Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cool Cucumber Watercress Soup

It’s really summer. Really It was 9000 degrees today with 3,000,000% humidity. I’m not kidding.

It can get very hot in Maryland. The last thing I want to do in this heat is cook. Sometimes I don’t even want to eat! So what can be better on a day like today than an insanely fast chilled soup? Nothing!!!

Cool Cucumber Watercress Soup 
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled,seeded and chopped
1 handful of watercress, clean leaves only

1. Blend everything together.
2. Chill.
3. Serve.

Notice I didn’t tell you to wash your watercress or cucumber. I did tell you to use clean watercress leaves so I guess I implied that you should wash your produce. But ultimately, it’s up to you.

This soup is very good with mint instead of watercress. It’s also great with some avocado. It made a very refreshing lunch today. I was afraid I would be hungry in the afternoon but I was actually okay. It must have been the yogurt. But I was satisfied.

Try it and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

"Cockeyed" Cake with Jelly Frosting

Whenever I visit the Smithsonian American History Museum, I must go see the Julia Child exhibit. If you haven’t seen it, please click on the link and take a virtual tour.

I’ve visited the exhibit many times. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m looking at all the details of her kitchen. What brand of blender did she use? What cookbooks did she have on her shelf? I was intrigued by one of the cookbooks last summer. It’s called the I Hate to Cook Book and it was written by Peg Bracken. It’s a very humorous collection of recipes that Peg put together with some friends. It’s an excellent read and has many easy recipes for every occasion.

Last week, I was going through the dessert chapter and found Peg’s recipe for Cockeyed Cake. This is simply a cake you mix right in the pan. It’s unfussy and bakes in a flash. It’s very moist and chocolatey. I topped it with Jelly Frosting which is made with an egg white, jelly and a dash of salt. This is the perfect cake for a last minute get together. Word of warning! Peg’s recipes are very sparse. It turns out that Peg hated cookbooks that had too many recipes with too many directions that are “telling you what any chucklehead would know.” In other words, Peg assumes you have some common sense. No details on how long anything takes to do. As I was making the frosting, I was left wondering how much longer it was going to take to get the “stiff peaks.” I’ve added that information.

Cockeyed Cake
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cold water

1. Sift all the ingredients into a greased 9×9 baking pan. I greased mine with butter. I’m not sure cooking spray would work for this but give it a try and let me know.
2. Make three holes in the dry ingredients. Put the oil in one, the vanilla into the next one and the vinegar into the last one.
3. Pour the water over the top.
4. Mix until smooth.
5. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes.

Jelly Frosting
1 egg white
1/2 cup jelly – I used strawberry
dash of salt

1. In a double boiler, combine the ingredients and cook, while mixing with a hand mixer, for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and continue mixing until stiff peaks begin to form. It’s going to take at least ten minutes.
3. Spread on cool cake.

I realized while I was typing this, the cake is actually vegan! Who knew! And with no butter, eggs or milk, it’s got to be good for you, right?

Anyway, it was fun to make because it reminded me of my mom. I took the picture on a pretty little plate that was hers. It’s a little late for her birthday. She would have been 76 on Friday. So Happy Birthday to my mom!


Avocado Dip with Cilantro and Lime

Avocados have been on sale so I have been buying them just about every time I head to the store. I have made lots of guacamole, and had lots of avocado on wraps and sandwiches. I thinks avocado is a delightful vegetable or fruit or whatever it is. Yes it’s high in fat but don’t we all know by now that there’s a difference between bacon and cheeseburger fat and avocado fat?

The other night, we were having salmon and I had a bunch of avocados nearing their life expectancy. But I didn’t want guac. Into the fridge (and garden) to see what there was to play with. Lime, plain yogurt, and cilantro. A new dip is born!

Avocado Dip with Cilantro and Lime
1/2 cup avocado
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 chopped green onions
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
squeeze of lime

1. Mash the avocado
2. Add the rest of the ingredients
3. Serve immediately

This was really fantastic with the salmon. I could see it as a healthy alternative to cheese dips, too. Feel free to adjust the ingredients according to your taste. I think this would be really great with a little cayenne to spice it up. I would have chopped up some cucumber into this, too, if I had some. It would also have been wonderful with chopped jicama. Of course, then, it would have been more of a salad and less of a dip.


Egg Salad with Crab and Watercress

Do you like your egg salad with lots of mayo and very tiny pieces of egg? Neither do I! I like my egg salad with big chunks of egg, a little bit of mayo and watercress for some extra pizazz. Last weekend, I decided to try my egg salad with a Maryland twist. You guessed it (or you read the title of the blog post). I added crab. And it was delicious!

Egg Salad with Crab and Watercress (two servings)
2 hard boiled eggs
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup crab meat
handful of watercress, broken into leafy pieces with stems removed
1 tbsp low fat mayonnaise

1. Cook your eggs and allow to cool slightly so you don’t burn yourself when you are chopping them.
2. Chop your eggs into decent sized chunks. You should have 15 chunks from each egg.
3. Add the mayo and stir gently so the eggs stay together. I used Kraft Reduced Fat Mayo with Olive Oil and squeezed what looked to be a tbsp right over the top of the eggs.
4. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Please be gentle so the eggs stay together!

I like my egg salad room temperature so I serve it immediately. You can put it on toast, sliced tomatoes, or as a filling for a red pepper. How lovely! If you prefer your egg salad chilled, refrigerate for 30 minutes and then serve. Top it with a sprig of watercress for a garnish.

This is a very small amount of egg salad. You should be able to double it very easily to accommodate your needs.


Homemade Chicken Burgers

If you don’t know by now, I really love my Kitchen Aid Food Grinder. I use it often. It has fired my creative juices and I have made some very good things using it. Now that it’s grilling season, I’m going to try to come up with some recipes for some healthier options for the grill.

A couple weeks ago, we decided to grind up some chicken for Chicken Burgers. Here is the basic recipe I used for the burgers. And below that, I will list a few ways you can jazz them up. I added some McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning which has garlic, onion and pepper, to my burgers. It gave the burgers a very hearty flavor that made my meat-missing son a little less lonely for a traditional cheeseburger.

Homemade Chicken Burgers
3 chicken breasts, ground
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
chopped onion to taste (maybe 1/4 cup)
crushed garlic (1 clove)
seasonings (I used 1 tsp of McCormick Montreal
Steak Seasoning)
Cheese of choice

1. Mix everything together and shape into patties
2. Grill for 5 minutes per side

Because these burgers are made with chicken breast they have almost no fat so it’s important to be careful about the cooking time. Don’t over do it or you will have hard little hockey pucks instead of tender juicy, burgers.

Before I list some ideas which are largely inspired by the overpriced options I see at stores, please note, try not to add ingredients that have a high moisture content. If your burgers get too wet and won’t stay together.

  • Drain some Rotel Tomatoes and add 1/2 cup for Zesty South of the Border Burgers
  • Add some sautéed Vidalia Onions for yummy Onion Burgers
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped spinach and 1/2 cup of feta for some Spinach and Feta Burgers
  • Add some chopped basil,  garlic and Parmesan for  Chicken Pesto Burgers
Tell me how you would create your own perfect chicken burger. Enjoy!