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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cheddar Chive Beer Bread with Chive Dipping Oil

I found this recipe from somebody else's online blog, and it looked like a good way to use a large quantity of chives from my little herb garden.  Other than the basil, the chives are my 2nd best growing herb/plant in our experimental box garden.  I just wish I knew why the cilantro and parsley aren't doing well.  Oh well.   I also chose this recipe because there was a random can of beer in our fridge left behind from when Jeremy's brother visited.  Since neither of us drink beer, I figured I might as well use it in a recipe.   The bread turned out great.  The dipping oil was okay, but not necessary.   Maybe I'll make a dressing out of it instead.

Cheddar Chive Beer Bread
from LightlyCrunchy blog

3 cups flour
1&1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (12 oz) can beer
2 tablespoons melted butter

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.  Add the sugar, chives, cheese, and beer, and stir to combine (batter will be thick).   Pour/pat into a lightly greased loaf pan.  Brush top of loaf with the melted butter.  Bake at 375º for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.


Chive Oil

1 large bunch chives (1 oz), minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste

Blend chives and oil in a food processor. Add salt to taste.  Strain through a fine mesh.  Cover and refrigerate (up to 2 weeks max) until ready to use.

Grilled Lemon Basil Pesto Steak

The basil in my little herb box is growing like crazy and I can barely keep up with it. I've been chopping some up here and there in small quantities for various recipes, and giving a lot away, but I still had an abundance. So I knew I had to pick out a recipe that used a lot of basil.  This pesto recipe fit the bill.  Thanks to the food processor, it was super easy to make. I froze the leftover pesto in muffin cups to use in the future.  I've never had basil pesto before, but I liked it the more I ate it.  I think it would also go well with chicken or pasta.  (The veggies pictured are just foil packets of green beans and red bell peppers that we stuck on the grill for 25-30 minutes, and the bread is the Cheddar Chive Beer Bread that I made with the surplus of chives.)

Lemon Basil Pesto Steak

4 cloves garlic
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1&1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
steaks (I used petite sirloin steaks, ~1" thick)
salt and pepper

Chop garlic in a food processor until minced.  Add the basil and pine nuts and pulse to combine.  While it runs, slowly add the olive oil.  Add the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes and pulse until blended.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper the steaks.  Grill for about 4 minutes per side over medium to medium-high heat  (longer if you have thicker steaks).   Baste with pesto occasionally or just add after done.

Any leftover basil pesto goes into muffin cups to freeze and store for use later (keeps 3-4 months frozen, up to 1 week in the fridge):

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Cedar-Planked Honey-Balsamic Salmon

To celebrate the 4th of July, we decided to grill.  Jeremy reminded me that I had cedar planks from a Christmas present, so I went searching for a yummy recipe to use the planks.  I ended up combining a few different recipes and doing my own thing.  Here's what I came up with (to the best of my approximation).  (The pasta side dish was just Suddenly Salad Mix to which I added broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, chopped basil, and chopped chives.)

Cedar Planked Honey-Balsamic Salmon 

1 untreated cedar plank
2 (6-8oz) salmon fillets, with skin
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1&1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Soak plank in cold water (or apple cider vinegar) for at least one hour, up to 12 hours.

Score flesh side of each salmon with several 2-inch-long diagonal cuts abut halfway deep.  Rub olive oil into salmon. 

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, and cumin.  Rub all over fleshy side of salmon and into the slits.

In a small bowl, microwave the honey for 20 seconds to thin out.  Whisk in the balsamic vinegar.   Brush the top of each salmon fillet with the honey-balsamic mixture, reserving some for later.  Allow to marinate for 10-20 minutes.

Place salmon, skin side down, on soaked plank.  Place plank on the rack of a preheated grill set to medium or medium-low, preferably over indirect heat.  Close and cook for 15-20 minutes, basting with marinade occasionally, until fish is done.