Friday, March 22, 2013

Kale Smoothie Suggestion from Bridget

Kale Smoothie Suggestion from Bridget
When I mentioned that other day that I was working with my doctor to "de-tox" my system, Bridget recommended her Kale Smoothie.  Says it will make you feel good, and is good for you. 

So, I faithfully bought all of the ingredients, and made my first smoothie.  Now, this smoothie is not for everyone.  It is more for those who believe in the power of wheat grass and can tolerate the taste of raw greens. 

It is was very filling and rather sharp tasting.  Almost too much for me to handle, but the day after I had the smoothie I felt great and had lots of energy! 

Kale Smoothie

2 servings

Fresh Kale -- Bridget uses prewashed, chopped in bags
Freshly grated ginger
Pineapple juice, and crushed pineapple
A small ripe banana
Flax Seeds (I found them in the bulk aisle)
Soy milk or water (I used coconut milk)

So here's what I did.  Add the flax seeds first, per Bridget's directions.  About a tablespoon or two.  Then, she said to fill the blender about half way up with kale.  Add a banana for sweetness.  Fresh ginger because it is good for you.  So, I grated some into the blender.  Pineapple juice -  uses canned, unsweetened. I got worried about the kale being bitter so I put in plenty of crushed pineapple, too.   And then she recommends soy milk or water.  I am not supposed to drink soy milk due to thyroid issues, so I chose coconut milk.  Whirl it all together.  I made mine extra smooth by choosing the Liquefy button on the blender, but you can leave it chunky if preferred.

The sooner you drink it the better.  Bottoms up!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pork Chop Milanese by Carl H.

Cotoletta di maiali (Pork Chop Milanese)
Note from B:  I am pleased to have Carl. H. as a guest blogger again.  He writes a very informative and entertaining recipe. We made this dish for our Sunday supper and it was delicious!

Hi Barb,
Here is another of my favorites  ---

 Cotoletta di maiali Milanese (Pork chop Milanese)

(serves 6)

6 thickish pork chops
3 eggs
2 cups unflavored breadcrumbs
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil for browning
2 cloves garlic (more, if you prefer)
3 lemons
1 8 oz. jar whole pitted olives (w/ pimento)(and juice)
2 dredging dishes
1 large skillet or low sided Le Creuset (w/ cover)


Pummel the pork chops. You can use wax paper if you want to lessen the collateral damage. The idea behind the pounding is to break down some of the connective tissue and to flatten them a bit. You went them to end up about half again as large as they began.

Break the eggs into one dredging dish. Beat them coarsely. Pour half the breadcrumbs and half the Parmesan into the other and mix them together with your hands.

In the skillet, brown the crushed garlic in the olive oil for 30 seconds and discard. Dredge the chops in the egg mixture, then the breadcrumb/cheese mixture. Brown the chops in the skillet and set aside. You will likely need more olive oil and breadcrumb/cheese mixture as you work your way through the browning process. That is why you hold half the breadcrumb/cheese mixture in reserve.

Now you have some lovely fond in the pan that you free up with a wooden spoon by pouring in the entire contents of the jar of olives. Return the browned chops to the pan. Cut the lemons in quarters and squeeze the juice over the top of the chops.

Cover tightly and cook over low heat for an hour or until the meat cuts with a fork. You can use a 300 degree oven, if you prefer. Put the chops on a platter and pour the pan juices and the olives over them. We usually serve with a simple spaghetti marinara and a tossed salad. Cotes-du-Rhone goes well.

Simple, fragrant and delicious.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Mom's Seafood Chowder (Updated)

Tom's Version of Mom's Seafood Chowder 

Barbara published recently my mother's seafood chowder recipe as she makes it.  However, I rarely follow any recipe to a "T", and this recipe is no exception.  What I did actually improved the recipe (sorry Mom!).

Tom's version of Mom's Seafood Chowder 
(adapted from a very old "Bon Appetit", circa 1990)

2 - 4 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 small cans chopped clams
1 10 3/4 oz. can tomato soup
1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
2 generous tablespoons tomato paste
1 small can corn niblets
1 mahi mahi filet (frozen works great) - cut into 1" pieces
half bag of small frozen shrimp - uncooked
2 tablespoons parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 cups fish stock

Heat oil -- add onion, celery & garlic -- Saute for about 10 minutes.

Drain clams -- Keep liquid ---add liquid to pan.

Stir in tomato soup, fish stock and tomato paste, and bring to a boil. Slowly add the frozen mahi mahi and frozen shrimp while maintaining the boil.  Now add the clams, corn, parsley, oregano, basil and cayenne pepper. Simmer until shrimp and mahi mahi are cooked, approximately 3 - 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Mom said that she and Dad really loved it, and so do we.  Thanks Mom for the recipe.

--- Tom

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Jacques Pepin's Lamb by Tom

Jacques Pepin's Spicy Leg of Lamb by Tom

This is a really good leg of lamb recipe!

If you enjoy lamb, which we do, this recipe, found in Jacques Pepin's cookbook "Chez Jacques", is a real keeper. In fact I made it a second time in less than two weeks and am now sharing this recipe for the blog. The only difference between the first and second time that I made it was boneless leg of lamb versus bone in. Both came out wonderfully. So good in fact that David joined us for both dinners.

page 170-171: even though the recipe actually called for a boneless leg of lamb, his picture has the bone in.  Hence my willingness to experiment with it both ways.


Grilled Spicy Leg of Lamb
(from Jacques Pepin's cookbook)

4-5 pound small leg of lamb - bone in or boneless - your preference


1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce or suracha hot sauce

3/4 cup water used during roasting

The day before:

Trim as much of the visible fat and silver skin from the lamb.  Make a number of small slits all over the leg of lamb with the point of a sharp knife.

In a small bowl, mix all of the marinade ingredients together, except the water. 

Once mixed, pour into a large Ziploc plastic bag.  Place the trimmed leg of lamb in the bag and squish (technical term) the marinade all over it.  Place in the refrigerator and marinate over night.  Turn the bag over a few times just to insure the marinade reaches all areas of the lamb.

Cooking and Eating Day:

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

Preheat a grill, or grill pan on your stove. 

Transfer the lamb and the marinade to a roasting pan.  Add 3/4 cup water to the marinade and mix in.

Scrape off as much of the marinade from the lamb as practical back into the roasting pan and place the lamb on the heated grill grates.  Brown on each side for just a couple of minutes.  This will seal in the juices.
After grilling, transfer the lamb from the grill back into your roasting pan with the marinade.   This then goes into the 275 degree oven and cooks for about an hour and fifteen minutes.  The lamb will be between rare and medium rare.  Cook a little longer of you like it medium or more.  You can use a meat thermometer to determine how well cooked the leg of lamb is.  I cooked ours to about 140 degrees internal temperature.

Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

Slice into roughly 1/2" thick pieces.

I served the lamb with wild rice and buttered Brussels sprouts. 

The marinade adds a nice flavor to the lamb.  I will make this again  ...  and again!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Guinness Brownies

Guinness Brownies  --
Chocolate and Beer Go Together Surprisingly Well

I wasn't going to post this recipe because I don't think they are really brownies, per se, but Tom really liked them --especially after they aged in the refrigerator --and he wants us to make them again, so here it is.  Plus St. Patrick's Day is around the corner.  So, Guinness Brownies seems apt. 

Guinness Brownies
(from Baking for Friends by Kathleen King)

Makes 16 brownies

6 T. salted butter, cut into tablespoons, plus some for greasing the pan
12 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa flour
1/4 t. salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups stout, preferable Guinness
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Note:  You will need a 9x9 pan.  I bought one and I am glad I did.  An 8x8 would overflow. 

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan.  Line the bottom and 2 opposite end of the pan with an 18-inch length of aluminum foil, pleating the foil to fit, and letting the excess foil hang over the sides.  Lightly butter the foil. 

Note:  Give yourself time to chop the chocolate before beginning the next step. And have everything else ready to go, too.  You will have to work fast from here on out.  Or your chocolate will be too cold to mix into the batter. 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. 

Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and let stand for 1 minute. 

Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.   Let cool slightly. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt. 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar

with an electric mixer set on high speed until combined, about 1 minute.

With the mixer set on low speed, beat in the chocolate mixture.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

With the mixer still on low speed, add the flour mixture,

followed by the Guinness,

scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Spread evenly in the prepared pan. 

Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the batter. 

Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs, about 50 minutes. 
Do not over bake. 

Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. 

Run a knife around the side of the pan to the loosen the brownies.  Lift up the foil "handles" to remove them from the pan. 

Cut into 16 squares.

The Guinness flavor is not pronounced.  It just enhances the chocolate, the way a liqueur does in a traditional confection. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Pancetta Bread

 Pancetta Bread 

Here's another one of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread recipes --- bits of pancetta add texture and flavor.  Tom thinks this bread has the best moisture and texture of all the breads I have made so far, but he was disappointed in the lack of flavor from the pancetta.  Next time I will use pancetta directly from the deli.  I took a shortcut and used the packages of pre-diced pancetta.

Pancetta Bread
(Jim Lahey's No Knead cookbook)

300 grams (about 2 1/3 cups) pancetta, pre-sliced 1/4 inch thick and diced
400 grams (3 cups) bread flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. active or instant dry yeast
1/4 red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups cool water (55 to 65 degrees)
extra flour for dusting

Cook the pancetta in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.  Reserve 1 T. of fat. 

Drain the pancetta on paper towels and let cool. 

In a medium bowl, add the flour pancetta, salt, yeast and red pepper flakes, and stir together.  I have started using the method of placing ingredients "around the clock" as we learned in our King Arthur class.  If you get interrupted you can clearly see what you have added and what you haven't.  Prevents mistakes!

Add the water and reserved rendered fat until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds.  Cover the bowl and let rise for 12 to 18 hours in a warm, draft free spot. 

Follow the normal procedure for making no-knead bread. 

Turn the dough out on to a well-floured board or surface, and gingerly gather it together into a ball.  Place it on a well-floured towel and loosely cover it.  Let it rise until doubled about 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, and then half hour before the end of the second rise, add your covered dutch oven, to get it preheated and really hot.

Carefully, remove the pot from the oven, and gently place the dough inside.  Recover the pot and place back in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and continue baking for 10 - 15 minutes until a rich dark brown. 

Remove from the oven and place bread on a rack to cool -- takes about an hour. 

Slice and enjoy!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Seafood Chowder by Tom's Mother, Dee

Hi Tom,
Try this some time --- I found it in an old --really old--1990 -- Bon Appetit & we thought it was good --& even better very easy & quick to make.  Just open a couple of cans -- & chop a small number of vegs --- It called for one Tbsp. Tom paste, -- but I had opened a can for something else & put remains in refrig -- so I just used 2 heaping Tbsp. and was good!! and it finished the tiny can.  The veg. stock was mine -- thought it needed more juice since it was a chowder --
Love ya

Seafood Chowder

2 - 4 Servings

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 onion sliced (I would chop)
1 celery stalk chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 can clams (I bought 11 1/2 oz. whole clams)
1 10 3/4 oz. Tom. soup
1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
2 Tbsp. Tom. paste
1/2 # snapper fillets - cut in 1 " pieces (I 1/2 baked them)
3/4 # shrimp - uncooked
2 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
I added some vegetable stock to make more broth

Heat oil -- add onion, celery & garlic -- Saute for about 10 minutes.  Drain clams -- Keep liquid ---add liquid to pan.  Stir in soup, paste, & bring to a boil.  Add snapper, shrimp, & clams, parsley, Italian Seasoning & cayenne.  Simmer until shrimp & snapper are cooked -- 3 - 5 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper.  I added veg stock ( in box ) to make more soup. 
We loved it! --
  --- Mom

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jasmine Tea Pearls by Mary

Jasmine Tea Pearls
I have recently become a fan of jasmine tea. I was looking for a relaxing and satisfying hot drink to sip at night, and my daughter introduced me to jasmine tea in pearl form. This green tea comes from the Fujian area of China. 

The tea leaves are hand rolled with jasmine flower buds into small pearls. The pearls are then mixed with fragrant jasmine blossoms until they become infused with jasmine's sweet flavor and aroma. Yummmmm.

You can buy the jasmine pearls loose at tea stores or at the supermarket. I found this tin by Rishi at our local supermarket. The aroma inside the tin is heavenly!  

Simply put four or five pearls into your tea cup or mug, add hot water, and watch the pearls unfurl, releasing their scent and flavor. This process usually takes 3-4 minutes, and then the pearls sink to the bottom of the cup.

I find this elegant ritual fun to perform in the evenings. And the scent of jasmine takes me to a tropical place.