Monday, February 28, 2011

Cheap Eats: Beans and Rivals

Pin It It's been cold lately in the Pacific Northwest - even out here on the Island.  A good day for some warm comfort food.  My mother grew up in Pennsylvania.  So even though her mother was Italian and generally cooked with an Italian bent, she also learned some good 'ole Pennsylvania Dutch fare as well.  I remember as a little girl filling my belly with beans and rivals.  Of course, there were never enough rivals!

Start off with a meaty ham bone. I freeze the ham bone left over from a baked ham for just this use.  If you don't have a ham bone, you can use 2-3 ham hocks available in the meat department at your favorite grocery store.  Shouldn't cost you more than about $1.50/ham hock.  Boil the ham bone in a 6-qt dutch oven filled with water, then simmer for at least an hour. The meat will fall off the bone. Remove the bone(s) and break apart the meat.

You will need about 2 cups of cooked white beans.  I use either cannellini beans or northern beans.  If you use canned beans, rinse and drain ahead of time.  Add the beans to the ham broth.  You can also add a small onion (chopped) and/or 1-2 cups of cubed potatoes if you have them on hand.  Raise the heat to bring the broth to a low rolling boil again. 

To make the rivals, mix two cups of flour, about 1 tsp of salt and pepper with some water
(about 1/2 cup should do). 
Mix using a fork to make crumbly dough. 
Drop bits of dough in hot broth. 
The rivals will sink to the bottom and then float to the top when cooked.
Add salt and pepper to the broth to your liking. 
Serve when cooked or simmer on low until ready to serve.

Great served with a crusty country bread to "slop up the juice" as my dad would say.

Don't mind the nippy cold weather when I can warm my belly and my heart with great comfort food and the memories of mother's kitchen.

3/7/11 Update: Link ups:


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Somebody Turned One Year Old

Pin It Our son, Andy, and his lovely family returned from Chile this past week, and stopped in Long Island so that Baby Rafaella Elisa could meet her 88 year old great-grandmother Elisa.  Rafaella just turned one this month so we rushed off a box of goodies to New York for her arrival. 

Nanny and Baby Rafaella enjoying the beach. 
Rafaella left her swimsuit in Chile and bundled up for the Long Island Sound.

A little handmade card from my studio, Otter Hill Designs.

Pretty daisy fabric and organic cotton batting for a hand-made treasure.

A little blankie for Rafaella to carry and toss about.

Pattern from Martha Stewart's website.
I machine stitched the quilting instead of tying.

What little hand-made treasures have you made this week?  Leave me a comment and let me know what you've been working on.

3/7/11 Update:  Linking up to monogram and Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Valentine's Gift That Keeps On Giving

Pin It
A little treat for the little kiddies next door - ummmm -  yummy!

Every Italian woman knows ....
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach...

Shrimp Cocktail

Baby greens with fresh herbs, sun-dried tomato encrusted goat cheese
dressed with a fig balsamic vinaigrette followed by
Dungeness crab cake and Fire-roasted tomato & Bulgar soup with warm spices

Chocolate honey almond tart

Chukar's Chocolate covered Cabernet cherries

Just look what my wonderful husband gave me for Valentine's Day 



The REAL Gift

a little note tucked in the front cover

"Please pick a recipe a month that I can prepare for you or that we can do together."
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy !!!!

Let's see ...

Tagliatelle with Fresh & Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms


Saffron Mussel Bisque

Grilled King Salmon

Penne allo Speck & Grappa

Too many delights to select - I may need more than just twelve choices !!

Hoping your Valentine's Day was as sweet as mine!

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Chicken - Three Winning Dinners

Pin It One of the best values at the supermarket is a chicken.  You can buy a large organic roasted chicken for only $4.99 at your local Costco!  I always pick up a roasted chicken when I'm there.  I also buy frozen organic chickens when on-sale at the local market and freeze them for future roasting.  With only one roasted chicken, you can make three wonderful dinners for your family.  What a deal!

Dinner #1 - Simple salad, a slice or two of chicken breast,
crusty bread and red wine.

 Dinner #2 - Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup Mexican Style)
See Recipe Below 

 Dinner #3 - Chicken Salad
Take all of the left-over bits of chicken off of the bones. 
Mix with some chopped celery, chopped onion, olive oil mayo,
celery seed, salt and pepper to taste. 
Serve over a bed of lettuce with a light vinegarette dressing.


1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
6 oz. chorizo sausage, casing removed (optional)
1 small onion, chopped
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
Olive oil
Adobo seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Roasted chicken pieces (pre-cooked)
1 lime
1 avocado
tortilla chips
sour cream

Saute onion, pepper and chorizo in olive oil.  Add chicken broth, beans, corn and tomatoes, then bring to a boil. Rinse each of the cans with a little water; pour water into the soup.  Add Adobo seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the flavors blend.

When ready to serve, place a few tortilla chips in a soup bowl along with some pieces of chicken.  Ladle soup over chips and chicken.  Squeeze lime juice over soup (about 1 tsp).  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a slice or two of avocado, cilantro and two tortilla chips.

Buen Provecho!

One roasted chicken can provide three economical, healthy and delicious dinners.  And don't forget to boil the carcass to make chicken broth for future use.  What other delights have you made with a roasted chicken?

2/25/11 Update:  Linked up with  Tip Junkie handmade projects  and  monogram

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who's your pick?

Pin It
Today is the big day - Superbowl Sunday!  If you are like nearly every other American you will be glued to your television for three hours - unless you live in the Pacific Northwest and are tempted by a hike in the beautiful Olympic Mountains, or skiing in the Cascade Mountains, or kayaking in the Puget Sound, or sipping a latte by the fireplace at your local coffee shop. 

For my Send Love Today assignment, I made a two-sided card for a 12-year old boy in Massachusetts.  I'm sure he would have preferred his beloved New England Patriots were on one-side of the card! 

Send Love Today Superbowl Card - side 1

Send Love Today Superbowl Card - Side 2

Off for a hike with my dear husband and sweet Maggie ...  Hope your favored pick wins!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It Doesn't Get Any Easier Than This ...

Pin It
I've been up to my ears this week in paint!  I'm redoing our cozy main bathroom and haven't had much energy for crafting or cooking this week. (Photos to come in a future post.) I did find time to make some brownies though - rich, chocolatey brownies.  It made for the perfect afternoon treat with a cup of Lady Grey tea. 

Here's the secret for the most delicious brownies ever - Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix.  I can hear my family gasping as they learn my secret since I almost always bake from scratch (my grandmother wouldn't have it any other way).  But honestly, this mix makes The Best Brownies.  The perfect balance of moist cake yet just-a-little-bit-fudgy ... but not too much chocolate that gives you a sugar headache.  I've thrown out all of my brownie recipes and stick with the Ghiradelli mix.  I usually have a box in my pantry so that I can whip up a batch of brownies on short notice when friends drop in.

All you need to add to the mix is an egg, some oil and water.  Stir it all together then pour it into a parchment-lined baking pan.  I like to use an 8" square baking pan for a thicker brownie.

Bake in the oven according to the manufacturer's directions and before you know it, you have a pan of beautiful, decadent brownies.

Treat yourself to an afternoon delight today!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...