Monday, April 9, 2018

Chicken with Olives, Lemons and Red Peppers

A country style dish from Abruzzi and Molise region of Italy

Made this dish at least 3 times since I saw Mary Ann Esposito making it on Ciao Italia.  We are having it again this week. 
You are supposed to use Cerignola green olives but I couldn't find them.  Instead, we have been using Castelvetrano green olives.

Chicken with Olives, Lemons and Red Peppers
(from Ciao Italia)

Serves 4 generously

1/2 cup pitted green olives
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 T. fresh sage leaves
1 T. fresh rosemary needles
1 t. salt
coarse black pepper to taste
pinch of ground nutmeg
zest and juice of 2 large lemons
3. 5 pounds cut up chicken pieces (thighs work well)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup red wine
1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips

Coarsely chop together the olives, garlic, sage, and rosemary.  (You can also do it in a mini-processor to save time.) Transfer mixture to a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the chicken pieces (a 9x12 inch pan).
Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in the zest and the lemon juice.   Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat them in the mixture.  (I add the lemon rinds, too.) Cover and refrigerate overnight.  (But I have done it a few hours in advance with equally good results.)
When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a saute pan large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer.  Brown the pieces well on both sides.  It isn't specified in the recipe, but I add all of the marinade bits --- the olives, garlic, lemon  and herbs ---into the pan, except the lemon rinds,  Raise the heat to high and stir in the red wine.  Cook 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes.  Add the peppers during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Serve the chicken hot with some pan juices.  Roasted potatoes with garlic and thyme (see recipe here) go well with this dish.

B

Monday, April 2, 2018

Salmon with Lemon Caper Butter Sauce


A simple but very tasty sauce of lemon and capers enhances the salmon which is dusted with coriander and chervil before roasting. 

The salmon can be roasted on cedar planks or baked in a hot ceramic dish.

Requires soaking of the cedar planks in advance for 30-90 minutes.  Plan accordingly. 

Salmon with Lemon Caper Butter Sauce
(from Char-Broil)

1 salmon fillet per person (about 6-8 ounces)
1 cedar plank per salmon fillet (optional)
olive oil
ground pepper
ground coriander (about 1 t.)
salt
1/4 cup fresh chervil (or chives), or 2 T. dried

Caper butter sauce:
3 T. butter (unsalted)
1 large lemon juiced
1/2 Tablespoon capers (or more if you like them alot)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (or grill, if preferred)

Place salmon fillet skin side down on soaked cedar planks.

But if you forget, like I have, then you can use a pre-heated ceramic casserole, but make sure the dish is really hot before you add the fish (so the skin crisps), then continue to bake in the oven.

Brush fillet with olive oil.
Sprinkle with ground coriander, pepper and chives over full length of fillet.  Salt fish to taste.  (more than you think.)

Roast/bake for 15-25 minutes until the fish flakes into large chunks when pulled.  Or is firm to touch.

While the fish is grilling, prepare caper butter sauce by simply melting butter in a small pan or skillet at medium-high heat.  Once melted, add capers and lemon juice.  Remove once the sauce reaches a boil.

Serve hot over salmon.

B

Monday, March 26, 2018

Pork Tenderloin with Whisky-Marmalade Sauce



I have made this at least 3 times now and have added it to our list of "go-to" recipes because it uses ingredients we always have on hand.

Pork tenderloins have been part of our repertoire for a long time, but until now, I have never thought about slicing them into medallions to speed up the process.

I am becoming a fan of making sauces, and this is a good one.

Pork Medallions with Whiskey-Marmalade Sauce
(from Fine Cooking, Feb/March 2018)

Serves 4

1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 t. fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 t. dry mustard
2 t.  vegetable oil
1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut cross-wise into 1 - inch - thick medallions
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. unsalted butter
2 T. finely chopped shallot
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 T. Scotch whiskey (like Dewar's or Cutty Sark or Johnny Walker)
1/4 t. cornstarch
1 T. water
In a small bowl, combine the marmalade, orange juice, lemon juice and mustard, set aside.

I recommend that you chop your shallot, get your red pepper flakes ready, measure out the whiskey and make the cornstarch slurry ahead of time, i.e., now.

Also, I recommend that you remove the pork tenderloin from the grocery store packaging well in advance of cooking it, and pat it dry, and remove any silver skin.  The drier the meat the better for pan-frying.  Slice the pork into 1" medallions and season it just before pan-frying.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the pork generously with salt and pepper, then cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, and just barely cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to plate.  (I put my plate in the oven on 200 degrees to keep them warm.)

Add the butter, shallot, and pepper flakes to the skillet, and let cook, stirring, until the shallot is tender, about 1 minute.  Add the whiskey and cook, stirring, until nearly evaporated, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the marmalade mixture and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and 1 T. water in a small dish.  Stir this slurry into the sauce, and simmer until slightly thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if needed.
Stir in the pork juices that have collected on the plate into the sauce.  Put the medallions back into the sauce to coat them evenly, then serve, drizzled with the extra sauce.
This time we served it with rice and sauteed green beans.

B


Monday, March 12, 2018

Delicious Irish Brown Soda Bread


We were wowed by this recipe.  It was well worth the effort to find the wheat bran and wheat germ for the recipe.

This is the only recipe that I have found that comes close to the bread we had when traveling in Ireland.

Needless to say, be sure to use fresh flour and baking powder, and it is best to weigh the flour or to air-fluff your flour before measuring it out into cups, so that you don't get a heavy dough.

Irish Brown Soda Bread
(Cook's Illustrated March-April 2018)

Makes one 8 inch loaf

2 cups (11 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 t. sugar
1.5 t. baking powder
1.5 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly grease an 8 inch round (I used a square) cake pan.
Whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat bran, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Add buttermilk, and stir with a rubber spatula until all flour is moistened and dough forms soft, ragged mass.
(You can skip this step)
Transfer the dough to counter and gently shape into a 6 inch round (surface will be craggy.  Tom said mine looked like a mountain range.)
Transfer to prepared pan. Using serrated knife, cut 1/2 inch deep cross about 5 inches long on top of loaf.
Bake until loaf is lightly browned and center registers 185 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, if  you remember to do it.
Invert loaf onto wire rack.  Reinvert loaf and let cool for at least 1 hour.  Slice and serve.
Our bread lasted for several days, in a plastic bag, although it was the best on the first day.  On the last day, it was delicious toasted for breakfast.
B


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup


We loved this recipe.  Had it for dinner several times in a row and didn't get tired of it at all.

The spice mix is a great combination:  smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, plus red pepper flakes for heat.  The soup has lots of texture from the chard, chickpeas, lentils, and orzo.  And we loved the tomato herb broth. Lemon adds brightness.

Plan plenty of time to prep your ingredients.  Once you have them ready, it will take another 45 minutes to an hour to complete the soup and have it ready to serve.


Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup
(from Cook's Illustrated March-April 2018)

Serves 6 to 8 generously

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. grated fresh ginger
2 t. ground coriander
2 t. smoked paprika
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground cinnamon (Ceylon)
1/8 t. red pepper flakes
3/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (divided in two)
4 cups chicken broth (I used 6 cups)
4 cups water (I used 2 cups)
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
1 cup lentils (they said brown, I used green), picked over and rinsed
1 (28 ounce ) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup orzo
4 ounces Swiss chard, stemmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used a mix of chard and kale)
2 T. lemon juice
salt and pepper


In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.  (Yes, it looks like too much oil! but go ahead) until shimmering.  Add onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and starting to brown, 7 to 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.  (Do not let your garlic burn.) Stir in coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro and 1/4 cup parsley and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the broth, water, chickpeas, and lentils; increase heat to high and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium low, partially cover, and gently simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and pasta and simmer, partially covered for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in chard and continue to cook, partially covered, until pasta is tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Off heat, stir in lemon juice, remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, and remaining 1/4 cup parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve.

B



Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies (King Arthur)

A Pan Full of Brownies Waiting to Cool Before Cutting

I was surprised to see a brownie recipe on the back of my King Arthur all-purpose flour.  They aren't in the business of selling cocoa.

I had just made a fancy-pants version of brownies from Fine Cooking and they were a total gooey-mess-fest, so I thought maybe simpler would be better.

I noticed that King Arthur's recipe used a combination of butter and oil, when most recipes use butter only.

These brownies are basic but that doesn't mean they aren't good!  They are.  They are chewy, moist and chocolaty.

They are on the thinner side.  If you want thicker brownies, you can make them in a smaller pan  Just increase the baking time to compensate.

Note:  These can be made with gluten-free flour substitute.

Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies
(King Arthur Flour)

1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cocoa (any kind)
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. espresso powder
3 large eggs (room temperature)
8 T. (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13" pan.

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, and stir together until smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan.  Spread, if necessary to make the batter even throughout.

Bake for 25- 26 minutes or until a tester (toothpick) comes out clean.  Don't overbake.

Remove from the oven and let them cool completely in the pan.

Once completely cool, cut into squares.

Freezes well.

B


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Squirrel Chocolate Cookies


Squirrel and Nut Christmas Cookie Platters 

Looking back at the cookies we made over the holidays, Tom's chocolate squirrels were surprisingly good and worth making again. (I'll let Tom explain sometime why squirrels were appropriate.)  The recipe was on the card that came with the cookie cutter which I found at Wegman's.  You can see the full range of cookie cutters here at

www.annclarkcookiecutters.com

I enjoyed visiting their site.  They have over 2100 designs and you can order them online, too.   They have an extensive list of recipes which will come in handy in the future. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Ann Clark started the cookie cutter company using her pig design.  The family run company is based in Vermont, and has become a big success!  They are the biggest cookie cutter manufacturer in the USA.

I wonder what Ben Clark, Ann's son, who runs the company, thinks of the proposed tariffs on steel.

Squirrel Chocolate Cookies
(from Ann Clark Cookie Cutters)

Makes about 12-14 squirrels

Cream together:
1 1/4 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

Beat in:
1 egg

Add:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 t. salt

Mix well.  Chill dough for three hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out 1/4" thick and cut into shapes.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.  Frost and decorate or eat just plain.  Enjoy!  Ann

Frosting:
3/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 T. butter
1 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. lemon juice

Melt butter, combine all ingredients, and beat until smooth.  Add food coloring if desired.  Yield:  1/3 cup.

B


Friday, March 9, 2018

Coffee Shortbread Dipped In Chocolate by Colleen


A friend has a cookie exchange party every year on her birthday. She serves baked potatoes and salad and drinks and everyone brings a couple dozen cookies. It is a good time and I just went to the 10th annual party! Which presents a small problem in that I’ve already brought all my “go-to” recipes in the past. So I decided to bring something new and I wanted the presentation to be good as she puts all the cookies out on display on her dining table. So I did a little research and came up with this recipe. —-Colleen



Coffee Shortbread Dipped in Chocolate

3 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons espresso powder
2 cups butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch salt

Chocolate Glaze:
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
1 stick butter

Soften the 2 cups of butter.  Dissolve the espresso powder in the vanilla extract in a small bowl.  Add the sugar to the butter and cream and add in the espresso and vanilla mixture.  Add in the flour and mix well.  If you are using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the  dough.

Pat the dough into two flat disks, wrap and refrigerate.  When the dough is chilled, roll out on a silpat  using a sheet of plastic film or waxed paper on top so the dough doesn’t stick.  Roll to about ½ inch thickness.  Cut out small circles with cookie cutter or any other shape you like.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes on parchment lined cookies sheets.   Check for doneness – they should feel “set” to the touch and  be just beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Glaze:

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a large bowl.  Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate half way and place on wire rack to set.  

Note:

The cookies are not overly sweet, so you may want to use milk chocolate chips if you want a sweeter cookie, or you can cut back a bit on the espresso powder.


—-Colleen

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Shrimp and Edamame Fried Rice by Tom

Easy and Fun To Make

Barbara promised to make me something special for Valentine's Day.  So I was tasked with making something special the night before.

Paging through a new magazine that she had just brought home, I found a picture that immediately caught my eye.  I had been thinking something with shrimp would be good, and there it was:  Shrimp and Edamame Fried Rice.  Very easy to make with good flavor and texture.

Look for the shelled edamame in your frozen food section.  It took a while to find it but it was there hiding on the bottom row.  It was worth finding.

I will make this dish again!

---Tom


Shrimp and Edamame Fried Rice
(From Fine Cooking, Feb/Mar 2018)

2 large eggs
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 scallions thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup shelled edamame (thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, more to taste
4 cups cooked white rice at room temperature or cold
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil, more to taste
 hot sauce to be added at the table if desired

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside for later use.

Heat one tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few seconds.  Season the shrimp lightly with some salt and pepper, and add the shrimp and edamame.  Stir fry until the shrimp turn pink, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the soy sauce and the remaining vegetable oil.  Add the rice and cook together stirring constantly.  Do this until the edamame is tender and the rice is heated through.  Another 3-4 minutes.

Push the rice mixture to the side of the pan.  Add the eggs and cook stirring constantly until almost set. About 1-2 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and fold in the eggs to the rice mixture.  Sprinkle with the scallion greens and toss to combine.

Season to taste with additional soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot sauce.


Start to finish including prep time about 30 minutes.  Looks good.  Tastes good.

---Tom

Monday, January 1, 2018

Aranygaluska from Colleen



Hungarian Coffee Cake

Aranygaluska.  I make two before Xmas and freeze one for New Year's Day.

I think you have the recipe.  Tom liked this when you were here before.

Happy New Year's to you both!

---Colleen

Your photo looks as delicious as I remember it tasting.  Yes, Tom posted your recipe after we visited you a few years ago.  You can see the recipe hereColleen's Hungarian Coffee Cake by Tom  

B

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Grandma Reed's Frosted Butter Cookies from Sarah C.B. and her mother, Mary

"The Best Frosted Cookie, Ever!"

I am thrilled that our nephew’s wife, Sarah, has a family cookie recipe to share with us!  

Sarah says "It's our secret family cookie recipe but my mom is happy to share it."

Sarah's mom, Mary, learned the recipe from her mom, Lorraine Reed.  Mary shares the story of the cherished family recipe with us below: 
"Every Christmas, for over a half-century, our family has made these soft, sweet cookies for Christmas and Easter.  The fun is in choosing shapes of the cutouts and in decorating each cookie with favorite colors.  Some of the best memories are of the kids and their friends creating their own version of the best frosted cookie, ever!" ----Mary

BUTTER COOKIES

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter.  (Try to use a butter with high fat content)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 extra lg. eggs
1 1/4 tsps. vanilla extract (high quality)

1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsps. baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour (King Arthur's All-Purpose)

1/3 cup whole milk

Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat, well.
Sift dry ingredients and add to butter mixture, along with milk.
Mix until just incorporated.  (Too much mixing once the flour is added will make the batter tough)

Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out 1/4 of the dough on a floured surface, turning dough over once before cutting.
Cut 1/4" thick cookies.
Place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Bake lg. cookies for 6 mins, med for 5 1/2 mins and small for 4 1/2 mins.  (You'll know they are done when the top doesn't look shiny/wet.)
Remove baking sheet from oven to cool.
Don't worry if they are not golden brown on top.  They will be golden brown on the bottom and will turn out nice and soft to eat if you've gotten them right out of the oven after the shine is gone.

Makes approximately 4 dozen medium cookies.  Cookies taste better if frozen after they are baked.  Do not freeze them once they are frosted.



FROSTING

1/2 cup softened butter
4 tsps vanilla extract
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup whole milk

Mix ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Frosting should be a little stiff so that cookies have a textured appearance.

Decorating tips - add food coloring, if desired; sprinkle frosted cookies quickly, before frosting dries; use tiny paint brush to dust dry frosting with white decorating powder (Michaels/Hobby Lobby); use two tiny white candy cane candies to make a halo for angel cut-outs; thin out some of the frosting with milk and put in a small plastic squeeze bottle to draw garland on Christmas tree cut-outs and use tiny round decorating candies as ornaments use with chocolate sprinkles on white frosting for trunk of tree.

Dry completely and store in air-tight container with wax paper between cookie layers.
Stays fresh for 4 or 5 days.

Enjoy!                                                                                                                                                             ---Mary C.