Monthly Archives: June 2015

Vanilla Syrup

I hope you’re all staying cool this Summer. I know we’ve been in the high 90’s all week here in Utah, and it’ll be in the 100’s later on this week, so I’m doing my outdoor exercising early in the morning. When it’s this hot, we mostly hang out inside during the late afternoon, unless we pull out the sprinklers or go to a splash pad or pool to cool off, but that’s so much work, what with sun-screening everyone, gathering towels and suits and then showering everyone once we’re back so we only do that a couple of times a week. Walks just before bed are nice too because it cools off quite a bit once the sun goes down, thank goodness.

This weeks recipe is a treat, meaning, it’s something we don’t make very often, just for holidays and birthdays because it does call for a good amount of sugar :). I use evaporated cane juice (from Costco), but it’s still sugar. This recipe is still better than the kind of syrup you’re going to buy in a grocery story, unless you get pure maple syrup, because the other kinds will have high fructose corn syrup, and other ‘made-in-a-science-lab’ type ingredients. I got this recipe from Karen Nelson,  my best friends mom, while growing up in Washington, because I loved it that much! It will make any breakfast waffle, pancake, crepe etc taste heavenly.

There are only four ingredients in this vanilla syrup: butter, heavy whipping cream or whole milk, evaporated cane juice (granulated sugar), and vanilla extract. Put all four of those ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring it to a boil, whisking ocassionally, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes . Serve warm. That’s it! Simple! You will see this vanilla syrup recipe again on next week’s post, which will be a Fourth of July breakfast of Stuffed French Toast.

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See, there’s the preview picture of the stuffed French Toast, with the vanilla syrup drizzled over top!

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THE RECIPE:

Vanilla Syrup

1 c butter
1 c whipping cream (or whole milk)
1 c evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)
2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

*You can save the leftovers in a jar and refrigerate and warm up in the microwave or over the stove when ready to serve again, but the butter separates and it’s hard to get it to be the same consistency, so this best when it’s made fresh and served immediately.

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Restaurant Style Salsa

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Salsa can be tricky to make just right, with just the right heat.  Depending on the jalapeno, you might need to add an entire jalapeno or a quarter of a jalapeno, and sometimes you can’t tell until after you’ve mixed it in and waited a few minutes for the flavors to really blend. This recipe, that I got from a neighbor, takes out that heat variable because instead of using a fresh jalapeno, the heat comes from a can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles, so the heat doesn’t change and I would rate it as ‘medium’ heat.

All you need for this recipe is two cans of regular diced tomatoes, one can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles, one small white or yellow onion, one bunch of cilantro, minced garlic, lime juice and salt. I roughly chop my cilantro and onion, and then throw everything into my blender and pulse it several times until it’s the consistency I want, which is little chunks and partially pureed. You can serve it right away or store it in a container in your fridge for at least a week (it hasn’t lasted any longer than that in our house).

 

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THE RECIPE:

Restaurant Style Salsa
makes about 1 quart (4 c)

2 small cans diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with chiles; this is where your spice comes from)
1 small white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (ends cut off and discarded)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp lime juice
sea salt, to taste (I use about 1/8 tsp)

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until the consistency that you like.

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Filed under Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Potato Leek Soup

The first time I tried potato leek soup was this year, when I was experimenting with some new soup recipes. My family loved it! Four out of our five children ate most, if not all of their soup (my five year old is going through an ‘I hate all soups’ phase right now) and I wondered why I’d never thought to try this recipe before. The kids particularly like the potatoes and the leeks give it such a nice flavor and I slice them thin enough that they don’t bother the kids too much.

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You’ll start off by slicing the ends off the leeks, just above the root and discard the root. Next you’ll cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Starting at the white end, slice the leeks crosswise, as you would slice a green onion, in 1/4 inch slices. Stop slicing when the leaves turn from pale green to dark green and discard the remaining part of the leek.

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Place sliced leeks (about 2 c) in a colander and stir with fingers under cold water to loosen layers and remove any dirt. Drain and set aside.

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Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, salt and pepper and cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until leeks are wilted and fragrant. Add potatoes, broth, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cover pot. Simmer on medium-low heat about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Add cream, parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Heat until warmed through and serve. Feel free to serve this with some diced up ham; I put mine in a separate small bowl for individuals to add to their soup bowls, since I don’t like ham :). I also like to eat mine with a soft roll; my favorite recipe is here (and it’s whole grain!)

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THE RECIPE: 

Potato-Leek Soup
*Serves 6-8

4 medium leeks
3 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 medium russet potatoes, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
4 c vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 c heavy cream
optional: 8 oz or 2 c ham, diced
1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

Slice ends off leeks just above the root and discard. Cut leeks in half lengthwise. Starting at the white end, slice the leeks crosswise, as you would slice a green onion, in 1/4 inch slices. Stop slicing when the leaves turn from pale green to dark green and discard the remaining part of the leek. Place sliced leeks (about 2 c) in a colander and stir with fingers under cold water to loosen layers and remove any dirt. Drain and set aside.  Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, salt and pepper and cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until leeks are wilted and fragrant. Add potatoes, broth, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cover pot. Simmer on medium-low heat about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Add cream, parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste. Heat until warmed through and serve. Optionally, serve with ham in a separate small bowl for individuals to add to their soup bowls.

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Veggie Omelet

We moved last week, from our rental home in Colorado, back to our home in Utah. We loved Colorado, but we love Utah too so we’re happy to be back home :); and yes, I call Utah home even though I was born and raised in Seattle, probably because Scott and I have spent 8 of our nearly 12 years of marriage in Utah. Our house is half way unpacked. It would be all the way unpacked(I like to finish projects and in good time) but we are finishing our laundry room, throwing up a hall in another room, and putting in a new wall in yet another, plus we’re painting several rooms, all while trying to live in the house with our family of seven ;). It’s been great fun. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little. I think messy and chaotic would be better words to describe what’s going on in our home right now. Though I am very excited for the finished product. Once those projects are done, we’ll unpack the rest of our boxes, though the house projects will be far from done. But are they ever? It seems like there is always something I want to do to update or improve the house. Anyway, I wrote several food posts the week before we moved so that I could schedule them to share over the next few weeks, so without further ado, here is my favorite way to make omelets:

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Omelets are one of those meals that I could enjoy eating for breakfast, lunch or dinner. When we’re checking out hotels to stay in for family vacations, if they have an omelet bar, I’m sold. Have you ever seen one of those omelet bar guys making an omelet? It’s like magic! They are amazingly fast and they turn out beautifully every time. And I love all the fillings they have to offer. Those hotels, and my husbands dad, who can make an amazing omelet, were my inspiration for this post. I’m hoping to share some tips and tricks along the way that will make omelet making stress-free, or at least, less stress than you might imagine :).

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Warm up an 8-inch pan over medium heat. Add oil and diced veggies and cook for one minute, until veggies are tender and/or spinach is wilted. Dump cooked veggies into  a small bowl and set aside. In a liquid measuring dish or small bowl, crack both eggs and add 1 Tbsp water and whisk together vigorously.

Melt your butter in the same 8 inch pan, and gently tilt the pan back and forth to coat the pan evenly.

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Pour the water egg mixture into the pan so that it spreads across the entire bottom of the pan evenly, and do not stir! Let them sit and start to bubble up a little bit.When the bottom of the eggs begin to set a little bit, use heat-resistant rubber spatula to gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the ‘liquidy’ egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there’s no liquid left. If the egg sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.

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Now gently flip the egg pancake over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left. Do not overcook. Working quickly because omelet is still in the pan, Sprinkle half of the omelet with cheese and toppings.

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Quickly fold the other side of the omelet over the toppings.

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Flip onto a plate and serve warm. I like to top mine with a little tapatillo!

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THE RECIPE:

Veggie Omelet:
*makes 1 omelet

1/2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
1/4 c diced veggie toppings (bell peppers, spinach, tomato, onion, green onion, mushrooms etc)

1 Tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 Tbsp water
1/4 c grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Warm up an 8-inch pan over medium heat. Add oil and diced veggies and cook for one minute, until veggies are tender and/or spinach is wilted. Dump cooked veggies into  a small bowl and set aside. In a liquid measuring dish or small bowl, crack both eggs and add 1 Tbsp water and whisk together vigorously. Melt your butter in your pan and gently tilt the pan back and forth to coat the pan evenly. Pour the water egg mixture into the pan so that it spread across the entire bottom of the pan evenly, and do not stir! Let them sit and start to bubble up a little bit.When the bottom of the eggs begin to set a little bit, use heat-resistant rubber spatula to gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there’s no liquid left. If the egg sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.Now gently flip the egg pancake over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left. Do not overcook. Working quickly because omelet is still in the pan, Sprinkle half of the omelet with cheese and toppings.  Quickly fold the other side of the omelet over the toppings. Flip onto a plate and serve warm. I like to top mine with a little tapatillo!

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Filed under Breakfast