Real Simple recipe

All about greening your lunchbox, great (not green) treats and cleaner, greener toothbrushes

Just found these (in O Magazine – although I have seen them in small shops, too)  Lunchskins – great reusable lunch bags created by moms who were appalled at how many plastic sandwich bags they were using (http://www.3greenmoms.com). I have heard about but had not seen the wave of plastic bag video and I found some great time sucks ones at Treehugger. Treehugger is an amazing resource for all things green. For some reason I got stuck on this:  7 Weird, Yet Helpful Green Tips from Celebrities…maybe because Adrian Grenier was one of them?

Here is the pic I tried to find the other day – found it on Garden Girl – a great local skincare company. Love their stuff – find it at local favorite store – Just Next Door -or on-line.

from garden girl - photo of trach in pacific ocean

Here is a great brownie recipe to go in those new bags:

It is the one I talk about in Rewards for Mom.  Really very good – great frozen, too. From Verbatim blog

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter
1 12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven to 300°. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Melt butter and chocolate chips together in the microwave and add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cut when still hot into small squares, but then let them cool for a few minutes before taking them out of the pan. Then you freeze some of them. You will probably eat a few of them still warm, not that I would…

Now – go brush your teeth with a recycled toothbrush from Preserve that you can mail back to them for even further recycling!

Fw: Introducing the Revolutionary New Preserve Mail-Back Pack! – capabilitymom’s posterous.

preserve toothbrushes in new mailer package

Holiday overlap: Passover and Easter

Last night we had an amazingly delicious meal from my friend, neighbor and co-host for the recent PTO dinner. She is a lovely, generous hostess and able to cook by using her intuition and experience rather than adhering to a recipe strictly. I also try to adapt recipes but there are people who are gifted at this and she is one of them. Her daughter is also learning this lovely intuitive way to cook and is better at it than many adults (myself included).

For example, as you know, Passover is not about the bread but she wanted to make biscuits, so she adapted, tweaked, cut it in half and made better a recipe she found on-line.  If I could figure out my scanner (which I will not attempt now for as soon as  I post this I have an Easter dinner to prepare), I would show you her notes. You will have to trust me.  If she had made it as directed we would have eaten hockey pucks for dinner.  An amazing pulled turkey in a barbeque sauce  (which I will share later) was served on top of these lovely buns with a gorgeous green salad and wonderful potato salad on the side.

Great Passover buns/biscuits

 (if you are curious it is here so you can see the recipe transformation)

Ingredients:

Makes 20 biscuits (really about 14)

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tb. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 100 grams (1 cup give or take) of matzo flour (matzo meal)
  • 3 eggs

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a pot, boil water, oil and salt. When it is boiling, remove it from heat and add matzo meal in one go. Mix well and add the eggs one at a time. Stir quickly as the water is hot and otherwise you will have scrambled eggs in water (yum).  This is evidently like making the pastry for eclairs which I have not tried – another culinary challenge awaits!

Mix well until the dough is smooth (add some meal if the dough is too sticky and create little biscuits with your (wet) hands.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Wonderful delicious biscuits (you can mix whole wheat and regular matzo meal or spelt matzo meal which I jsut discovered this year).

Now onto Easter dinner – I am going to make a roasted turkey roulade from Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics cookbook.

Roasted Turkey Roulade

– serves 6 or 7 –

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

Ingredients

3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy (not using – substitute chicken broth)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted * toast in pan over low heat for five minutes
3 cups Pepperidge Farm herb-seasoned stuffing mix (don’t have, don’t want, will use a nice cranberry bread cut up)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (don’t have homemade – will use little concentrate from More than Gourmet that I get at Marty’s or Whole Foods)
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Procedure

1. Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour over the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned.

4. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

5. Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan. Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board., Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

7. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.)

8. Starting at one end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides.

9. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

10. Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until a thermometer reads 150 degrees in the center. (I test in a few places.)

11. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.

cookbook.

As I have not made this, I should get moving.  Happy Easter.

Rain, Passover and a good day for a Chocolate Idiot Cake

I made this last year for friends and it was such a hit I am making it again (and for the same friends). It is called Idiot cake because ostensibly only an idiot could ruin it, sort of like Baking for Dummies. Not a dummy but always glad for a fool-proof recipe. I found it on smitten kitchen who linked to David Lebovitz. Wonderful recipe.

Chocolate Idiot Cake*
One 9-inch (23 cm) cake

 * from http://www.davidlebovitz.com

Adapted from Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed Press)
This cake is extremely rich, and tastes like the most delicious, silkiest, most supremely-chocolate ganache you’ve ever had. As mentioned, it’s equally good a few days later, and only an idiot could possibly mess it up. You don’t need to use ScharffenBerger chocolate for this cake, but use a good one—you’ll appreciate it when you taste your first melt-in-your-mouth bite.

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
Ingredients:

10 ounces (290 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
7 ounces (200 g) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) sugar

1. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan* and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. If you suspect your springform pan isn’t 100% water-tight, wrap the outside with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim.2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave), stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat. (I used the microwave)
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  You’ll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean. It does feel like you made a pudding – a little shakier than you think it will be)
5. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack.
Serve thin wedges of this very rich cake at room temperature, with creme anglaise, ice cream, or whipped cream.

* No wrestling the cake out – works well.
Storage: This Chocolate Idiot Cake can be wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Turkey cutlets redux – An easy dinner to make ahead of time

Yes, the turkey cutlets were that good that we had them for dinner again last night.  This time with the simple tomato sauce ( in side bar under recipes – tried and true) and pasta. I made everything ahead of time.  A pound of this pasta – half whole wheat, half regular – seems to work for us – I guess I could gradually increase the amount of whole wheat :-). Cover the pasta with the tomato sauce in a ceramic baking dish, placed the cutlets on top, added more sauce and put in the oven at 300 degrees. You could put cheese on top if you want, I left it as is and served it with a green salad and garlic bread (okay, pre-made from Whole Foods – the place where I spend too much money).  I cut carrots, cucumbers and celery into spears and put them in small juice glasses for nibbling.  Done.

This is an easy dinner to put together ahead of time and heat up. On to the next culinary adventure!

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