De Ma Cuisine

Friday

22

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

How To Freeze Peaches

Written by , Posted in Fruit, How To, Kid-Friendly, Storage/Prep

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There’s nothing quite like the tangy-sweet taste of a peach. Ok, except maybe a nectarine… they’re pretty similar…

In these hot summer months, I love biting into a super juicy piece of fruit. So juicy that I either have to eat it standing leaned over the sink, or outside. It doesn’t have to be a peach. Watermelon, plums, apricots… they’ll all do the trick.

But, I’m eating a peach as I type this.

I just can’t get enough.

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Because of this, it makes sense to me to save some for the winter months, when we’re wondering when we will ever see stone fruit again. It makes sense to always have peaches on hand for Fruit Crisp and topping Tim’s Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

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So here’s what I did the other day with part of my twenty pounds of peaches… I halved them, and pulled out the pits (which I’m saving to make some Peach Pit Tea).

You may notice that I left the skins on. If you want to skin them (some say to do this if you’re making peach ice cream, others don’t… it’s up to you), score the bottom with an X, toss whole ripe peaches into a pot of boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then quickly submerge in an ice bath (water and ice in a bowl). Let stand for 15-30 seconds or so, then peel the skin off with your fingers. (This is the same way you’d easily peel tomatoes, by the way.)

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Some of the pits were split. That’s fine. Just pull out the pit and if there’s anything pitty still in the peach flesh, scrape it out and discard. (I didn’t save these pits for tea.)

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You could stop here and freeze the peaches halved if you want. I sliced them. I got about 8-10 slices per peach. They could then be chopped if you feel like doing a little more prep work ahead of time. But, I figured that it’s not too much work if I want to chop later for a crisp. Plus, I can’t unchop if I decide I want them all sliced again.

If you’d like to toss them with a little bit of lemon juice, that can help with browning. I guess that I worked quick enough that I didn’t have any turn brown, but if you want to be sure, lemon juice usually helps out.

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Freezer safe bags or containers are filled up. I used a large measuring cup and got a rough estimate for how much was going in to each bag. Some people like to freeze fruit by laying it flat on a baking sheet, freezing, then putting it into bags. That would be great. But, I was short on time, so I just didn’t fill the bags too full, and have laid them flat in the freezer, in hopes that the slices don’t stick together too much. And if they do, it won’t be a monster sized hunk’o peaches to break apart.

Do whatever works for you.

The sliced peaches can be eaten frozen, as a snack, right out of the freezer. They’d make a great popsicle replacement for a hot summer’s day. If you want to enjoy them with breakfast, thaw in the fridge overnight. They’ll be great with some Greek yogurt in the morning. To use them in a Vegan Fruit Crisp, you could use them frozen, or thaw them in the fridge overnight. If they’re frozen, just increase the baking time a bit.

Peaches go well with strawberries, vanilla, red, white, and sweet wines; pistachios, raspberries, blueberries, cinnamon, cream, ice cream, and oranges.*

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I ended up with about 35 cups of sliced peaches. Good for a while I hope… except that Tim has started making homemade ice cream most weekends, and peaches go really well with it.

We may be in trouble here. Maybe we will have to order another twenty pounds just to be saved for our ice cream addiction. ;)

Happy Freezing!

*Ideas for peach parings from The Flavor Bible.

Wednesday

20

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

Family Reunion Road Trip

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

IMG_0025RSMontana, I see what all the fuss is about.

What a beautiful state.

Wyoming too.

Gorgeous.

We drove through them both on our family reunion road trip.

We drove through a few other states too: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. Some were much lovelier than others, but it was really fun to be in some places that I’ve never been.

We took the long way there and stopped in Albuquerque and Boulder.

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Albuquerque is where Breaking Bad was filmed. Tim found lots of locations and we did our own little tour.

It. Was. Awesome.

Photo by Mayor Berry

We also stopped in at Tim’s Place for lunch. If you’re ever in ABQ, definitely go there. Great food and such a friendly place (as advertised). We even got to meet the Mayor!

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Boulder is home to Austin and Gen, some good friends of ours. We had a great dinner, stayed up way too late talking, and crashed on their couch. They fed us a delicious breakfast the next morning before we were off to our final destination: The Graves Family Reunion in Montana.

Lots of long days of driving were made so worth it when we pulled up and saw the 90+ family members there.

They do this every other year, this being the 65th anniversary. It all started with Tim’s great grandma and her siblings and has grown to five generations.

Amazing!

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We were at a little camp in the hills of the Custer National Forest. They had all sorts of activities for us to do. Basically it was a week of camp for grownups (and the kids too). Rappelling, shooting, zip line, horseback riding… you know, camp stuff.

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In the midst of the fun, I found out that I’m married to a cowboy. I didn’t know that Tim even knew how to ride a horse. The thing he misses most about the trip may be his horse, Cowboy. ;)

You know what I really miss (besides having a week off from cooking, the family, and the telepictionary games)? I miss not being able to use my phone.

We weren’t really expecting to be without cell service or wifi. But, it ended up being a nice break. I’ve realized since being back how much time I spend on Facebook and Instagram. Some of it is excusable – work stuff, sharing things that are beautiful, keeping in touch with family and friends… ok, that’s fine. Important even. I wouldn’t discredit the value in any of that. But, really, would my life be that much worse without it all if it meant I had to pick up the phone, mail a photo, or write a handwritten letter?

I feel caught in a net of perceived necessity. I have to stay or I will miss out… But, maybe I’ve missed out on more by staying.

Our time in Montana has left me longing for the days of old. Obviously I know we’ve got so many modern advances that have made life much better. We have water from a tap, medicines, and cars. We don’t worry about daily shootouts at the saloon, can shower every day, and can communicate with family at the touch of a button. I don’t actually want to live in the Pioneer days. But, then I think about how much we depend on pre-made packaged junk that is called food. I see how we are so addicted to Facebook and Instagram that we hardly speak to each other in person. I’m surrounded by more stuff than we could ever use. And it makes me desperate to throw my iPhone as far away as I can and drive a DeLorean 88MPH with the dial set way way back.

I long for a time of homemade bread, living off the land, and talking face to face rather than texting. I know I can’t get away from it completely (how else would I post these thoughts?!), but I want some distance.

I want to spend less time worrying about likes, comments, and comparing my life’s photos to yours. I want to leave my phone in another room and not feel like I’m missing out on something. Time is the most valuable thing we have and we can’t get it back (something that Tim said as we drove through Wyoming that has stuck with me). I don’t want to “follow” someone because they could connect me to someone else or get me somewhere better. That’s not why I do what I do here at De Ma Cuisine. Maybe that makes me a failure in your eyes. I’m ok with that. Because my friend David told me the other day that my post about enchiladas helped him to feel like he could make them too. A dish he’d always wanted to try, but never felt he could make. That is why I do what I do.

So I’ll be around the interwebs still, blogging, as usual, but hopefully Facebook and Instagram stalking a bit less. I plan to write more letters, tend to my garden, converse with my husband without my phone in my hand, and to bake bread. Because homemade bread is something that is worth the time it takes. I don’t know if my Facebook posts are…

Food for thought. A little bit of my heart. Take it or leave as you wish.

If you don’t like it, there will be more recipes coming up soon.

Monday

18

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Written by , Posted in Baking, Beans, Beef, Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid-Friendly, Legumes, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Potlucks, Vegetables

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Enchiladas are one of my go-to meals when I want to bring dinner to friends. It’s pretty quick and easy to make, it’s hearty, and it can be pretty healthy.

They’re also one of Tim’s favorites.

I try to have some in the freezer at all times.

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I mean, take a look at all of the veggies I’ve piled in here. I had celery on hand, but normally I’d use bell peppers (note: if you’re using celery, make sure it’s really cooked down and soft). I also have been putting summer squash in everything, so why not these too?!

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Also corn. In everything. I am addicted.

This winter when we had a million spaghetti squash I cooked a bunch of ‘em and froze the flesh. I’ve been slowly using it. If you don’t have any cooked spaghetti squash you could just add more beans and summer squash.

Tim doesn’t mind when I sneak spaghetti squash into things like this. But, he did note that he got a pretty squashy bite, so stir it in pretty well if that might bother someone in your family. ;)

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I like to cook up the filling first. That way they take less time in the oven. Plus then I can make sure that all the veggies are soft. No one wants a crunchy this or that, unless it’s supposed to be there.

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Tim built me a beautiful, huge kitchen island when we moved. So I have tons of space to lay out all the tortillas I could ever need.

I’m thankful for this workspace.

The sauce gets divided evenly between the tortillas.

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The ends get folded in and then it’s rolled up. My whole wheat tortillas cracked a bit. No big deal.

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I like a bit of sauce in the bottom of the pan. If you like it extra saucy, add more! I used what I had in the freezer, so normally I’d make it a bit juicier than this looks (the recipe is adapted to be saucier).

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Rolled up and ready for cheeeeeeeeese.

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You could add way more cheese if you’d like, but I didn’t want to go overboard. Moderation, right?!

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After these came out of the oven, I put half of them into freezer safe containers so they will be ready for lunches. The rest we devoured.

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If you’re gonna bring these to some friends, send along a container of Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salsa, corn chips, and guacamole (if you’re feeling extra generous). Make them a simple green salad with some chopped fresh tomatoes and a container of homemade Ranch dressing (whisk together a bit of yogurt, mayo, fresh herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper). And for dessert, how about some Fruit Crisp that can be added to the leftover Greek yogurt for breakfast the next morning?

If you’re serving it tonight for your family, serve it exactly the same way.

Happy Eating!

Beef and Bean Enchiladas
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Easy, Beans, Beef, Vegetables, Dinner, Main Dishes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Perfect for a hearty dinner tonight, or to make to take to a friend in need.
Ingredients
  • 1 t olive oil
  • ¼ to ½ C bell peppers (or celery), chopped
  • ½ to 1 C summer squash, chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 C Chili (I used Beef Chili), or 1 lb. ground beef
  • 8-15 oz. kidney beans
  • 1½ C cooked spaghetti squash (or add more beans and summer squash)
  • ¼ C salsa
  • 1 C corn
  • ½ t chili powder (or more if using ground beef)
  • pinch ginger
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • ½ to 1 C tomato sauce (add an extra ¼ C if using ground beef)
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 8-10 tortillas
  • 1 C cheese, grated (Monterey/Pepper Jack or Cheddar)
  • Greek yogurt, for topping
  • 1-2 fresh tomatoes, chopped, for topping
  • jalapeño, chopped, for topping (optional - if you like it extra spicy)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat a skillet, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add bell peppers/celery, summer squash, and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until veggies are tender, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (Note: if using raw ground beef, cook first, then add veggies when beef is almost done. Add the extra ¼ C tomato sauce with the beans in the next step.)
  3. Mix together chili, beans, spaghetti squash, salsa, corn, chili powder, ginger, salt, and pepper. Add to skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. Mix tomato sauce with salt and pepper. Pour into the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish.
  5. Divide the beef and bean filling between the tortillas. Fold ends in and roll up. Place seam side down in tomato sauced pan. Top with salsa and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese is melted.
  6. Serve topped with yogurt and fresh tomatoes (and jalapeño if desired).
Notes
Gluten-free if you use corn tortillas.

Thursday

14

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

How To Dry and Pair Summer Herbs

Written by , Posted in Herbs, How To, Storage/Prep

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If you walked into my kitchen, at most any time of the year, you’d see herbs at various stages in the drying process.

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Usually they start in the fridge, in a glass, with a bit of water in the bottom. This is my favorite way to store fresh herbs, as they will sometimes last a week or two.

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Once they’re past their prime, or if I don’t have plans to use them soon, I will wash them and lay them on a clean tea towel to dry. I leave them there for a week or two, or until they’re crispy and crumbly.

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Dried herbs are stripped from their stems and stored in a labeled glass jar with a lid.

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I have jars filled with most of the herbs we get from Abundant Harvest Organics in my pantry. Fresh is usually best, in my opinion, but I’m always happy to have things like basil and oregano on hand, no matter what state it is in.

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We enjoy Italian flavors a lot in our home, so having a jar of an Italian herb blend always comes in handy. It’s perfect for anything from pizzas and calzones, to pastas and soups. This week I combined some of my favorites: basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, and rosemary.

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They are smashed up and mixed together with a mortar and pestle before being stored in a jar for the next time we have Italian inspired pasta (which will probably be tonight).

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Since it’s summer right now, let’s talk about a few of the summer herbs that we’ve been getting, and what they will pair well with (I often find ideas for what pairs well together in one of my favorite kitchen tools, The Flavor Bible).

Basil

Herbs Basil Pairs Well With

Chives

Cilantro

Oregano

Parsley

Rosemary

Thyme

Marjoram

Mint

Foods Basil Pairs Well With

Cheese

Eggs

Garlic

Olive Oil

Fennel

Pasta

Pesto

Tomatoes

Zucchini

Cuisines Basil Can Be Found In

Asian

Italian

Mediterranean

Thai

Vietnamese

Great Ways to Use Basil

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Fresh Herb and Dried Tomato Bruschetta

Basil and Summer Squash Risotto

Fresh Fruit and Basil Stuffed French Toast

English Peas with Ricotta and Ham over Pasta

Roasted Stuffed Squash

Oregano

Herbs Oregano Pairs Well With

Basil

Marjoram

Chives

Parsley

Rosemary

Sage

Thyme

Foods Oregano Pairs Well With

Bell Peppers

Fish

Lemon

Meats

Pasta

Pizza

Tomatoes

Cuisines Oregano Can Be Found In

Greek

Italian

Mediterranean

Mexican

Tex-Mex

Great Ways to Use Oregano

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Dried Tomatoes

Herbed Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomatoes

Simple Summer Salad

Roasted Stuffed Squash

Sage

Herbs Sage Pairs Well With

Lemon Balm

Lemon Thyme

Thyme

Rosemary

Savory

Parsley

Oregano

Mint

Marjoram

Foods Sage Pairs Well With

Fennel

Beans

Cheese

Chicken

Onions

Pork

Pasta

Stuffing

Eggplant

Cuisines Sage Can Be Found In

European

French

Greek

Italian

Mediterranean

Spanish

Great Ways to Use Sage

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Roasted Stuffed Squash

Roasted Lemon Balm Chicken

Sage Pesto

Mint

Herbs Mint Pairs Well With

Basil

Chives

Cilantro

Dill

Lavender

Lemongrass

Lemon Verbena

Marjoram

Parsley

Rosemary

Sage

Thyme

Foods Mint Pairs Well With

Beans

Chocolate

Cream

Ice Cream

Cucumbers

Fruit

Lamb

Salads

Sugar

Yogurt

Cuisines Mint Can Be Found In

Afghan

Asian

Egyptian

Greek

Indian

Mediterranean

Mexican

Middle Eastern

Moroccan

Thai

Turkish

Vietnamese

Great Ways to Use Mint

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Mint Iced Tea

Indian Spiced Okra

Fun Drinks with Summer Herbs

Happy Eating!

Monday

11

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Written by , Posted in Beans, Cheese, Dinner, Eggs, Gluten Free, Grains, Herbs, Kid-Friendly, Leftovers, Legumes, Low Carb, Lunch, Main Dishes, Potlucks, Quick and Easy, Quinoa, Salads, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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We took a sick day a while back. But, we still needed to eat. I was going to make this quick salad and head back to bed. I felt a cold coming on and had done something to my back. So I was enjoying many many episodes of Gilmore Girls.

The tough thing about working from home and working as a food blogger is that every meal that is deemed good enough for the blog has to have photographs. It takes a lot of effort to stop working. It takes a lot of self control to force myself to just focus on dinner and not wonder whether or not I’m making a mistake by not photographing or writing it down.

Sometimes I’m glad when the sauce breaks.

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One of my go-to easy meals to make for a sick day, or to take to a potluck (that hopefully doesn’t fall on the same day), is a quinoa salad. This one is full of veggies and protein. Just what we needed to give us a little lift when we weren’t feeling our best.

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A veggie that will add both flavor and color is corn. Corn season is in full swing, so I’m using it in just about everything I can think of. Cutting corn off the cob when it’s not going to be used right away is a good idea, since the sugars turn into starch after a few days, making it less sweet. Corn that you’re not going to use can be frozen raw, for another time.

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Collard greens, kale, or chard are cut chiffonade-style (thin ribbons). They add extra nutrients to this already healthy dish.

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My in-laws went to Nazareth last year and brought me back some saffron. I’d never used it before and it was fun to experiment with in this dish. If you don’t want to use saffron, feel free to leave it out. If you want to use it, just a pinch will do.

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The dressing is made up of some of my favorite things: lemon, honey, olive oil, and garlic.

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I like a bit of feta in a salad like this. If you wanted to make this a vegan salad, omit the feta and honey and use your favorite vegan cheese and some maple syrup instead. For added protein (quinoa has lots too) I added garbanzo beans (chick peas).

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There are plenty of fresh herbs, lots of cucumber and squash, and kalamata olives (for those of us that like them – Tim does not, but I love them).

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I served this simple meal with some nectarines and plums, and a slice of lemon to squeeze over top.

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There were leftovers, so a day or two later we had the same thing for lunch, topped with a fried egg.

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My favorite way to fry eggs is covered over pretty low heat. Cracking the eggs into a bowl before adding them to the pan will allow any shells to be removed without scorching your finger on the bottom of the hot skillet.

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Serve the salad cold, topped with a hot egg.

Perfection.

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If you’re good at poaching eggs, those would be great on top too. One of my summer goals is to learn how to make Eggs Benedict, so hopefully my poaching skills will improve slightly. However, I’ve been distracted by our lovely front yard and the beautiful weather and haven’t done much learning.

I think we have about three more months of summer here in L.A., so I’ve got time.

Happy Eating!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Salad, Side, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Eggs
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1-2 C cooked quinoa
  • 1-15 oz. can garbonzo beans
  • ½ C summer squash, chopped
  • ½ C cucumber, chopped
  • 2 T basil, chopped
  • 1 T oregano, chopped
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1 cob corn, cut off the cob
  • ¼ C feta (optional)
  • dressing: juice from ½ lemon
  • small pinch saffron
  • ⅛ to ¼ t smoked paprika
  • good pinch pepper
  • to taste salt
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch ground ginger
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • olives (optional), for topping
  • lemon slices, for serving
Instructions
  1. Combine the quinoa with the beans, veggies, herbs, and feta.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice through ginger. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking it in, creating an emulsion.
  3. Mix dressing with salad.
  4. Serve topped with olives and a squeeze of lemon.