Saturday, December 15, 2012

Turn an Ordinary Sandwich into Extraordinary

This tasty sandwich is composed of a few simple ingredients: thinly sliced whole wheat bread (toasted), baby arugula, sliced tomatoes, Boar's Head Honey Maple Ham, lemon mayonnaise, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper . The ingredient that turns the sandwich from ordinary into extraordinary is the lemon mayonnaise.
To make the lemon mayonnaise: add the zest of two lemons and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. If you like spicy, you could add a dash of either Tabasco Sauce or cayenne pepper. Another addition to the sandwich that would work nicely would be thinly sliced red onions.

The beautiful hand turned wood bowl from the Weston Bowl Mill in Weston, Vermont that is holding the lemons is one of my new vintage treasures that I found in DairyFarmAntiques, a fellow vintage shop on Etsy. The bowl is made of maple with a natural finish that develops a patina with use. Just gorgeous, don't you think !

In the Kitchen with auntemilie focuses primarily on simple and healthy recipes, kitchen shortcuts, tools, reference books ... anything relevant to the kitchen and cooking that I think readers might enjoy !




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Simple Meatless Lunch or Dinner


A simple meatless lunch or dinner does not have to be complicated.  This culinary creation includes rigatoni, chopped spinach, Alfredo Sauce, parmesan cheese and toasted pignoli nuts.  If you happen to have a need for meat .. pick up a roasted chicken that is readily available in most grocery stores and gourmet markets.  At the end add some chicken pieces.

I used rigatoni pasta because I like the way it grabs the Alfredo Sauce.  After I assembled it I decided it could use another texture, so I toasted some pignoli nuts and garnished the pasta with the nuts.  I did not mix the nuts into the pasta because I knew I was going to have leftovers and I wanted the nuts to stay crunchy. 

The prep started with a large pot of water and once it started boiling I added about 2 Tbsp of Kosher Salt.  Then the pasta was slightly undercooked, I lifted it out of the boiling water with a long handled strainer into a colander.  Once all the pasta was out, I added the pouch of frozen chopped spinach and let it boil/simmer for about 10 minutes.  Once I lifted the spinach out, I made a small slit in the pouch and drained off some of the excess spinach water from inside the pouch.  


After draining the water from the pot, I lowered the heat on the burner and added the spinach and the Alfredo Sauce. The burner needs to be on low because you don't want to Alfredo sauce to break up which it would do if the heat is too high.  I added about 1/4 cup
of Parmesan cheese to the pot.  Once the cheese mixed-in I added some freshly ground black pepper and added about 3/4 of the pasta.  I didn't add all of the pasta because I don't like it too dry.  I also did not add any additional salt because the Parmesan cheese is quite salty.  Buitoni makes two versions of their Alfredo Sauce, which by the way is found in the refrigerator section at the grocery store, usually by or near the fresh pastas.  The lighter version has a few less calories.
As I previously mention, I garnished the pasta with some toasted pignoli nuts.  If you have never toasted nuts before, there are several ways to toast nuts ... the oven, a skillet, the microwave or a toaster oven.  I usually toast my nuts either in the oven or toaster oven on low (250 degrees F), turning them several times.

Pick your favorite pasta, add a package of frozen chopped spinach,
about a 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, one container of Buitoni Alfredo Sauce (either light or regular), fresh ground black pepper to taste and garnish with some toasted pignoli nuts.
Yum .. Yum !  Here are the secret ingredients ...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Books for Your Kitchen

Even the occasional home cook should have a few useful reference books on hand. In many cases, it is easier to locate needed information quicker than searching on the internet and if you select your reference books carefully, chances are that the information, in a published book, is more likely to be accurate.

The first book pictured is The Penguin Companion to Food by Alan Davidson, which is a soft cover book. It is out of print, but it is very findable. The Oxford Companion to Food, is the hardcover version. The Oxford Companion is still in print and it is easy to find either new or used.

Here is what The New York Times said about the Companion to Food by Alan Davidson … “A masterly work with a variety of voices, from the straightforward, almost dry, to the quirky and witty …. It’s not hard to be awed by these pages dense with extremely thorough and well-written entries, enhanced by cross-references and indexes and larded with anecdotes and strong opinions.”

The Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst was first printed in1990 and has updated several times. It is a soft cover book that measures 7 inches x 4 ¾ inches x 1 ¾ inches. The cover has changed  and it is now a soft rust color instead of white. There is a hard cover “deluxe” edition. In my opinion, the soft cover version is a book that easily fits in a kitchen drawer, on a shelf or standing in a cabinet … it is my go-to-book.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Simple Lunch ...

I was my Mother’s Little Helper in the kitchen and her love of cooking and entertaining was definitely passed on to me. My dream job is to be a personal chef for a small family, a single person or a couple.

Today’s simple lunch started with a Tasti-Lee™ Tomato. Tasti-Lee™ is a special tomato variety developed by the University of Florida: seed is produced and distributed exclusively by Bejo Seeds, Inc. It is not easy to find a consistently good tomato in Florida, especially having been raised in New Jersey. During the Summer, the “Jersey” tomatoes are so sweet and flavorful.  Tasti-Lee has that great tomato flavor because they are vine ripened.

On top of each slice of tomato is a scoop of tuna salad, and to add another touch of color to the plate, some Manzanilla olives. Manzanilla olives come from the southern region of Spain. The tuna salad ingredients include: finely chopped carrots, celery and red onion; mayonnaise, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

So as I dream ... about my dream job ... I have fun being a Vintage Shop Keeper and taking care of my Etsy Shop ... auntemilie !