Friday, July 29, 2011

The Entree Soup, money saving and nutritious

This soup has been a staple for dinner in our house for sometime. It is so quick and easy to make, so nutritious and very satisfying to eat. The varied textures and tantalizing flavors make it so. It is a take-off from an Asian style soup basically, and we love it. I vary the vegetables a bit depending on whats on hand and you can too! Make sure the vegetables do not overcook.


4 oz. beef sliced  very thin, either flank steak or tenderloin

3-4 TBS. Soy sauce
1Tbs. toasted sesame oil
2 carrots, sliced thin on the bias
3-4 inch piece of dikon Radish sliced thin on the bias
2 oz fresh Shitaki mushrooms
4 cups water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated or minced

3 cloves of garlic grated or minced

2 broccoli stems, sliced thin and florets (2 cups total)
2 scallion
1 cup baby spinach leaves

In a small bowl combine the beef with 2 TBS. of the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Then prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Place the marinated meat, the carrots, the dikon, and the mushrooms in a soup pot or Dutch oven.

 Add the water and remaining soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Over high heat bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until meat is cooked through. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 1 minute. Vegetables should be emerald green, crisp and hot. Serve immediately.

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some of my favorite things this time of year

Photos and Writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New England Boiled Dinner

This hits the spot even in summer, on a cool day in New England. It's hard to believe we might get a respite given the heat spell throughout the country this week. So when the heat subsides this might be a welcome change to salads and seafood. The rich beefy broth and tender meat enriched with carrots and potatoes are a robust meal all year round.

1 Lb. brisket
2 shallots sliced thin
2 yellow onions cut into rings
4 cloves garlic sliced thin
4 ribs of celery cut in thirds
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cups good quality beef broth

6 carrots sliced in half then cut in half lengthwise
6 small red potatoes quartered

1 cup broccoli florets

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a 3 quart pot, season the brisket with salt and pepper add the shallots, onions, garlic and celery, the bay leaf and thyme. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

 When the brisket comes to a boil add the carrot and potatoes. Cover the pot and place it into the preheated oven. Cook for 1-1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender. Add the broccoli, stir and serve. Serves 3-4.

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Breakfast Omelet Open Faced Sandwich... under 300 calories

Here I go again...on my quest for low cal high nutrition, high flavor natural food.
This was an omelet I made for my husband one hungry morning this week when we got fresh eggs from the farm around the road.


2 slices of the bread I told you about  Alvarado flax bread 50 calories a slice, toasted
1 cup washed baby spinach leaves
2 oz. Soy Kass, Monterrey Jack, sliced
2 large egg whites


Spray a cast iron skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Place the skillet over medium low heat.
Separate the eggs letting the egg whites fall directly into the pan, don't stir. Spread the spinach leaves over the whites. Put the cheese to one side on top of the spinach.

 Cover the pan for 2 minutes, lower heat to low. Remove cover to check for melted cheese. Flip the "uncheese" side over the cheese.

 Serve with the toast or cut the omelet in half and serve each half on each slice of toast.

Recipes, photos, and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Refreshing Lunch Salad

This is an entree salad for one or share the salad for two and serve with a shared sandwich.

1/4 cup imported feta crumbled
2 radishes sliced thin
1 plum tomato cut into12 pieces
2 scallion sliced thin
2 ribs celery sliced
2 sprigs of mint leaves only, torn
a pinch of salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
a few grinds of black pepper
a splash of olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, toss and serve.

Recipe,writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The woods off the porch

Gotta love summer.. especially when it is so near. Love the blue sky and clouds and trees...makes me feel grateful to my maker.

Writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy, Karen Pickus 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dig them potatoes

I love roasted potatoes. I often make delicious ones with herbs and olive oil. These are particularly good with any south of the boarder fare. I recently served these potatoes with a braised, shredded, venison tortilla that I will blog about soon. Here is my recipe, hope you all enjoy it.

2 Lbs. small red new potatoes, quartered
1 tsp. each ground cumin and smoked paprika
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium onion diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a half sheet pan toss all of the ingredients together until the potatoes are coated evenly.
Pop the pan into the hot oven. After 10 minutes and or when the potatoes begin to brown, toss the potatoes, using a thin metal spatula to carefully lift the potatoes in order to brown on the other sides. If you find the potatoes are sticking to the pan, let them cook a bit longer before tossing. Roast until the potatoes are crispy on the cut sides and the insides are softened. Cook a total of 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Banana Cake

Banana Cake is fantastic. Especially when you have bananas that are a bit over ripe.
When eating bananas I prefer bright yellow with no spots. A bit starchy and sweet. But for cake I like them with some spots. When bananas begin to get into the cake territory, I often put them in the freezer and use them at my leisure for smoothies, even frozen banana "ice cream" that's what I call eating a banana plain right from the freezer; a low calorie dessert. When you have 5 you can make this cake. Either collect them from your freezer or take the spotted ones from the counter. Both ways you are off to a great start to a fantastic treat. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and you just hit the dessert jack pot!


5 over ripe bananas
1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs

1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 8 or 9" square baking pan and dust with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, add the peeled bananas and the sugar. Mix together at medium speed until the bananas have broken up and are somewhat mashed. Add the butter and cream together until the mixture is mixed well. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add the salt and baking powder and continue mixing. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Pour in the buttermilk while the machine is on low. Scrape down the sides. Mix until smooth. Fold in the walnuts if desired. Place batter in the prepared
pan and bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for 45 minutes before serving
 with vanilla ice cream. It's great warm with the ice cream or cool completely.

Recipe, photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mint Lemonade, Homemade

This is easy and delicious. Everyone will love you for making this. Hot summer, so refreshing.
Refrigerate overnight and it is fantastic! The mint gets army green by then so I recommend you scoop it out and replace it with some fresh sprigs. Only if you have any lemonade left.


Juice of 5 lemons (1 cup freshly squeezed)

1 lemon sliced thin
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint sprigs
3 quarts water


Juice the lemons, slice the lemon and put these ingredients into a large jar or pitcher. Add the sugar and the mint and stir it all together to release the flavors. Stir in the water. Chill and serve or put ice cubes in the glasses.

Writing, recipe and photo by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Beautiful Breaky

Fresh picked wine berries and Greek yogurt, perfection. Top it all off with maple syrup and you turned it into a possible dessert. Either way I'm happy.

Photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011


These donuts are incredible. I'm just sayin. If you are ever on the Island of Martha's, RUN do not walk to Back Door Donuts. You are in for the best treat. They have many varieties...we had Honey Dipped and Glazed Chocolate Cake. Last evening I heard raves from other enthusiasts about other varieties when we hopped on the long but quick moving line. The chocolate glaze had that fantastic crispiness and warm, just fried chocolaty cakeyness that will make you swoon.  The honey dipped was rich and yummy... the perfect donut, not too sweet! To top it off they were each $1 dollar.

Writing and photos, by Karen Pickus 2011
Writing and photos courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The garden, the wild berries outside my door, and the sea.

Some of the things that amaze, delight and inspire me this time of year.

Photos, and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Marinated Flank Steak, Grilled for a crowd

I love marinated flank steak especially this way. It is a relatively lean cut of meat with no waste as long as the meat is well trimmed to start with, delicious , and quick cooking. It is also an efficient use of ingredients... the marinade becomes a nice splash of sauce. This recipe works well for 1-3 Flanks. Each steak ranges in weight from 12-14 ounces to the larger ones that can be between 1-1/14 Lb. to 1 Lb. 6 oz.
When using tamari ( a strong brewed soy sauce, found in most health food sections) the marinade is strong  enough to deal with the discrepancy of steak sizes.


1  fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and rough chopped
5 cloves of garlic peeled
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
4 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 lime juiced

1-3 approximately 1 1/4 Lb. flank steaks well trimmed.


In a food processor blend together all of the ingredients (except the steak), as smooth as possible. Pour the marinade into a large resealable bag, add the steak(s). Move the meat around so that it is coated with the marinade. Place the sealed bag with the meat into a large pan in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to grill. Place  the grill on high or make a fire with coals. When the coals are burned through and a bright orange flame color, remove the meat from the marinade. Place the meat on the hot grill and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side to desired doness. Pour the marinade into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Strain and keep warm. Cook the meat to 125-130 degrees on an instant read thermometer for medium rare. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board. Slice the meat thinly against the grain. Serve immediately and splash with a bit of the sauce.

Recipes, photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2011
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2011

Finished Slaw

Finished Slaw
Ready to eat!