June 21st, 2016
June 13th, 2016
If you are looking for a flavorful picnic chicken, this is the one for you. Because of the long marination in spices, garlic and ginger, it is delicious even at room temperature. I would happily put this chicken in a container and carry it to a picnic spot overlooking a mountain view or a babbling stream. In my perfect picnic spot I would serve it with the following.
Israeli Couscous and Arugula Salad. It is bright. It is piquant and it is light. You can find the recipe here.
One of my new favorite salads is this Zoodle vegie salad. It is perfect for a picnic. Here is the recipe.
All picnics require bread. This wonderful cheese and chive bread from Dorie Greenspan is perfect. It is one of my favorites.
My Chocolate Pecan Shortbread Bars are fast and easy. You can make them even better with good quality chocolate. I even make and freeze these to have on hand for impromptu get togethers. Recipe here.
Add some fruit, cheese and wine for a perfect picnic.
The fiery jalapeno and ginger spiked marinade assures that this chicken will have lots of flavor when it is served cold or at room temperature. Although the recipe calls for roasting in the oven, it would also be great on the grill. Try it for your next picnic or cookout.
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed, and seeded if desired
- 1 inch-long piece gingerroot, peeled and sliced into coins
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 pounds skinless chicken drumsticks and thighs, rinsed and patted dry
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- For marinade, combine all ingredients except for chicken, oil and lime wedges in a food processor and purée until smooth.
- With a sharp knife, make several incisions on each chicken piece to help marinade penetrate meat. Transfer chicken to a large glass or ceramic baking dish and pour in marinade, turning chicken pieces to coat. Cover dish with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove chicken pieces from marinade. Transfer chicken to a roasting pan and drizzle with vegetable oil. Roast, basting occasionally, until juices run clear and meat is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with lime wedges.
June 7th, 2016
Our hearts are hurting right now with the senseless loss of life in Orlando, Florida. I try to keep my blog free of political comments so you will hear none of that from me, but the tragedy that took so many lives has nothing to do with politics. It is just a sad commentary on the hate that seems to permeate our otherwise great country. The hate needs to stop.
When the world seems too much to bear, baking cookies for your neighbors or making a breakfast cake to share can be a small token of friendship that can tell people that you care. Please do not lambast me for such a silly response to what has happened. I fully understand the complexity of our problems and the great loss. We are trying to deal with it by being actively involved in finding solutions. But no act of kindness is too small. Besides, baking is good for the soul.
This summer berry buckle is a fruit studded coffee cake. It is more fruit than cake, but the combination is a wonderful summer treat. Add whipped cream or ice cream and you have the perfect dessert to enjoy on the porch or deck. Or serve it for breakfast with juice and coffee. You may think that 4 1/2 cups of fruit is too much but it is not. I used a pint of washed and dried blueberries, 1/2 pint of washed and dried raspberries and 1/2 pint of washed and dried blackberries.
My nephew and his family live in Orlando and Paul’s daughter Katie made this sign to honor the fallen victims of the horrible tragedy. Katie has a big heart. It is not right that our young children should have to endure such horrors. We all need to unite, without animosity, to find a solution.
Bake this Summer Berry Buckle to share with friends. It is a small gesture of good will.
SUMMER BERRY BUCKLE ( The New York Times )
- ½ cup/114 grams (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
- ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar, more for sprinkling
- ¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon/5 grams finely gratedlemon zest
- 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups/156 grams all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 4 ½ cups summer berries (a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or use any one kind)
- Cinnamon, for dusting (optional)
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add lemon zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and baking powder, and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until just combined.
- Gently fold berries into the batter, then spread batter in pan and sprinkle lightly with more granulated sugar. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden and cake is cooked through.
- Allow cake to cool, then sprinkle with cinnamon, if using, and confectioners’ sugar.
May 26th, 2016
I have cobbled together a picture of a breakfast casserole that I served to company. My life has been rather cobbled together lately. From selling our Florida house, to pulling a u-haul back to North Carolina, to a major get together with friends, the one thing I did not need was to get sick. But sick I was. I developed a hacking cough, headache, fever and laryngitis. David dragged me to the Doctor last Wednesday. All I could croak out were the words “I can’t afford to be sick. I have 16 people coming tomorrow for 4 or 5 days.” I am so impressed with our Nurse Practitioner. She prescribed an antibiotic and words of wisdom. She said be sure your friends have clean sheets and towels, but forget about the rest of the house. No one will notice or care about a bit of dust or a less that neat house. So true. Everyone pitched in and we had a wonderful time.
The occasion that brought us all together was the annual Lake Lure Lakefront Home Owners Association annual dinner and meeting. David and I were in charge of the entertainment. We booked our good friends from Florida who have a doo wop group called Malt Shoppe Memories. They perform all over Florida and are also known in our area from previous visits.
The concert was held on the beach and a fun time was had by all.
The hotel even arranged to serve S’mores on the beach.
The party was held on Saturday night. On Sunday evening the group performed on the top of our boathouse and people were encouraged to come by boat to sit back and enjoy the concert. The acoustics on the water and between the mountains are something special.
It was great to have so much help in the kitchen. We did a pot luck on Sunday and everyone contributed wonderful dishes.
I made this casserole on Saturday afternoon when I was feeling better. I tucked it into the refrigerator and baked it on Sunday morning. It couldn’t be easier. What you see here are the leftovers. It is a special breakfast casserole because it uses croissants instead of bread (thus the buttery description) and because it comes from The New York Times. All of their recipes are first rate. I will be adding this to my permanent recipe file. The sausage, Gruyere cheese, sage and green onions just add to the goodness.
BUTTERY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
- 1 pound croissants (about 5 to 7), split in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for baking dish
- 1 bunch scallions (6 to 7), white and light green parts thinly sliced, greens reserved
- ¾ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 8 large eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces Gruyère, grated (2 cups)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat oven to 500 degrees. Spread croissants on a large baking sheet and toast, cut side up, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes (watch carefully to see that they do not burn). Let cool, then tear into large bite-size pieces.
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add sliced scallions and sausage meat; cook, breaking up meat with a fork, until mixture is well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in sage, and remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, toss together croissants and sausage mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, salt and pepper.
- Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Turn croissant mixture into pan, spreading it out evenly over the bottom. Pour custard into pan, pressing croissants down gently to help absorb the liquid. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake the casserole, heat oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole. Transfer to oven and bake until casserole is golden brown and firm to the touch, 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Garnish with sliced scallion tops before serving.
May 22nd, 2016
What a terrific idea. From the good folks at Bon Appetit Magazine comes this easy way to cook your whole dinner on one sheet pan. The timing for this recipe to appear couldn’t be better. Most of my remaining kitchen supplies are in boxes sealed and ready to accompany us back to North Carolina. It was so convenient to turn the oven on and cook the whole dinner in one pan.
Saltimbocca is Italian for “jumps in the mouth”. Usually it is made with veal that is pounded thin, wrapped in prosciutto with a sage leaf underneath, sauteed in butter and then simmered in dry white wine. This unconventional treatment starts with potatoes and onions seasoned with lots of sage and olive oil and cooked in a hot oven. The boneless pork chops topped with the prosciutto are then added to the pan to continue cooking until they are done. I also added asparagus.
This was a flavorful dinner with very little effort. We are headed back to North Carolina with a small u-haul trailer. I am proud that I can include that word “small”. We will miss our Florida home but are looking forward to the different travel opportunities we now have.
SHEET PAN PORK SALTIMBOCCA
- 2 1-inch-thick slices boneless pork loin (6–8 ounces each)
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound small (2-inch-diameter) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1/8 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
- 4 thin slices prosciutto
- Asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil, optional
Preheat oven to 450°. Pierce pork slices all over with the tip of a paring knife. Place in a dish just large enough to hold pork in a single layer. Pour wine over and let marinate at room temperature while preparing other ingredients.
Place onions in a medium bowl, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat without breaking up slices. Transfer onions to prepared baking sheet, spreading out in an even layer. Combine remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, potatoes, and sage in same bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place potatoes on sheet, tucking in among onions.
Roast onion-potato mixture until potatoes are beginning to brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove pork from wine and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and top each pork slice with 2 prosciutto slices. Place pork on baking sheet atop potatoes and onions. Add asparagus spears if desired. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of pork registers 135°, about 15 minutes. (After 10 minutes, I turned pork chops over to brown more evenly. I lifted the prosciutto , turned the chops and placed the prosciutto back on the chops.) Remove pan from oven and let rest, covered with foil for about 10 minutes. Serve.
I made these delicious little mashed potato cakes before we left for Florida. I packed what was leftover in our cooler and we have finished them while we are here preparing the house for the sale closing. They are such an easy do ahead side dish. The potato cakes are flavored with ham and chives with eggs, milk and butter for binding them together.
This was the condition of my kitchen two days ago. All of the cabinets were emptied and the contents spread about on the counters. I managed to find a small section of the island cleared enough to cut up carrots for roasting for that nights dinner. By the end of the next day, most of the kitchenware was sold along with the rest of the house contents.
All of our art work, furniture, linens and smalls have found new homes. We are fortunate that the new owners purchased a lot of the furniture so we still have a bed in which to sleep, a table on which to eat, and a comfy chair to recline in while watching TV. I saved a few pots and pans, a French press coffee maker and miscellaneous tools to make simple meals possible. The estate sale is over and we have five more days until the closing. I shed a few tears when I left the house in the hands of my estate sale manager, knowing that when we returned at the end of that first day the house would have lost much of its charm. But I have gotten used to the empty rooms and parting with all of this stuff is really liberating.
The recipe for the potato cakes came from Eatwell 101. They are healthier than pan fried potato cakes. I used ham instead of pancetta. Check out the website for some lovely pictures and the recipe. My potato cakes took longer to brown than the 10 minutes that is suggested in the recipe. But the flavor is great and you could get creative with the ingredients.
Next up is a sheet pan dinner. When you are reduced to making do with just a few pans, you need to get creative.