I’m cooking today…

HAPPY EASTER!!

I have this fantasy about writing a cookbook.  It really would be perfect for me…incorporating the three things I love to do: photography, cooking, and writing.  The problem is, I RARELY use recipes, most of what I cook is straight from my head. I don’t measure…cooking for me is an art form, it’s very instinctive.

But I’m going to try.  And since I have all afternoon today to just cook and play, I’m going to attempt to write out the recipes for what I am making.

Be warned… I’m drinking while I cook, so this may get messy!  And I’m making everything one dish at a time so I can photograph the steps.  So THIS POST will update as the day does on.

If you decide to make anything using my recipes, LET ME KNOW!!  I’d love to know how it works out for you 🙂

ON THE MENU~~

Glazed Ham

Spinach Risotto

Roasted Asparagus

Potato Salad

White Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad

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WHITE BEAN AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD

I actually got this recipe from my dear friend Natacha.  Here’s the link she sent me.  I followed the recipe -sort of- the dressing I just kind of made up as I went along.

Dressing

1/2  cup Rosemary infused Olive oil (I infused last night and let it sit over night using 3 springs of rosemary and 2 cloves of garlic)

juice from 1/2  a lemon

2 tbs grated parmesean cheese

salt & pepper to taste

I blended it all together and tossed with 1 can of white beans,  a pint of cherry tomatoes (cut in half) and about a half cup of chopped Italian parsley.  I’m letting it refrigerate for a few hours before we eat it!

***

I like to snack while I cook.  Sometimes I eat too much though, then I’m not hungry when dinner is ready.

Trader Joe’s Three Layer Hummus & pita chips, with TRENTARTE, or simply ’33’, my FAVORITE wine…

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POTATO SALAD

Potato Salad is one of those things that I can’t just eat anyone’s.  I’m particular, and everyone I know makes there’s a bit differently.  I actually never liked Potato Salad until I started to make my own.

I like it tart, so I use DILL relish and not sweet.  And I like it crunchy, so I use a lot of celery, and I like it a little wet (not soupy) so it will seem like there’s a lot of ingredients other than potatoes— I like it like that.  I often overcook my potatoes–though not on purpose.  But a lot of the time I’m doing other things, chopping my veggies or just screwing around, so I lose track of time.  Over time, I’ve begun to like my potatoes this way.  I guess I just got used to it.  Be careful though…the WORST thing you can do is UNDER cook them.  I like my crunch to come from celery, not under-cooked potatoes!

And since it’s Easter… I just use the eggs that my kids have cracked during their egg hunt!

You can also add chopped red apples or carrots for extra crunch, some color, and a touch of sweetness.  My dad would chop some green olives and add to is as well….very yummy.

Potato salad

3lbs potatoes, cubed

4 lg celery stalks-diced

3-4 green onions-roughly chopped

¼ c chopped Italian parsley

4-5 hard boiled eggs – chopped

3/4 cup  dill relish

1/3 cup yellow mustard

1 cup mayonnaise – NOT MIRACLE WHIP *gag*

salt & pepper to taste

You can substitute one small yellow or red onion if you don’t have gr onion.

Mix all ingredients together and chill!

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GLAZED HAM

My Ham is actually a few steps so I’ll update as I go…

Most hams you buy in the store are already fully cooked (some are only partially cooked to read the label—you don’t want to eat undercooked ham and get sick!!), so all you really need to is heat it up, and this is when you add your glaze or whatever you need to make it taste the way you want.  Be sure to heat it thoroughly.

I prefer a spiral Ham… I like the way they cook and they’re already sliced, so that’s WIN.  Any bone-in ham will do though.

I start with the Ham, take it out of the package, and put it in a pan with a whole sliced onion.  I sit the ham on top of the onion.  As it cooks, the onion infuses the Ham and gives it a yummy flavor.  I then coat the ham with 1 cup of Coke (Dr. Pepper will work too…or Pepsi if you’re not a Coke drinker) mixed with 1 tsp of ground cloves.  Then I cover COMPLETELY and place in the oven at 250°.  A good rule of thumb for cooking a ham is to cook for 20 minutes for every pound.  You don’t want to overcook, as this will dry out your ham.

Glaze

1/2 cup orange juice

3/4 cup spicy brown mustard

1 cup brown sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

Mix together in a saucepan and let simmer on low until all sugar is dissolved.

*Note: most Hams come with a glaze packet- you can use this if you want… but blehhh, they usually don’t have much flavor.  I usually just toss it.

After the Ham is almost doen…like when it has about 15 minutes left…. uncover and add the glaze, then put back in the oven to finish.

And i’m now buzzed 🙂

With any meat that you roast, let it rest for about 10-15 minutes after you take it out of the oven, before you slice and serve.

***

SPINACH RISOTTO

My kids love this…and I love it too, but it’s time consuming so we don’t have it very often.  You need to use either chicken or vegetable broth, and I forgot to buy either when I went grocery shopping so I MADE my own vegetable broth.  It’s EASY…

Veggie broth

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 medium onion, sliced or roughly chopped

2 sprigs Rosemary

2-3 cloves of crushed garlic

Add veggies & oil, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add water until pot is almost full, simmer for at least 1 hour. Yer done.

Next-

Now you’re ready for the Risotto…

Spinach Risotto

2 cups Arborio Rice

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

½ finely chopped onion

1 lb frozen spinach, thawed and drained

vegetable or chicken broth (a lot)

½ stick of butter (everything is better with butter—-don’t listen to the critics!)

½-1 tbs Kosher salt (to taste)

Add rice & olive oil to pot, stir together until coated, over medium heat until hot.  Add onion, stir together until onions are soft. Add about 3 cups of broth to start.  Risotto is a pain in the ass because you need to stir is CONSTANTLY.  Arborio rice is a short grain rice—which means it’s very starchy and if you don’t keep it moving, it will stick.  So I usually recruit one of my kids, or in today’s case, my mom, to stir.  As it thickens, add more broth.  At some point half way though, add the butter.  By time you’re finished, you’ll have added about a quart and half of broth, but I’ve been drinking all day so I lost count of how much broth I added. Add salt to taste.

Keep stirring…. Once the rice is tender, add the Spinach.  Cook for another minute or two.  You’re done once the rice is tender and looks like this:

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ROASTED ASPARAGUS

Too easy too make and yummy.  Wjen my kids were little, my husband told them Asparagus was SUGAR CANE…and they believed him, so they ate it.  Now, this is a favorite in our house.

I started with three bunches of asparagus (about 3 lbs), I chopped off the tough ends, and placed on a baking dish, drizzled with olive oit, and sprinkled Kosher salt & black pepper.

I roasted in 350° for about 10-14 minutes, until asparagus is tender.

***

And viola! My Ester dinner is complete.  Now that I cooked (and tasted) everything, I am now FULL and I can tell you that everything is DELICIOUS!!

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2 responses to “I’m cooking today…

  1. infernalheart

    This looks soooo good. You’ve made me hungry and I just ate! Your pictures are beautiful!!

  2. I don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, but liked the Trentarte I had recently. I understand it’s a blend of wines and maybe I could find something similar where I live. Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks.

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