"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

White Bean Fritters with a Yogurt Dip

White Bean Fritters with a Yogurt Dip
Adapted from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-pollan-family-table/white-bean-fritters-with_b_7942556.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000045

I thought I could follow this recipe but I was using cooked dry beans, so they were not easily mashable, so I had to improvise.

Then with the dip, I did not have all the ingredients, so I had to make substitutions.

The recipe will come in three steps. Bean Mixture, Fitter Batter, and Yogurt Dip

White Bean Mixture
2 cups cooked white beans, coarsely mashed
1/4 white onion, diced
1 tbspn dry parsley
2 tbspns Parmesan cheese
Salt/pepper to taste

In a bowl, add ingredients. Stir well.
Set aside.

Fritter Batter
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash of salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
A dash of paprika

Add fritter batter ingredients into a separate bowl. Stir well.
Add fitter batter to bean mixture.
Stir thoroughly.
Add olive oil to skillet. Heat medium-high.
Add a tablespoon of mixture at a time.
Generally, a small skillet can hold 4 fitters with room to turn fritters over.
Cook fritters for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Yogurt Dip
8oz plain greek yogurt
1 tbspn cucumber juice from cucumber cooler*
1/2 capful lime juice concentrate
1/4 tspn garlic powder
Ground black pepper to taste

*more on the cucumber cooler later. Essentially, I put lots of cucumber slices in a small pitcher of water and put it in the frig for a few hours.

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl or container with a lid.
Stir well.

Note: I do not add salt to most recipes.

I liked the Yogurt Dip.

I am enjoying making sauces, dressings, and dips. It's giving me an idea for another small cookbook :-)

Serving: 15 fritters

Mini Canned Chicken Salad with Vegetables

Mini Canned Chicken Salad with Vegetables

1/2 can of chicken, drained
2 tbspns mayo
1/4 onion, diced

ground black pepper to taste

Mix the above in a container with a lid to save what is not used.
While mixing, shred chicken chunks.
Add half of mixture in a bowl.
Add toppings.

Imitation bacon bits
1/8 green pepper, diced
1/4 tomato, diced
A few slices of avocado
A dash of paprika

I found this salad fresh, tasty and crunchy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Shopping Challenge - My Costco Adventure

Hmmm, I had followed the news that Costco (Merida, Mexico) was building a new store in the north.

But, I failed to pickup on the actual location.

So, when I took the bus to go grocery shopping at Chedraui North is when I found out exactly where the new Costco store was. It had taken the Chedraui North grocery store location. So, now, no grocery shopping.

But, I decided to see if I could check out the Costco store. I thought they might have a day pass but they didn't. Then I decided to see how much a membership cost. It was $450 pesos for two people. So, I joined and put my friend on the account as the second person.

So, now I could browse the store.

Going to Costco is like going grocery shopping for a restaurant because the size and quantity of the items are enormous. I don't need six bottles of mayo.

But, after going up and down every aisle. I did find three things that I thought would suit my "budget", rather laughable since I already spent $450 pesos.

Anyway, I got a six-pack of canned chicken. To me, each can held about what I would have gleaned from a whole grilled chicken from a local take-out (after one meal). Take out chicken $80 pesos, one can of chicken $193.35/$32.00 each. I thought having another source of chicken would be useful.

Then, I got a six-pack of 210g (8oz) mushrooms, which I thought was a good deal because I use a lot of mushrooms. I saved a few pesos.

Then, I got a large bag of dried blueberries. Something I have never tried but I liked the idea, just like having frozen fruit, dried fruit seemed like a good pantry item. So far, I have used them as part of a yogurt topping. They are tasty. I need to try to rehydrate them, too.

I also got something else. A credenza with portable cloth file drawers.

I live in a one-bedroom apartment with little storage, so, the credenza is useful to store all my notebooks, writing, correspondence and jewelry-making supplies that were previously stored in cardboard boxes that sat on the sofa.

But, the credenza was a DIY affair. I had to put it together using over 30+ dowels and various nuts and bolts to secure 11 pieces of "heavy" particle board.

If I move, I will have to have it packed and crated so it doesn't fall apart.

On the bright side, I had recently gotten a price from one furniture maker for something similar for $6000 pesos. Too rich for me, so when I saw this for about $2,000.00 pesos, I thought it was a good idea.

While the credenza may not have been the best decision, it does make the living room look so much neater and I am more organized. Got to look on the bright side.

Status of Summer Shopping Challenge

You could say I failed my summer shopping challenge.

I lasted six weeks without going to a grocery store. I used some of my pantry supplies and made several vegetable purchases from nearby tiendas.

But, I like Ginger Ale, carbonated water, toilet paper and other bulky things. So, I made a trip in June to get the bulky items and probably got a few more things. Then in July, I made another trip. In total, I spent about the same as I usually would but I probably ate more fresh vegetables than usual.

Then, there was my Costco adventure (that's another post).

And, I have long lists of recipes ideas to try and, of course, there are ingredients I don't have, like: nutmeg, cardamon, raspberries, cabbage, and sour cream (but, I may use a substitute when I get to that recipe.)

During the six weeks I did not go to the grocery store, we had several "brown-outs" and I failed to recognize that the food in my refrigerator may have been affected. I had to throw out some leftovers. But, I had less in the refrigerator than usual, so the loss was minor. That's one positive.

I have not stopped looking for ways to reduce my grocery expenses. Another positive is, I can now shop at ISSEY, a Mexican grocery outlet, while their prices are often a little lower, their item selection is not as robust, for example, they don't have Ginger ale.

Experiments with Brussels Sprouts - Skillet Seared Brussels Sprouts and More

I go to my blog's recipes when I cook because I can't remember all the ingredients or processes.

In addition, I continue to look for healthy recipes using available vegetables that keep longer than lettuce and can be frozen. Brussels Sprouts is one of those vegetables.

Shortly after purchase, I blanched a batch of brussels sprouts and froze them. Blanching, to my understanding, means you boil water than add the prepared vegetable and cook for a short amount of time, so the vegetable is softened but not fully cooked.

Sources for "How to" Blanch Vegetables



Note: I did not use a gallon of water. I filled a medium sized saucepan 3/4 full of water and added a dash of salt. Nor did I use an ice bath. I rinsed the vegetables in bottled water. Then, placed them in a container and froze them.

When I started this dish, I did not take notes because I thought it would be a failure. But, when it turned out pretty tasty, I decided to post it in general terms.

Skillet Seared Brussels Sprouts

10 Blanched, defrosted brussels sprouts
olive oil for skillet
1 garlic clove, diced
balsamic vinegar

Cut each brussels sprouts head into pieces.
Add oil to skillet.
Add garlic.
Add brussels sprouts pieces.
Cook at medium-high.
The idea is to sear (slightly burn) the brussels sprouts pieces, some pieces will burn more than others as they cook.
Stir frequently.
Cook for a several minutes.

Transfer half of the cooked pieces to a bowl. Refrigerate the rest.
Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

I have several other ideas for make a brussels sprouts recipes.

Look for updates.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hot Dog Quesadillas

Don't get too grossed out over this recipe. Sometimes, I like a hot dog with mustard, relish and more.

You may have noticed I like sandwiches of all kinds.

Part of this stems from the fact sandwiches are easy to make and part of it stems from fond memories of visits to a restaurant, Roy's Place, in Maryland that has a multi-page menu of sandwiches made with a wide variety of fillings and breads.

For example, the sandwiches are numbered 1 - 216 and they have funny titles like:
121. THE CHESTER A. CHESTER™ (A real two-breasted sandwich) Special brisket roasted in ale and chili with sharp cheese & tomatoes on three decks, spread with our own chili mayonnaise and showered with onions........$10.19

If you follow the link to Roy's Place, you can see the menu.

Hot Dog Quesadillas

Olive oil
2 large tortillas
2 hotdogs, cut into pieces
Bottled relish
Beans, Black or any kind
Grated Cheese

Cook the hot dog pieces in the microwave 1 1/2 minutes on high.
Add a dab of oil to skillet.
Add tortilla.
Once one side is brown, turn it over.
Add hot dog pieces on top, on one side.
Top hot dog pieces with beans.
Add cheese.
Add relish and mustard.
Fold tortilla over.
Remove from skillet to plate.

Servings: 2

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jackson Pollock Wedge Salad

You won't see creatively decorated cupcakes on this blog. Nor, will you see artistic plating. I don't have a creative bone in my body but I do like art and trying to be creative even if it's just using a empty bean can to hold pens.

I like wedge salads because they are easy, fun, creative and hopefully healthy.

The foundation of a wedge salad is a wedge of iceberg lettuce, where a head of lettuce is cut into quarters or more.

Then you add whatever salad additions and dressing you want.

I am calling this wedge salad, my Jackson Pollock wedge salad, named after a famous abstract artist who painted by dripping paints onto a canvas. With this salad, I used several leftovers.

Jackson Pollock Wedge Salad

1 wedge iceberg lettuce
1/8 Red onion, cut however you like
1/4 Green pepper, cut however you like
1/2 Tomato, cut however you like
2 tbspns black beans, drained
2 tbspns cottage cheese
grated carrot
ground black pepper

Additions: Add whatever else you can find like: sliced olives, artichoke pieces, mushrooms, carrots or other items.

Place 1 wedge of lettuce in a bowl.
Sprinkle with onions, peppers, tomato pieces.
Add black beans.
Add cottage cheese.
Sprinkle with grated carrot.
Sprinkle with  black pepper.
Dribble dressing over salad.

I used my Yogurt/Mayo Sauce as a dressing. Here's the recipe.

Yogurt/Mayo Sauce with Paprika

1/3 cup plain yogurt*
2 tablespoons mayo
A dollop of vinegar
A dash of salt
1/8 tspn sugar
A dash of paprika

Mix ingredients in a bowl or container with a lid.
Stir well to blend all ingredients.

*Note: Yogurt in Mexico is more liquid than solid, add a little milk, if needed, to thin the sauce.