Monday, July 30, 2007

This weekend belonged to chicken

Saturday night we did a little Julia Child and had Supremes de Volaille Achiduc with Risotto w/leeks. What a tasty treat. Except I flubbed a bit and measured out the wrong amounts of a few ingredients. No worries, I altered the rest and all was good and well with the world.

On Sunday I had a chicken thawed out to roast. I had no ideas what to do with it. I ultimately came up with what I'm calling Pollo Verde....Green Chicken. Stay tuned for the full recipe, but what we have is a chicken coated in a paste made from all green ingredients: Cilantro, Jalapeno and Lime. It was pretty dang tasty!

Green for now.

Not green anymore. Served with roasted root veg.

This would have been awesome if I had marinated the chicken for a few hours...and if it was grilled! But alas, we have no grill.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


PEUGEOTI love so much that my new beautiful curvy baby is made by a car manufacturer!

I had a gift card to Williams Sonoma and I've been eyeing this sexy beast for some time, so I finally decided to invest!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Delicious Side

Again, bacon rocks the free world.

Yesterday I received the latest issue of Fine Cooking. The first recipe that really popped out for me was a corn saute. Sauteed aromatics, corn and fresh herbs. This recipe is closely based on the recipe provided for Corn and Mushroom Saute with Leeks and Pancetta. Of course mushrooms are not allowed in our house, so I've made some simple changes. It is super easy, fast and tastes like more. Use fresh corn on the cob if you can. If you want this out of season, frozen corn will work just as good.

Sauteed Corn with Leeks and Bacon
serves 2 as a large side

3 ears of corn, kernels removed
6 slices of bacon, diced
2 leeks, sliced (white and pale green parts)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1 TB butter
Small handful of fresh herbs, chopped: thyme, oregano and parsley
Juice from half a lemon

Cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and the fat is rendered out. Remove bacon to a small bowl. Toss the leeks into the fat. Stir. Add the jalapeno, allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, until the leeks are tender.

Add the corn. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter. Stir to coat. Saute for about 5 minutes, until corn is heated through. Remove from heat and stir in fresh herbs. Stir in lemon juice. Serve hot.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Good dinner

We started with our favorite salad. Mixed greens with pear, cashews and dried cherries (preferred, but this was actually cranberries) and the Balsamic & Basil Vinaigrette Dressing from Ken's Steak House that we love and were introduced to by Sterf. Forgot the photo after the salad was dressed.

That was the first course. The main course were my perfect oven roasted potatoes. Use baby red or white potatoes, cut into quarters or eighths. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and fresh herbs; rosemary and thyme are my preferred flavors. Bake in a hot oven, about 400 for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and delicious. And tender. Flip about half way through cooking.

We also grilled, on the grill pan, a large hunk o' beef. This rib steak came from a butcher in Hagerstown, MD that we went to a few weeks ago. We picked up two giant rib steaks and four awesome pork chops. Two of which we've had already with my rosemary and shallot sauce. I seasoned these steaks with a blend of paprika, shallot powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, oregano, salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill pan and cook until done to your liking. I did this hunk until it was just over medium; J-lo prefers more done than I. Allow the beef to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This large piece of meat took about 25 minutes too cook until done.

Turns out I was too excited to have dinner, I didn't get a picture. Ooops.

Adding Pineapple?

I made the Thai Basil Chicken last night for dinner.
I made a few variations on the recipe.

1) I didn't mix the chicken with the egg white/cornstarch blend. I just sauted the chicken naked and let it cook. I figured the last time that the cornstarch might help thicken the sauce. So at the very end, I added a little cornstarch that was dissolved in water to thicken, worked great. Also because I didn't use the egg/cornstarch mix, I only used about 1 TB of oil for what was 4 servings. Good! No additional added fat!

2) Giant didn't have jalapenos, but they had habaneros. So I did two of those. Wahoo it was spicy. I like the spice, but the habaneros have a different pepper flavor than a jalapeno or Thai Chili. So maybe I'll stick with the jalapeno, or find the Thai chilis. Maybe add an extra dash of chili flakes to the oil while it's getting hot!

3) I added pineapple based on a recommendation from the last time. It worked really well. I also added cashews. Not worth it. I'll skip that addition the next time.

4) Thai Basil. I still had my Thai basil from the garden. But I added more. I'm wondering if I added too much? I can't tell. But there was a certain extra flavor I couldn't pinpoint and I'm wonder if it was the extra basil???? BTW: it wasn't a pleasant flavor, so maybe it was a spot of extra strenght fish sauce???

Overall: Good changes. The pineapple was fun. Makes it a nice sweet dish that handles the heat very well. I like not having as much oil in the recipe.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Yippee....! I'm taking a trip!
Going to Puerto Rico in September!!!
I've never been!!!

Outside of this news, I'm sorry for being a lazy bum. I have been working my butt off at work. Stay tuned for some great photos from some fun events and hopefully I'll get back to the kitchen sooner rather than later! I have some simple plans for tonight and tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Napa Napa Napa

Tonight's dinner was great! Strong, awesome flavors...all courtesy of Rachel Ray...I's been awhile, but I picked up her recent magazine and thought this would be a great recipe to try.

Our star ingredient: Napa Cabbage

Millionaire Chicken Salad
serves 2-4

3 TB vegetable oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 large cloves garlic, grated
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper
1 lime, juice and zest
¼ cup tamari (or dark soy)
3 TB honey
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, pulled or sliced meat
1 small or ½ large head napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic, black pepper and red pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in lime juice and zest; then whisk in tamari and honey to combine. Turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, toss the chicken and cabbage with the sauce to combine well.

Get your ingredients together, this salad will come together very quickly.

The dressing workin' it's magic. Ginger, Garlic, Green Onions, Red Pepper, Black Pepper...and I used grapeseed oil instead of vegetable oil.

I added two shredded carrots for some color, crunch and flavor.

I used half a head of napa cabbage and half a rotisserie chicken. I think if you had some tofu, or maybe a few more types of veg, you could make this veg friendly.

The dressing poured on.

Tossed and plated. Garnished with cilantro. A chopped mint garnish would be great as well!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Layer it on


Not really a meal for mid-July. But I have to say, when you're stressed and need something comforting, this works!

The house smelled delicious as the pan baked in the oven. Allow you dish to rest for about 10 minutes, maybe even a few more. This gives the lasagna some time to set up, make it easier to serve.

I've now had this three times in two days. Dinner, Lunch and Dinner! There is no more left... gone now. I'm comforted now, thank you.

The recipe is a little complex and the dish does take some time to prepare. But don't be daunted, give it a shot. I would recommend a few small changes to the layering. Mr. Florence's recipe provides a lot of great tasting filling, but the two times I've made this now, my pan just can't take it. I would recommend mixing the sauce and the meat together and layer that, then the cheese, then another set of noodles. Last night, I was only able to add in two layers of noodles. I think a third would be good. We'll see the next time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Variations on a pancake

This morning I made pancakes. Using the recipe from a few weeks ago; I made some slight variations with lovely results!

Cornmeal and Brown Sugar Pancakes adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Blend in a bowl:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup corn meal
3 TB brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl, whip:
1 cup cream
1/2 cup water*
3 TB melted, unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Fold together until blended. Some lumps are ok.

Lightly oil a large skillet set over medium heat. Ladle approximately 1/2 cup of batter onto the skillet or griddle. When bubbles start to appear, carefully flip the pancakes and allow to finish cooking, about one minute.

Serve with fruit, syrup, butter, whatever you like!

*I didn't have milk, so I used 1 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of water. Works great. The cream creates a very tender cake.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What The?


WASHINGTON (AP) - That must have been some good wine they were drinking at a Capitol Hill dinner party last month.

It made a robber change his mind.

Police and guests at the backyard gathering on Constitution Avenue Northeast say the mood was tense after a hooded man burst in, put a gun to a girl's head and demanded money.

So the girl's mother offered him some wine. He took a sip and remarked on how good it was, then took a bite of cheese. Then he told the group he must have come to the wrong house and put the gun in his pocket.

Police and party-goers say the whole thing ended in a group hug before the intruder walked away, leaving the crystal wine glass in the alley.

The diners went inside and called police, who are still looking for the man. The commander in charge of patrols in the area says they should never have let him go from the hug.

The wine, by the way: Chateau Malescot St-Exupry.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A new "French" dish

I'm not sure what I'm going to call this yet.

But here's what is:
Sautéed chicken with Onions & Bacon in a Dijon / Herbes de Provence Sauce over Rice.

It was savory and simple. In the time it took the rice to cook, I was able to render the bacon and make it crispy, saute the onions, cook the chicken and make a light sauce with white wine, Dijon mustard and chicken broth. Mount the sauce with a little butter. Delish. I'm not sure I would change the dish, but before I give any further instructions I'll want to try it again.

Can bacon do no wrong?

OH...I think I want to do this over French lentils next time?!!! These lentils. And I'll keep the chicken in cutlet form. Lovely.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Work in progress

Curious...good...will give it a shot again and see if there's a way to improve...

Curried Chicken & Noodles

Poached chicken pulled apart. Sauted onions, garlic, three different curry blends, carrots, corn in a chicken broth/roux sauce. With fat noodles we picked up at the Amish market in Hagerstown last weekend. Fun. But missing just that little 'something.' We'll see what that is in the future.

$295 for that one bag of noodles...!?!!?? Well no, but they are good!

Nutz for Coconut

A few weeks ago on our return from our vacation to the beach, we took a side trip to Philly to spend some time with some friends. Part of the trip included a side trip to heaven. The Viking Store! What an amazing store. Viking showroom, kitchen gadget showroom, cooking school, art gallery...wonderful!

The only thing I walked out of the store with was a box mix from the Barefoot Contessa, Ms. Ina.

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I wasn't sure what to expect, but thought it would be fun to give them a try. The consumer only needs to have a few ingredients at home, otherwise everything is included in the box. What do you need...butter, cream cheese and eggs. A little water is added and you'll need a cupcake pan and paper liners.

What you need.

The box said to make 10 cupcakes. There was plenty of batter for a full dozen cupcakes. Off to the oven they go.

Cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut. The cream cheese frosting is cream cheese, butter and the special bag of stuff...I'm pretty sure the stuff is just powdered sugar and vanilla flavoring.

The cakes are done. The box says they will take 25 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Mine took 35 minutes to get to this doneness....the toothpick test was successful.

Pretty Pretty Cupcakes:

Sexy Sexy Cupcakes are Delicious! The cake was pretty good. I think they could have used another tiny bit of vanilla or coconut extract. The cake is supposed to be coconut and I don't really taste it. I can feel it, as you add some shredded coconut to the batter, but I don't taste it.

As for the process, I think it's pretty easy. You do have to measure some. There is one bag in the box of the flour/cake base. You have to mix "1 cup of the mix with 1 stick of butter." So you have to pull out the measuring cups. Not an inconvenience, but if boxed mixes are supposed to make things easier, perhaps the powers that be can look at that. Maybe they can work out the timing and quantities a bit. I have a thermometer in my oven, so I can fine tune the temperature to the right temperature, and yet the cakes still took 10 minutes longer than the state time.

All this to say, I ate more than my fair share of cupcakes!!!!

Braised Greek Chicken

And we're back...with Kara's Greek Chicken Throwdown.

This was a pretty simple recipe that can easily take some alterations for personal preferences.

Braised Greek Chicken

I started with:
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
2 TB olive oil
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped into large pieces
1/2 large onion, medium dice
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
1 TB tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine (only use 1/2 cup next time)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lemon, sliced (omit next time, perhaps a squeeze of juice when serving?)
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves

Serve with rice

Start by preparing all your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

In a medium, oven-safe sauce pan, skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, sear the chicken breasts in the olive oil until golden brown. You are not cooking the chicken through, just browning. About 4-5 minutes skin side down and about 2-3 minutes on the flip side.

When the chicken is browned, remove to a plate or bowl. Lower the heat to medium and add your onions. If the pan is pretty dry, add a drizzle of oil. Allow the onions to sizzle and saute for about 4 minutes, until they begin to become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomato paste and allow to caramelize for about 30 seconds. Add the peppers.

After the tomato paste has caramelized, deglaze the pan with the white wine. Stir up all the bits on the pan and allow to dissolve in the wine. Turn the heat to high. Allow the wine to reduce by about 1/3.

Add the chicken broth and lemons (if you use them.)

Nestle the chicken into the sauce.

Add the herbs, tomatoes and more lemon. Cover the pan and place in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Done! Remove the chicken to a plate and scoop out the lemons and thyme sprigs; discard. Put pan with broth over high heat, allow to simmer and boil down by about 1/2; about 5 minutes.

Serve on a bed of rice and spoon extra sauce and simmered vegetables on top of the chicken. Garnish with a sprig of oregano.

This was delicious. The chicken was tender and moist. The vegetables absorbed the flavors of the wine and herbs. And the rice soaks up that great broth. Why do I want to omit the lemons next time. My first taste of the broth right out of the oven; it was slightly acrid, probably from the lemon rind. The wine brings enough acid to cut through the richness of the broth and tomato that the extra lemon really isn't necessary, except maybe a drizzle of juice just prior to serving to brighten the flavors.

Now The Kara's challenge had olives and feta in addition. If I were to go that route, I would add the pitted olives along with the tomatoes and herbs prior to throwing this in the oven. The feta; I'd probably crumble it and sprinkle over the top when serving?

So Kara, does this seem like what you had? Or am I completely off base?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Kara Throwdown Challenge

About to go in the oven...

A week ago or so I received a culinary challenge from The Kara. She has been reminiscing about a dish she had in Greece and couldn't remember the name of it and wasn't sure how to prepare it. With a few bits of conversation I found what it might have been in a book I picked up in Greece a few years ago and thought I'd give it a try.

Stay tuned for more Braised Greek Chicken.


Please have a little patience with me...all of a sudden the computer is completely acting up and causing me much grief. Anyone have any tips on how to get rid of a file that won't delete?!! It's not a program file, but a data file. Every time I try to delete it I receive a message saying the file is in use by another person. A quick virus check says the file is clean. No matter what I do, I can't remove the file. No virus, no problem, don't worry about it right? Except it keeps causing my system to freeze up. So anyone have any ideas?


So cute! Ratatouille is a sweet, lovely movie worth the time and admission for anyone with a love of food. Sure, the cooking rat thing might be a little wierd, but it works and sends a great message to all audiences...

"Anyone can cook. All they need is a little imagination."

Oh, and all that excepting who we are, embracing ourselves and living for what we love stuff...

And Chinatown, DC...turning into Time Square.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Country Lovin'

This past weekend included one of our favorite things. A trip to the country! Our friend and former roommate, DM, has a great home in Sharpsburg, Maryland. And what a lovely home! We have had the pleasure of visiting Sharpsburg and nearby Shepherdstown, WV for many years and each trip uncovers another sweet treat!

Last year we discovered Antietam Wine Bar and Cafe in Sharpsburg and Stone Soup Bistro, both places we visited again this year! The Wine Bar is treat for any wine lover. And Stone Soup is heaven for anyone interested in organic, locally grown produce.

On Saturday night we dined al fresco!

White linens, china, crystal, candles and our car!

Mmmm, Salad!

Perfectly grilled beef filet that we picked up at the butcher just that morning...seriously! I picked up several treats at the butcher that you'll be hearing about in the coming days. Baked potato and some asparagus with Bernaise Sauce. Ahhhhh!

Again, not to self...when I have a home, I must have a grill.

DM~~Thank you for a great weekend retreat!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

hey ya'll...was out for a little weekend retreat to the country...stay tuned for some fun was a delicious weekend.