March 30, 2006

Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips



Ingredients:

4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 parsnips, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup green onions, diced
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

In a large pot, bring water to a full boil. Add potatoes and parsnips. Cook until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain and return to pot, add butter, green onions and sour cream. Mash. Add salt if desired and serve.

March 26, 2006

Caribbean Chicken

Caribbean Chicken

Ingredients:


1 whole 6 lb chicken, halved or cut into pieces
4 garlic cloves
3 habaneros, seeded*
1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh thyme
1/4 cup lime juice
4 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon dried mustard

Directions:
In the food processor, combine garlic, habaneros, onion, rum, soy sauce, vegetable oil, thyme, lime juice, parsley, ginger and mustard. Pulse to form a thick paste like sauce . Place the chicken pieces in a large ziploc bag and pour the sauce over the chicken. Seal and give it a shake to coat. Refrigerate two hours. Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the chicken from the bag, reserving the sauce. Arrange chicken on a baking dishes so they don't overlap. Bake 1 hour or until cooked through. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining sauce. Take care to thoroughly cook the sauce as it has been in contact with raw chicken. Serve the chicken with sauce on the side.

*you may need to wear gloves to seed your habenaros. Their oil is very strong and can get into cuts or dry skin and cause a burning sensation that can last for hours. Not pleasant!


My thoughts:
My husband I got married last year on March 25th. We went out to dinner but it wasn't very good. To make up for that we made a Caribbean themed meal because this time last year we were on a cruise in the Caribbean! This recipe is roughly based on a dish called "stewed chicken" or "stew-fried chicken" which is popular in Trinidad and Tobago.

March 23, 2006

Irish Breakfast Tea Ice Cream


Irish Breakfast Tea Ice Cream
Ingredients:
2 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons Irish Breakfast Tea
6 egg yolks

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream and tea leaves. Bring to a full boil then remove from heat. Allow tea to seep in the milk/cream mixture for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, using a mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar together until it forms a ribbon (if you drip a line of the batter from the beater over the rest of the batter, it leaves a "ribbon" and then disappears). Strain the tea leaves out of the cream mixture and discard them. Return the cream mixture to low heat and bring to a slow simmer. Add a tiny bit of the cream mixture to the egg, whisking briskly, to temper the eggs. The cream mustn't be too hot or it will curdle the egg mixture. If this happens, you must start again. Slowly whisk together the remaining cream mixture with the egg mixture. Pour the egg/cream mixture into a clean pot and gently bring to a slow simmer. This will cook the eggs and prevent possible bacteria from forming. Strain into a clean bowl and discard any solids remaining. Place the mixture in the refrigerator and allow to cool, about 3 hours (or over night), until chilled. Pour into ice cream maker and continue according to the manufacturer's directions.

My thoughts:
This my submission for this month's TeaChef competition. I was excited they picked me to participate and it was fun to create a recipe using tea. I really enjoy green tea ice cream (which is usually made with matcha- green tea powder- not loose tea) and thought that Irish breakfast would make good ice cream as well. I was right- it's kind of malty which complements the creaminess of ice cream. Plus I am looking forward to warmer weather and what goes better with warm weather than ice cream?

March 21, 2006

Sesame Ginger Chicken


Ginger Sesame Chicken
Ingredients:
1 lb skinless chicken breast , in 1/3 inch strips
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds*
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoons salt

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a ziploc bag and shake. Allow to marinate 15 minutes. Heat a grill pan or frying pan (use 1 tablespoon oil if needed) and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds if desired. Serve.

*I found a large shaker can of pretoasted sesame seeds at my local Asian grocery but you can roast your own in a dry, hot frying pan for about 1 minute.


My thoughts:
In less than 25 minutes I made both this and Vegetable Fried Rice for dinner and dazzled my husband in a very '50s housewife way.

Vegetable Fried Rice


Ingredients:
1 cup cooked rice, cooled
1/3 cup frozen peas
2 carrots, diced
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons oil

Directions:
In a wok or small pan, heat the oil. Pour in the egg. Allow it to cook through in one piece. Remove to plate and slice thinly. Add onion, peas, and carrots to hot wok. Stir about 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add fish sauce, stir. Add rice, stir to coat lightly with oil until heated through, about 5-8 minutes. Add egg, stir. Serve.

My thoughts:
This is such a quick tasty side dish. I was trying to think of something to make for dinner and this came to me. I had all of the ingredients in the fridge and less than 25 minutes later, I had made this and ginger sesame chicken. Easy and yummy.

March 19, 2006

Bubble and Squeak



Bubble and Squeak
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked cabbage
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:
In a large sauce pan saute the onion in the butter until just beginning to brown. Add the mashed potatoes and cabbage. Use a potato masher or spoon to smoosh the cabbage and potatoes together. Cook, without stirring, 15 minutes until the mixture is cooked through and the bottom is golden. You may slice and serve it now, or flip it over (this requires more dexterity than one would think) and brown the other side 5-10 minutes then serve.


My thoughts:
We made mashed potatoes and cabbage the day before St. Patrick's Day just to make sure we'd have enough leftovers to make bubble and squeak. We did and even were able to make it again the day after St. Patrick's Day with the leftovers from the corned beef and cabbage we made and served it with sausages with breakfast. Living in Baltimore, one doesn't come in contact with much bubble and squeak but as I love both cabbage and potatoes it was only a matter of time before I made it. I also enjoy the name which is said to have come from either the sound it makes while cooking or the sound you make after eating it.

March 16, 2006

Spinach and Parmesan Linguine


Ingredients:

1 lb spinach pasta
14 oz fresh spinach
1 cup Parmesan, finely grated
1/2 cup chicken stock, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter
salt

Directions:
In a large pot, bring water and a pinch of salt to boil. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is almost al dente. Add the spinach and cook 1 minute to wilt the spinach. Drain and return to pot. Add the butter, 3/4 cup Parmesan and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Divide into bowl, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.


My thoughts:
This is so easy it is scarcely a recipe but let me tell you, this is so good! One caveat: since this is such a simple recipe it really is only as good as the ingredients. Use the highest quality Parmesan and pasta you can find and don't substitute frozen spinach.

March 13, 2006

Fig and Ginger Hamantashen


Fig and Ginger Hamantashen
Ingredients:
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 lb butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup fig and ginger preserves*
1 teaspoon baking powder


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In an large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Add the egg and mix thoroughly again. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and gradually add it to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. On a lightly floured (or powdered sugared) surface, roll out a small amount of dough at a time to about 1/4 inch thick. If the dough gets warm and hard to work with, refrigerate it for a few minutes and then reroll. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out circles. Arrange the cut circles of dough on the cookie sheets. Spoon a tiny bit of the preserves into the center of each cookies. Pinch the edges of the cookies to make 3 corners. Bake 15 - 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on wire rack.


*Hamantashen is traditionally made with a prune or poppyseed filling but you can substitute any thick preserve. Raspberry is also popular.

My thoughts:
Hamantashen is traditionally made for Purim. On Purim, you celebrate the Jewish people's escape from imminent destruction at the hands of the evil Haman. The cookies are shaped to resemble Haman's three cornered hat. Purim is the most festive of all Jewish holidays and people frequently go to celebrations where everyone is expect to drink copiously and party. Not to mention eat these yummy cookies. We made ours with fig and ginger preserves but you could substitute any other thick preserves. The fig and ginger is especially tasty though.

March 12, 2006

Spiced Oatmeal Jam Bars


Spiced Oatmeal Jam Bars
Ingredients:
2 cups oatmeal
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup jam (we used boysenberry)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoons cloves
1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400. Butter a 8 inch square baking dish. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. In a small bowl, combine the spices, oatmeal, walnuts and baking soda. Stir into butter mixture. Remove 2 cups of the mixture and using your fingers press it evenly into the bottom of the baking pan. Using a spoon, distribute the jam evenly over the oatmeal mixture. Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the jam. Bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool and with a very sharp knife, cut into squares.



My thoughts:
I have a confession. I like the idea of jam more than I actually like jam. While I buy jam (and jelly) all the time: boysenberry, cloudberry, blueberry, cranberry, raspberry even a jar of clear kudzu jelly while on a trip to the South, rarely do I eat it. I don't like it on toast, on bread, in sandwiches or on biscuits. I do, however, like it in these oatmeal bars. Which, to me, is reason enough to make them.

March 06, 2006

Winter White Cauliflower Soup


Winter White Cauliflower Soup
Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cups (about 2 heads worth) cauliflower florets
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon whole coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper

Directions:
In a dry, hot pan, quickly roast the coriander seeds until fragrant. Grind into powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Set aside. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and translucent. Do not let them brown. Add the cauliflower, salt, pepper, coriander and broth. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut. Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend until smooth. If you are using a regular blender, you will have to do this in steps, pour the blended soup in to another large pot as you go. If using an immersion blender, you can blend the soup right in the same pot. Once blended, add the milk. Return to heat and allow to simmer another 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir and serve.


My thoughts:
I think this soup would convert cauliflower haters into cauliflower lovers. Slowly cooking the cauliflower in the broth mellows it and allows a bit of sweetness to shine through. I served it with some chopped garlic chives as a garnish and garlic chive buttermilk biscuits on the side.

March 05, 2006

Posole (Pork and Hominy Stew)



Ingredients:
2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin, cubed
40 oz canned hominy
1/2 gallon chicken stock
1/4 flour
8 large, dried New Mexican red chiles
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:
Seed chiles, reserving seeds. In a dry, hot frying pan heat the chiles until warmed through and fragrant. Do not burn or brown them. Place chiles and seeds in a medium pot with 1 quart broth, garlic, lime juice, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil and continue to boil 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a plastic bag, toss the cubed pork with the flour to coat. In a pot large enough to hold all of the stew, brown the meat on all sides. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes or until soft. Pour in the remaining broth and add the hominy. Strain the chile broth mixture into the soup pot, mashing down with a wooden spoon to press the pulp and juice out. Discard the seeds and solids remaining. Cook 1 1/2- 2 hours or until the pork is tender. Salt to taste.


My thoughts:
The whole house smells like spicy stew when you make this dish. It takes a while, but it is actually very easy to make. It keeps well in the fridge and I think it even tastes better the second day. We garnished it with a bit of shredded red cabbage for crunch.

March 03, 2006

Parmesan and Basil Encrusted Chicken


Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless breasts
4 slices potato bread, quartered*
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Directions:
In the food processor pulse bread, Parmesan, and basil into coarse crumbs. Pour on to a plate. Dip chicken pieces in the beaten eggs then in the crumb mixture. The chicken should be completely covered on all sides. You may need to pat some crumbs on by hand. In a large saucepan, heat the butter and oil. Saute the chicken until brown on both sides, about 7-9 minutes per side, and when the breast is pierced with a fork the juices run clear.



*white bread would work just as well.

My thoughts:
This was really quick and easy. I loved the basil and Parmesan combination and it crisped up nicely. We had to saute the chicken in a few batches and in between we stuck them (on a lipped pan) in a 200 oven to keep them warm and crisp. It also had the added bonus of allowing me the guilty pleasure of eating the tiny chicken fat soaked bits of crust that had dropped off. Mmm.

March 01, 2006

Twice the Tomato Soup


Ingredients:
32 oz can crushed tomatoes
32 oz can peeled plum tomatoes, cut up
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic and celery. Cook 5-7 minutes or until the garlic and onions are soft and fragrant but not browned. Add the crushed tomatoes and plum tomatoes. Cook over medium low heat until cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 20-30 minutes. Add the basil and salt/pepper if needed and stir. Serve warm.

My thoughts:
I liked making the soup using crushed tomatoes. I think it gave it a thicker, richer texture than using vegetable or chicken stock does. I enjoy a chunky tomato soup more than creamy one, but this is almost half way between the two, there are chunks but they are in a tomato rich broth rather than a thin, watery one. To complete the meal I made sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum.