Teeny Tiny Kitchen

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Appetizers
Mozzarella and Thyme Stuffed Squash Blossoms (My Little Ode To the Sopranos) PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 15:23

 

 

It's amazing how easy it is to lose touch with friends. Between life and work, sometimes we're not great about driving a few miles to see each other.

 

But when we do, it's pretty wonderful.

 

So, a couple of weeks ago when we spent the day and evening with friends it was like a little holiday. A little holiday that ended with a present!

 

My friend Kelee and I were hanging out on her back lawn chatting and drinking beer, when somehow the subject came up of an ingredient I'd always wanted to cook with – squash blossoms.

 

“Why squash blossoms?” she asked.

 

“Because stuffed squash blossoms are in my favorite episode of the Sopranos. I've never had them, and they sounded really cool.”

 

(Ugh. Just typing that makes we want to re-watch “Funhouse.” But I haven't been able to watch any Sopranos since James Gandolfini died. I'm still in DEEP denial about that. Nopeity, nope, nope. Didn't happen. La, la, la.)

 

Then Kelee invited me to look at her garden – and she had a bunch of squash blossoms! She gave me four to take home.

 

And it's to her and Jedd's credit that they didn't think that I was a little odd when I jumped up and down.

 

 

I made them this afternoon and they were wonderful. They were floral, even though they'd been lightly fried and the warm mozzarella and thyme melted with each bite.

 

Oh, and since the only cost I was out was oil and mozzarella, the fried squash blossoms set me back about $1.50. Not bad, Kelee and her garden. Not bad.

 

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Avocado, Ancho and Cilantro Hummus PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 23:42

 

 

Summer is great for eating. Hello, Nature's bounty! But the combination of hot weather and outdoor parties can leave me a little perplexed about what to bring to a barbecue or gathering by the lake. Dairy? Absolutely not. Pasta salad? Of course! However everyone brings those. (Literally. Everyone. I went to a party a couple of years ago that should have been called “The Great Pasta Salad Potluck of 2012.” Not that I was complaining though. Hello, pasta salad!) Homemade hummus though, works perfectly. Especially when it's spicy and creamy like this one.

 

And making your own chili and cumin pita chips as dippers, will make you more popular than you can imagine.

 

Well, let me rephrase that. “It will make you almost as popular as the guy who brings the good case of beer.”

 

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Dilled Asparagus, Leek and Parmesan Tart PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Saturday, 12 April 2014 22:07

 

I had a friend over for dinner the other night, and I had the joy of turning her onto puff pastry. It was like Christmas morning when we were kids.

 

“Ooooh, it's so pretty!”

 

Yes, it was.

 

Puff pastry is magical because it can elevate the simplest ingredients into a full-on art presentation. Oh, and it takes little-to-no time to come together.

 

Magic, indeed.

 

It's great to keep in the freezer for nights when you want a gorgeous meal that's light on prep. Sometimes I make puff pastry dishes for myself when Jedd has band practice and I'm craving an indulgent dinner. And that was how this tart came about. While he was rocking in the Cave of Legends, I was sipping a crisp malbec and diving into this crispy and lemony asparagus tart. And best of all was the look on his face when I gave him half this tart at midnight with a side salad.

 

“I was NOT expecting this!”

 

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Fried Pickles with Horseradish Habanero Dipping Sauce PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Sunday, 16 March 2014 20:22

 

A few years ago a group of us had a “fried dinner” party at a friend's house. Fried chicken, fried okra and fried pickles were served, along with copious amounts of beer and wine. Our friends are southern, and they know how to fry. And we all know how to drink beer. It was a most excellent dinner party.

 

As delicious as everything was, the fried pickles were a revelation. I'd never even heard of them, let alone tasted the wonder that is deep fried dills. I wanted to eat the whole batch myself.

 

I'm not a huge fryer myself. It's too much of a mess. But, every once in awhile – Lordy, Lordy – this woman craves a good fried pickle. And the joy of this recipe is that it gives you big taste, without a big mess. You don't need a gazillion tons of oil, like with fried chicken or even oven rings, so the house doesn't smell like a fryer for days.

 

Also, you can cater the spices in the batter to your taste. I like using a Cajun seasoning and seasoned salt. However, you could just use black pepper and Frank's hot sauce or whatever else you have kicking around in the spice drawer.

 

This is the kind of appetizer that can make a boring or bad day a little brighter. Because fried pickles are happy food.

 

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Wine Braised Fennel PDF Print Write e-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Saturday, 15 March 2014 16:58

 

What's your current food obsession? Baking? Frying? Grilling? For me it's braising vegetables. But don't the word“vegetables” lead you to think this is a healthy dish, because it's not. It's filled with butter, wine and salty chicken broth.

 

In other words, it's decadent perfection.

 

This recipe works for leeks, parsnips, broccoli or celery – and those are just the vegetables that I've used over the last two weeks. I can't get enough of this dish. In theory, it's a side. But it's so simple to make, that on more than a few nights it's been my dinner with a big salad on the side.

 

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