Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chicken Ropa Vieja

From: Gina's Skinny Recipes

This can be made in the crockpot (partially) or completely on the stovetop. I would like to figure out if you could do it all in one step in the crockpot, but in the comments Gina recommends not doing it that way. If I make it again maybe I'll experiment and try it, but this time I did the two-step process of making the chicken in the crockpot and then finishing it on the stovetop. Serve as is in a soup bowl, or over rice, or wrapped up in a tortilla, or over tortilla chips, etc.

3 chicken breast halves
1 small onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce
reserved broth
1 tsp cumin, or more to taste (I like a lot)
garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken, onion, tomato, carrot, and 2 peeled cloves of garlic into crock pot. Add water to cover, and set to high for 4 hours until the chicken is tender. If cooking on the stove, cook on medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Place the chicken into a bowl and shred it into strips using a fork; set aside. Reserve the liquid. Discard solids.

In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in chicken, tomato sauce, white wine, and about 3/4 cup of the reserved broth to create a nice sauce. Season with cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes more adding more broth and seasoning if needed. Makes 4 cups.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

PW's perfect iced coffee

She's right, it's perfect. This sort of makes an iced-coffee concentrate, which keeps in the fridge for a long time.

I won't lie, it's messy and inconvenient (particularly if your dumb glass bowl decides to leak for no reason and you wind up with an inch of coffee all over your refrigerator shelf), but the results are worth it. I am an iced coffee fanatic in the summer, and cold-brew methods really do give you better, stronger coffee -- which has to be stronger since you need ice cubes, and unless you're super smart and make coffee ice cubes, the coffee gets diluted, and then even if you do have coffee ice cubes, it throws off your milk/coffee balance, which is problematic, and clearly I have thought about this an awful lot.

PW recommends steeping this for at least 8 hours; I accidentally steeped mine for almost 24. It is strong, my friends. My current ratio is half coffee and half milk, plus a splash of delicious chemical-laden caramel macchiato fake cream. MMMM.

Last thing: I went to three stores and couldn't find cheesecloth, so I used regular coffee filters clipped to a glass pitcher instead. Annoying, since I had to keep changing out the filters... but effective and (again) worth it.

I tweaked and halved her recipe, since I couldn't find a bowl or pitcher big enough to hold two gallons of liquid. This makes just under a gallon of coffee.
  • 1 pound ground coffee (I love Cafe Bustelo)
  • 1 gallon (4 quarts) cold water
In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. [Or use coffee filters, switching out frequently.] Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.

Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed.

---

Here are her notes for drinking. Hefk and I both want to try it with condensed milk...

To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Marinated Tomatoes

From: Pioneer Woman

This is a good recipe for all the summer tomatoes that are starting to come in, from the garden and the farm share. You can use any kind of tomatoes - large, small, red, yellow, etc. We ate these piled high on fresh mozzarella with a bit of fresh-cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Todd also made a toasted/melted version for dinner, too - he toasted up some nice bread, piled on the tomatoes, placed some sliced mozzarella on top and then stuck it back in the toaster oven to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with sliced basil and, viola (as they say in France)! You could also serve it cold on toasted bread like bruschetta, or spoon it over some quinoa or cous cous for a side dish, etc.

Ingredients

1 cup Canola Oil (I used less, and substituted olive oil)
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 whole Green Onions, Sliced
1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
18 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
1/4 teaspoon Ground Thyme
2 cloves Garlic, Minced Finely
2 pounds Tomatoes, Cut Into Quarters (if Big) Or Halves (if Small)
1 whole Baguette, Sliced, optional
1 clove Garlic, Peeled, optional

Combine all ingredients except tomatoes in a large glass bowl. Whisk to combine, then add tomatoes. (You can increase the quantity of tomatoes if need be.) Use regular red tomatoes, or a mixture of red, yellow, heirloom, etc. Use different sizes of tomatoes, too--pretty!

Allow to marinate for at least 3 to 4 hours, several hours if possible. Tomatoes will give off liquid as they marinate.

Use leftover tomatoes to make bruschetta: slice baguette and brush slices with olive oil. Grill on a skillet or grill pan until golden. Rub slices with garlic cloves. Top with tomatoes, allowing juice to drip on the bread.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Teriyaki Burgers with Mango Pineapple Salsa

Until last week, I'd never looked at Annie's Eats. I saw the url on several posts from foodgoodness posters and finally took a peek.
This one is summery and nice. I messed with it, of course, but I'll just post as is and spare you my usual "but then I did THIS instead" litany.

Just one thing, if you have a bread machine to make the dough and the extra hour for rising, homemade buns are easy, you guys.

>>>

For the salsa:
1 mango, diced
1-1½ cups diced fresh pineapple
½ of one red bell pepper, diced small
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
Juice of one lime
Pinch of coarse salt

For the sauce: (I halved it and had plenty for 4 burgers)
1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced fine
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. vinegar (apple cider or rice vinegar)
½ tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. cold water

For the burgers:
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Toss to mix well. Cover and refrigerate, allowing flavors to blend while you prepare the sauce and burgers.

To make the sauce, combine the pineapple, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, vinegar and sesame oil in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth and well blended. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat until bubbly, about 1-2 minutes. In a small prep bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and stir until well incorporated. Continue heating the sauce, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the burgers, prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about ¾-inch thick.

When the grill is heated, cook the hamburgers directly over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 -5 minutes per side. Check for doneness by cutting into a hamburger near the center or testing with an instant-read thermometer. No pink should show on the inside, and the internal temperature should register at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. A few minutes before the burgers are done cooking, grill the buns just until lightly brown and toasted.

To serve, place a hamburger patty on each of the buns. Top with teriyaki sauce and garnish with mango-pineapple salsa. Replace the top bun to form a sandwich and serve immediately.

Oatmeal Cookies with Blueberries and Walnuts

Adapted from the Wood Prairie Farm website (and just about the most poorly written cookie recipe ever).

2 C whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t soda
1/2 t salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 C white sugar
1 C dark brown sugar
1 T light corn syrup, optional*
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
3 C old fashioned (rolled) oats--do NOT use instant
1 C dried blueberries
1 C chopped lightly toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, leaveners, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl, whisk together and set aside. In your stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until lighter in color and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, corn syrup (if using) and then vanilla. Slowly add in flour mixture and be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl and beater to ensure everything is thoroughly mixed before adding the remaining ingredients. Add oats, berries and walnuts and stir on slow just until combined--the blueberries can be a bit fragile so be careful. If using a small cookie scoop, you'll want to bake them for 10-12 minutes and be sure to leave 1" of space between each cookie b/c they will spread a little. If making larger cookies, adjust time accordingly. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.

*The addition of corn syrup will lend the cookies a chewier texture and helps if you want to store them for a while and/or ship them by mail.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Avocado-Corn Chowder with Grilled Chicken

Adapted slightly from Mark Bittman in the latest issue of Cooking Light.

This is a no-cook (if you leave out the chx), easy and delicious soup that I plan to make again. Also, it keeps well due to the citrus content.

2 ripe avocados, divided
1.5 C water
1/2 C fresh lemon juice
1 t honey
S&P
1/4 t red pepper flakes
12 oz skinless, boneless chx breasts
olive oil or cooking spray
1.5 C fresh corn kernels (or some fresh and some frozen or all frozen--it's up to you)
1 C chopped red bell pepper
1/3 C chopped green onions (I used red onion b/c that's what I had)
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro, optional
lime wedges

Using your blender or immersion blender, plunk one avocado, peeled and diced into your work bowl and add water, lemon juice, honey, 3/4 t salt, 1/4 t pepper and the red pepper flakes; blend until smooth or it's reached the desired consistency. I also added the kernels from 2 ears of corn I had on hand and pureed them with the avocado. Then I used frozen roasted corn that I defrosted to stir in at the end. Set soup aside in fridge to chill while you cook the chx.

Grill/bake the chx as you see fit. If you have a grill, have at it. I think the smoky chariness of grilled chicken goes really well with this soup. Let chx stand for 10 minutes before cutting or shredding into bite-sized pieces. Peel and dice remaining avocado and stir in with bell pepper, onions, and extra corn if using. Top with chicken and cilantro, if using, and serve with lime wedges. Serves 4.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Slow cooked mojo de ajo

This? This right here? This is the new cornerstone for all of my cooking.
Until, of course, I need a break from garlic.
Which means it's a very long time from now.
This very lovely garlic and olive oil is easy to make, fills the whole house with good smells, and is tasty, too. (what? i snuck a taste once the oil had cooled) Make some. You know you want to.

from The Man, Rick Bayless
Please note: the recipe does not call for the chipotle, but when I watched him in his PBS series, he threw a chipotle in. So I did, too.

4 large heads garlic OR 10 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) peeled garlic cloves
2 cups olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 (or more) chipotle pepper

Directions

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove (a fist against the side of a knife is what I do) to release the clove from its papery skin; if using already-peeled garlic, scoop the cloves into a heavy plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them slightly.

Stir together the garlic, oil, chipotle and salt in an 8x8-inch baking pan (make sure all the garlic is submerged), slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes.

Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.

Using an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree. Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate. The mojo will last for up to three months as long as the garlic stays submerged under the oil.

Creamy turkey dinner

This was really good. Next time, I think I'll add some corn starch right after we add the heavy cream, so the gravy thickens. Still, really tasty. Oh, and a note...I doubled the recipe. It fit better in the slow cooker that way.

Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

4 pounds turkey breast, cut in chunks
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 onion, thinly sliced
16 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 cup half and half
1 bag frozen green beans

Put the turkey into the bottom of your cooker, and pour on the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar. Add onion and mushrooms. Stir a bit to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for about 4.
Stir in the heavy cream and green beans. Cover and cook on high for another 30 minutes, or until beans are thawed and heated through.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

bruschetta

Too hot to cook. Too hot to think. Not too hot to eat bruschetta, vaguely based on this but with more laziness and less doing anything to the bread.

4 medium-sized and a handful of cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped into small bits
2 cloves minced garlic (this is quite a lot of garlic; cut down if you don't want it sharp and garlicky)
a handful of basil leaves, sliced thin
a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar
a slightly bigger drizzle of olive oil
coarse-grained sea salt (or, whatever, just salt)
black pepper

1 loaf of decent Italian-ish bread, sliced

Combine everything and taste to make sure you have the vinegar/oil/salt/pepper ratio right. Let it sit, covered but unrefrigerated, for about half an hour -- if you can wait that long.

Serve with a slotted spoon so you can drain off some of the juice before putting the tomato mixture on the bread. I like it best with a layer of goat cheese on a whole wheat baguette, topped with lots of bruschetta.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Korean spicy cold noodles

Elise has outdone herself with this one. The sauce prominently features this Korean red sauce I am obsessed with -- called gochu jang; I loved it on my bibim bop so much that I asked a waiter to write it down for me and then plunked the card down in front of some poor guy at the Asian grocery so I could buy it -- and then makes it even better, thinner and slightly diluted so it doesn't hit you in the face quite so hard.

Perfect summer meal (although parents and delicate palates, be warned -- this is really very spicy and you can't control the spice level, because the gochu jang is what it is).

Ingredients
  • 1 lb soba (buckwheat) noodles (can sub practically any favorite noodle)

Choose from assorted toppings: [I used lettuce, cilantro, cabbage/carrot slaw from the bag, cucumber, and scallions]

  • Lettuce, thinly sliced
  • Green and/or red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Carrot, julienned
  • Asian pear, julienned
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Sesame (perilla) leaves, thinly sliced (while traditional for this dish, you can skip)
  • Radish sprouts
  • Cabbage and/or radish kimchi
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (this would also be great with a fried egg on top)

Sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp Korean red chili paste (gochu jang)*
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar (un-seasoned or seasoned will both work)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

* Korean red chile paste is a thick, sweet, and slightly garlicky paste made of fermented red chiles. It is available at some asian food stores and at Korean markets. If it is unavailable in your area feel free to use this substitute with similar results:

1 tablespoon hot paprika (or can use 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
5 teaspoons corn syrup (light or dark)
1 teaspoon miso paste (miso is fermented and will help approximate the flavor of the gochu jang, if you don't have it, you can omit)
1 mashed garlic clove
1 tablespoon water
Salt, to taste

*Gwen's note: I am not sure I agree with this. The taste of this stuff is really hard to define; I don't taste garlic at all and it's not listed on the ingredients. But MSG is! Yum!

Method

1 On the stovetop, fill a medium large pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, prepare toppings and the sauce. Prepare the lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, asian pear, sesame leaves and radish sprouts. Set aside. Cut each hard boiled egg in half. Set aside.

2 In a small bowl, combine red pepper paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Stir to combine and set aside.

3 Once the water is boiling, add buckwheat, or other type, of noodle and cook according to package instructions, or about six minutes, until al dente. When noodles are finished cooking, pour into a collander and rinse with cold water and drain. To quickly cool your noodles you may also place a few ice cubes in the collander or place the drained noodles into the freezer for a short time, just don't forget them!

4 To serve, place cooled noodles in a medium sized bowl. Top with dressing and vegetables/fruit of your choice. Place one of the hard-boiled egg halves on top and a few radish sprouts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rich Homemade Ricotta

This was SO EASY.
Results were AMAZING.
We ate it on Pasta alla Norma. Also we ate it on spoons. And fingers.
Oh boy.

I made it with the cream as Smitten suggests, but I'll leave it out next time and get back to you about how it's different.

>>


I made this ricotta three different ways: with all milk, as the Salvatore recipe suggested (we found it a bit dry), with 3 cups milk and 1 cup heavy cream and with 3 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Guess what? The last two ricottas were virtually indistinguishable.The extra cream did indeed add an even richer edge, but the one with less cream was also very indulgent. I imagine I’d use the richer version for toasts, for putting out at a party and the almost-as-rich one for pastas and things where I might need a larger, sturdier quantity. I’ll leave it up to you which way you go.

Makes about 1 generous cup of ricotta

3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream (see Note above about using less)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Turn off the heat [Updated] Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will firm as it cools, so do not judge its final texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.) Discard the whey, or, if you’re one of those crafty people who use it for other things, of course, save it. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve: On 1/2-inch slices of baguette that have been run under the broiler until lightly bronzed. Serve it simply [as shown in the top photo, left to right] with honey and a pinch of flaky sea salt, a couple grinds of black pepper, pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil, and/or a few droplets of an aged balsamic. Or with zucchini ribbons [as shown in the last photo], I started with about half a pound of miniature zucchini my mother-in-law had found at Trader Joes. Larger ones will work just fine, but you might want to first cut a big one in half lengthwise. Peel them into ribbons and toss them with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and let them drain in a colander for a while (this wilts them), about 20 minutes. Rinse and pat them dry. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Arrange in piles on ricotta crostini.

Do ahead: I keep mine only 3 to 4 days; the really fresh milk I used doesn’t last long. However, Salvatore also uses really fresh milk, and theirs appears to keep closer to two weeks. In conclusion? Shelf lives will vary. Use your nose to judge freshness. Or your partner’s nose, because who doesn’t like hearing “Hey honey, sniff this for me?”

Butterbeer

I love Rebecca Lando of Working Class Foodies. She's looking for recipe testers for the cookbook she's working on. Sign up for her email newsletter and help a girl out!

A special occasion recipe in honor of HP IV.2 to toast the HP phenomenon that has been part of our lives since 1997. Really!

Watch her do it; the video is short and helpful for the visual learners among us.


Recipe, narrative-style

In a saucepan:
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 T water

Cook on med-high heat, stirring frequently to keep from burning.
Dip spatula in cool water to keep sugar from sticking to it.
When it comes to boil, stop stirring. Use a candy thermometer and watch it closely until it reaches 240 degrees. She says this happens quickly.

In a bowl:
5 T slightly softened butter
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1 T vanilla extract

Remove pot from heat & stir in contents of bowl.

Slowly add:
1/4 C heavy cream

Stir and let cool.

In a your favorite large mug:
2 T of cc syrup
selzter water to fill the glass

(RL adds a shot of bourbon at this point and demonstrates how to get a Hermione-esque butterbeer mustache. So many reasons to love her.)

Enjoy! Cheers, J.K., Emma, Daniel and Rupert and all HP fans out there!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Margaritas

My dad does it this way and always comes out a winner.

Below is my dad's text messaged reply to me when I requested his in-it-to-win-it margarita recipe. I used it to complement Taco Night last Thursday night at the beach when it was our turn to cook for the whole assembled gang of more than 20 relatives. By the way...Taco Night also always comes out a winner.

"Fill blender 3/4 full of ice cubes.

Add:
1/2 container of frozen limeade (6 oz.)
6-12 oz of water
6 jiggers* of tequila
3 jiggers* of triple sec

Blend on high speed.
Salt rims of glass.
Add fresh lime slice.
Pour and enjoy.
No driving if drinking."

Gotta love dads.

*a jigger is the precise 1.5 oz measure of a shot

Two Pretty Family-Style Pasta Dinners

For me, pretty dinner is usually reserved for a dinner out when I will ooh and ahh at a restaurant plating. My Italian Husband (MIH) is very patient with grains & beans, with one-pot meals, and with stir fries but Heidi and Michelle Obama have me thinking about how to balance the ingredients and how to present it appetizingly. Rather than cooking all the ingredients in one pot together as per my mom's and my usual method, I've found lately that if I decoratively layer a number of ingredients in a huge family-style serving bowl and serve it over pasta, then he is more enthusiastic about dinner. Everyone just wants to be happy.

Basic idea of the dish (you'll note the Heidi-ness right away):
Favorite pasta shape (sub grain here if you want)
bean
toasted nut pieces
veggie(s)
light sauce

Here are two variations.

Early summer variation - asparagus/tomato/canellini:
- Rotini (because you can hide veggies inside for the youngest food skeptic!)
- One small bunch of very thin and tender asparagus sliced on the diagonal (about 1 cup), roasted for 15 min at 400.
- 1/4 C walnut pieces, toasted in the toaster oven until golden and fragrant

sauce:
- 1 Can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes add minced garlic, onion (I also threw in a 1/2 C leftover pasta sauce)
- 1 can of white canellini beans
- Add fresh basil (torn/julienne) to sauce at the very end and also a few pretty leaves/sprigs to garnish.
- Grated Parmagiano Reggiano to taste

Layer in bowl from bottom to top:
Pasta tossed with tomato & bean sauce
sliced asparagus
toasted walnuts
grated Parm


Anytime variation (inspired by Elise's Spinach & Orzo Salad recipe that we already like to change up and enjoy around these parts) - Spinach/black olive/chicken
- Rotini
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces toasted in the toaster oven
- 1/4 cup Kalamata Greek olives pitted, roughly chopped
- 5-8 handfuls of baby spinach (wilt in colander when you drain the pasta - my fave way)
- 1 can chickpeas/garbanzos (in bottom of colander too)
- 2 chicken breasts but into small slices, add S&P and brown in olive oil
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red/Vidalia onion (about half an onion) add to the pan with the chicken when it's done just to soften, not too long)
- 1 T chopped basil (2 frozen Trader Joe's cubes), add to warm skillet to defrost and flavor the chicken & onions

whisk together for sauce:
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (can substitute white vinegar or lemon juice)
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Layer in bowl from bottom to top:
Pasta, spinach, garbanzos all combined
sauce drizzled over pasta layer
chicken & onions in basil and olive oil
chopped black olives
toasted walnuts

Pioneer Woman's blackberry cobbler

There's a long and complicated story about how I wound up baking something that involves Crisco, but I did, and it was this, and it was amazing. Best cobbler I ever made. Do I have to support Crisco now?
  • 6 cups Fresh Or Frozen Blackberries [I used about 3.5 cups blueberries and 2.5 cups frozen peaches; I think this would be good with just about any fruit, and you can get away with a little less]
  • 1/2 cup Plus 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 whole Zest Of Lemon
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1/2 cup Milk

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine blackberries, ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Stir and spread out in a buttered pyrex dish.

In a separate bowl pour flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add shortening and butter and work mixture together with a pastry blender (or your fingers) until the mixture is coarse. Measure ½ cup milk, add an egg, and mix together. Pour into flour mixture, stirring as you go. Mixture should be smooth and not dry, but not over stickly.

Take clumps of dough and place them on top of the blackberries. Lightly flatten dough with your fingertips. Sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar and bake until golden for 30 minutes. [This took me more like 45, for some reason.] Berry juice will be slightly thin, but don’t be afraid. It will gradually soak into the biscuity topping and make your life complete.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

no-cook meals

Ah, July, the month when I endeavor not to turn on the oven or the stove, ever, at all, for any reason, amen. The reason I find excuses to turn the oven ON in the winter is the same reason I use keep it OFF in the summer in our un-air-conditioned second-floor apartment.

But the Big Girls, Small Kitchen people have come up with a very nice post about no-cook dinners, so I may have run out of excuses to order take-out sushi every night. Roasting lots of tomatoes at once right before you go out is a good idea, and I also like the idea of antipasti plates for dinner. Yum.

Mediterranean-ish Couscous Salad

a.k.a. It's Time to Clean Out the Fridge, Freezer and Pantry.

I know I haven't been posting in a while mostly due to some craziness in the work schedule and other things but I have been cooking....just not post-worthy dishes. Or dishes that involve a recipe. Like 2 days ago when we had corn on the cob and yummy slabs of toast smeared with good quality chevre and topped with slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with olive oil, S&P. See, no recipe but the ultimate summer meal in my mind.

Anyway, the big news around here is that the Tall Man and I just bought a house and we close in early August. Now is the time to start cleaning out the food stores so I don't have to move it all (all of 1.5 miles away, but still). This fit the bill nicely.

1 medium japanese eggplant
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium red onion
1 large bell pepper (I used red)
2 handfuls of raisins, optional
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 C or so of israeli couscous, cooked according to pkg directions
1 medium cucumber, seeded if needed, diced
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, leave whole if small enough
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
olive oil
red wine vinegar
S&P
1/2 pkg of feta (I like TJ's lite feta)

Preheat your broiler to high. Dice up your veg (eggplant thru pepper) and toss with a bit of olive oil, S&P and pour into an even layer on a baking sheet and broil until cooked thru and crusty brown spots appear. Set aside and toss with raisins if using. When cool, combine with couscous, chick peas and other veg. Add olive oil and vinegar to taste and then add pepper and feta. Toss to combine. Taste for salt and if it needs a smidge, add now. Be sure to add feta before adding salt so you don't overdue the salt. Eat and enjoy. Would also be good for potlucks. Or housewarming parties which I am definitely having once we're moved in.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Alsatian Cabbage

In the last few weeks, I've gotten 5 heads of green cabbage from our little faux-CSA we are participating in. (It's through Whole Foods, and features all Maryland produce from various farms)
Yeah. That's a lot of cabbage.
Today I made this, which I will heat up and eat during the week. It's pretty tasty, and much, much more interesting than my standby -- boiled cabbage and butter.

Adapted from A Veggie Venture


1/8 pound of meaty bacon, chopped (I used pancetta, because I had some in the house)
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed, outer leaves and core removed, sliced thin
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds (I eyeballed this)
Salt & pepper

In a large skillet or Dutch oven (you'll need a cover), start cooking the bacon on MEDIUM. Add the onion as it's prepped, let cook 2 - 3 minutes. Add the caraway and let cook, 1 - 2 minutes. Add the cabbage as it's prepped, stirring well to coat with fat and caraway. Cover and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.