Tag Archives: carey’s recipes

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raspberry sauce finished

Summer is in full swing!  I love it, even the 100 degree heat wave we are having here in Northern California.  Sunshine makes me happy!

In honor of summer I'm sharing my recipe for easy but tasty Triple Berry Sauce.  This sauce is terrific over ice cream, strawberry shortcake or my personal favorite, cheesecake.  It's the perfect light summer condiment. Let's get started!

The ingredients are so simple:

  • 1 (one) 12 oz. bag of frozen mixed berries (I like strawberry-blackberry-blueberry but use any combination of fresh or frozen berries you like)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • scant 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

raspberry sauce lemon juice

raspberry sauce sugar

raspberry sauce cinnamon

Place the berries in a medium saucepan with just a splash of water.  Add the lemon, sugar and cinnamon.

raspberry sauce bubble

Cook the mixture over medium high, stirring occasionally to coax the berries to break down and the mixture comes to a soft boil.

raspberry sauce coats

Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, take it off the heat and using a big spoon or potato masher, make sure the berries are all broken down, letting their juices out.  You could give it a whirl with an immersion blender to break down the fruit, just be extra careful, you don't want to wear this berry sauce!  It stains clothing, trust me.

raspberry sauce strain

Pour the mixture through a sieve, pressing and scraping the solids to get all the berry goodness out.

raspberry sauce finished

Pour the sauce into  container and place in the refrigerator to cool.  Drizzle the cold sauce over your favorite dessert!

Occasionally, I add a little framboise (raspberry liqueur) or creme de cassis (black current liqueur) to the saucepan for a little extra kick, but it's totally optional.

Just sitting here thinking about it, I'm dreaming up new ways to eat this sauce: drizzled over grilled peaches, mixed with Greek yogurt, a few dollops in a smoothie... my mouth is watering!

Give it a shot, I know you will love it!

triple berry sauce long

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(pretend there's a picture here of a huge bowl of creamy, dreamy pasta; I didn't have time to snap a pic!)

I'm writing this last minute post to tell you about the last minute pasta we had last night because we threw a last minute Thursday night celebration.  Long story short, yesterday afternoon we received some really great news and invited a few friends over after work to share the joy.  After a few rounds of cocktails, the natives started getting hungry.  Luckily, right then some friends showed  with some delicious sausages to throw on the Webber.  But we couldn't sit around outside eating just sausages like some sort of savages.  We needed a starch to make it a civilized meal!

"Carey, think real fast!  What would go with sausages... uhhhh... how about buttered Parmesan noodles?  It's quick, it's tasty, it fills the belly, it will be perfect!"  Thus began the scrounging through the refrigerator, only to discover <gasp!> we were completely out of Parmesan!  What to do??!!

I'll tell you what you do: you treasure hunt for all the bits and scraps of cheese you can find in the cheese drawer, make a cheese sauce  and turn it into a stove top mac and cheese.

To further complicate things, I needed to cook up 2 lbs of pasta to feed the small crowd that had gathered.  The problem with that was what I  found in the pantry was one box of whole wheat shells, one box of regular white shells of a slightly different shape, a box of spaghetti, a box of corkscrew pasta and one bag of analletti (think Spaghetti O's).   I knew the whole wheat shells were going to cook at a different rate than all the rest but I took my chances and went with 2 lbs. of shell pasta.  I set that to boil and crossed my fingers.

Meanwhile, I rounded up all the leftover cheeses we had in the fridge.  It's a good thing I'm a cheese hoarder because this is what I found: 1/2 bag of shredded mozzarella, 1/2 bag of shredded "Mexican Style" shredded cheese blend, a couple slices of Swiss Cheese, about 6 oz. of sharp cheddar cheese, a couple slices of Provolone, 1 brick of smoked Gouda and 2 bags of mozzarella cheese sticks.

Yeah, we eat a lot of cheese.  You got a problem with that?

Into a medium saucepan I melted a whole cube of butter and sprinkled in about 4 heaping tablespoons of flour.  I let that cook out for about a minute then poured in enough milk to make a roux, about 4 cups.  Then I raided the newly organized spiced cabinet.  I fished out salt, pepper, ground mustard, roasted garlic powder, toasted onion powder and sprinkled a little of each into my pot of roux.

Then I stirred in the shredded cheeses.  I showed some restraint by only choosing the following cheeses:  the cheddar, the shredded mozzarella, the shredded Mexican style cheese and the smoked Gouda.

I drained the al dente pasta (thank goodness the whole wheat shells didn't overcook), but left about 3/4 cup of the pasta water in the pot then stirred in the gooey, melted cheese sauce.  I gave it all a vigorous stir so the pasta and sauce could get to know each other and it was done!

Those sausages with that pasta... well my friends... it was divine.  And I'm not just saying that because we were starving hungry (it was nearly 10pm by then).  It was a delicious feast, thrown together at the last minute and shared with 1 happy little group of friends.

The end.

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I repeat, this is not a recipe. It is simply the 5 minute meal I made for myself the last two nights 1) because it was so fast and 2) because it was so darn good and 3) because I was allowed to have it.

I probably forgot to tell you that somehow I got suckered into doing P90x exercise program for the next couple of months, diet and all. Yes, I am breaking one of my own rules and adhering to a high protein/low carb diet but only because it is perfectly calculated to fuel you through these intense workouts. To tell you the truth, the hardest part of the diet has been eating that much food. I have to fit 7 portions of protein into one day! It's not easy to fit in work, my daily workout and cooking all that protein.

But yesterday I "cooked" a great throw together meal! It's too simple to call it a recipe but here is what you need:

  • one box of quick couscous (Near East is my favorite)
  • precooked frozen fajita meat, beef or chicken (the one at my Sam's Club is not frozen so it's even quicker); I don't now the amount, just eyeball it
  • 1 bag of sugar snap peas from the produce aisle; again, I don't know the weight of the bag, I told you this wasn't a recipe!
  • a drizzle of olive oil (but you can add up to 2 teaspoons if you are not on a restrictive diet like me)

Follow the directions on the package to prepare the couscous, it usually is something like this: bring 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of oil and the contents of the spice pack to a boil. Stir in the couscous and remove from the heat. Put the lid on the pot and let sit for 5 minutes.

While your couscous is boiling or resting, you can heat your fajita meat up in the microwave. About 1-2 minutes depending on if it's frozen.

Also while your couscous is resting and your meat is reheating, cut your sugar snap peas in half on the diagonal, because it's prettier on the diagonal. And the smaller pieces just make more sense.

Once your couscous has rested, take the lid off the pot and give it a small stir with a fork to fluff it up. Stir in your sugar snap peas and dish up onto plates, about 1/2 cup on each plate. Top with your fajita meat and ta-da! A filling, healthy meal in just about 5 minutes!! Hoooray!!

Of course, you could add more veggies to your couscous, depending on what you have on hand. Some caramelized red onions or chopped green onion tops or halved grape tomatoes would be yummy, too.  Or you could leave out the meat and use a package of fajita veggies.  Throw in the kitchen sink for all I care but give this quick weeknight meal a shot, I think you'll make it again and again.  I know I will.

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biscuits2

There are some recipes that are just so common we forget about them.  Angel Biscuits have been around for-ev-er.  Open up just about any Betty Crocker cookbook and you will find them.  They are so easy to make and just plain tasty!

biscuitbowl

I made 60 biscuits for Thanksgiving and it only took about an hour, no lie.  This is me mixing the biscuits by hand in the ginormous bowl, because the only way to mix biscuits is by hand.

My mom made these biscuits often for dinner because although there is yeast, you don’t have to let it rise all day AND you can roll out the biscuits earlier in the day, let them sit in the fridge until about 1/2 hour before dinner then cook them just before dinner so everyone gets a chewy, hot delicious biscuit.

Making a triple batch might take an hour but making one little batch for a weeknight dinner takes no time at all.  The one thing I will warn you about is this:  don’t over mix your dough! Once you get all the ingredients in the bowl, just mix til combined. The mixture will be kinda wet so throw lots of bench flour down before you turn the dough out on to your board.  Then dust the top with flower as you smoosh the dough flat (by hand) for cutting.  Also dust your cutter or knife so it doesn’t stick.  It takes some practice to get it JUST right but really, even if you make a few goofs, it’s a forgiving dough and you will have some rich, yummy biscuits for dinner in no time.

Mom’s recipe is below.  I hope you have a wonderful, delicious weekend!

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Mom’s Angel Biscuits

Ingredients:

1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)

1 cup buttermilk

 

Preheat oven to 400.

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside.  Next, mix dry ingredients together in order given.  Cut the shortening into dry mixture til the mixture with all it’s chunks of shortening resembles peas on a sandy beach (how’s that for a visual?!).  Stir in buttermilk and yeast mixture.  Blend by hand or with a dough cutter.  This is the messy part, but stick with it (no pun intended).  At this point you have some options:

  • Refrigerate the dough until you are ready to roll it out and cook the biscuits.  Let them rise and come up to temp for about 12 to 15 minutes before baking.
  • If you are ready to eat then proceed as follows:  Dump the dough out onto the well floured counter or board (as described earlier).  Knead lightly, roll out the dough to about 3/4 inch and cut the biscuits either with a knife or biscuit cutter.  Place in a greased pan, separated slightly, they will spread out a tiny bit as they bake.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size you cut them.

I hope that all makes sense but if you need more help let me know!

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Growing up on the farm, eating according to the seasons was just elementary to us.   May meant cherries, because that's when they are growing in Northern CA. July meant the yummiest Independence nectarines, because that's when they were full of sugar from the summer sunshine.  Mom grew peppers and tomatoes in the summer and Grandma grew lettuce in the winter in big raised beds. Eating seasonally just makes sense because that's when food will taste its best.

So when I went to the grocery store and saw these beauties:

... gorgeous Rainbow Swiss Chard, I just had to buy them and make something yummy. So I bought 2 bunches and some of these:

These happen to be spicy cilantro chicken sausages but there are many flavors available and they are all good. And they come fully cooked, so cooking is speedy. If you haven't tried them yet, try the Aidell's brand.  Back to the swiss chard.

I am going to let you in on a dirty little secret...

I use my Iphone in the kitchen a lot. One of my favorite apps is "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. It is the book, "How to Cook Everything", in digital format.  Mark Bittman writes for the New York Times and this cookbook is a valuable resource and has been a bestseller for years. To have access to the book at any time, like when I 'm wandering around in the grocery store, is such a time saver. I use it all the time.

Now if Ina would come out with a recipe app, my life would be complete.  Please Ina?  Please?

Anyway, when I got home and pulled out my swiss chard, I couldn't remember how to properly trim them up. So I simply looked up "swiss chard" in the app and voila, easy directions and cooking tips.

I washed my swiss chard  (it holds on to sand so rinse well) and started prepping it for the pan. Here's the most important thing to remember about swiss chard:

The stems are significantly thicker and more dense than the leaves. If you are sauteing (which I highly recommend), you need to cut out the thickest part of the stem and chop them up separately than the leaves.

It's not a big deal, it all goes pretty quickly. After you chop the stems and tear up the leaves you will have 2 beautiful piles that look like this:

I also chopped up some garlic, you don't need a picture of that. It's not very exciting. I drizzled some olive oil in a pan and turned the heat to medium.

I added the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and let them soften up for just a minute. Then I added all my bright stems:

Look at all the gorgeous color!  That color means healthy eating!

While the stems softened up, 3-4 minutes, I went to work on the chicken sausage. I cut mine on the bias into medallions.

Why on the bias? 1) I think it's prettier. 2) It creates more surface area. Why do I need more surface area? Because I caramelized my sausages before combining them with the swiss chard. This step is not crucial. If you are in a hurry and don't want to caramelize the sausage, it will not hurt my feelings. Because they are already fully cooked, you can cut them up any old way and throw them in the pan with the swiss chard. It will still be yummy. But I wanted to extract as much flavor as I could:

See that? That lovely browned goodness equals FLAVOR! It makes me happy. So while the swiss chard stems were cooking away, I browned these little sausage nuggets in a smaller pan. Afterward, I cooked the swiss chard leaves.

Right on top of the slightly softened swiss chard stems, I added the swiss chard leaves. Now, don't get scared. I had a huge mound of leaves in the pan.

Looks like they won't all fit, right? No worries, these leaves are going to shrink down significantly. The water will evaporate out, steaming the leaves and creating flavor. It will be OK, trust me.

See what I mean?! It only took 2-3 minutes for the huge pile of leaves to cook down to about 3 cups of greens. Perfect amount.  I checked them for done-ness after bout 3 minutes and they were softened but not quite enough for my taste so I added a glug of white wine and put the lid on for about 2 minutes. You can skip that step if you like, or add chicken stock or water. Or just let them keep cooking with the lid off, they will eventually soften up.   I just wanted to speed things up a bit and the wine does add another layer of flavor.

After the greens were softened to my liking, I added the browned sausage and let it all marry together for a minute or so:

"Bonjour swiss chard!"
"Bonjour chicken sausage!"

And that, my friends, is my easy Swiss Chard and Chicken Sausage.

I should tell you that I added a sprinkle of salt & pepper here and there but don't get carried away with the salt until you have added the sausage to the greens because the sausage tends to have a lot of salt in it already. Best to wait til the end and check for seasoning then.

If you are scared of swiss chard or can't find it in season you can substitute spinach, dandelion greens or any other "greens" you prefer.  Cooking times will vary, just keep an eye on it.

Try it!  You'll love it!

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