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January 17, 2010

SSS #1 - Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken

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Today is the first edition of our newest Slow Travel/Talk food challenge, Sunday Slow Suppers! Our little group of bloggers (and some non-bloggers) cooks and posts each Sunday. We have baked from Gina DePalma's "Dolce Italiano" - we have made ice cream from David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop" - we have made our favorite soups and salads - and we just completed a series of appetizers (small bites). So, now it is on to entrees - all types of entrees. Each week one of my compadres will post a recipe from one of the entree categories, and we will put our own spin on it. Sound like fun?

To kick off the series, Amy of Destination Anywhere chose a roasted chicken recipe (roast category).

Amy found this recipe on Simply Recipes.

Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp smoked paprika (Plus a bit more for inside the chicken)
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp softened butter
2 teaspoons garlic salt (or 1 teaspoon salt plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 whole 4-5 pound roasting chicken
1 onion, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Rinse the chicken off. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels (otherwise the paste won't stick).

2. Mix together the paprika, honey, lemon juice, butter, garlic salt, and pepper. Spread it over the entire surface of the chicken, then place chicken on a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle a bit of paprika into the cavity, and place the cut onion in the cavity.

3 Bake at 325°F for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or more. You may need to adjust the time depending on how big your chicken is. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. I like to cover the breast with foil for part of the time so it doesn't dry out.

4 Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then carve and serve.


I pretty much went by the recipe. I haven't roasted a chicken in many a moon - probably at least 20 years, so I figured I had better follow the recipe exactly this first time. I did bake it longer, probably close to two hours.

It turned out a beautiful red orange color, but a little darker than I would have liked. It's a good thing I "practiced" on Bill rather than making it for guests! We did like the smoked paprika flavor (McCormicks).

Oh! I improvised slightly in roasting the chicken upside down. I had read that it keeps the breast moist, but obviously (now that I think about it), the paprika paste is on the wrong side! Woe is me - how could I screw up an easy roasted chicken??? I will try it again, though, so it was a learning experiende!

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January 24, 2010

SSS #2 - Squash, Pepper, Chard & Corn Stew

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It's Week #2 of our Sunday Slow Suppers, and Shannon of GrapeHops Tours has chosen the stew category. Here is what she said about her recipe choice:

I got this recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle around 1993. It's adapted from a recipe in "The Savory Way" by Deborah Madison. The original recipe calls for hominy instead of corn, but I'm not a hominy lover; if you like it, use a 29oz. can of hominy in place of the corn. You can also put black beans in this stew.

This is my go-to stew when I want something comforting but also, healthy; it makes me feel healthy just eating it, and it is delicious too. Serve with corn tortillas and a green salad with avocado if you'd like.

Squash, Pepper, Chard, and Corn Stew

1 medium onion, diced
3 – 5 garlic cloves, chopped
¾ pound banana squash, peeled and cut into pieces about ½ inch wide
2 – 3 T olive oil
1 t. Greek oregano
1 green pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 T. flour
2 T. chile powder
½ t. cumin
1 c. dry white wine
2 c. broth of choice
3 – 4 c. tomatoes, diced
½ bunch chard, blanched and cut into ribbons with the tougher stems cut away
1 ½ c. frozen corn
¾ c. sour cream or yogurt to taste
Chopped cilantro and green onions for garnish

Very lightly sauté the onion, garlic and squash in oil in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot, then add oregano, red and green peppers, flour, chile powder and cumin. Stir together and cook for a minute or two longer.

Add wine, broth, and tomatoes, then cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add chard and corn, then cook for a further 15-20 minutes.

Taste for seasoning. If stew is too liquid, pour off liquid into a small saucepan and boil down until reduced and richly flavored.

Just before serving, stir in sour cream or yogurt. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and green onions.


I made a few little "adjustments" as I went along. I liked the looks of the orange and gold bell peppers - a cosmetic change, I know. I have come to love butternut squash, so that is what I used. I used beef broth, canned diced tomatoes (winter tomatoes are so tasteless), and TJ's frozen roasted corn and TJ's frozen "Soycutash" which includes edamames.

Regarding the amount of chili powder, I initially added 2t rather than 2T, but a little later in the cooking, I added another teaspoon or two. I also added a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a little of Emeril's Original Essence. I think next time I would put the full 2T of chili powder - it sounds like a lot, but I think the rest of the ingredients can handle it.

This was one of my very favorite dishes we have prepared. It was so rich and yummy but really healthy. I will definitely be making it again! Thanks, Shannon!

Continue reading "SSS #2 - Squash, Pepper, Chard & Corn Stew" »

January 31, 2010

SSS #3 - Risotto with Crab & Shrimp

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It was Jerry's turn to pick a recipe, and he chose the risotto/paella category. Jerry is JDeQ on Slow Travel, and his blog is Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants! The recipe came from his Williams Sonoma cookbook "Savoring Italy", and here is the online recipe.

Risotto with Crab & Shrimp (Risotto al Granchio e Gamberi)

Ingredients:
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined and each cut into 4 or 5 pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 cups chicken or fish broth or water
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups medium-grain rice such as arborio, vialone nano or carnaroli
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 lb. fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over to remove any shell fragments

In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and 2 Tbs. of the parsley in 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, stirring once or twice, until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, just until the shrimp are pink, about 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add the broth to the saucepan and bring just barely to a simmer.

In a large saucepan or risotto pan over medium heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the kernels are hot and coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue to cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed.

Add the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and making sure the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. When the rice is about half cooked, stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper. The risotto is done when the rice grains are creamy on the outside and firm yet tender to the bite, 20 to 25 minutes total. Rice varies, so you may not need all of the broth or you may need more. If more liquid is required, use hot water.

Stir in the shrimp and crabmeat and cook, stirring, just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. each oil and parsley. Spoon the risotto into warmed soup bowls and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8


I pretty much followed the recipe, using shrimp and crab, but I can see that other types of fish would work just as well. I used the constant stirring method because I have never made risotto without stirring and I was afraid to try.

Tomatoes are so tasteless at this time of year, so I used a can of chopped baby tomatoes, which I added a little later in the cooking process, along with the shrimp and crab. I would like to try the recipe again with GOOD ripe tomatoes.

Bill and I both really liked the recipe - it was creamy and very tasty. I will definitely be making it again.


Here are my ingredients:
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And the finished product:
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February 14, 2010

SSS #4 - Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

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Candi got her turn this week to pick a recipe for our weekly cooking challenge. Her blog is Candi's Corner:Wanderlust and Passions.

Candi chose stir-fry as her category and she says:

I chose the stir-fry category because it is my go-to cooking style when I am in a hurry or need to get rid of stuff in the fridge. During our trip to Thailand, and the cooking class we took in Chiang Mai, I got some great ideas for things to add to my stir-fries. I was introduced to oyster sauce, and let me tell you, it's been my go-to sauce for the stir-fries. One dish that we found at every menu in the restaurants we visited in Thailand was Cashew Chicken,and of course it was a dish we prepared in the class. I have since adapted the recipe so it has more veggies. What's great about this dish is that you can add or take out as much stuff as you like to adjust the recipe to your preferences. I even made it vegetarian without the chicken one time and it was great.

Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry

Cooking oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes or strips
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
3 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
8 oz. jelly, oyster or shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. corn starch(optional)
1/2 cup unsalted cashews

Heat 2 to 3 Tbsp. of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onions and stir-fry until browned. Sear chicken on both sides for about three minutes(I use the sides of the skillet).(The chicken should be almost fully cooked at this point, if need to, cook for longer). Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and sugar and mix for another minute. Add vegetables and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add the chicken broth, cover and simmer for three to four minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken is fully cooked.

If you wish to thicken the sauce, use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and vegetables to a plate, and add cornstarch to the sauce whisking for a minute or two until sauce is thickened. Transfer the chicken and vegetables back to the skillet to keep warm.

Serve the stir-fry over your favorite rice (I make white rice) and top with cashews.


This was an easy recipe to make. Chopping the ingredients took the most time, but then it was quick to put together.

I couldn't find oyster sauce, so I only used fish sauce plus a little soy sauce. I used oyster and shitake mushrooms and added some asparagus tips and green onion tips (the white part). I served the stir fry over TJ's brown rice.

We really liked the stir fry. I can see it is very versatile, and I want to try some other veggies next time. Thank you, Candi, for selecting this recipe!


Here are all of my chopped ingredients:
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Everything being sauteed:
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All dished up:
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February 21, 2010

SSS #5 - Lamb Tagine with Fennel & Olives

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I am taking the Sunday Slow Suppers title literally - this week's recipe is cooking this afternoon and will truly be our Sunday Supper!

So, check back later and see how it turned out!

SSS #5 - Lamb Tagine with Fennel & Olives

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Our assignment this week was Goat Tagine with Fennel & Olives. I just couldn't force myself to use goat meat, and here is why.

So, my dish will use lamb instead of goat. I thought sure my local supermarket would have lamb shanks, so I didn't do my shopping until yesterday. Lo and behold, no lamb shanks! They did have some lamb shoulder blade chops, so I used that. My dish won't look like all of the rest, but hopefully, the flavors will be close.

Deborah of Old Shoes - New Trip chose this week's category (slow cooker) and picked the recipe. Here it is:

Lamb Tagine with Fennel and Olives

6 meaty lamb shanks
Sea Salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise
2 medium bulbs of fennel, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise
1 large pinch of saffron threads, lightly finger-crushed
6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground coriander seed
1 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground cumin
2 teaspoons freshly toasted, ground fennel seed
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup fresh tomato peeled and chopped, or good boxed/canned chopped tomatoes
4 cups of chicken stock or water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), stem and all, tied with butcher string
1/2 cup oil-cured olives
1 large preserved lemon, rinsed and quartered

Preheat oven to 375. Salt and pepper the lamb shanks. Brown them over medium-high heat in a large, deep casserole that will fit all the meat and go in the oven. Remove shanks from the pan and add olive oil, onions and half the fennel and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the saffron, garlic, ginger and all spices and cook another 5 minutes. Add the honey and tomatoes and cook a few minutes. Add stock and tuck shanks back into pot along with the cinnamon stick and tied cilantro. Bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in the oven until tender, about 3 hours. Check every so often; add more liquid if necessary. Add olives, lemon and remaining fennel to the stew the last 15 minutes of cooking. It is finished when the fennel is tender and the meat is buttery and falling off the bone. Taste and season as necessary.


I used Amy's recipe to make quick preserved lemons. I rinsed them off several times today, but they were still really, really salty. I am wondering how the purchased jars of preserved lemon tasted - salty? Are the jarred lemons whole? I think they might turn out better that way - the recipe I used had you cut them up before preserving.

I didn't get the right kind of olives, I guess - everyone else's photos show black olives - probably Kalamata. None at my supermarket (I wish TJ's was closer), so I got what I could, and you will see big green olives in my tagine. I served the tagine with basmati rice.

So, this was a week of compromises - lamb instead of goat, lamb shoulder blade chops instead of lamb shanks, homemade preserved lemons, and green olives instead of black. The result, though, was a very tasty dish. All of the spices combined well with the lamb.

I do want to try the recipe again with lamb shanks. Thank you, Deborah, for this unusual recipe!

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Continue reading "SSS #5 - Lamb Tagine with Fennel & Olives" »

February 28, 2010

SSS #6 - Zuppa Osso Buco

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Sheri of As the Seasons Change had the pleasure of choosing this week's recipe. Her category was "Other" (I am not sure what that means), and her recipe is Zuppa Osso Buco, a Rachael Ray recipe.

I know, I know - Rachael Ray irritates me too. Not as much as she used to though. And this WAS an easy and delicious recipe which can be adjusted to your particular preferences.

I pretty much went by the recipe. No ground veal at my local supermarket, so I sent Bill to Palm Desert to a gourmet market which had it. Guess I should have just used ground turkey, but I wanted it to be authentic, at least the first time I made it. Next time though . . .

Oh! I did add some chopped parsley to the veal dumplings/meatballs.

I was a little leery of the anchovies in the gremolata, but combined with the other ingredients, it was very good. Next time I think I would double the amount of pasta and the cannellini beans - I had a hard time finding them in the soup.

All in all, it was (to quote Rachael) a yummo meal!

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Continue reading "SSS #6 - Zuppa Osso Buco" »

March 7, 2010

SSS #7 - Chicken & Green Chiles Casserole

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MarciaB of Happy Trails For Us: My Reluctant Blog was in charge of choosing this week's recipe. Here is what she said:

I picked casseroles for a variety of reasons, one of them being the fact that I am a big fan of the one dish meal - raising 3 athletic children, and working, meant suppers that would serve many, and serve them quickly. As a younger cook, I learned to make enchiladas the tradional way, dipping tortillas in hot oil and then sauce, filling and rolling, etc. As a mom I switched to this dish, using the layer and stack method. It can be even quicker if you use canned enchilada sauces. This recipe is in the "suiza" style, which refers to yes, the Swiss, but in Mexican cooking, it is usually a creamy sauce, using more cheese, green chiles, etc. This casserole can be served with rice, beans, a simple green salad, guacamole and chips, or a combination of the above. It is also good reheated.

CHICKEN AND GREEN CHILIES CASSEROLE

Adapted from COOKS.COM
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4 chicken breasts, cooked, shredded (or use rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned and cut into small pieces)

1 lg. onion, chopped
4 tbsp. butter (I used 2T of olive oil)
4 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 c. milk (I used 1% milk)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 tsp. chili powder
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies, drained (I used 1/2 can chopped jalapenos)
1 small can diced tomatoes, drained
Chopped cilantro to taste, @ 2 tblsp.

12 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces

1 c. grated Cheddar cheese
2 c. Monterey Jack cheese (mix cheese together) - lighten dish with low-fat cheeses

Make sauce by first sauteing onions in butter, then add flour, stir to make a roux, add liquids and salt - cook stirring until smooth and slightly thickened. Add chopped green chilies (drained) to sauce. Add chili powder. Add tomatoes to sauce (both well drained). Add cilantro. Taste, and adjust seasonings for "hot" factor.

Place a layer of chicken in bottom of greased 3 quart casserole, then a layer of torn tortillas, then cheese and sauce. Repeat ending with cheese on top. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until bubbling, 20-25 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
May be prepared ahead and baked the next day or may be frozen thawed and baked at serving time.

I have made notations on the recipe of my "adjustments". In addition to those, I found an interesting kind of tortilla that was 94% fat free and low in carbs. They were very tasty.

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I also mixed a couple of cheeses together - the traditional Mexican Blend and another one I love - Sargento Mozzarella & Asiago with Roasted Garlic. It was great!

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We had our casserole with guacamole and guacamole chips - I really liked those and will buy them again.
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Yum! This was a very easy and tasty dinner! Thanks Marcia!
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March 21, 2010

SSS #8 - Braised Turkey Thighs

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Jan (jgk) of Keep your Feet in the Street was in charge this week - in charge of choosing the recipe for our challenge. Here is what she said:

Here's my recipe. I have made this bunches of times and probably never the same twice. So, you can easily fool with the veggies. Sometimes I throw in a handful of frozen peas at the end or grated lemon zest.

To me one of the keys is removing the skin from the thighs after they're browned.

Have fun with it!

Braised Turkey Thighs

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 turkey thighs
1 cup dry white wine
2 large onions, diced
4 medium carrots diced
3 medium stalks of celery diced
8 oz. Mushroom, sliced
4 medium cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 28 oz. Can crushed tomatoes
parmesan cheese rind (if available)

¼ cup chopped parsley for garnish

Pre heat oven to 325
Heat 2 tbs oil in a Dutch oven, over medium high.
Salt and pepper both sides of the thighs.
Brown them, about 6 minutes each side, in the oil.
Remove from pot. Pour off all the fat.

Add the next 2 tbs to the pot to get hot. Then add the onions, carrots and celery and cook about 7 or 8 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and garlic for another couple of minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pot (scrape up the brown bits left on the bottom).

Mix in the stock or water, the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and more salt and pepper. Add the cheese rind, if you have one. Remove the skin from the turkey thighs and return them to the pot, nestling them down into the liquid. It should just cover the thighs. Bring it up to a boil and then put into the oven.

Cook until the meat is falling off the bones—about an hour and a half—maybe 2. You can get all the meat off and serve it in the sauce or just cut large pieces off. Don’t forget to remove the cheese rind and the bay leaves.

Great over hearty pasta, sprinkled with the parsley and some grated parmesan.


I pretty much followed the recipe EXCEPT for the fact that I couldn't find turkey thighs (I live in a small town - what can I say), so I used chicken thighs. I'm sure it wasn't quite the same, but it was still GOOD!

We had it over polenta, and I garnished it with both parsley and cilantro. It was a huge batch, so there is plenty for another dinner. Yeah! No cooking tonight!

Thanks, Jan, for a great recipe! I am definitely going to make it again when I find some turkey thighs.

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March 28, 2010

SSS #9 - Tuscan Pork Roast

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Sandi (bugalu on Slow Travel) chose this week's recipe. Her blog is Whistlestop Cafe Cooking - check it out - she has some fabulous recipes. Here is what she said:

Since it is my turn to pick our supper this sunday. I immediately thought of a Sunday Roast.

So that is what we have~ a Sunday roast with a Tuscan twist. This recipe for a Tuscan roasted pork is adapted from Once Upon a Plate

Tuscan Pork Roast

2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage
3 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 pound pork tenderloin
1 loaf crusty baguette
kitchen string

Preheat oven to 375°.
Mince sage, rosemary, pepper, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper together. Sear the tenderloin in a frying pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil for 8-10 minutes, rotating to brown all sides. Roll the pork in the herb mixture and set aside.
Next- cut, or slit the baguette in half the long way and scoop out most of the soft insides. Brush the inside of the baguette with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and any spices that may not stick to the meat.
Set the pork inside the baguette so that the pork is well enclosed. Trim off the excess ends of the bread if needed. With string, tie the bread to secure the pork at 1 to 2 inch intervals. Place the pork on a baking sheet and roast until done (when instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin it should read 155°-160°) About 25 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to rest 10 minutes. Remove the strings and cut into slices. Either serve it warm or at room temperature.


Well, I have bad news and good news about my Tuscan pork roast. The bad news is that the bread I chose was not large enough, and the pork loin didn't fit inside. The bread got quite crisp, so I had a hard time cutting it without breaking it apart.

On the other hand, the good news is that, despite its visual flaws, it tasted delicious!

I experimented with the herbs and used rosemary, pineapple sage, and tarragon. Yum! We loved it! I roasted some garlic and onions with the roast and used them to top an arugula salad, with a little gorgonzola on top. It was a yummy meal, and I am going to try the pork roast again with a larger loaf of bread. Thanks Sandi!

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April 18, 2010

SSS #10 - Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

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It was Eden's turn this week to pick a recipe. Her blog is Eden's Wanderings and Wonderings. She found this recipe at AllRecipes.com and chose it because she loves making stir fries with whatever ingredients she has on hand.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons peanut oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced cabbage
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet. When oil begins to smoke, quickly stir in 2 cloves minced garlic, ginger root, green onions and salt. Stir fry until onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 4 cloves minced garlic and stir. Add sweet onions, cabbage, bell pepper, peas and 1/2 cup of the broth/water and cover.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup broth/water, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch. Add sauce mixture to wok/skillet and stir until chicken and vegetables are coated with the thickened sauce. Serve immediately, over hot rice if desired.

I (Eden says) followed everything, except that I did not add sugar to the sauce. I do not think it needed it, I do not need it. Smile. I also did not wait for the oil to smoke, I added the first ingredients when I thought the oil was hot.

The recipe did not say how long to cook the mixture before adding the thickening sauce, so I just added the sauce as soon as I had it ready. It probably took another 3 minutes to get everything cooked/coated with sauce. It was good.


I added a couple of ingredients to those shown - crimini mushrooms, broccoli, and lots of cilantro. (I knew Jerry would approve of that!) Once we had tasted the finished sauce, we also added a couple of tablespoons of chili sauce. This really added a little zing to the dish, which we really liked.

Everything's cooking in the pan:
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All plated - Don't worry if it looks like a small portion - I had TWO helpings!
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April 25, 2010

SSS #11 - Squash & Leek Lasagna

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This was MY week to choose the recipe for our weekly challenge. Pasta is one of my favorite things, so I chose a recipe that I had gotten in the mail from Kaiser Permanente. I found it on their website too. It is intended to be a healthy recipe, but a lot of additions and substitutions can be made to make it more rich (aka fattening).

I have made the lasagna several times, but this time I decided to do a "taste test" - healthy vs. less-healthy. I made two small batches of the lasagna, one exactly according to the recipe and one with a few additions - fresh mozzarella cheese, amaretti cookie crumbs, and sauteed pineapple sage. I did use non-boil noodles, though, to make it go a little faster.

The sauce has simmered, and I have just added the seasonings:
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Here is version #2 before I put the last layer of noodles on top:
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Here is version #2 right out of the oven:
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Now you can compare the two (at least visually). While the healthy version was really good, the second version with the additions of fresh mozzarella cheese, pineapple sage, and amaretti cookies was outstanding!
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Continue reading "SSS #11 - Squash & Leek Lasagna" »

May 2, 2010

SSS #12 - Rabbit or Chicken Thighs with Fennel

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Palma of Palmabella's Passions chose this week's recipe for our Sunday Slow Suppers group. For those of you who don't know Palma, ANY recipe that she picks is bound to be good! Here is what she said about it:

Notes About the recipe:

The first time I made this I used a rabbit, and it was amazing. The scent in the kitchen was heavenly. Using chicken thighs, it has become a standard at our house. It is also a great company dish, as it requires very little last minute effort once it is in the oven. It's great with chicken, but if you can find/deal with eating a rabbit, it is worth the expense.

Secondly, if you use chicken thighs, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND keeping the skin on. I know we all use skinless chicken to cut down on fat, but that would be a shame with this preparation. If you must discard the skin, at least cook it with the skin on, TAKE A BITE of the luscious, crispy, pancetta-topped, salty, crunchy stuff where all the flavor is, and THEN take it off, and stare at it on the side of your plate. Trust me, please... just do it for me.

Finally, I am posting the original recipe. I have made it so many times, I have simplified the preparation somewhat. Read the whole recipe, and then I will tell you what I do.


I was going to be brave and actually use rabbit, but I changed my mind when I got to the market. The rabbit was whole, for one thing. I know the butcher would have cut it up for me, but I guess I was looking for an excuse, so I bought chicken thighs instead. I think that for me, rabbit must fall into the category with goat and horse meat, which I will NEVER eat because of the association with our pets.

The chicken thighs turned out great! I left the skin on, as Palma had suggested, and baked them according to the recipe. My veggies got a little over-carmelized (aka burned), but they were delicious nevertheless. We ate it over brown rice to soak up the sauce. Yum!

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Continue reading "SSS #12 - Rabbit or Chicken Thighs with Fennel" »

May 9, 2010

SSS #13 - BBQ Pizza

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Kim of What I Really Think got her cooking Gold Star this week. Not only did she guest host on the marathon cooking challenge at Pomodori e Vino, but she also chose this week's recipe for our Sunday Slow Suppers.

Here is what Kim says about the recipe:

This is one of our favorite summer recipes (and we've been known to clear the snow off the grill to make it in the winter too). It first appeared in Bon Appetit in 1997 and you can find the original recipe on line: Grilled Pizza with Spicy Italian Sausage. I remember, the first couple of times we made it, Chris and I fought.... oh man ... but now we've got it down and a good division of labor that works for us (one of those fights led to me storming out forcing him to make the dough on his own - who knew he could make such a good pizza dough). Now he does the dough, I handle the topping prep, and we do everything before our guests arrive (except rolling and grilling the dough - and maybe grilling the toppings - depending on my mood).

Over the years I've made adjustments too.

Like they say this makes 4 - 8 inch pizzas for four people. We'd always have a bunch left over, so now we make 6 pizzas (and since mine are never circles, it doesn't matter the radius), plus it's less calories this way.

Another substitution I made from the start was to sub turkey hot Italian sausage for regular (sometimes, I even use Chicken - or a different type of sausage all together). I also cut way down on the oil in the recipe - to like a 1/4 or 1/3 cup - or use my WW vinaigrette recipe with more garlic and rosemary).

I guess my point is - that it's pizza, so once you get the concept of grilling the dough, instead of baking it, you can top it however you see fit. But I do recommend using the original dough recipe (hopefully we can find fresh rosemary) b/c it's really delicious.

This was my very first time making pizza dough from scratch, so there is good news and bad news about the experience. Good news first - it tasted delicious - the crust was tender and flavorful. Bad news - I obviously need a better technique because my pizzas were way too thick. Maybe I will try Jerry's alternate dough recipe next time and see if I can stretch the dough out further.

I think one of the other SSS cooks mentioned that there may be too many ingredients - I think that is correct. My ingredients were piled much higher than they should have been. So, fewer ingredients next time too.

Here are all of the ingredients:
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And my finished pizza:
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Continue reading "SSS #13 - BBQ Pizza" »

May 16, 2010

SSS #14 - Paella

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We have a new Slow Travel cook selecting this week's recipe. JuniorBalloon is his "handle" on Slow Travel, and he picked Paella as our last weekly challenge. JB warned us that he had never made Paella before and that he combined several recipes that he found online.

So, I kind of did the same thing. I checked out a number of Paella recipes to glean information from. FoodNetwork had a bunch to choose from, including one by Bobby Flay. Although it was reviewed as not being authentic, I liked that he made saffron rice and lemon aioli to go with it.

I also improvised with the ingredients. Bill is allergic to mussels, but I did use clams. Instead of chicken wings, I used chicken thighs, cut into bitesize chunks. Instead of pork short ribs, I cut up what was called a "pork shoulder tenderette". I added one chopped lobster tail because Bobby Flay did. I also roasted tomatoes per Bobby's recipe instead of the tomato sauce/puree.

I made Bobby Flay's Lemon Aioli and Saffron Rice. I would have made the Squid Ink Rice too but didn't know where to find squid ink. I really liked the aioli and think it added an interesting flavor layer.

Thank you JB - I have never made Paella before, and we really liked it.

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Continue reading "SSS #14 - Paella" »

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