"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shorten Brown Rice Cooking Time

Above, fried rice that uses my brown-rice trick: soak the rice in its water for 20 minutes before beginning to cook it. The rice will then cook in 20 minutes or in one normal rice-cooker cycle, same as white rice.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A New Orleans Specialty: Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe

Mixed olives and other pickled vegetables, plus garlic, parsley, celery. . .this is flavorful "muffaletta," a Sicilian-inspired New Orleans specialty invented in 1906. At Italian groceries retails for $7 a pound. Or, try this recipe from Taste of Home magazine, minus the prepared "giardiniera" (mixed pickled vegetables) I couldn't get because it's sleeting outside. No cooking, just chopping. Spread on bread or sandwiches, top pizza (pictured) or pasta, or make salad or potato salad with it.

Midwest Muffuletta

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 to 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-1/2 cup green olives with pimientos, chopped (bottled "salad olives" okay)
1/2 cup pitted Greek olives, halved
1/3 cup roasted red sweet peppers, chopped (or substitute; see below)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery (or substitute; see below)
1 tablespoon drained capers

In a large bowl, whisk the first 7 ingredients, olive oil through red pepper flakes. Add the remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Keeps for a week at least. 99 calories per 2/3 of a cup.

Substitute for roasted red sweet peppers: 1/2 of a large fresh red or orange bell pepper, diced
Substitute for celery: Chop finely those big white tough lettuce ribs you usually throw away.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Easiest of the Veggie Chips

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets...I love the chips made from them but could never slice them quite thin enough, and whether baked or fried, I still had a mess to clean up. But today I rubbed some washed and well-dried bite-sized kale leaves with the littlest bit of olive oil, put them on a plate (not touching) and microwaved on high for 3 minutes, thinking I was crazy--this recipe was popularized by Rachael Ray who said you need plastic wrap when you don't--and the kale came out crisp and lightweight and was tasty with only a sprinkling of salt.

I ate the whole plate of kale chips. A new way to eat my greens. Make sure the washed leaves are well dried, like lettuce leaves for your salad, or they might steam instead of crisp. And you still have to like the taste of kale. But this is the easiest veggie chip you can make and probably the cheapest.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Recipe: Thai Seafood Salad

For the jaded winter palate, a wake-up call: shrimp and scallops with authentic Asian dressing, served on greens with lime wedges. Delicious. And it's low-fat. From Moosewood Restaurant Lowfat Favorites (1996), a cookbook I like so much I got a hardback copy when my paperback wore out.

Thai Seafood Salad

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or 1 tablespoon squeeze cilantro

1 fresh red chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon canola or other vegetable oil
1/2 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
1/2 pound sea scallops, cut in half crosswise if large
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onions

lettuce and lime wedges

Whisk together lime juice, sugar, fish sauce in cilantro in a large bowl and set it aside. In a skillet, saute the chile in the oil on medium heat for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and saute, stirring, until they begin to turn pink and curl and are heated through, about 4 minutes. Put the shrimp in the bowl to marinate. Add the scallops to the skillet, saute for 3 to 5 minutes until cooked, and then move them to the bowl with the shrimp and sauce. Add onions and toss everything to coat it with the sauce.

Arrange the greens to cover a serving platter with the lime wedges around them, and mound the seafood in the center.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mom's Sugar Cookies, as Presented by Mom: Recipe

Mom was born in Butternut, Wisconsin, knows how to milk cows, and went to a one-room school. She can BAKE. Prior to a recent visit and by popular demand she baked her famous 1950s shortbread-like Christmas cookies shaped into stars and bells, and let me ice and decorate. Also, homemade chocolate chip cookies and her apple-cinnamon wraps were happily shared. I love my mom and just like her I am wild about cooking and eating.

Mom's Christmas Cutout Cookies
(makes 7 dozen 2-1/2-inch stars)

3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons bakng powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (less if your butter is salty)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon of milk

1. Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
2. Cream shortening and butter with sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla, egg and milk. Beat thoroughly. Add flour mixture. Mix well.
4. Chill dough for one hour for easy handling.
5. Divide into 4 portions. Roll each portion 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters.
6. Bake on greased cookie sheet in moderate (375 degrees) oven, 8 to 10 minutes.