Happy Fall!

I had a busy summer. Our Moose moved from Chicago to Silver Spring MD to finish her degree in DC. In between she spent a few weeks with us. It was a good visit as we got the chance to know our daughter as a blossoming woman.

Moose turned 25 while home and we celebrated by taking her on a wine tour….something she had dreamed about for years but never had the chance to do. The best part was that we didn’t tell her a thing. The surprise was worth it. The trip was fabulous!

Having not posted for awhile, I put up some food pictures on my Facebook page and one of my nieces, Katie, asked me where my “fancy blog” went. I responded that I had been grumpy and writing while grumpy was bad….I was encouraged to do so. Art thought it would be amusing.

So call me the Grumpy Gourmet.

Summer is gone and today is the first day of fall. Seemed like a good day to write again. I am already in full fall food mode and I have started my Christmas planning and shopping. Our Moose and her significant other split up, but remained friends. Having only three kids to buy for, Boyfriend declared that the extra buying power should be thrown in his direction…. After all, he had catching up to do on Tammy and Moose. Well, all had trouble not laughing and agreeing.

So Katie girl….. I am back. And I am ramping up the soup season. I have also been to the farms and gotten so much deliciousness. Corn this summer has been AMAZING so I have been buying a lot and freezing it. I will show you how in the days that follow.

With Tammy in a new job, Boyfriend excelling in his masters while still working full time, and Moose incredibly happy in DC, it is hard to be grumpy about my continued unemployment. Almost.

I have realized something odd though. Happiness is a full pantry. With uncertainty comes trepidation. In these times I find comfort in a full pantry and fresh food on my counter.

We will talk some more this week. I thought I would take a few moments this morning over my Sunday morning coffee time to say…..

THE GRUMPY GOURMET IS BACK!!!!

Back to my coffee and to……..enjoy!

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Sweet cool treats ~ Smoothies and Sorbets

I have been getting more than my money’s worth from my Ninja lately. If you have a Vitamix you can play along with me too. I have been making smoothies and just started with sorbets as well.

I am drinking the last of this morning’s smoothie as I write this.

This is a protein smoothie, so here goes:

  • 1 scoop whey protein
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 6 nice sized strawberries
  • a little water (1/4 cup?)
  • ice cubes ~ mine I use 6 -8 but ice maker may be different

Put the whole thing in the Ninja.

Pulse until smooth.

Drink!

I also put sorbet in the freezer. Ready?

Strawberry/banana sorbet:

  • 1 1/2 banana
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen fresh  strawberries
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (you could use agave or honey if you wish)

Pulse until smooth. Pour into a freezer safe container. Freeze. Eat!

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These treats will be a regular part of my diet this summer. I have ideas and recipes for other fruit and combinations. In fact, you can make some of the a little spicy!

But for now, I am finishing my protein smoothie and waiting for my sorbet to set. I made a luscious salsa for dinner, but I will show you that tomorrow.

Try a smoothie. You can use the yogurt and fruit without the protein too. Either way… ENJOY!!

 

 

 

Summer salads ~ Easy and delicious carrot salad

The weather has been amazing so it has been hard to sit at a computer and write. If I had the photographic talent of others like Saltypalatte, I would be sharing pictures…but suffice it to say I have been drawn outdoors by that big beautiful spherical source of light and joy.

LET THE SALADS BEGIN!

This is a time to put away warm comfort foods and bring on the salads!! I started this weekend with one of the easiest and most delicious… Carrot salad. Now this salad has three – yes I said three – ingredients. That’s it. Two of these ingredients my husband dislikes, but the combination is so yummy it even pleases him.

You need
~ carrots, shredded
~ raisins
~ mayonnaise

Yup. That’s it. Put the shredded carrots in a bowl, add raisins to taste. Barry likes quite a few, so probably 2 cups carrots to nearly a cup of raisins. (You can also use craisins instead.) Put a healthy dollop of mayonnaise on top and mix. Taste a little. If you want more mayo, add a little more.

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The only ingredient Barry likes is raisins. But the mixture of flavored makes a light and tasty salad. And it gets my hubby to eat carrots. This is amazing!

There are so many tasty salads and it is only May!!

Try this one. You can even buy the carrots already shredded … Can’t get much easier!

Ok, back outside in the sunshine to … Enjoy!

Flavor Seeker ~ Make it at home! Endive Salad

I have said before that I enjoy going out to a really good restaurant and bringing the flavors home. We went to a restaurant recently where we had the loveliest endive salad. The other night, I made this treat for dinner.

We decided to have a finger food night. This consisted of a big bowl of boiled and kosher salted edamame, fresh bakery bread with olive oil and balsamic reduction, and endive salad. It was divine.

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In particular, I want to tell you this. I made the balsamic reduction and had the smell of vinegar in my sinuses for the next 36 hours! LOL 🙂 Really, a balsamic reduction is very simple. Put some balsamic vinegar in a saucepan. Use twice as much as you want to end up with as it ends up reduced by half. On a medium high heat, bring the vinegar to a rolling boil. Keep it there until the vinegar reduces by half and gets syrupy. Really, that’s it.

Now, a couple of things. One: DO NOT LEAVE THE POT ALONE! Make sure you watch it and whisk frequently. Two: Be certain to do this is an well ventilated room. Turn on the exhaust fan. Open an window! The steam that comes off as the vinegar reduces is pungent!

I started with 2 cups of balsamic vinegar. It took about 10 minutes. So that is a rough estimate for you. It is delicious. I used it for the bread and oil. I also drizzled it over the endive.

Endive Salad

You need:

  • endive leaves
  • cheese crumbles ~ The restaurant used blue cheese, but we like milder cheeses, so I used goat cheese.
  • honey roasted pecans
  • balsamic reduction

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So yummy!!!

Try it. And enjoy!!

Drumroll Please….Dinner was “superb”

Barry’s assessment of the meal was, in a word, superb.

The meat was so tender, juicy, and flavorful. No knife required.

superb

The taters… before the oven…

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…and after

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I made gravy too! Though as moist and tender as the meat was, Barry used exactly none!

 

dinner

DINNER! I could barely get a shot! Before I had turned around for the iPad, his meal was well on it’s way to being gone!

Boy did we enjoy!

 

 

Flavors of Spring ~ Catskill style

My brisket spent 24 hours swimming in flavor and marinating to perfection. I browned it nicely on each side and added chunks of carrot, celery, and onion. Now you can use the marinade but in this case I chose not to.  Why? It was predominately red wine and frankly I didn’t want purple veggies! LOL

So I covered the meat and veggies with beef broth and added a couple of bay leaves. Covered the Dutch oven and put the whole shebang in a 250 oven this morning about 10:30. Dinner is at 5:30. About halfway I will check it and flip the meat.

WIth veggies      image (2)

I also boiled potatoes to make my smash-roasted potatoes … sort of a twice baked idea. I boil the potatoes and cut a slit in the top of each. On a well-greased pan, I place the potatoes, take a potato masher and crush the top. Then I sprinkle with oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary (or your flavor of choice). They go back in the oven to be roasted in a very hot 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Watch them so they don’t burn though!!

I also prepared lentils to make later. We will talk about them tomorrow and I will post pictures of all the yummy foods.

It is not a lovely day today…rainy, dreary, and generally yuck! So a warm comfort food meal is just the ticket.

Until we talk again…enjoy!

Flavors of Spring ~ Cooking in the Catskills

So here in the Catskills, spring doesn’t always mean warm. Today is a glorious day, though. The sun is out. The birds are singing. The windows are open! Although the day will be comfortable and the heat is off now, the evening temp will still dip and become chilly. So soup again tonight for Barry. And today I have prepared a brisket for dinner tomorrow. Plan! Plan! Plan!

I looked at dozens of recipes for brisket. Of course I did! And though the southern Texas brisket with it’s BBQ sauce and chipotle seemed tempting, I opted for a sweet and savory type recipe. You know I didn’t use a recipe I found, but made my own from the tastes that Barry loves.

So. The beef is marinating in the fridge. 24 hours will make it ready to sieze up and then break down as I sloooooooooow cook it tomorrow. I kept it simple. First I took the meat and gave it a good rub with salt and garlic. For me I would have used pepper too, but hubby just isn’t a fan.

brisket rubbed

Now for the liquid. The flavors Barry enjoys include red wine (in cooking, he won’t drink it….go figure!), tomatoes, and for a touch of sweet, cherries. In a small saucepan I stared with about 1/2 cup of water and 2 tbsp of tomato paste. I dissolved the paste thoroughly and added 2 cups of a red wine. Then, in a sweet twist, I added about a half of a jar of cherry preserves. I know. Who would have thought it. No salt. No pepper. I did add some garlic powder. Bring to a quick boil and turn off, stirring constantly.

Now before pouring this over a cold piece of meat that you want to put in the fridge for 24 hours, make sure to cool it down. I put a few ice cubes in to speed the process. The cooled liquid, which of course I tasted, was then poured over the meat. Aluminum foil over the top, I placed it on the bottom shelf of the fridge. See you tomorrow morning!

brisket swimming in flavor

We will talk about putting it in the oven tomorrow. I prepared the carrots and celery. There will be onions in there too.

The promise of summer, with its salads and fresh yummy produce is right around the corner. But here in the Catskills, the lovely sunny cool days are a teaser. These nights still call for food that warms.

Going out to enjoy the sun and get my vitamin D. Enjoy!