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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wonton Soup with Dumplings

Well it is official Summer is over and Fall has begun. Fall in the pacific northwest usually means copious amounts of rain and yesterdays first day of Fall was no exception. Rain is falling once again in the Rose City. To celebrate the autumnal equinox, Mabon, or as I like to call it Soup Season I break out my pot and get cooking. I love soup it is the perfect food. You can take all your must haves meat, veggie, and starch and put it in a large pot with some liquid simmer and abracadabra!...soup. As a child I always though wonton soup with dumplings was something really magical, so whenever we ate out if it was on the menu I had to have it. This soup is really simple, satisfying and your kids will love it.
Into the bowl of your food processor add 1/2 lb ground pork, 2 o.z. peeled shrimp, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 Tlb. mirin, 1 Tlb. light soy (yes it has to be light), 1 green onion roughly chopped, 1 tsp peeled and chopped fresh ginger.
Pulse until you have it all combined really well. Put meat in fridge for a few hours so the flavors can marry.
Put a oversized teaspoonful of meat on a wonton wrapper.
Seal edges with water. Fold first into a triangle.
Then fold like a little envelope making sure all the edges are sealed and the two tabs are pinched firmly together.
Aren't those adorable.
Here is a tricky part in the recipe...open a box of chicken stock. No I am not promoting Swanson...it was on sale.
Drop your little dumplings into the boiling broth, turn down to a hard simmer and cook them til they are done.
While all that cooking is going on dice up some more green onions.
Sprinkle some green onions on top of each bowl and you're done...that is it. See wasn't that easy.
Trust me it was harder typing up this post than it was to make that wonton soup. I accidentally erased the first draft half way through...see what happens when I do these things at 4:30 a.m. Have a great rest of the week folks.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blueberry Cake

Late last summer the bf and I went to one of my happiest places on earth (we actually go there often). I have been going here for the past 19 years to pick berries and buy produce of all descriptions over the years some things have changed, but some things have not. The friendliness of the people who love what they are doing, the welcoming feel you get when you drive into the farm, and the serene peace you get when out in the fields picking berries. I love this place and I am very glad that through the years I have been able to share it with my children and close friends. Last summer we were out to get our annual fix of berries, and last year blueberries were on the top of my list.
Blueberry Cake 101 This recipe is so simple it is scary, yet scrumptious enough to impress friends and complete strangers if you take it to a dinner or potluck...that is if you don't eat it all your self. Nobody has to know that you put it all together and in the oven in less than 30 min.
Into a large bowl add 1 cup of white sugar and 6 Tlb. of very soft unsalted butter.
Cream the two together until fluffy.
Add one room temperature egg.
Add the zest and juice from one medium lemon (fresh is best), and whip it all together.
Into a bowl sift together 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of Kosher salt. Into another bowl combine 1/2 cup of whole milk and 1/4 cup cream. Note I did use 2% milk, but I also used heavy cream.
Alternate the addition of the flour and milk while combining in with the butter and sugar until you get a very thick batter.
My favorite part...fold in 2 cups of blueberries. Frozen or fresh either way this is going to be good.
Really beautiful.
Spread batter into a greased and floured 8 x 8 baking dish.
Sprinkle the top of the cake with a mix of cinnamon and sugar before you slide it in to the oven.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for roughly 30 or 40 min. Keep an eye on this cake you do not want to over bake it. Mine took almost an hour due to the fact that I used frozen blueberries. I pulled it from the oven the very second it was done. Cool cake completely before cutting.
Delicious, decadent and seriously delightful this blueberry cake stands alone, of course you could dress it up with a dollop of whipped cream sweetened with some honey or even some creamy ice cream, but you know what you don't need to. This cake was moist and magical all by itself.
Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tired of making Lemonade.

So Katsu went through his neutering surgery with flying colors, but he has has a couple of issues lately that we are trying to sort out...One is well things aren't coming out quite right (if you know what I mean) and that has been going on for some time. It is not a consistent problem but still troublesome, and then the latest is he has been wetting the bed and having a little dribble here and there (which started about 3 wks ago)...sigh. So he has been in had his urine tested and currently we are doing a regiment of antibiotics (broad spectrum)in the hopes that whatever ails him will be found and destroyed, and we won't have to go to the next level. In the meantime however I am keeping track of everything he eats, and when, how often he goes and what, when he is given his meds and which ones, and when we go for walks. This is all very traumatic for the bf and I having lost a dog 2 1/2 years ago, so everything is really still raw and fresh in the back of our minds. Any progress right now I am being cautiously optimistic about...mostly I am just terrified. I will tell you something right now I would happily give up Christmas and my birthday for the next 20 years if it would make him all better...fact.
In the meantime people still need to eat in between me worrying myself sick and making babbling baby talk to my puppy...yes that was me you passed. I made a super simple and easy dinner last night that is so versatile you will find yourself making this many different ways...Honestly anything complicated right now would totally freak me out.
Breakfast Fried Rice Super easy and not just for breakfast. We eat it as a main dish all the time.
Start with your protein. This is one of my favorite options. BBQ pork diced up (about 1 cup or so).
One bunch diced green onions.
Into a bowl or measuring cup measure 1/3 cup light soy sauce (has to be light), 1 Tlb. rice vinegar, 1 Tlb. sesame seeds (toast them if you like), 1/4 tsp. chili flakes (more like 1/2 a tsp.).
Then you will need 3 to 4 cups of cooked white rice. Make your rice the morning before or the night before. Using fresh rice will make it mushy.
Heat (medium heat) a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet and add half the green onions and cook for a couple of minutes.
Then add the rice working it around and breaking apart the little clumps of rice.
Then add the remaining green onions and BBQ pork and keep working it through until hot.
Then add the soy sauce mixture and incorporate it into the rice.
You will end up with this golden brown, fragrant rice loaded with tasty bits of BBQ pork, and green onion.
This recipe feeds two hungry people or three not so hungry people. I love it because you could easily swap out the BBQ pork with any kind of protein...just cook ahead and set aside. You also could add more veggie to this dish with the simple addition of snow peas or carrots or...whatever. Just cook them up ahead and add them in with the addition of the last half of green onions. Originally this recipe called for bacon as the protein and placing eggs on top of the finished dish...honestly I have never made it that way, but it does look delicious.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Next Two Weeks

The next two weeks are going to be a blur of activity...Oye! The bf is leaving town this coming Saturday for a week long cycling adventure so that will give me double duty with Katsu...who will be getting neutered on the Friday before the bf leaves town. I am taking two days off to stay home with puppy while he is recovering (thanx K.B.)and to make sure he is comfortable and stays quiet.
Yesterday I spent time trying to clean up my back yard and front yard...I am not a fan of gardening and if I had my way I would put in a giant zen garden with large rocks to rake around. It would probably help my stress and anxiety way more than yanking weeds and trimming hedges. Anyway I did manage to make a dent in some things and feel better about getting it done.
I did manage to turn out some delicious French toast this weekend. I made it from challah bread that I had picked up on my way home from work on Friday. I have to say I am a breakfast girl I love all of it pancakes, French toast, bacon...you name it if it is breakfast food I will eat it. It doesn't have to be complicated food just good and comforting.
I like being able to cut my own bread for French toast. Store bought pre-sliced bread is too whimmpy to hold up to the egg wash 9 times out of 10, and the flavor is never quite right. I have used French Bread, English muffin bread (super good) and brioche. All fantastic. That with some hand cut bacon and you have a winner every time.
Cooking will begin again I promise. The heat wave is over and fall is right around the corner...no seriously I saw her while walking the dog this morning. Have a great Labor Day everyone.