My recipes are meant to be shared and enjoyed. I welcome you to re-post my recipes and text. I ask only that you credit me and include a link to my blog if you post any of my content.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Public Service Announcement

This has no relation whatsoever to anything I regularly blog about, but I want to warn you about something that can pose a danger in your home.  The furniture in the kids' bedroom here is constructed from unpainted wood. When it was purchased about a zillion years ago, I was instructed to apply boiled linseed oil to it from time to time to protect it and keep it looking nice. I've done that a couple of times. On Sunday, my stepdaughter and I used old cotton diaper cloths to apply linseed oil to the furniture in the bedroom. I left the linseed oil-soaked rags on top of the dryer to be laundered later.

After that, we all left home, had a meal at a restaurant, visited the Bass Pro Outdoor World (very cool place) for a while, then we dropped off the girls at their mom's house and returned home. We had been home quite a while when I started smelling very strong fumes of linseed oil, enough to make my eyes burn (which was really strange because its smell when it's applied to the wood furniture is totally inoffensive, it doesn't even necessitate any special ventilation during the application). After searching for the source of the odor, I went to the laundry room and found that the linseed oil-soaked cotton rags were very hot, fumey, sort of scorched-looking, and even smoking a little. I took them outside and put them on the concrete sidewalk, where they cooled off.

I Googled "linseed oil chemical reaction," and found this article about the dangers posed by linseed oil   This stuff if left on a rag can spontaneously combust! We're really lucky that we were back home before it became a problem. I've used the linseed oil on the furniture before, albeit a long time ago, and didn't have any problem, so I didn't even glance at the label this time. The label does warn about this danger. Lesson learned: If you use boiled linseed oil, dispose of your rags in a metal can filled with water, and read the labeling on any product you're about to use.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tips and Tricks and Helpful Hints

When you use cabbage in a recipe, whether raw or cooked, salt it first for the best flavor and texture.  I like to use the salad spinner for this process.  As you slice, chop, or shred your cabbage, put a layer in the salad spinner and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt.  Continue layering cabbage and salt.  Mix the cabbage and salt with your hands or by tossing/shaking it in the salad spinner.  Let it sit for 30-60 minutes.  You'll notice liquid accumulating on the bottom of the salad spinner bowl (quite a bit with "round head" cabbage, a small amount with Napa cabbage).  That's the water being drawn out of the cabbage by the salt.  Add cold water to the salad spinner to cover the cabbage by an inch or two and swish the cabbage around.  Let that stand for about 15 minutes.  Drain and spin cabbage.  The result is crisp, flavorful cabbage that won't "weep" liquid into your recipe.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Onion and Mushroom Soup

If you have a mushroom addiction like I do, this is a great way to use up the leftover 3 or 4 or 10 varieties of mushrooms you have in your fridge before they "turn," and you can also finish up those last couple of onions and shallots you have in the basket.  Use what you have on hand and season to your taste.  This is a be-frugal-and-use-your-leftovers recipe, so no specific measurements, just use what you have and season to taste.

Slice onions and/or shallots.  Put them in an oven-safe dish that you've sprayed lightly with olive oil with your Misto sprayer or rubbed lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and very lightly with sugar.  Roast uncovered in a 350 degree oven for a long, long time, checking and stirring every 30 minutes, until onions are beginning to caramelize.  Let them get slightly brown, but don't let them burn.

Slice whatever mushrooms you have on hand, the more varieties the better.  Saute tem in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and butter, sprinkled with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Add a couple of garlic cloves pressed through a garlic press.  When mushrooms start looking cooked, add a big splash of sherry and cook until liquid is reduced.

In a stewpot or large saucepan, simmer homemade beef, chicken, or veggie broth if available (or bouillon or canned or box broth if you don't have homemade), water, pinot grigio wine, a little soy sauce, freshly ground pepper, a splash of sherry, granulated toasted onion if you have it (I love Penzey's, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper powder.

Add roasted onions and sauteed mushrooms to the broth and simmer a while to combine flavors.

To serve, if you follow a low carb diet, ladle soup into ramekins and top with shredded or thinly sliced gruyere, emmental, or swiss cheese.  Broil in oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned.  If you don't worry about carbs, ladle soup into ramekins, top with a slice of toasted baguette and shredded or thinly sliced gruyere, emmental, or swiss cheese.  Broil in oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned.


Southwest Spicy Compound Butter

2 sticks salted butter, softened
6 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
zest of 2 small limes
2 tablespoons chipotle pepper sauce
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients well.  Serve on top of steak, steamed veggies, etc.  Roll leftover compound butter into a log shape in waxed paper and freeze for later use.

Are You Ready For Some Football?!

In the category of other pleasures that make life splendid ... the NFL 2010 season kicked off tonight, and what a great opening game!  Saints 14 - Vikings 9.  I love sports and I've come to love football much more since marrying my honey.  It's so much better when you can watch the games with someone who is as interested as you are and especially with someone who is much more knowledgeable about the game and can explain the intricacies of the game clearly.  I'd have been happy no matter who won the game tonight.  How could I not pull for the Vikings with Brett Favre, the QB who is almost as old as I am?  The fitness and athleticism of this guy amazes me.  And who wouldn't love the great story of undrafted Drew Brees becoming the QB for the Saints and leading them to a Super Bowl victory last year, giving a still-reeling-from-Katrina New Orleans a great reason to celebrate?

I'm not just excited for football, but also because football season marks the beginning of fall.  I can't wait for open windows weather, the State Fair of Texas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.  When you live in a place where summer temps routinely climb above 100 degrees, fall is a welcome respite.  I know this is also a very special time of year for those who love college football, which I really am trying to care more about, honestly ...

So the sports fan in me is ecstatic now as my FC Dallas soccer team is on a record undefeated streak, my Texas Rangers baseball team is handily leading its division, and my Dallas Cowboys football team looks so very promising this season.  Can't wait for the Cowboys' season opener this Sunday.  Go 'boys!

I hope everyone is enjoying this glorious fall season and I wish the best of luck to your favorite teams!