Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Bluffton Dressing June 12, 2012

Filed under: garlic,Quick and Easy,Salad — hmills96 @ 5:09 pm

I have been craving salad like CRAZY lately. Which is weird because I am not a salad eater at all. No matter how much salad I ate, I couldn’t stop craving it.

Then I realized, it wasn’t the salad I was craving. It was this dressing.

Back home, everyone knows some version of this. Some call it Mickey’s, some call it Bohemian Bean. To me, it’s just Bluffton dressing. Whatever you call it, make it. It’s soooo good. It’s in no way light or fat free, but it is very flavorful so a little goes a long way. This also makes a lot of dressing, but if stored in an airtight container, it’ll last a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Bluffton Dressing
From the Bohemian Bean and/or Mickey’s Restaurant

3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup veggie oil
1 cup olive oil
4 oz cup feta

In a blender, pulse together first 4 ingredients.

With blender on low, drizzle in oils in a steady stream.

Add feta and blend on high for 30 seconds.

Store in airtight container, and eat on EVERYTHING.


Vermicelli with Peas May 30, 2011

I’ve been finding myself a little burned out lately. I’ve been working a lot of overtime, and just not really taking much time for myself. Even my weekends have been busy. This long weekend was much needed. I had a graduation party Saturday evening, so I went home for that. But that was my ONLY event the whole three day weekend. And OH how I relished the peace. I watched scary movies, drank some wine, visited with some friends, and caught up on my YouTube Subscriptions (PhillyD and Shaytards. I love them.). I finished a book, and started another.

Today was a little bit more productive. I cleaned my kitchen, did some laundry, made stock. I cut up a fresh pineapple and put the rind and core in vodka to infuse for a week. And the big one–I mowed my yard! Ok, just the front part. I still need to do the back half. This was the first time I’ve ever mowed. My neighbor has done it for me a few times this summer, but it was time for me to learn to do it on my own. The only problem? I couldn’t get my mower to start. I had a friend come over and take a look at it. He jostled a few bits around and got it to start for me. Oh man, mowing is hard work. I have a GIGANTIC hill in the front of my house, and that was not easy. I’m just a little too short, the mower a little too big, and the hill a little too steep. I can’t pretend that there wasn’t lots of cussing and more than a few tears. But I got it mowed. I’ll do the back half another day…or I may just find some high school kid who I can pay to do it. I’m not afraid to admit I felt more than a little defeated.

The rest of the afternoon I just relaxed. I watched a movie and listed to some music. I was planning on just popping some popcorn for dinner, but, as usually happens on my productive days, I decided to play with my food. The following is what came out of that little game. Very springy tasting, very fresh (even if the peas were frozen). The sage is what is left of my herb garden last year–it grew back! And the purple flower was mixed in with that super plant. Pretty (I didn’t eat it, don’t worry)!

Vermicelli with Peas
Original Recipe

6-8 oz vermicelli
2 Tbsp Butter
1 half white onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful Sage leaves, minced
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
Juice of one lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan, Optional

Boil and salt a pot of water, add your pasta. Cook until al dente.

While the pasta cooks, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan over med-low heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown and soft. Add garlic and sage, cook another 2 minutes.

Add peas, cook until heated through. Add lemon juice and a Tbsp of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to pea mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with Parmesan.


Eggs and Tomatoes March 23, 2011

I will always love winter. My friends give me hell for it, I mean, we live in Indiana after all. Sure it’s not the upper Midwest, but it gets COLD here. And the ice. And the snow. And did I mention ALL THAT ICE???

Don’t get me wrong, I love the spring. Summer not so much. For all of you balking at that–get sun-poisoning where you can’t walk for 3 weeks. Then you’ll understand. Plus, my migraines always hit really hard this time of year, as the temperatures and pressures go up and down and up and down.

All of that said–it is GORGEOUS out today! (I’m writing this Monday night, but you guys won’t see it until Wednesday.) I normally swim on Mondays, but I couldn’t wait to get home and head to the park for a walk. 72 degrees in March? Yes please! I’m dog sitting my Mom’s “princess” and the two of us had a blast walking around Morrow’s Meadow.

When I got home, I was hungry, but didn’t want to put a lot of effort into the meal. Eggs sounded good, but not just eggs and toast–boooooooooring. I had seen a recipe for a Moroccan-style tomato sauce with eggs on top somewhere. I don’t remember to be honest. It had a bunch of foreign ingredients that I cannot pronounce. But I figured, hey, I can do that my way! So I did. And it was awesome. I would recommend doing this with some heavy Italian bread–my white Wonderbread (don’t hate, it’s good) didn’t quite hold up to the heavy sauce. But the rich creamy yolk and the herby tomato sauce…mmmmmmm….

It wasn’t pretty, so no pictures this time. But this was a great throw-together meal. Just toss in whatever herbs or spices you have on hand. Play with your food!

Eggs and Tomatoes
Original Recipe

1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of herbs, chopped (I used rosemary and sage)
1/2-1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
2 eggs

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Toss in some onion, garlic, herbs. Let them cook for a minute or two over medium heat, until soft. Add tomatoes, cook for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully crack eggs over sauce. Cover. Cook until eggs are just set.

Serve with thick, crusty French or Italian bread. Eat in your pajamas in front of the TV. This is not a fancy dinner. Could be breakfast too, if you like savory in the morning like I do.


French Onion Soup Pizza March 15, 2011

Filed under: Family,garlic,Pizza — hmills96 @ 10:05 am

I think I’ve mentioned here before that one of my sisters is a vegetarian…although not by choice. She cannot have meat, but she IS able to have broth. One of her favorite dishes is French onion soup. My mom always makes it for her when she is home.

I thought of K when I saw this recipe. The flavor on this pizza was sooooooo good. It was gloriously oniony, savory, cheesy. And it didn’t include nasty soggy bread. I just used store bought, prebaked pizza crust to save time, but this would be even better on a real, homemade yeast crust.

Oh one more thing–don’t make this for someone special…your breath will be RANK after. Haha!

French Onion Soup Pizza
Adapted from Carrie’s Sweet Life

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Pizza dough (stretch and prebake for 15 minutes if using raw dough)
1 cup sour cream
1 beef bouillon cube
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère (provolone would work too)
1/2 cup Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450.

Pour 2 Tbsp EVOO into a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion to the pan and cook gently until onions are soft, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 10 more minutes.

While the onions are cooking, melt a bouillon cube in 2 Tbsp hot water. Once onions are golden brown, add bouillon, Worcestershire, rosemary and sour cream. Stir sour cream has melted.

Spread onion mixture onto pizza dough. Add cheeses, and bake for 10 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes before you try to cut into this. Otherwise you’ll burn your mouth! Not that I found that out the hard way or anything….


Mushroom and White Bean Ragout December 9, 2010

Can you believe it? I cooked AGAIN last night! I’m on a roll here. Part of it is, I bought too many mushrooms at the store last weekend and needed to use them before they rotted. (I have a really bad habit of buying mushrooms and forgetting about them until it’s too late.)

The other part is that while I’m toning up in most areas, I haven’t seen much of a difference in my weight, especially in my tummy area and it’s frustrating to me. Cooking at home is so much healthier than eating out somewhere. I’ve been using to track my calories and the difference between where I eat is astonishing.

This dish is really simple to make, and fairly rustic on the plate, but man is it delicious! I’ve always been a firm meat eater, and would never have thought of putting beans in a sauce like this. I really enjoyed the flavor and texture though of this, I think cannellini beans will make more appearances in the future.

Mushroom and White Bean Ragout

1 1/2 cups onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of Fresh thyme and sage (or 1 tsp dried)
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (I used shittake but I think button would work better in this)
1/4 cup white wine
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz diced tomatoes
Handful parsley

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Toss in onions, garlic, and herbs. Cover for 8-10 minutes until soft. (Watch the temp on your garlic, turn it down if it starts to burn.)

Add mushrooms and white wine. Cover for 6 more minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes, and parsley. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, or until some of the juice has evaporated.

Serve over polenta or some kind of heavy noodle. (I used egg, penne or bowtie would also be good.)

****I’m not at home so I’m not sure where I got this recipe from. I’ll add it later when I have the recipe in front of me. I do have pictures too!


Roasted Pepper and Garlic Tomato Pasta Sauce November 29, 2010

Filed under: garlic,Italian,My Recipes,pasta,Quick and Easy,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 7:51 pm

Wow! What a holiday! Can anyone say FOOD OVERLOAD!!! I’ve learned that when I go to my parents’ house, all I do is eat. And Eat. AND EAT. I made a new version of my turkey, I’ll try to share that recipe with you here soon. It’s a little bit more involved of a recipe.

Anyway, after all of that over the top food and snacks, I definitely needed something healthy tonight. I thought about just a salad, but that wasn’t going to satisfy the taste buds after the deliciousness of the weekend. I had a tomato and orange bell pepper that I bought before the holiday that were getting ready to turn, so I cut them up with a head of garlic and tossed them on a sheet pan, drizzled them in olive oil, and roasted them for a little while. When they were soft I turned them into a pasta sauce. Oh man. SO SO good. And, only 193 calories (according to!

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Tomato Pasta

Original Recipe

1 tomato, quartered
1/2 orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 head garlic, sliced though girth to reveal all cloves
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp butter
Italian seasonings
Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Chambourcin wine (or any spicy red)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. On a sheet pan, spread out tomato, pepper, and garlic heads. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven for 20 minutes or just until garlic and veggies are soft.

Melt butter in small saucepan on medium heat. Add roasted veggies and garlic. With a hand blender, puree mixture (if you don’t have a hand blender, puree veggies in a blender or food processor before adding the veggies to the pot. ) just until there are no visible chunks of each veggie, but the mixture is still rustic.  Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken.

Serve over favorite pasta–Ziti or penne is really good with this.


Homemade Ramen August 29, 2010

Filed under: Asian,Chicken,garlic,Mushrooms,pasta,Quick and Easy,soup — hmills96 @ 7:11 pm
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I’m trying to get back into my cooking mojo. I went to the grocery store this weekend and bought a ton of great ingredients (and actually stayed within budget somehow). I’ve got some great recipes to test out. I even butchered a chicken myself yesterday, just to get into the spirit. But more on that tomorrow.

I’ve been eating a LOT of chicken ramen lately. As I told you in my last post, I really have not felt like cooking at all. I went home two weekends ago and my sister kind of got me hooked on ramen. She is really picky, and has stomach issues that don’t allow her to eat many things on top of that. She has this favorite flavor of ramen, Creamy Chicken, that for a long time, was discontinued. While I was home, she found it in the store and bought an entire case of it. She was heading off to college that weekend, and while she was nervous about her first time living away from home, she said it would be ok now because she had her food. Well after a full weekend of talking about ramen, I had to pick some up myself. And because I haven’t felt like cooking, it’s pretty much all I’ve been eating. Which means I’m more bloated than day old roadkill. Ugh.

Because of this, when I was thinking about my grocery list, I knew I had to include Food Mob‘s Ramen. I’ve talked about Food Mob on here before, when I made chili. I love their show, I watch it religiously every week. A few weeks ago Niall made homemade ramen. With fresh veggies. And real tuna! It looked sooooooooo good. I knew I had to make it soon.

J has started a new job, which means a lot more money for him. However, it’s 4 am-3:30 pm 3 days a week (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). It’s a crazy schedule, and he just started yesterday, so he is wiped out. However, I was REALLY looking forward to cooking this ramen tonight. So I was pretty bummed when he said he just wanted a snack and bed. After sitting here for about 15 minutes, I decided by golly I’ll make it for myself! It made a ton, which means I have plenty of food for lunch this week. But at least it’s a lot healthier for me than the packaged stuff! And a LOT more delicious.

Instead of the tuna, I used chicken, and it was great. This will definitely be a go to meal from now on. It took only about 20 minutes from start to finish, including cooking the chicken. A tip on that–butterfly your chicken breast so it is thinner. It will cook much faster that way.

Homemade Ramen
Adapted from Food Mob

1 large chicken breast, butterflied
1 chili pepper, the long red skinny kind if you can find it (I used a habanero because I had it, but it was a little intense)
1 red onion, sliced
1 pint mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Splash of Sesame Oil
Splash of Rice wine vinegar
Splash of lime juice
1 package straight to wok noodles (or just plain ramen, no seasoning)
3 cups Chinese cabbage (it was called celery cabbage in my store)
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut on the bias

Preheat oven to 500. Preheat a skillet with oil. Also preheat a large pot with oil.

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken.  Place in pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes on both sides (I chopped my veggies while waiting on the saute). Move to oven.

While chicken is cooking, toss onions, peppers, and garlic into the hot pot. Saute for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and ginger. Let cook for another minute.

Add chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Add noodles, stir to break up. Add cabbage and sugar snaps. Let this boil while chicken is cooking, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When cooked through, remove chicken from oven. Slice into bite sized chunks. Add to soup. Let cook for 1 minute to soak up juices, serve hot.

**Note–this is not going to taste anything like the packaged stuff, so don’t expect it to. It is so much better than that, savory, spicy, and so full of healthy veggies. Seriously, go make this. Only don’t use a habenero. Trust me on that. PS–Fig Newtons are really good at calming the burn.

**Note #2–Go watch the video of Niall making this. Yum!