Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I've posted before about how much my oldest loves spinach pies. We were supposed to make some a couple of weeks ago, but I used the onion in another dish...forgot to get feta at the grocery...then the thawed spinach sat in the fridge for way too many days and I gave up. But she's been bugging me ever since.

I haven't been myself lately. I have been getting treatment for a displaced disk in my jaw, which has been giving me a near constant headache for about 5 weeks so far. So my time in the kitchen has been limited. Our nutrition (and wallet) has been suffering for it. Plus, we had the promise of ice cream cake for dessert to celebrate our first daughter's birthday-in-heaven. So without a trip to the grocery store, what to have for dinner? Big bag of meatballs, and a peck of rainbow peppers to the rescue. But Dani doesn't eat peppers, so she bugged me again about the spinach pies.

Oh, baby, I am tired. The kitchen is a mess. And spinach pies take a long time. It's already 6:00...fine. How can we do this, quick in a hurry, without adding to the mess of the kitchen? Hmmm, the doughnut maker is still on the counter from Sunday morning when we made peanut butter doughnuts with chocolate glaze (look up a cake mix doughnut recipe on Pinterest...add 1/2 cup melted peanut butter. Glaze is powdered sugar, cocoa powder, melted butter and water). What if we....?

I quickly looked on Pinterest to see if anyone has ever done this before, cooking spinach pies in a doughnut maker. Nope. Maybe in a waffle iron? Nope. I did find a recipe for spinach and feta fritters that looked similar to my spinach pie recipe with some flour added. Well, why not?

I mixed up a modified version of my Mini Spinach Pies and added a scoop of flour. Preheated the doughnut maker, sprayed it with some cooking spray and mounded the spinach mixture in the wells. The first batch, I kept peeking and poking. Dani said we should flip one out and test it so we did. It worked! I timed the second batch to see just how long it takes...8 minutes. Eight minutes! And I don't have to wash out 48 tiny muffin tin wells when we are done?? Hallelujah!!

In that 8 minutes, I whipped up a dipping sauce for me and Ken with some mayo, sour cream, lemon zest, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. But these little "spindonuts" would be delicious with some tzatziki. The whole surface of the doughnut gets a bit of a crust on it, so it is a bit of a different texture of the mini muffin tin. I don't think I'm going back. Ken and I do try to stick to a paleo diet most of the time, so I will try these with a different flour one day. In the meantime, we aren't so strict that a tablespoon or two of flour is a deal-breaker.

Now, what is next in the doughnut maker? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Thought I was a food snob before...

My wonderful husband did not get me the InstaPot I asked for at Christmas. He is usually pretty good with presents and gets me either what I ask for, or something that is life-changing for me. Past gifts: curved shower rod (I hate touching a wet shower curtain), gel mat for the kitchen (my feet hurt when I do alot of cooking), door mat that says "Door bell broken, yell "Ding Dong" really loud (I asked for that one). So when he set a pile of gifts in my lap on Christmas morning, not one of them was big enough or heavy enough to be an InstaPot.

I admit, I was a bit crestfallen, sorry honey. Then I tore into the sparkly paper. Under the packages of eight bottles of vinegar (we make vinegar sodas with flavored balsamics...delicious, gut-healing, and cholesterol lowering to boot) was a moderately heavy rectangular box. In the box was an immersion cooker. I have seen this method of cooking on television, mainly on cooking competition shows. My reaction, after the initial "This is NOT and InstaPot!!" was "this is cool, I'm looking forward to trying it."

It wasn't until Christmas night that I had a chance to surf Pinterest for ideas, where my "this is cool" tuned into "I can't wait to try this thing!!" A trip with friends and our annual New Years Day crepe fest meant I had to wait a couple of weeks. Well, I didn't have to, but it took that long to finish off all the holiday left-overs.

Still had a couple of NY strips left in the freezer from the cow we bought last year, I researched a bunch of sous vide recipes for steak and combined them for dinner last night. One of the steaks was still half frozen, but I figured (correctly as it turns out) that it wouldn't matter. Here is how the immersion cooker works: you vacuum seal (with a machine or inside a zipper seal bag) the food you are cooking and immerse it in the water. You clip the cooker to the side of the pot and set the temperature and time and it circulates the water and keeps it at a consistent temperature. It is impossible to overcook the food. I have always been intimidated by cooking meat. It is expensive if you mess up. I've gotten more confident by the addition of a good meat thermometer to my kitchen, and through practice, I can tell by feel when pork chops are done. But I have stopped using my crock pot when I am not home because I have ruined more than one pork loin (how can it be tender and dry at the same time??) and burned beef roast at least twice. Sous vide, though...I can totally see me setting that up in the morning and walking away!

Last nights experiment was NY Strip, salted and peppered and sealed in a zip-top bag with a pat of butter, a sprig of thyme and a sprig of rosemary. Two of these, actually. Sous vide-ed (not sure if you can use that as a verb) at 135 degrees for about an hour and a half. I set the timer for 2 hours, but got really hungry and pulled it out when I couldn't wait anymore. My littlest had chopped up some mushrooms before her dinner, so those were ready and waiting. I set a cast iron skillet to heat up and pulled out the steaks from the bags and patted them dry with paper towels. Into the hot skillet with some oil and flipped after about a minute. In a nook in the pan, I put a pat of butter, a squeeze of garlic from the garlic press, and a few sprigs of thyme. The intention was to spoon the butter over the steaks while they cooked, but I couldn't manage that...aww, I have to try this again (read with heavy sarcasm). Steaks out of the pan and covered to rest, mushrooms in. Some salt and pepper, a little white wine and a splash of heavy cream and the mushrooms were "kickin" (Ken's words).

Oh. My. Goodness. The steaks were perfectly medium. Pink all the way through and cut like buttah. Three bites in and I cracked open a bottle of red wine. I have never felt like more of a food snob than I did last night! But I tell you, I am never again making a steak any other way! Sous Vide is the way to go! Check out my Pinterest board "Sous Vide" if you are wondering what I'm making next.

To my Hubby: Thank you, baby, best Christmas gift ever!! Wait...you really enjoyed that steak last night...was this gift for me, or for you?