Free Range Nurse

Cooking therapy from a former travel nurse

You say Gra-TAN, I say GRATn, either way it’s delicious! March 27, 2010

Filed under: dinner,lunch,seafood — freerangenurse @ 8:32 am

The first time I tried this, I wanted to drink the butter broth right out of the dish.  The flavor is so amazing.  This dish is when I discovered shallots, which might be my favorite thing in the world.  Another winner from Ina Garten.  I have made a couple of modifications, but it is hard to mess with perfection.  The other great thing about this dish is that it is so easy and fast to put together.  It can be used with bay scallops or shrimp.  I’ve done both with tasty results and in under 30 minutes.

Bay Scallop Gratins

adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook



Spring is in the air…and in my kitchen March 24, 2010

Filed under: dinner — freerangenurse @ 4:36 pm

I love the spring.  Seeing the blossoms on my pear trees, finding fresh ripe (in season) berries in my grocery store, having spring wildflowers lining the highways and feeling the sun upon my face (Stacy, that one is for you!).  I just can’t help but feel reborn a little.  There’s a little more pep in my step, the feeling that I will stop squandering time and start accomplishing the things I’ve got piled on my to do lists.  Okay, that last bit rarely ever happens, but my point is spring is a renewal, a time of hope and promise…and a time for fresh spring veggies.

This recipe for risotto is a perfect celebration of spring.  Tender, flavorful Arborio rice, slightly sweet, crisp vegetables and a creamy taste that makes it spring comfort food.  It’s a hug and a warm smile.  I love it and I hope you will, too. (more…)


Snickerdoodle Cupcakes March 13, 2010

Filed under: dessert — freerangenurse @ 9:20 am

What’s not to love about a snickerdoodle cookie?  Especially one warm and just out of the oven.  I might be biased because I love cinnamon, but when I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Cupcakes book, I just couldn’t wait to try it!  It is everything a good snickerdoodle should be – soft, sweet without being overly so, with a warm cinnamon taste.  Delicious!  I had two the first night and could have kept going, but decided I better exercise a little self control. Then I decided I should exercise, so I did two sit ups.  I’m sure that cancelled it out. (more…)


Miso Salmon, me love you long time! March 12, 2010

Filed under: dinner,seafood — freerangenurse @ 11:27 am
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What the crap is going on with the universe when I post two healthy posts in a row?  The name of this one always makes me think of the song Me So Horny by 2 Live Crew, that controversial tune that added fuel to the fire of Tipper Gore’s fight to have parental warning stickers on CDs.  I can’t help but sing, Uh, miso salmon, uh uh miso salmon, uh miso salmon, me love you long time.  I’m showing my age, aren’t I.  Anyway, this recipe has also become a favorite and I would even say the second time around was better than the first.  It is a Bobby Flay recipe and is easy to put together and gives a slightly sweet flavor to the fish. (more…)


Beef Fajita Salad and Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing March 11, 2010

Filed under: beef,lunch,salad — freerangenurse @ 4:54 pm

(This is a picture from a previous attempt, I like it better with flank steak that has NOT been run through a tenderizer)

A friend recently asked if I had a recipe for creamy cilantro dressing.  Unlike last time, I didn’t tell a lie.  I said no and proceeded to look up a recipe online.  I tried a couple of different recipes and went with  this one.  I feel it is a nice, tangy compliment to the beef and not so heavy that it drowns the salad.  It is also low carb, so my friends on South Beach can enjoy it and one of my friends even likes it plain, on tortilla chips. (more…)


Lasagna, layer by layer March 9, 2010

Filed under: beef,dinner,pasta — freerangenurse @ 12:32 pm

Got a minute?  You won’t have time to make this dish.  Got five hours?  Okay, now we’re talking.  You may be asking yourself why anyone would want to spend five hours in the kitchen.  The answer is because I enjoy the process (and the results).  If I have the time, I love making recipes the old fashioned way – sauces from scratch, slowly simmered, fresh ingredients.  I want my food to taste homemade, it doesn’t have to look perfect, but I do want it to reflect the care and time I took to prepare it.  Do I have time to do this every day?  To quote Long Duk Dong in Sixteen Candles, “No way, Jose!” (more…)


What A Girl Wants… March 3, 2010

I have said before, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and there was a time I thought I didn’t like chocolate.  I know, shocker!  What woman in her right mind doesn’t like chocolate?  First off, I never claimed to be in my right mind and secondly, it turns out I do like chocolate, just not milk chocolate.  I discovered this at work.  I was taking care of a patient whose mother was from Paris.  She was raving about the chocolates her parents had brought with them from France in celebration of the new arrival and I mentioned that I didn’t like chocolate.  I swear, she let out an audible gasp.  She told me she was sure I did like chocolate, just not the overly sweet “American” chocolate.  She insisted that I try one of her chocolates.  I did and whoa boy!  It was everything women are supposed to feel when they eat chocolate, better than mediocre sex, for sure!  She told me to try dark chocolate and don’t be afraid to buy the good stuff.  I have loved chocolate ever since.  I just don’t feel like it needs all the sugar and milk to make it divine.  The divinity is in the slightly bitter, lightly sweet richness. (more…)


Sunshine Tart March 2, 2010

One of the blogs I read, White on Rice Couple, recently featured both Meyer Lemon Margaritas and Meyer Lemon Bars.  Apparently those lemons are pretty easy to come by, for them, because they grow in their backyard.  I am not so lucky and after three trips to Central Market and Whole Foods, I finally found some.  I bought a dozen!  Then began the week and a half of 12 hour shifts up at work and the lemons sat patiently in the fridge.  I had every intention of making something with them on Monday, but spent much of the day sleeping.  I did get a couple of those lemon margaritas made and consumed.  Tuesday and Wednesday weren’t much better.  Still not sleeping on a normal schedule, I didn’t really cook much.  On Thursday, it was a new day!  I was awake at 7:00 a.m. and ready to go! (more…)