Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cauliflower Puttanesca

Jamie Oliver is my new best friend.


Of course he doesn’t know it.

But he has gotten me out of the cooking doldrums.

Check out his website. Just reading his recipes makes me smile.

Not to mention eating his food.
The concept is brilliant.

Make a puttanesca sauce, bury the whole cauliflower in it and drizzle with olive oil.

“Bake” it on top of the stove.

People, this is face down in your plate good.
And easy.

“Smashing’ as he would say.


Cauliflower Puttanesca aka "Killer Cauliflower"
Adapted from
Jamie Oliver


1 medium sweet red onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 medium sweet yellow onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 large spoonful garlic confit, smashed
1 large cauliflower, trimmed, cut off the stalk and chop it (leave the cauliflower whole)
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
A handful of fresh Italian parsley…chop the leaves and finely chop the stalks
½ cup red wine
1 large can San Marzano tomatoes
A good splash balsamic vinegar

You’re going to need a pan that can hold a large head of cauliflower in the middle and the puttanesca sauce around it.

Jamie says’ If you’ve got the size of your pan right, half of the cauliflower will be in the sauce, half above it.” So take that into consideration when you pick out the Dutch oven you use.

Heat the pan over medium high heat.

Add a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is wavy, add the chopped onions, garlic confit, the chopped cauliflower stalk and let cook about 10 minutes until soft. Add Kalamatas, anchovies and tomatoes with their juice. Add the red wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Stir and bring this mix to a boil.

Put the whole cauliflower in the pan.

Add a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil over the top of the cauliflower. Cover and cook for about 45-50 minutes on medium low heat until done.

This is a very cool way to serve cauliflower as a main dish…with a bit of Parmesan -Reggiana and chopped fresh Italian parsley on top. As a side dish it totally rocks with grilled chicken and a crispy Romaine salad topped with a champagne vinaigrette.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Curried Turkey and Wild Rice Soup



There’s a theory that if you talk about an upsetting experience you have, it helps to get your feelings out in the open and you can move on past the unpleasantness.

Welcome to my Thanksgiving.

Things for the celebratory evening at the Red Brick Ranchero were in place.

Food cooked beautifully, witness the pictures.

HOWSOMUCHEVER….when said food was served, it was not as it had presented itself.

The cranberries did not accept the gelatin that would make them stand up and be accounted for.


They refused same and, well, there you go.

Cranberry Soup.

If only they had let me know ahead of time.

I would have gotten out the bowls.


I found these the day after. Sort of forgot about them in the hystericalness that ensued.

The first turkey.



Looks are deceiving.

The second turkey.


I can’t talk about it.

I guess all I say is that it kind of seemed sacrilegious to stuff two turkeys in a huge pot and BOIL them to get them done.

Thank God my mother had brought a ham.

The turkeys came to a very creative end; involving wild and brown rice, garam masala and cumin, golden raisins and cilantro.

Warming, soothing, comforting.

There…I feel much better.

I can think about Christmas Eve dinner now.

 
Curried Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

4 cups cooked turkey breast and thigh meat, chopped coarsely
3 cups cook wild and brown rice mix (I used RiceSelect Royal Blend..it’s divine.)
Couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, trimmed, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
8 fat cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt to taste
6 cups chicken or turkey stock, heated
2 tbsp hot curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne

Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add a couple swirls of extra virgin olive oil. When oil is wavy, add the leeks, green bell pepper and celery, stir to combine, reduce heat to medium and cover to sweat the veggies for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the garlic and seasonings and cook for five minutes. Add the turkey and cook five minutes. Add the hot chicken/turkey stock and stir.
Let this cook for about 25 minutes. Add the cooked rice mixture and let heat for about ten minutes.

Serve with chopped fresh cilantro, golden raisins, and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
Serves 4 generously.


Click here for a printable recipe.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Feeding Groom Daube a` la Vin Rouge



Never met a beef stew I didn’t like.

Seriously.

But the French version, called daube takes beef stew to a whole new level.
Beef marinates in red wine, red onions, carrots, bay leaves, grated fresh nutmeg and orange zest, rosemary and garlic.

Marinate it overnight or 45 minutes.
Up to you.

After that, plan for a couple of hours on top of the stove.

Serve over noodles, smashed potatoes and turnips or by itself with crusty French bread and butter.
Use your imagination.
A stew becomes a daube becomes dinner.

What’s not to like?

By the way, this is a celebratory post.
Feeding Groom is two years old this month!
Thanks to Last Night's Dinner for the inspiration and to Groom for the kick in the pants to get this going.
And to those of you that stop by and see what’s happening at the Red Brick Ranchero, cheers!

Feeding Groom’s Daube a` la vin Rouge

1.5 boneless beef short ribs, cut into bite sized pieces
½ sweet red onion, cut into slivers
½ sweet yellow onion, cut into slivers
2 large carrots, peeled, sliced on the diagonal
6 fat cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock or chicken in a pinch
½ orange, zested
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh Italian parsley, about a handful, chopped for garnish

Put the beef, onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, red wine, orange zest and rosemary in large bowl.
Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Let marinate overnight or at least 45 minutes.
Heat a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil in a large dutch oven. When the oil is wavy, add the beef, don’t crowd the pan and let it brown on both sides. Remove the cooked beef and continue til finished. Drain the veggies from the red wine (reserving that and add the veggies to the hot dutch oven. Cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring.

Add the reserved wine and a cup of beef or chicken stock. Let cook 1-½ to 2 hours, til the beef is tender. Remove the veggies and beef, and raise the heat to reduce the sauce down a bit to your taste.

Serve over what you like…pasta, smashed potatoes and turnips or alone with crusty French bread. Garnish with freshly chopped Italian parsley.
Enjoy.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pan Sauteed Pork Chops with Roasted Butternut Squash and Crisped Pancetta


The pig and the butternut squash.

A match made in heaven, that’s what it is.

Butternut squash roasting with garlic, rosemary, coriander in the oven.

Pancetta crisping , pork chops sautéing.

So easy to do.

A great weeknight supper.

A grand candlelight dinner at home for two.


Pan Sauteed Pork Chops with Roasted Butternut Squash and Crisped Pancetta
With kudos to Jamie Oliver and Blue Kitchen

Preheat oven to 400.

Spray baking sheet with Pam.

1 large butternut squash, sliced in half lengthwise, peeled, seeds removed, sliced in half, then lengthwise again to make half moons
1 large tbsp coriander seed, crushed in mortar and pestle
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 long red dried chiles
8 garlic cloves, smushed
Several sprigs rosemary, stripped
Extra virgin olive oil

Spread butternut squash over baking pan sprinkle with the crushed coriander. Add the rosemary sprigs, add the peppers, add the garlic drizzle with olive oil season well bake 30 minutes.

3 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 large boneless pork chops
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped

In a large cast iron skillet, heat a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil. When oil is wavy add the chopped pancetta and cook about five minutes or so over medium high heat until crispy. Turn heat down a bit, so the oil doesn’t smoke and add the pork chops. Cover and let cook 5 minutes. Don’t disturb them.
Turn them over and cover and cook 5 more minutes. They’ll get a nice crust on them this way.
Remove from heat, let sit for a couple of minutes.

Plate the squash first, add the porkers on top of the squash and sprinkle with the cooked pancetta and chopped Italian parsley.

Serves 2 very happy peoples with leftovers for the lunch.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pan Sauteed Halibut with Red Bell Pepper, Capers and Toasted Cumin


Halloween night.

Cold and clear.

Perfect for “ghoulies and ghosties and long leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night.”

World Series on the tube. The rain stops in Philly.

Star Wars creatures at the front door.

Once the trick or treaters are done., filets of halibut waiting on the stove are quickly cooked in a bit of olive oil and butter, a tasty topping of sautéed red bell peppers, garlic confit, capers and toasted cumin at the ready.

A dish to please any ghoul or baseball fan alike.


Pan Sauteed Halibut with Red Bell Pepper, Capers and Toasted Cumin
Adapted from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Well

2 5 ounce halibut filets, seasoned with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
2 tbsp capers
2 tsp whole cumin seeds, toasted
1 tbsp garlic confit, chopped
1 tbsp butter
Extra virgin olive oil

In a medium skillet over medium high heat add a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil. When oil is wavy looking, add the red bell peppers and stir, lowering heat so they can cook and soften for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic confit, capers and toasted cumin seeds. Stir to combine and cook five minutes. Keep over low heat.

In a medium cast iron or non stick skillet, over medium high heat, add a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil. When olive oil is wavy add the butter. Butter will foam and as soon as foam subsides add the halibut. Let cook about 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and turn. Cook 3-4 minutes on the other side. Monitor the heat so the butter does not get too brown.
Put the fish on the dinner plates. Swirl the red bell pepper mix into the pan you have just cooked the fish in and pour over the fish.

Serves 2.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Ultimate Chicken Spaghetti


Chicken, tomatoes, spaghetti, black olives and cheddar cheese.

Baked in the oven.

School Food circa 1965.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff.

But I’m not 9 years old and my taste for chicken spaghetti has grown up.

Roasted fennel, red peppers, onions, garlic tossed with chopped roast chicken and tomatoes.

Kalamata olives, whole wheat spaghetti and fresh baby spinach.

Manchego cheese.

Now that’s Chicken Spaghetti.


The Ultimate Chicken Spaghetti

1 large fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 large sweet red onion, sliced thin
1 large sweet yellow onion, sliced thin
10 fat garlic cloves, smashed
2 large red bell peppers, sliced thin
A couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 good shakes crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup Kalamata olives pitted and sliced in half, optional
1 28 ounce can diced san Marzano tomatoes, drained
2 cups roasted chicken, chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup grated Manchego cheese
whole wheat spaghetti to serve 3

Put the water on to cook the spaghetti.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the pan in the oven as it preheats.

Toss fennel, onions, garlic, peppers with the olive oil and add the red pepper flakes and fennel seed. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pull out the oven rack the sheet pan is on very carefully to the point where you can add the fennel mix. Stir onto pan…be very careful. Roast for 15 minutes. Add the chicken, tomatoes, olives and stir well. Roast until fennel is tender. Cook the pasta.

Take chicken mixture out of oven and put in large bowl, toss with the spinach. Drain the pasta, add to the bowl and add the cheese, tossing to incorporate. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serves three generously.

**Thanks to The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper for the fennel garlic onion roast inspiration.

Click here for a printable recipe!
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ground Lamb Burgers with a Sweet Leek, Fennel and Sundried Tomato Confit



The blogger stands, yet again, in front of the refrigerator.

Ingredients present themselves.

Ground lamb.

Pancetta.

Fennel.

Prosciutto.

Leeks.

A light bulb goes off over said blogger’s head.

A bit of chopping, a bit of sautéing, a glass of wine, Joni Mitchell sings softly in the background.

A pretty damn good meal for a weeknight appears on the plate.

The blogger smiles.


Ground Lamb Burgers with a Sweet Leek, Fennel and Sundried Tomato Confit


1 lb ground lamb
2 ounce pancetta, chopped
2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Combine lamb, prosciutto and pancetta in bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add red pepper flakes and lemon juice and mix well. Form into nice sized patties and let sit thirty minutes.

1 small leek, rinsed well and chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 small fennel bulb, sliced
1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
¼ cup roasted chicken stock

In a large skillet over medium heat, add a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil and when the oil shimmers, add the leeks and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the fennel and garlic and cook another 10 minutes, adjusting the heat so they do not burn. Raise the heat and add the chicken stock and after it cooks down add the sundried tomatoes. Keep warm over low heat.

In heavy skillet over medium to medium high heat add a swirl of extra virgin olive oil. When it shimmers, add the lamb burgers and cook about 8 minutes, or until browned. Flip the burgers and cook until done to your taste, about 8 minutes for medium, 10 for well done.

Plate the burgers, top with the confit and enjoy.

Makes 3 good sized portions.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken Liver Pate


Round the Red Brick Ranchero, we like to celebrate “the Golden Hour.”

It’s the time right before sundown when Groom and I sit down with a glass of wine or a cocktail and reconnect.

Friday nights, the “Golden Hour” becomes “Order and Structure” as we visit with my mother and let the week fade away into the weekend.

Sometimes we have an hors d’oeuvre.

Sometimes not.

This week, Chicken Liver Pate.

Smooth, buttery, hints of nutmeg and Marsala.

Quickly made and travels well.

Make French bread toasts to accompany

One bite and I’m back at the Elegant Red Brick Ranch Home of my parents, cocktail party in full swing, Ella Fitzgerald singing the Cole Porter Songbook on the stereo, lots of chatter and clinking of glasses, Pops making his infamous vodka martinis and my mother’s wonderful food passed on trays to appreciative guests.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve eaten pounds of this in my lifetime.

And as long as chickens are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, I’ll continue.

Chicken Liver Pate

½ pound chicken livers, rinsed and patted dry
1 stick unsalted butter
1 large shallot, chopped
2 good splashes Marsala
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Heat a medium skillet over medium high head and add butter. When foamy, add the shallots and the chicken livers. Cook until done, probably takes five to seven minutes. Add the Marsala, cook for a couple of minutes, remove from heat and season with coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper.

Put in food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Add the nutmeg and pulse until smooth. Adjust seasoning.

Makes about a pint of pate. Lasts a week in airtight container if you’re not a chicken liver pate freak.

French Bread Toasts

1 loaf French bread, thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil or roasted garlic oil or melted butter or nothing
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Arrange slices on cookie sheet. Brush with oil or butter or leave plain.
Grind pepper over the slices.

Put in oven for about 10 minutes until done.

Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Makes about 20 -30 slices. (Depends on the size of the loaf, you want these thin).

Keep in airtight container. Do not store in plastic bags.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Sweet and Dark Chocolate Sorbet with Crystallized Ginger

****** UPDATED**********************September 7, 2009

I have been thinking about this Dark Chocolate Sorbet all weekend. It was calling to me from the past!

Seriously, how can one resist when something so delicious, so easy and so divine calls.

You don't.

You do the 2009 version....with a few added ingredients that make this even more memorable.



Sweet and Dark Chocolate Sorbet with Crystallized Ginger
Adapted from
Cuisinart Recipe Booklet: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Sherbets and More!


4 cups water
1-2/3 cup vanilla sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1-1/2 cups unsweetened Ghirardelli cocoa powder
1 whole tablet Ibarra sweet Mexican chocolate, ground to a powder
1/2 cup crystallized ginger
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Combine water and sugars in 3-¾ non reactive (stainless, ceramic or glass) saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cocoa, the ground Ibarra chocolate and ground chipotle pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and transfer to medium bowl. Stir in vanilla and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.

Stir chilled mixture. Add to freezer bowl of ice cream maker and follow the instructions. With the Cuisinart model, let mix til thickened, about 30 minutes.Add the crystallized ginger and let it mix in thoroughly.

The sorbet has a soft creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer sorbet to airtight container and place in freezer for 2 hours or more. Best done day ahead.

Makes 14 ½ cup servings.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pan Crisped Devilled Eggs on Baby Romaine


I love eggs.

Hardboiled eggs, fried eggs, omelets, scrambled eggs.

Ya’ll can keep all those half cooked runny egg things on top of pizza and pasta.

I had braces in the sixth grade.

I’m not going there again.

Now, devilled eggs?

I’d eat devilled eggs any time of the day.

They’ve been known to cure hangovers, hangnails and a broken heart.

Groom makes killer devilled eggs….green olives are the master touch. You know the kind of devilled eggs that when you’re eating them you don’t count the halves because you would probably take to your bed if you knew what a glutton you are.

This recipe adapted from The Splendid Table is a great twist on devilled eggs.

They’re elegant devilled eggs, sautéed in a bit of olive oil and pancetta drippings…and served on top of crispy baby romaine.

It’s a very grown up way to eat devilled eggs.

Which, if I haven’t mentioned lately, I love.


Pan Crisped Devilled Eggs with Pancetta on Baby Romaine
Adapted from
The Splendid Table’s How to Cook Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift

EGGS:
8 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced onion
2-½ tightly packed tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1-½-2 tbsp half and half
2 tsp Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1-½ tsp Champagne vinegar
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
2 good slices pancetta, diced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

DRESSING:
Leftover egg stuffing
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
1 generous tsp Dijon mustard
2-½ tbsp half and half
2-½ tsp Champagne vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

SALAD:
4 generous handfuls baby romaine


Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Put in medium bowl and set the whites aside.
Add the mustard, garlic, onion, Italian parsley, milk, mayonnaise and vinegar to yolks. Mash into thick paste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pack mixture back into the egg whites so filling is even with surface of the egg not mounded. You are going to have extra…this becomes the dressing.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

Add the eggs face down and cook until golden brown, takes about 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle the back sides of the eggs with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper as they cook.

While the eggs are sautéing, combine in a large bowl the leftover egg stuffing with all the dressing ingredients. Add the salad greens to the bowl and toss.

Serve the greens and place the eggs on top and sprinkle with the crispy pancetta.

Serves 4 ecstatic devilled egg lovers.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fattoush




Fattoush!

Bless you.

Bulgur?

Whatevah!

Move over tabbouleh…

No grain soaking here.

Just toasted pita bread (homemade if you are of a mind).

The ripest Bradley tomatoes you can find.

Crunchy cucumbers, peeled or unpeeled, it’s your choice.

Sweet red onion, fresh mint and Italian parsley.

A citrusy dressing to taste.

It’s one of those face down in your plate lunches.

Or you can make it even more divine with a few additions….like ricotta salata cheese….or grilled scallops for a smashing dinner….or Kalamata olives…or grilled shrimp…leftover roast chicken….or cottage cheese..or garbanzos…toasted pine nuts…

Or just by itself.

Fattoush
Adapted from Joyce Goldstein’s Mediterranean Fresh

2 to 3 pita bread rounds
2-3 large Bradley tomatoes, cut in bite sized pieces
2 small cucumbers, peeled or unpeeled, cut in bite sized pieces
½ small red onion, diced and soaked in a bit of ice water and a pinch of sugar
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large tsp ground sumac (this is the ultimate secret weapon in Fattoush. It adds a bright note to the dressing…it’s available from Penzey’s
A good handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon,, juiced

Preheat the oven to 350. Pop the pita bread in and bake until they are crunchy, fifteen minutes or so.
Let cool and break into pieces.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and ground sumac together and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Combine veggies in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the pita bread and toss with the dressing and serve immediately.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Spiced Peach and Nectarine Jam with Candied Ginger




Vanilla sugar, the ripest peaches and nectarines.

Cloves, allspice and cinnamon sticks.

Lemon juice.

Candied ginger.

Pure gold in a jar for cold, gray and snowy day to come.


Spiced Peach and Nectarine Jam with Candied Ginger
Adapted from Ball Blue Book of Preserving

1 quart peeled, pitted and chopped peaches and nectarines (about 8)
7 cups vanilla sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 large cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
1 pouch liquid pectin
½ cup candied ginger

Put fruit, sugar and lemon juice with spices in a large, deep saucepan over bringing slowly to a boil until sugar melts. Add liquid pectin and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim off any foam. Add the ginger.
Ladle into hot pint jars and put tops and rims on the jars. Process in hot boiling water for 15 minutes.
Remove from water bath and let cool. When tops pop, tighten lids and store.

This batch made 5 pints.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Feeding Groom Pimiento Cheese


Pimiento Cheese.


Two little words that can cause casual discussions about food to get all high-pitched and in your face and my momma’s better than your momma’s recipe type of thing.

Yea, well, my pimiento cheese kicks your momma’s pimento cheese where the sun don’t…

Wait a minute.

I’m just writing my blog here, I’m not actually arguing with anyone about this.

Yet.

Feeding Groom Pimiento Cheese

½ pound each Monterey jack and extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1-½ cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise…no light, non fat hoody hoo here. The real thing.

A bit of grated onion, not much

A good pinch cayenne and a dash of Tabasco

A good squeeze fresh lemon juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt is a fave in the South, but not to worry if you don’t have it.

½ cup diced roasted red peppers, the ones in a jar, people. They do best for this, not ones you have just roasted and diced.. You need the jarred ones.

Mix the mayo, cayenne, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste, lemon juice and diced peppers together.
Add to the cheese in a large bowl. Mix with your hands. If you want more creamy pimiento cheese, add a bit more Hellmann’s.

Makes a bit over a pound of pc.

Serve on your finger, apples, make a sandwich, a spoon, a celery stick, on top of a hamburger, in a patty melt, on a piece of French bread at 2 in the morning..

The possibilities are endless.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pita Bread 101


Every home should have a pizza stone.

I don’t make pizza that often and I use this thing all the time.

Not for the obvious reasons, either.

For this one.

It makes great bread. You see, my first foray into successful bread making happened because of a pizza stone.

And since then I’ve become a bread making nut.


My latest success?

Pita.

I know you’re thinking, why would I want to make this when I can pop down to the nearest Whole Paycheck and buy a bag and have it ready when I want.

Because it tastes great, it can be made in five minutes, it goes with lots of things, and it’s a member of each of the Official Feeding Groom Food Groups:

A: EASY
B. FUN
C: FABOO
D. IMPRESSIVE


So….why not? The brilliant Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois from the fantastic Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day have mastered the art of fast, tasty bread and this pita bread is TO DIE FOR.

Go on, get a pizza stone, watch this video, buy this book and make some bread….


Pita Bread
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois

Make this basic dough a day ahead.

3 cups lukewarm water
1-½ tbsp granulated yeast (1-½ packets …but get the yeast for bread machines and you can measure it out yourself…much easier)
1-½ tbsp coarse salt
6-½ cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour

Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5 quart bowl. Don‘t worry about it not dissolving. Mix in the flour, all at once, and mix with your hands until combined. Don’t knead the bread dough, it’s not necessary.

Cover with a lid that fits well to the container you are using. I use a plastic cake carrier and leave one side open when I put the top on. If you seal this tightly, you will have a minor explosion in your kitchen which will knock a fresh tomato on the floor and take 2 years off your life…simultaneously, so be careful.
Let this sit on the counter in the kitchen for at least two hours and then refrigerate it overnight. It’s much easier to deal with cold dough instead of wet. Believe me.
You will have four pounds of bread dough that will last, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for 14 days.

Now, when you are ready to make the pita bread, twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the pizza stone in the oven. I put my stone on the top shelf, which I usually keep one notch up from the middle of the oven. Just before baking, dust the surface of the dough (still in the container you keep in the refrigerator) with a bit of flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. If you are making individual pitas, separate the round into four equal pieces. Dust the pieces with more flour and quickly shape them into balls, pulling it into shape by stretching the surface of dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go . Place dough on flour dusted cutting board.

Roll the dough balls out into a round with a uniform thickness of about 1/8 inch. Keep it nicely dusted with flour as you go. You can flip the dough over and roll it on the other side if you like. Place the rounds on a flour dusted pizza peel and slide them on to the pizza stone. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until lightly browned.

Take them out of the oven and place on clean dishtowel on a baking rack. Place another towel across the top. This keeps the breads from drying out.
Once they are cool, store in plastic bags. (You can make great quick pizzas with this pita bread, by the way.)

Makes 4 individual pitas.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nectarines with Fresh Thyme and Cream Sherry



I am not sure that many people start out writing about salad and end up writing about dessert, but that’s exactly what has happened to me.

I was so inspired by Marie's Nectarine and Fresh Basil Salad last week, I decided to do a version of same and take to a dinner party which I knew was leaning towards the fried chicken, devilled egg arena. And there is nothing wrong with that arena at all…I just didn’t want to do the normal potato salad or coleslaw and these eaters were sophisticated enough to get what I was doing with the Nectarine Salad.

I decided to use fresh thyme instead of basil . I didn’t have decent sherry vinegar so I substituted Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. A little extra virgin olive oil, a little vanilla sugar, a squeeze of fresh lime, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste…this was spectacular.

Of course I didn’t take a picture.

C'est la vie.

It was a hit. The Harvey’s brought out the sweetness of the nectarines, the lime balanced that out.

It was just superb.
.
I woke up the next morning thinking about the leftovers.

I couldn’t wait to have them for breakfast. But then I started thinking about ice cream.

At six in the morning.

Nectarine ice cream.

With thyme in it.

And a bit more Harvey’s.

It really doesn‘t matter what time you make ice cream, does it?

The left over nectarine salad was smushed with vanilla sugar and another splash of Harvey’s and a splash of vanilla extract, thrown into the ice cream maker.

I took a picture this time.


Nectarines with Fresh Thyme and Cream Sherry

This is your eyeball recipe.

As many nectarines for as many people as you are serving, sliced
A good splash of Harvey’s Bristol Cream
A good pinch of vanilla sugar
A good swirl of extra virgin olive oil
A big pinch of fresh thyme leaves, crushed
A good squeeze of fresh lime juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine and serve as a salad course or as an accompaniment to grilled pork chops.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Nectarine Ice Cream with Fresh Thyme and Cream Sherry


2 cups vanilla soy milk, or half and half, or 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup half and half
¼ cup vanilla sugar
a squeeze of fresh lime juice
4 nectarines, sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Good splash Harvey’s Bristol cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Smush the nectarines with the sugar, add the thyme, sherry, lime juice, vanilla extract. Stir in the vanilla soy milk and pour mixture into electric ice cream maker. Freeze according to directions on your machine.
When done, remove to a plastic container with airtight lid and freeze.


If you have made the above salad, mash the leftovers with the ¼ cup vanilla sugar and thyme and add the sherry. Continue with the above directions.

Serves 4.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Groom's Gazpacho


Now, as you know, Groom’s idea of a good meal in the summer is a cold soup.

And he pretty much has it down, when it comes to whipping one up.

His Gazpacho is as easy as it is delicious.

There are no measurements, it’s an eyeball thing.

The sign of a born cook.

Make this sometime. It’s great to have in the fridge for a snack, for lunch with a knocked out chicken salad sandwich or get a cup or two of the Gazpacho and whirl it in a blender with a roasted tomatillo, a little fresh cumin, a handful of fresh cilantro and a dash of Tabasco for a quick fresh salsa for a divine snack with chips.

Groom’s Gazpacho

Ripe tomatoes, chopped
Cucumbers, peeled and chopped
Celery hearts, peeled and chopped
Carrots, peeled and diced
Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (you decide how hot you want this….)
Red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
A couple of limes or lemons, squeezed over the veggies
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large can tomato or V-8 juice
Large dash of balsamic vinegar
Large dash of Worcestershire sauce
Large dash of Tabasco
Handful of fresh basil and fresh Italian parsley, chopped

So, get a big bowl out and chop as much of each veggie as you would like to use and put into bowl. Once you’re done, add the tomato juice or v-8 to cover, season and stick in the fridge to chill. If you like it chunky, don’t use as much juice.
Additions are always welcome. We've done marinated artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, a bit of feta on top,a bit of Greek yogurt. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Serves as many as you decide.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Santa Fe Summer Pot


It’s hot. Seriously hot.

It may be too hot to cook, but it’s never too hot to eat.

Yet again, I find myself standing in front of the fridge, thinking to myself….what the hell am I going to come up with tonight. All day long, saving the world, one loan at a time, and coming home and knowing I’ve got killer ingredients in house, but no idea what to do with them.

The last thing I want to do is heat up the kitchen. There are dogs and cats on every A/C vent they can find, while I’m enjoying the cool air from the freezer as I root around to see what might be good.

Then, the big light bulb goes off.

I remember a recipe I read by The Splendid Table chicks called Santa Fe Summer Pot.

I don’t have to turn on the oven, or thaw something out.

Brilliant.

Santa Fe Summer Pot
Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper

The Summer Pot’s Sauce:

¼ cup fresh lime juice
3 green onions, trimmed and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
½ jalapeno, seeded and minced
1- ½ tsp ground coriander
1-½ tsp ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for ten minutes.

2 large tomatoes, chopped
About a 1/3 cup fresh cilantro

Put the tomatoes and cilantro in food processor and do a couple of pulses. Add onion mixture and pulse it five times. Set aside.


½ cucumber, peeled, sliced lengthwise in half and then in half moons
½ large ripe avocado, diced
1/2 pound left over roasted chicken, diced (can use cooked shrimp)
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed
Tortilla chips
Goat cheese to taste
Extra fresh cilantro as a garnish
1 lime, quartered

Divide the cukes, avocado, chicken and beans between three large bowls. Put as much Summer Pot’s Sauce as you like on top, crush tortilla chips and sprinkle on top and garnish with a sprinkle of goat cheese, cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Serves three generously.
And there’s plenty of Summer Pot’s Sauce left over to use as a dip with tortilla chips the next day.

Cilck here for a printable recipe!

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb Mediterranean





Boneless leg of lamb is a particular fave around the Red Brick Ranchero. Especially in the summer when we grill practically every meal. And there are always leftovers, for sandwiches, salads and even standing in front of the refrigerator door snackin’.

Cold grilled leg of lamb dipped in a bit of Dijon mustard has been known to bring a smile to even the grumpiest person in the room.

Seriously.

There are plenty of ways to season lamb before you grill.

The typical garlic stuffed, chopped rosemary and olive oil rubbed is one.

Freshly squeezed lemon, olive oil and crushed red pepper is another favorite, especially with chops.

But this marinade..

this is something else.

Totally different.

Greek leaning towards Turkish and Persian.

Mediterranean, if you will.

It’s a perfectly wonderful..cumin, ground sumac, ground coriander, tomato, extra virgin olive oil and garlic confit conglomeration .

Grill some red and yellow bell peppers, red onions….whip up a quick yogurt, cuke, lemony drizzle…slap some pita bread on the grill to toast…and you’ve got “a slam dunk how did you do this I must have the recipe” dinner on the deck.

Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb Mediterranean

Marinade:

½ large sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 large spoonful garlic confit (or maybe 10 garlic cloves, chopped)
1 small can San Marzano tomatoes, drained (you’ll have maybe five)
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large tsp ground sumac (this is optional but so so good. Adds a bright citrusy flavor available from Penzey’s)
1-½ tbsp ground coriander
1-½ tbsp toasted cumin (just heat a small skillet, add the cumin..you’ll smell it getting toasty and take off the heat)
1 tbsp sweet Spanish paprika
1 tsp dried thyme

Put the onion, garlic, and tomatoes in blender or food processor and pulse it til smooth. Add the herbs spices and a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil to make a paste.
Set aside.


Lamb

1 boneless leg of lamb, about 2-2-½ pounds

Spread lamb out and trim off excess fat. Pour marinade over, rub it in a bit so the lamb feels the love and cover with plastic wrap. You can let it sit out at room temp for several hours, or marinate in the fridge overnight. The longer it sits in this, the better, but be sure to bring lamb to room temp before you grill it.

Heat the grill to medium hot, and grill lamb between 12 to 15 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. We like ours medium rare, so we do about 12.

When done, take off grill and let sit five minutes, slice and serve.

Serves four generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Radishes, Mint and Ricotta Salata




Somebody shoot me.

Why didn’t I think of this salad?

I could have, given enough time, red wine and an inspirational view.

Maybe.

But it doesn’t matter.

Melissa Clark beat me to it and got it published in the NY Times.

And I am so glad she did.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Radishes, Mint and Ricotta Salata
Adapted from a recipe in the NY Times June 2009 by Melissa Clark

1/2 cup sliced radishes
4 ounces sugar snap peas, sliced (1-¼ cups)
4 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled (1 cup)
1/3 bunch mint leaves, torn, (1/3 cup)
1 large clove garlic, minced
Coarse salt , a good pinch
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In large bowl, toss together radishes, peas, ricotta and mint.
In mortar and pestle or with a knife, make a paste of the garlic and the pinch of salt. Place in small bowl and add lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and stir well to combine. Drizzle in the olive oil, stirring constantly and season to taste.
Pour over salad and toss to combine.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grilled Flank Steak with Thai Cucumber, Tomato and Mint Salad



Cook or no cook, there are items that you should have in house that signify it’s summer.

Homegrown tomatoes are coming into season now…thank God.

Tomato sandwiches are now allowed in the house.

Fresh mint abounds in the garden for iced tea.

Cucumbers are prevalent south of here and will soon be in abundance for cool cuke and cream cheese on dark rye for lunch with a bit of fresh dill.

Limes…for summertime cocktails and a squeeze over grilled shrimp tossed with cilantro and garlic for a quick meal…

And flank steak. Fast grilling, slicing and begging for a cool salad over top to make a quick weeknight or even company meal.

Beg no more…

Grilled Flank Steak with Thai Cucumber, Tomato and Mint Salad
Adapted from Molly O’Neill’s A Well-Seasoned Appetite
1 cup lime juice
½ cup Thai fish sauce or nam pla
A good pinch of vanilla sugar
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium homegrown tomato, diced
½ large English cucumber, peeled, diced
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Small to medium flank steak, about 1-½ pounds, drizzled with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and jalapeno pepper in glass or ceramic bowl. Add the tomatoes and the cucumber and refrigerate.

Grill the flank steak about five a side and let stand for five minutes. Add mint leaves to salad and toss. Slice steak thinly and top with the salad.

Serves 3 generously.

Salad lasts several days in fridge.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Honey and Cinnamon Baked Granola with Dates, Golden Raisins and Nuts


I love granola. Seriously.
I love it.
But I have had a love hate relationship with it. Maybe that’s too strong of a description of our affair.
I love to eat it, I totally hate to make it.
No, that’s not right. I don’t totally hate to make it.
I forget to make it and I totally hate that I do that because it means that I have to eat the store bought highly sugared not so very good for you granola that doesn’t taste a bit like what I can make at home.

I’ve talked about Richard Sax and Marie Simmons’s cookbook, Lighter Quicker Better in several posts. It is one of the better healthy eating cookbooks around. Having only done “dinner items” from the book, and searching for a granola recipe, I came across theirs.

I haven’t looked back.

You can add or subtract ingredients. Dates sometimes, almonds others, walnuts always. Golden raisins sometimes, dried apricots or blueberries, or all of the above. And it’s baked in honey and cinnamon with a touch of oil.

So you get good granola, that’s good for you.

I love that!

Honey and Cinnamon Baked Granola with Dates, Golden Raisins and Nuts
Adapted from Lighter Quicker Better by Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

2 cups old fashioned or quick cooking oats, not instant
1-½ cups chopped nuts…walnuts, pecans or almonds
¾ cup raisins, golden or dark, dates or any dried fruit you like
2 tbsp canola oil
½ cup wild honey
1 tbsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 350.

Spread the oatmeal, nuts, and raisins in 13 x 9 pan.

In small saucepan, combine oil, honey and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Pour over the oatmeal mix in pan and stir to combine.

Bake 25-30 minutes stirring often til mixture is golden.

Makes about three cups. Store in plastic bag or airtight jar.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Roasted Pepper Bisque with Zucchini-Shrimp Salsa


85 degrees, humidity ooching on up into a typical Middle Tennessee almost summer day.

Just perfect for soup.

Sweet roasted red and green bell peppers with onion and garlic swirled into a bisque and topped with zucchini shrimp basil salsa from Molly O’Neill’s A Well Seasoned Appetite.

A cold soup, you say?
Oh, heavens no.

Remember I am a quadruple Gemini, which means that at least one of me wants to buck the trend and have a hot soup.

I compromise…it turned out more like a room temp. But this could be hot. It could be cold.

Whichever way you want to do it, you’ll love it.

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque with Zucchini-Shrimp Salsa
Adapted from Molly O’Neill’s A Well Seasoned Appetite


Bisque:

One good swirl extra virgin olive oil
3 red bell peppers, roasted and cut into large pieces
3 green bell peppers, roasted and cut into large pieces
4 medium sweet yellow onions, chopped
2 cups roasted chicken stock
1 good spoonful garlic confit
6 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 lime, squeezed
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the swirl of extra virgin olive oil. Add the peppers, onion and ½ cup roasted chicken stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally , for 20 minutes. Stir in garlic confit, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Put mix into food processor and hit pulse several times to make it smooth. Add remaining roasted chicken stock, yogurt, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste and pulse til smooth. Transfer to saucepan, or if serving cold, put in container in fridge to chill.


Salsa:

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise , then into half moons
12 large shrimp, sautéed, chopped and seasoned with lime juice
3 medium green onions, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Lime juice to taste
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place zucchini on baking sheet and roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Heat soup, if you like, until just hot. Ladle into bowl and top with the salsa.

If you are serving this cold, swirl a bit of Greek yogurt through the soup and top with salsa.
Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Plumped Ginger-Caramel Shrimp




Look at those shrimp.


Don’t they look like they’re having a great time….doing the backstroke for 20 minutes or so in a sweet and spicy chile powder brine waiting on you to chop fresh garlic and ginger and throw that in a very hot pan with a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive, freshly ground black pepper and a bit of salt.
This goes so fast, you know…the garlic goes a lovely warm gold, vanilla sugar is sprinkled on top, the shrimp do a swan dive into the hot pan and you cook them until they get that pinky soft color that makes you say…oh. My. god…now this is going to be a good supper!

You can also add a bit of blanched asparagus or sugar snaps in you’re of a mind to have a bit of veg with your dinner.

Plumped Ginger Caramel Shrimp
Adapted from The Splendid Table ‘s How to Eat Supper


Brine:
½ cup kosher salt (not iodized)
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1/3 cup medium hot chile powder
2 cups warm water
1-½ pounds large frozen shrimp

Saute:

6 large garlic cloves,
1 4 inch piece fresh peeled ginger
A couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
Coarse salt

In a medium glass bowl, blend salt, sugar, chile powder in warm water and add the shrimp. Let stand 20 minutes.
Drain the shrimp, peel off shells if you need to…pat the shrimp dry.
Chop garlic and ginger together. Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger , pepper to taste and a good pinch of coarse salt. Cook for a minutes, stirring with wooden spatula, blend in the sugar and keep stirring until garlic is pale gold. Immediately add the shrimp and stir until the shrimp are pink and barely firm.
You can toss in a bit of blanched asparagus or sugar snap peas if you like.
You can serve over rice or eat straight out of the pan.
This is wondrous.

Serves 3 generously. The Splendid Table says 4...but they don’t live at our house!!!

Click here for a printable recipe!


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mrs.Whitson's Banana Bread



Now I know each and every one of you has a recipe for banana bread.

But this banana bread is different.

It means something to me.

I think of all the times I’ve made this recipe, when I’ve been in college in Virginia, at a friend’s house in Florida, one late night in Cincinnati during a snowstorm…impressing easily impressed people, comforting others, but always bringing familiar feelings of security and happiness and providing just the right touch of sweet at the perfect moment.

It comes from the Nashville Seasons Cookbook, a must have for every cook’s collection. More cake-like than bread, but divine with peanut butter, or toasted and drizzled with a bit of pure maple syrup or just on its own.

Easy, tasty, feel good banana bread.

These days and times, we could all use some.

Mrs. Whitson’s Banana Bread
Adapted from Nashville Seasons Cookbook

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup vanilla sugar
1 egg, beaten
3 almost ready to throw away bananas…fess up you’ve got these around. I’ve even used frozen ones, thawed
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp vanilla soy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped nuts (I’ve used those great sweet and salty pecans that you get for Christmas presents. I had wonderful results with those.)

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter a loaf pan well.
Cream butter with sugar and add the egg.
Mash the bananas.
Add the baking soda and vanilla extract to the vanilla soy milk and stir into the bananas.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder and add slowly to the banana mixture.
Add the nuts.
Pour into buttered loaf pan and bake for40 minutes or til a tester comes out clean.
Cook for 10 on rack before slicing it.

Makes one glorious loaf.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flank Steak with Mushroom, Red Pepper and Baby Bok Choy


This recipe is the bomb.

It’s a very motivational meal.

It gets you to eat baby bok choy, something I’m sure a lot of you have stared at in the grocery store, sidling a bit to the side when someone very hip comes up and throws two of them in their cart and moves on. And you think to yourself, why don’t I go on and try it..what could it hurt?

It gets you to use Fish Sauce which someone very dear to me said the odor reminded him of the wrestling mat at his old high school when it’s 98 degrees in the shade and everyone showed up to watch him get his butt kicked, and his face spent most of the time on said mat.

It gets you to marinate something quickly as opposed to overnight.

It gets you to slice and grate and stir and fry and have a glass of wine and discover that it wasn’t such a bad day after all.

You see?

Fast, easy, motivational, mood changing and delicious.

What more could you ask of a recipe?

Flank Steak with Mushroom, Red Pepper and Baby Bok Choy
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine December 2008

3 tbsp Fresh ginger, grated
1 spoonful garlic confit or 3 fat garlic cloves, smushed and chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp fish sauce (Nam Pla)
4 tsp cornstarch, divided
A good shake crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 pound flank steak
1 pkg baby bella mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
½ cup thinly sliced sweet yellow onion
½ cup thinly sliced green onion
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper strips
4 cups thinly sliced baby bok choy
1 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade

Mix together the ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy, 2 tsp cornstarch, sesame oil and crushed red bell pepper and pour over flank steak. Put in zip lock bag, seal and squish around to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or more.

Heat large skillet and put a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil in over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms onion and bell pepper to the pan. Cook three to five minutes until crisp tender and then remove from pan and put in bowl and immediate add bok choy to pan and saute three minutes til slightly wilted and add that to the mushroom mix and keep warm.

Now you can grill the steak until done and slice it OR you can slice the marinated flank steak and quickly cook in hot skillet in batches…this takes maybe five minutes, depending on how hot you have the pan. Put steak in bowl with veg…put pan back on medium high heat and add broth and the remaining two teaspoons cornstarch and boil, scraping the pan to get all the browned bits then add the steak and veggie mix back to the pan and toss to combine.

Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grilled Halibut in a Yucatecan Marinade



Rain, again.
Movie.
Joyce Goldstein.
Inspiration.
Marinade.
Lime, orange, coriander, allspice, cayenne, chile powder, roasted garlic oil, zests.
Halibut.
Shrimp.
Grill.
Black beans, sweet yellow onions, splash orange zest, cilantro, rice.
Salsa with avocado chunks stirred in.
Dinner.
Good.


Grilled Fish in a Yucatecan Marinade
Adapted from Joyce Goldstein’s Back to Square One

One ½ pound halibut fillet
10 large shrimp, tail on

Marinade:
¼ cup roasted garlic oil
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Zest from ½ lime
About 2 tsp orange zest
1-½ tbsp smushed then chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp finely minced jalapeno pepper
¼ cup chile powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground allspice
Cayenne pepper to taste
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Fresh cilantro to taste
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed or home cooked beans
A splash of sherry
½ large sweet yellow onion, sliced in half, then sliced again
1 cup of your favorite salsa with 1 avocado, diced stirred in
Cooked rice for three
Lime wedges if you remember to do them


Make the marinade and pour over the halibut and shrimp in flat pyrex pan and refrig for 2 hours. The marinade may make more than you need and it stays nicely in the fridge for several days.

When ready to grill the fish, put a couple of good swirls extra virgin olive oil in medium skillet over medium high heat and, add the onions and reduce heat and let cook until golden brown. Add the black beans, raise the heat and add a splash of sherry, reduce heat a bit and let cook. Add fresh cilantro to taste.

Grill shrimp and halibut til perfect, three minutes a side.

To plate, rice, a bit of halibut, a bit of shrimp, black beans and salsa.

Serves 3 generously.

Click here for a printable recipe!

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Groom’s Knock Your Socks Off Ground Pork, Linguica, Bell Pepper, Onion Enchiladas Topped with Grilled Salsa, Cheddar Cheese and Cilantro



A dot and a line.

Chuck Jones...brilliance in cartoons.

Doesn’t this describe cooking and its creativity?

The straight line is following a recipe word for word.

You’re playing it straight.

In cooking.

So , take a recipe and make it your own.

That’s how you cook. That’s how you live.

Straight lines are great. But versatility and expression of how you want something to taste or be is better.

Go on.

Try it.

Seek the dot.

Groom’s Knock Your Socks Off Ground Pork, Linguica, Bell Peppers Onions Enchiladas Topped with Grilled Salsa, Cheddar Cheese and Cilantro

…HELLO DOT!!!

Here’s how the Dot happens…..

So the other night…Monday….wanted something easy…Groom likes to grill sausages and onions and peppers, maybe we had about a cup of this left in the fridge.

Last week I made a roasted salsa…tomatillos, poblanos, red bells, sweet red onions, green onions, garlic….in the oven til roasted nice and squishy and then throw into the blender with fresh cilantro and Italian parsley…because it’s lying around….maybe a cup and a half of it….

So those two things are in the fridge.

Come home…act pitiful…don’t want to cook…sweet Groom says, not to worry….and what does he do….

He seeks the dot.

Iron skillet gets heated up with a couple of good swirls of extra virgin olive oil. Sweet yellow onions are chopped and sautéed til golden…..he takes them out for a bit, adds maybe a pound ground pork, drains the fat out.……adds the onions back …adds a can of black beans, drained and rinsed well because he hates that goopy stuff that‘s in the cans…tbsp ancho chile pepper freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt to taste…….add ¼ cup water…cook down. Take out of skillet and sets aside. Preheat oven to 350.
.
Adds the grilled salsa to hot iron skillet, over medium low heat…with a bit of olive oil…. then dip flour tortillas in hot salsa, fill with the ground pork. Roll and put back in iron skillet….fill enough to go into the skillet shred cheddar cheese on top, smush salsa on top, if you have extra… cook 30 minutes…top with sour cream and fresh cilantro…sit around and talk about how amazing this is..

Serves 5 generously,…really generously….

Click here for printable recipe!

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Frank's Chicken Pot Pies


There are lots of chicken pot pie recipes.

None like Frank’s.

It's easy.

Chock full of fresh carrots....


sauteed onions, peppers, celery....

and shredded chicken.


A killer homemade white sauce



seasoned with celery seed, crushed red pepper, bouquet garni.








And your choice of pastry to top them.

And so good.

Every single time.

He makes them in quantity.

And freezes them.

Someone moves to a new house and you want to take them dinner.

Done.

Need comfort food fix.

Done.

Surprise guests drop in.

Done.

Couldn't be easier.

Thanks Frank!


Frank’s Chicken Pot Pies


8 whole chicken breasts, boiled in homemade chicken stock, shredded
8 stalks celery, sliced in half, then chopped in bite size pieces
3 lb bag carrots, peeled, sliced in half, sliced into bite size pieces
3 large sweet onions, chopped into bite size pieces
6 mixed green, yellow and red bell peppers, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 stick plus ¼ stick unsalted butter
1 and ½ cups all purpose flour
2 quarts roasted chicken stock
1 to 2 tbsp Bouquet garni
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 to 2 tbsp dried parsley
1 to 2 tbsp Celery seed
Crushed red bell pepper flakes to taste
4 pkg prepared pie crust (2 boxes unrolled pie crust) or if you’re industrious, make your own or use phyllo or puff pastry dough. It’s your call.
4 square aluminum baking pans

Boil carrots, drain and rinse with cold water.
Cook celery, onion, bell pepper in butter til soft, not brown.
Two large bowls…divide the carrots, peppers, onions among them.
Divide chicken between bowls.
Melt butter add flour, make paste, add 2 quarts chicken stock, seasonings and stir til thick .
Divide between two bowls, season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir. Put in baking pans, top with pastry. You can get creative on the how you do the top with the pastry. Or just roll it out, cover and poke with fork …. Wrap with clear plastic wrap then aluminum foil.
Freeze.

To cook: Don’t thaw.
Preheat oven 375 degrees. Remove foil and saran wrap and place on cookie sheet. Cook for an hour and 15 minutes, cover with foil if browning too quick.


Makes 4.

Click here for a printable recipe!


One Year Ago on Feeding Groom
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