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Posts from — September 2009

crusted chicken with mustard sauce

The original recipe is from an article in Bon Appétit from about 10 years ago, and is still a winner!  I’ve changed it up a little over the years, I believe the original used Dijon mustard and feel free to change out the nuts for your favorite, although the pistachios are pretty darn good!  My friend, Kathy, uses toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and loves it.  The original recipe also had you place the browned chicken directly on a baking sheet.  It bakes more evenly and the bottom crust stays crisp, if they are placed on a rack instead, as pictured here.  I like to cook chicken this way because it stays moister when browned in a pan then baked through in the oven. I think you’ll notice a big difference too.  I am not even making the sauce today, because I’m going to use the chicken on a main course salad instead, it’s very versatile and makes great cold chicken sandwiches too!

Ready for the oven, notice that the chicken is just browned, not cooked through.

Ready for the oven, notice that the chicken is just browned, not cooked through.


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September 30, 2009   No Comments

fried-green tomato blt’s

BLT

the sandwich on the left served on whole-grain bread and crusty homemade bread on the right - equally delicious!

Two fortuitous events happened a few minutes apart today to bring about the creation of this recipe.  First, I discovered a pound of hickory smoked bacon in my freezer from a The Pork Shop. Next, my dad dropped by with a bag of green and ripe tomatoes given to him by my cousin Diane, who has a big garden.  I’ll have no problem using up all the lovely ripe red tomatoes, but what to make with those green tomatoes?  Well, fried green tomatoes, of course!

Barbara Fenzl, Kim Howard, and I took a “field trip” in late spring to the Queen Creek Olive Mill and The Pork Shop, two fabulous places that are more than worth the 100 mile round- trip from my house! And that is saying something! They are both located in Queen Creek, Arizona and only about 2 miles from each other, so local foodies, arrange your own “field trip” at lunch time and thank me later. Go to the Queen Creek Olive Mill website for directions, hours, and tour times.  The Pork Shop does not have a website but I found this great article at BaconUnwrapped that tells all about the store and products. The Pork shop is located at 3359 E Combs Road, Queen Creek Arizona. Call them at 480-987-0101 for information or hours.  (since writing this post, The Pork Shop has created a website, check it out HERE.)
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September 29, 2009   No Comments

teriyaki steak salad

Asian Beef Salad

My friend of more than 17 years, Lorie, was in town this weekend from California. I decided on a light and refreshing salad and an Asian theme.  We had store-bought sushi for appetizers and green tea martinis.  The sushi was a hit… not so much the drinks.  Luckily, Lorie brought a bottle of champagne, so we switched to the bubbly after each drinking about half our mar“tea”nies.  Oh well, it was worth a try.  For dessert – a tart lemon sorbet and thin ginger cookies -both store-bought.  It made for an easy and relaxing meal, leaving plenty of time to catch up and reminisce.
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September 28, 2009   3 Comments

quinoa – a super food

Quinoa Plant

Quinoa plants

Quinoa (pronounced: kinwa), is considered to be a “Super Food” and for good reason, it is high in protein coming in at 13 to 20 percent, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa is most commonly considered a grain, but is actually a seed that is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It has a light fluffy texture and nutty taste.  Quinoa is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”  While relatively new to the United States, quinoa has been cultivated in the Andean mountain regions of Peru, Chile and Bolivia for over 5,000 years, and it has long been a staple food in the diets of the native Indians. The Incas considered it a sacred food and referred to it as the “mother seed.”

Unlike wheat or rice, which are low in lysine, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.  It is a good source of fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron.  It is wheat and gluten-free and easy to digest.  On top of all the great news, quinoa is easy to cook.  So simmer up few cups, store it in the fridge and add it to soups, salads, or just serve as a quick side dish, as you would rice.
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September 27, 2009   3 Comments

lots of pancetta plus a little pork

PancettaPork

I was at Costco the other day (what’s new?) and was shopping for the “Tucson Roommate Dinner” when I spotted a new item – a huge roll of pancetta.  It was just too gorgeous and I couldn’t resist.  Now I have to think of dishes to make with my 2 pounds! Pancetta is an Italian bacon that is cured with salt, pepper, and other spices. It is dried for about three months, but is not usually smoked. It comes from the pork belly only instead of the sides and belly of the pig, as American bacon does. It is sold in either thin slices or in a roll. Each region of Italy produces its own type of pancetta and in Corsica it is considered a regional flavor. Since I really don’t want to have pancetta for dinner every night for two weeks, I will be freezing the excess. To do so, I will cut it into 1/2-inch pieces (each about 4 ounces) wrap each tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil, place all pieces in a freezer zip-lock; label with the contents and date, and freeze.

This recipe is pork with more pork. Pork tenderloin with little bits of pancetta inserted inside. The silver skin needs to removed from the tenderloin, if you need instruction, please see the Tip Index under pages, to the left.  The sauce uses a reduced beef broth.  Be careful when reducing the broth. It seems to take a long time at first, but once it is reduced by half, the next reduction of half again goes quickly.  When reducing a liquid like this, keep a glass measuring cup next to the stove and when you think you’re getting close to the correct amount, just pour the liquid from the pan into the measuring cup.  Keep checking every couple minutes near the end so you don’t go too far. If you happen to reduce it too much, just add water to correct.
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September 26, 2009   No Comments

key to the cure

KTTC

Key To The Cure 2009

In October 2006, I co-chaired Key To The Cure, it is an event that is near and dear to my heart. The proceeds benefit women’s cancer charities.  This year, two of my darling friends, Kathy Brown and Cathy Keenan are co-chairing.

You may recall that last week I was making dishes for an addressing brunch, those were for this very event. A picture of the buffet is below. Remember, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so fight back by being mindful of your own breast health, donating to a breast cancer organization, or walking in the Race for the Cure.  There is so much we can do, even if it just being grateful for those in our lives who are survivors by telling them how much we love them or remembering those who have passed. And thank you Kathy and Cathy for taking on this wonderful event! xoxo

Key to the Cure Addressing Brunch Buffet

Key to the Cure Addressing Brunch Buffet

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September 25, 2009   3 Comments

artichoke and olive tart atop mixed greens in tucson!

I’m in Tucson today visiting Marissa and her fabulous roommates, Kaley, Petra, Kelsey and Paige.  They live in a cute 5 bedroom house with a pool! I came down to check out the decorating and make them dinner.  I’d seen it in July, before they moved in, but it was empty and stark, now it’s so cute with all their things in place.  There were 11 of us for dinner, I made a mixed green salad topped with a savory tart for the first course.  Unfortunately, in the rush of trying to get 11 plates out to the table at the same time, I forgot to take a picture, dang it!  Maybe, I’ll remake this at a later date and get a picture up, because it was pretty and tasty too. Eight of the co-eds are pictured above with their Cucumber Martinis, that I promised Marissa I’d make for her back on the August 24 post. Missing from the picture are Blake and Graven, who arrived just minutes after this was taken.  Sorry guys!
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September 24, 2009   No Comments

goodbye summer! hello grilled chicken, peach, and fig salad with blueberry vinaigrette

Grilled Fruit Salad

Summer was officially over Monday, but it lingers here in Arizona for quite some time to come!  This is a gorgeous and refreshing summer salad.  No need to heat the kitchen, just fire up the grill. I serve this with a cold and crisp Rosé wine and slices of warm crusty French Bread.  Oh darn, I just realized that you will need to turn on the oven to toast the hazelnuts, oops!  Well, the reason I forgot is because when I bring home a package of hazelnuts, I immediately toast the entire bag and then store them in the freezer and just pull out the prepped nuts when needed, you can do the same and you’ll be ready to go for the next recipe that calls for them too, because hazelnuts are almost always used toasted and skinned. To toast and skin the Hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place hazelnuts (also known as filberts) in a single layer of a baking sheet. Toast in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly colored and the skins begin to blister.  Remove from oven and immediately wrap the nuts in an old (but clean) kitchen town and allow to steam for 2 or 3 minutes.  Rub the nuts in the towel for a minute or two creating a lot of friction between the nuts and the towel, to remove the loose skins.  All of the skins won’t come off, so don’t worry.  Carefully pick out the nuts and set aside. Shake the towel outside or over a trashcan, be careful or those little skin bits will be all over the kitchen. You will want to use an old towel because the skins will stain the towel, so just wash it and use it the next time you are preparing hazelnuts.
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September 23, 2009   2 Comments

blueberry-nectarine crumble and brand new Costco!

dishing crumble

One of the many great links I have on this site is for Zoe Bakes. She is an amazing baker and bread maker.  Her September 8 post was for a Wild Blueberry Crisp. Since there aren’t too many wild blueberries in Scottsdale, (OK more like none in Scottsdale!) I purchased mine at Costco, and not just any Costco, but a brand new Costco. They had their grand opening this weekend about 2 miles from my house, so nirvana has arrived! I intended to make a blueberry and peach cobbler but when I got home with my tasty blueberries, alas the peaches had gone south, you know – all moldy and watery in the produce drawer – dang it!  So I had to go back to the brand new super nice Costco and get myself a flat of nectarines! Once home with the fresh bounty I decided instead on a Blueberry-Nectarine Crumble.  Darling Peggy hadn’t tried the chowder I made for her yet, so she came by for lunch and we had leftover Corn, Pepper, and Potato Chowder and this very yummy and warm crumble. We controlled ourselves though and had it sans ice cream. Oh, and we didn’t eat all that you see missing from the pan, the picture just looked better with more dished out of the pan…honestly!!!  Life is good!
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September 22, 2009   2 Comments

edamame hummus with monotone crudités

Edamame Hummus platter

Hummus is a dip or spread that is popular throughout the Middle East and more recently very popular in the United States with new flavors such as red pepper, cilantro, and sun-dried tomato, popping up everyday. So popular in fact, that you can find a wide variety of flavors in even the most common of grocery stores.  The original hummus is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) that are blended with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and olive oil.  Another food that has gained much popularity in the recent years in the States is edamame.  These two foods are some of my favorites, so why not combine them for Edamame Hummus? Another common item on any buffet or appetizer table is a crudités spread, and while it is beautiful with all the different colors of vegetables, sometimes it’s nice to see something a little different, as with this version that has a monotone color scheme of green.
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September 21, 2009   2 Comments