Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: and -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Excellent Hot Cocoa

Merry Christmas readers!

Once upon a time, Christ the Savior was born, and even though the Christmas season is a fabricated time to commemorate his birth, it sure doesn't hurt to have cozy times with our loved ones.  I look forward to this every year.

About the shortage of recipes... since our rotisserie chicken give away, I have been insanely swamped with a variety of things, and it's been dark, rainy and not particularly inspirational for me to cook or take good photos (even on a sunny day I have a kitchen on the darker side of the house which makes it hard to get nice exposures w/o a little Photoshopping.)

But since it's Christmas now, I will just tell you I made some really yummy hot cocoa tonight, off-the-cuff style.

Take a small pot and pour in 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole, but you could probably also do rice milk, almond milk, or soy milk if you have a dairy issue.)

Scald the milk until hot, but not boiling.  Vigorously whisk in 3 teaspoons cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (or other sweetener to taste) and a pinch of sea salt. 

For a little extra grown-up flair, add a splash of Kahlua, Frangelico, Peppermint Schnapps, or Baileys.

I don't have any photos, because I left my camera at my parents while we were decorating their Christmas tree.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Curry (Rotisserie) Chicken Soup

This chicken recipe brought to you, courtesy of Olympia Local Foods who generously supplied me with a kosher, pastured, organic rotisserie chicken from Tachira Farms, in Olympia, Washington.  If you live in the South Puget Sound area, please support our local farms by shopping at Olympia Local Foods store.

My most recent recipe was for two side dishes to complement the rotisserie chicken.  I was also excited to run my first ever contest for a free rotisserie chicken and a $10 gift card to their store.  You can still enter this contest, by following the directions from that last blog post, up until October 23, 2012.  Local entries only.

Today I'm going to show you how I used up the left over chicken to concoct a spicy, hot, healthy and flavorful  curry soup from scratch. And when I say 'From Scratch' here, I mean FROM SCRATCH.  We're even going to make our own broth... no bouillon required.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rotisserie Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Cardamom Roasted Cauliflower

I'm excited to announce my first ever give-away contest! For this meal-blog I'm plugging Olympia Local Foods and in exchange, they are offering a give-away of a hot, juicy rotisserie chicken and a $10 gift card at Olympia Local Foods.   More rules and details about this give-away can be found at the bottom of this page, below the recipe.

Olympia Local Foods is a business which I support, nearly weekly.  They are family owned by local farmers, who work in conjunction with other local farmers to offer area residents a convenient way to shop for locally grown and produced food items, with weekly in-store pickup.  You can even pay a nominal fee to have them deliver to your house. One of their signature items is freshly rotisserie-prepared, kosher, organic, pastured chicken by the owners of O.L.F. who also run Tachira Farms.

So for this recipe, I picked up a hot, savory bird, and also an organic head of cauliflower,  some red potatoes, and went home to come up with a recipe for an autumnal comfort food with a bit of a  sophisticated twist. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sincerely... me...

I am going to do my best to get some more new content up here shortly... This summer has been kind of an odd one for me, as I have had a herniated disc in my back, so it's been harder for me to cook and stage photos and climb on chairs and sit long enough to upload blog pictures & content.  So I'm just saying that to excuse for how sad it is that I have not updated anything in a while.

But ... if you're new here, please check out some old favorites -- might I recommend a fall and Thanksgiving favorite:  Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie ?

... or perhaps a cozy and warm Acorn Squash Soup ?

... maybe you're in the mood for a good side dish, like this Potato Leek Gratin...(great with steak or grilled turkey or chicken on the side.)

... Would you like another good comfort dish, like this "Confetti" Turkey Meatloaf ?

Well, those are a few you might have missed! I'm working on coming up with some new ideas, and I'll gladly take suggestions.  Perhaps you have some puzzling veggies that you're never sure what to do with! Leave comments and I can maybe use those for inspiration recipes next time!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Worthy Cause

If you have a few minutes, please click this link:, & watch the video... Greg is a very good friend of my brother up in Seattle and he is running from Washington State to Florida to raise money for two young inner city kids from Louisiana, that he met while volunteering at a shelter. 

So if you can spare $5, or more, pitch in, & if you know someone at a local paper along the route, or if you're a blogger who can help spread the word, please join me in making this guy's run a success! We're so quick to donate to our favorite Kickstarter rock-groups who want to make a new album, but this guy just wants to put two disadvantaged kids in a better school than the one they currently go to.   He has already made it as far as Colorado!  That's quite a ways he has come, but he has so far to go yet. 

So please help out!  He has a registered non-profit organization & your donation is tax deductible.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sockeye Salmon with basil-yogurt dressing

Sometimes I actually say something out loud before deciding if it sounds like a good meal idea.  Today I said "basil-yogurt dressing" and a light bulb came on! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Zucchini-Blackberry Pancakes

Didn't I say I had zucchini coming out of my ears the other day?  Yes.  So today I thought I'd make a zucchini breakfast option.  With a grated yellow zucchini (although green would be fine, too) and some blackberries, and a modified whole grain pancake recipe from my own arsenal of recipes, I came up with a fairly quick and delicious morning meal.  Bonus for the fiber, vitamins and garden-freshness!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Holy Guacamole!!

I'm a major guacamole fiend.  I can easily justify eating half a bowl myself, because hey... it's a vegetable, and it's the "good fats" and has tons of fiber, too. Plus it's so excellent with tortilla chips, or over a quesadilla or slathered on enchiladas, on a toasted bagel,  or even just on a spoon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quinoa Risotto with Chicken, Zucchini & Bacon

I was in an experimenting mood tonight, and I have so.much.zucchini from my veggie garden that I'm trying to come up with interesting ways to eat it.  I have both tiny little baby zucchini, and bigger ones. As I am learning in my foray into vegetable gardening, the best zucchini shouldn't get too big or they get dry and seedy.  So I'm happy to have some of these little tender ones, because they are so delicious!

A long while back, I made an almond-fig brown rice risotto which was very delicious, and I thought I'd try something in that vein but with quinoa instead, and feature the zucchini, along with some left-over bacon, and my go-to chicken tenders. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fudge and Peppermint Ice-Cream Cake

Many, many moons ago, in 1984, which was the first year my family moved from Sweden to the US, we stayed a night or two with some acquaintances during a road-trip, and they served up this amazing ice-cream cake.  I dutifully hand-wrote the recipe down from their index card, making sure to spell everything correctly, since I was still learning English, and for the last 28 years, this has been one of our favorite desserts.   I just spent a half hour scouring Google for an identical recipe and did not find one.   Even the official Nabisco website does not have this recipe. Alas, I cannot credit an original source other than the Crandall family in Iowa.  If anyone out there knows the source, please message me, and I will gladly put a link in. 

Last week for my birthday, my mom asked what I wanted for dessert, and of course, I said "Oreo Mint cake".  Since she was the one who prepared it, I only have just the one photo of it sitting there on the fancy plate.  I do have the recipe, still hand-written in the back of my old childhood cookbook, so I will type it up for you, despite the lack of prep-photos.

Please make this.  It's so good. And, oh yeah... it has TWO sticks of buttah in there... Please consult your doctor if you have any sort of heart-disease history. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

All right, all right, all right... I am a total slow poke.  It seems the last few months have just slipped out of my fingers, and into the great abyss of "History."  Have I made some meals?  Yes.  Have I had the time to make anything worth blogging about? Not so much.  (In fact, I have relied on many of my old recipes the last few weeks and months.)

But I just remembered that maybe a month or so ago, I did take the time to photograph the steps in making these yummy enchiladas, so now I'm going to backtrack and write up a recipe that is also loosely based on a recipe of my mom's.  So I'll do a little updating here, and at least you can also backtrack and go try some of my old recipes if this one doesn't interest you.

I'll make no claims to this being some authentic Mexican masterpiece.  But it sure is good comfort food! Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sharks, Part Deux

Ahem! Introducing ... I'll be implementing more in-depth step-by-step photo instructions shortly.

Also, I have a recipe for Chicken enchiladas on deck, so stay tuned for that, everyone!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sharks, and crafts

This has nothing at all to do with cooking, but I wanted to share an exciting tidbit with you faithful readers, and also alert you to stay tuned to some side projects of mine in the coming weeks.

It all began when last spring, my lovely sister and her husband turned 30, and we had a big joint family birthday weekend at a really swanky beach house on the Oregon coast.  For our main dinner event, we put out some shark-themed decor, which I made personally to liven up the dinner table a bit.  (I suppose it would help to explain that my sister is a Shark-Nut!) I made some laminated shark-design name-tags for everyone's drinking glasses, and also had this idea to put some shark jaws out on the table.  Well, it turned out that purchasing a decent pair of shark jaws would cost upward of $100 so that decoration idea went back in the ocean.  Thus, I started pondering how to make some out of cardboard or paper, and the idea popped into my head about creating them from paper plates.

A thorough Google search did not yield what I was looking for inspiration-wise, aside from a few kid-oriented shark projects, so I decided instead to look for images of real shark jaws, and was able to come up with a very convincing looking paper version of the anatomical real-deal!

When the beach-weekend had wrapped up, I posted my family photos on Facebook.   My friend, Heather Mann, who is the brains behind the multifaceted and very popular saw my pics, and asked me to work up a tutorial for her upcoming Shark Week themed crafts.  I did so, quite happily, and was glad to contribute to her fun and clever website.

With the initial launching of that post, we saw quite a lot of traffic - upwards of a few thousand people.  Then last fall, as Pinterest started becoming a huge household pastime, Heather was able to use that as a vehicle to gain even more attention to the projects on her website.  I noticed a surge of posts for both the shark-jaws, and another craft which I had previously submitted to DollarStoreCrafts, (which is a Japanese-style lantern tutorial ).

In the last few days though, Heather let me know that the shark jaws had basically gone "viral" -- and the counter on her site went from about 5,000 hits to 7-8,000 in just a few days.  And as of yesterday, the very popular site BoingBoing picked up the article and a few thousand more visitors showed up.

Hearing about BoingBoing, I decided to just search it on Google, and lo-and-behold, one of the big hits that showed up on my search results was from Pee-Wee Herman's Twitter/Facebook feed.  Yes, THE Pee-Wee Herman had somehow stumbled across this project and loved it enough to post it on his own Facebook page! So within another day now, the counter on DollarStoreCrafts is up over 13,000 and counting.  I feel amused and flattered, and very honored to have come up with such a popular idea!

This surge in interest in my craft ideas has given me some incentive to also start a parallel website or blog for my various ideas and projects.  It may be a recipe one day, or a sewing project another day.  I have always been a Jane-of-All-Trades, Master of None, so this seems to be a good way to showcase all my hobbies and interests.

I'm pretty tickled, and if you are here on my site via either, or Pee-Wee's page, or BoingBoing, please make yourself at home, and enjoy the recipes that I have posted so far.  Most of them are largely invented or modified by me, and thus are about as original as any recipe can be these days...If you cook anything on my site, I'd love feedback, and  feel free to pin them to Pinterest, or share them on your own favorite social network. (Please include the original link as a courtesy to me.)

When I launch the other site, I shall let you all know!

Thanks again for all the love!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana smoothie

Well, we have had a nice snowy week a few weeks ago, followed by a nasty ice storm, which led to 380,000 homes or so without power (that was the last estimate I had heard anyway) so for quite a while I was not cooking much nor blogging, since we had no internet for a while, but the other day I thought that I wanted to upload my version of a well known smoothie from an establishment (which rhymes with Samba Loose, lest I be sued for copyright infringement) ... My version deviates a bit from theirs because I don't use sweetened yogurt (less sugar that way) and I don't use soy milk.  Actually, I don't use soy products in general, aside from soy sauce, and well... that would just be weird in a smoothie!

I'm taking this opportunity to also plug one of my favorite house hold appliances, which is the Cuisinart Smart Stick which makes single serving smoothies, grinds spices, coffee, makes peanut butter from scratch, whisks cream, and purees soup and guacamole with ease. I love it!  It's also easy to clean up, since the attachments can be removed from the motorized top, and several of them can be run in the dishwasher.  So click on the link and  buy yourself one.  You'll love it, too!

Now then, here is the basic recipe, which is quite off the cuff, but can be easily adjusted if you want more peanut butter, or more chocolate, or a thicker or thinner texture, just by adding a splash more or less milk.

1 ripe but not mushy banana (just a nice yellow one!)
1/2 cup of skim or 1% milk (give or take, depending on desired texture)
1/2 cup plain, Greek Yogurt (or other plain yogurt)
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp chocolate syrup, or plain cocoa powder
1-2 ice cubes, optional (or slice and freeze your banana a few hours before making)

Puree, and ta-da!!! Delicious, and affordable.  Not to mention lower in calories than the 700-calorie bomb at Samba Loose.  I estimate this to have about 450 calories, and only the "nut fat" which makes for a nice breakfast or protein packed afternoon pick me up.  Serve it up in a nice frosty mug for a little extra deliciousness.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Off The Cuff Cooking: Mole Pulled Pork Tacos & Spanish rice

Off The Cuff Cooking: Mole Pulled Pork Tacos & Spanish rice: Happy New Year, readers. Did you miss me? All four of you? I haven’t blogged for a while, because as much baking & cooking as I did dur...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sweet Potato Chili

Well, well, well... Happy 2012.  Undoubtedly, it will take me the next 8 months to figure out how it is 2012. I'm not the swiftest one to get used to writing  the new dates on checks or correspondence in general.  A couple of years ago (so, maybe 2009) I was writing a check at the grocery store, and I started to fill in the date box with 1996.  NINETEEN-NINETY SIX.  What? It wasn't even 2006, let alone 1996.  Brain-fart.  (Oh, I don't suppose it's appropriate to use the word fart in a post about a bean-based recipe, but  ha ha ha... it has now been typed, and I'm too lazy to delete it.)