Welcome to my Food Blog!

Welcome! My name is Anne, aka ThePharmGirl. In 2010, I successfully made 100 recipes as a New Year's Resolution to expand my culinary repertoire and cooking skills beyond the frozen microwave dinner. This blog is a continuation of my culinary journey and serves as my personal virtual recipe box. Sometimes I like to have fun-- Check out my Muppet Mania Menu, The 12 Days of Christmas, and my Musical-themed recipes.

My current mission(s) for 2020:
* Make at least 20 recipes for the Instant Pot
* Use the Spiralizer more often

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fox Point Salmon and Herbed Purple Potatoes (2012 - Week 28)

Week 28 Featured Ingredient: Purple Potatoes

I know, I know-- it's just a potato.  But they're purple!  And the chefs on the show Chopped are always using purple potatoes, so I, too, wanted to give them a try.  After a little research, I discovered that purple potatoes date back 7000 years ago to the Peruvian Andes, where they were reserved only as a treat for Incan Kings.  So they must be special, hey? Turns out they are loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants, making them healthier than the average spud.   These antioxidants have been shown to have anti-cancer and heart-protective effects, as well as immune-boosting benefits and protecting against age-related memory loss.   :)

I decided to herb the potatoes with what I call my "Scarborough Fair" combination-- parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.  If it works in the song, it should work on food, right?  It did.  The potatoes were delicious.   Taste-wise, I guess they reminded me of red potatoes, but different in a way that is hard to describe.  Maybe slightly sweeter?

For the salmon, we baked it using Penzey's Fox Point seasoning.  Yum. :)

Anne's Herbed Purple Potatoes

1/2 to 1 lb purple potatoes, quartered
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
~1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
~1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
~1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, oil, and herbs until evenly coated.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place potato wedges, face up, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Bake at 400ºF for ~20 minutes until edges are brown and crispy and inside is fork-tender.


Fox Point Salmon

2 fillets of salmon (6-8oz)
1 teaspoon Penzey's Fox Point Seasoning
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 375º.  Grease a baking sheet or line with aluminum foil.  Place salmon, skin side down, on sheet.  Sprinkle with Fox Point Seasoning.  Arrange butter pieces over the fillets.   Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the fish.  Cover with foil and bake at 375º for about 10 minutes (until the internal temperature of fish reaches 145º).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cajun Gumbo and Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce (2012 - Week 27)

Week 27 Featured Ingredient: Okra

We had a Cajun-style cooking night at our house.  The Gumbo was good, but really spicy.  It was right at my threshhold of what I can tolerate.  It really cleared out the sinuses--we needed a box of tissues at the table.  Now that I'm typing the recipe, I noticed my mistake.  I was only supposed to use 2 tablespoons of the Cajun Spice Blend, not the ENTIRE batch. HAH!  It was more like a soup than my photo shows because the juice is at the bottom of the bowl. This recipe made WAY more than what Jeremy and I can eat by ourselves, so if I made it again, I'd cut the recipe by half.  Despite the long ingredient list, it was really easy to make.  The bread pudding also made a very large portion, but I didn't mind because it was super delicious.  Like, REALLY good.  MMmmm.  I bet it would be good for breakfast too.  The Jack Daniel's Bourbon sauce was an excellent addition.

Emeril's Shrimp and Okra Gumbo with Cajun Spice Blend

1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepepr
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch coins
1 pound small okra, stem ends trimmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup tomatoes with their juices
5-10 cups fish stock (depending on how soupy you want it)
2 pounds medium (26-30 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
2 tablespoons Cajun spice blend (see recipe below)
rice or quinoa for serving

Cajun spice blend:
1 tablespoon cayenne
2 tablespoons chopped dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
(Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.  May be kept in resealable jar for up to 6 months)

 In a large stock pot over medium heat, add the canola oil and flour.  Stir mixture until it begins to turn a medium brown color, similar to peanut butter (this should take about 10 minutes).  Add the onions, green peppers, and celery, and cook until the veggies are soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the bay leaves, cayenne, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.

Next, add the sausage, okra, garlic, tomatoes, and fish stock and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.

Season the shrimp with the Cajun spice blend in a medium bowl and add to the stock pot.  Stir and cook until the shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and take out bay leaves before serving.   Serve immediately over rice or quinoa.

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce for 2
(There was plenty for 3-4 people!)

Day-old stale bread (~6 slices), chopped into 1" cubes
2-3 large eggs
1&1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Whiskey Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon

Butter a 3-cup capacity glass baking dish or individual ramekins.  Arrange the bread cubes in the dish(es).  Toss in a pinch of raisins to your liking. Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Pour this mixture slowly over bread and press the cubes down into the custard.  Sprinkle the pecan pieces on top.  Let it soak while you preheat the oven to 325º.

Place the dish(es) on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes.  It's done when the edges are light brown, the middle is slightly puffed, and the eggs aren't runny when a toothpick is inserted.  While it cools, make the sauce.

Melt the butter, sugar, and cream together in a small saucepan over low heat.  Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and stir in the whiskey.  Serve the sauce warm over the bread pudding.