Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Slow Suppers ~ Zuppa

Our Sunday Slow Supper this week is actually a 'Stoup'. This Sunday Sheri picked a recipe from 30 minute meal star Rachel Ray. Apparently in a 30 minute cooking show she doesn't have time to say soup and stew, so created this word. Maybe the network needs to allow her 31 minutes.
The shopping list for this week includes veal, nutmeg, tomatoes, canallini beans, and anchovies... have I got your attention yet?
Osso Buco Zuppa
Veal Dumplings:
1 pound ground veal
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/4 cup, a generous handful, grated Parmigiano or Romano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pot
2 carrots, peeled
2 ribs celery and their greens
1 medium yellow skinned onion, peeled and halved
Coarse salt and pepper
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
1 (14-ounce) can white beans, cannellini, drained
1 (15- ounce) can diced tomatoes in puree or coarsely ground tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock, available in re-sealable boxes on soup aisle
2 cups beef stock, available in 1 cup small boxes on soup aisle
1 cup egg pasta, broken egg fettuccini or medium egg noodles
2 cloves garlic, cracked away from skins
1 (2-ounce) tin flat fillet anchovies, drained
Handful flat-leaf parsley, about 1/4 cup loosely packed
1 lemon, zested
Crusty bread, to pass at table Combine the veal and the next 5 ingredients then reserve mix and rinse off your hands.
Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Begin to chop veggies while pot heats up: dice carrots into 1/4 inch pieces, chop celery and onion. Add extra-virgin olive oil to hot pot and carrots. Turn carrots to coat them in oil and add celery and onion as you get them chopped up. Work near the stove so you can chop, then drop into the pot. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and a bay leaf. Stir vegetables and cook 5 minutes to begin to soften. Do not let vegetables brown, reduce heat if necessary. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Next, add beans and tomatoes and stock to the pot. Put a lid on the pot and raise heat to high. When soup boils, about 3 minutes, add 1-inch balls of veal dumplings directly to the pot. When you are done adding the veal, stir in the egg noodles. Simmer stoup for 6 minutes to cook noodles and meat dumplings. Adjust seasonings and turn the heat off, then let stoup stand a couple of minutes.

To make the gremolata: Pile garlic, anchovies, parsley and lemon zest on a cutting board and finely chop the mixture, then transfer to a small dish.
Serve stoup in shallow bowls with a couple of teaspoonfuls of gremolata on top. Stir the gremolata throughout the stoup and pass crusty bread at the table for dipping and mopping.
There is something about following Rachel Ray's 30 minute meal recipe to a 'T'. I enjoy my time in the kitchen to much to try to get everything done at once. I need a little time to smell, to taste, stir and sip~ that's my time to relax and enjoy.I thought the soup was great, I did choose to leave out the pasta, and didn't miss it a bit. The gremolata was packed with flavor~ don't be tempted to skip that.

Besides... what else would you do with a can of anchovies?
Y'all enjoy!

This was featured on Photograzing

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Photohunt ~Daily

The Photohunt for this week is 'Daily'
This is my daily habit... I bet it is yours too.

Happy Hunting y'all!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I need your opinion~

I got this email from my niece
To: sandi The Split Pea Cottage has left a new comment on your post "Buffalo wings~ skinny style":
What happened to the recipe list on the right hand side!?! That was my motivation at night for dinner!

I have kept the list of all my recipes on the side bar. Almost 4 years of recipes and the list was really out of control. I debated... and decided to delete those lists. Instead I added the labels to the right.

Now I am catching some flack from my niece, as well as friends and other bloggers. Apparently they relied on that quick click for ideas more than I realized. I don't want to be blamed for quiet kitchens, missed meals, and empty cookie jars.
So now I need your opinion. Do I put the list back? or just expect y'all to know what your looking for and find it?
This is your chance.
Y'all speak now~ or forever loose your piece.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Buffalo wings~ skinny style

Who doesn't love buffalo wings?
Who is trying to shave off a few calories?
This is a great way to get the flavor of buffalo wings, loaded with blue cheese... with half the guilt. Use celery sticks for dipping rather than frito chips and you will loose the rest of the guilt. Buffalo Wing Dip
8 ounce fat free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup hot wing sauce
1/2 cup blue cheese
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a small casserole. Add more or less hot sauce according to your taste. Top with cheddar cheese (I left this off to save the calories) Heat at 350○ for 25-30 minutes. Serve with frito chips or celery. Who doesn't love that?
Y'all enjoy,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Margarita Day!

Today is National Margarita Day!
You might remember this painting that hangs on the wall at The Margarita Grill

We haven't had a margarita in months... we have decided that (for now) they are just not worth the calories. Whoa~ Stop the mariachi music!
That was before I found The Hungry Girl

Magical Low-Calorie Margarita
(115 calories, 2 Points)
3/4 cup Diet Sprite Zero
1.5 oz. tequila
1 individual sized packet Crystal Light lemonade
2 Tbs lime juice
Rim the glass by running a lime wedge along the edge of the glass and dip into a dish of salt. Shake all ingredients together. Pour over 1 cup of crushed ice. Garnish with lime slice.(chips not included)
Now that is a reason for a party .
Y'all enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Suppers~ Goat

This week it was Deborah's week to select our Sunday Supper. She picked a slow cooking method and then rocked our kitchens when she picked a recipe that calls for Goat. Yes... GOAT. This is a recipe found on one of her favorite cooking blogs~ Figments

Goat is not something I have ever cooked, or even eaten. That is a part of the fun of this cooking challenge... it makes us all try something different. I knew that this grocery list was beyond the Piggly Wiggly. Our first attempt at buying goat shanks was not very successful. I left the mexican grocery store knowing that my limited spanish was not well understood. (yes, to include hand motions and goat sounds). Bill didn't give up so easily and took a friend who teaches the local english/spanish classes... Success!

The flavors in this dish are wonderful. It filled the kitchen with a spicy cinnamon aroma and the feel of Morocco.
Goat Tagine with Fennel and Olives
6 meaty goat shanks
Sea Salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise
2 medium bulbs of fennel, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise
1 large pinch of saffron threads, lightly finger-crushed
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground coriander seed
1 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground cumin
2 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground fennel seed
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup fresh tomato peeled and chopped, or good boxed/canned chopped tomatoes
4 cups of chicken stock or water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), stem and all, tied with butcher string
1/2 cup oil-cured olives
1 large preserved lemon, rinsed and quartered
Preheat oven to 375○
Salt and pepper the goat shanks. Brown them over medium-high heat in a large, deep casserole that will fit all the meat and go in the oven. Remove shanks from the pan.
Add olive oil, onions and half the fennel and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the saffron, garlic, ginger and all spices and cook another 5 minutes. Add the honey and tomatoes and cook a few minutes. Add stock and tuck shanks back into pot along with the cinnamon stick and tied cilantro. Bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in the oven until tender, about 3 hours. Check every so often; add more liquid if necessary.
Add olives, lemon and remaining fennel to the stew the last 15 minutes of cooking.
It is finished when the fennel is tender and the meat is buttery and falling off the bone. Taste and season as necessary.
No extra seasoning was necessary, the flavors are wonderful! I served it over a bed of whole wheat cous-cous. I think the next time I'll make this I'll use chicken... unless I can get my hands on more goat shanks.

Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Photohunt ~ Cuddly

The Photohunt for this week is 'Cuddly'
It is a photo I have posted before... but there is nothing more cuddly than a sweet baby swaddled in a blanket.

Happy Hunting y'all!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Style

We have enjoyed watching the Olympics... I admit that I know nothing about these wonderful athletes. They spend their lives for these few moments of competition. We follow them like they are our neighbors and friends.
I really know nothing about ice dancing or curling... but I do know Style! And these Olympians have style.
They were absolutely the best dressed at the opening ceremonies.
The snowboarders are staying true to their own.

The flash of red white and blue
Doesn't it just make y'all proud?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Warm and Cozy~

With all the cold and snowy weather we have had, I was ready for a warm bowl of soup. This recipe for butternut soup is a wee bit lighter, without skimping on the flavor.

Spicy Butternut & Carrot Soup
2tsp ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1/2 Tbs chili flakes
3 Tbs coriander leaves, chopped
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup butternut squash, diced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk

In a large pot, cook onions, garlic & ginger in oil until tender. Add chili flakes, stir well. Add carrot, butternut & stock. Bring to boil. Simmer about 30 mins or until all vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Remove chunks to a blender and process until desired consistency (or use a hand held immersion blender like I am going to get one of these days). Blend back into the pot over low heat, stir in coconut milk & coriander. Heat through.
Is there anything better than a warm, spicy bowl of soup while watching the snow fall? The best thing about this snow is that it was gone the next day.
Springtime will be here before you know it.
Y'all enjoy,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Slow Supper~ Stir fry

This weeks Sunday Slow Supper is a Stir-Fry.
Candi's blog is Wanderlust and Passions. She shared her recipe for Cashew Chicken, which she learned to make in a cooking class in Chiang Mai during their trip to Thailand. I agree that stir-fry is the perfect 'go to' method for busy nights, it is easily adaptable with whatever you have on hand.

Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
cooking oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes or strips
2 Tbs fish sauce
3 Tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
8 oz jelly, oyster or shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tsp corn starch(optional)
1/2 cup unsalted cashews

Heat 2 to 3 Tbs of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onions and stir-fry until browned. Sear chicken on both sides for about three minutes(I use the sides of the skillet).(The chicken should be almost fully cooked at this point, if need to, cook for longer). Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar and mix for another minute. Add vegetables and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the chicken broth, cover and simmer for three to four minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken is fully cooked.
If you wish to thicken the sauce, use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and vegetables to a plate, and add cornstarch to the sauce whisking for a minute or two until sauce is thickened. Transfer the chicken and vegetables back to the skillet to keep warm.
Serve the stir-fry over your favorite rice (I make white rice) and top with cashews.
I adapted this by leaving out the peppers and adding some snap peas... I love the fresh flavors in this stir fry. I will be using this again and again.
Thanks Candi!
Y'all enjoy,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Photohunt ~Broken

The Photohunt for this week is 'Broken' A batch of red velvet cupcakes with creme cheese icing for Valentines Day~ and our diet is 'Broken'.
This is a recipe adapted from a Paula Deen recipe by decreasing the oil and substituting with low fat yogurt. (sorry Paula)
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, yogurt, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Fill individual cupcake liners and bake for 22-25 minutes until toothpick done.
I used a 'low cal' creme cheese frosting... Maybe not totally 'broken'.
Happy Hunting y'all!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love~ It's not just one day

Love is not only on February 14th It is not only sweet
It is in the sandIt's in the foods we love
It's in our favorite breakfast
It's in the clouds
It's all year long!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A day at the Cafe

Virginia and I met at the WhistleStop Cafe for lunch. It was the first time I've been to the Cafe in years... and now I am thinking~what a shame! The McMichaels' go a long way back with the cafe. Here is the history of the WhistleStop Cafe for anyone who is interested. I have also posted on the working kitchen, about the years Mom and Dad spent serving meals to generations of families in Birmingham.
It was 27 years ago when Fannie Flagg walked in and told mom she was going to write a book about her Aunt Bess, who had owned the cafe before Dad decided to buy it. Many of the stories in Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe are based on tales from those early years. The building hasn't changed in many years, even though we sold the cafe in 2000. The food is a s good as ever!

Not exactly on the diet... but what the Heck?? Everyone has to fudge sometimes.

Y'all enjoy,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On the Tracks

Here are some fun photos from our afternoon at the WhistleStop Cafe in Irondale.
These tracks bring back lots of memories, they haven't changed in years.
I've got pictures of food tomorrow.
Y'all enjoy,

Monday, February 08, 2010

Rainy Days

I was able to meet a new bloggy friend today. Virginia has the Birmingham Daily Photo Blog, she also travels to Paris as often as possible and blogs on that as well. She is a fantastic photographer and such a fun person.

We had lunch at the WhistleStop Cafe, and spent hours talking. Somehow our conversations always went back to travel, lost luggage and things we love.
The food was great~ I'll post photos tomorrow.
'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'
Maya Angelou

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Sunday

The best part of Superbowl Sunday is, without a doubt, the food and the commercials.

It was a rainy cold Saturday, and you know we are on this diet thing~ so I spent the day on the blogs looking for the perfect menu. Nothing makes me hungrier than trying to diet!
Here is the perfect Bloggy Superbowl Sunday...
Gina's Skinny Recipes posted an Avocado Mango Salsa
Jamie at My Baking Addiction is having BbQ beef sliders with slaw
Lisa, we all know is a HomeSick Texan. She knows her gumbo!
The Cup Cake Project is bringing some Beer Cheese Cupcakes, Stef may be disappointed to know that NY is not playing in the Superbowl. At least she knows cupcakes!
Who Dat is y'all??

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Photohunt ~Average

The Photohunt for this week is 'Average'

Even an Average day at the beach

is a Very Good Day!

Happy Hunting y'all!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Cooking Light~ Virtual Supper Club

I am joining in with some other bloggers around the world for a Virtual Supper Club . We are all finding all of our recipes through Cooking Light.

As with any good supper club we have chosen our 'themes' ahead of time, and plan to meet on the second Wednesday of every month.

Our party this month is Italian... that is just perfect for me. My favorite thing to bring home from Italy is kitchen stuff~ Ok, and maybe a touch of leather too :-)

I found a recipe for risotto at Cooking Light Recipes. This is a lighter recipe for a creamy butternut squash risotto. I decided to make the risotto in the traditional way, rather than in the microwave. But... using the microwave and a package of frozen butternut squash... life can't be much easier than that.

Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto
1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
2 tsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 (12-ounce) package frozen pureed butternut squash (such as McKenzie's)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbs grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
Thyme sprigs (optional)
1. Combine rice and oil in a 1 1/2-quart microwave-safe dish, stirring to coat. Microwave, uncovered, at HIGH 3 minutes.
2. Add broth and 1 cup water to rice mixture; microwave, uncovered, at HIGH 9 minutes. Stir well; microwave, uncovered, at HIGH 6 minutes. Remove from microwave; let stand 5 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
3. While risotto stands, heat squash in microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until warm. Add squash, salt, pepper, and cheese to risotto. Stir well to combine. Garnish with additional cheese and thyme sprigs, if desired.
This is yummy enough to serve to a Supper Club. Even a Virtual Supper Club!
Helene brought Caprese Salad.
Val cooked up some Stuffed Vegetables.
Aggie is from Florida, so she is bringing Shrimp Arrabbiata.
Jamie has a beautiful plate of Spaghettini.

I hope they like my risotto~
Ciao y'all,
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