Tasty Tuesday–A Pioneer Inspired Dinner

Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink it till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot. Such a treat made that ordinary day into a special day, the first day that Laura helped in the haying. “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Whenever possible, I try to include a special meal as part of  our summer school. Some years, that’s easier than others. Coming up with a pioneer-themed meal wasn’t too difficult, but I can’t vouch for the authenticity of our dinner. I was more interested in having a meal of foods pioneers might have enjoyed, rather than cooking them the way pioneers would have needed to. So tonight’s dinner included bean soup and homemade cornbread, ginger-water (a last-minute addition!), and a pieplant (rhubarb) pie for dessert. It was a very delicious meal, and I think I’ve found some new things to add to the recipe file!

“‘That’s the way I like it,’ he said. ‘If there is no sugar in the pie, then every fellow can sweeten his own as much as he likes without hurting the cook’s feelings.'” “The First Four Years” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Cinco de Mayo Feast

This year, I made our family’s favorite fish tacos for our Cinco de Mayo feast. I also made Horchata for the first time (which the children really liked, even though I was afraid they’d think it was too different), and a chocoflan for dessert. Of course, there were also margaritas for those of us old enough to drink!

Tasty Tuesday-Fish Tacos

This is probably our family’s favorite Mexican recipe…it is almost guaranteed to make an appearance for birthdays (especially Ryan’s and Ladybug’s), Cinco de Mayo, and other holidays/celebrations (like Father’s Day) throughout the year! We like it so much that I always double the recipe, and sometimes, I have to make a triple batch! The fish is great on its own, if tacos aren’t your thing, and the cabbage mixed with the sauce also makes a nice salad on its own…I love a versatile recipe!

For the tacos:

  • 1 cup flour, plus extra for lightly dusting the fish
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 lb. cod or tilapia fillets, cut into small chunks
  • oil for frying
  • tortillas
  • shredded purple cabbage

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 minced jalepeno
  • 2 tsp. minced capers
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregeno
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dillweed
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

To make beer batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (don’t worry about a few lumps).

To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeno, capers, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.

Heat oil in deep pan or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.

Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve in tortillas and top with shredded cabbage and white sauce.

Tasty Tuesday–Ideas for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner! I love an excuse to make a Mexican meal, authentic or Americanized, and my family loves an excuse to enjoy eating it! Here are some of my favorite Mexican recipes (mostly Americanized, I suppose) that I’ve shared over the years…main dishes, a side, and desserts. Some of them even use leftovers!

What are your favorite Mexican recipes?

The Easter Feast

Let’s start by focusing on what I liked about our Easter dinner. I set a very nice table, don’t you think? I love getting out our table linens and china, and making some kind of centerpiece. The side dishes were our standard family favorites: roasted potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts, pan-fried asparagus, cherry cola Jell-O, and mini croissants. Nothing terribly fancy, but dependably delicious. And the dessert was great. I tried a new recipe for a lemon curd swirl cheesecake with a homemade strawberry sauce. It took hours to get the whole thing made yesterday, but it looked and tasted great, so it was worth it. Those are all good things about our Easter dinner!

You may have noticed I didn’t mention the lamb. Despite the fact that I followed the recipe exactly (a recipe I have successfully made in the past, for the record), the lamb was way overdone. I don’t care what anybody who was at the dinner table said…it was not good. And since that was supposed to be the star of the meal, that was a huge disappointment to the chef.

Anyway, I’m going to try to focus on what I liked about the meal. And maybe not make lamb again next year.

Tasty Tuesday–Pan-Fried Asparagus

It’s almost Easter!

I almost always serve asparagus with our Easter dinner…this is the best time of year to buy it, and it’s pretty easy to find local asparagus around here at Easter time, which is a bonus. I’ve prepared it different ways in the past, but this is the recipe that I’ve used for the last few years, because it’s my very favorite!

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the olive oil.. Cook garlic in butter for a minute, but do not brown. Add asparagus, and cook for about 10 minutes (less if your asparagus is very thin), turning asparagus to ensure even cooking. Season with salt and pepper.

Tasty Tuesday–Salmon Pasta

Lent means fish sales. I especially love it when salmon goes on sale, because I love to bake it will a little lemon juice and olive oil. I love it even more when I have salmon leftovers, because then I get to make one of my very favorite pasta dishes! If you don’t love capers as much as I do, feel free to reduce the amount in the recipe.

  • 16 oz. fettuccine
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • leftover salmon, flaked
  • 1 to 2 cans of artichoke hearts, quartered or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
  • 7 oz. capers, drained
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat butter; add garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in cream and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer two to three minutes until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salmon, artichokes, salt, and pepper.

Drain pasta and add to skillet. Stir in cheese, basil, capers, and lemon zest. Serve when heated through.