Dont let leftovers scare you, Dear Readers, especially today on Halloween. Leftovers can be just as fun as trick or treating... well, okay, maybe not that fun but close. Leftovers are fun because you get to take something that’s well, “leftover“ and turn it into something completely new and different and dare I say exciting! Yes that’s right, leftovers can be exciting. I said it. (I have probably given you way too much insight into my personal life by making that statement but let’s just go with it and remember there’s no judging here at Mary’s Kitchen.)
Last night, I turned mashed potatoes into crispy yet tender potato pancake thingys and I took Campari tomatoes, stuffed them with leftover mac & cheese, topped them with the same leftover bread crumbs I used to coat the potato pancakes and baked them at 375° about 15 minutes. Viola! Something new and exciting! For the potato pancake thingys, I simply combined flour, an egg and leftover mashed potatoes. I chilled it yoo. Then as a pan was heating with a bit of oil, I commandeered the very soft mixture into a semi-round shape, coated it with a bit of beaten egg and then breadcrumbs and simply cooked them on each side until golden which only took 3 to 4 minutes per side. Our youngest daughter, Mia, ate them with a honey barbecue sauce and I must admit, that was pretty good. I served the potato pancake thingys and the stuffed tomatoes alongside a bit of spicy shaved beef and dinner was served. Our meal was on the table within 30 minutes.
Share your results in the comments section if you give some of these leftover “recipes” a try.
I created an utterly irresistible and scrumptious treat using decadent and luxurious ingredients. These treats even have a secret ingredient! What if I told you the scrumptious treats were gluten free? Would you believe me? You should, Dear Readers. I created a treat so scrumptious you will want to share them with your loved ones and friends but you will not. You will not share the treat because they are so yummy you will hoard them for yourself! What to do? What to do? Make a double batch of course! Dah!
Now, I bet you’re wondering what is the secret to my super duper delicious creation right? I will tell you but only because I have a generous spirit. Ready? Come in closer... Coconut oil is the secret ingredient! NOT just any coconut oil mind you, Dear Readers, it MUST be Tresomega Nutrition Virgin Coconut Oil! I am absolutely coo coo for the stuff! No fooling. (You can purchase the coconut oil and other Tresomega Nutrition products online at Sam’s Club. Just visit: www.samsclub.com) Would you like the recipe? I thought so. How about some pictures so you can easily duplicate my creation? Thought so again. Read on, Padawan. Read on...
Mary's Kitchen Gluten Free Chocolate and Coconut Almond Biscotti
Yield: 4-5 dozen
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/2 cup Tresomega Nutrition Virgin Coconut Oil, melted and cooled
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons semi sweet mini chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups gluten free (all purpose) baking flour
1/2 cup almond flour
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Spread shredded coconut in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Toast until just golden, 4 minutes. Set aside to cool. Spread almonds on the other prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Toast 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg white, sugar, salt and melted Tresomega Nutrition Virgin Coconut Oil. Add chocolates and cooled coconut and nuts. Stir to combine . Add gluten free baking flour and almond flour to bowl and mix, with hands until mixture becomes cohesive and forms a large mass. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Place 2 portions on each prepared sheet. Press and shape each portion into an 11”x2”x1/2” log, spaced 3 inches apart. Bake the logs 14 minutes then remove and rotate pans. Continue to bake logs 8 minutes more. Remove and cool logs on the baking sheets 10 minutes. Keep the oven at 350°. Carefully transfer each log to a cutting board and use a serrated knife to slice into 1 inch-thick straight or diagonal slices. Place the slices on the sheet pans, cut side down. Toast biscotti 7 minutes per side. Cool biscotti completely on the sheets. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. (Some biscotti may break during the cutting process but don't worry, just eat the evidence.)
These biscotti are SO crispy yet delicate, you will enjoy them no matter what your dietary restrictions. It's all thanks to the coconut flavor the Tresomega Nutrition Virgin Coconut Oil imparts which pairs beautifully with the chocolate and almonds. Please visit Tresomega Nutrition's website and social media pages on Facebook and Twitter so you can learn more about the products the company offers. To make that easy, just follow these links:
#Tresomega #OrganicsForLife #SamsClub
Do you have children, Dear Readers? Maybe you have just one child or one on the way or maybe you are the favorite aunt/uncle, babysitter or friend of a darling little tyke? Well, I am here to dispel any and all misconceptions that the little darling you see before you now will see you as the unicorn at the center of their universe forever but will, in fact, at some point see you as the least cool person in their radius of being. That is right, Dear Readers, you will be considered at least 50 shades of uncool. What to do? What to do? OWN IT! That’s what! Your child will be aloof and distant one minute and then cuddle in your lap the next. They will hold your hand and then drop it like a hot rock if you whisper something they don’t like. Know this and own those moments for two main reasons, sanity maintenance and assurance in the knowledge that what comes around goes around. For all the times your absolute lack of coolness seemed certain in their mind, you do something to dispel their misconception of you. You see Dear Readers, someday you will once again be the cool unicorn with a heart full of love and a head full of genius ideas and advice and it will be your little darling’s turn to be 50 shades of uncool when they become a parent. Who do you think they’ll call?
Our youngest daughter, Mia, went to the pumpkin patch with friends yesterday, carved her pumpkin and then our little darling brought me home a lovely bag of sticky guts and seeds. If you have never tasted freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, you have never tasted pumpkin seeds. Here is what to do:
1. Do not rinse the seeds but discard the large chunks of pumpkin and stringy stuff clinging to the seeds. Do discard immature seeds. Heat up a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lined rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Add vegetable oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat the bottom.
3. Add seeds and toss to coat with oil.
4. Add gray sea salt to taste and toss to coat.
5. Spread the seeds out into a single layer and allow to sit 2-3 minutes to brown but watch for burning. Repeat this process until most of the seeds are brown as shown below.
6. Spread the seeds in a single layer onto prepared sheets.
7. Toast the seeds 12-14 minutes, tossing and rotating pans halfway through. Remove, cool and store.
Baby it’s cold outside and I mean COLD! But, and this is a big BUT, I do not want to turn on the furnace but chilly weather is a great excuse to turn on my oven and stove and play in my kitchen. The past few days I have been cooking and baking some of our favorite cool weather foods like Pastitsio, Spanikopita, Avoglemeno and Cream of Pumpkin soups and biscotti and brownies. Some servings were packed up and brought to our oldest daughter, Alyssa, to enjoy all week at school and others stayed home. Visiting Alyssa is always a good excuse to heat things up and warm the house. Certain foods can warm us from the inside out too, foods such as onions, chilies and tumeric to name a few, all three of which can be added to a soup such as Cream of Pumpkin. This has been a public service announcement. You’re welcome.
While driving through my city’s potholed streets yesterday I started to think about popcorn. As my car popped and bumped down the road, I chuckled to myself because all I could think of was, pop goes the popcorn. Popcorn Is a favorite snack of our family and a great source of whole grain yummy goodness. I make mine in an air popper and love it with extra-virgin olive oil or even roasted pumpkin oil and a variety of different salts, such as homemade flavored salts or smoked salt, lightly sprinkled over-the-top. Whenever I get the urge for something crunchy, I make popcorn, it’s not processed and has a lot less fat and salt than potato chips so I hope you give it a try.
There ways to do things the easy way and there are ways to do things the hard way. In the first month of Fall, most of us have finished harvesting our garden (or are about to) and a lot of us prepare double batches of meals and treats and plan on freezing the extra items but beware, not all things freeze well. Leafy greens, such as cabbage, spinach and kale, for example, do not freeze well. Personally, I have also never had much success with yeast dough freezing well even when a recipe specifies the dough may be frozen and baked later.The most success I have with yeast dough is to bake it, allow it cool thoroughly, wrap it super well, double bag it and then freeze it. My “no-frost” freezer, frosts everything so I also try to use up things I freeze in a timely way. Meals like lasagna, Spanikopita and treats like zucchini, pumpkin and banana breads freeze well as do preportioned cookie dough servings. If you have never made preportioned cookie dough, it’s easy, simply scoop out cookie portions into a parchment-lined sheet pan, place in the freezer and then into resealable bags once the dough has frozen (or you remember you made preportioned cookie dough, whichever comes first.) Jam does not freeze solid so keep it upright, unless you enjoy cleaning up sticky messes, no judging, and things like berries and green beans may be spread out into a single layer, frozen and stored for later uses. there always seem to be one or two leftover bananas from bunches so don’t forget to freeze over ripe bananas and make banana breads throughout the year. Frozen bananas also make delicious and healthy additions to smoothies. See? There aren’t too many “don’t s” of freezing and many easy dos so enjoy!
Please share your tips and tricks as well as your successes and failures with freezing in the comments section.
Well, Dear Readers, it is Fall and that means only one thing, it is Fall harvest season! That’s right! It’s time to get out and harvest thosr herbs and whatever else you’ve been putting off harvesting until the first frost makes its appearance. That time has arrived! Early next week, we here in the East will see low temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s.
All you need to harvest is a pair of scissors, kitchen twine, paper towels and possibly bug spray. I like to harvest my herbs in two ways; 1. As one type, and 2. By use. This means I harvest all of one type of herb, say sage, then I harvest herbs in groups and make bundles I use when I make soup, sauces or braised dishes. I make herbs de Provence bundles, Mediterranean bundles and so on. I spread the herbs in single layers on paper towel or parchment paper-lined trays and allow them to dry, turning them as needed. I store the dried herbs in resealable bags and use throughout the cold months. The little bit of time and effort spent today will make for delicious additions in the chilly months to come until fresh herbs once again adorn our garden. Try it yourself and share your results in the comments section. Happy harvesting!
This is the perfect time of year to begin making rose vinegar. Roses are still blooming and the weather is mild. The process takes about six weeks so there is plenty of time between now and the holidays to complete the process if you begin now. Rose vinegar must be made with fresh, pesticide-free rose petals and white vinegar so it is inexpensive and easy to make. I began the rose vinegar 24 hours ago and as you can see, the color leeches from the petals quickly. Here is all I did:
I harvested and cleaned assorted rose petals from our garden and placed them into clean mason jars. Then I poured vinegar over the top and placed the jars in a dark corner. I think the vinegars will make a delicious addition to a dressing and make lovely gifts.
Please share your results if you start your own vinegar projects.
As the golden light of day begins to turn the clouds and sky from violet to grey and the from grey to salmon, I wish you a joyful day, Dear Readers. As coffee, the sweet elixir of life, is poured into your mug and turned from chocolate-brown to mocha-tan by cream, I wish you peace. As you make yourself and your loved ones ready for the day, I wish you health. Allow today to be a love note to yourself and those around you as the only thing in life that may be “controlled” is your attitude.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor