Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It takes very little to excite me

See? And I AM excited! There is nothing that compares to cooking with fresh herbs, and I usually buy them already lopped off the plant at Publix. For years, I have wanted my own herb garden or at least a garden window over my kitchen sink to have my own supply of fresh herbs readily at hand. This is even better, considering that I paid only $6.50 each for these herb gardens in a pot. The pot on the left contains rosemary, parsley, oregano, mint and basil. It is so fragrant smelling, I wish technology could support scratch and sniff blogging! The second pot contains sage, lemon thyme, garlic chives, rosemary and dark opal basil (that's the purple, large leafed plant). I don't want to move them from their temporary home on the kitchen table, but they need full sun so they will have to be moved to the back deck where I keep my container gardens.
How did I get these so frugally? Our local garden center, Holcomb's, issues Bonus Bucks throughout the year for purchases made at their store. Customers earn 10% back in Bonus Bucks for every purchase. Then, for five days in June, you can shop and redeem your Bonus Bucks for up to 50% off your purchase. Example: these herb gardens were $12.99 each times 2. The total sale was $26 and some tax, for which I paid $13.xx in cash and $13 in Bonus Bucks. This is one of my happiest frugally purchases ever, I feel like a kitty that found the catnip!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Recalled tomatoes

...and a recipe for Black Bean Salsa that does not use those recalled tomatoes.

I was in Publix tonight looking for more of those wonderful grape tomatoes that were on sale for $1/pint. When I couldn't find them, I asked the produce manager and he informed me that there was a recall on some tomatoes, so Publix decided to pull the grape tomatoes as a precautionary measure. He also told me that they plan on offering that sale again in the very near future, or I could get a rain check. I'll just wait and enjoy some of my own home-grown, salmonella-free tomatoes in a few weeks.

Here is my recipe for the Black Bean Salsa that was on our salad of several days ago:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, thoroughly rinsed, and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (I used red)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped picked jalapeno (I throw in a little extra jalapeno pickle juice or vinegar)
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice (about the amount of juice from one lime)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, onions, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, lime juice and olive oil. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Chill before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Peculiar: photographs her food

I wonder if others would describe me like that. It's true. I have a food photo fetish. I love pretty pictures of the food that I create. I wonder if that's how Martha Stewart launched her own empire?

Anyway, here's our dinner for tonight, and it was scrumptious.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hamburger Buns of the homemade kind

I decided to try some homemade hamburger buns tonight rather than run out to the store just for buns (which I thought I had in the depths of my freezer). Besides, have you priced hamburger buns lately at regular retail?! $2.39! I tried this recipe, but I used whole wheat flour instead. They were good. My family raved about them. The grilled turkey burgers that went in them, however, were not a big hit. I thought the burgers were good, but my husband prefers beef and my little vegetarian was not happy with tonight's dinner.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • I added 4 1/2 tsp. vital wheat gluten
  1. Combine the milk, 1 cup of water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and let stand until lukewarm (110-115 degrees F). If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and yeast. Pour in wet ingredients and stir until the dough starts to pull together. If you have a stand mixer, use the dough hook to mix for about 6 minutes. If not, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let stand until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 portions They should be a little larger than a golf ball. Make tight balls out of the dough by pulling the dough tightly around and pinching it at the bottom. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. After the rolls sit for a minute and relax, flatten each ball with the palm of your hand until it is 3 to 4 inches wide. You may want to oil your hand first. Set rolls aside until they double in size, about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Mix together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water in a cup or small bowl. Brush onto the tops of the rolls. Position 2 oven racks so they are not too close to the top or bottom of the oven.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the rolls from the oven and return them to different shelves so each one spends a little time on the top. Continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned on the top and bottom.