Saturday, December 21, 2013

Asian Chicken Wings

Have I mentioned before that I'm head over heels for chicken wings? No? Well....I am, but sometimes plain old hot wings gets a little dull. Lucky for me there are all sorts of flavors you can put on a chicken wing.

Wet Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Baking Sheet
Lrg. Metal Bowl

Preheat the oven to 425F


2 1/2C Orange Juice (you can have that 1/2C be pineapple juice if you like, my roommate is allergic so that's the only reason I didn't use it)
1C Sugar
1/2C Soy Sauce
2T Orange zest
2T Minced, fresh garlic
2T Minced, fresh ginger
1T Sesame Oil
3/4t Crushed red pepper flakes
2T Chopped Green Onions


3-5lbs Chicken Wings
Salt and Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder.

Toss the chicken wings desired coating of the above seasonings, lay out in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake wings with just their seasoning for 35 minutes. When wings are cooked, remove from oven and lower heat to 350.

In the meantime...Bring all ingredients for the sauce to a boil (except the green onions), stirring occasionally until thickened 8-10 minutes. Toss wings with half of the sauce and return to baking sheet and oven for another 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, drizzle with remaining sauce and green onions...server immediately and enjoy!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Slow Cooker Chili with Cornbread

It's that time of year for slow cookers and comfort food. Lately I find myself racing against the clock and daylight to get everything done in the few hours between work and sleep. After work and the gym, nothing sounds better than a hot shower and delicious meal waiting for you at home. Never mind the fact that I got up at 6am to go to the grocery store to make this before work...the important thing is I didn't have to cook after work.


Slow Cooker
Large Pan
Cutting Board
Wooden Spoon
Can Opener
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cups

3T Vegetable Oil
2 Yellow Onions, medium dice
1 Red Bell Pepper (or yellow or orange), medium dice
6 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1/4C Chili Powder
1T Ground Cumin
2lb Lean Ground Beef
1 1/2t Salt
1-28oz Can Diced Tomatoes
1-15oz Can Tomato Sauce
2-15oz Cans Kidney Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1/4C Chopped Green Chiles, or Pickled Jalapenos

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened. About 8 minutes.

Add garlic, chili powder and cumin. Stir to coat the vegetables and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and measured salt and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the beef is no longer pink.

Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce and the beans. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until chili thickens. 8 hours on low or 6 hours on high.


8" Baking Dish
Mixing Bowls
Dry Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons
Wet Measuring Cup

6T Unsalted Butter, Melted
1C Cornmeal
3/4C Flour
1T Sugar
1 1/2t Baking Powder
1/2t Baking Soda
1/4t Salt
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1 1/2C Buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Lightly grease an 8" Baking dish

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl mix together eggs, buttermilk and butter. Pour buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots. Pour into baking dish. Batter may be lumpy, and that's just fine.

Bake until the top is golden brown, and a tester comes out of the middle clean. About 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Roasted Salsa

This recipe can be made with the vegetables not grilled, but honestly it's so much tastier with vegetables grilled before hand. Salsa is something I must always have in my fridge, since chips and salsa make me one happy woman. Now, this salsa can be unpredictable in it's heat level. I used a jalapeno, but in this day and age sometimes they can be the most mild chiles there are and sometimes they end up being on the spicy side. This post has been sitting half finished for a couple months now, I didn't have a picture of the salsa so I was waiting to post it. However, since I have been insanely busy lately and haven't been able to cook anything worth posting (in my opinion) I am taking to easy way out and posting this one.


Grill Pan*
Cutting Board

1/2 Red Onion, peeled
3 Whole Tomatoes (Tomatillos if you want to make green salsa)
1 Jalapeno (whole)
3 Whole, peeled Garlic Cloves
2T. Can Crushed tomatoes
Handful Fresh Cilantro
Juice from can of tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a lightly oiled grill pan to medium heat. Place tomatoes, onion and pepper on pan. Grill 10-15 minutes per side, until there is a nice char on the them and the skins are softened. Remove from pan and let cool slightly.

Cut the stem off the jalapeno and remove the seeds. Put everything in a blender and add crushed tomatoes, tomato juice and cilantro. Blend until smooth, and season with salt and pepper.

This will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lasagna Soup

Yes, you read correctly. I received my newest issue of Food Network Magazine, and there is a section on soup for dinner. Ok, so soup for dinner isn't a new idea by any means, BUT these soups are takes on other dishes that have been made into soups. The first of which was Lasagna Soup. I have a strong desire to cook my through these soups...minus the Caesar Salad soup. The next soup in the series is a Philly Cheesesteak soup that I'm looking forward to making. I had originally planned to make it this Thursday and have a couple of my buddies over, but a work event came up so it will have to be pushed to next week. Really it's ok, because this has been shaping up to be on packed week! This season becomes a little chaotic for me with work, lots of caterings and the holidays!

So I changed one small thing about this recipe...ok so I changed it in my head for the next time, but I will share it with you. The use of lasagna noodles is not necessary, frankly they're a little too big to be fully enjoyed and when you cut them up they don't really resemble lasagna noodles anyways. I would recommend using a small shell pasta, since it will act as a little spoon soaking up soup with each bite.

Large Pot
Dutch Oven
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife

Kosher salt
8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into pieces (I would use small shells instead)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh bail, plus thinly sliced leaves for topping
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
Ricotta cheese, for topping

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Ass the noodles and cook as the label directs. Drain, drizzle with olive oil and toss.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage, garlic and oregano and cook, stirring and creaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a simmer. Uncover and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the noodles, basil, parmesan and heavy cream; simmer 2 more minutes.
4. Divide the soup among bowls. Top with ricotta and sliced basil.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ginger-Scented Butternut Squash Soup

This is my first choice from The Oregonian Cookbook.

Here on the coast we are currently in "storm mode", the typhoon in Japan has caused a storm to roll in on us a couple months earlier than normal. Fall is my favorite season of all, since it's packed full of fabulous dishes, yummy root vegetables, holidays, football and so much more. Ok I've babbled enough...on to the food!

OH! One more thing. I had a fresh butternut squash at home, so that's what I used instead of the frozen squash it calls for.

Large Pot
Glass Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon
Whisk (wooden spoon will work too)

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen cooked butternut squash
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
About 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger, plus additional to taste
1/2 cup whipping cream

Makes about 6 cups

In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the broth and frozen squash. Cook, spooning the broth over the squash, until the squash has defrosted, about 12 minutes. Add the applesauce, salt to taste, sugar, and ginger; whisk to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cream, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Taste and season accordingly.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Steamer Clams

I absolutely love a big bucket of steamer clams soaked in garlic and white wine. However, it gets a little expensive to be going out every time I crave some clams.

Dutch Oven (or large stock pot)
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Wooden Spoon
Liquid Measuring Cup

2T Grapeseed Oil (or peanut, or canola)
4 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Mdm. Onion, chopped
1 Bundle Asparagus, trimmed and chopped
2 Mdm. Tomatoes, chopped
1C. White wine
3 Dozen steamer clams
2C. Water (clam juice can be used if you really like that "clamy" flavor
Salt and Pepper
1/2C. Melted Butter

Rinse and clean clams, make sure to discard any that are open.
Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent (about 2 minutes).
Add in asparagus and saute for 2 minutes, now add in tomatoes and wine. Let simmer for about 2 minutes so flavors can meld and alcohol can have the chance to cook down. Add in clams and water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until all the clams have opened. Discard any clams that do not open.
When clams have opened remove them to serving dish, and add in melted butter and salt and pepper to taste. Pour broth over the clams and serve with toasted bread.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cookbook Addiction !

So...I have a cookbook addiction, and I'm willing to admit it. I was staring at this wonderfully full case of beautiful cook books last night, and it hit me! I don't use these nearly as much as I should for how many I have, and how much money I've spent on them all combined. So, while chatting with my roommate we have both come to the conclusion that I should cook my way through the Oregonian Cook Book (yes I know something like this has been done before). Since we live in Oregon, that seemed the logical place to start. Perhaps I will deviate occasionally, and toss in a recipe from one of my other cook books on the shelf. If you (the readers) see a book that you would like me to either cook my way through, or toss in a recipe from here and there...please, now is the time to speak up (or write up). There is no deadline for this project, it mainly just to force me to use all these wonderful cook books I have and perhaps find my next favorite recipe.
Last night I made the Salmon Burgers from the Oregonian Cook Book, and I shall do a post of it later on today.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chicken Thighs in Vodka Sauce

This is a very taste and SIMPLE dish that packs some great flavor, and apparently leaves people stumped. I did not realize how many people had not heard of vodka sauce. It's not a giant pool of vodka, but a very nice balanced sauce with a nice richness to it.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Liquid Measuring Cup
Large Pan
Wooden Spoon (or other stirring implement)

So, I realized a little too late that I did not get the butter in the picture.

1T. Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
24oz Crushed tomatoes with juice
1/4C Vodka
1/2C Half and Half

*Salt and pepper your chicken, cook in a large pan (same pan you will use for the sauce) in 2T of grapeseed (or vegetable oil). Roughly 6 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and use the same pan for your sauce.

Add butter to pan to help get up all the little brown bits left behind from the chicken. When butter has melted add in garlic and saute until fragrant. Then add in tomatoes, juice and all. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Add in cream, stirring to mix into tomatoes.

Pour in vodka, stirring to combine.
Allow the mixture to simmer,(stirring occasionally) for about 10 minutes. Until everything is well incorporated and the alcohol has had a chance to cook out. Add your chicken back into the pan, for a chance to heat through and absorb some of the vodka sauce.

Plate chicken and serve sauce over top.

*Normally it would be best if you add the vodka to the tomatoes, and allow to cook down for a couple of minutes before adding the cream. This prevents the cream from breaking up and getting that separated look to it. I was starving and in a hurry so I added it all at the same time. It all still tasted wonderful, it just doesn't look AS pretty on the plate.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Calabacitas Con Elote

It would seem I am on a squash kick. Tis the season of wonderful squash though, and there is so much to be done with it. This is my version (since recipes are never the same as when grandma makes them) of one of my Abuelitas dishes, that to be honest FAVORITE. The only thing that makes this dish better is if you serve it with warm (just off the pan) tortillas. What the hell, have a glass of Sangria along with it too.
Mine is served along side some roasted chicken breast...this however is a cheat! I was at Costco (shopping for pillows and a large skeleton) and decided I was feeling too tired to 100% cook my meal from scratch, so I cheated a little bit.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Large Saute Pan
Wooden Spoon

1T Olive Oil
1T Butter
2-3 Onions,chopped (I used Farmers Market onions so they aren't massive)
4 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1.5C Halved Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
1-2C Chopped Summer Squash
3/4C Fresh or Frozen Corn Kernels
2t Tomato Paste (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1-2t Garlic Powder
Dash of Chile Powder

Heat pan on medium heat and add olive oil and butter. When butter is nice and melted toss in your onions, and saute until soft then add garlic. When garlic begins to sweat and become aromatic, add in squash and corn. Toss in tomatoes after about 1 minute. Lowe heat to medium-low. Add in salt, pepper, garlic powder and chile. Cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or so. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. For a little something extra toss in a bit of shredded cheese.
Serve with tortillas and enjoy. It's best fresh from the pan.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Looking Into A Harvest

Ok, so there's no recipe attached to this post. I just happen to be proud of my first real harvest for the season. This was harvested about 2 weeks ago, and contains my first squash! There are also some lovely peas, some Kale,a White Onion and two hidden little peppers among the peas. I'm so very pleased with this year's garden and have almost worked out all the kinks for next year. Next up....SEED SAVING!


So Simple Summer Squash Pasta

You will be amazed how simple, quick and tasty this dish really is. This recipe serves 2.

Medium Pot
Large Saute Pan
Cutting Board
Vegetable Peeler
Wooden Spoon or Spatula

1/2 Box WW Pasta
1 1/2T. Olive Oil
2 Summer Squash, cut into ribbons (with vegetable peeler)
1 Summer Onion, thinly sliced
2-3 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced

Start your water to cook the pasta, follow the directions on the box for cooking time. Make sure to liberally salt your pasta water, this will help prevent the noodles from sticking as well as adding flavor to the pasta.

While the water is going, you can slice your onion, garlic and squash ribbons. Turn your saute pan to medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is warm, toss in the onions and stir occasionally until beginning to sweat then add in garlic and stir.

The water should have started boiling enough for you to add the past by now, so while the pasta is cooking we are going to move on to the squash ribbons. The onions and garlic should be soft and fragrant by now, so toss in the squash ribbons and stir gently until they are just cooked. Turn off and remove from heat. The pasta should be finished by now.

Drain the pasta and toss with squash mixture. Salt and pepper as needed. For a little extra feel free to grate some parm on top, or at the last moment toss some little cherry tomatoes into the pan until they pop then serve.

This dish is lovely with a nice red or white wine, and either by yourself on your porch while the sun sets or sitting with friends and family enjoying good conversation and laughs.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Walnut Pesto

Today was my weekly 10 hour shift at the book store, and for some reason I just started thinking about pesto halfway through the day. I realized that I had no pine nuts at home, but did have walnuts. So this is pesto with walnuts....turns out its just as good. On a completely random note when did high heeled crocs become an acceptable think to make, let alone wear!!!!! What is women's fashion coming to??

Cutting Board
Cheese Grater
Food Processor

1/3C Walnuts
2 Garlic Cloves
2C Basil Leaves
1/2t Salt
1/4t Pepper
1/3C Olive Oil, more as needed
1/2C Parmesan Cheese

Put walnuts and garlic in the food processor and pulse until a paste is created. Add in basil leaves, salt and pepper.

While food processor is on add add in oil until smooth, add cheese and pulse till blended. Add more oil if needed.

Now you have wonderfully tasty pesto, in about 10 minutes. 

Slap some chopped tomatoes, chives and olive oil on a piece of wonderfully crusty bread and serve it along side....pour yourself a glass of full bodied red wine, grab a good book and an enjoy some time to yourself. If you're going to share it with someone please...put the phone away at least for dinner time.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lime Cheesecake Bars

This is a pretty simple recipe that I just adapted from a cheesecake recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine from a 2011 issue.

Stand Mixer
13"x9" Baking Dish
Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons
Food Processor

2C. Graham Crackers Crumbs
3T. Sugar
7T. Unsalted Butter, Melted

Preheat oven to 375
In a food processor pulse graham crackers until nice and fine, add in sugar and pulse to mix. Drizzle in butter and pulse until incorporated.
Line baking dish with foil, allowing a bit to hang over the edges. Grease foil with nonstick spray or oil.
Evenly spread crumb mix on bottom of pan and pack down. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let pan rest on a wire rack to cool while you prepare the filling.

Turn oven temp down to 300.

2 -8oz Packages Cream Cheese, room temperature
1T. Flour
Pinch of salt
1/2C Sugar
1 1/2t. Vanilla
2T Finely grated lime zest
1T Lime juice
1t. Ground ginger
1/2t. Fresh grated nutmeg
2 Eggs, at room temperature

In your stand mixer (or bowl with hand mixer)beat the cream cheese, flour and salt on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. About 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. When you are sure there are no lumps, add in your sugar and continue to blend until smooth. Add in vanilla, lime zest, lime juice, ginger and nutmeg and mix until blended well. Now add in the eggs one at a time. Beat until just blended, you don't want to overmix or the cheesecake will crack in the oven.
Pour the filling into the cooled and crust and smooth it out, so it evenly covers the crust. Bake at 300 degrees for 60 minutes. Let cool and cover. Can be kept in refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for one month.

For a little added decoration you can top with toasted coconut or even a twist of lime.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Quick Pickled Radishes

These are INSANELY easy! I defy anyone to find an easier pickling recipe.
I grow my own radishes, and sometimes when they're ready I'm just not in the mood to munch on them right away. So...pickling them is the obvious choice, at least to me.

Jar with Lid
Wet Measuring Cup
Cutting Board

2/3C. Coconut Vinegar (it's what I had, but Red Wine Vinegar is good as well)
1/2C. Sugar
2t. Coarse Salt
15 or so radishes

Thinly slice radishes and place in jar. Whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved. Pour over radishes and screw on lid. Let sit for about 30 minutes and serve, they can be kept in the refrigerator for a day if needed.

I planted Easter Egg Radishes, but they all have come out this color so far.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Citrus-Dill Roasted Chicken

It started pouring down rain towards the end of my work day today, and I instantly started thinking about roasted chicken with a nice gravy. Do not be daunted by roasting a chicken, it really is quit simple. This post was started several weeks ago, but I didn't have a final picture to go with it. So it sat on the back burner, I have decided to put it up though and the next time I make it I promise to add a "fully cooked bird" photo.


Roasting Pan (or deep dish big enough for a chicken)
Baster (spoon is fine too)
Kitchen Sheers
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Liquid Measuring Cup
Microplane (or other zesting tool)


1.5 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
Zest from:*
2 Oranges
1 Lemon
2 Sprigs Dill, minced

Using a fork, mash your butter until creamy and can easily be spread about. Add in the zest and dill and mix well.

Whole Chicken, trimmed of fat
2 Oranges, quartered
1 Lemon, Quartered
2-3 Lrg. Fresh Dill Sprigs
3 Whole Garlic Cloves
1 Lrg.Onion, Quartered
Water or Broth (If using broth use a low sodium version, because you have salted the Chicken and are covering it in bacon)
4-6 Strips Bacon (depending on size of chicken)

*After you have zested all your citrus, do NOT toss them out. Quarter them and use them for the cavity of your chicken and for the pan. There is no need to waste perfectly good citrus, just because it has been zested already.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Now, the chicken! Clean it well, remove all the organs in the cavity, rinse and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is nice and dry so it will hold the butter and get a nice crispy skin, you don't want water in the cavity either.

Stick your hand under the skin to separate it from the body (do NOT take the skin off though) giving yourself "pockets" to shove the butter into...make sure you get the legs as well. Once the skin is separate continue to smear butter in between the skin and flesh. A good way to distribute it is slide a big blob under the skin then massage the top of the skin pushing the butter around beneath your hands. Generously salt and pepper the entire bird, inside and out.
Next quarter your onions, and citrus and shove half in the bird (along with the garlic cloves and dill sprigs) and reserve the other half to be placed in the bottom of the roasting pan.

In a large dutch oven (or other roasting pan of your choice)heat up some oil or bacon fat. We are going to brown the bird all over before putting it in the oven.

When your bird is nicely browned on all sides you may now add the reserved onion, orange and lemon quarters to the bottom of the pan. Along with the liquid you have chosen to use. Just about a cup and a half so things don't burn on the bottom as your beginning to cook. Lay the bacon on top of the chicken, covering as much of the bird as you can.
Put the bird in the oven and check on it after about 20-30 minutes. Because the bacon is acting as a "moisture shield" for the chicken, you do not need to baste it until close to the end. If the bacon is cooking too quickly and beginning to burn feel free to remove it and just baste the bird as needed.

After 45 minutes remove the bacon, and set aside. You will now need to baste the chicken a couple times in the 30-45 minutes of cooking. You're internal temperature of your chicken needs to reach 165 degrees. When your chicken is fully cooked remove it from the oven, and transfer to a platter or cutting board to rest for 20 minutes. Resting the chicken insures that you do not lose all those wonderful juices that have been building up...nobody likes a dry bird.

If you like you can make a gravy from the drippings, while the chicken is resting.
Remove all the large chunks and items from your roasting pan. Strain out any excess fat (you can strain this into a new pan if you think you won't be able to get all the little pieces and extra fat out) and set on the burner on medium heat.
Whisk together a mix of two parts cream (or milk) and one part flour to use as a thickener for your gravy. If you mix the flour and milk directly into the gravy without combining them first, you will have a difficult time getting out the flour lumps.
Allow the drippings to come to a simmer before adding your flour/cream mixture. Once you have added this mixture give it a nice whisk to combine then allow it to come to a simmer again until it has thickened, and any danger of "raw flour" taste is gone.

You can now slice up your bird, pour some gravy over it and enjoy with a side of you choice.

*I realized while writing this post, that I haven't given any strict directions or pictures on how to do certain things. So, I will make a point to post "how to" posts every once in a while with tips and pictures.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Evil Bunnies

No doubt if I were to tell that there is a Rex Rabbit and a New Zealand White Rabbit wandering in and out of my yard, this is what you would think of. Your next thought would probably be "awwwe they're so cute and cuddly looking" NOT SO! These bunnies are pure evil!! These rabbits have driven me to fits of running around the side of my house waving my arms and screaming like a mad woman. It was apparently the "non-thought" of my neighbor that we live on a farm and it is perfectly natural to just open the cage of ones rabbits one day, and simply turn them out into the neighborhood. A small neighborhood I might add, that is a direct offshoot of the highway. Needless to say I have waged war on these bunnies

This was my morning ritual...until yesterday.

I embarked on a quest to the massive keep that is Home Depot, to acquire the necessary materials for a Hoophouse!

Which after really not as much money as I was thinking it would cost, (and only about an hour of work) resulted is this lovely enclosure for the hard work and patience that is part of my garden.

There is netting over the pipe, that you probably can't see.


Rosemary Chops w/ Grilled Apricot Sauce & Seared Asparagus

This is one of those dinners where I had absolutely no advanced plans, and was just "flying by the seat of my pants". It came out very nicely if I do say so myself. It's a bit early for Apricots (and normally I would wait a little longer) however these smelled so tasty when I walked by them that I couldn't resist picking a couple up. All of the herbs are from my garden that has recently been plagued by evil about them to follow.
Anyways...I digress, as is normal for me. Without further adieu, I give you......DINNER!

Grill Pan (you can of coarse BBQ these outside)
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Immersion Blender
Small Glass Bowl

Oil for pan
2 Pork Chops (bone in or boneless, I had boneless on hand this time)-room temperature
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Ground Pepper
2T. Melted Unsalted Butter
3T. Fresh Minced Chives

2 Apricots, halved and pitted
1.5t Honey

Turn oiled grill pan to medium heat (this can very if you're chops are very thin, I happened to have VERY thick chops so I didn't want the outside to burn but wanted a nice "crust")
While pan is coming to temperature, generously salt and pepper your chops on both sides. When pan is warm lay down the rosemary sprigs directly on the grill pan.

Let them sit for a moment until you just begin to smell them, then place your chops directly on top.

Now, at this point I must apologize because I did not once look at the clock to see how long cooking was taking. It's a very bad habit of mine since these recipes are posted for people to make at home if they so chose. SO, since I don't time things these times will be an estimation. Pork should be cooked to 145 degrees internal temperature. Back to the recipe.
Cook the chops about 8 minutes per side. Once both sides of your chops have been cooked, flip them back over to the original side.

Melt your butter and stir in the chives. Spoon this delectable mixture on top of each chop so the flavors soak in and it just drips down onto the pan.
You may now put your apricots on the pan. By putting them on the same pan after the seasoning and flavors from the chops have begun to secrete, you are adding all these wonderful flavors to your apricots. Cook them (flipping as needed) until soft and slightly caramelized.

When chops reach an internal temperature of 145 you may remove them to a plate or cutting board and allow them to rest for about 3 minutes, before cutting into them to enjoy.
While your chops are resting, toss your apricots and honey in an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Your sauce is finished!


1T Olive Oil
Handful of asparagus, trimmed
1T Each - Fresh Chopped Cilantro and Chives
2t Fresh Chopped Oregano

Heat your pan to medium to medium-low eat. Add in oil just as pan is coming to temperature. Toss in your asparagus and salt, stirring occasionally (so as to prevent them from burning) and cook to desired texture. When you are just about to remove your asparagus, turn off the eat and throw in all your herbs and toss a few times to evenly coat. Serve them along side your chops.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Personal Pizzas

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I know you have all had that day when you look in the fridge and say "I have no food!" When in all actuality you have plenty of things to eat...they just may be odds and ends and leftovers you're pretty tired of. Well let me tell you, if you have flour, salt, yeast, sugar and can make personal pizzas out of what is in the fridge. I made three separate pizzas with what I found in my fridge and it gave a whole new look and flavor to my dull leftovers.

Kale and Kalamata Olive Pizza with Parmesan Cheese

Pulled Pork Pizza

Stand Mixer (Large glass bowl and wooden spoon if you don't have a mixer)
Glass Measuring Cup
Individual Pizza pans, Large Pizza Pan or Baking Sheet (Just depends on what you have available)
Cutting Board

3C. All Purpose Flour
1pkg Yeast (2.5t)
3t. Salt
1T. White Sugar
2T Oil (I used olive because it's what I have)
3T. Fresh Chopped Herbs, one each- Parsley, Oregano and Chives
1C. Warm Water

Mix flour through herbs together in mixer or large bowl. Add in oil and water and mix until all combined. Turn out onto very lightly floured surface, and kneed until everything is just combined nicely and there are no flour spots, or wet spots from the liquid.
Divide dough into desired size (depending on size and quantity of pizzas)
Roll out dough as thick or thin as you would like. I myself prefer and nice thing crust, so I roll it out to about 1/4" It will puff up a bit in the oven...remember it has yeast.

Preheat oven to 375

While the oven is preheating prepare your toppings. Keep in mind these toppings are things I already had in my fridge from previous meals. Pizza is only as restricted as your imagination. Have some fun with it.
When oven has preheated, I like to cook my crust (puncture it with a fork a couple times) for about 10-15 minutes with nothing on it, to insure that the crust does not get soggy on the bottom once the ingredients are added.

Chicken breast with peppers and onion cooked in chili powder, garlic, salt and cummin
Pepperjack Cheese
BBQ Sauce

Slather the crust with BBQ sauce, top with your chicken, peppers and onions, and cover with desired amount of cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes.

BBQ Sauce
Previously cooked pulled pork
Caramelized Onions
Pepperjack Cheese

Slather crust with BBQ sauce and top with pork, onions and cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes.

Olive Oil
Shredded Fresh Kale
Caramelized Onions
Sliced Kalamata Olives
Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Chopped Chives

Brush some olive oil on the crust. Arrange kale and onions on top of the crust, sprinkle on your olives and bit of fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes.

I realize these recipes are a bit vague, but they are more for ideas than a strict guideline to follow. Have some fun with the toppings and don't be afraid to experiment.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Really Easy Shortbread

Though I don't generally have a sweet tooth (I'm a savory person myself), I have a serious week spot for shortbread cookies with a good cup of coffee or black tea. My first ventures into shortbread were an absolute disaster! I'm not even sure what happened...well to be honest I probably wasn't paying attention and let the butter get way too warm. Anyway, I am happy to announce that this recipe is incredibly easy, and you can even make the dough and stash it for later in your fridge or freezer. Genius for when you have those cravings or last minute company.

Stand Mixer (or large bowl and hand mixer)
Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons
Wax or Parchment Paper
Plastic Wrap
Baking Sheet

1 1/2C. Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3C. Sugar
2t. Salt
3 Egg Yolks
2T. Vanilla
Inside Scrapings of 1/2 a Vanilla Bean
3 3/4C. Flour

In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and salt. Cream on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. One at a time add egg yolks, mixing until incorporated after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and vanilla scrapings. Scrap the bowl with a spatula to make sure you get everything off the sides and mixed in.

Turn the mixer off and add the flour. Turn the mixer back on to low speed and mix until flour is completed incorporated. Working on wax or parchment paper, form the dough into four 10-inch logs 1 1/4" in diameter; wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cut log into 1/2-inch rounds. If desired you may dip one side of the dough round in fine sugar. Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheet.
Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
Cool on wire rack and enjoy.

*If you would like to try something different add 1 1/2-2t of the following to your dough, before you shape it into logs.
Lemon or Lime Zest
Food grade lavender

Basically play with it and have fun. If you're experimenting you can always divide your dough and add different things and amounts to different logs. Make sure you write down whatever you do so you know what works and what doesn't work. Don't be afraid to fail, for if we do not fail once in a while we can not truly succeed.


Lemon Bars

Before I get to this wonderfully tasty (and easy I might add) treat, I really must apologize for large lapse in time in between postings. It was due to some serious user error, which is all ironed out and functioning now.

Mdm Saucepan
13x9x2 Glass Dish
Glass Measuring Cup
2 Mdm. Glas Bowls


1 1/2 Sticks unsalted cold butter
2C. Flour
1/2C. Light brown Sugar, Packed
1/2t. Salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces. In a food processor (for least messy results, I just used my hands in a plain old bowl) combine all ingredients until mixture forms lumps. Sprinkle mixture into baking dish. Press down evenly on the bottom. Bake in the middle of the rack for about 20 minutes.
While the base is cooking, get going on your lemon mixture.

4 Eggs
1 1/2C. Sugar
3/4C. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/3C. Flour

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well combines. Stir in the lemon juice and flour, mix well until all combined. When shortbread is removed from the oven, pour your lemon mix over the top, and return to oven. Reduce heat to 300 F and bake for 30 minutes, until lemon is set.

Cool completely in the pan, on a cooling rack before cutting into them.
Cut them into desired size, arrange on plate and dust with a little powdered sugar. Serve them with fresh raspberries, and you now have an easy perfect summer dessert.

These will keep, covered in the refrigerator for 3 days.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Easy Fried Chicken w/Mushroom Gravy

This isn't your typical fried chicken, it's more like fried chicken meets chicken strips. The more adult version of the childhood favorite. I like to soak my chicken in buttermilk overnight, so it's nice and juicy and with a little extra flavor.
You can make this recipe without soaking it of coarse, if it's a meal you get home and decide to make on the fly just skip the buttermilk step. This recipe calls for dry white wine (for the gravy), now I'm not much of a white wine drinker so I have found it best (so you don't waste your money or the wine) to get the little bottles of Chardonnay that you can find at any little market. The size gives a tad bit over what you need, but they usually only cost $2-3 so you don't have to feel bad about tossing the last tiny bit...or you could use the last little bit to make a vinegrette or some sort of dessert sauce.

Medium Glass Bowl
Plastic Wrap
Deep Cast Iron Pan (electric fryer is fine too)
Shallow Bowl (for dredging)
Spider* (slotted spoon is fine)
Clean Plate
Paper Towels (or kitchen towel as long as it isn't terry cloth and doesn't smell funky)
Cutting Board
Large Saute Pan
Sharp Knife
Wet Measuring Cup (at least 1 cup size)
Small Glass Bowl
1/4 Cup

3 Boneless-Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 1/2C Buttermilk
1-2C Seasoned Bread Crumbs (you can of coarse season your own, this is just the quick way)
3-4C Peanut Oil (my preferred frying oil)
2Tbl Unsalted Butter (salted is fine, unsalted just allows you to control the salt)
1 Shallot, minced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1C Dry white wine
2 1/2C Chicken Stock (feel free to add more or some water if it's too thick)
2 1/2Tbl Flour
1/4C Heavy Cream
Mushrooms...the amount is completely up to you, depending on how "mushroomy" you would like the gravy. I used 4 large cremini mushrooms.

*Before you begin cooking!! If you don't know what a Spider is (the kitchen verity, NOT the 8 legged friend) here is a picture. It is a Japanese tool used mostly for Tempura, it is a wonderful tool that can be used in any cuisine. They are inexpensive as well and readily available.

On with the cooking.

So, if you are planning on soaking your chicken overnight here's the skinny. Trim and rinse your chicken and pat dry, cut it into nice thick strips (chunks are fine too) and submerge in buttermilk in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge overnight, you can even put it in the fridge in the morning before work and pull it out that night.

Heat your cast iron skillet with the oil, on medium heat.

While the skillet is heating up prepare your shallots and garlic, set aside. In a large saute pan, melt butter in medium heat. When butter is melted toss in shallots and garlic, cook until just softened (about 2 minutes) then add in wine. Allow wine to cook down by half (if you don't let the wine cook down you will end up with a very harsh flavor). While Wine is reducing, in a bowl whisk together flour and whipping cream and set aside. When wine has reduced whisk in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and whisk in flour/cream mixture, make sure to whisk well to get out all the lumps. Allow this to simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring as needed. While your gravy is simmering remove chicken from buttermilk and wipe of excess, do NOT rinse the chicken. Pour bread crumbs in shallow bowl with some added salt for flavor. Your oil should be hot and glistening by now. Dredge chicken in bread crumbs and carefully add to skillet (do not crowd pain, cook in batches if needed). Cook chicken for 8-10 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through. If your oil is sputtering and flying about, it's WAY to hot and will burn your chicken on the outside leaving it raw in the middle..
While chicken is cooking clean and slice your mushrooms and add to the gravy. They will cook through with the gravy on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid clumping. If the gravy begins to bubble, just turn it down a bit.
When chicken is cooked, use your spider (or slotted spoon) to transfer chicken to plate with paper towels to drain excess oil.

Now you may plate your chicken, and pour some lustrous mushroom gravy over the top and serve with the side of your desire.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chicken "Cacciatore"

Sometimes you just have to mess with the classics. I'm sure a true blooded Italian would scoff at me calling this Chicken Cacciatore, but it was the elements of it if no the exactly ingredients and rules. Not the quickest dinner...(especially when you are drinking wine and bullshitting with your roommate) but it is tasty and not difficult at all.

Lrg. Pan with Lid
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Wooden Spoon or Spatula
Liquid Measuring Cup
Fingers....for measuring herbs of course.

Olive Oil
6-8 Boneless-Skinless Chicken Thighs (breasts are fin, I just happen to be a fan of dark meat myself)
Salt and Pepper
Flour for dredging Chicken
1 Bell Pepper, chopped (I like yellow or orange for the contrast to the tomatoes)
1 Onion, finely chopped (anything but red is fine, I prefer yellow)
3 Cloves garlic, fine (but roughly) chopped
3/4C Dry white wine*
2 (14.5oz) Cans Chopped tomatoes WITH liquid
1/2C Chicken broth, low-sodium so you can control the salt content
Couple pinches dried Oregano
2T Chopped fresh Basil

Heat a couple tablespoons of Olive Oil in large pan over medium heat, while pan is coming to temperature season your chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge seasoned chicken in flour to evenly coat, add chicken to pan being careful not to crowd (cook in two batches if need be) and cook till brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Set cooked chicken aside on a plate.

Add onions, peppers and garlic to the pan (add a bit more oil if need be) and cook until onion is just soft, add a couple pinches of salt.

Add wine and cook until reduced by about half, roughly 8-10 minutes. When wine is reduced down add in tomatoes (with it's liquids) chicken broth and Oregano. Stir together, add chicken back into pan and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with a bit of fresh chopped Basil on top.

*If you aren't much of a white wine drinker, don't go buy and entire bottle for this recipe. Get one of the little Bota Boxes or any other wine that comes in those little tetra packs. Those wine's are great for cooking and you won't waste you money or the wine!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

No Name Chicken

This is one of those recipes that came together from "cleaning" out the fridge for dinner. Some of my dinners to involve me thinking ahead, but usually I just go by what happens to sound good by the end of the day or whatever happens to by hanging around.

Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Medium Pot
Large Pan w/Lid

Olive Oil
1T. Unsalted Butter
6ish Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, trimmed of fat
Multi Colored Bell Peppers, sliced in strips (amount depends on size)
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
Salt + Pepper
Fresh Dill, roughly chopped
3-4T Heavy Cream

2-3 (depending on size) Potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
Half & Half (milk is fine too)
Garlic Powder (if you are willing to take the time roasted garlic gives a much better flavor)

Fill your pot with water and get your potatoes on the stove top before you do anything else.

Once the potatoes have been started, you can move on to the chicken. Add oil and butter to large pan on medium heat, when hot add onions and peppers and saute until just before soft. Season your chicken with salt and pepper and place on top of the bed of peppers and onions and cover with lid. Let simmer for 2 minutes or so, flip chicken and cover again for about 3 minutes. Add cream, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and let rest.

Your potatoes should be cooked by now. They are best if when you poke them with a fork they fall apart, not just admit the fork. Drain potatoes and return to burner on low heat. Add butter, cream and seasonings according to your desired creaminess and flavor desires.

Serve warm.

On a completely unrelated not...sort of. Yesterday I had great fun brewing a batch of Amber Ale with my best friend. We will be able to bottle it in 20 or so days, and we need to come up with a name for it.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Simple Is Good

Sometimes you just need to make yourself a meal that looks like it came from a restaurant, but tastes like comfort. I've been working so much, and running around all the time that today I decided I needed something healthy and beautiful. This is an incredibly easy meal. This evening I am serving....Pan Seared Pork Chops with a side of Garlic Lemon Sautéed Kale, and Mini Patty Pan Suash in Dill and Butter.

Cast Iron Skillet
Large Sauté Pan
Sm. Sauté Pan
Sharp Knife
Cutting Board
Wooden Spoons

Boneless Pork Chops
Mini Patty Pan Squash
Fresh Dill
3 Garlic Cloves
Olive Oil
Unsalted Butter

Boneless Chops

In a cast iron skillet melt butter and olive oil together. While that's warming season chops with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat 15-20 minutes, flipping once or twice to seer.

Olive oil
Fresh Chopped Kale
Garlic, roughly chopped
Fresh Ground Pepper
Lemon juice

In a large pan heat oil over medium way. Add kale and stir occasionally, when kale begins to wilt add garlic, salt and pepper. When almost completely cooked add a squeeze of lemon.

Squash, sliced
Fresh Chopped Dill
Unsalted Butter
Olive Oil

In small pan over medium-low heat cook squash in butter and oil. Add salt and pepper. When squash is almost cooked add fresh dill, so as to have the fresh flavor without over cooking it.

Plate everything together and enjoy. I put a dollop of my homemade apple butter on my chop.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup for Colds

It seems it is time again for all the colds and flus to make their rounds. A couple of my friends are feeling under the weather, so I made this chicken noodle soup last night.

Large Pot
Cutting Board
Large Spoon

8 C. Water
6 Tbl. Chicken base
2 Chicken Breasts
2 Lrg. Carrots, chopped
1 Mdm. Onion, chopped
2 Bell Peppers (red, yellow or orange), Chopped
1 Jalapeno, Diced
3/4 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tbl. Garlic Powder
6 (about) Whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/4-1/2lb Pasta (depending on how noodly you want it)

In a large pot mix the water and chicken base, when it is reached a simmer, turn the heat down a bit and add the chicken breasts (whole). Cook for about 20 minutes (until cooked through) then remove and set aside.

While the chicken is cooking you can chop up all your vegetables and have them ready.

When chicken has cooked and been removed, add in all your vegetables, garlic and mix in spices. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes and then add in noodles and cook for another 15-20 minutes (until pasta is cooked). Add back your chicken all chopped up and serve.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Asparagus and Garlic Shrimp

I've had an intense craving for seafood the last few days...too much bird over the last two months will do that to you. So this dish seemed like a quick and easy way to bring shrimp to the table.


Pairing Knife
Chefs Knife
Cutting Board
Large Saute Pan


1.5TBl. Butter
3 Cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 Bunch Asparagus *
1lb Shrimp (I used clean shrimp that still have the tails and shell)*
Bunch of Scallions (green onions)
6 (or so) salami slices, chopped
Salt and Pepper

*Cleaning shrimp and "cutting" asparagus.

Even though you have purchased cleaned shrimp, there is a black line you will see running down the shrimp. You will want to clean this out, by cutting along the "line" with a knife and removing's sand and will make for a gritty bite if you leave it in. Then remove tail and peal.
Asparagus- The bottoms of the asparagus can get very woody so it's best to get rid of need to use a knife though. Grasp the asparagus with your hands at each end and bend. Where it snaps off, discard that bottom half and then you can cut the top half smaller if you like.

Melt the butter in the pan on medium heat, when butter is melted add garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so. Add in asparagus and a pinch of salt and pepper, when almost cooked add in shrimp and stir occasionally so heat is distributed evenly. When shrimp is about cooked (it cooks quickly) toss in the salami and scallions to finish it off. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
Serve immediately.