Summer peach iced tea

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: drinks

It’s the thick of peach season here in Kansas, and there’s nothing more refreshing than a nice tall cool glass of iced tea. The two together is a refreshing and tasty combo.

You’ll need:

  • 1 Gallon container
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 3 bags Luzianne Iced Tea blend
  • 2 bags Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion
  • sugar or sweetener to taste (about 1/2 cup sugar per gallon for southern-style “proper tea”)

Steep the tea for about 5 minutes and remove the teabags. Add the sweetener and dissolve, then add the cold water. Chill or serve over ice right away. For extra rereshment, add a fresh lemon or slice of peach.

Mediterranean Burritos

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: Entrees

Dinner dilemma: all I have that will thaw readily is a pound of ground lamb. How to make something tasty in 20 minutes?

Then I got the crazy idea to go with burritos, and add a lamb twist, and go mediterranean.

First, I made some citrus/cilantro rice, Chipotle-style. Steam up some rice, toss in some chopped cilantro with some oil/butter and some lemon or lime juice and some salt.

Next, in lieu of refried beans, I made some hummus. Throw a can of chick peas into the food processor with some lemon juice, a couple cloves of garlic, some tahini, and salt.

Brown the lamb with some Greek seasonings, wrap in a tortilla with some lettuce, tomatoes and some yogurt or tatziki (and Andrea suggested some avocado slices), and you’ve got yourself a quick and very tasty dinner.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: soup

It’s cold outside, so it’s time for some yummy winter fare.

You will need:

  • A large pot
  • A hand blender (or a regular blender)
  • Butter (1 quarter-pound stick plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 quart dairy (milk or half-and-half, depending on how rich you want this to be)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 pound shredded carrots
  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 1 pound potatotes, cubed (or use leftover baked potato)
  • 1 pound cheese suitable for melting (I highly recommend at least 2 oz cream cheese as part of this)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

Take 2 tablespoons of the butter and saute the onions, and set them aside.

Take the remaining butter and flour and make a roux. Add the dairy and chicken stock and let simmer and thicken for about 20 minutes.

While it’s doing this, cook the broccoli (5 min), carrots (2 min), and potatoes (4 min) in a covered dish in the microwave.

After the base has thickened some, add the vegetables, salt, and garlic and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Use a hand blender to puree the mixture (you can also do it in batches in a regular blender if you need to).

Add the cheese and melt until it’s nice and thick. Serve with a really good roll.

Makes around 16 cups/8 servings.

Mayonnaise and Summer Dill Dip

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: side dish

This is a dill dip similar to those you find in veggie trays or in the produce department at the store, and it’s way cheaper to make yourself from scratch, and it’s tastier.


  • Wire whisk or hand blender
  • small bowl (1qt should be fine)


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1.5 Tbsp dried dill weed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt

put the egg yolk, water, lemon juice, garlic, and salt into the bowl and blend until smooth. add a little bit of the oil and emulsify. slowly add the oil and blend until smooth.

(Congratulations, you’ve just made mayonnaise!)

Add the sour cream and the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Let sit for an hour or two for the flavors to blend. Serve with your favourite veggies.

If you’re scaling this recipe up, you don’t need to add an extra egg yolk – a single egg yolk is enough to make several cups of mayo.

November Roast Pork Loin

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: Entrees

Whipped this up this evening, and it was surprisingly easy and quick, took me about an hour from turning the oven on to serving, yet it’s a good one to serve when company is coming.

Pork roast

2 small apples

1 small onion

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1.5 cups apple cider

1 Tablespoon cornstarch




Take pork roast (in today’s case, some sirloin), dust it with salt, garlic and thyme and let rest while the oven heats to 350F. While the oven is heating, peel, core, and chop apples and onion, and saute in a pan with the cranberries and some thyme. Add 3/4 cup of cider and the pecans and simmer for about 5 minutes, letting the juice be absorbed into the cranberries. Add the remaining juice and thicken with the cornstarch.

Pour some of the sauce onto the roast and stick it in the over until internal temperature reads 155F. Take out and allow to rest for a few minutes. Slice into medallions and serve with the sauce. Goes well with rice or potatoes and a salad.

Thai Squash Soup

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: Entrees, soup

Lately, I’ve been taking a more active interest in learning to cook Thai. I’ve got a pretty good handle on Thai Basil Chicken and am branching out. My current reference is Judy Bastyra’s book, “Thai: the essence of Asian cooking“, which is has drool-inducing photographs, as well as a good overview of ingredients and techniques. This recipe came from the book, and I deviated from the recipe on occasion due to ingredient availability. It is a regional dish of Northern Thailand, and was delightful on a cool and gray fall day.

Prep Time: under 30 minutes

Serves 4

Heat 1 quart of vegetable stock (I used chicken stock, as I used the last of my vegetable stock last week) in a pan and prepare the chilli paste by pureeing the following in a small food processor:

4oz sliced shallots (I was all out of shallots, so I used chives)

10 drained bottled green peppercorns

1 fresh green chili pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste (available from a good oriental grocery)

(I used canned green chillies in lieu of fresh and the peppercorns)

Peel and cube a smallish butternut squash (about 12 oz). and cut 4 oz green beans into 1-inch pieces.

Add the squash, green beans, and 2 oz dried banana flower (I have no idea where to get this, so I skipped it).¬† to the stock and cook it for 15 minutes. This would be a good time to cook up some rice (If you’re doing brown/red/black rice, you’ll want to prepare this ahead of time. White rice only takes 15-20 minutes).

After the stock and veggies have cooked for 15 minutes, add:

1 tbsp fish sauce (Nam Pla)

12oz prawns or shrimp (I used frozen from Costco, but fresh works too)

small bunch fresh basil

Simmer for 3 minutes and serve over rice.

In the KC area, there are two asian groceries that I like. One is at 103rd and Metcalf in Overland Park, the other is across from the park & ride on Grand at City Market.

Cedar-grilled salmon with cilantro mustard

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: Entrees

It’s spring, and that means grillin’ time! (OK, so, it’s grillin’ time so long as there’s not an active hurricane or tornado directly on top of my grill, but I digress)

Tonight, I needed something quick yet tasty. I had at my disposal some salmon, some fresh herbs, and the usual complement of kitchen supplies. It felt like Iron Chef:Ian’s House. Except that I wasn’t competing against anyone. If it turned out badly, it was still dinner.

Soak a cedar grilling plank in water for about 20-30 minutes. While it’s soaking, make up the mustard. If you’re using frozen salmon fillets (Costco!), place the wrapped fillets in the water with the plank. By the time the fish has thawed, the plank is ready.

I mixed up some homemade mustard with:

2 tsp lemon juice (I use the good organic Sicilian stuff I get at Costco)
2 tsp sherry (if using cooking sherry, don’t bother with salt)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp powdered ginger

Toss this into a small food processor with enough mustard powder to make it somewhat pasty. This is your mustard. Depending on the mustard powder you use, this could be pretty spicy – fear not, it doesn’t make the fish spicy. It also makes a tasty salad dressing when mixed with some balsamic vinegar.

If you grill with gas, this would be a good time to fire up the grill. Get it to about 350 degrees (medium-low). If you’re grilling with charcoal, you should have started it a while ago :).

Let the mustard sit while the plank finishes soaking. When you pull the plank out of the water, drizzle some sherry on the fish side of the plank and let it sit for a few minutes to soak in. Place the salmon on the plank and use a basting brush to coat the fish with mustard. Don’t go too crazy with the mustard or you’ll lose the flavor of the fish.

Place the fish/mustard/cedar assembly on the grill and cook until the fish is medium to medium well.

I served this with a salad of baby greens and bell peppers (red and orange) with some baked potato on the side.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: soup

It’s been cold and icy for a few days. This weather calls for soup. Thick, rich soup that sticks to your ribs. I give you this:

chop 2 lbs potatoes and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. If you time it right, they should be done about the time you finish the next step.

Take 1 lb bacon, partially frozen, and slice across the strips in 1/4″ pieces, and slice again in the other direction about 3/4″ apart, and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon bits to a bowl lined with a paper towel and keep the fat in the pan. Add chopped garlic and chopped onions and saute. When the onions and garlic are cooked, add 2/3 cup flour and make a roux. Add 4 cups chicken broth and 2 cups milk. stir until smooth and heat until it begins to thicken. Add chopped green onions and/or chives and stir. Add the potatoes and bacon and 1/2 lb grated cheddar. Stir until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until ready to eat. Stir in 1 cup sour cream before serving.

This stuff ends up pretty gloopy, so it helps to add milk when reheating the leftovers.

Note: The cooking method above for the bacon also works well for making bacon crumbles for salads and other recipes.

Marriage Proposal Cheesecake 3.0: Renewal Of Vows

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: dessert

It was getting increasingly difficult to improve on the Marriage Proposal Cheesecake. Amazingly enough, I did.

Quite simply, drown it in a really good ganache. The key to a good ganache is to use top-shelf chocolate. In this case, I used a hunk of Callebaut bittersweet from Whole Foods.

Sweet potato salad

Posted by: Site Administrator  :  Category: salad, side dish

Got this one from Margit and modified slightly, as I was making some for my friend Blaine who is on a very restricted diet at the moment as he battles a brain tumor. The diet is very rich in fresh vegetables, and this salad is a great fit (and tasty too!)

Take about 3 lbs of sweet potatoes (or just one, see my previous post) and cut into approximately 3/4″ cubes. Plop them in a large pot of boiling water and boil until tender but firm (8 minutes was a little too long and they ended up a little soft). Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool for a while (in the fridge if you have room).

Slice two or three sweet peppers of various colors (1 red, one purple in this case) and one purple onion into thin strips and chop a handful of basil as finely as you can (but don’t go overboard!)

Make a dressing consisting of 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic. Add 1/2 tablespoon honey (raw if you can get it) or a comparable amount of stevia and shake well. The original recipe for this calls for tossing it with a french-type dressing. I’m rather partial to Annie’s Naturals Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (which is good on all kinds of things), but had to get creative this go around since Blaine’s food plan specifically says no canola oil.
Add the chopped stuff to the cubed sweet potatoes and toss with the dressing. Let it mellow for a little while in the fridge, and then enjoy with a friend or several.

Update: Sadly, Blaine lost his battle with cancer shortly before Thanksgiving of 2007. He is deeply missed by all who knew him.