Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

It was cloudy and rainy today and I wanted soup. Vegetarian tortilla soup specifically. Though this soup may be vegetarian don’t let that scare you away. It has all the flavor of the real thing.

The ingredient list looks long, but most of its spices. Which is why it tastes like the real thing. It took me about half an hour to throw this meal together even with stopping frequently to taste and add things. So I know you’ll be able to knock it out in no time.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Printer Version
If you want a vegan version you know what to do about garnish changes.

2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (1 pound) package frozen pepper and onion stir fry mix
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can mild chopped green chile peppers, drained
7 cups water
4 cubes Celifibr Chicken Bouillon Poulet (These are vegan and can be found at your Co-Op or Whole Foods)
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (If you like beans add an extra can)
Salt and pepper to taste

Tortilla chips
Shredded Cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese (I forgot to add it in the picture. Oops!)
Diced Avocado
Chopped cilantro
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce

1. In a large pot heat the cumin until fragrant over medium high heat. Stir in the oil and add the frozen peppers and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat to high and cook until vegetables are softened and fragrant. About 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, mild chopped green chile peppers, water, Celifibr Chicken Bouillon Poulet cubes, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano and coriander. Bring to a high simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until heated through.

3. Add the corn and beans and cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Garlicky Bacon Pizza with Summer Vegetables

I had a surreal experience the other day. My husband called from Wal-Mart saying he’d found my photograph on the cover of a magazine. He bought a few and brought them home to share with family and friends. Was he talking about my work? No, it couldn’t be.

It seems like my photographs have always done two things. Local work I’d see all the time but didn't leave, or sent far away never to be seen again. This was different. My work went far away and came back to my little Idaho town.

Although a new experience for me, I have to look at it and wince a little bit. The shot that almost didn’t happen. I think of pain and nausea too. Not something I’d like to relate to a beautiful summer picnic!

There were only a couple days to throw together a menu, test and shoot. Beckett Media had an emergency deadline that makes other deadlines look like a stroll in the park. I was lucky to be one of the photographers they reached out to for help.

With some help of my own from well, everyone, I was able to pull it off until I got to the end of my grilling shots. I stepped back a bit too far and fell off my deck. Hard.

Protecting my camera and in searing horrible pain I still had to shoot the cover picnic shot. I’d badly torn a thigh muscle and beat the heck out of my knees. I all but had to be carried, vomiting, to the next site for the shot. I couldn’t set anything up, but had to rely on friends and family to set up my next shot. All of them male! How many men do you see decorating tables? It wasn’t as perfect as I wanted but there was nothing I could do but shoot. I couldn’t even see clearly at this point anyway and relied on instinct and habit.

I did my best under the circumstances thanks to everyone who held me together, but nowhere near what I could have done. Still, editor Hillary Black made my work beautiful. She’s a genius.

The magazine’s been out for a while now so I feel like I can share with you these recipes without causing a problem. If you want a copy of your own it’s “The Summer Grilling Guide” from Beckett Entertainment Plus. It should be out until the end of summer.

Garlicky Bacon Pizza with Summer Vegetables
Printer Version
1 (12 to 14 inch) pizza dough, stretched onto a pan
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Alfredo sauce (from the refrigerated section of your store)
3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup Fontina, shredded
1 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds
5 slices thick sliced bacon, cooked and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups mini heirloom or other small tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons dried Parmesan
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the grill on high to 500 degrees, with the lid closed. Brush a good quality pizza pan lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

2. Stretch and roll out the pizza dough until thin, and place on the pan. Brush the top with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and then spoon on as much Alfredo sauce as desired.

3. Top pizza with the mozzarella, zucchini, Fontina, bacon, tomatoes, scallions, minced garlic and dried Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Set pizza on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until cooked through.

Pizza dough
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt

Place water, yeast, and honey or sugar into a stand mixer bowl. Stir to combine and set aside for 10 minutes.

Place the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and knead with a dough hook on low speed for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand on a clean surface for another minute. Pat into a circle.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside, flipping once to coat with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Makes two large pizzas.

From "Summer Grilling Guide" from Beckett Entertainment Plus 2010. Recipes & photographs by Laura Flowers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mildly Spiked Watermelon Popsicles

I’ve caught the madness. The popsicle making madness that seems to be going around. I suppose it’s about time I caved to pressure. I never did make French macaroons.

I couldn’t help it with popsicles though. There are so many fun shapes and flavors to mix together. Then there’s new potential to use leftover fruit sitting around in my fridge. I had so much extra watermelon I got to give watermelon pops a couple tries before I found one I really love. This is the one! They taste like icy watermelon on steroids. Floral and flavorful.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky like I am, watermelon popsicles arrive by pickup truck to a sweltering farm by a really sweet husband. Then you get to share your creation with your classmates and take a break from hoeing up weeds and building hoop structures.

Mildly Spiked Watermelon Popsicles
Printer Version
You’ll need a fine mesh strainer and a blender for this one.

Watermelon chunks, enough to fill a blender to the top
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar, to taste
Small pinch of salt
2 tablespoons Watermelon Pucker
1 tablespoon Chambord Liqueur

Blend together watermelon chunks, sugar and salt. Taste for sugar adding more if needed.

Press the mixture with the back of a spoon through a fine mesh strainer into a 4 cup measuring cup or bowl leaving behind the pulp. Stir in Watermelon Pucker and Chambord.

Pour the mixture into molds and freeze. Run molds over hot water to remove popsicles.

Recipe and photographs by Laura Flowers.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cran-Raspberry Cookie Sticks with Dark Chocolate Chunks

The name is lame. I need a better one to describe this chewy black raspberry perfumed treat loaded with raspberry flavored cranberries and dark chocolate chips. I’m out of ideas today and sadly out of cookies.

This cookie came to be because I’d left out my Chambord after making watermelon pops. It feels like I make a lot of cookies with this favorite black raspberry liqueur. I can't help it. I love the way it perfumes dough and works as a beautiful extract.

After college I worked in a bar for awhile and began my crash course in the different alcohols and how they worked together in cocktails. Recipes really. At some point I realized if they work in drinks why not in food? In baking? In ice cream? In popsicles? Alcohol and liquors add a dimension to all of these things and it doesn’t take much.

Speaking of recipes, I collected an armful of Redroot Pigweed from the organic farm yesterday. We were hoeing it out of a field to plant the last batch of carrots when Professor Jodi told me pigweed is edible. (That's my shadow on the left taking pictures and Jodi's on the right filling my brain with pigweed facts.)

Jodi said pigweed comes from the Amaranth family so I’m figuring it has to be safe. It has a slightly bitter scent that reminds me of red leaf lettuce, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.

Do you have any recipe suggestions for pigweed? I’d like to do something creative and fun with it. I might not get another chance at organic pigweed plants. Although I bet my neighbors and friends would gladly share their heavily sprayed ones!

Cran-Raspberry Cookie Sticks with Dark Chocolate Chunks
The Chambord perfumes the dough but you can skip it if you prefer, they won’t be quite the same but should still be good.

1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup cran-raspberries (found in the bulk section)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tablespoon Chambord liqueur (black raspberry liqueur)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8”x 8” baking pan with foil.

2. Toss together 1 tablespoon flour, chocolate chips and cran-raspberries. Set aside.

3. In a mixer beat together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg, Chambord, vanilla extract and salt until well mixed. Mix in the baking soda then add 1 cup of flour and beat until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips and cran-raspberries.

4. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the pan.

5. For easy cutting: Freeze bars in the pan for 25 to 30 minutes. Lift cookies out by the foil and gently peel off foil. Place cookies on a cutting board. With a large sharp knife cut the square in half, and then cut each half into 8 strips.

Makes 16 cookie sticks.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grilled Jalapeno Mustard Beer Glazed Chicken Quarters

Last fall my friends Julie and Brian introduced me to jalapeno mustard at their bonfire. Since then I’ve topped it on everything from tofu corn dogs to french fries to beans. So, when Beckett Media asked me to fill in a couple recipes and pictures for a grilling guide I ran right to the jalapeno mustard and threw this recipe together.

This flavorful chicken is super simple and I really should make it again someday. I know Jesse would be happy if I did. We eat so much vegetarian and vegan around here I often forget I have the option to grill meat.

I’m lucky my husband puts up with me. I figured by now he’d find himself a good meat and potatoes type of wife. This is Idaho after all, and we have a lot of meat and potatoes (and wheat!) and often little else. This probably explains why I think vegetables are so special. Most of the year decent produce around here is rare.

Speaking of produce, I’ve been taking an organic farming class this su
mmer taught by the talented Professor Jodi from the University of Idaho. I figured since I’m surrounded by hundreds of miles of farmland maybe I should learn a little something about it. Most of the material is way over my head, but I’m still learning quite a bit. The best part is the class doesn’t take place inside, but out on the farm. I have a whole new appreciation for organic farming now. It’s not easy, but honestly I’m not sure it’s that much more difficult than standard chemical farming.

Ok, so I’m not the be
st judge. Maybe it's much more difficult. But it would be nice if we had more organic-like farming practices in our area. It’s frustrating watching tons and tons of pesticides drop out of the sky around here. Do we really need to eat that crap?

Maybe someday our food supply will be less poisonous. I can hope at least.

Grilled Jalape
ño Mustard Beer Glazed Chicken Quarters
Printer Version

th minimal effort this mildly spicy chicken dinner is on the table fast. If dark meat isn’t your style, any favorite part of the chicken works well with this recipe.

1/2 cup Beaver Brand Jalapeno Mustard, Extra Hot
1/4 cup light colored beer
Seasoning salt
5 to 6 pounds quartered chicken legs

Preheat grill to medium heat. Mix the mustard and beer together in a bowl and set aside.

Trim off excess fat hanging off chicken pieces and rub with a generous amount of seasoning salt. Place fat side down on the grill, brush with sauce and cook for about 15 minutes. Flip the chicken over and baste with more sauce. Cook for another 12 to 15 minutes or until juices run clear.

Recipe & photographs from Beckett Media's Grilling Guide 2010 by Laura Flowers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Walnut Crumble Topped Raspberry Rhubarb Apple Pie

It feels like I'm starting to settle back into normal life, but what a heck of a vacation. Some of it amazing like visiting new friends at the Oregon Fruit Factory in Salem and watching a local river run the wrong way in a wild windstorm. Some of it annoying, such as picking up garbage on every beach and staying at a cramped KOA while beautiful Fort Stevens State Park tantalized us from across the street.

Then there’s the gross. Idiots using an RV dump site in a disgusting way and a crazy female with a completely packed Ford Explorer. Not packed with luggage, but packed with raw chicken wrappers and other rotting food garbage from front to back. Perhaps a call to the state mental hospital was in order now that I think about it.

I’ve got tons to share, but for now I leave you with pie. Really good pie. Although I’m not sure it can beat Dishboy Scott’s pecan version. That pie is amazing.

Walnut Crumble Topped Raspberry Rhubarb Apple Pie Printer Version
If you prefer a traditional pie skip the crumble topping, dot with butter and top with a second dough.

1 piecrust, store bought or homemade
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into small slices
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Walnut Crumble Topping
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
A pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
More butter for dotting pie

1. Set the oven rack to the lower third and preheat to 375 degrees. Place the pie dough in a 9 ½ Pyrex deep dish pie dish. You’ll have to gently roll store pie dough between sheets of wax paper to make it an inch or so bigger. Don’t flute the dough. Place dish with dough in the freezer while making filling.

2. Mix 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/3 cup flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt together in a small bowl. Do not skip this step or your pie will have flour lumps. Set aside.

3. Toss the rhubarb, raspberries, apple slices and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Toss in the sugar flour mixture. Set aside.

4. For crumble topping: Place walnuts in a bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until toasted, 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Move walnuts to a food processor bowl with brown sugar, flour and salt. Process until nuts are very fine. Add the butter and process until the mixture is crumbly.

5. Add the fruit to the unbaked pie shell and spread to even out. Evenly crumble on the topping and dot with butter.

6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. If you have one, place a pie shield on 20 minutes in to baking. Check pie about halfway through cooking time and cover with a foil tent or lay over the pie shield if it looks like it’s starting to burn. Cool before serving.

Recipe & photograph by Laura Flowers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kentucky Pecan Pie, Another Dishboy Takeover.

Laura is gone again, and I guess it is becoming tradition that I (Scott) take over her blog for a little while in her absence. I’ll never quite fill her shoes, but hopefully this post will tide you all over until her return (which should be soon)…so here goes:

There are certainly things in this life worthy of compromise, and times where, for whatever reason, it makes sense to settle. However, there are a few things in life that I absolutely will NOT compromise on, under any circumstances. Pie is one of those things. Ken Haedrich authored what is possibly one of the most comprehensive books ever written on pies. Here’s what he says about pie: “Since as far back as I can remember I have simply loved pie. I can’t really explain why. If one loves poetry, or growing orchids, or walking along the beach at sunset, the why isn’t all that important. To me, pie is poetry that makes the world a better place. Pie, in a word, is my passion”. I don’t know Ken, but I have a feeling we’d get along great.

Life is just too short to eat bad pie. It came as quite a shock when I first realized this, but it has been my experience that as our culture increasingly shifts away from “real” cooking and baking, it is getting hard to find people who can still make a good homemade pie these days. That’s a real shame…almost as if we’ve lost a national treasure. I guess some would settle, but I am completely unable to hide my disdain for “institutional” pie.

Do you want to know a little secret? One of the best ways to get me started ranting and raving is to bring up the subject of institutional pies. I’m convinced that Laura does this just for fun and entertainment when she is bored. We’ll be walking through the pie aisle at the grocery store and she’ll nonchalantly mention something such as, “that pie looks pretty decent for a store pie”. Or, there was the time that we had dinner at this chain restaurant which makes pies that are supposedly “just like homemade”. I noticed that I haven’t been invited back since!

Is this what people think pie is now? I’m sorry if this is offensive, but if you received a pie in exchange for money, or if it came in a thin aluminum pan, you don’t really have a pie. You see, you cannot buy pie with money.

I make homemade pie quite frequently, and I do make one compromise…I use the rolled Pillsbury pie crust instead of making my own. I’m sure some of you are now questioning the high moral ground I staked out above. However, I will freely admit that there is no question that a good homemade crust makes a pie significantly better. The problem, however, is that I’ve just never taken the time to learn how to make a good crust from scratch. Plus, a bad homemade crust totally ruins a pie for me (and I’ve had numerous ones made by people who should really consider using prepared crusts, like me!). I like the refrigerated Pillsbury crusts because they are decent, and because I make a lot more pies now that I keep some of these in my freezer/refrigerator. It is quick and super simple to make a pie if you’re not having to also throw together and roll out a crust. If you love pie but find that you’ve not been making pie much lately, try it out. You might find yourself addicted to these crusts just like Laura and me!

So, I like just about every kind of pie. However, I have a special love affair with pecan pie. Pecan pie is generally credited as having been popularized in America by the makers of Karo Syrup, who in the 1930’s were looking for creative ways to sell more corn syrup. The following is the recipe for my favorite pecan pie. This recipe has been used in my family for many years, long before I was even born. I am not aware of the original source, but I did find it interesting that I found several examples of the exact same recipe online, each with the proclamation that this was their family’s favorite pecan pie, and that it “has been passed down for years”, etc. I’m guessing that we all got it when our grandparents clipped the recipe printed on the back of the Karo Syrup label, or some such thing. However it happened…now you have it too. Enjoy!

Kentucky Pecan Pie Printer Version
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup pecan halves (approximately)

Combine corn syrup, sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla. Mix well. Add slightly beaten eggs. Pour into a 9” pie shell (unbaked). Arrange pecan halves on top of pie. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Please don’t cheat and just dump chopped pecans on the top of the pie. I’d roll over in my grave, and I’m not even dead yet!

You should cover the crust with a pie crust shield. This one is designed for a 9” pie plate, but I’ve been able to get it to work on the 9 ½” glass deep dish Pyrex ones as well. Many people advocate using one of these for half the baking time. I find it simpler to just stick it on at the beginning and leave it on for the entire time, and it seems to work just fine that way.

Notes on Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts:
They freeze well. Just be sure to take them out before you need them…they don’t defrost in the microwave very well!

You can use them with 9 ½” deep dish pies, but it helps to roll them slightly larger between two sheets of wax paper. Even for 9” pie pans, rolling them out in this fashion gives better results.

By The Dishboy Scott. Photo by Laura Flowers.

Related Posts with Thumbnails