Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best Hummus Ever

Hummus Platter
I learned how to make hummus originally from a Greek fellow named, Sammy.  He was also my boss at a cafe I worked at when I was a teenager and he offered the best advice for ANY hummus recipe, you can never blend hummus too long, but too short and it will taste like paste.  I have since refined the recipe but followed his words of advice and it is always a huge hit at family gatherings and parties.  I recommend serving it with toasted pita bread brushed with olive oil or as shown in the photo above, with a mix of crackers and cheese.
Serves 10 - 16.

  • 2, 15 oz. cans Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 6 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to dress)
  • Fresh Chopped Parsley (to dress)
  • Paprika (to dress)
  1. Drain beans, reserving liquid.
  2. In a food processor, blend beans and all ingredients with 1/4 cup reserved bean liquid. Add more liquid slowly through feed tube as needed to reach desired consistency. 
  3. Chill in refrigerator (best if allowed at least 4 hours for flavors to mesh).
  4. Pour onto plate. Bake a shallow well and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Top with parsley and paprika. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in Tupperware for up to one week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Classic Beef Stroganoff

Classic Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles
A classic creamy beef stroganoff with mushrooms and egg noodles by Better Homes & Gardens.
Serves 4.

  • 12 oz. Boneless Beef Sirloin
  • 8 oz. Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Instant Beef Bouillon Granules
  • 2 cups White Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 White Onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Egg Noodles
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • Salt to taste
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. Partially freeze beef for easier slicing. Thinly slice beef across the grain into bite size strips.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and flour till well combined into a paste.
  4. Stir in bouillon, water and black pepper, set aside.
  5. In a large skillet, cook and stir the sliced beef, mushrooms and onion in butter over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness. 
  6. Drain off excess fat, return meat mix to skillet.
  7. Stir in sour cream mix to skillet, cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  8. Cook and stir for 1 minute more, serve over noodles or mix with noodles and serve.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Homemade Tartar Sauce

Pan fried Chive Butter Halibut with homemade Tartar Sauce
Tartar sauce is so easy to make and always tastes better than store bought versions and can last 3 - 4 weeks in the fridge by Lacey Johnston.
Makes 1 cup
  • 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Midget Sweet Pickles, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Sweet Pickle Juice
  • 2 tbsp Shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh Dill, finely chopped
  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients till well combined with spoon.
  2. Refrigerate a minimum 2 hours (6 hours is better), serve alongside fish, fries or on a sandwich.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mixed Fruit & Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Mixed Fruit and Brown Sugar Oatmeal
A classic hot oatmeal with dried fruit and brown sugar by Lacey Johnston.
Serves 2

  • 1 cup Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 tbsp Dried Cranberries
  • 1 tbsp Golden Raisins
  • 1 tbsp Dried Cherries
  • 1 tbsp Dried Blueberries
  • 2 Dried Prunes, chopped
  1. In a tall pot, bring water and salt to a boil, add oats and reduce heat to a simmer (caution as oats will rise in pot, keep an eye on it).
  2. Cook 12 - 20 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally.
  3. Cover and remove from heat, let stand 3 minutes.
  4. Add brown sugar and fruit, serve.

Fluffy Cheesecake

Fluffy Cheesecake
This is a simple, no-bake cheesecake by my best friend Marchelle.  Not a traditional cheesecake, as the texture is much more fluffy and light, serve as is or with a berry topping.
Makes 2 pies

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 8 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk 
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Graham Cracker Crust
  1. In a large bowl, cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Add condensed milk, vanilla and lemon juice, mix till smooth and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream till soft peaks form (for best results, refrigerate metal bowl and whisks before hand).
  4. Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese filling, till combined.
  5. Pour into crusts, refrigerate overnight to set. 
  6. Top with fresh berries before serving (if desired).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Iced Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
A classic oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips, raisins and brown butter icing by Lacey Johnston (icing by Paula Deen).
Makes 30 - 40 cookies.

  • 3/4 cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1/2 cup Golden Raisins
  • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chunks
  • 2 tbsp Whole Milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375* degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer till fluffy (about 1 minute).
  3. Add brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves, mix till combined.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, mix till combined.
  5. Beat in half the flour, mix till combined.
  6. Add the other half of the flour, mix till combined (batter will be thick).
  7. Add milk and fold in oats with wooden spoon.
  8. Fold in raisins and chocolate chunks.
  9. Using two spoons, place spoonful's on ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart.
  10. Baking for 8 - 10 minutes or until edges just begin to brown (overcooking will result in dry, hard cookies).
  11. Let cool on wire rack.
  12. Meanwhile, for icing, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. 
  13. Cook till golden, stirring frequently, about 3 - 5 minutes.
  14. Remove from heat, add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (best if sifted), 1 tbsp vanilla and 2 tbsp water.
  15. Whisk till smooth and drizzling consistency, add more water if necessary.
  16. Drizzle over the top of cooled cookies.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Braised Pork with Rosemary Sugar and Cranberry Relish

Braised pork with rosemary sugar and cranberry relish
A very festive dish, in both cooking and presentation with a pork tenderloin with a rosemary sugar rub and orange cranberry relish by Lacey Johnston.
Serves 4

  • 1 lb. Pork Tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 6 cloves Garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 8 Green Onions, cut into 2" lengths
  • 2 Carrots, cut into matchsticks (optional)
  • 12 oz. Cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  1. Preheat oven to 350* degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the sugar, rosemary, salt, pepper and ginger.
  3. Add the pork, turn to coat, rub well with rosemary sugar.
  4. Meanwhile, in a non-stick Dutch oven or roasting pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the pork to the pan, along with the garlic, cook 2 minutes per side (for 4 turns), remove pork and set aside on plate.
  6. Add the scallions and carrots to the pan, cook for 3 minutes or until the carrots begin to color (if skipping the carrots, add scallions for 30 seconds, stirring frequently).
  7. Stir the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cranberries, orange juice and bay leaf into the pan, bring to a boil.
  8. Return the pork to the pan, reduce to a simmer, cover with lid or foil (if using roasting pan).
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until pork is 160* degrees internally.
  10. Remove pork from pan and let rest for 5 - 10 minutes before slicing.
  11. Remove and discard the bay leaf, slice pork into 1" rounds.
  12. Serve the pork with carrots and top with cranberry relish.
Pork prior to baking in oven - without carrots

Monday, December 5, 2011

Porcini & Asparagus Penne

Porcini & Asparagus Penne
A simple pasta dish with earthy vegetables, lightly tossed in a garlic Parmesan sauce by Lacey Johnston.
Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup Porcini Mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 cups Penne
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package direction, drain and set aside.
  2. Using same pot, add olive oil over high heat.
  3. Saute mushrooms and asparagus 4 minutes or until mushrooms are browned and asparagus is tender.
  4. Add garlic, cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Add butter, lemon juice and Parmesan, return pasta to pan.
  6. Toss to coat, salt & pepper to taste.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Hamlamburger with cheddar, lettuce, onion and tomato
Hamburgers made of 1/2 beef and 1/2 lamb, a more flavorful twist on a summer time classic by Lacey Johnston.
Serves 4

  • 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1/2 lb. Ground Lamb
  • 1 piece Toast (preferably potato or white bread), finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/8 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp A1 Steak Sauce
  1. Mix all ingredients with hands in a large bowl.
  2. Roll into 4 balls, make 4 patties, pressing thumb into middle of each.
  3. Over medium-high heat, in a non-stick skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  4. Cook for 4 - 5 minutes.
  5. Flip and place cheese on top (if desired), cook 4 - 5 minutes more.
  6. Set on paper towels to drain excess fat before serving.
  7. Top with lettuce, tomato, onion and condiments of your choosing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Restaurant Review: Oswego Grill

Oswego Grill
Location Visited: Wilsonville OR USA

The Oswego Grill has two locations in Oregon, the original in Lake Oswego and the newly opened location in Wilsonville.  They serve lunch and dinner and I have not yet dined as a dinner guest but have gone twice for lunch and the crowd is mostly business professionals and middle - upper class suburbanites.  I would not recommend this restaurant for young children.  The atmosphere is dark, dark wood tones accompanied by dark greens and black, booths with more of a 'mood lighting' and black cloth napkins (it may seem like a small thing but their napkins are terribly cheap.  While they are cloth, which is preferable, the fabric seems to smear rather than absorb and leaves you feeling like you need to wash your hands after you finish eating).

Starter - Iceberg Wedge Salad
Their Iceberg Wedge Salad with apple wood smoke bacon, blue cheese dressing and blue cheese crumbles is massive.  The lettuce is fresh and crisp, the bacon is smoky and the blue cheese is abundant and pleasantly subtle.  I can only eat half of this, you could practically have it as an entree but the price is very reasonable, something to the tune of $6.

Lunch Entree - Widmer Beer Battered Fish & Chips
A great, classic cod fish & chips.  The fish is the star with a good fish to batter ratio.  The batter is crisp and flavorful without overpowering the soft fish flavor. The french fries are partially skin-on, well fried and seasoned.  I did move my fish off of my fries right away so the fries didn't get soggy underneath the fish however.  Comes with a house made tartar sauce, which was pretty good but nothing to remember.  The coleslaw was terrible, some of the most bland coleslaw I have ever eaten, had two bites and pushed it aside.

Dessert - Strawberry Shortcake
An old-fashioned classic, reinvented for the fine dining experience. Made with fresh strawberries, scratch made biscuits and fresh whip cream.  The biscuit was sugar coated which was quite nice, the strawberries were sweet and the strawberry sauce was wonderful, helping to moisten the dry biscuit.  I did find myself wanting more whip cream, due to the biscuit being a bit dry and the large amount of strawberries served with it.

My overall thoughts, I enjoyed the meal quite a bit.  The food was consistent both times I have visited and I would go again.  Not sure if I would order the strawberry cheesecake again, I think it is one of those dishes that looks better than it tastes, but overall, good food and good atmosphere.