Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1885
Archive for July, 2012
Posted: July 30th, 2012

Sauteed Squash and Carrot Rounds, from the "Men Who Like To Cook," blog by David Latt, aren't just for men anymore.

Well, I don’t really want you to “squish” it. I just like that word.
Anyway, the issue at hand is four yellow squash sitting atop my toaster oven. Waiting. Waiting for me to get my butt in gear. Waiting to be appreciated, enjoyed and consumed. Not unlike ourselves, come to think of it.
Wow. Sorry — again — about that departure.
What I’m trying desperately to talk about is Garlic Sautéed Yellow Squash and Carrots.
It’s from a blog called "Men Who Like to Cook," written by a guy named David Latt.
I am not a man who likes to cook, but sometimes I get curious about those who are. Curious enough to subscribe to Latt’s newsletter.
It kind of reminds me of those Pepesi Maxx commercials that basically forbid women from drinking it. Kind of funny, actually. (She said as she downed her third Diet Coke.)
There I go again.
Bottom line: Eat your squash and I’ll eat mine.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 27th, 2012

Guacamole, add tomatoes, hold the mayo.

Some of my Loaves & Dishes recipes just stick in my head. Tomato Basil Pie, Sausage and Barley Soup, Blueberry Cheesecake Yum, I could go on.
We had a fiesta of sorts in the office today, with a taco bar complete with guacamole. I’d forgotten how much I love guacamole. Avocados are hot, hot, hot right now in restaurants (think Subway, think fine dining, think celebrity chefs) in food and health magazines, on TV cooking shows.
Trust me. Avocado growers are rolling in green.
Thousands of guacamole recipes crowd the Internet, and pretty decent prepared versions are showing up in supermarket produce sections, but this one, from Loaves in 2007, remains my favorite. Co-worker Sherry makes it all the time and she said people always ask for the recipe. She credits me, bless her, though I took it straight off of Allrecipes.
No matter its origin, its destination is always the bottom of my tummy.
3 avocados — peeled, pitted and mashed
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper, optional

1. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper.
2. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor. Serve with tortilla chips.
Makes 3 cups
Per 1/4 cup serving: 78 calories, 6.7 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 1 gram protein, 5.1 grams carbohydrate, 4.2 milligrams sodium
– www.allrecipes.com

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 26th, 2012

Muffins: Usually nutritional disaster; 'Nuffins: not so much.

I hate muffins, but not like in the same way that I would say I hate Brussels sprouts. I hate muffins because they’re so cute and innocent and sweet that I really want them. But there’s practically no way to make a muffin worth its cost in Weight Watchers Points. No matter how much applesauce and whole-wheat and fruit you pack in, they still come out to 4 or 5.
These I kind of made up based on an Allrecipes, er, recipe. They’re only 3 points.
I’ll admit they’re smaller than the regular white-flour-sugar-oil yummy breakfast ones I crave, but I really like that they don’t taste “whole-wheat-y” like some healthy muffins do. I think it’s the pastry flour.
They also have more flavor because I used my homemade (sweetened) applesauce, which is heavy on fall-favorite spices cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. You can use store bought applesauce and add — very small amounts of — these, if you like.
I wound up using Splenda Brown Sugar blend because I stumbled over half a bag of it when looking for something else in the pantry. Didn’t hurt the flavor a bit. Kind of turned me back on to using the stuff if I can hold my nose at the price.
I also added a sprinkle of crumb topping, made with 1 tablespoon melted butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a sprinkle of pecans. Divided over 18 muffins, the calorie addition was negligible, but the topping added a little decadent hint of the lethal kind of regular muffins. Which I “hate.”
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup 1 percent milk
1/2 cup sweetened applesauce
1 egg
2/3 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups or use paper muffin liners. Mix together whole wheat pastry flour and milk, and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, egg, brown sugar blend, and vanilla. Beat in pastry flour mixture.
3. Sift together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into bran mixture until just blended.
4. Fold in blueberries and pecans. Scoop into muffin cups.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 25th, 2012

Here's a kind of smoking you never have to quit.

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Fine Cooking: Comfort Food.” The winner is Pamela B. Roberts. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

If you are not Pamela B. Roberts, you are eligible to enter the drawing for “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods,” by Ted Reader.

To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS and NAME OF THE BOOK.

For those of you just here for the food, check this out. It’ll turn any slab of meat into a firecracker.
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup chili powder
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons hot dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne

1. In a large bowl, stir paprika, chili powder, kosher salt, coriander, garlic powder, sugar, curry powder, hot dry mustard powder, black pepper, basil, thyme, cumin and cayenne until well combined.
2. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark, place for up to 4 months. Use this rub on ribs,m pork, chicken or turkey.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
– “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Smoking Foods”

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 24th, 2012

Try Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs to celebrate National Tequila Day without the hangover.

Several lifetimes ago, I worked at an Applebee’s as a server. I made more there than at my “real” job editing a weekly paper. (Which meant doing everything but deliver the darned thing.)
To this day, I can’t go into an Applebee’s without stressing out. The best thing about the job, other than the cash, was the Tequila Lime Chicken. That stuff was awesome. I never figured out how they made it, mostly because I didn’t want that knowledge to ruin the experience of eating it.
We always got weird questions from people asking about the “tequila” part, though, so I wasn’t surprised to see they changed it to Fiesta Lime Chicken or some such thing.
Haven’t tried it since, but the original dish came to mind when I saw this one, which I’d like to try the next time I have tequila in the house.
By the way, this is National Tequila Day. And National Make-This-and-Take-It-to-Jennie Day. Feel free to celebrate.

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup tequila
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cooking spray

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating, turn the left burner off.
(Leave the right burner on).
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; rub evenly over chicken.
3. Combine pineapple juice, tequila, and honey in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Combine cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, and stir well. Add cornstarch mixture to juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in lime rind, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and red pepper.
4. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray over right burner (direct heat). Cover and grill 5 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with juice mixture. Move chicken to grill rack over left burner (indirect heat). Cover and grill an additional 5 minutes on each side or until done, basting occasionally.
Makes 6 thighs
Per serving: 241 calories, 7.6 grams fat, 18 grams protein, 17.2 grams carbohydrate, 0.4 gram fiber, 64 milligrams cholesterol, no sodium
– www.oxmoorhouse.com/WaytoCookGrilling

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 23rd, 2012

Turn a shelf full of bananas into a freezer full of "ice cream." No fancy machine required.

Today’s “recipe” is so simple, I’m almost embarrassed. But its potential addition to my life cannot be be overstated.
Weight Watchers taught me years ago to simply stay away from my “red-light foods,” or foods around which I can’t control myself. I sort of follow that rule. As in avoiding-everything-except-my-own-chocolate-chip-cookies rule.
My real problem, though, starts with my proximity to ice cream.
Cookies are only a few WW Points apiece. Ice cream, eaten by the half-gallon, costs considerably more, especially when you factor in wardrobe replacement.
This might just be the answer: Pureed frozen bananas.
If you haven’t heard of the Yonana machine, running at roughly $50 to $70, get out from under that rock. It can turn a banana into soft serve “ice cream” in a matter of seconds.
Believe it. It’s soft, creamy, sweet and takes easily to topping.
Now believe this: You don't need a Yonana.
You need frozen bananas and a food processor. Add in anything you want, strawberries, blueberries, chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, pineapple topping, butterscotch topping, marshmallow topping, nuts, peanut butter, all of the above.
Better yet, none of the above. You’ll have to have it plain at least once. Just to appreciate its genius.

Slice the bananas before you freeze them!!!!
(Slicing frozen bananas could get you killed.)

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 20th, 2012

This is not an optical illusion. Just kind of a hard-to-read photo of an easy-on-the-eyes recipe for Caramelized-Onion and Gorgonzola Grilled Pizza from www.gourmet.com.

Just reading the recipe name “Caramelized-Onion and Gorgonzola Grilled Pizza” makes me shudder with anticipation.
You might knit your brow when confronted with the concept of grilled pizza, but it’s not only possible, but delicious — and FAST.
If you make it, be warned that grilled pizza is kind of like a stir fry in that you have to have everything ready before you start grilling, and stand there without distraction, tools in hand, because crust will go from charred to burnt in a matter of seconds.
The best — and most time-consuming — part of this recipe is the caramelized onions. Yes, they take at least 20 minutes, but if you’ve never done that, trust that it’s worth every second. Their rich, roasted flavor makes everything better: A charred crust, warm beer, a bad day, everything.
If you want to know more about them, read the July 25, (Wednesday’s) Loaves & Dishes column, about CARAMELIZED-POBLANO-CHILE-AND-ONION DIP.
To pair that smoky loveliness with tangy Gorgonzola is simply brilliant. I’m so glad I thought of it — while reading a strikingly similar (the actual) recipe on www.gourmet.com.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 19th, 2012

Sweet corn is arriving. When you get tired (?) of butter and salt, try this from The Daily Meal.

Writing my blog when I’m hungry is kind of a bad idea. Everything looks good, and I spend minutes upon minutes deciding which thing looks better.
I finally just decided to include both of these recipes from The Daily Meal, since one of the wonders of the Internet is that there’s virtually unlimited space.
I wish the same could be said of my day. And my tummy. I’d go straight home and make this stuff.
Solution: I’m armed and ready for a Saturday night date with my kitchen.
We’ll start with Herby Pesto Pasta Salad with Chard. Get that in the fridge for a while to let the flavors get to know each other. Then Curried Corn on the Cob, with some of that early sweet corn about which I’ve heard tell.
I have some boneless pork chops. I can sprinkle them with some new Citrus-sy seasoning I just got.
Great. Just great. Now I’m starving.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 18th, 2012

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for “Fine Cooking Italian.” The winner is Jill C. Luden. I’ll pop it in the mail today.

Get lost in some challenging recipes, and eat your rewards.

If you are not Jill C. Luden, you are eligible to enter the drawing for “Fine Cooking Comfort Food: 200 Delicious Recipes for Soul-Warming Meals.” It’s another keeper from the people at Fine Cooking magazine.
Word to the wise: The book is for cooks who like a challenge.
To enter, send an e-mail to jennie.geisler@timesnews.com , including your NAME, MAILING ADDRESS, and TITLE OF THE BOOK you want. I’ll pick a name next Wednesday.

I do want to use this space to let you know I left an ingredient out of my recipe for Raspberry-Chocolate Bars in this morning’s paper. It’s a 14-ounce can fat-free sweetened condensed milk. The link above will send you to the corrected version

For those of you just here for the food, here’s the simplest recipe I could find in “Comfort Food.” (Most of them are at least twice as long, and I’m too lazy to type them in.)

Kosher salt
8 ounces (1/2 pound) medium pasta shells
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dry sherry, optional
6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 slice stale bread, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until just tender following the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, combine the cream, sherry (if using) and 5 ounces of Gorgonzola in a medium saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until the cheese is almost melted, about 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta when done, return it to its pot, and add the cheese sauce.
3. Stir over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and nuts and sprinkle the topping over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 1 ounce Gorgonzola.
4. If you like, brown the casserole under a broiler very close to the flame until crunchy and browned, 2 minutes.
– “Fine Cooking Comfort Food”

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 17th, 2012

Zucchini Soup uses 9 cups of the prolific squash. No more complaining about having too much.

I don’t understand the vitriol with which people assault innocent zucchini. Maybe it’s just so common to complain about it that its arrival presents us a rare chance to rail against vegetables without feeling guilty.
Yes, it’s prolific and it’s hard to figure out what to do with it all. But it’s so versatile, its flavor so subtle, texture so creamy, its prep so simple, I actually herald its arrival in local vegetable patches (though not my own. I don’t have the space for vining stuff, but I’m happy to partake of the bushels of it provided by my co-worker and favorite vegetable gardener Pat Cuneo).
I made a pureed soup with it for Loaves & Dishes in 2002 that I popped into my head this morning, and now it’s ballooned into a full-blown craving.

11/2 teaspoons olive oil
11/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
9 cups (1-inch) sliced zucchini,(about 21/2 pounds)
5 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground blackpepper

1. Heat oil in a 2-quart stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add zucchini, broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until zucchini is very tender. Let stand 5 minutes.
2. Place half of the zucchini mixture in a blender; cover tightly, and process until smooth. Pour pureed zucchini mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini mixture. Place pureed zucchini mixture in pan. Cook over low heat five minutes or until thoroughly heated. Keep warm.
Makes 10-12 cups
n Per 1 cup: 43 calories, .5 gram fat, 2.7 grams fiber.
– adapted from Cooking Light
UPDATE: Making this the evening of July 18, 2012, I replaced most of the pepper with a teaspoon of Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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