Author Archives: TempInnKeeper

About TempInnKeeper

Margot loves people and is very energetic and organized. She is also a quick study. Her background includes having renovated, owned and operated an 1887 Victorian bed and breakfast in Paso Robles, CA for 5 years. Her guests loved her and she loved her guests. What a perfect combination. Margot’s marketing skills and love of people also was used in her career as a Realtor and in participating in many charitable non-profit organizations. Margot loves to cook and to offer concierge services to people. She was born in Geneva, Switzerland.; has lived all over CA. including Beverly Hills, in the Silicon Valley area, Paso Robles, the San Joaquin Valley as well as in Sun Valley, ID. She has traveled extensively throughout the world; is a CAL alumni (go Bears!); and also speaks French fluently and Spanish semi-fluently. Her interests are people, cooking, arts, books (look at the blog book club and join if you wish), travel, sports, gardening, painting, music, playing classical piano and animals. Margot Van Horn 208-721-3551 PO Box 3788, Ketchum, ID. margot6@mindspring.com TempInnKeeper@mindspring.com

Enchilada with South of the Border Spaghetti Squash Filling

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South of the Border Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Left Over or just plain made stuffing for delicious Enchiladas

Maybe you don’t want a stuffed squash and have just made the stuffing and/or maybe you have served the stuffed squash and have some left over stuffing—so here is a delicious enchilada recipe using this stuffing:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 package of hand made thick styled corn tortillas (soft and flexible)—room temp
  2. 1 10-oz. can of medium (or hot if you like) enchilada sauce
  3. 1 C (or more) of shredded Mexican Styled Cheese
  4. 1 C (or more) sour cream

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Oil an oven proof dish (the right size for however many enchiladas you will be making.)
  3. Spread a generous amount of the enchilada sauce on each side of the tortillas before filling them.
  4. Then, fill each tortilla with the cooked spaghetti squash filling, top with a tsp. of sour cream, some more cheese, roll carefully and place rolled side down in your dish.
  5. Do these with as much filling as you have to fill the tortillas.
  6. When your oven proof dish is filled, top the tortillas with more sour cream and cheese.
  7. Bake this dish uncovered in the pre-heated oven for at least 30 minutes but NOT till the enchiladas are dried out so watch carefully.
  8. Serve with a side of chopped green cabbage that has been mixed with white wine vinegar and salt (no oil) and topped with some avocado slices.

Once again, the recipe for the Filled South of the Border Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (save those seeds to roast in your oven. So yummy.)
  2. 2 Tsp. olive oil
  3. 1 chopped yellow onion
  4. 1 yellow (red or orange is OK as well) pepper, seeded and chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves-chopped
  6. One 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed in a colander with water
  7. 1/2 C. corn (I used fresh, but frozen or rinsed canned is OK as well)
  8. 1/3 to 1/2 C. chopped cilantro
  9. 1 Tblsp. lime juice
  10. 6 Tblsp. medium enchilada sauce (or more if you wish—taste it first)
  11. 1/4 to 1/2 C. chunky salsa sauce
  12. 1 tsp. salt
  13. 3/4 to 1 C. of rough shredded 4 blend Mexican cheese (or something similar)
  14. Avocado slices for top garnish (optional)
  15. Sour Cream for top garnish (optional)
  16. Corn Tortilla’s for accompaniment

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375. In an oven proof dish, pour 1 C. of water in the dish and place your squash halves, flesh side down, in it. Place the dish in your pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes or until a sharp knife can pierce the skin easily. Take out of oven and let the squash cool for a little bit before you rake it with a fork to remove the strands—but careful, leave the shell in tack for the stuffing. Place the squash back in your dish (which now has no water) because you will be placing the stuffing in the squash and back into the oven for a bit. Turn the oven down to 350.
  2. I used my food processor to pulse quickly into chopped pieces the items listed in #3 through #5.
  3. In a large pot, over medium heat, place the olive oil and when heated, stir in the items #3 through #5 till softened and glistening (about 5 minutes). Then add the ingredients #6 through #12 and cook till well melded for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Place the stuffing you have just created in your shells and sprinkle each with the cheese.
  5. Place your dish back in the 350F oven for about 20 minutes.
  6. Voila—delicious. If you wish to garnish with the avocado slices and sour cream go ahead and do this now. And of course, some nice warm corn tortillas make for a wonderful accompaniment. As well, I’ve noticed that these two spaghetti squash recipes I have made taste even better the next day.

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South of the Border Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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South of the Border Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Here’s another yummy spaghetti squash dish that is easy to make and healthy to eat. It’s a vegetarian dish and I hope that you will like it as much as I have.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (save those seeds to roast in your oven. So yummy.)
  2. 2 Tsp. olive oil
  3. 1 chopped yellow onion
  4. 1 yellow (red or orange is OK as well) pepper, seeded and chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves-chopped
  6. One 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed in a colander with water
  7. 1/2 C. corn (I used fresh, but frozen or rinsed canned is OK as well)
  8. 1/3 to 1/2 C. chopped cilantro
  9. 1 Tblsp. lime juice
  10. 6 Tblsp. medium enchilada sauce (or more if you wish—taste it first)
  11. 1/4 to 1/2 C. chunky salsa sauce
  12. 1 tsp. salt
  13. 3/4 to 1 C. of rough shredded 4 blend Mexican cheese (or something similar)
  14. Avocado slices for top garnish (optional)
  15. Sour Cream for top garnish (optional)
  16. Corn Tortilla’s for accompaniment

 

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375. In an oven proof dish, pour 1 C. of water in the dish and place your squash halves, flesh side down, in it. Place the dish in your pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes or until a sharp knife can pierce the skin easily. Take out of oven and let the squash cool for a little bit before you rake it with a fork to remove the strands—but careful, leave the shell in tack for the stuffing. Place the squash back in your dish(which now has no water) because you will be placing the stuffing in the squash and back into the oven for a bit. Turn the oven down to 350.
  2. I used my food processor to pulse quickly into chopped pieces the items listed in #3 through #5.
  3. In a large pot, over medium heat, place the olive oil and when heated, stir in the items #3 through #5 till softened and glistening (about 5 minutes). Then add the ingredients #6 through #12 and cook till well melded for about 2 minutes more.
  4. Place the stuffing you have just created in your shells and sprinkle each with the cheese.
  5. Place your dish back in the 350F oven for about 20 minutes.
  6. Voila—delicious. If you wish to garnish with the avocado slices and sour cream go ahead and do this now. And of course, some nice warm corn tortillas make for a wonderful accompaniment. As well, I’ve noticed that these two spaghetti squash recipes I have made taste even better the next day.

Mediterranean Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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Mediterranean Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4

Easy on the belly and good besides—that’s what this dish presents. You don’t have to add the shrimp so it can be a totally vegetarian dish. I also have another recipe that uses this kind of squash, so be on the look out for that. It’s a south of the border version.

Ingredients:

  1. One spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (I save the seeds to roast in a 400 degree oven. I let the seeds dry and then sprinkle them with olive oil and red pepper flakes. It takes about 20-30 minutes to roast them.)
  2. 2 Tblsp. olive oil
  3. 1 onion-chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves minced
  5. One 14.5 oz. canned dice tomatoes including its’ juice. (The can I used also included oregano, garlic and basil.)
  6. 1/2 C. chopped artichoke hearts (I used the slightly marinated kind.)
  7. 3 Tblsp. sliced black olives (I used the slightly marinated kind.)
  8. 2 Tbslp. chopped fresh basil
  9. Medium sized cooked deveined shrimp, defrosted, tail taken off—I used about 15 (Optional)
  10. 3/4 to 1 C. crumbled feta cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In an oven proof dish, put in 1/2 to 3/4 C. water and place the 2 squash halves, flesh side down, in your dish. Bake about 35 minutes in the preheated oven. You can check at 30 minutes however the squash is done when you are able to insert a sharp knife with little resistance. When the squash is done take a fork to rake the flesh into your “spaghetti”. Be careful not to rake through the skin because you are going to use that for the stuffing.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large deep pot heat the olive oil and when heated, put in the onion. Sauté till it has softened. (about 5 minutes) Add the garlic and sauté for about 2 more minutes. Stir in ingredients number # 5 through # 8, place a lid on the pot and let the sauce simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. If you are using the shrimp, now’s the time to put them in the sauce for 3 or so minutes or till they are heated through.
  5. Add the feta last and stir it in quickly.
  6. Spoon the sauce into your squash halves. I surrounded mine with some cold marinated hot Italian styled red peppers which I thought tasted quite good with this.
  7. If you wish, you can serve some crusty hot French bread with this. And of course a nice crispy light white wine would be nice to have as well. But even red is good with this dish.

 

 

Roasted Cheese Ratatouille-Versatile, (veggie only or with meat/egg)

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Roasted Ratatouille with Cheese and if you wish, eggs and/or meat

Lots of options here and all quite healthy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  1. 1 small eggplant cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I left the skin on but if you wish, you can peel it. Also I salted it in a colander and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. After I rinsed it.
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 4 or 5 large mushrooms, sliced.
  6. 1-2 Tblsp. olive oil
  7. 1/4 Tsp. (or more if you wish a more exotic taste) of each of the following: cinnamon & nutmeg and S&P to taste
  8. 1-28 oz. canned chopped tomatoes with juice or whole can tomatoes (w/juice) that you’ve chopped
  9. 2-3 Tblsp. torn fresh basil leaves
  10. 1 Tblsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  11. Half lb. lamb shoulder which you have ground (minus the bone of course) in your food processor. This I found is the most economical way of getting ground lamb. However, the butcher may have some as well for the same price and/or he also can grind up the shoulder meat for you. If you wish you can have even have up to 1 lb. or none at all if you want to be vegetarian. You can also substitute ground turkey, chicken or beef but lamb is delicious and more traditional. (optional)
  12. Mozarella, part skim, 4-6 ounces, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4 –inch strips
  13. 4 eggs (optional)
  14. Crusty French Bread with which to serve it or something else similar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a 9 X 14 inch Pyrex or other oven proof dish place ingredients 1 through 5 and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast until golden brown and tender. (about 45 minutes) About half way through, I stirred the veggies well. In fact, you can stir even more times if you wish.
  3. Brown the optional lamb, etc. in a bit of olive oil in a skillet stove top. Set aside.
  4. When the veggies are roasted, take your dish out and stir in the seasonings in # 7, the tomatoes and their juices in # 8, the basil leaves in #9 and the parsley in #10 and the optional ground meat in #11.
  5. Bake in the 400 F oven with a foil covering for 20 to 30 minutes till hot and bubbling.
  6. Now’s the time to top with the cheese and bake without the foil for another 10 minutes—or at least till the cheese is melted. I actually turned on the broiler for several minutes to get it browned.
  7. Alternative method of serving: If you didn’t add the meat and maybe want to add eggs to this dish, then before you add the cheese, make four indentations in your veggies, break in an egg and layer the cheese over all. Bake uncovered until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted—8-10 minutes.
  8. Another alternative for this dish: If you did use the meat and you’ve layered the cheese, and cooked it that way but still want an egg on top—fry the egg in a separate pan and when you serve the Ratatouille, place the egg on top. Plenty of protein here and it really is good. Remember, you can serve the left over Ratatouille (if you have any) for breakfast topped with an egg.

Margot’s Rainy Day Asian Shrimp Soup for One

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rainy day Asian Shrimp Soup

 

Margot’s Rainy Day Asian Shrimp Soup for One

It was our first blustery rainy day of the fall season and Hugo and I were by out lonesome’s reading a great book, “The Accursed” by Joyce Carol Oates. I had just finished another fabulous book: “A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story” that I hope you all will read. It actually truly is a “Must Read”.

I was a bit hungry so for a late lunch/early dinner, I felt like making something easy and light on the belly and something warm. For some reason, Asian came to my mind. From my freezer, I took out the remainder of my medium sized cooked, tail on shrimp and defrosted them. So, at least I knew what the main protein ingredient was going to be. I also found some rice noodles in the pantry. I’m not really an expert in cooking Asian flavored dishes, but those two ingredients are what came to my mind today. So, below is what the end result was and honestly, it was delicious and quite Asian tasting. It also was quick and easy to fix.

 

Ingredients:

  1. 18 precooked medium frozen shrimp w/o shell but w/tails—defrosted
  2. 1 medium yellow onion
  3. 1 stalk celery
  4. 2 garlic cloves
  5. 1 Tblsp. butter
  6. 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  7. 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  8. 1/4 tsp. soy sauce
  9. Dash of red pepper flakes (depends how spicy hot you wish it to be)
  10. 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spices
  11. 2 cups heated vegetable bouillon
  12. Flat rice noodles—you judge how many but remember, this is just for one
  13. Whole peanuts (optional)
  14. Shredded coconut (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. In your food processor (I used my small one), place onion, celery, garlic cloves and process till finely chopped. Of course, you can do this by hand if you wish.
  2. In a large pot heated over medium heat add the butter, olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper flakes and Chinese five spices till somewhat bubbly. Add the processed celery, garlic, onion and stir for about 3-5 minutes till veggies are softened.
  3. Add the heated vegetable bouillon and bring to a soft boil.
  4. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes with a lid.
  5. Remove the lid and add the rice noodles. Gently boil for 8 minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp and boil another 2 minutes.
  7. Serve in a large soup bowl and if you wish garnish with whole peanuts, shredded coconut and even parsley or cilantro if you have some of that.

 

 

Avocados Stuffed with Lemon-Tarragon (etc.) Chicken Salad Sided with Pickled Radishes

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Avocados Stuffed with Lemon-Tarragon (etc.) Chicken Salad Sided with Pickled Radishes and Halved Tomatoes   3-6 servings

September is my birthday month so I plan to have lots of friends over for lunches and such to celebrate my longevity on this earth as we know it. Cooking and smoozing are some of my favorite activities therefore to celebrate another year gone by, I plan to do a lot of that this month.

 

To start the month off, I had today a little mid-day lunch for one old friend and one newfound friend.   That’s a nice combination, don’t you think? Avocados were on special at our markets, so this is the recipe that I served. I sided it with a platter containing a bit of goat cheese and antipasto meats, a basket of crusty, fresh French baguette slices, and on the individual serving plates I surrounded the stuffed avocados with fresh halved cherry tomatoes and quickly homemade pickled radishes.   I also shared a bit of wine for those of us who are winos and for my non-alcohol drinking friend, my wonderful homemade lemon/lavender drink.  For desert, I made a bit of coconut/lemon non-churn ice cream and topped it with fresh raspberries—a really wonderful combination. Of course a nice good strong cup of coffee and lots more great conversation followed. Before we knew it, my 1pm lunch turned into a 5:45pm good-bye. Nothing like a long lingering luncheon with good food and great people to help make your birthday month very special indeed!!!!

 

Oh yes, I almost forgot, for the background music, Bandit, my green singing finch, serenaded us with his songs, symphonies and sonatas.   Perfect indeed!!!!!

 

Ingredients for the Chicken Salad Mix:

  1. 1 Tblsp. or a bit more fresh tarragon
  2. 1/3 C. onion
  3. 1 ½ C. diced cooked chicken
  4. 2 celery stalks
  5. 1/4 C. chopped apple
  6. S&P
  7. 2 Tblsp.( or 1 more Tblsp. if you wish a creamier version) mayonnaise
  8. 1 ½ Tblsp. lemon juice plus some to sprinkle over the freshly cut avocados to keep them green
  9. 3 small/medium avocados and one extra to make sure you have enough good ones for your luncheon because I have found that some avocados are decidedly better than others.
  10. Lettuce leaves for serving.

 

Directions for the Chicken Salad Mix:

  1. In a processer, process for just a couple of pulses, so as to make a rough diced mix, ingredients # 1 through # 6.
  2. In the processer bowl (or if you wish, another bowl in which you have added the mix), add the mayonnaise & lemon juice.
  3. Put in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two or better yet, overnight.

 

To Serve:

  1. Halve and pit the avocados. Gently rub some lemon juice over the exposed flesh to prevent them from browning. Scoop 1/4 (more or less) of the chicken salad mix into each of the avocado halves.
  2. I served my stuffed avocado halves on a glass plate which sat on top of a larger white plate that I had lined with fresh large lettuce leaves. Each glass plate had 2 small stuffed avocado halves surrounded by halved cherry tomatoes and quartered pickled radishes.
  3. Below, please see the recipe for the pickled radishes (easy and not time consuming).

 

Pickled Radishes:

Ingredients for the Pickled Radishes:

  1. 1 bunch radishes
  2. 3/4 C. white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
  3. 3/4 C. water
  4. 3 Tblsp. honey, maple syrup or agave nectar
  5. 2 Tsp. salt
  6. 1 Tsp. red pepper flakes or less if you prefer less spice
  7. 1/2 Tsp. mustard seeds (optional)
  8. Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds—use your imagination

 

Instructions for the Pickled Radishes:

  1. Prepare the radishes by slicing off the tops and bottoms; slice or cut into small quarters or eighths.
  2. For the brine, in a small sauce pan, combine ingredients # 2 through #8 and bring mixture to boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Take pan off heat and place radishes in pan; let mixture cool to room temp; or if you have just an hour to make this, cover the pan and place in frig. till cool.

 

Chocolate Pear Custard Tart

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Above on your left is the tart decorated for Lois A. 90th B-D. Besides the bought decorations I used some violets from my garden.

The middle picture shows the crust, pierced and ready to go in the oven briefly.

The right picture shows the tart undecorated.

Chocolate Pear Custard Tart

This is truly DELICIOUS. It’s hard to stop eating it. It’s somewhat time intensive to make, but truly worth it. If you don’t decorate it, it looks a little bland so I do suggest placing some little eatable flowers on top or something else to make it look a bit more appealing. I have doubled this recipe and used a 13X9 Pyrex dish; it worked out just fine but I did bake it somewhere between 45 to 60 minutes. Remember, I am in altitude so for your first baking it’s a watch and see mode.

HINT: Poach the pears first; then do the custard; then make your crust; then put the whole deal together and bake; then cool. Told you it’s a bit time intensive but believe me it’s worth it.

Ingredients and hints for the pears:

For the pears that will go on top of the crust please do the following and do this before making the crust:

  1. 6 (or more) UNPEELED Bartlet pears, halved, cored and sliced into half-inch slices. The pears can be semi-ripe but not mushy!
  2. Poach 4 of the pears according to my recipe on this blog. Use the method on top of the stove and I did put in currents.
  3. Save the extra 2 sliced unpeeled and un-poached pears for the last topping to go on top of the poached pears before you pour the chocolate custard sauce over all.
  4. Also, what I did was to buy extra pears and I poached them as well. So, when I served the tart, I also served a separate bowl of poached pears for those who are gluten intolerant. Of course I also served my no-churn homemade ice cream. YUM!!!!!
  5. Mix some sugar and cinnamon together to sprinkle on the extra 2 pears you will be placing on top of the poached pears before you pour the chocolate custard sauce over all.

 

Ingredients for the chocolate custard:

  1. 1/3 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  2. 2 Tblsp. unsalted butter, melted
  3. 1/4 C. plus 2 Tblsp. whole milk
  4. 1 Tsp. almond extract
  5. 1/2 Tsp. salt
  6. 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  7. 3 Tblsp. granulated white sugar
  8. 3 Tblsp. all purpose flour
  9. 2 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I always buy the best for this)

Directions for the custard:

  1. Combine the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low hear, stirring until totally melted. Sir in the milk, almond and salt. Set aside.
  2. Combine the egg, yolk, sugar, flour and cocoa powder in the food processor or mixer bowl and process for about 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and chocolate mixture and continue to process until smooth and completely incorporated. Set aside for a bit.

 

Ingredients for the Crust:

  1. 1 package of Walker’s plain shortbread cookies
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 4 Tblsp. butter, melted and cooled
  4. 1/2 C. all purpose flour
  5. 1/3 C. granulated white sugar
  6. 1 Tsp. almond extract

 

 

Directions:

  1. Prepare the crust:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Place shortbread cookies in food processor and process until finely ground.
  4. Add the egg, melted butter, flour, sugar, salt and extract and process again until a soft, buttery dough forms.
  5. Remove dough, roll into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill in frig. for 20 minutes.
  6. Press the chilled dough into a greased 13” by 4” or a 9” round tart pan and score all over with a fork.
  7. Place tart pan on a cookie sheet and blind bake in the oven for 7 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool.
  9. Now you can place the poached pears on top of the crust and after you have done that, place the last 2 sliced unpeeled pears skin side up in a nice pattern. Sprinkle those with a bit of your mixed cinnamon/sugar.
  10. Pour the custard over all.
  11. Bake in your still heated 350 degree oven on the cookie sheet for 25 minutes or till the custard is set, firm and the crust is slightly golden.
  12. Let cool completely before serving.