Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

In the Canaries

In the Canaries
Los Gigantes - Princess Bride movie site

Luke

Luke
At the Beach in LA

Michael

Michael
11 years old

Friday, March 28, 2014

CARROT CABBAGE SLAW - My new favorite salad





I am back in Utah now but I still have a few recipes that I created in the Canaries.  This salad is our new favorite.  I actually make it for us several times a week.  It is easy to make in any size batch.  If you like crunchy chewing, packed with flavors and texture this will satisfy.  My young adult group and the missionaries both liked this.

To make the dressing drain a can of pineapple chunks (big can for big salad little for little salad)  Sometimes I make up a jar of dressing using some small cans of pineapple juice so it is ready when I need it.

For every 1/2 Cup of juice stir in 1 scant T. cornstarch, 1-2 tsps. sugar and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk for 1 minute.  Cool.  If you are in a hurry pour into a shallow dish and put in the freezer to cool.  It will be very thick when cool.  If I am serving this to guests I will add equal parts of mayonnaise,  for us I will add less.  You will need to whip this together. 

Grate carrots and chop cabbage to make equal parts.  Add the pineapple chunks, dried cranberries and when ready to serve add some salted cashews and stir in the dressing until nicely moistened...crunch away.

 

Monday, March 10, 2014

AREPAS

The islands have many people from various countries in South America.  Arepas come from Venezuela and Columbia.  Many restaurants, some called Apreparias, sell them here and you can buy them on the street from those little food carts.  Unfortunately, we have never eaten any of the local fair, but I did some research on Pinterest and made a batch.  You can't buy cornmeal here but Arepas are made from a fine, white cornmeal called Pan, which you can get in America but maybe not everywhere.  I don't know yet.  We have a young adult from Venezuela in our group who agreed to make them for our activity and demonstrate the process.
 
Our friend Adriana making Arepas

This is the Pan corn flour and the patties waiting for baking.  I was glad I could watch Adriana make them.  She had a bowl of water that she dipped her fingers in to smooth the tops and edges to make them beautiful.  Mine looked rough but they tasted just as good.  She first made a smooth round ball and then patted it to flatten to a little bigger than 1/2 inch and then smoothed the edges with the water.
 
 
This is a photo from Pinterest showing them baking on the dry griddle.  Adriana likes to do them in a frying pan with a lid and someone in the class likes to fry them with oil.  The first ones I made I used a little butter and we may have liked them better. 
These are some of the Arepas we made on the day of our activity, about 40.

The sky's the limit for stuffing them (photo from Pinterest).  We used Pulled Chicken some  refried beans, tomatoes, and guacamole.  I have been eating the leftovers heated in the microwave with some cheese and then adding sliced avocado and tomatoes, yumm.  If I could get pepper jack I would use that. When cutting them, after baking, it works best just to slice a pocket for filling.  Pinterest has everything imaginable made with them, including pizza crust that looked kinda good.  This would be an great alternative for the gluten intolerant.

In a medium glass mixing bowl add and microwave until warm:
2 1/2 C. water
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. vegetable oil
Add:
2 C. Pan corn meal
Let sit for 5 minutes or so to let the meal absorb the water, knead a little and then form the patties.  Some recipes call for baking them for 15 minutes after browning on the stove, but if you put the lid on the pan and bake slowly turning often, I don't think it is necessary, but they can be reheated in the oven before serving.  The ideal is a crusty outside with a soft center.  Adriana makes up some dough and keeps it in the refrigerator and bakes them fresh what she wants to eat then, which sounds good to me.  They are very hearty and filling.


Monday, March 3, 2014

HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLAS

One of our Young Adults wanted to make flour tortillas so I went on a search for a new recipe.  I had posted one on this blog years ago but it had shortening and I don't use it anymore, plus you can't buy it in the Canaries.   I am very pleased with this recipe.  It doesn't take long to whip up a dozen.  It will be hard to buy commercial tortillas again.   We all made 5 batches on our activity night with the group.  Then we ate them with pulled chicken or nutella.  It was a great evening.  The recipe calls for 1 tsp. of baking powder, but I tried them without because usually no one has baking ingredients here.  They were fine without the baking powder but I think they are better with it. I also made them with half whole wheat flour and they were very good.

Add in a medium glass bowl and heat until warm in the microwave:
1 C. water
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. vegetable oil

Add, stir and knead for 1 minute:
3 C. white flour or half whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Roll into a 12 inch roll.  Cut in half, in half again and then in thirds.

Roll until a good 8 inches or so and bake on both sides in a non stick pan until lightly spotted.  




Thursday, February 20, 2014

THE BARCHESTER CHRONICLES





I am definitely hooked on Anthony Trollop.  I said in other reviews of his books that the only reason he is not as popular as Dickens or Austen is that his novels are too long and most readers don’t want to tackle that much.  For someone who pumped out 47 novels I think he might have wanted to pare them down a little so he could write more.  But I can tell he fell in love with his characters and wanted every inch of them revealed and then he couldn’t bear to give them up.  This was never so evident as it was in The Last Chronicles of Barchester, the winding up of his Barchester series that included The Warden, Barchester Towers, Framley  Parsonage, The Small House at Allington and The Last Chronicle of Barset.  He finished this last book musing about his fictional area of Barset:  But to me Barset has been a real county, and its city a real city, and the spires and towers have been before my eyes, and the voices of the people are known to my ears, and the pavement of the city ways are familiar to my footsteps. That I have been induced to wander among them too long by my love of old friendships, and by the sweetness of old faces, is a fault for which I may perhaps be more readily forgiven….”

Having read each of these novels with joy I understand his feelings.   Each novel stands alone except the last chronicle.  In this book all the characters from the series are brought back, linking their lives more closely.  He introduced a few new people and a small sub plot that detracted, in my opinion…not sure why he did it. 

If you read reviews of Trollop’s books on Goodreads or Amazon you will find that they are adored by many, who admit to reading a good chunk of his 47 books.  I might end up being one of them.  If you love Victorian English literature, he satisfies.  He has a keen understanding of human nature, and I might say women in particular.  None of his villains are all evil.  He always points out their redeeming qualities.  And all of his heroes have some character flaws.  Most of his plots have happyish endings but not all end up as you might want or think they should.   Each book has many subplots going on at the same time with lives intertwining. (His books are perfect "Downtown Abby" miniseries) Trollop likes to tell you who the hero and heroine are so you can pay close attention to their story.  And sometime he can’t resist doing a little story spoiler, before necessary.  

There are some old BBC productions of some of his books, that I have watched, but none of them caught my fancy like the novels.   I would like to see some tried again.


Monday, February 3, 2014

POTATO AVOCADO AND WHITE BEAN SALAD

After seeing a potato salad with avocados and white beans on Pinterest I decided that it might work for me with a little tweaking.  I have made potato salad with hard boiled eggs in the Canaries, but I don't like the flavor of eggs here.  Sometimes they are OK but sometimes they are very eggy.  They don't refrigerate their very brown eggs here, but I do as soon as I get home.  I read why and it is kinda crazy to me.  They don't wash their eggs because they want to prove that they are clean as is.  I guess they don't factory farm with chickens, which is good.  In America we wash eggs in case they might have salmonella.   I liked this combination for a change.  Potatoes are grown in the Canaries and they aren't washed either plus your bag has a dozen different sizes. 



I make a version of this Ranch Dressing very often for dipping vegetables and as a salad dressing.  You can't get buttermilk or ranch dressing here.  We love this and so do the missionaries and the young adults.  I will continue to use Greek yogurt even when I can get buttermilk.  It is much richer and thicker.

RANCH DRESSING for this salad
1 Cup of mayonaise
1  Cup of Greek yogurt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 -1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1 tsp. oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. cumin powder for this salad but I usually add 1 tsp. of dry basil
Sometimes I add 1/2 C. Parmesan cheese but not for this.

Boil the amount of potatoes you want with the jackets on until tender.  Red potatoes would work and you wouldn't need to peel them, just cube when done.  For any other potato peel and cube. and cool to at least room temp.

Drain the amount of soft white beans you want to add, about 1 can per 4 Cups of potatoes.  Add about 2 diced avocados (barely ripe is better for this...if too ripe they smoosh in the dressing, which is OK too.  Add about 1/2 C. chopped cilantro or fresh parsley. (my husband doesn't like cilantro and he didn't say anything about it here.)  Add some Ranch Dressing to moisten as desired.  Add salt to taste.   Chill and eat.




Sunday, January 19, 2014

PUMPKIN FOCCACIA

I can't buy canned pumpkin here but I can cook something that looks like pumpkin.  I put the chunks in the crock pot until soft, scrape the meat off the skin and let it sit in a colander to get most of the water off or stir in a pot to evaporate the water.  I use my immersion blender to get it smooth.  I can do this at home but I am too lazy.  Then I made one cup pumpkin packages for the freezer.  I saw a Pumpkin Foccacia this week and decided that I could adapt my Crusty Foccacia Bread and make it with pumpkin for my missionaries.  It is awesome and they loved it.



Mix Together:
1 1/2 C. water to a large bowl. (I like to use glass)
1 generous tsp. instant yeast
1/4 C. lt. brown sugar

Stir in:
1 C. pumpkin
2 C. Flour

Add:
2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. Veg. oil
A generous 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg (Just the nutmeg is nice for a change)
Stir in: 3 more cups of flour and mix well
Put a plate on the top and let it sit on the counter overnight.  Bake any time the next day

If you want it today use warm water and set in an oven that you have warmed for 1 minute and leave for 4-6 hours.

When ready to bake pour into a well sprayed small sided cookie sheet or use release foil.  You want to get it out of the pan easily when it is done.   Warm the oven for 1 minute again and let it raise for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and poke holes in the top with a small handled wooden spoon dipped in your melted butter (next step).

Mix together 2 T. white sugar and 2 T. brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg.  Melt 1/4 C butter  and stir in 3 T. honey until mixed well and spread on the top, Sprinkle the nuts and press into the butter with a spatula (you want the nuts to stick while baking.  I used sliced almonds.)  Sprinkle with the  sugar mixture.  If you are not using nuts just double the sugar and skip the honey)

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Don't turn upside down out of the pan because the nuts will fall off.   This will make 20 generous pieces.











Wednesday, January 1, 2014

FAVORITE RECIPES 2013


I have spent the year in the Canary Islands cooking a lot for Young Adults and Missionaries.  In spite of the many cooking problems I have here I  have discovered a few recipes, that I will continue to make on a regular basis, in my cooking life.

Crusty Foccacia Bread
 Sometimes I make this bread 3 times a week.  It is amazingly easy, makes 16 big pieces, is great for sandwiches and adored by young adults and missionaries.
 
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake
 Missionaries love anything peanut butter and this is always a big hit.


Parmesan Semolina Dumplings
I don't make  this for missionaries or my husband, but for myself...my favorite lunch


Cornbread Taco Salad
This is a little different taco salad  for a summer picnic, which can be made ahead easily.

Crock Pot Pulled Chicken Tacos
This Recipe  is so easy and delicious for a taco salad, tacos, burritos or a taco casserole.  I have also used bar-b-Que sauce to cook the chicken for making sandwiches .


The Best Chocolate Cake
This Cake is as easy as a box cake and everyone loves it.  I make a cake for all the
missionary birthdays and this is the favorite (The Valor Cocoa here is awesome)


Peanut Butter Poke Cake

 This cake is  Peanut butter  creamy and delicious made using The Best Chocolate Cake recipe. 


Jewel Roasted Potatoes
 I actually made this potato dish before coming on the mission.  Beets are hard to find here and I don't have a good roasting oven so I haven't made them, but can't wait to return home and make them again.  They are pretty and delicious.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Poke Cake





When I finish this mission I may be able to write a cake recipe book.   This cake makes 16 generous peaces, but today I had to squeeze 17 out of it to feed all the Tenerife missionaries + one from Gran Canaria.  They loved it and so did we.  Mike doesn't always like peanut butter things but he did like this.  This was a recipe idea I found on Pinterest but I altered it a lot. 

First  I made The Best Chocolate Cake I baked it in my 12 inch square pan.  Something bigger than 9x13 would be better.  While the cake is baking I made the Peanut Butter Pudding.



Peanut Butter Pudding
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. white sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 C. cornstarch
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix milk,sugars, peanut butter and cornstarch together in a saucepan and cook stirring until it begins to boil.  Add a little of the hot pudding to the egg yolks and stir, then add to the mixture and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Add the butter and vanilla. 

When the cake is baked poke holes in the top with a wooden spoon about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Pour the pudding over the warm cake and spread over the top.  Bump the pan, a little, so the pudding settles in the holes.  Chill the cake for a few hours or overnight.

Whip 1 pint of cream until stiff with 6 T. powdered sugar.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 Tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding mix.  This will stabilize the cream.  I always keep some vanilla instant pudding on hand for my whipped cream.  It will stay stable for days when added to whipped cream.   Add some grated chocolate to the top or some finely chopped chocolate chips.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

UNDER A LEAFLESS TREE - BOOK REVIEW

 

 The Story of a Mormon Girl from East Prussia



Heidi Parker sent me a link to this book recently because we are fellow writers of family stories and this is a beautiful personal memoir about life and family.  I am serving a mission in the Canary Islands right now but, through the glory of the internet, I downloaded the Kindle version.  I can sneak a little time here and there for worthwhile reading. 
 
One of my favorite books is one reviewed years ago by Heidi,  German Boy  and this was another glimpse into the personal lives of the German people during World War II.   The tragedies of war both physical and emotional play out in both of these stories.  This was especially poignant because Helga told her story as a Mormon girl and I felt her faith, and the way the Lord guided the LDS community in Germany at this time, to help each other.  I had a strong sense of how important that group of saints were to each other and how difficult for those that did not have such a faith based community.  I enjoyed the pieces of Helga’s diary, at the end of the book, where she told of the fasting, praying and singing they did together.  How do you get through these things without the Lord and human support? 

I had so many thoughts about Helga’s life, her mistakes, her divorce, even though she was trying to do the right things, she still made mistakes and her trials continued, even when the “war” ended.  But she never lost her faith and God never stopped helping her, and that is the beautiful thing.  And then she got married again at 91 and felt so joyful still!  For me, who is fast becoming an old lady, I love her aging spunk and ability to tell her story.  We never want to lose that.  The writing is simple and straight forward but I felt her voice, at times I even heard her German accent.   It was a good, uplifting read.  

Helga’s Life before the war: 
"We went to my grandparents’ apartment in between Sunday School and sacrament meeting….It seems like the days or the hours didn’t go by fast.  Somebody was at the piano, and we sang the whole hymnbook, one song after the other.  Do you think we were happy?  We were!  How do I explain that it was heaven on earth."

After losing her grandparents and aunt in a fire bombing:  "It was quite a heartache to lose three at once.  Anyway, we took it.  We had to take it.  There was no other way.  What can you do?  You have to live.  You have to go on.

"We fought for life.  We were heartbroken.  We cried and we were sad, but we didn’t need everybody to come to support us.  Nobody was there.  Nobody had time.  We have gone through certain things, and we have the feeling of it.  We know how it is when the bombs are falling and something is burning and somebody dies."


Saturday, November 30, 2013

CARROT APPLE CAKE WITH VINEGAR DIP

My favorite Thanksgiving desert is Carrot Pudding.  I am sure I have made it every Thanksgiving of my married life.  This year, in the Canaries, it seemed more difficult so I decided to make this cake with some carrots and a few changes.  I served it with the Vinegar Dip that I make with the steamed pudding (the sauce is the star of this show).  It was delicious and so moist and fruity. It is much easier than the steamed carrot pudding.  I will definitely make it again



    Cake: 
    6 T. melted butter
    2 T. vegetable oil
    1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    3 packed cups peeled, cored and grated apple 
    I used fuji.  It is OK to get some grated apple peel into it.
    1 C. fine grated carrots.
    Beat together the first 4 ingredients and stir in the rest.  Bake 350 for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of pan.
    Vinegar Dip
    2 cups of water
    ½ cup cider vinegar
    1 cup sugar
    3 T. Cornstarch
    1 tsp. Cinnamon
    ¼ tsp. Salt
    2 T. butter

    Bring all ingredients to a boil stirring constantly and you are ready to serve.  I have 2- 12 inch square pans I bake all my cakes in here. (I plan to bring them home.)