Thursday, May 14, 2009


No, no, this title is not a typo for a small furry mammal you see occasionally in the Rockies.

I'm a marmot, people! BTW, aren't I just cute as the dickens?

Nor does this word rhyme with the Dallas Cowboys football sensation from the early 80's.

Check out me and my bad self! I'm Tony Dorsett.

This word is a smash up of Mormon and Gourmet, and should be pronounced accordingly. I saw this word coined in a Voice of Reason post about Mormon food. Or, more accurately, what Mormons consider food. The copious number of comments were all about the weirdest-thing-found-in-my-ward-cookbook. (You know, "Sister Smith's Spamalicious Food Storage Loaf" that is made with margarine, canned beets and spam held together with store-brand cream of mushroom soup and American cheese.) It was both disgusting and illuminating.

Hopefully the next few ideas will keep you from dinner drudgery. It has been a very good food week at our house. I realize that the new recipes I'm trying and posting aren't necessarily simple, but now and then it is fun to really channel your inner domestic goddess and create something fantastic. Yesterday was just such a day: it was amazing how much I was able to accomplish during a self-imposed no screen day. I'm not off to such an auspicious start today.

Rosemary-Lemon Artisan Bread

This recipe basically came from a Williams-Sonoma catalogue, but I added my own twist to speed it up a bit. The original proof time is 12-18 hours. Not happening. I didn't really make this as part of a meal, but it will go so well with my tomato soup at lunch time

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp rosemary (I used dry)
2 tsp chopped lemon zest
1 3/4 cups very warm water

Combine well all dry ingredients except cornmeal. Add water and stir until the dough is shaggy and stick. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest about six hours (if you do the full 12 hour proof here, reduce yeast to 1/4 tsp; it will be more of a sourdough type bread then). Place on lightly floured surface and turn a few times, allow some of the air to settle out and then loosely shape it into a ball on a cookie sheet or in a dutch oven and dust it with cornmeal. (I shaped mine in a snake because I wanted to bake it in a bundt pan.) Cover. Raise two more hours. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or 25 minutes if you use the bundt. Outside will be dark golden brown, inside will be soft and spongy.

This bread was great because it mixed together in about five minutes and doesn't have to be kneaded. You just need to give it time.

Plantboy's Yukon Gold Potato Wedges: Eureka!

8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP sprinkle Parmesan
2 TBSP chopped fresh herbs (your choice--basil, cilantro, parsley or oregano are probably your best bets.)

Plantboy washed (not peeled) the potatoes and cut them into steak fry sized wedges. If you haven't used YG's before, they have fantastic texture and lovely color. They are also slightly sweeter than a regular russet. He boiled them for three minutes and then shook them in a bag with the melted butter and olive oil, salt and pepper, cheese and half the herbs. Once shaken so everything is coated, transfer them to a med-high frying pan. Don't stir them too often, it will make them fall apart and keep them from browning nicely. When they are close to being quite crispy and brown on at least two sides, throw in the rest of the herbs and cook for just another minute or two. Not fancy, no, but oh. So. Good. This will serve four if you are all very polite and well-mannered. Otherwise, you might finish the pan on your own and then lick your fingers and the bottom of the dish too.

Greek-Style Gyros

Plantboy made Greek food for Mother's Day and I had a container full of leftover tanziki sauce I wanted to use up. Usually I make way to much of this yogurty goodness and end up throwing a bunch a way. This week is officially "sandwich week" at House Jedi and so I decided to try something new. (Incidentally, this totally defeats the purpose sandwich week, which is to simplify and save money. Oh well.) This recipe is general. I just winged it. So just make how much ever you want for how many people you are feeding. How is that?

Our version of gyros had Plantboy drooling so hard that I don't think he could have been any happier even if it had been THIS woman serving up the Grecian goodness.

Does anybody else think I have an unnaturally large head? What do you mean nobody looks at my head? And while you are at it, PLEASE find me a doctor, for the love. Apparently bleeding out is the new sexy. Wait, tomato sauce? Are you sure? Oh, yummy.

Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Red Pepper
Pita Bread
Olives (we like the really low-brow canned kind. If you want to get all fancy and go for the super bitter or salty olive bar variety, be my guest.)
Red Onion
Tanziki Sauce (see below)
Fresh Mozzarella Marinade (see below)

Mix first four ingredients together with salt and pepper to taste and marinate chicken. I used chicken breasts and sliced them first (they were partially frozen.) Lemon juice is a fantastic addition to marinade because its acids help to tenderize the meat. Let it sit for at least two hours.
Cook marinated chicken however you want--bake, grill, fry pan. I fried my pieces because they were already small. Ideally I think grilling would be best, but not having a grill makes this difficult (not to mention it sends Plantboy into spasms of desire when he smells the heady aroma of mesquite rising from our neighbors' back yards.) When cooked, if you didn't do it before, thinly slice the meat.

Roast the red pepper. You do this by cutting a large red pepper in thirds and low broiling it a few inches away from the heating element until you start to see blisters form on the skin. Remove from oven and let them sit until they cool slightly. Peel the chewy skin away from the sweet, soft red goodness.

On the table of sammy fixin's, set warm pita bread, chopped olives, sliced cucumber and red onion, tanziki sauce, meat and mozzarella. If you don't have the patience or interest to do the mozzarella, you can skip it and do feta instead. I also think spinach would be fantastic in them, but I didn't have any. Layer the ingredients you like in any order on your pita bread, fold and enjoy. Bring a napkin.

Tanziki Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt
Juice of one lemon and 1/4 tsp zest if you like
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cucumber finely diced
Black pepper

Combine all ingredients--delicious on pita bread or with chicken.

Marinated Mozzarella

Fresh Mozzarella
2 TBSP fresh basil, chopped finely
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil

Thinly slice mozzarella and layer on a plate. Sprinkle with basil and then drizzle with vinegar and oil. Cover with plastic and let it sit for at least an hour before serving. It is, incidentally, really yummy melted onto a piece of the lemon rosemary bread for breakfast.

Pumpkin Spice Cake With Ganache

This was my birthday cake this year because Plantboy's time was rather limited and I was not going to make a cake for myself. This cake is decadent and easy; there are very few ingredients (though they aren't cheap ingredients) and you don't have to wait for it to cool in order to frost it. I made two of these for the spaghetti auction and between the two they pulled in about 70 dollars. Are they worth $35 apiece? No way. But it is safe to say that whomever took these home and least got a fantastic dessert for their devotion to the Scouting program. My kids like it because when it is finished it looks like a huge chocolate donut.

1 spice cake mix
1 small can packed pumpkin (or half a large can)
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups semi or bittersweet chocolate chips

Mix first three ingredients until well blended. Batter will be VERY thick. Spread into a greased bundt pan and cook according to package directions for bundt pans, following the lowest cook time. Turn out cake onto large platter.

Heat heavy cream over low-medium heat, stirring continuously, until it is steaming a lot but not boiling (I'm sure there is either a term or a temperature for that, but what do you think I am? Paula Dean?) Turn off heat and immediately stir in chips. Stir and stir until it is all blended (you don't think it will work at first) and there are no lumps. Drizzle all but about 1/4 cup over warm cake. This cake is fantastic warm, but also very nice the next day for breakfast. Wait, did I just say that out loud?

It isn't my beloved red velvet cake that is my usual birthday special, but I am so grateful I didn't have to make it myself. Thanks Plantboy! And thanks to everyone who wished me a happy day a la Facebook. I haven't felt so loved in a long time.

Happy cooking.

Oh, if you are wondering, that extra 1/4 cup of ganache is for the strawberries you all having lurking in your fridge this time of year.


Nerd Goddess said...

Some of those recipes sound really good! I've been doing a lot more experimenting with cooking since I got married than I thought I would. Mostly I've found that I'd rather make something from my "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook than one of my Mom's Cream of Something Soup recipes (sorry Mom!)

Funny how things taste better with real meat and vegetables in it.

Z. Marie said...

All of these recipes sound really good.
And thanks for not trying and reporting on some of those recipes that were mentioned in the comments over at Voice of Reason. It's amazing I still can eat anything after thinking about some of those -- and that was weeks ago.

Jenny said...

Big head? My pediatrician called both my husband and I in to have our skulls measured after our third child was born. He wanted to make sure big BRAINS ran in the family. Now, apparently, we have another fabulous trait in common.
Bleeding out?
Hmmm. Not in MY! kitchen.

Christie said...

There is nothing in my culinary repertoire that approaches gourmet. In fact, when were were married someone gave us "The Silver Palate Cookbook" -- definitely gourmet. We returned it. We're not into the weird creations that you'll find in all mormon ward cookbooks -- just the plain stuff that kids will eat.

I'm glad someone is showing the world that not all Mormons are luddites when it comes to gourmet cooking. You go girl!

Nemesis said...

Did you HAVE to post these when I'm at work and lunch didn't fill me up enough?

Hot dang . . .

Slyck and Slim said...

Yummy! I needed a little pick me up in the food planning area this week. Plantboy's herb fried sound amazing and can't wait to try the bread -- sounds so easy. I am glad you are such a fantastic cook and will pass along your secrets to those of us who struggle in the kitchen.

Desmama said...

Hey, I didn't know it was your birthday! Happy birthday! I would've made a red velvet cake for you if I'd been there. These recipes look fantastic. Thanks for posting them.

Genjunky said...

Happy Birthday! And, can I come eat at your house? I think we had pancakes,leftovers, marinated chicken,rice & canned green beans, and something else - I can't remember it was so memorable! I do have to say that Jeff did make the pancakes! And THEY were delish! Banana Nut with chocolate chips.

The Grahams said...

I love the mormon food storage dish you described. I was laughing so hard. You've always been an amazing chef, thanks for sharing your recipes.

Yankee Girl said...

Bread and potatoes are my weekness. Can't wait to try these.

chris w said...

They all sound heavenly. I have been wanting to learn to make artisan bread - thanks for the motivation.

Princess Consuela Bananahammock said...

OH MY GOSH you crack me up!! I can't believe nobody commented on the whole "Mormet" thing. And HOLY HANNAH I can't stand that lady chef Giar-whatever-her-name-is. Your comment below that photo made me snigger with delight! I thought I was the only one who felt the same way. *sigh* I knew I loved you. :)

p.s. food. mmm.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

I think it is "Giardia."