Thursday, March 30, 2006

Northern Pike in a Caper Sauce

I got some northern pike on sale last week and wanted something quick for dinner tonight, so pike it was.

Northern pike is a fairly common mild-flavored predator fish from where I grew up. It has a loose skeletal structure which makes it very difficult to get completely bone-free. But this was professionally filleted, so I was good to go.

I actually took the recipe from the package the fish came in (but of course I made a few changes). It had capers in it and I had bought a jar of capers months ago, but didn't have any recipes to use them in. Mmmm... capers!!!

Mince two cloves of garlic and saute in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Chop up one small tomato and throw in the pan with the garlic. Throw in a tablespoon or two of wine (I actually used sherry), a couple tablespoons of basil, and a tablespoon or two of butter. Cook until the butter is melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

I used my clay pot cooker for the fish. It works great for fish too! I put a little olive oil in the bottom of the pot, But I don't think this was necessary. I put the fish fillets in frozen and poured two tablespoons of lemon juice and the caper sauce over the top. I sprinkled on two tablespoons of an Italian four cheese mix. I baked this for 20 minutes at 500 degrees.

It was DELICIOUS!!!! This is going on my favorites list. And now I have a recipe to use up those capers on. Mmmm... capers!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

If You Don't Like the Weather in Wisconsin...

Whoa boy!! It was a good thing that we got all that gardening done yesterday, because look what came down over night. You might not be able to see it very well from this picture but we got about 15 inches of snow. Power went out around town and it was very tricky traveling today.

I love snow!! And that is a good thing, because we are scheduled to get some more in a couple of days.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Spring Fever

This weekend it got up to 60 degrees (F). My family and I took the opportunity to go for a long walk around town yesterday to check out some trails that I had been hearing about. The walk took us across the campus grounds -- which even though I work there, I haven't had time to check out myself. I saw that the daffodils were beginning to come up. So we decided to dedicate today for garden clean up.

Here's what the garden looked like before. I don't do a lot of clean up in the fall because I am usually busy enjoying the fall weather hiking, biking, camping, BBQing, and generally having fun with my family. Fall is my favorite season. Dry and cool.

Plus, I hate seeing my garden so bare during the winter, and the birds still use the plant material for food all winter long. THAT'S IT! I do it for the birds! Yeah, I'm not unconcerned for my garden, I'm concerned for the birds.


Here's what my garden looked like after about three hours of work. I still have a lot to do, but the ground is still too frozen to weed; we could only do surface cleaning.

"Did it just get brighter, or is it because all the sunflowers are gone?" my husband commented after we were finished. It may not look it in the picture, but we really got rid of a lot of junk.

This is the earliest that I have been able to get out for spring clean up in a very long time. It feels so good to have so much of it taken care of!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lasagne Bake

I had a bunch of ingredients that needed to be used up: mozzarella, cottage cheese, sweet onion, and unflavored yogurt. Hmmm... what could I make?

Lasagne bake!!!

What's that? What about the yogurt? Trust me.

I just made this recipe up as I went, as usual, so get ready for more creative measurements. First, turn the oven on to 350 degrees and grease a lasagne pan well with olive oil.

In this picture you can see a box of mostly cooked mini lasagne noodles (they'll finish cooking in the oven) mixed with a 1/2 lb of grated mozzarella, four big-spoonfuls (see the big spoon?) of cottage cheese (um, maybe 1/2 a large container), and three big-spoonfuls of unflavored yogurt (really, trust me!).

Then mix in a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce and one pound browned ground turkey sauteed with sweet onions (about 1/2 a large onion). Mix in a tablespoon of garlic salt (Lawry's is the best).

Top with two cups shredded mozzarella and sprinkle on parmesan.

Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees.

How was it?


Monday, March 06, 2006

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

I love cream-of soups. They are my favorites. But I have had so much trouble finding a good recipe for them. I have tried many different ones over the years without much luck.

But if at first you don't succeed -- try, try again.

I had some left over cauliflower and half-n-half and some determination, so I decided to make cream of cauliflower soup.

I found recipes for cream of mushroom and cream of celery so I took some ideas from them and then just had to wing it. I've made lots of from-scratch pudding and thought the base for the soup would be very much like that.

Chop up half a head of cauliflower. Throw into a sauce pan half covering with water. Cook on medium heat.

Finely chop one thick slice of sweet onion. I love the Andes sweets, or, if you can get it, my all time favorite is Vidalia! Throw the chopped onion in with the cauliflower along with two tablespoons butter.

When the cauliflower is just about cooked through and the water has boiled down, throw in 3 chicken boullion cubes. Sprinkle about 1/8 cup flour over the cauliflower and mix in.

Turn down the heat and pour in two cups half-n-half, two cups water, and one egg mixed well. When the soup has heated up, add 1/8 cup chopped swiss cheese. Cook until thicken.

Once the cream has been added, DO NOT OVER HEAT!!!

This was the best cream-of soup that I have ever made. I would definitely make this again, and I plan to try other versions, like: mushroom, broccoli, potato... OH! I CAN'T WAIT!!