Thursday, January 28, 2010

Have You Visited Your Local Market Lately?

Visiting the Farmer's Market is one of my favorite spring, summer and early activities. Once winter rolls in, my trips to the market usually come to an end. Not this year! Thankfully there are at least two winter markets close to me in Natick and Wayland, MA. For a recap of my inaugural trip to the Natick Winter's Market, check out my write-up at You'll even find some recipes for your winter farmer's market finds!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Meals - Turkey Burgers with Tomato & Spinach and Ravioli with fresh sauce

This week I stopped at the store mid-week after work to pick up some ingredients for dinner. We'd already had beef for a few dinners, so I was looking for another source of protein for dinner. I asked the hubby for suggestions, and he mentioned chicken Florentine (we had some spinach in the fridge). For some reason, I just wasn't interested in chicken for dinner. Looking at the meat case, I saw that ground turkey breast was on sale. Turkey burgers are not a regular item on our menu, but I decided to give them another try.

Knowing we had spinach in the fridge, I thought about making a Mediterranean style burger with the spinach, tomato and feta. I picked up the ingredients along with some foccacia style buns and marinated olives then headed home to get cooking.

Sticking with the Mediterranean theme, I made a quick cucumber salad with some leftover mint (from the fresh rolls), minced red onion, and a little olive oil and vinegar.

I like at least three components with dinner, so I needed one more dish on the side. I found some red lentils in my pantry while digging around and put those on the stove while making the burgers. I completely overcooked the lentils and they came out extra mushy. I mixed in some balsamic vinegar and the hubby really like them. Next time I'll try this recipe and watch the pot a little better!

For the burgers, I put a little of the topping in the burger and then topped them with the same ingredients. Turkey burgers are quick cookers - so don't forget to watch the pan while you cook. Read down past the recipe to see what I did with the leftover spinach and tomatoes.

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
Makes 2 Burgers

Printable Recipe

1/2 pound ground turkey breast (white meat turkey)
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning (I have a blend - salt, garlic, oregano, thyme, onion)
1 tablespoon crumbled Feta cheese
1/4 cup spinach and tomato (see recipe below)

Heat a little oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
Divide into two patties
Cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through

Spinach and Tomatoes
Inspired by a post on Playing House
1 small plastic container of cherry tomatoes
3-4 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
Olive Oil

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a small-medium skillet over medium heat
Add spinach and a little salt to the pan and cook until just wilted, set aside
Add the tomatoes and a little salt to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes (until they squish when you press on them)
Remove from the heat and set aside
Serve as a topping or side dish to the burgers.

Serve the burger on your favorite roll with the sides!

Summary for burgers and spinach/tomatoes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: Spinach/tomato: 15 minutes; Burgers: 10 minutes
Skillets, knives, cutting board, bowl, utensils

Meal 2: Ravioli with Fresh Spinach, Tomato, Basil Sauce

We had plenty of spinach and tomato left over after dinner. I turned it into a quick fresh sauce for some ravioli. We picked up the grilled asparagus and artichoke ravioli at our local winter farmer's market. I bought some local basil at our warehouse club store (they do carry local products!). I threw it all in the food processor, brought to a quick boil, then simmer.

Added to the ravioli and we had a fresh tasty meal! Remember - you can always turn your leftovers into something tasty (well, most of the time).

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Food processor, sauce pan, pasta pot, serving utensils

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Trip to Southeast Asia

I've been looking at cooking classes for the past 6 months and trying to figure out what type of class I want to take. One of the classes I was considering taught recipes and techniques from a cookbook called Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. I wasn't quite sure what it was going to be about and I decided to think about it before signing up. After a few days I completely forgot about it as I got busy with other things.

When I was at the library looking for a good book to read on my holiday travels, I came across a copy of Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet! I checked it out and started reading. What a wonderful cookbook - stories about Southeast Asia, its people, and the food. I have already read through the book two or three times! Sadly the cooking class is sold out, so I started teaching myself the recipes. One of the first recipes to catch my attention was the Silky Coconut-Pumpkin Soup. The recipe is from Thailand and Laos. I've had a red kuri squash sitting on the counter for a while, and decided this would be a good substitution for the pumpkin. The soup was as advertised, silky-smooth and delicious. It was wonderful as lunch the next day.

As a side dish I tried something that I've eaten a lot but never tried to make at home - Vietnamese Fresh Rolls with peanut sauce. For a healthy, vegetarian version I cooked up some tofu and filled them with a pickled cabbage and carrot slaw. I made vermicelli (rice noodles) to add in, but the rice paper wrappers weren't big enough to fit everything in (actually, I forgot until I got to the last roll....).

This was delicious and would make a great party dish after I work on my rice paper rolling skills. The soup is going to be repated often too!

Silky Coconut-Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet
Makes 4 servings

Printable Recipe

3 Shallots, unpeeled
1 red kuri squash, approximately 1.25 pounds unpeeled
1 can light coconut milk (approximately 2 cups)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (the recipe called for coriander)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 scallion, cut into thin rings

In a small non-stick skillet over high medium-high heat, dry-roast the shallots, turning occaisionally, until blackened and soft
Peel the the shallots, cut in half lengthwise, and set aside
Peel the squash and remove seeds and guts
Cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Place the coconut milk, broth, squash cubes, shallots and cilantro in a large pot and bring to a boil
Reduce to low, add salt, and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the squash is tender
Stir in the fish sauce and cook for 2-3 more minutes
With an immersion blender (or food processor), blend the soup until it is a smooth consistency
Ladle into individual bowls, garnish with scallions and freshly ground pepper

Vietnamese Fresh Rolls
Makes 5 rolls, with a little extra slaw and tofu
1/2 block of extra firm tofu (make sure it is well-drained)
1/4 of a head of green cabbage, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 scallion, chopped
Rice wine vinegar ( a few good splashes)
Sesame oil (one small dash)
5 Mint leaves
Rice paper wrappers

Note: You'll need to assemble all your ingredients before you work with the rice paper wrappers

Reheat a the same non-stick skillet (from the shallots) over medium heat
Cut the tofu into 1/4 inch sticks
Add to the skillet and cook about a minute or so on each side, until just golden brown
Set aside until assembly

Mix chopped cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and scallion in a bowl. Pour on a few splashes of rice wine vingar (enough to coat everything), one drop of sesame oil and sprinkle with salt
Mix well and set aside until assembly

Set up your assembly line for ingredients - Slaw, tofu, and mint leaves

Microwave a large bowl of water to soften the rice paper wrappers
Take 1 wrapper, dip into the water to soften, and then place on a plate
Put the mint leaf in the middle
Top with 2-3 sticks of tofu
Top with the slaw
Roll the rice paper wrapper like a burrito, tuck in two sides, then roll to close
Repeat for each wrapper

Total prep time (prep the rolls while the soup is cooking): 25-30 minutes, depending on how fast you can peel a squash
Total cook time: 20 minutes
Small non-stick skillet, sharp knife and cutting board, ladle, soup pot, microwaveable bowl, serving dishes and utensils

Serve with your favorite peanut sauce. I made some quick sauce, but it isn't worth reporting on. I'll have to work on a good recipe to share.

Serve with the soup and enjoy! This made for a great lunch the next day. We had the noodles topped with tofu, slaw and the peanut sauce.

Monday, January 11, 2010

His Middle Name is Chocolate

That's the way I would describe my brother. For as far back as I can remember, chocolate has been his favorite food. Chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate milk, etc. The only other food item he uses that much is ketchup. So when I was checking out all the delicious chocolate at the new Hotel Chocolat store on Newbury Street, I found something that I had to buy for him.

Without hesitation I picked up a bag of Cocoa Pasta (a nice, chocolate penne). I shipped it home in time for Thanksgiving so he could share with the rest of the family. Well, it turned out that he didn't have time to share. He took the pasta home and made himself an interesting dinner with half the pasta. I'm not sure I would have made it for myself, but he assures me that the cocoa penne was delicious with meatballs and tomato sauce. Kind of like a reverse mole?

Luckily, he saved the rest of the pasta to share when I went home. To compliment the pasta, he decided to whip up a fancy dessert sauce. For my Chanukah present, my brother bought me a bottle of ChocoVine. It is exactly what the name implies. According to their website it is "the great taste of Dutch chocolate and fine Cabernet wine". It was good on the rocks, but we decided it would be good in a dessert pasta sauce.

To round out the sauce, he melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and added in some strawberry preserves for some sweetness. My grandparents added some vanilla and chocolate moose tracks ice cream to top off the dish. It was rich and delicious. Next time we'll add some whipped cream and marshmallow topping make it even more decadent!

I've been told that I have to go back and buy a few bags of pasta to ship to my family for more inventive dishes!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chili Cheddar Potato Skins

When I'm feeling stuck for dinner ideas, I pull up my google reader and search for interesting dishes. A few weeks ago I saw a delicious looking post from my friend Amy over at Playing House. I love a good potato skin, but I don't like that they are usually just full of greasy bacon, cheese, and topped with extra fatty sour cream. Amy whipped up a healthier baked version filled with turkey bacon, broccoli, cheddar, and a rich and smooth avocado cream.

Cooked broccoli is not on our list of favorite foods, so I decided to take Amy's inspiration and create my own version. To make a heartier meal I filled the potato skins with bean and veggie chili, shredded cheddar-jack cheese, turkey bacon, and a smooth guacamole. We love cilantro, but you can leave it out if it's not your thing I'd put these up against any restaurant potato skin - they were that good.

The method for making the potatoes was so easy and I'm a little upset that I never thought of it before. We used the leftover potato guts for cheesy mashed potatoes served as a side dish to the leftover chili.

To make this efficiently, put the potatoes in the microwave first, and make the chili while they are cooking. While the potatoes are in the oven, you can make the guacamole.

Chili Cheddar Potato Skins with Smooth Guacamole
Bean and Veggie Chili
Approximately 4 servings
1 jalapeno, ribs and seed removed, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced (any color)
1 quarter of a yellow onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can petite diced no-salt added tomatoes (drain about halfway)
1 tablespoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and Pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

In a medium pot, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil at medium-high heat
Add in minced garlic and jalapeno and cook for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic
Add in onions and bell pepper, and cook 2-3 minutes until softened
Stir in chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper
Add beans and tomatoes and stir
Bring to a boil and then reduce to low
Simmer until ready to serve

Potato Skins
Adapted from Amy at Playing House (who adapted from Ellie Krieger)
Serves 2 (1 potato/person)
2 Idaho potatoes scrubbed and dried
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pieces turkey bacon
1/4 cup shredded cheddar-jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Stab the potatoes a few times with a fork and wrap in paper towels
Microwave on high for 13 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through
Take out the microwave and cool until the potatoes are easy to handle
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise
Using a spoon, scoop all but 1/8 inch of the inside of the potato, being careful not to break the skin (save the potato guts for another use)
Brush both inside and outside of potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt
Put the potatoes, skin-side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet
Bake until skins are crisp and edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes

For the bacon, cook in a small skillet over medium heat, turning often, until crispy
Dice into small pieces

Smooth Guacamole
1 medium Haas avocado
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 a scallion, thinly sliced
Dash of salt and pepper

Roughly chop the cilantro, set aside
Squeeze the lime juice into a bowl
Cut open the avocado and add to the bowl with the lime juice
Using an avocado masher (or fork), mash until smooth
Stir in the cilantro and scallion
Season with salt and pepper

When the potato skins are done, remove from the oven and put on plates
Fill the skins with chili
Divide the cheese evenly among the four potato halves
Top with the turkey bacon
Spoon the smooth guacamole evenly over the four halves
Top with a few cilantro leaves for garnish

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Total Cook Time: 30-ish minutes
Chili pot, baking sheet, small skillet, cutting board and knife, bowl, avocado masher (or fork), serving utensils

My Love Affair with Brunch

I've mentioned before that I could eat eggs for all three meals a day and never get tired of them.  I love breakfast food, and that means that a good brunch destination is essential for my weekend happiness.  Thanks to our friends Mary and Angel (of, we have been brunch regulars at the Centre Street Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA for the past few years.  Check out why at!

Centre Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When He Fends for Himself - Taco Town!

Recently the wife was away for 5 days and I had to scrounge together some meals in order to survive. I started off slowly. For the first two days I snacked on granola bars, ice cream, fruit, and gummy bears. I felt like I could indulge a little bit because I had lost 5 pounds during the Fall. Eventually though, I wanted some real meals so I ordered out for a Greek salad and a calzone. It was good and hit the spot, but it's nothing worth writing about. The next day I went to Whole Foods for a little grocery shopping and decided to get dinner from their taco and burrito bar.

Whole Foods offers 3 tacos for the low low price of $4.99 so it looked like a good deal. They actually have a lot of options for filling your taco and I decided on one chicken, one beef, and one fish taco. They use soft corn shells for the outside of the taco and fill it with a good amount of protein. I had them add a little lettuce, some salsa (which had some good spice to it), cheese, guacamole, and cilantro. My only complaint about my experience was that there was a weird guy who was standing way to close to me who was fascinated by the sight of a taco bar at Whole Foods. I actually couldn't see all the options clearly because he was in my way. I kept waiting for him to lose interest but I guess filling tacos tops the entertainment options in my town.

I checked out with my groceries and tacos and headed home. Once home, I unwrapped, took a quick picture (action shot!), and had my dinner. All three proteins tasted very good in the tacos. I think I made a good choice for my dinner. It was tasty, had vegetables (lettuce, cilantro, salsa), and was a good portion size. I didn't overeat. I didn't under-eat. I just survived. Next time the wife goes away, I'll hit up the taco bar again. But until then there is no need. I have a good cook at home that feeds me very well. And I rarely have to fend for myself....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Year of Recording Delicious Meals!

It's hard to believe that it has been one year since my first post on GoodCookDoris.  What started as a way to record our meals and never be without an idea for dinner has become quite an adventure!  The hubby joined in the fun with his own feature (When He Fends for Himself), my family has contributed some guest posts, and I have been cooking up a storm!  I've reconnected with old friends and met fellow food bloggers and foodies from around the world.  What a blast! 

In honor of this momentous occasion, the hubby suggested I post a picture of my meatloaf cupcake with mashed potato icing, green bean candle, and parsley sprinkles.   This year I'll work on some sweet dessert cupcakes.

I'd love to hear what your favorite post has been. Leave a note and let me know! Thanks for being a part of the fun.

I'm excited to start another year of trips to the farmer's market, trying new recipes, cranking out old favorites, and sharing delicious food with family and friends.

Happy cooking!

When I was home recently, I found my old apron. Funny that my apron from when I was 3 is almost identical to my apron now (red polka dots!).  It doesn't quite fit, but the sentiment was right.  It reads, "Kiss the Cook".

Here are few stats from my first year of blogging:
Number of Posts: 120
Number of Labels: 42

Number of Visitors: 1,054
Visitors came from 55 countries, and all 50 states!

The most popular post, fittingly, was the meatloaf muffins!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A little overdue...Latkes!

Now that you've passed Chanukah and the rest of the holiday season, you might be able to think about eating latkes again. Or, if you are like my regular reader Tim, you've been waiting for this write-up since 12/21 when it was mentioned it in the previous post. Here you go Tim!

This year I was swamped with homework and a busy schedule around the holidays. Usually I like to try out new latke recipes, but this year I was luck to find time to grate the potatoes. I picked up some sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, onions, scallions, and pulled out the mandolin. Grating potatoes is a labor of love and the results are always delicious. Don't forget to squeeze out the excess moisture before mixing! Thanks to a tip from my brother, I used just a little olive oil in the pan instead of a few inches of vegetable oil. The result was a crunchy and somewhat healthier latke.

An important note is that if you grate your white potatoes too early, they will turn gray and your latkes won't be very pretty. I don't know all the food science, but this can be slowed by grating your onions into the bowl first and then tossing the shredded potatoes with the onion juice.

We enjoyed these with the pot roast for dinner. As a special treat, we also had them for Chanukah breakfast with poached eggs on top. A 'kosher eggs benedict'! I haven't mastered a Hollandaise sauce yet (or even tried), but that would definitely finish this off nicely. Of course we had leftover cheddar scallion biscuits on the side too because you can never have too many carbs.

Happy latke eating! Perfect for Chanukah or anytime of the year! I'll do my best to write up my recipe - I did these from memory - so tweak as you see fit! The cooking instructions are the same for both

Potato Latkes

Traditional Latkes
1 russet potato, peeled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 - 1/2 of a yellow onion
1 scallion, chopped into small pieces (add to taste)
1 tablespoon-ish flour
Salt and Pepper

Sweet Potato Latkes
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 scallion, chopped into small pieces (add to taste)
1 tablespoon-ish flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and Pepper

Olive oil for frying

For each respective potato, follow these instructions
Using a mandolin or box grater, grate the potato into a large bowl
Using a colander, cheese cloth, or just your hands, squeeze out the excess moisture and return the potato to the bowl
Add the onion, and any seasonings and toss
Add a small amount of egg (about half the beaten egg) and about a tablespoon of flour, mix until the flour and egg are evenly distributed
If the mixture seems really wet, add a little more flour

Cooking for both
Place a wire baking rack over a baking sheet in your oven and heat to 200 degrees
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat
When a small piece of shredded potato sizzles in the oil, its ready!
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, add the latkes into the pan in batches
Cook for 2-3 minutes per side (until golden brown)
If they are browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly
Place the cooked latkes in the heated oven while you finish frying all the latkes
Serve warm

For leftover latkes, let them cook completely
If you plan to eat them the next day, wrap them tightly in foil and refrigerate
If you plan to keep them longer than a day or two, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer
When they are frozen, wrap them in plastic wrap and then foil (to prevent freezer burn)
Either way, reheat in a 350 degree oven before serving

Serve with chunky applesauce, sour cream, or horseradish!


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