Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Greek Dinner Zoom - Chicken Souvlaki & Lemon Potatoes

This week my Girl Scout troop starts their Sow What? journey, which is all about learning about your families "food print" and how to reduce their carbon footprint (and improving the taste of their food) by shopping local, or ever growing their own produce or herbs. They'll be tasked with finding a nearby Farmer's Market to shop at, or a farm to visit and buy ingredients for their family. We chose these recipes based on the girls' preferences, and on available local produce and herbs. I've got lots of oregano in my garden, and mint, so Greek it is this week! We'll be doing dinner on Friday via Zoom...


Chicken Souvlaki


2.5-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1.5-inch pieces

Marinade

10-12 peeled garlic cloves
2 Tbs. dried oregano, or 4 Tbs. fresh oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp each Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 bay leaves

Blend marinade ingredients in food processor, then put it in a Ziploc with cut-up chicken pieces to marinade at least 40 mins. or overnight.

Soak skewers in water at least 15 mins before threading, and grill on charcoal or gas grill (or broil in oven). Turn as needed.

Serve with pita bread, tomato, cucumber, sweet onions and feta cheese, kalamata olives, and tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce


1/2-3/4 of an English cucumber, peeled, grated, and pressed to remove liquid
1 tsp kosher salt, divided
4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
1 tsp white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cups Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbs. fresh mint leaves, diced

Mix all ingredients, cover and fridge for at least an hour before serving.

  

Greek Lemon Potatoes


3 lbs yukon gold potatoes or other waxy, peeled potatoes

Marinade
1/2 c. lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/3 c. olive oil
2 pressed garlic cloves   
1 tsp. dried oregano, or 2 tsp. fresh, diced oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups. chicken stock

Peel and halve (or quarter is they're large) potatoes and soak in water while prepping lemon sauce.

In a gallon Ziploc bag, combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and stock. Drain potatoes and put them in the bag. Marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and pour potatoes and sauce in a 9x13 pan, and roast for about an hour. Turn every 20 mins or so. Broil for about 5 mins at the end to crisp edges before serving.

Cubanos & Garbanzo Bean Salad

Last week's dinner Zoom was an attempt to create our favorite Cuban take-out at home. It was delicious, and excellent with mojitos made with mint, fresh from the garden.

Cuban Sammies (AKA Cubanos) 

Good cuban sandwich bread (recipe from Allrecipes.com is amazing)
Roasted or pulled pork (made with Mojo, ideally)
sliced deli ham (3-4 slices per sandwich)
Swiss cheese slices (1-2 slices per sandwich)
whole Kosher dill pickles (sliced thin by you)
Yellow mustard
Horseradish (optional, but delicious)
Butter for grilling sammies, and sandwich press, panini grill, or two cast iron pans and some hot pads

Assemble sammies, butter outsides, and grill. If using cast iron pans, heat both, and put one (smaller) on top of sammies, using it to press down the sammies in the pan. Use hot pads to press down hot pan on sandwich. Grill to golden and melty, and enjoy with Garbanzo Bean Salad and a mojito with LOTS of mint and lime!


Garbanzo Bean Salad
(about 8-10 servings as a side)


Salad  
2 (15 ounce ) cans of garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
2 flame bell peppers (or whatever color you prefer)
1 c. of diced sweet onion
1 c. of  quartered cherry tomatoes
1 c. fresh corn (blanched or grilled and planked off the cob)
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 c. chopped cilantro

Dressing
1/4 c. lime juice
1/4 c. olive oil
1.5 tsp. of ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3-4 pressed garlic cloves
 
Combine the beans, peppers, onion, tomatoes, corn, and chopped cilantro in a large glass salad bowl.

Blitz dressing in a small blender (or whisk by hand), pour over the salad and toss. Best flavor comes from letting this salad chill in the fridge for at least a couple hours. Lasts several days in the fridge.


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Antoni's Roasted Carrots


Antoni Cooks-like Roasted Carrots (with my edits - the kids call them "Your Carrots, Mom" now)

    2 bunches medium carrots (10-12)  with tops (2 cups packed leaves)
    2 tsp red wine vinegar
    1⁄3 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, and more to drizzle/dress
    1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
    3 tbsp almonds
    1-2 garlic cloves
    1⁄2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    1 cup plain Greek yogurt
    Freshly ground black pepper

First, roast your carrots at 425-degrees F. Leave about an inch of the stem on unpeeled, washed carrots, and reserve the rest of the tops for the pesto.
If carrots are larger than about 3⁄4″ in diameter at top end, cut in half lengthwise. Arrange carrots in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with vinegar, 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of oil and 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt, and toss to coat.
Roast until tender, about 25 mins.

While carrots are roasting, make carrot top pesto. First, toast almonds about 4 mins in the oven on top rack, remove and let cool.
Pack 2 cups of the carrot leaves, then wash and dry in a salad spinner. Pulse garlic and toasted nuts to a coarse paste in food processor.
Add carrot tops, Parmesan and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt, and pulse again to combine, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. While processing,
add remaining 1⁄3 cup of oil in slow, steady stream.

To plate, spread 1⁄2 cup of yogurt on serving dish. Pile carrots on top. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of yogurt, and spoon pesto on top.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper.





Saturday, July 18, 2020

Tomatoes & Basil Three Ways


Bruschetta

4 Tbs. Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. ribbon-sliced basil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs. capers (optional)
1/4 c. chopped green or kalamata olives, chopped

Top toasted, sliced baguette (the whole-grain toast above was toasted and topped with fresh ricotta, then bruschetta. To toast baguette slices, brush or spray with olive oil, then toast at 400-degrees F on a cookie sheet for about 10 mins.


Caprese is also one of M's favorites. She especially loves the Caprese Pesto Flatbread from Woods Coffee, so we did some ourselves... simply slice focaccia thin, spread with pesto, cover with shredded mozzarella, then top with sliced, ripe tomatoes, and ribbons of basil. Toast in over until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Caprese Salad is super simple — fresh, ripe tomatoes, cut up, sliced fresh basil, sliced fresh mozzarella, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with sea salt.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Spitzbuben

These cookies were in every bakery that we visited in Adelboden and Interlaken, Switzerland last summer. Along with the green-iced Carac Tarts, they livened up every case, and we even spotted them pre-packaged in vending machines... I got a similar cookie cutter off Amazon, but at Christmas time, just used a fondant circle for eyes, and made a smile "cutter" out of a cut-up dollar-store plastic cutting mat. You could also add a circle nose from the eye cut-outs if you make large Spitzbuben... or, just go with any other shape for the "window" half of the sandwich cookie.


Spitzbuben (Bratty Boys) Cookies


3/4 c. butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sugar

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¾  c. flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt


In an electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Then add flour, baking powder and salt to bowl and mix until a soft dough comes together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 mins. Roll dough and cut out circles. You’ll make faces in half of your circles (or any shapes) – like a Linzer Tart cookie. Spitzbuben have eyes and a big smile. Once they are baked and cooled, you’ll spread jam/jelly between two cookies. 


Bake at 350 degrees F for about 8 minutes. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Chicken Satay Deliciousness


I love the blog Eighty Twenty (eat8020.com), and have made many, many of her recipes over the years. This Chicken Satay Dip sounded great for a Friday night Zoom dinner, so we had it last night, and it will be on repeat here for the summer for sure! I've made some tweaks to her recipe (very few), but basically, here it is...

Chicken Satay Dip

1 1/2 lb lean ground turkey or chicken
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 head baby bok choy, chopped fine
1 cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper (or the new Flame/Striped Holland pepper - so good), finely diced
3 green onions, sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

SAUCE
1/3 cup powdered peanut butter (Trader Joe's has a 100% peanut-only, no sugar added version)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce (or Liquid Aminos - even better)
2 tsp sriracha, or to taste
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp minced ginger
4 oz nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Dash ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large oven-proof skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Saute ground turkey or chicken until cooked through.  Add in chopped vegetables, reduce heat to medium and saute until vegetables are softened.

Mix together sauce ingredients, whisking until combined.  Stir sauce into cooked mixture, then bake for 10-15 mins, or until bubbly. Remove from oven, top with green onion, and cilantro.

Serve with naan, pitas, crackers, baguette, and bib lettuce leaves! So good.

Nutrition info per 1/4 skillet: 351 calories, 18 g fat, 44 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 6.5 g fiber

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Friday Dinner & Dessert

My family's expectations are a tad too high, which is entirely my own fault. Last Friday, after polishing off a glorious dinner, they immediately asked what was for dessert. *Insert heavy sigh* which I'm apparently famous for... must be why I love yoga so much, with all that cleansing breathing.

So, this week, there will be dessert. Creme Brulee to be exact, and the recipe that ruined Joel for ordering it anywhere ever. This Ginger & Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee comes from pastry chef Mark Okumura, of Alan Wong's Restaurant in Honolulu, and was published in Bon Apetit magazine back in 1999. I've not made it in awhile, but will probably lighten this version this week, and see how that goes... I'll likely do with half & half rather than whipping cream, and I might split the batch and see how the chemistry works with Swerve sweetener... or maybe maple syrup.

And, we're doing grilled jerk chicken, veg, and a confetti-bean salad (beans, and your favorite chopped veg, like sweet peppers, tomatoes, avocado, corn, etc., cilantro, sea salt & lime juice).

Ginger & Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
6 servings

2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. chopped and peeled fresh ginger
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks

Preheat over to 325-degrees F. Place six 3/4-cup ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. 

Mix cream, sugar, and ginger in a heavy medium saucepan. Using a small, sharp knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cream mixture, then toss in the vanilla bean too. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to love and simmer gently for 10 minutes to infuse flavors. Next, strain into a large measuring cup. 

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture (a little a a time) just to blend. Return custard to the measuring cup and divide evenly among the ramekins. Pour warm water into the 9 x 13 pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes, and carefully transfer the pans to the oven. This is a bain marie (water bath) and keeps the custards from curdling by cooking them gently until they set. 

Bake custards until almost set in center when pans are gently shaken, about 35 mins. Transfer custards to a work surface to cool for 30 mins after baking, then chill for at least 3 hours (and up to 2 days). 

Brulee Topping
12 teaspoons sugar
Sliced tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, etc.)

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over each custard. Working with one custard at a time, hold blowtorch so that the flame is 2-inches above surface. Direct flame so that sugar melts and browns evenly, for about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until custards are firm again but topping is still brittle, about 1-2 hours, and garnish with fruit. Custards can also be "brulee'd" under the broiler in your oven until the sugar caramelizes. 


Jerk Chicken Marinade

2 bunches scallions, chopped (or equivalent amount of onion)
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4 t. allspice
2 T. dried thyme
4 t. salt
1 can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. molasses
2 T. cumin

Broil or barbecue the chicken after marinating for at least two hours. Once, I marinaded a double batch, but only grilled half, and froze the rest (in the marinade) for about a month. After defrosting and grilling, it was phenomenal. My brother was over for dinner with his daughter Sophia, and he was blown away by the flavor of this jerk chicken. I usually use chicken thighs for this (for the best flavor). 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Vegan Caesar Salad

Years ago, a friend recommended the book Thug Kitchen, and I discovered a handful of favorite recipes in it. Amusingly, it took me nearly the whole book to realize that it was all vegan recipes. It's possible that I was distracted by all of their foul language in the book, but I think it was just that there were SO many great gems in there. One of the recipes that I copied but hadn't tried (until today) was their Almond Caesar Salad, and now I really wish I'd tried it years ago because it's fantastic!


Vegan Caesar Dressing

1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/3 cup hot water
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. capers
(Optional, but delicious - 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast to toss with salad)

Put the almonds in a glass with the hot water and let them soak for 15 mins. Chop the garlic. When the almonds are done soaking, put them in a blender or food processor with the garlic, olive oil, lemon, mustard, and vinegar. Blend it up until it's creamy and the almonds are blended. Add the capers then blend again to combine. 

I used 5 Tbs. of dressing on about 3/4 head of red leaf lettuce, and tossed 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast and a handful of croutons. I added chicken to my lunch salad too, making it not vegan, but this might be my new favorite Caesar...
 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Chicken Piccata & Kale Caesar

It's time to dust off the old cooking blog and get my current recipes on here, as people have been asking...

This was a hit with everyone in the house, so it'll be dinner tomorrow, and we're making it with some family on Zoom or Teams. We'll add in Mads' fave smashed potatoes (small goldens or reds, steamed or boiled, then crushed on a cookie sheet, drizzled with EVOO and seasoned/roasted), and Kale Caesar (adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil, and enjoyed in our home at least twice a week).



Chicken Piccata (Chicken with Lemon and Capers)
Serves 6-8 (great for leftovers)

3-4 chicken breasts split in half into cutlets (or sub thighs if you prefer)
1/2 cup flour
2 tsps lemon pepper
2 tsps salt
2 tsps garlic powder
2-3 lemons (zested, and juiced)
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1.5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup capers
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1-2 Tablespoons half-and-half

Split your chicken breast in half (into cutlets) and then pound them thin (I do this in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin). I then cut each half into two or three pieces. If you're using thighs, just pound them thin. Two chicken breasts fed our family of four dinner, with leftovers for lunch for two the next day.

Mix the flour and seasonings together in a pie pan or on a large plate, and coat the chicken pieces. Add pieces to a large skillet to brown, about 8 mins, depending on thickness. Turn the chicken to brown evenly. Move the chicken to another plate or pan as you finish cooking all of the chicken.

Whisk together the lemon juice and zest, broth, and garlic, then pour it into the chicken drippings in the pan. Stir and reduce a bit, and add half-and-half. Add the chicken back to the pan, and sprinkle in the capers to warm up to serve.


Kale Salad


5-6 cups chopped Italian (Lacinato) kale, ribs removed (or a triple-washed package of baby kale)
Juice from 1 large lemon, or two small lemons
4-5 Tbs. olive oil (truffled olive oil from Trader Joe's is amazing in this)
4 cloves pressed, fresh, garlic
Kosher or sea salt (to taste)
lemon pepper (or Penzey's Sunny Spain) to taste
3/4 cup shaved or grated Parmesan, Asiago, or other hard, flavorful cheese

Whisk the fresh-squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, pressed garlic and seasonings in a large salad bowl, then add all but 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and whisk again. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, just before serving, and top with remaining Parmesan.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bûche de Noël deux fois...

We did the yule log for Epiphany this year. Dinner, followed by chocolate yule log filled with chocolate mousse, and frosted with praline frosting, followed up by the burning of the Christmas trees. M & E both got the beans this year... double-lucky!

Then, a couple days later, I did a second yule log chocolate roll, filled with mousse, covered in sweetened whipped cream and decorated with chocolate fondant.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Minecraft Cake with Creepers

For Gavino's 11th, E and I crafted him a fun   chocolate and vanilla cake with lime fondant decorations.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Whole Foods

Delicious, quick, and easy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Standard Fare

If you focus on getting in all the servings of produce you need everyday, as well as healthy protein, meals are beautiful, nutritious and delicious (and pretty easy too).

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Bûche de Noël


My sister-in-law knows that we do a Bûche de Noël every year, and so she sent me a photo from Bon Appetit, and I just had to make their version for this year. Here's the recipe online, and I especially love the meringue mushrooms!  


Cheers!!!


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