Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Top 5, Plus 3

This was choosing my favorite child. But when all is said and done I think I've selected some delicious and enjoyable posts. I consider these five main dishes very easy to make. If I think you need special equipment, I'll let you know. Did I miss something? Are you surprised by something? Let me know.

Don't read any further if you are on a weight gain may occur.

The 2007 Year In Review

#5 Roasted Pumpkin Couscous

I really loved this couscous. As you can read in the entry, I had some pumpkins that needed cleaning up and I thought roasting some pumpkin for couscous would be a lot of fun. And it certainly was. This is a perfect side dish for a roasted piece of chicken or pork and pumpkin is very good for your; lots of vitamins and fiber.

#4 Spaghetti Carbonara

This really couldn't be easier. Please be careful about having the freshest ingredients. And on top of that, use caution if you're preggers or frail...the raw eggs can get you sick. But if you're not preggers or sick, dig in and enjoy the velvety, creamy goodness highlighted by smokey chewiness.

#3 Tinga Poblana

This is a versatile, slow cooked dinner that satisfies on many levels. Make it as spicy as you like. Serve it as is, or as a filling in tacos, burritos,'re call. Also a great make-ahead meal, like a great chili or soup, the flavors get better after sitting around for a bit.

#2 Ravioli with Rosemary Cream Sauce

The first time I threw this together I was shocked by how good it was. And it looks gorgeous as well. The ravioli are the fresh, packaged variety from the store and in the time it takes for your water to boil and the ravioli to cook, you'll have an elegant, rich dinner, perfect for impressing company.

#1 Indian Butter Chicken

OK, so this is a little cheat, but hey, it's my blog. The first time I made this was just over a year ago in December 2006. We loved it, but weren't sure about the authenticity of it. Move forward into 2007. I hear more and more people talk about how they love ordering Indian Butter Chicken. Then I go to a cooking class and one of the dishes being made is Indian Butter Chicken...and funny version, this version was sooo much better than the version prepared by a professional chef. If you think of making this for just two people, make the full version of the sauce...freeze it or refrigerate it for later use! DIVINE. The recipe calls for the sauce going through the food processor to make it smooth and creamy. I would say skip this step if you don't have the food processor or if you don't want to dirty it up; just say you're serving a rustic version of the Indian Butter Chicken.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ desserts? HA! How can I not showcase some desserts? It's not fair to the desserts to be judged in the same category as our main dinner dishes!

#3 Brown Sugar Blondies

I made this just this week and wow! Rich, Chewy, Caramelly. If they were cookies, they would be the most perfect dessert ever, cuz you know I lurve the cookie, OK!...I guess a bar will have to do.

#2 Cinnabuns

So I had a major craving that really needed itching. WOW that scratch was scritched! Better than the mall variety!

#1 Pear and Vanilla Browned Butter Crisp

Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty good in the kitchen. There are a lot of things that make me make funny noises while eating; oooohs, aaaahhhhs, mmmms! All sorts of moans and groans. But there are few times where I actually get the giggles that last for several hours. This dish did it. Enjoy!

Happy New Year Ya'll!

Thanks for spending a good year with Eat With Me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 Year In Review

Since everyone does it, why not do a Year in Review special? I spent the weekend going over every entry to Eat With Me this year and selected the best and most memorable…at least to me. Let’s review shall we? By the end of the week I hope to have this narrowed down to my Top 5 for 2007.

Tinga Poblana ~ A unique slow braised chicken that is perfect for a filling for tacos or burritos

Warm French Lentil Salad ~ I was surprised by this tasty number. I wasn’t sure if I would like lentils and I do! So much so that I recently imported a bag of fancy French lentils to try this again.

Duck au Poivre ~ This was delicious but spendy, so I don’t expect to have it too often in the future.

Panettone Bread Pudding ~ I don’t remember much about this, but that it was rich, warm and satisfying.

Mahogany Beef Stew ~ I’d made this before, but this time I served the stew with risotto and it was wonderful!

Brownies with Raspberry Sauce ~ This was a little experiment. The brownies were very dark and rich. I added the raspberry sauce for something sweet and it sort of worked, but mostly it was fun to look at.

Cinnabuns ~ Heavenbuns. Took some work to satisfy a craving, but when I finally did…Wahoo!

Cincinnati Chili ~ I’ve been making this for a few years and it is really one of the great chili recipes.

Gnocchi ~ I’d tried to make these before, but I failed…miserably. The dumplings dissolved in the water. These however turned out great. Soft and tender. Happiness.

Spaghetti Carbonara ~ The reason I will never be a size six.

Chai-Spiced Cheesecake ~ My first attempt at making a cheesecake. There were some misses along the way, but the flavor was spot on!

Barbecue Shrimp ~ After a dinner out for J-lo’s birthday, we gave these a try and they just about hit the spot perfectly for a restaurant replacement.

Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches ~ When I saw this recipe on another blog I had to try it. A nice BBQ sandwich.

Fruity Hamantaschen ~ These were interesting. The dough was almost chewy, when I was expecting something more like shortbread. We ate plenty of them, but they went stale before we could finish them all.

Thai Green Curry ~ I’d been wanting to try more types of curry and this was another attempt.

Medieval Stew with Stout ~ Beef and beer. Done and done.

Peanut Butter Cup Bars ~ I made these for work and they were inhaled. Yum. Since I made these, I have found the actual PB Cup chips…I have two bags in my drawer, just waiting to be made again.

Hollandaise Sauce ~ When I made this recipe, I had never had Hollandaise Sauce. So I had no comparison. What happened was great. I think I whisk a little too much as the sauce was very pale yellow and a little airy. I had some Hollandaise Sauce again, more recently and it was a richer yellow and a little more saucey.

Pineapple Fried Rice ~ I miss my friend who left me and moved to Oregon. She loves Pineapple Fried Rice…this is pretty much her recipe.

Vietnamese Mint Salad ~ We ate like hogs on a trip to NYC. On our return we needed vegetables and fiber. Nigella calls this Temple Food…when you need to treat your body like a temple.

Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ This is a great recipe. They turned out wonderful.

Sangria ~ We were having a Cinco de Mayo party about a month after the 5th of May…and we needed Sangria. We drank so much…well worth it.

Banana & Dulche de Leche Trifle ~ Sinful.

Chocolate Kahlua Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Marscapone Filling ~ This has quickly become a signature treat.

Pasta Frittata ~ A fast, easy way to use up some leftovers. Satisfying. Would be great for a light lunch with a little salad.

Orange Cardamom Ice Cream ~ We splurged for a nice night out at a fancy pants Indian restaurant. This was part of the dessert…great flavors.

Potato Pancakes ~ Favorites!

Pineapple, Coconut and Mint Sorbet ~ Very pleased with the results.

Perfect Pasta Dough ~ Just takes a little time, but worth it for the flavor and the cost.

Peeling Tomatoes ~ This is one of the most searched items that brings readers to this blog. I do this all the time now. I rarely have tomatoes without peeling them now.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Strips ~ Who doesn’t love some chicken strips…with mashed potatoes!

Jerk Tilapia ~ I’m not much of a seafood lover, so this preparation was nice for me. Tame tilapia and spicy jerk flavors.

Steak Diane ~ Kickin’ it old school. Tasty.

Pizza ~ We’ve had this several times now…if there is leftover tomato sauce, it usually ends up on a pizza.

Thai Basil Chicken ~ Thai! Basil!!! Just add chicken and you have happy thoughts.

Millionaire Chicken Salad ~ This is right up there with the other temple food. Satisfying. Filling. Cleansing!

Cornmeal and Brown Sugar Pancakes ~ My new favorite variation for pancakes.

Sautéed Chicken with Onions, Bacon, Dijon with Herbes de Provence ~ This came together almost as a joke, but actually was tasty. The Herbes de Provence add a lovely aroma, but the lavender can hit a little hard if you use too much.

Braised Greek Chicken ~ The Kara challenged me to recreate a dish she had in Greece…this might be along the lines of what she had?

Ravioli with Rosemary Cream Sauce ~ The ravioli really are secondary here…it’s all about the cream sauce. Seriously! Try this sauce. By the time your ravioli are cooked, the sauce is done.

Chocolate Martini ~ Mama needed a cocktail and this hit the spot.

Banana Carrot Muffins/Cupcakes ~ Gave these a try for a co-workers birthday. Nice. If you don’t frost them, they are muffins…if you do, they are cupcakes.

Caprese Pasta Salad ~ I’ve made this a few times now. Fresh Pesto, Orzo, Tomatoes, Salt and Pepper and we have a great, fresh pasta salad. I don’t feel it holds up very well, so I try not to make too much extra.

Chili Frito Chicken ~ A noble effort. I can’t remember, but maybe a little greasy, maybe a little salty. Are there baked Fritos?

Pistachio Pound Cake ~ A pound cake. Green. Great!

Pina Colada ~ We went to Puerto Rico for a week and all we got was RUM.

Lavender Pound Cake ~ More pound cake. Lavender! Fancy pants.

Ragu ~ Ragu is a necessary sauce for everyone to be able to make.

Salted Beef ~ I saw this on another blog and had to try. It worked great so I went back and left a comment. Next thing I know I have 260 people visiting my blog in one day. Damn!

Pumpkin Ice Cream ~ Seasonal. Divine. Smooth and creamy. Hits the Spiced Pumpkin craving

Indian Butter Chicken ~ We’ve had this a number of times and really enjoy it. Make extra sauce as it holds well, then you can pick up a rotisserie chicken for a complete meal later.

Pecan Pie Tart ~ I have only had Pecan Pie once before. It was way too sweet. Turn the pie into a tart gives you the great flavors, but with a more reasonable ratio of crust / filling / sweet!

Chile Verde ~ Green chile. Make a day or two in advance for much better flavors.

Onion and Sage Tart ~ Made these for Thanksgiving. There were two versions…one that was veggie friendly and one that was bacon friendly. Veggie friendly was very sweet. Bacon friendly was balanced and perfect.

Thanksgiving Recap ~ Needed a vacation after all that work.

Butternut Squash Bisque ~ Sweet, unassuming, balanced, wonderful.

Drunken Cranberries ~ Yippee!

Spiced Nuts ~ I’ve made two batches of these and can just hang out over the try and face plant until they are GONE!

Four Spice Chicken ~ Interesting. Four spice is a French spice blend that played well with the chicken and mashed white sweet potatoes.

Rum Mojo Couscous ~ Told you…back from Puerto Rico with RUM!

Spaghetti Squash ~ Made this with a butter sage sauce. But since it’s a squash it’s healthy and cancels the fat of the butter.

Chicken Dumpling Soup ~ A Christmas Miracle. J-lo had been sick and needed a bowl of warm comfort. Forever thankful to my grandmother for all she taught me…including chicken dumpling soup!

Brown Sugar Blondies ~ Does the fact that I ate nearly a full pan before Santa arrived say anything.

Salt Caramels ~ My first journey into candy. These caramels are made with honey, which I’m surprised how spicy honey can be.

Hot Chocolate ~ Once you have the ingredients, you’ll kick that Swiss Miss to the curb.

Roasted Pumpkin Couscous ~ Done and done. I don’t need anything else…ever.

Pear and Vanilla Browned Butter Crisp ~ Except for this. Think Apple Crisp but made by the angels for your journey to Eternal Paradise.

Tomato Soup ~ This would be the follow up to the Christmas Miracle. The perfect grilled cheese will complete the perfect tomato soup.

Hope everyone has had great year and are looking forward to 2008 as much as I am...big changes!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Christmas Miracle

Since last week, J-lo has had the flu...I had the stomach flu last week, and now he has the other flu...the bad flu...

So upon his request I made up a batch of my Grandmother's Chicken Dumpling Soup.

There is just something miraculous about the healing properties of chicken fat!

I went the long way around today and used chicken parts and let them simmer for about and hour and a half to get a richer broth. So worth the entra time!'s what I want

Monday, December 24, 2007

Treats are ready for Santa

Let's just gets started shall we?
The recipes at the bottom...

Melt butter and brown sugar together!

Three types of chips; chocolate, cappuccino, butterscotch.

A few eggs whipped into the melted brown sugar and butter.

Flour, salt and baking powder folded in.

Chips and slivered almonds.

Spread into a small pan.

Allow to bake and rest. Like my pot mum made them for me a few years ago.

Cooled and ready for slicing for Santa.

That's not the Valley of Death...that's the Valley of Bliss!

Sweet Sweet Heaven. Merry Christmas Santa...hope you like them!

Blondies by Bobby Flay

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus butter for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown muscovado sugar
1/2 cup dark brown muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toffee chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter the lining too.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan; add both sugars and whisk until combined and sugar is melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Add the flour and whisk until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips, toffee chips and almonds and transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.

Bake for 24 to 27 minutes or until the top cracks slightly and is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center comes out with moist pieces clinging to it. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment handles, transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2-inch squares.

Three Ingredients

This recipe couldn't be easier, but you do need one specialty piece of equipment. There are work around, but it's easier to do if you have a candy thermometer.

To make Salted Caramels you need just three ingredients:

1 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup Honey
1 cup Heavy Cream

For equipment you need a larger heavy pot-I used my 3-4 quart enameled cast iron pot. You need the aforementioned candy thermometer, a heat resistant scraper and a small pan lined with foil and lightly coated with butter.

Add your three ingredients into the heavy pot. Bring to a boil; lower heat slightly and stir until you reach the temperature of 130 celsius. This took me just over 25 minutes...but I started using a small pot and was worried about the caramel boiling over, so I didn't get the temperature hot enough. I transfered the mix into the larger pot, got the heat nice and high and we moved along at a much faster clip. When you hit the 130, pour the mix into your lined pan--and 8x8 square would be good. Allow to cool. Please be careful as hot candy mixes can BURN YOU very badly.

When cool and set up, cut into pieces and enjoy. Wrap pieces individually in wax paper.

Start with a good sea salt. I recently picked this up from Penzeys. Tasty, salty, sea!


My three ingredients. I used two types of honey: orange blossom (my favorite) and blackberry.

After I transferred everything to the larger pot. Boiling away, getting darker and richer and thicker.

The caramel has been poured out.

Make sure you line your pan with foil and coat with butter. Or you might end up with a very sticky candy you can't get out of the pan.

Little pieces of chewy, rich caramels.

If you like honey, you're going to love these caramels. The first flavors that approach are the salt and creamy caramely flavors. But as you chew you get the spicy bit of the honey. Very nice.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The silver lining

It took almost three days, but I had my first solid food last night...yeah for the simple, bland turkey sandwich! It felt so good and I'm feeling so much better...still have a little ways to go, but it's nice to feel like a human.

But there was the plus side to this sick...summed up best by the deliciously evil Emily in The Devil Wears Prada:

"I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Interrupting regular programming

I hate being sickly...running with a flu right now...blech.

It's funny...when sick...I can't watch the Food makes me nauseous.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hot Hot Hot Stuuuufff!


The other day I caught a food network special on holiday food gifts. Tyler Florence made Hot Chocolate and I really wanted to try it.

Couldn't be simpler and is perfect for a chocolate lover. Rich. Warm. Spicy. Earthy. Not cloyingly sweet!

Let's get started:

3/4 cup dried milk & 3/4 cup sugar

Add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.

Mix the ingredients and add 2-4 oz of bittersweet chocolate pieces. The recipe called for 4 oz and I wanted to use 2 oz...use what you prefer.

Add 3 heaping tablespoons of the mix and add 1/2 cup of very hot water. Mix until blended. Add another 1/2 cup of hot water. Stir.

Add some marshmallows....if you like....I do.

Curl up on your couch in your favorite pajamas and enjoy your 'stories.'

Each recipe gives you about 6 cups of hot chocolate...depending on how much mix you use for each serving. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pumpkin Cous Cous

So the other night I made Sauteed Cous cous with Roasted Pumpkin and I loved it. Here's the best I can give for the recipe so far.

2 cups of diced pumpkin tossed in 1 TB olive oil, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, hefty pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Place in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, until tender.

Roasted pumpkin bites. As the pumpkin roasts, the pieces shrink up and the flavors concentrate. Wonderful.

While the pumpkin is roasting, cook your Israeli cous cous until it's nearly al dente--five minutes maybe? You want to be a moment away from fully tender pasta. It will cook a minute longer later.

Here's where I don't have a photo. Saute half a medium onion that has been finely diced in 1 TB of olive oil. Let the onion carmelize and get some brown color. Add 1 garlic clove, sliced. Stir into the onion and give a minute to start to cook and release it's garlic aroma. Then, add your cooked cous cous. Stir to incorporate with the onions and to pick up some of the olive oil. Have you heat on high. Everything will be sizzling and making great noise. Keep stirring. As the pan starts to dry out, add 2-3 TB of a dry white wine. This last addition will pick up any bits of flavor left in the pan and finish the cooking of the cous cous. When the wine is absorbed, add the roasted pumpkin.

Fold the pumpkin into the couscous until well incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.

I served my cous cous with a roasted chicken thigh, seasoned with a French blend of spices--containing cinnamon. I expected the flavors to go really well together, but in this case, the cinnamon didn't supplement or enhance the pumpkin flavors. It was fine chicken, but nothing to write about.

The cous cous was wonderful and I loved it almost as much as I love my Bazaar Cous cous. This was a great new side dish. Look forward to having this again.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Silly test

Which Spice Are U? I'm:

Your Score: Fennel

You scored 50% intoxication, 25% hotness, 75% complexity, and 25% craziness!

You are Fennel!

You're a cool cat. Crisp, clean, fresh, and extremely complicated. You're like quantum physics or modern jazz. Think Niels Bohr meets Ornette Coleman. You may look normal now, but once you sprout, you look kind of, uh, funny.

link: The Which Spice Are You Test

I'm fine with being fennel, but I don't know about the description...Quantum Physics? Niels Bohr???? Ornette Coleman???? Wha?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Pumpkin Fun

Oh this was good!

Sautéed Couscous with Roasted Pumpkin

Stay Tuned for the recipe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Santa via Amazon

Oh What Fun!!!

Look what Santa delivered to my desk today!!!!!

If you can't read the picture (camera phone) this is:
1080 Recipes by Simone & Ines Ortega

The sticker on the book defines this book as:
"Spain's best-selling cookbook for over 30 years"

"The bible of authentic Spanish cooking"

I can't wait to jump in.
This is sort of the Spanish companian
to the Italian book The Silver Spoon which I LOVE!

Thanks Terri in WI!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Using my gourd

Round about Halloween, I bought a few pumpkins. I planned on cooking with them right away, but I didn't. They sat around. They decorated the house for Thanksgiving. And the first week of December.'s time to start to use the pumpkin for its intended purpose...DINNER!

On Sunday I cleaned up one of the pumpkins; peeled, seeded, diced. My medium sized eatin' pumpkin, not the Jack O' Lantern pumpkins. These smaller pumpkins have more flavor and are farmed for the purpose of consumption. Sometimes they are called "Sugar Pumpkins." After cleaning the pumpkin, I had about 6 cups of diced pumpkin. I divided my bounty into three. One batch for tonight. One for later this week. And one into the freezer. This leaves me one more pumpkin for cookin' later this winter.

My diced pumpkin, after a short bath in boiling veggie stock...until tender. That's some sage sitting there waiting.

Tonight I needed some stock for dinner. I used this brand at Thanksgiving so more foods could be veggie friendly. This isn't a bad brand. It does need some salt...make sure to taste and season appropriately.

And dinner...pumpkin risotto garnished with fresh sage leaves and roasted pumpkin seeds. And a broiled pork chop on the side. Risotto was mild and light today; mostly due to the unsalted broth. But very good!

Dessert...more of this goodness...and boy was it good!