Friday, September 28, 2012

Salads with no recipes needed

Sometimes you just need a quick accompaniment, but you don't exactly want to phone it in.  Here are two no-fail ideas. 

Fresh Tomato Slices
Layered with olive oil and fresh basil leaves.  Lightly salted.

Antipasto Salad
Use a mixture of dark greens, and top with a chopped mixture of olives and pickled vegetables, including hot peppers if desired.  Top with grated asiago cheese.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another mango chicken...stir fry?

Well, not exactly stir fry!  I shared the recipe back in August for Mango Chicken Stir Fry, and I planned to make it again, but by mistake I picked up bone-in chicken thighs!  No worries.

I used the wok and gave the thighs a quick sizzle to brown them up a bit.  Then I turned the heat down and let them simmer in a bit of broth until they were cooked through.  Add the rest of the ingredients and proceed as usual! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Salmon and edamame stir fry

Here's a tasty and pretty stir fry for either spring or fall, when you want something warm and spicy, but not too warm and spicy!  I found the recipe for Salmon and Edamame Stir Fry in Fresh magazine, and I think next time I might sub in some red peppers instead of the green ones for a bit more color.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chicken with balsamic sauce

In a hurry?  Got a package of chicken thighs and two people?  In the time that one of you grills the thighs, the other can whip up this tasty sauce, fix a couple of ears of corn, and toss a quick salad!

Balsamic Sauce for Chicken

2 parts balsamic vinegar
1 part honey

Mix together in a small sauce pan and simmer gently until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Spoon over grilled chicken.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuna with Bajan seasoning

The mixture of aromatic herbs and vegetables in this seasoning really appealed to me, but the reality left us a little flat.  I'm going to have to experiment with a few more renditions of Bajan seasoning before settling.  Please feel free to recommend a mix that you like!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Love to Bake Global Carnival

The Family Feed has once again hosted a wonderful carnival that features baked goods...and more!

The Chic Vegan

Chic Vegan: What a fun and uplifting website!  No, I'm not a vegan and I don't play one on TV.  But I really like having a good selection of vegetarian and vegan recipes at the ready.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The fastest easiest method for cooking chicken breasts

When you want to make chicken salad, or have pre-cooked chicken on hand for meals later in the week, here is the fastest and easiest way to get the job done and leave the chicken juicy juicy juicy.

Start with skinless (and boneless if desired) chicken breasts.  About four will fit easily in a large saucepan without too much crowding.  Add enough cold water to cover, somewhere around 6 c, and stir in 2 T salt.  Heat the pan uncovered until the water reaches 170 degrees.  Remove from the heat, cover the pan, and let it stand for about 15 minutes.  Check the internal temperature of the chicken.  It should register 165.  Drain off the brine water and refrigerate the meat until ready to use.

To make my Chicken Salad, I cut up the chicken and added the following:
Greek yogurt
Lemon juice
Dijon mustard
Black pepper

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shallots in red wine sauce

I wasn't sure whether or not it would be worthwhile to make these Shallots when I didn't have enough time for them to simmer 2 whole hours...

Oh yeah, it was worth it anyway!

The sauce wasn't as thick, then shallots not quite as well-caramelized, but they were still sinfully good.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lavender biscotti

We had a very good crop of lavender this year, and I've harvested quite a bit to use in baking.  One of our favorite treats is Lavender Biscotti, shown above. 

Here are some more lavender-infused favorites of ours:

Lemon and Lavender Shortbread

Lavender-Honey Ice Cream

Friday, September 7, 2012

Swap out junk for solid nutrition

A few weeks ago, David Greenberg from Good Greens contacted me and asked if I would like to try some of their healthy snack bars that they would like to see replace the junky candy bars so many of us turn to during the day.  Well, skeptic that I am, I expected the bars to be marginally edible at best, especially after I found out that most of them are coated in vegan chocolate.  I've had vegan chocolate before and it was gross.  Apparently this was also company founder Keith Pabley's experience, because he made it his mission to create a natural and organic health bar out of green superfoods that didn't taste awful. 

So it turns out I was wrong...these are fantastic.  They use real chocolate, folks.  It might be vegan, but it's got great flavor, no funny aftertaste or weird texture.  Love them love them love them.  You know that I'm pretty much a whole foods kind of girl, and that I tend to stick my nose up at packaged foods of any type.  Well, thanks to chocolate coconut, chocolate mint, chocolate chunk, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate raspberry, and wildberry, now I need to convince my local store to carry Good Greens bars!  

From the Good Greens website:
The bars contain a patented blend of 52 natural super foods, which are naturally dried and minimally processed. These super foods boast a vast array of micronutrients, probiotics and antioxidants to enhance immunity and even combat disease. In addition to their impressive nutritional values, Good Greens Bars are also gluten‐free, dairy‐free, vegan and contain the nutritional equivalent of 100 percent of your daily fruits and vegetables.

Encased within the rich layers of dairy‐free dark chocolate lie a variety of nutritious ingredients including spirulina, one of the highest protein and most phytonutrient‐dense foods on the planet, and camu camu, which packs more than 11 times the recommended daily value of vitamin C in a single teaspoon. In addition, the bar also contains alfalfa, wheatgrass, spinach, pomegranate, ginger and nine types of berries including acai berries and goji berries. These and 45 other nutritionally‐optimal foods can be found within a pocket‐sized bar, making a yummy powerhouse meal accessible at any time or place.

Their dark chocolate coating (wildberry is the chocolate‐free variety) enhances the flavor experience, making Good Greens bars a snack of choice for parents, kids and everyone in between.

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received a box of Good Greens bars free of charge from Good Greens in order to write a review. I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Apricot tart

I love a rustic tart more than pies sometimes.  The rough shape just appeals to me, and in the late summer when there are so many peaches, apricots, and other stone fruits available just bursting with juice, a tart seems to be the perfect thing.

I always start with our favorite Pie Crust, and for one tart, I use only half the recipe.

Before baking

Peach or Apricot Tart

Single  recipe of  Pie Crust
1 1/2 lb peaches or apricots (about 5-6 peaches, 9 apricots)
1/3 c sugar
1 t lemon juice
Sprinkle of salt
1 T cornstarch
1 egg
Extra sugar

Make the pie crust and let it rest in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic.  Slice the fruit and stir together with the sugar through the cornstarch.  Roll out the crust to 13-14 inches on a piece of parchment, and slide the whole thing onto a rimmed baking sheet. 

Fill the center of the crust with the fruit.  Fold up the edges and crimp slightly.  Make an egg wash and brush the crust.  Sprinkle with sugar (raw sugar looks nice).  Bake at 375 for about an hour.  Let it cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before sliding it off (with parchment) onto a wire rack.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Corn salsa

I love corn salsa, especially when it's made from the abundance of the late summer harvest.  But occasionally the skins of the corn kernels get a bit tough, especially towards the end of the season.  I learned a fabulous trick to combat this from Cook's Illustrated: bring your water to a boil (2 cups of water is plenty for about 2 cups of corn), stir in 1/4 t baking soda and 1/4 t salt along with the corn kernels that have been cut from the cobs.  Remove from the heat and let stand for about 10 minutes.  Drain and cool.

Works like a charm!  I used to always do my corn on the cob this way --  boiling the water, throwing in the ears, and shutting off the heat -- but I never thought about using baking soda as an alkali to soften the hulls.  More recently, I've been using the microwave method to cook the cobs, but I'm thinking that perhaps a mixture of the methods would be in order towards the end of the season.  How about using the microwave for a few minutes to loosen the husks and then finishing them off in the pot?