Friday, September 18, 2009

Ever Had One of Those Days?

Today just about all of my cooking attempts failed. We tried to make Ravioli and the pasta dough was not working right.It kept ripping and tearing! So we got mad and threw that batch away. We tried it again and that time the dough was ok but after we got them filled that would not seal up right. we did the best we could and stuck them in the fridge to make for dinner. When we pulled them out they were no longer many ravioli but one big oozing glob. At this point we were really mad and tossed the lot of it and swore off homemade ravioli as a bad idea. I decided to make cheesy shells for dinner. This recipe starts out with making a rue. A rue is basicly a white sauce that you add cheese to (I'll post the recipe in a little bit). You start out by melting butter in a pan and adding flour and whisking together for about a minute before adding milk. Well, I got distracted getting the garlic ready and burned the butter! So after another trip to the trash can I took a moment, slowly breathed for about 2 minutes to calm myself down and tried again. Luckly this time I was able to get it all to work and had dinner on the table by 7 pm. Just as a point of refrerence We started dinner prep at 2pm. Also during this time Jacob was making bread. He got through all of the risings and even had it risen in the pans with no incident. He had the idea to use some of the extra egg wash from making the ill fated ravioli to brush on the bread. When he did the loves fell and after they were baked looked more like bricks and less like bread! So to sum it up we are pretty much done with cooking for a bit!

I share this with you to tell you all that sometimes even those who are "good" at cooking still have off days. Everyone messes up now and again and ya know what... it's OK! OK to burn things, OK to get it wrong, OK to fail. When we fail two things can happen. We can get mad at ourselves and never try again or we can learn from our mistakes and try again. I don't know when or if we will try to make homemade ravioli but at least we had something yummy for dinner instead. Thank goodness for store bought pasta!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What To Do With All Those Cucumbers!!!

After a long absence I have returned to doing some cooking! I am so excited. My cousin has a ton of cucumbers in her garden and has no idea what to do with them. We also have many cucumbers and have had fun doing all sorts of things with them. While we were talking last week she asked me to send her some recipes. So after I finished the e-mail I thought I might share them with you. I have collected them ove the years. Most are mine but a few I can't take credit for. The Cucumber Limeade recipe was given to me by a friend. The Cucumber soup is Julia Child's. I hope you have fun with your cucumbers!

Cucumber Limeade


  •  1 can frozen limeade
  •  1 2 litter bottle lemon lime soda
  •  1 small cucumber or 1/2 large cucumber

 Empty limeade concentrate into gallon pitcher. Add lemon lime soda and stir to combine. Firmly scrape washed cucumber lengthwise with a fork all the way around. slice Cucumber thinly and add to the limeade mixture. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Tzatziki Sauce (Greek yougrat sauce)

  •  6 ounces plain yogurt
  •  1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  •  Pinch salt
  •  4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  •  5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced

 This is great on Gyros. I like to put it on leftover meatloaf with tomatoes and feta cheese)




Refrigerator Pickles (This is more of a method the an exact recipe)


 Heat in a saucepan until very hot, not boiling

  •  1 cup white vinegar
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  1/2 cup salt
  •  4 cups of water

you might need a few batches of this depending on how many cucumber you are pickling.

In each quart jar put

  •  1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 dill head
  • 1 bay leaf

 Layer slices (or spears) of cucumbers on top of spices and pack well. Pour hot liquid in jars leaving 1/2 o so head space. Top wit ha lid and ring and let sit on counter till cooled. Once cooled shake to distribute spices and get out air bubbles. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 4 weeks.



Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad

 (this one is super easy and the family I nanny for has me make this at least once a week year round!)

  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 smallish red onion (I have used white and yellow onions too but only 1/2 as much)
  • Raspberry vinaigrette

Peel, seed, and dice cucumbers, Seed and dice tomatoes. Dice red onion. combine with vinaigrette and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Toss and enjoy!

Greek salad

  •  1 cup cube tomatoes,
  • 1 cup cucumbers,
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper,
  • 1/2 cup red onion,
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar,
  • 1/4 cup olive oil,
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  •  a few leaves of fresh oregano
Combine first 4 ingrediants in a bowl. In separate bowl whisk together Vinegar, Oregano, and olive oil. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables. top with some kalamata olives and the cheese.





Cucumber Soup

  •  1 1/2 lbs. cucumbers (3, about 8” long)
  •  2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed, dried, and finely choppe
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • salt and white pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, tarragon, or parsley

Peel, halve, and seed the cucumbers with a teaspoon. Cut 18 very thin slices with a vegetable peeler or small sharp knife and reserve them in a bowl for garnishing. Cut the rest of the cucumbers into half-inch chunks.

 Cook the leeks slowly in the butter for several minutes until tender but not browned. Add the cucumber chunks, potatoes, chicken broth, vinegar, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partly covered, for 20-25 minutes. Purée with an immersion blender. Thin out with more broth if necessary; season carefully with salt and pepper.

 Just before serving, beat in 1/2 cup sour cream. Ladle into soup bowls, place a dollop of sour cream in each bowl, float slices of cucumber on top of the cream, and sprinkle with the herbs.




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