Monday, January 30, 2012

Chicken soup in a hurry

Using our Hawaiian Chicken Soup recipe as the basis, I put together some very tasty soup very quickly one evening, using some leftover pre-cooked chicken.  The broth that I used was our own homemade vegetable broth instead of chicken, and I left out the Asian spices, subbing in some onion, corn, and Swiss chard.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chorizo, rice, and whitefish

Any type of whitefish will do just fine for this close cousin to Paella.  No tomatoes and no peas in this dish, so you'll need to serve some veggies on the side.

Chorizo, Rice, and Whitefish

Olive oil
4 oz chorizo, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/4 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
2 1/4 c chicken or vegetable stock
Whitefish fillets, chopped into bite-sized pieces or left whole

Heat olive oil a large skillet (with a cover) and cook the chorizo for a few minutes.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.  Add the rice and stir to coat with oils.  Add wine to deglaze the pan and bring to a boil.  Let the wine absorb and add the stock.  Bring it to a boil and place skillet, covered, in a 400 oven for 10 to 15 minutes.  Uncover the skillet and add the fish to the top, stirring down in slightly.  Continue cooking uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

White bean and rosemary stew

Don't let the white beans fool you...this is a powerfully wonderful soup with great flavors!  We'll be having it again soon for sure.

White Bean and Rosemary Stew

2 bell peppers, red and yellow
Olive oil
Onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 c of vegetable broth
19 oz can of white beans (we like great northern or Goya small white beans)

2 t fresh rosemary or 1 t dried plus additional for garnish if desired

1 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Roast the peppers on a piece of foil under your broiler until the skins are black.  Let cool, peel, julienne, and set aside.

In a dutch oven, cook the onion and garlic until softened.  Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in the drained beans and rosemary.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, uncovered.  Stir in the peppers and vinegar and cook for a couple more minutes to heat through.  Add salt and pepper as desired.  Garnish the top with an additional sprig of rosemary if desired.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pizza with prosciutto

Sweet and salty together...oh the joy!  I made our Goat Cheese, Fig, and Prosciutto Pizza awhile ago with fresh figs, a bit of olive spread, and without the scallions.  Very very satisfying!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Braised lamb with red wine and dates

I found a recipe for lamb chops braised in red wine along with figs, but since figs were unfortunately no longer available for the season, I used dates instead.  We liked it quite a bit, so I may never even bother to use figs!  Along with that substitution, I also used a leg cut instead of a shoulder chop, but otherwise followed the Martha Stewart recipe.  Oh yeah, and I added pomegranate seeds too, which gave a nice tangy note to the sweetish dish.

On the plate below, you'll see that we also tried Martha's parsnips and potatoes.  Very tasty.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Artichoke and shrimp pizza

No, I am not trying to see what weird combinations I can come up with!  We just like to try out new things, and this turned out really well.  I used our thin crust recipe and made two small rounds. 

Artichoke and Shrimp Pizza

1/4 to 1/2 lb small cooked shrimp
Small bunch of scallions
1-1/2 T cornstarch
3/4 c milk
3/4 c (3 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 c dry white wine
Dash of garlic powder
15oz can of artichoke hearts, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Thin crust pizza shells, 2 small or 1 large

Bake the pizza shells at 450 for 7 or 8 minutes and remove from the oven.  This can be done ahead of time if desired.

Slice the shrimp into half or thirds lengthwise, and slice the scallions (white and pale green parts) thinly crosswise.  Set aside.

Mix the cornstarch and cold milk and begin to heat in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a gentle boil and stir until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, wine, and garlic powder.  Spread the sauce over the pizza shells.  Spread on the artichokes, shrimp, and white parts of the scallions.  Bake at 450 until bubbly and browning slightly.  Top with the green parts of the scallions and some Parmesan cheese before serving.  You can return it to the oven to melt the cheese slightly if desired.     

Friday, January 13, 2012

Honey-mustard skillet chicken

Skillet chicken is so fast and easy on a week night.  I especially like this one, because the chicken doesn't need to marinate for just coat it with the good stuff and go!  I added the Brussels Sprouts (pre-steamed in the microwave for a few minutes) right to the skillet. 

Honey-Mustard Skillet Chicken

6 skinless boneless chicken thighs

1 T honey
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T soy sauce
1 t grated orange rind
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 - 1/2 c panko bread crumbs

Put the chicken into a zip-loc bag along with the honey through the orange rind, and mix it around until the thighs are fully coated.  Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stove and sear each side of the chicken in a little oil, adding a bit of salt and pepper.  Sprinkle both sides with panko crumbs.  Place the skillet into an oven heated to 350 and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cooking off-the-grid

Winter storms do not daunt us!  We have a campstove with compressed LP gas, some containers of sterno, and a regular gas grill outside that keeps us in coffee, stews, omelets, and lots of other essentials!  Oh, and the antique coffee grinder in the back...yes, it really works!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thin and chewy molasses cookies

These cookies share some of the same spices with gingersnaps, but they are soft and chewy rather than hard and crispy.  Even though they flatten out as they bake, the butter, oil, and eggs give them a wonderful mouth feel!

Thin and Chewy Molasses Cookies
(makes 45 cookies)

1/2 c butter, at room temperature
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar, plus more for rolling
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses
2 T canola oil

1 t baking soda
1 t each cinnamon, ginger, and allspice
1/2 t salt
2 c flour

In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugars until fully incorporated, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, and then the molasses and oil.  Stir in the baking soda, spices, and salt.  Mix in the flour and cover with plastic wrap to refrigerate for at least an hour.

The dough will still be sticky, but rolling it in sugar will help.  Preheat the oven to 325 and place parchment paper on baking sheets.  Using a small (1-1/2") scoop, scoop up flat bottomed balls from the dough.  Roll in sugar and place far apart, only 9 on each baking sheet.  Flatten the tops slightly and bake for 17 minutes, turning sheets after 9 minutes.  At this size, you will get 5 batches of cookies, 45 total.   

Friday, January 6, 2012


I have tried more gingersnap recipes than I can possibly tell you, but have never been completely satisfied with any of them.  Either the texture was wrong, or the spices were wrong...the cookies just never had the right snap!  Well, that changed when I found the Cook's Illustrated recipe.  If you don't have a subscription, you'll have to sign up for a free trial in order to copy it from their site.  Trust me, it's worth it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Orange and pistachio stir fry

Really really good!  And easy, even though it takes a bit of prep to cut up and soften up the vegetables.  You can use just about any stir fry-able vegetables that you choose, but I stuck with all greens other than the onion.  Add bread or basmati rice and you've got a complete meal.

Orange and Pistachio Stir Fry

Brussels sprouts, halved
Green beans, ends trimmed
Broccoli florets
Onion, chopped 
Juice from one orange
Cayenne pepper flakes
Pistachios, chopped

Pre-cook the vegetables except for the onion in a microwave for a few minutes to soften.  Stir fry the onion in some butter and then add the rest of the vegetables.  Season with the orange juice and pepper.  Add the pistachios just before serving.    

Monday, January 2, 2012

Spicy lamb and black bean chili

I made our favorite lamb chili last week, but I wasn't able to find ground lamb.  Not to fear...cut up a leg slice and brown it up.  Delicious!