Jun 30, 2006

Sourdough Starter

I have been in love with sourdough bread ever since I was a little girl. My dad used to work next door to a bakery called "La Boulangerie" (French for "The Baker") and he would bring home fresh bread almost every day. I could (and still can) easily eat an entire loaf by myself!

When my husband and I got married I found a recipe for sourdough starter and sourdough bread in The Complete Tightwad Gazette and then began my journey as a sourdough bread baker. Making sourdough starter is not only frugal but it is very easy. And by putting in a few minutes you will yield a delicious base for bread, waffles, pancakes, pizza crust and so much more.

My last starter was thrown out when we moved to our current residence. I thought it was about time for me to begin a new batch. This recipe was modified from the Tightwad version with a slight variation from the King Arthur Flour website.

Sourdough Starter

2 c. all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
2 c. water
1 pkg. yeast
1 Tbsp. honey or sugar (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large (6 or more cup capacity) glass or stoneware jar or crock. Stir well with a non-metal spoon. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to sit on the counter top for about 5 days. The mixture will begin to bubble right away but for it to properly ferment and get the nice sour taste you need to allow the 5 days. Stir well and store in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

When you use some of this mixture for a recipe you will then need to "feed it" so you will always have some on hand. Do this by adding 1 1/2 c. water and 1 1/2 c. flour to the container and stirring well. Then return it to the refrigerator. You should use your starter at least once or twice a week or it may not work as well after at time. If it gets a layer or clearish-yellowish liquid on top that is ok, just stir it well and proceed with your baking. If it turns a funny color, like pink, black or orange, throw it out!

Jun 25, 2006

One Year Old!

I was just looking back at some of my old blog posts and couldn't believe today is the one year anniversary of my very first blog post! Wow, time sure does fly! I'm hoping to fill the next 12 months with just as many fun and tasty recipes and lots more great advice for keeping your food budget under control. Thanks to all my loyal readers! :)

Jun 24, 2006

Orange-Coriander Muffins

Over the past year I have really stocked up on lots of herbs and spices that are new to us. One of my absolute favorites is coriander. When I first opened the jar I was overtaken with the bright, lemony scent. I knew that although I had purchased it for a couple of savory dishes I had in mind, it would also be perfect for sweet baked goods as well. This morning I decided to give it a try in muffins. They turned out really good! Nice and light and fluffy on the inside, golden and crisp on top. absoutely delicious!

Orange-Coriander Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1/3 vegetable oil
1 tsp. orange extract or orange zest
1/2 tsp. coriander

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder coriander and salt. Add egg, milk, yogurt and oil to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Do not over mix. Grease or line muffin tins with paper baking cups. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees F about 20-25 minutes. Makes 10-12 muffins.

Jun 23, 2006

New Pics!

I've been preparing a lot of our old favorites lately so therefore the lack of new posts. However, I did add a better pic of the Cuban Bread and a new pic to the Cuban Cravings (Cuban Black Beans and Ropa Vieja) post last night. These are some of my absolute favorite recipes, if you haven't tried them already please do and let me know what you think!

Also, just a quick note, if you're a Safeway.com shopper, the newest coupon code is for free delivery, use the code JUICY at checkout. ($50 minimum purchase expires 8-15-06)

Enjoy your day!

Jun 16, 2006

Indian Food Adventure

I have been wanting to make a "real" Indian meal ever since I ventured out of my culinary comfort zone and tried making a simple Chicken Curry some time ago. I fell in love with the flavor of curry and wanted to prepare something else that was new and exotic to us. I decided to seek out a main dish, a side dish and a veggie dish for this endeavor. It took me a while because there are so many great recipes out there and they all sound delicious. I had never really eaten Indian food before but just the sound of the recipes with all the fragrant spices got my mouth watering so I had to give it a try.

I found the main dish recipe at My Dhaba. I had seen recipes for Tandoori Chicken before but this one sounded so good and it was very easy. I was glad it was able to be prepared on my George Foreman Grill (you all know how much I LOVE my grill!!) :) Here's the recipe...

My Dhaba'’s Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Chicken 2 full leg pieces, skinned (I used boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins)
Ginger 1 inch size, finely chopped (I used powdered ginger... in all the recipes)
Garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
Onion 1, medium size, finely chopped
Cloves 2
Cinnamon ¼- inch stick
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
Yogurt/curd 2 tablespoons, low-fat, non-salted; alternatively you may use 2 teaspoon soy sauce, teriyaki, or oriental sauce for getting totally different flavors
Vinegar 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon or as needed to make it more hot
Cummin powder 1 teaspoon
Black pepper powder ½ teaspoon
Coriander powder 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
Nutmeg powder ¼ teaspoon (optional)
Paprika powder 1 teaspoon (optional)

Method: Blend ginger, garlic, onions, cinnamon, salt, and cloves to a smooth wet paste and keep aside. Mix all the spice powders - red chilli, cummin, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, and paprika. Heat a pan, pour in the spice mix and roast for a minute on high heat. Combine the wet and roasted spice mixtures and spread all over the chicken pieces. Spinkle the vinegar and pour over the yogurt. Marinate the chicken pieces in this marinade covered for a minimum of 2 hours in a refrigerator, the more the better for a delicious flavor (if possible marinate it covered overnight). If marinating overnight, take the chicken pieces from the refrigerator an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F, place the chicken on the low rack, and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then, turn over and cook for 10 more minutes or till the chicken pieces are completely roasted and get a golden brown color. Adjust the timings accordingly as needed. If chicken pieces are getting dry, you may baste it with a little butter or ghee. Alternatively you may also broil the marinated chicken pieces over an electric or charcoal grill.

Garnish the tandoori chicken with sliced onion rings, tomatoes, lemon wedges, and/or finely chopped coriander leaves and serve it immediately hot-hot. Enjoy!

The second recipe is for Indian Rice and Potatos and I found it on 28 Cooks. This recipe is delicious! Even if you are not a fan of highly spiced foods, give this one a try. The flavor is bright and buttery and so good. Here's that recipe.

Indian Rice and Potatoes
From 28 Cooks

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
3 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 c dried coconut*
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp oil
1 cup rice
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lime juice
2 cups water
1/2 c frozen peas
1 tbsp butter

Combine yogurt, cilantro, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and coconut. Add potatoes, stir well, and allow to marinate for a few minutes. Heat oil in large pan, and add cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cumin seeds. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until cumin turns brown. Add potato and yogurt mixture, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once potatoes are nicely browned, add rice, and cook for another minute or two. Add turmeric, brown sugar, salt, lime juice, and water. Bring to a boil, cover with lid, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Add peas to pot, and do not stir in. Cover with lid and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove lid, and fluff with fork. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Serve and enjoy!

Finally, I made Curried Vegetables based on a recipe for Curried Cauliflower I found over at Delicious Living. This one had a bit too much citrus for my taste but it was still good and went well with the other two recipes. This is the recipe.

Curried Cauliflower
From Delicious Living
(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 cups cauliflower florets, washed and dried
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
Sea salt, to taste (optional)

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and saute onion, garlic, and ginger for about 3 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, and mustard seeds and saute for an additional 3 minutes, until fragrant.
2. Add cauliflower and lime juice and stir-fry on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat, add coconut milk and broth or water, cover partially, and simmer on low heat for about 5 more minutes, until cauliflower is crisp-tender. Add sea salt to taste, if desired.

If you're new to Indian food or used to eating it often, give these recipes a try they are wonderful!

My 6 year old gave the Tandoori Chicken a thumbs up. In her words "Next time just add a little more salt, a little less pepper and it will be off the hook." I will take that as the highest praise :)

Jun 12, 2006

Confessions in Groups of 5 Meme

One of my favorite food bloggers, Deetsa, tagged me for a meme. Since there hasn't been much new cooking in the kitchen here lately, I thought this would be fun to share today :)

5 items in the freezer

1. boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs (easy to prepare and so much you can do with them)
2. popcicles (gotta keep the kids happy right?)
3. peeled bananas (smoothies, bread, muffins, pancakes...)
4. lots of veggies!
5. bread crumbs

5 items in my closet

1. shoes
2. dresses
3. confiscated toys
4. Christmas decorations
5. winter coats

5 items in my (our) car (van)

1. car seats (3)
2. *lost* toys
3. jumper cables
4. CD's
5. a bag of pink styrofoam peanuts

5 items in my purse

1. an extra diaper
2. lip gloss
3. a couple pens
4. hand cream
5. wallet

5 Bloggers I tag for this meme

1. Fiber from 28 Cooks
2. Erin from Erin Eats
3. Heather from Eating For One
4. Erika from Tummy Treasure
5. Paz from The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz

Thanks Deetsa, that was fun :)

Jun 8, 2006

Oatmeal Raisin Scones

I adapted this recipe from The Complete Tightwad Gazette. These scones are very heavy and dense and are great for breakfast with honey on top.

Oatmeal Raisin Scones

1 1/2 c flour
1 c uncooked oatmeal
1/4 c. flax seed meal (optional)
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c softened margarine
1/2 c rasins
3/4 c sour milk (milk with 2 tsp vinegar)
1 egg, beaten


1. Preaheat oven to 400. Mix dry ingredients; cut in margarine and rasins.
2. Stir in enough sour milk just to moisten. Divide dough in half.
3. Flour hands and pat dough into 2 circles on a greased cookie sheet about 1/2 inch thick.
4. Cut into quarters . Bake for 10 minutes. Brush on egg and then bake until golden brown.
5. Serve with honey, margarine, or jam.

Jun 6, 2006

Safeway.com New coupon code

I don't know about where you are but it's HOT here and going out to grocery shop is not fun when it's hot. I got a couple of emails from Safeway.com this week and thought I'd share... they have some great deals right now for the summer. If you have a Safeway in your local area take advantage of having your groceries delivered, you'll be glad you did :)

Use the code SUMMER to get your order delivered for free. If you are a new customer you can still take advantage of the $20 off $100 order offer as well.

Shopping Tips:


Express List - Use this feature if you like shopping from a list. Type your list into our virtual notepad and find all of your items with just a few quick clicks.

Shopping History - Shop directly from a list of your regularly purchased items. View your history by department, and be one click away from filling your cart.


Same prices and Club Card savings as your local store.


Delivery 7 days a week, from 10:00AM - 9:00PM (varies by store, see web site for details).

Delivery Fees - As low as $4.95!

Drivers do not accept tips, but a smile is always appreciated.

Save $5.00 when you spend $150 or more, OR, save $2.00 by choosing a 4 hour delivery window.

Jun 4, 2006

Tres Leches Cake

I had been wanting to make Tres Leches Cake for some time now and back when I found that Tres Leches Cake Mix, I've been waiting for a special occasion to try it... (I figured a mix would make it easier the first time trying to make it). Yesterday we had our monthly church luncheon so I figured I would give it a try. Well.... it was quite an experience!

I was a bit skeptical when I read on the package that the cake is a single layer baked in a 9 inch pan and is supposed to soak up over 3 cups of liquid. The directions said to bake the cake, cool it then take it out of the pan. At the point you are to prepare the milk syrup, poke holes in the cake and pour the syrup over the cake.

Well, let's just say we went through a lot of paper towels with this project. My cake keeper does not have any type of edge around it which would catch any spilling liquid so all the excess liquid spilled everywhere! I only ended up using 3/4 of the liquid on the cake so hopefully it will be moist enough. I *think* the best way to approach a cake like this would be to bake it in a square pan and then leave it in the pan to cool then pour the liquid on it right in the pan. But, back to the story...

So once I got the cake cleaned up I took some canned crushed pineapple along with the liquid an and whisked in 2 Tbsp.. water mixed with 1 Tbsp. corn starch. I cooked that until thick and then spread it on the cake. The cake then went into the fridge to set. After a couple of hours I whipped 1/4 pint of heavy cream mixed with 1 Tbsp. Confectioners sugar and spread that over the entire cake. Finally I garnished with some coconut I had toasted and sliced strawberries. Sorry for not having a picture to share but we were running late and I didn't have time to find my camera!

Jun 1, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Actually by the feel of the weather outside I should say Summer Cleaning :)

Actually, I was feeling a bit bogged down by all the things on my main blog page so I catagorized things and created a Blog Catagories list at the top left for easier navigation. I feel so much more organized now :) Hope it's easier for you all to read as well!