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, January 26, 2013

Household tip: Non-Skid rubber liner and its uses

About a year ago, I found a bunch of remnant pieces of rubber shelf liner that my husband had used in his tool chest drawers in the garage.  This is the stuff I'm talking about here:

(Click the image link to access it on

I have found multiple fun uses for it in the house.  For starters, I have cut some circles to size to put underneath my utensil-jars to keep them from sliding around on our counters.

I also keep a couple of 6" diameter circles in a drawer to help me open stuck jar lids.  It helps you grip the lid and get better traction.  I sometimes even use one for my left hand to grip the glass jar, and one on the lid to give me a little extra oomph. 

I cut a couple of these things to put inside drawers under those plastic flatware organizers so they don't slide back and forth either.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

GF Pizza with Pumpkin-herb sauce, chicken, and caramelized onions

I can't make my own crust anymore.  Waaah.  Okay, at least not for another 6-8 weeks of this trial gluten-free diet that my doctor put me on.  So I decided to try a gluten-free pizza crust mix.  This particular mix is manufactured by Gluten Free Mama, (coincidentally in my old highschool-era hometown of Polson, Montana-- GOOOO PIRATES!!) and while I followed the directions closely, I'm not sure I hit the sweet spot exactly.  Maybe I let the dough sit for too long or not long enough or maybe my kitchen was too cool.  I did not get quite the pizza-crust texture I had hoped for, with springy, stretchy, and bready air pockets.  But it tasted quite good otherwise, so the flavor was very similar to a pizza dough-- and I'll experiment a little with it next time.  Or maybe it's just impossible to get that kind of puffy artisan yeasty-airiness in gluten-free flour mixes.  I'm still learning here.  Either way, my husband even thought it was good -- or at least a good stand-in for regular pizza dough.  I might experiment with rolling some garlic, and herbs into the dough next time, too.

I also was so busy trying to follow directions that there are no step-by-step photos of this process, but I did take a picture of the finished pizza.  Errrhm... I mean, a picture of the half-eaten finished pizza.

There are really only four components on the pizza-- the pumpkin-sauce, sauteed onions, and skillet-fried chicken, cut into chunks and grated mozzarella.  I tried to caramelize the onions but got impatient and forgot to babysit them so they ended up a little bit brown in some parts, and just had the consistency of regular-sauteed onion in general, so rest assured: I will admit my own mistakes when I make them!

For the sake of brevity, then, I'll just tell you what went into the sauce and you can fill in the gaps. I know you can do it.  You're smart readers.

Apple-Butternut Squash soup with lemon zest

TWO recipes in less than THREE days.  That's just craziness.  Can you guys take it? And this one is also gluten-free, since it's pretty much just made with vegetables and a little bit of dairy.

It's been kind of foggy and cold here the last few days so a soup sounded good.

I have made another acorn squash soup in the past, and also a roasted eggplant soup which borrows some of the same principles of oven-roasting the main vegetables first before making the soup.  If you read the acorn squash soup recipe, you'll see that I stole the whole-squash roasting technique from The Pioneer Woman, Rhee Drummond, who instructed her readers that a squash or gourd does not need to be cut up or peeled prior to roasting and that it in fact is much easier to do it after the fact.  Not only that, but the result is caramelized and savory and sweet, and far more pleasantly textured than a steamy, water-logged squash might be.  Now where *she* got that method from, I have no idea, but at least it saves me from any future trips to the emergency room because I can't think of very many kitchen-related tasks that are more dangerous than trying to cut open a squash or water melon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gluten Free Kale and Pepper lasagna

Happy New Year.  I don't make resolutions in general, but I hope to get my recipes rolling again.  So it's more of a hope, and not a resolution!  I'm happy to say I have recently hit 12,000 page visits since I started this blog and they just keep a-rollin' in, despite my failure to generate new content on a regular basis.