Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tales of a Theft

Dear Friends,
This blog is, generally, no longer active, but I have kept it here so that the visitors who have been so supportive since I started it way back in May of 2008 (My first post was May 6, 2008) can view the recipes or stories they've enjoyed in the past.  Also, so that the generous and wonderful contributors to the blog had access to their own material.

For those of you who know us here at the Kitchen Mirror blog, you know that for a several years, I owned and operated this blog on the domain kitchenmirror [dot] com.  I released that domain in December 2012 and ALL of my material originally posted here as you see it at this (the original) address, was, I believe, stolen, as it has been used without attribution and presented as someone elses original work.  It has been republished without permission and without attribution.  That domain, as it currently exists is NOT owned or operated by me and DOES NOT represent me, the current or past contributors to the blog, or The Kitchen Mirror - Reflections on an Everyday Kitchen.

Please, do not visit the domain kitchenmirror [dot] com.  Doing so lends undeserved support to unethical web practices.  Let's not make the theft worth his/her while.

Thank you so much for your support over the years!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Sandwich that Made it All Better

I know that comfort eating is one of the most unhealthy things we can do in terms of diet and nutrition.  For one, we usually end up eating all the wrong things.  What sounds better than your bests friend's chocolate chip cookies when you've just had the worst day at work?  Ever?

My eating habits since returning from our travels have been weird to say the least.  One day I hardly want to look at food, the next day I can't get enough bread, and then the next, I'm all about the vegetables.

A veritable cornucopia on a plate...

This was one of those vegetable days.  I had been working on a project that was not only super complex, but in a field of work I'm relatively new to, so the mental gymnastics going on for a couple weeks were starting to overwhelm.  I needed comfort food. Lucky for my body, I'd recently discovered a local bakery that makes a fantastic vegetarian sandwich.  I really loved it, so I decided to see if I could recreate it at home.

And as you've probably figured out by now, it was pretty darn easy.  I mean, vegetables.  Look what's in the sandwich and you've got your blueprints.  The only trick was finding a delicious, but not-too-unhealthy, spread to go on the bread.

I finally settled on a combination of homemade pesto-mayonnaise and dijon mustard.  And it hit the spot.  The bakery serves their version on multigrain sandwich bread, but I used a couple different varieties.  I tried a pugliese bread, sliced thick, and a seeded baguette style bread-- both were good, and better suited to a huge pile of vegetables than thin sandwich bread.

The (veggie) Sandwich that Made it All Better
created from taste-bud memory, adapted from the Paradise Veggie Sandwich

Two slices of sturdy bread of your choice
1 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 Tbs. pesto
1 tsp. dijon or spicy mustard
1/2 large roasted red bell pepper, sliced in 1 inch strips
Cucumber, peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch rounds or strips
1 tomato, sliced
dark green lettuce - choose a variety like red-leaf or romaine
thinly sliced red onions
goat cheese crumbles or preferred cheese
fresh ground pepper to taste

To assemble your sandwich, first combine the mayonnaise and pesto in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.  You'll have plenty of this yumminess left over for another sandwich, burger, pita... whatever!

Warm the bread slightly in the oven or toaster, then spread one slice with the pesto mayonnaise to taste.  On the other slice, spread the dijon (You may need more or less, to taste.)

Layer the vegetables on one slice of the bread and top with crumbled goat cheese; then add the pepper if desired.  The warm bread will soften the goat cheese just slightly and it will sort of melt into the vegetables.  Top with the remaining bread slice and bite into heaven.  And you can even feel good about it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Apple Cranberry French Toast

As the holidays approach, so do the millions of potlucks and events I've found myself cooking and baking for. I had a brief period of panic last week when I couldn't figure out what to make for a couple events where I would be providing dessert. I figured it out and all is well. In fact, at least one of those items will pop up here later (probably after the holidays, when I have some extra free time).

Anyway, last Sunday my knitting group hosted a brunch-themed potluck and I knew JUST what I wanted to make. Last year around the holidays, my friend Angie posted a picture of Apple Cranberry French Toast & I added it to the list of things to make. It was PERFECT for a brunch party.

YIP 165.365 Apple Cranberry French Toast

The recipe is so easy that you won't believe how tasty it is. It does take a little thought ahead of time, as the whole thing has to soak at least overnight before you bake it, but SO WORTH IT.

From Angie's version:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 teaspoons cinnamon (divided)
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 loaf Italian or French Bread, cut into 1-inch slices
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Combine brown sugar, butter and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Add apples and cranberries, toss to coat well. Spread apple mixture evenly over bottom of baking dish Arrange slices of bread on top.

2. Mix eggs, milk, vanilla, and remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon until well blended.
Pour mixture over bread, soaking bread completely. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 24

3. Bake, covered with aluminum foil in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.
Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer ( I baked it 10 minutes longer). Remove from
oven; let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 12 servings.
The only thing I really did differently is that I used some apples Mindy & I had canned from our trip to Eckert's last year. They were Fuji's canned in a light simple syrup, so I probably should have used just a smidge less sugar.

Go ahead, make up a batch to toss in the oven for Christmas morning. By the time all the presents are unwrapped, you'll have a tasty breakfast ready to eat.

This is part of a continuing series of posts chronicling favorite internet recipes we've encountered over the years. Some recipes are in their original form, while most have been adapted to fit our personal tastes and cooking styles.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Squash Soup

My lovely friend, Wendy, has the good fortune of living in the equally lovely town of Flagstaff, Arizona.  I love Flagstaff and have hoped many times to live there.  Among the many beautiful characteristics of the town are the distinct changes of season.  When autumn begins to turn to winter, you know that cold, crisp weather is about to set in.  

Still, autumn in Flagstaff is full of sunshine, blue skies, and celebrations like Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the day celebrating the time of year in which the boundaries that separate the living and the dead are at their weakest.  It's a tradition that's gaining a foothold in the American West and a perfect way to observe and commemorate a time of year when we're getting ready to turn inward and hunker down for the winter.  

This recipe was Wendy's contribution to a Dia de los Muertos celebration with friends, and as I look out my window at the 15 inches of snow that fell this weekend, it seems like just what I need!

Pumpkin Squash Soup
Photographs by Wendy

Pumpkin Squash Soup
(Gluten free, vegetarian)
Yield:  4 ½ qt of soup


1 3-4 pound pumpkin (yield about 8 cups of pulp)
1 medium butternut squash (yield 4 cups of pulp)
1 apple (tart variety like Granny Smith)
1 medium onion
1 3” piece fresh ginger root
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
64 oz. vegetable broth, or more as necessary
1 fresh pomegranate

Scrub the pumpkin and squash thoroughly.  Cut in half, remove seeds and membranes.  Reserve the seeds for pepitos.

Coat the outside shells with extra virgin olive oil and place cavity-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast at 350 degrees for about an hour or until pulp is soft.  Skin will be golden. 

Use care when removing from oven as steam will be trapped in the cavity.  Carefully invert the pieces to allow steam to escape.  Allow to cool. 
Scrape out the pulp with a large spoon or remove skin and cut the pulp into large pieces.  Discard the skin.  This step may be done the day before and refrigerated until soup is prepared. 

Combine and set aside:
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp nutmeg

Medium chop:
1 onion
1 apple, peeled and cored

3” piece of fresh ginger (Soup4)

In large kettle or stock pot:
Heat about 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Sauté the onion, apple, and ginger until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg into the pot (will coat the onion, apple, and ginger).

Stir well.  Cook until lightly caramelized, about 3-4 minutes. 

Add the reserved pumpkin and squash pulp.   Mix well.  

Add 64 oz. vegetable broth.  Add more liquid as needed.

Add kosher salt (about 1 tsp) and fresh ground pepper (about 1/2 tsp).

Simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.  Everything should be soft and tender.  

Puree with immersion blender or in small batches in a standard blender or food processor.  Use care with hot liquids in free standing blender or food processor.  

Remove seeds from pomegranate, set aside for garnish.

Ladle into bowls for serving.  Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and pepitos over the top.  

pumpkins, butternut squash, pepitos, roasted pumpkin meat
photographs by
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds reserved from soup recipe
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
garlic powder

Separate pumpkin seeds from membrane under running water.  When all the membrane has been removed, lay seeds on paper towels and allow to dry overnight. 

When seeds are dry, pick out any remaining membrane fragments from seeds. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; pre heat oven to 275 degrees.

Gently coat seeds with extra virgin olive oil by turning with hands or spoon.
Spread in a single layer on baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic powder (if desired). 
Other spices to consider:  chili powder, red pepper, black pepper.

Place in preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Gently stir seeds after 15 minutes and repeat roasting and stirring for up to an hour til the seeds are lightly browned and crisp. 
Toss with more salt and garlic before last baking.

Carefully pick up parchment paper and move seeds to cool surface. 
Allow to cool.

Sprinkle on soup as it is served.  

Store leftovers in an air tight container.   

Now go make this (I am!) and share it with friends.  'Cause if you're about to get snowed in for a day or so (as we are) you'll want all the company you can get.  Besides, they'll love you for it, even if you aren't planning for a visit from the dead.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Somewhere beyond the kitchen...

Hello!  I'm back, finally back, from a long and wonderful adventure.  I had every intention of dropping by here from time to time to tease you with glimpses of all the amazing food I was encountering in all the amazing places I was so fortunate to visit.

Unfortunately, our first week was plagued by problems accessing and then making use of, internet connections.  And as time wore on, I kept thinking I'd do it "tomorrow."  And well, obviously, I never did. I did take pictures, though, and I can't wait to share them with you.  But, that has to wait.  I've a few million things on my plat right now, because not only did we up and leave the country for five weeks, right before we left, my husband accepted a job in a new state, quit his old one, we moved out of our house, put everything in storage and hoped for the best when we returned!

We're back, in our new state, looking for a new home, enrolling the kids in school...etc, etc.  And so far it's been terrific.  But a little crazy.  Late fall landed here just about the time we did and snow (seriously! snow!) is forecast for this week.  We left Southern California in early September and are utterly unprepared for late fall mountain weather.

But whatever-- we're embracing the craziness and moving forward.  It just means that some already neglected things are getting pushed a little further back for now.  I look forward to having the time-- and the space-- to really sit down and write about our adventures.  Until then, I'll leave you with something beautiful... because as delicious as the food was, it still couldn't hold a candle to moments like this:


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