Friday, February 18, 2011


Wow . . . I'm having a moment lately like when baby sister was born where I'm doubting my ability to keep blogging.  Maybe it's the sleep deprivation (my amazing sleeping baby completely disappeared) or the moving (how on earth do we have this much stuff in a 1100 square foot house??) or the fact that I'm in week 8 of my 10 week quarter for the writing classes I'm teaching (essays due next week - yikes!) or all of these things combined.  I'll be back sometime soon - I promise.  And, I'll post pictures of my new, dream kitchen.  But for now, here are some other photos and no recipe.

What our dining room looks like - boxes!

And, extra room to play (look at the sitting girl!)

For my birthday, my niece made cookies for me!

And, my mom made me an awesome dinner with chocolate souffles (just to clarify, this is my dad, serving the souffles)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011



These days I'm needing a little comfort.  Sleep deprivation and a scary break-in at our house (everybody is safe) have left me feeling vulnerable and on edge.  It's interesting to think about where we turn when we need to be comforted.  And, here on What's for Meat, you know I'm going to suggest some comforting food.  But, there is one message I want to be clear about:  True comfort doesn't come from food.  I'm not just saying "Back away from the chocolate" but in the year long Bible study of Isaiah I'm doing with other women in Pasadena, we just learned about God's ability to truly comfort his people.

Here are some excerpts from Chapter 40:
"Speak comfort to Jerusalem."  v. 2

"He will feed his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young."  v. 11

"The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength."  v. 28-29
                     (Read the whole chapter here)

So after you read the chapter and look to God's word to nourish your soul, you can make something to nourish your body.  For about 2 weeks, I eliminated refined sugar from my diet.  I was needing some extra energy and I knew it wasn't going to come from extra sleep.  It really did the trick - if you've never tried it, consider doing it for just one week and see how you feel.  Although I've done some backsliding over the past weekend, today I wanted some warm baked goodness without sugar so I made these pumpkin biscuits.

They really are biscuits - not muffins or cookies - but they were super easy to make and satisfying.  The original recipe (no idea where it's from) said to make a flat disk, about 2-3 cm thick and cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter but you'll see below that I made drop biscuits.  The cream cheese icing was a little lumpy (I think it was too cold) but both big sister and I loved them!  The sweetness comes from the agave and the pumpkin and there's no white flour either.

Hope you enjoy!

Iced Pumpkin Biscuits (makes 1 dozen smallish ones)

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. raisins
1/2 c. canned unsweetened pumpkin
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 T agave

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and raisins in a bowl.  Mix well.  Gently fold in the pumpkin.  The dough will be crumbly.  Add the milk and agave and stir until the dough becomes soft.  Drop heaping tablespoons onto the baking sheet and flatten to make little discs.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let them cool a little before icing.

Combine 4T cream cheese with 1T agave until smooth and smear on the biscuits.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Seared Salmon on Baby Spinach

This recipe is easy enough to pull off on a weeknight when you don't have much time (or energy) and fancy enough to make for company.  I think I first made this dish for my husband on Valentine's  Day after we decided Valentine's Day is the worst evening to eat at a restaurant.  

The recipe is originally from Bon Appetit, April 1999.  A friend gave me a bunch of her Bon Appetit issues after we got married and reading through them was a big influence on my early days of cooking.  I still find little cut out recipes from the pages of her magazines in my cookbooks and cooking notebooks even though now, Epicurious is where I usually go for Gourmet or Bon Appetit recipes. 

I've made it without the tarragon before and it was a mistake - a great flavor that really makes the dish.  Try to find it fresh when you make this dish.  It's easy to double for 4 but if you're not going to go out, think about making this for you and your Valentine!

Seared Salmon on Baby Spinach (serves 2)

2 7-oz skinless salmon fillets
2 T butter
3 large shallots, sliced
1 1/2 T chopped fresh tarragon
3 oz baby spinach
1/3 c. dry white wine
1/4 c. whipping cream
salt & pepper

Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper.  Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the salmon and saute until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.  Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in the same skillet.  Add half of the shallots and half of the tarragon and saute 30 seconds.  Increase heat to high and add half of the spinach and toss for 30 seconds.  Add remaining spinach and toss until wilted.  Divide between 2 plates.

Melt the last 1/2 tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the rest of the shallots and tarragon; saute 30 seconds.  Add wine and cream and boil until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Return salmon to the skillet and simmer for about 1-2 minutes.  Arrange salmon atop the spinach and top that with the sauce.