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Friday, September 4, 2015

Pantry Noodle Nosh

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...These noodles are so basic that any similarity to Pad Thai or Chow Fun is strictly accidental. They are made from refrigerator and pantry scraps that were thrown together when I found my fresh rice noodles were beginning to dry out and had to used. Unfortunately, the noodles I use come in 2 pound packages and I rarely use them all in one sitting. That means there will be at least a pound of fresh noodles left for another meal. This quick stir fry is one way to use them. To make the noodles substantial enough for a light supper, I gave the dish a protein boost with some eggs and used extra vegetables to give it some heft. It turned out well. My recipe is deliberately vague when it comes to the preparation of the noodles for the dish. I've learned it is best to follow the manufacturers directions for cooking them. Rice noodles can be tricky to make because they will literally "melt" away if you cook them for too long a period of time. When using fresh rice noodles, I use my microwave to get the process started. I've found that nuking then for a minute is sufficient time to make the noodles pliable and ready for the wok where they will be tossed and cooked until they are soft and warmed through. This is a good recipe to use when you have bits and bobs left from other Asian-style meals on hand. I do hope you'll give it a try. Here is how these noodles are made.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Neapolitan Chicken

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...What I hoped would be a relatively easy day turned out not to be. It was obvious by mid-afternoon that the elaborate meal I had planned for dinner would never make it to the table. When that happens, I usually turn to my stash of chicken recipes and pull out one that is both fast and easy to make. It had been a while since we had the Neapolitan chicken that I'm featuring tonight. The Silver Fox and I love its strong flavors, but those of you feeding young children will find this dish to be a hard sell. They will complain about the capers and the olives and they will play and pick with their chicken rather than eat it. I learned that the hard way. I do hope you will give this recipe a try. It is evocative of Naples and I know those of you who enjoy Sicilian cooking will be pleased with the results. The sauce, due to the presence of both olives and capers, is by nature salty, so please be careful when you make final adjusts to the sauce. Here is how my version of Neapolitan chicken is made.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mid-Week Musings

No Room in the Inn

A consequences of growing old in America is having time to reexamine beliefs that may not hold up to the challenges of science or scholarship. Christian scholars, including the Pope who is a biblical scholar, have concluded there are problems with the Gospel accounts of the nativity. There was no stable and Jesus was probably born in a home belonging to a member of Joseph's family. The discrepancies can be attributed to poor translations and and the desire of early Christian leaders to emphasize the humble origins of the Christ child. While the recounting of the nativity may be fanciful, no one doubts the event took place. I loved the story and committed it to memory as a child and those words, "no room in the inn," come to mind whenever I pass one of the tent villages that spring up in this area.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Soup for Supper - A Quick and Easy Lentil and Spinach Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Now that it's cooler, I've started to think about soups and stews again. I clipped some recipes this summer and I've been waiting to to give this lentil and spinach soup a try. Well, the weather broke two days ago, and along with cooler temperatures there was a downpour that kept me housebound long enough to test the recipe for this simple pantry soup. Having made it, I think those of you who try it will like it as much as we did, and end up adding the recipe to your regular rotation. This is a simple pantry soup and chances are you already have the ingredients you need to make it on hand. Despite its lack of meat, the soup is substantial enough to serve for supper. Freshly made, this is a thick soup, but like most soups made with legumes it becomes stew-like as the lentils sit and soak up the liquid in the pot. That can be remedied by adding additional stock or water as needed. Years ago, I would never dream of serving soup for dinner, but I've relaxed my standards in retirement. These days, I add freshly made bread and a seasonal salad to the table and call it supper. I do hope you'll give this soup a try. It is jam-packed with vegetables and it is delicious. Here is how it is made.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Baked Western Omelet

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We had much needed rain yesterday. It wasn't a deluge, but it was a welcome start after a bone dry summer. I was tracking the weather forecast when I heard the Oregon coast was experiencing high winds but had no rain. I love the ocean when its riled and head toward it when others are going the other way. I'm not a storm chaser but the romantic in me can't resist the roar of an angry sea. So, we put aside the day's errands and headed to the coast where we found an ocean that looked like a latte with with a layer of foam that spread at least a mile from shore. The winds were high but not howling and we were actually cold for the first time in months. It was worth the trip. We did, however, spend more time exploring than we had planned and as a result got home quite late. I decided to make one of my favorite breakfast for dinner dishes. It takes about 10 minutes to put this omelet together and while it takes up to an hour to cook, it is amazing simple to make. I found the recipe on a blog called The Seasoned Mom which you can find here. I know those of you who try the recipe will be pleased. Here is how this effortless omelet is made. It would be perfect for a lite supper on Meatless Monday.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

An Old-Fashioned Apple Butter Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...When I was quite young apple butter was the breakfast spread of choice. Butter and sugar were rationed, so back in the day those wise old cooks used recipes, some of which predated colonial America, to make a highly concentrated form of apple sauce that was spreadable and could be used in place of butter on morning toast. Fruit butters are sweet spreads made of fruits that are cooked to a paste and then lightly sweetened. Apple butter has a longer shelf life than applesauce and it is a wonderful way to use the last of the apple crop. I mention this, because I came across a recipe for an apple butter cake that sounded much like the one I had as a child. In order to make it, I thought I'd put-by my own apple butter, but on reflection, I wasn't sure I wanted 12 pints of it taking up my limited pantry space. I called around and found a store that carried apple butter, so there was no reason not to give the cake a try. The recipe is simple and as close to can't fail as they come, the cake is inexpensive to make and it is perfect way to end an informal fall meal. These cakes have a tendency to be dry, so be sure to spoon the flour into your measure and level off the excess, rather than scooping it directly into the cup. I'd also advise using a liquid rather than a dry measure for the apple butter and buttermilk. The apple butter gives this cake a subtle apple flavor, but in my opinion it is more like a spice cake. I've cut back on the ground cloves that appeared in the original recipe, and have used mace to replace most of it. You can experiment with the spices until you come up with a combination that is to your liking. This is a simple cake, so I dress it up a bit by using a flour buttercream to frost it. I've shared that frosting recipe before, but if you need a reminder you can find the recipe here. Here is how the apple butter-spice cake is made. Do give it a try.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lower Calorie Rice + An Unusual Cabbage Fried Rice

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Scientists have found a method for cooking white rice that reduces the starch and calories it contains by 10 to 12 percent. White rice is made up of digestible and resistant starches. Resistant starch takes a long time to digest and it is not converted into simple sugars, so it has fewer calories. Cooking alters how much of each type of starch there is in a food. Researchers in Sri Lanka have found a cooking method that reduces calories in rice because it increases the amount of resistant starch that rice kernels contain. Their method is simple. They add oil to the rice pot. The oil interacts with the starches in rice and converts digestible to resistant starch. A prolonged period of refrigeration further changes its composition, making it healthier and lower in calories than is usually the case. Here is the recommended method for cooking healthier rice.

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