Showing posts from July, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken with Savory Fruit Compote and Vegetable Pearl Couscous and Squash Towers

Tonights meal was all me baby!   No recipes, just a bunch of stuff I needed to get out of the fridge before it spoiled.
I marinated chicken thighs with garlic, capers, olive oil and s/p.  We got some Israeli (Pearl) couscous today, so I had to cook that.  I sautéed up some garlic, carrots, orange bell peppers, pine nuts, shallots and put aside for the couscous.

I had a savory fruit topping in mind for my chicken.  I didn't want a fruit cocktail, sweet taste, so I savory-ed it up!  I blended apples, strawberries, tomatoes, plum, garlic and balsamic vinegar.  This turned out very well, the chicken thighs were complemented nicely.  I have some left, so I'm thinking I might try it on pork.

I used our stovetop cast iron grill and got some nice lines on the thighs.  Every time I use this thing, I have to open front/back door to keep the smoke down.

I had some yellow squash hanging out so I made some squash towers. I got the idea from The Keg. This meal turned out very well.

Zachary wasn'…


My mother used to make the best lasagna I had ever tasted! This statement is still true to this day.  I make my mom's lasagna all the time, but today, we went rogue...and tried something different.   This meal started out as a mish mosh, and kind of planned in stages. The original plan was to recreate the asparagus and cream cheese tart, but we forgot the recipe.  On the fly we discussed options.  What we decided on as to make Jamie Oliver's tomato sauce, and create my mom's lasagna around it.  That seemed good on paper, but I didn't have my moms recipe on me either, so we flew by the seat of our pants, and guessed at the ingredients. We added mushy rooms and ground turkey to the tomato sauce, and I sort of made my moms cheese mixture for lasagna (I emphasize sort of).  Barillo has a lasagna pasta that I had not seen before, that looks like flat sheets of dried homemade pasta, cut short, specifically for 9x13 pans.  I did several layers and doubled up the pasta on some lay…

Library Cookbook: Jamie Oliver at Home: English Cheddar Onion Soup

The third meal from Jamie's book "At Home" was his version of onion soup. He explains that slowly cooking the onions, not letting them caramelize, is the key to the sweet taste.   Choosing a variety of onions was recommended, I got leeks, garlic, shallots,red and white onion
Start with olive oil garlic and sage, he kept reminding you that slow was the key, and to  remove them before they begin to color.

The odor was strong that day, my friend! Even using a food processor to slice up the onions, I had to step away several times due to burning and leaking eye balls.  It actually turned out quite nice looking.  I followed instructions and allowed it to cook very slowly.

The other thing that is different from the french, the cheese.   Cheddar is melted here, and same as the french, crusty bread is used to prop up the cheese.

I served the extra bread on the side, and it may have been a bit too much bread. Great for soaping up the broth, but there was bread in the soup too. This had such …

Library Cookbook: Jamie Oliver at Home: Proper Chicken Caesar Salad

Rosemary bacon!  I knew that would get ya!!

So my journey into Jamie's cookbook continued, another recipe that caught my eye was his Proper Chicken Caesar Salad.  Again very rustic, and the recipe had the most interesting take on making the croutons.  I took his recipe and altered it to fit my desires, for example, his called to wrap the chicken with the bacon during cooking, but I fried it with rosemary instead.
So the interesting thing about this recipe is the method of making the croutons.  I cut up some Italian bread, but a little olive oil and rosemary on them and put the in the bottom of a roasting dish.  Then I put a seasoned and herbed chicken on top of them and roasted it!  The juices dripped down into the bread, and yes...the best crouton I had ever had.

I took it out of the oven and cut it into 4 large chunks with most of the bones removed.  Zachary wanted chicken legs for his meal, so that is why the bones are still there.  I continued to cook to make sure the bread got n…

Library Cookbook: Jamie Oliver at Home: Pizza from scratch (dough and sauce)

Zachary has been a great help in the kitchen lately.  I thought I'd start including him in a bit more of the cooking.  Here he is proudly posing by his first pizza creation!
So the other day while trying to escape the oppressive heat here in Texas, Zachary and I were at storytime at the local library.  A friend of his was there too, so off they went to learn about dinosaurs.  This left me a bit of browsing time.  After looking at the cds, dvds, and kids books that I thought he might like, I stumbled upon the food section.  They had TONS of cookbooks.  Some old, some new. I checked of Jamie Oliver's At Home. I love his whole overall rustic, disheveled look, and the recipes in this book are quite rustic, hearty, earthy, and quite frankly a big hit. Among many other things, he had a section on pizzas.   Great time to get Zachary involved with making his own pizza.
Dough recipe was time consuming, letting the yeast rise and all, but the crust turned out nice and sweet and crisp. I need …

Pan Fried Rainbow Trout

Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads eat them up...yum! That song repeated in my head the entire time I was cooking this meal.

I LOVE trout!!! I'm still learning how to filet fish.  These look a bit rough, but after they  were lightly floured and pan fried in a little butter, they looked great.

I paired this with simple basmati rice and some garden cucumbers.   Squeeze of lemon and boom! healthy meal.

close up of trout

(Say it with a Peter Brady, imitating James Cagney, kind of thing)....Pork Chops....and Apple Sauce!

<homage to Buddy, even though I took it post grill>
So heres the story.... of a cook named Todd. Who was dealing, with a very lovely flock. There was 3 of them, all together.... yet they ate real good!!!!
Ok, grammer police, I'm just trying to make a point,  or rather bring up a popular cultural reference! One of my tv heros passed away today, Sherwood Schwartz. Creator of the Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island (he also wrote the theme songs to each). I've read 2 biographies, and additional books on the specific shows, about him, and I have always been fascinated with him, and his "genius".  I put quotes because this is ALSO the man who created the Brady's, a drama based on the Brady family that didn't last even the first season.   Brady Bunch variety Hour anyone?!?!?!?!
But I digress...kind of.... Thinking about what to cook for dinner this morning, I immediately thought...pork chops and apples sauce!  Man, that Peter Brady scene was classic!  I can't even b…

Cucumber and Celery Soup & Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

First and foremost....does anyone agree with me, that this quickly can make the whole house smell awesome!   Sautéed onions and garlic!!!!

It has been so hot here in Texas that I wanted  to cool off a bit. Cucumber and celery, greek yogurt, chicken stock,  dill, walnut oil.   This no-cook soup, is served chilled.

Spanakopita or Greek spinach pie, is made with feta, onion, garlic, dill, flat leaf parsley, eggs and s/p. Baked with buttery filo dough.   I used fresh spinach and the texture was not as good as I had hoped.   I think that frozen spinach is the way to go. Next time!

Close up of the Spanakopita.

Blackened Salmon with Red Cabbage Slaw and Brochette

Dutchie wanted something light tonight, so I fixed blackened salmon, vinegar based slaw and brochette with roasted garlic and pickled okra (on cheddar/jalapeno biscuits).

I used the homemade rib rub that I had leftover from the initial rib experience.   Got 3 thumbs up on the salmon.  I used the cast iron skillet to get a great seal from the rub.  I left the rub off of Zach's piece, as I remember it being a bit spicy for him. The slaw wasn't as big of a hit, it was good, but didn't seem to mesh well with the salmon. The brochettes turned out good.

The other day was a different story
I fixed, what I thought would be a FFF worthy dinner the other night, Chicken 3 Ways. I did Rosy's Japanese Chicken, traditional hot wings, and lemon pepper wings.  I made an awesome oriental soy based sauce for one, honey barbeque for another, and fresh lemon zest and cracked black pepper for the other.  Utilizing corn starch for the first time frying, I now have a new way to ALWAYS do it.  So cr…

No photos, but good meal

So I watched an episode of Extreme Chef, and it inspired me to cook.  We had just returned from a road trip, San Antonio, and were probably deliver pizza bound prior to that.
After a facebook posting about Pei Wei lettuce wraps, I couldn't get it out of my mind.
So I jumped in the car and about 40 minutes later, we were eating oriental chicken lettuce wraps!!

I got 2 chicken breasts, carrots, boston lettuce, garlic and cilantro...the rest I already had.

I diced up the chicken very small, grated some carrots, chopped peanuts, chopped garlic, chopped cucumber, chopped carrots (yes 2 different chops on the carrots) and s/p.  I added them to a saucepan, in that order with some olive oil.  Once it was almost cooked, I added soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar (I also snuck in a couple dashes of hot sauce).  Once nice and coozy, I spooned it into boston lettuce leaf.  Topped with cilantro and BAM!  There you have it!
I served it with some seedless watermelon.

Not as …

Lobster Spaghetti! 'Nuff said!

I was so anxious to eat this, that I rushed the photos, and didn't come out with good ones. But that doesn't mean for a second that this wasn't a home run hit to the upper decks.  After flipping thru some cookbooks (Gordon Ramsay and Food and Wine), I was coming up empty with ideas. However, while watching some cooking shows and discussing dinner, I saw a lobster diablo dish that  reminded me of lobster spaghetti.  Our Kroger sells both lobster tails and cooked whole lobsters. The tails looked like the would provide the most meat, as the whole lobsters were much smaller.  At the same price it was a no brainer. Dinner will be awesome!!!

I hit the internet and googled lobster spaghetti, and sure enough, I found a recipe from Gordon Ramsay, and headed to get some groceries.  Fairly simple dish that starts with cherry tomatoes, onion and garlic, cooked down, then add white wine, some for the dish... some for the chef!!! In the meantime, cook the pasta and lobster.  Cut the white gold i…