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Meatless Monday: Gardener’s Pie

 

This isn’t a salad. It’s a vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie. And it is AWESOME. It reminds me of a really good pot pie.

 

Because I want to watch “Eastbound & Down” tonight, this’ll be a short one. I know you understand!

You know how I tend to describe my recipes as “really easy” and “simple?” Well, this one IS easy but it’s definitely a little more labor intensive as anyone who has ever made mashed potatoes knows. A friend of mine, who only had limited time after work, decided to use boxed mashed potatoes, so you can do that if you’re short on time!

Here’s what you need for the mashed potatoes:

and

POTATOES INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 c sour cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk (I used replacer)

1. Place the diced potatoes in a medium sized pot of water. Cover with salted, cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.

2. Mash the potatoes. Add the milk, butter, and sour cream and continue mashing until smooth.

Stir in egg replacer. Add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside!

 

Now for the filling!

VEGGIE FILLING INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
5 small carrots, finely chopped (or 3 large carrots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth (although I have a carton of Veggie Broth in the photo, at the last minute, I used my Vegetarian Chicken flavored Bullion & water. It tends to be a lot tastier than the Veggie Broth.)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 (14-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen shelled green peas

1. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large pot. Sautee onion & carrots for 4-5 minutes.

2. Add garlic, salt & pepper. Stir in flour, and keep cooking for another minute if you can!

3. Stir in tomato paste, broth, rosemary & thyme.

4. Bring mixture to a boil. Add kidney beans & reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until sauce thickens.

5. Stir in corn & peas.

6. Pour veggie mixture into an 11×7″ baking dish (or something close to that.)

7. Top with mashed potatoes, smoothing the edges with a spatula to prevent it bubbling up and over in the oven.
This looks soooooo good. It has butter & sour cream but do you know what it’s missing?

Cheese. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top if you have some. All it needs now is hot fudge to be the perfect meal!

8. Put baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and filling is bubbling.

Holy cow! When George got home I told him, “I just made the best dinner of my life.” to which he raised one eyebrow quizzically. Little did I know he was sick that night so I need to make it again for him. No problem!

The girls loved it.

“Here, YOU try it.”
Apparently, Bea is the Royal taster for her older sister.


She likes it!


And she’s still alive…

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Meatless Monday: Gardener’s Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Comfort food at its best! Who doesn’t love both these components? You will NOT miss the meat! Make this for your next Meatless Monday.
Ingredients
  • POTATOES INGREDIENTS:
  • 1½ pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • ⅓ c sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk (I used replacer)
  • VEGGIE FILLING INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 small carrots, finely chopped (or 3 large carrots)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I used my Vegetarian Chicken flavored Bullion & water)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 (14-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen shelled green peas
  • parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (OPTIONAL)

Instructions
  1. Place the diced potatoes in a medium sized pot of water. Cover with salted, cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
  2. Mash the potatoes. Add the milk, butter, and sour cream and continue mashing until smooth. Stir in egg replacer. Add salt & pepper to taste. Set aside!
  3. Pre-heat oven to 400.
  4. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large pot. Sautee onion & carrots for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic, salt & pepper. Stir in flour, and keep cooking for another minute if you can!
  6. Stir in tomato paste, broth, rosemary & thyme.
  7. Bring mixture to a boil. Add kidney beans & reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  8. Stir in corn & peas.
  9. Pour veggie mixture into an 11×7″ baking dish (or something close to that.)
  10. Top with mashed potatoes, smoothing the edges with a spatula to prevent it bubbling up and over in the oven.
  11. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top if you have some. All it needs now is hot fudge to be the perfect meal!
  12. Put baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  13. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before eating.

Notes
Keeps well for at least 3 days properly covered in the refrigerated. The leftovers are phenomenal!

 

Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

Simple Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

 

Sunday dreads sneaking up on me…you’d think after all these years I’d have come up with a strategy to deal with Sunday night?

Part of what makes me so blue on Sunday night is the imaginary (and real) To DO list in my head that I don’t seem to chip away at. Which is why I challenged myself to a salad a day in March. Knowing I’ve done one healthy thing for myself every day is a pick-me-up in itself. Anyway, make this salad & take it to lunch tomorrow. (Keep the dressing & croutons separate. Hell, skip the croutons or use store bought if you have no time to make them! But try to make them next time!)

 

If you are a Caesar salad purist (or snob), keep walking. Nothing to see here! This is a Caesar salad for people without much time, without any anchovies and who don’t want to eat raw eggs. (Though I have eaten and REALLY, REALLY enjoyed that kind of salad myself!) This is a Monday morning salad. Brighten up your lunch salad. Do something nice for yourself salad. Even when you’re in a rush salad.

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 hearts of Romaine

For the dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
5 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP mayonaise
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 c parmesan cheese

For croutons:
2 c of firmly packed bread cut into 1/2″ cubes (a crusty loaf is ideal)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
large pinch of salt

1. Cut the ends off the romaine and separate leaves into a large bowl. I used my salad spinner as even my wooden salad bowl is too small for these leaves.

2. In a small bowl, add half the minced garlic.

Add lemon juice, mayonnaise (sorry G!), olive oil & Worcestershire sauce to garlic and whisk together.

Isn’t this lemon gorge?? I picked it up at the Farmer’s Market yesterday after running like hell from the Cat in the Hat visit at the library. Kill me now.

While we’re on the topic of lemons, that reminds me, I picked up some limes at Trader Joe’s to make margaritas with last weekend. Trying to get juice from them was like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. Holy schmoley! I think we ended up drinking tequila & cointreau with a hint of lime.

3. Meanwhile, in another small bowl pour 1/4 c olive oil alone with the other half of the minced garlic. Let the garlic infuse the oil. Just push it aside and don’t give it another thought. That will be for your croutons.

4. Drizzle lettuce with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste and toss lightly. Use your hands if you have to and don’t have too many rings on which could be gnarly.

5. Drizzle some of the dressing (depending how much you like) over the lettuce and toss lightly again.

You can probably tell I added black pepper to the dressing but that’s b/c I like a lot of black pepper. Feel free to do that or not!

6. Sprinkle parmesan over lettuce and toss for the final time.

7. Back to the croutons. Are you with me? Drizzle remaining olive oil over bread cubes & toss with a large pinch of salt.

Spread out evenly on a baking sheet.

I baked them in my toaster oven since it was such a small amount. 375 for about 12 minutes. Taste one of the croutons after 12 minutes. If they are chewy, bake another 2 minutes. They should be crunchy.

8. Sprinkle croutons over lettuce. Serve!

Secret: The first time I made this I didn’t read the directions very closely and combined all the dressing ingredients at once: salt & pepper, olive oil, mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. I even threw in 1/4 c grated parmesan. It came out EXCELLENT!! Today I actually read the directions (except I did the croutons a different way that seemed less labor intensive to me) and it also came out excellent. In the printable recipe, I give you the fast way. After making it the second time, I think I prefer the way I made it the first time simply because it’s quicker.

Simple Caesar Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Simple, fresh Caesar salad to get your week started right! I sweet side salad for a luncheon or shower…
Ingredients
  • 3 hearts of Romaine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP mayonaise
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • ¼ c parmesan cheese
  • 2 c of firmly packed bread cut into ½” cubes (a crusty loaf is ideal)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • large pinch of salt

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375 (for croutons.)
  2. Chop ends off of Romaine hearts and separate leaves into a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 cloves minced garlic, lemon juice, 5 TBSP olive oil, 2 TBSP mayonaise, ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp salt and black pepper.
  4. Drizzle dressing over lettuce. Toss gently (can use your hands). Sprinkle parmesan cheese and toss again.
  5. Combine 2 cloves minced garlic to ¼ c olive oil and allow a few minutes for the garlic to infuse the oil. Drizzle over bread cubes and toss with a generous pinch of salt.
  6. Spread bread evenly on baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes. Test one crouton. Should be crunchy, not chewy. If it’s chewy, bake for another 2 minutes and test.
  7. Sprinkle croutons over lettuce and serve immediately.

 

Adapted from The Other Pamela Anderson

Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing

 

Everyone in the house is asleep. Even the dog.

The cat is outside fighting though. I just heard him. It’s 8:33PM.

Phew. I don’t know what to do with the PEACE. I guess I’ll just have a beer & unload the dishwasher. Which is like being at the SPA at this point!

Since we just did potato salad, I decided to post this broccoli slaw recipe I made back in December. Today I was out of the house all day and poor G is sick, sick, sick so I wasn’t able to make a new salad. But I’ve been meaning to post this one anyway since it was:

A. Easy

and

B. A success with the young-uns.

This is a great side dish. I served it with fried rice of all things (which was a weird paring but made sense since I wanted to use up my veg before leaving town). Not that you care about that…

This is really pretty, tasty & both my kids ate copious amounts of it which makes me love it.

Pardon the pictures. Not my best work. Taken at night. With my cell phone.

All ingredients are available at Trader Joe’s. Btw: this will go well with cabbage slaw too but Trader Joe’s happened to have the broccoli slaw ready to go.

Here’s all you need:

INGREDIENTS:
2 heads of broccoli OR 1 bag (undressed) broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s
1/3 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken (as usual, I had to MAKE buttermilk!)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Chop broccoli into small pieces (or using food processor.) Mine was pre-cut from Trader Joe’s. I prefer cutting it myself if I have time but I don’t always! Toss broccoli with red onion in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients with salt & pepper to taste.

Pour over broccoli. (If you used 2 whole heads, the dressing amount should be right. If you use a bag of pre-cut slaw from Trader Joe’s – use a little at a time. You should have some left over.)

3. Toss to coat & season with salt & pepper to taste.

Yummy additions:
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 stalks chopped celery

Kids liked it and they probably wouldn’t appreciate the “yummy” additions.


These kids eat like wild animals. Or don’t eat at all.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Easy, fresh salad!
Ingredients
  • SALAD
  • 2 heads of broccoli OR 1 bag (undressed) broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s
  • ⅓ small red onion, finely chopped
  • BUTTERMILK DRESSING
  • ½ cup buttermilk, well-shaken
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)

Instructions
  1. Chop broccoli into small pieces (or using food processor.) Mine was pre-cut from Trader Joe’s. I prefer cutting it myself if I have time but I don’t always! Toss broccoli with red onion in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Pour over broccoli. (If you used 2 whole heads, the dressing amount should be right. If you use a bag of pre-cut slaw from Trader Joe’s – use a little at a time. You should have some left over.)
  4. Toss to coat & season with salt & pepper to taste.

Notes
Yummy additions: ½ cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted ⅓ cup dried cranberries 2 stalks chopped celery

 

Coconut Lemongrass Soup

 

I know what you’re thinking!! “Christina, Coconut Lemongrass Soup has entirely too many ingredients for me! You can take this recipe & shove it.” To that, my honest reply is, “You’re correct! It’s a lot of effing ingredients!” (I dare you to make sense of effing, Auto-correct! D’OH!! It DID by turning “effing” into “offing”!” And you, Sir, are a formidable opponent.)

Use this recipe to challenge yourself to:
a) Dirty every pot/pan/measuring cup/knife & cutting board in your house.
b) Impress the checkout woman at Ralph’s with your slew of exotic ingredients,
c) Make a beautiful, yummy soup that is sure to impress!

All you need are these ingredients:

Hooo boy, that’s a lot of stuff!

This picture was so dark as a cloud was passing over the house at just that moment. I brightened it in Photoshop. It still looks weird/ugly. As my dad always says, try not to think about it. He’s a real softie.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Infusion:
1.5 c dry white wine
(4) 14.5 oz cans light coconut milk
12 cloves garlic, peeled & bruised
6 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces & bruised
12 slices fresh ginger
3 Thai chilis (cut lengthwise & seeded)

Ok. First you’re going to make the “infusion.” This is great news! You’ll make this, pop it in the fridge, and enjoy the rest of your evening with the whole bottle of dry white wine (less the 1.5 cups, mind you), Bravo TV and a massive pile of laundry to avoid.

THE INFUSION
Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let it sit for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is ideal. And more supportive of any Bravo habit.

NOTE: Wearing rubber gloves, I used 3 Thai chilis which I first sliced lengthwise, scraped out the seeds, and then chopped. Thai chilis are MORE THAN HOT. (If you don’t believe me, click that link & scroll down – Thai chilies merit a 5 chili pepper heat rating which is 1 chili pepper hotter than a Serrano chili pepper. D’OH!)

Slice ‘em lengthwise

To say these are hot is an understatement.

Get rid of these seeds. Unless you’re making this soup for an enemy. Oh yeah, and no matter how much your eye itches, do NOT SCRATCH YOUR EYE!

[Incidentally, the infusion can be stored in the fridge for up to a week in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, after straining it.]

Ok. Now for the soup!

INGREDIENTS
For the Soup:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 c minced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 teaspoons salt
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
2 c chopped cabbage
About 10 small mushrooms, quartered (feel free to do more if you like them!)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced in short strips
1/2 pound extra firm tofu, diced
1.5 c basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1-3 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp sugar

OPTIONAL: 10 kaffir lime leaves, torn
ALSO OPTIONAL:
Any veggies will be fine as substitutes: cauliflower, baby corn etc.

THE SOUP
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, saute about 4-5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic, ginger and half the salt for another minute or two.

2. Add the carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, and the rest of the salt and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

My advice: unless you want pink soup, do NOT use purple cabbage!

3. Add zucchini and bell pepper, cooking for another minute or two.

4. Strain the infusion into the soup, and heat to almost boiling.

5. Turn heat down to low and simmer for a few minutes.

6. Add the tofu, basil, lime juice, about 10 torn kaffir lime leaves (if you have ‘em!) & sugar.

7. Add cayenne & curry powder to taste. Another option if you have it: add fish sauce. Of course I didn’t have any fish sauce so I didn’t add any!

Oh my gosh! I love this soup but I loved it even more over the next two days. You may notice my finished soup has a pinkish hue to it. That became even more pronounced each day and was due to the purple cabbage. I used purple cabbage simply because I had it in my fridge already. You should use a non-purple cabbage. Unless you want pink soup!

SUBSTITUTIONS:
1. If you can’t get Thai chilis, you can use Jalapeños or Serranos. See the link I posted above about how to substitute them.
2. Don’t worry about the kaffir lime leaves if you can’t get them!
3. Lemon juice can replace the lime juice in a pinch.
4. Vegetables – feel free to throw any veggies you think will be good in there! I chose veggies for beauty, color, and convenience.

This soup will really wow your company! Maddie surprised me by picking out all the mushrooms. And then EATING them. What kid does this?

Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven. (Thank you, Nina!!)

 

Coconut Lemongrass Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6-8
 

Creamy, Thai-inspired soup with complex flavors. Happens to be vegan too!
Ingredients
  • 1.5 c dry white wine
  • 4) 14.5 oz cans light coconut milk
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled & bruised
  • 6 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2″ pieces and bruised
  • 12 slices fresh ginger
  • 3 Thai chilis (seeded & chopped)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups minced onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 c chopped cabbage (NOT PURPLE)
  • 10-20 small mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 red peppers, thinly sliced, in short strips
  • ½ pound extra firm tofu, diced
  • 1.5 c coarsely chopped basil
  • 1-3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • cayenne & curry powder to taste

Instructions
  1. Combine the wine, coconut milk, 12 cloves garlic, lemon grass, sliced fresh ginger & chilis in a large soup pot or Dutch oven & bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and leave to infuse for at least 2 hours. Overnight is ideal.
  2. NOTE: infusion will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Just strain it and put in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Now, for the soup, heat the oil at medium in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Saute the onion for about 4-5 minutes, or until it’s translucent. Add ginger for another minute. Add garlic for another minute stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, carrots & cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add zucchini & red pepper, cooking for another 2 minutes.
  5. Strain infusion into the pot and heat to almost boiling.
  6. Turn down & simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Add lime juice, tofu & kaffir lime leaves.
  8. Add 1 tsp sugar.
  9. Finally, add cayenne and/or curry powder to taste!
  10. ENJOY!!

Notes
I was eating this soup up to 5 days after making it and all the veggies held up really well. I would guess it’s good in the fridge for a week tops.

 

Alphabet Wall & Book Bags for Kids

Our friend Katarina made this for her son’s room. So cute! Stay tuned – I’ll attempt my own version with a how-to posting in the near future…(with her counsel of course.)

She got the letters from Michael’s & JoAnne’s Fabrics. Then she applied the patterns to them & stuck them to the wall with double sided tape.

While we were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the wall, we noticed some little bags hanging on a hook. Book bags! She took The Hungry Caterpillar and made a bag of what they call “realia” (real stuff) to give her son a richer understanding of the story as well as some additional tactile and visual related stimuli. This is soooooo cool!! (And cute!) Would you buy this if it were sold on Etsy? I would!

First, you got this little caterpillar. He’s hungry. VERY hungry.

He eats through a whole lot of stuff!

And gets BIG!

Builds his cocoon and turns into a BEAUTIFUL

Butterfly!

Katarina: you rock!

Bea had nothing to do with this but she DID like this box.



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