition of “Charleston Receipts” (Favorite Recipes Press, $19.95)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Solo Sunday Lunch

Today I found a nicely ripened haas avocado in my hanging basket: perfect for lunch.

I sliced two slim pieces of good bread and toasted them well. Then I halved and pitted the avocado, placed one half in my palm, and using a fork, mashed the velvety contents til it was nearly smooth and spread the whole business on my toasts. Finished with a sprinkling of coarse kosher salt.

So easy, so delicious.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Most Tasty Salad

We’ve been back from our beach vacation for over a week. The eggplants are still bearing beautifully. Tonight I cut a few globes in wedges, tossed in olive oil and roasted them on a parchment covered sheet pan. I served this with a couscous salad and a green salad.

I encountered this couscous salad several years ago at a family brunch. It is possibly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. And I think the flavors really work this time of year, that interim space between summer and fall.

I used leftover whole wheat couscous, added chickpeas and a bit of chopped jalapeno to tonight’s salad and also a handful or so of those packaged shredded carrots. I did not have any cashews, so I used toasted almonds. Feel free to modify the ingredients any way that suits you and your pantry: I think it’s the dressing and the fresh ginger that really set this apart:

Michelle’s Couscous Salad
(appears to be adapted from Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet)

1 1/2 couscous ( I like whole wheat from Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 C water
a little salt
Bring water to boil and add couscous, remove from heat and cover. Let stand 5 minutes, fluff with fork and put in another bowl to cool.

Chop up:
1/2 C raisins (golden look best)
1 red bell pepper
1/3 c slivered red onion (or grated)
2 T fresh mint

Mix the above into cooled couscous.

Add dressing:
1/3 C lime juice
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1t grated ginger
2 tsp curry
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine

Mix well in to the couscous veggie mixture.


Before serving mix in 1/2 c toasted cashews, chopped and 1 1/2 c frozen peas (You can skip the peas. I added fresh chopped parsley instead). This recipe serves 4-6 but I’ve quadrupled it for a party.