How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Banana Rhubarb Crumble

Ahh...the first farm box pick up of the season. We got a lot of leafy greens, a jar of honey, and a bundle of rhubarb. I turned to Jane Brody's Good Food Book to find the recipe I had made once before for a church supper. I used the two especially ripe bananas we had on hand (cut into slices), and two big stalks of rhubarb. Each of these were chopped into bite size bits. The fruit was mixed with 2 T. sugar and a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. This mixture was placed in a pie pan and then topped with the crust mix which consisted of 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. oatmeal (substituted from the graham crackers called for in the recipe) 1/4 c. butter (cut in), one egg and 1/4 c. milk. I sprinkled a bit more sugar on top of the crust and baked in the convection oven at 375 for 25 minutes this turned out to be a wonderful combination of flavors and other sensations. The sweet bananas were a perfect complement to the tart rhubarb. My idea to top it with vanilla yogurt was inspired. I loved the contrast of warm and cold, and the variety of textures.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Patos Supremos

During our time in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas James and I both worked in offices that had "Pato runs" on Fridays. Pato is the Spanish word for duck, and also the name of some fantastically delicious stuffed tortillas from the small restaurant chain of the same name. The tortillas were hand-made and were available in both flour and corn varieties. The flour tortillas were loaded with fat (from lard) which made them especially tasty. I always ordered mine with potato, egg, and cheese. I have never quite succeeded in replicating the special taste of a genuine pato, but over the weekend I came closer than ever.

I diced half an onion I had left over in the refrigerator and sauteed it along with one cubed and par-boiled potato in Chipotle olive oil from Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium. Once the potatoes and onions were well cooked I shredded some cheese on top of the mix and turned down the heat. Then I scrambled two eggs in the same flavored olive oil. I stuffed the mix into 2 flour tortilla shells from Trader Joe's and topped them with some Pico de Gallo salsa. Delicioso!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Soup Fritter

A couple of weeks ago, Pam wrote about a soup enjoyed by all, an improvisation involving beans and potatoes that pleased the entire family. We had it and we had some leftovers as well, but we've traveled quite a lot since then (10 states in 10 days), so there was a bit leftover still when we got home this evening.

Our fridge works very well, so the soup was still good in the food-safety sense, but as Pam offered to reheat it (adding water, as we often do in such situations), I thought that the texture would not be quite right, so I made a counter-offer, which I had considered a couple of days ago. I turned the soup into fritters.

I began by pouring the soup into our wire-mesh sieve, shaking it gently over the sink so that I mainly had beans, onions, and potatoes to put in a large bowl. There I mashed the mixture as much as I could with an old-school potato masher. I did not succeed in mashing the beans very much, but in the end this was okay.

I added about 3 tablespoons of King Arthur whole-wheat flour and one egg (beaten) that we had just purchased from Hanson Farm. I mixed this all with a spoon and then heated our indispensable cast-iron griddle, to which I applied about one tablespoon each of lime-infused and chipotle-infused olive oils from L.O.V.E.

Once the oils were hot, I spooned the mixture onto the griddle, forming two fritters. I heated them through, and turned, browning thoroughly on both sides. Even though I had sieved the original soup, I wanted to ensure thorough cooking, especially since texture had been a main concern.

I took this disgusting photograph on purpose, because it beautifully illustrates something I learned when I toured General Mills headquarters back in the 1970s: food photography is a specialty. Even food that looks good in real life often fails in photographs. Food that looks awful in real life -- as this did -- therefore looks truly unpleasant in photographs.

Do not be deterred, though: this was proclaimed "not bad" and even "pretty good," especially when topped with cool, plain yogurt from Stonyfield. The contrasting textures worked well, and the spices in the original soup came through to the final meal.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Avocado Lime Popicles - (a.k.a. Oobleck on a stick)

While I was looking for recipes using lime for my recent birthday celebration, I came across this one which seemed a bit weird, but  I really felt the need to try it anyway. I didn't make it for my birthday, but kept it in mind for possible "pops on the porch" enjoyment this summer. Made with agave nectar, water, 2 avocados, and the juice of one lime it turned out to be a delicious sweet and creamy treat for a summer eve.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A soup enjoyed by all

I happened across this recipe for Andalusian Chickpea and Spinach Soup in the New York Times yesterday. The description says it is a "comforting soup this is still suitable for a late spring/early summer meal. With heavy rains, and cool temperatures, it seemed like the perfect day for a hearty soup. And although I had no chickpeas, figured I could adapt it with some other kind of bean. My daughter, now home from boarding school for this summer, doesn't like garbanzos in any case. I used some dried black beans instead which I was able to begin soaking when I was home for lunch, so they'd be ready when I came back from work. I followed the directions for cooking the soaked beans, and then after they'd cooked a bit over an hour, began the other preparations. I used our indispensable cast iron cooking pot to sautee the onion and garlic, then added the canned tomato and paprika, Once this cooked down a bit I added the potatoes, beans, and cooking wine, and let simmer for 1/2 an hour. Before serving I added the spinach (less than the pound called for in the recipe, but it was what I had frozen from a previous meal) and a pinch of saffron, some garlic salt, and pepper. Everyone liked this, especially served with some warm yogurt bread from our bread machine (which I was also able to start during my lunch break - living next to work sure has its advantages). Yogurt bread, by the way is about the simplest recipe found in my bread machine recipe book. Yogurt, brown sugar, flour and yeast are the only ingredients.