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Blog Archives

Lemony Chickpea (Garbanzo), Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Okay Cousin Bonnie, here is the salad recipe you asked for…it was yummy!

 

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Lemony Chickpea, Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

Recipe by Michela Chiappa from Michela’s Tuscan Kitchen

Ingredients –

600g ripe tomatoes (I just drained a can of diced tomatoes)

 1 small bunch fresh basil

 extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

small handful walnuts

½ jar good quality chickpeas (about 300g)

pinch of dried cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 lemon

2 good handfuls of arugula

1 small round of crumbly, soft goat’s cheese

 

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to a serving bowl. Rip in most if the basil leaves, keep the baby leaves to one side. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and salt.
  2. Place a small frying pan on a low heat, add the walnut halves and cook for 5 minutes until toasted and smelling delicious. When ready tip into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, drain and the chickpeas. Add the cumin, oregano, lemon zest and half the juice and a drizzle of oil. Toss together with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas to the tomatoes and toss together. Add the arugula and crumble over the goat’s cheese and walnuts.
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Slow Cooker Beer Can Chicken

The problem with having a small gas BBQ is not being able to do a beer can chicken because the lid is too low! For those who do not know what I am speaking about, normally one places a seasoned chicken upside down over a full, but open beer can. NOT alive sillies!!! The hot juices from the can permeate the bird as it cooks. Pinterest to the rescue again.

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Slow Cooker Beer Can Chicken (without the beer can!)

Ingredients

  1. 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  2. 2 teaspoons salt
  3. 2 teaspoons coarse pepper
  4. 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  5. 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 4 (6-inch) strips aluminum foil, each bunched into a ball
  9. 1 can (16 ounces) beer
  10. 1 (6 1/2 to 7 pound) whole chicken

Instructions

  1. Mix smoked paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Place 4 balls of aluminum foil on bottom of slow cooker crock. Pour beer into crock.
  3. Rinse chicken and pat dry.
  4. Rub chicken with seasoning mixture. Place chicken on top of foil in crock.
  5. Cover slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 5 to 7 hours. Chicken is well done when meat temperature registers 165°F in the breast or 175°F-180°F in the thickest part of the thigh.

Notes

  1. USDA recommends 165°F as the safe eating temperature for chicken. Chicken is done when meat temperature registers 165°F in the breast or 175°F-180°F in the thickest part of the thigh. For more information on food safety, visit foodsafety.gov.

Roasted Parmesan Garlic Shrimp

Always looking for a great appetizer and this one surely qualifies. In the case of both the oregano and basil I would use fresh in place of the dried. If you are ever caught with cocktail sauce, a simple recipe blends 1/2 cup ketchup + 2 Tablespoons horseradish!

Roasted Parmesan Garlic Shrimp (http://inspiredbycharm.com)

1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (I prefer fresh)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (I prefer fresh)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Parsley leaves, chopped for garnish
Cocktail sauce (optional)

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with oil or nonstick spray.

Place the shrimp in a single layer on the baking. Evenly distribute the olive oil, parmesan, garlic, oregano, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss together with a spoon or your hands.

Place the pan of shrimp in the oven and roast the shrimp until just pink, firm, and cooked through. This should take 7-9 minutes. When done, sprinkle with lemon juice.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Chowder

What to do when your stove gets taken away for repairs? Three choices – BBQ, Microwave or Slow Cooker. Oh, and company for dinner… Pinterest to the rescue as always. The best part is that we had everything in the house! Hope you will try this sometime soon, it beats cooking inside, as we can put our cooker outside, A great way to enhance the BBQ season!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 12 ounces red potato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 4 cups chicken broth 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
  2. Place chicken, potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, and corn into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in chicken broth, garlic, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together half and half and cornstarch. Stir in half and half mixture and butter during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  5. Serve immediately, topped with bacon and garnished with chives, if desired.

 

 

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Trying out a new look for 2015…hope you like it!

We were in Cuba in February and came to enjoy the red beans and rice. Looking for a similar dish, I found a recipe for Cajun Red Beans and Rice on my friend Kevin’s site www.closetcooking.com

I used a smoked pancetta as Andouille is not common down here. The flavour was great. This recipe makes enough for four hungry people!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice (adapted from http://www.closetcooking.com)
Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1/2 pound Andouille sausage or smoked Pancetta (cut into small pieces)
• 1 cup onion (diced)
• 1/2 cup celery (diced)
• 1/2 cup green pepper (diced)
• 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
• 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
• 2 (19 ounce) cans red beans (rinsed and drained)
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 cups cooked rice (I like to go with Basmati)
Directions
1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat add the sausage and sauté until lightly golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, and set aside.
2. Add the onions, celery and green pepper to the pan and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the stock, beans, sausage/pancetta, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for at least 1 hour
6. Remove the bay leaves.
7. Mash or puree about a quarter of the beans if desired.

If you feel there is too much liquid, just let it simmer down.
Just before serving add the cooked rice.

Marinated Tuna Steaks

With the medical community and health-conscious Americans becoming more aware of the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and low fat proteins, tuna steak is an increasingly popular item on menus and in grocery stores around the country. In addition to its almost “meaty” flavor and texture, tuna steak is highly versatile, lending itself well to many different seasonings and flavor combinations.Read more : http://www.ehow.com/about_4740858_tuna-steak.html
Although we do not eat a lot of it, we certainly do enjoy fresh tuna steak (save the canned stuff for tuna noodle casserole). This is the second tuna steak recipe I have posted here. Check out Rachel Ray’s Tuscan tuna steaks for an unmarinated style.
 Marinated Tuna Steaks
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 clove garlic minced
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon white pepper
Few drops of sesame oil
Sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
½ teaspoon fresh ginger gratedMarinate the tuna steaks for about 30 minutes.
Grill in a hot pan for 5 to 6 minutes per side, basting with remaining sauce.

Turkey Divan

With US Thanksgiving fast approaching, as well as Christmas (44 days), thoughts turn to turkey. I have previously posted a great recipe for preparing turkey which originated with Emerill Lagasse — check out Funky Brined Turkey elsewhere on the blog. Its awesome and I have used it for many years. AFTER US Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will undoubtedly be some leftover turkey. You could make pot pies, but who wants to fiddle with a crust? Turkey Divan is the perfect answer for leftovers!! The following recipe was adapted from Anna Olsen, Food Network Canada.

FYI, if you don’t have leftover turkey, just head down to the deli and get a precooked roasted turkey breast and either bring it home to slice or have the butcher cut thick pieces. Don’t use turkey lunch-meat!!! You could also substitute chicken… enuf said…hope you enjoy this one.

Turkey Divan by Anna Olsen Food Network Canada
Ingredients (my changes in red as always)

3 cup fresh broccoli, cut into florets (and peeled stem pieces)
4 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, diced into ½-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced into ½-inch pieces
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped fresh savory (I could not find any here)
1 tsp each thyme and oregano
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 cup chicken stock
½ cup half-and-half cream
½ cup dry white wine
2 cup Jarlsberg cheese or Manchego if in Mexico
salt & pepper
1 lb. cooked turkey breast meat (not luncheon meat), sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Directions
1. Blanch broccoli in boiling salted water (or steam) until just tender, then shock in ice water to halt cooking. Drain broccoli and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
3. In a large sauté pan with sides melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until almost translucent, about 4 minutes.
4. Add diced pepper and sauté 3 minutes more. Sift flour over vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, until a faintly nutty aroma is emitted, but flour does not brown.
5. Stir in mustard, savory and zest. Stir in chicken stock, ½ cup at a time, blending well after each addition (this will prevent lumps). Bring liquid up to a simmer, then stir in cream.
6. Return to a simmer and stir in wine. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 ½ cups Jarlsberg or Manchego cheese until melted. Season to taste.
7. Stir in broccoli and turkey, adjust seasoning if necessary, stir in parsley and pour into an 8-cup casserole dish.

This can be prepared to here and refrigerated until before dinner when you can apply the topping before baking. I usually put the refrigerated dish on the counter to warm it up a little before baking.
8. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese mixed with breadcrumbs and olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, until sauce is bubbling along the sides.
9. Serve over cooked rice or buttered noodles.
10. Alternatively, the half-and-half cream can be replaced by ½ cup mascarpone cheese, for a more decadent version.

Serve it with a great Jasmine rice!

 

Pasta e Fagioli

This recipe is very similar to the one offered in a very popular Italian restaurant which shall remain unnamed. Note that the recipe has been amended to make 9 quarts. What the heck, make it as shown and freeze it for those snowy days ahead…LOL

Pasta e Fagioli
Ingredients
• 1 tsp. oil
• 1 lb. ground beef
• 6 oz. onion, chopped
• 7 oz. carrots, slivered
• 7 oz. celery, diced
• 24 oz. tomatoes: canned, diced
• 1 cup Red kidney beans (I used canned)
• 1 cup white kidney beans (canned)
• 44 oz. beef stock
• 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
• 1 tsp. pepper
• 2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
• 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
• 24 oz. spaghetti sauce
• 4 oz. dry pasta shell macaroni
Preparation

Sauté beef in oil in large pot until beef starts to brown.
Add onions, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add beans to the pot. Add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce and noodles.
Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes. Makes 4 quarts of soup.
Notes
Original recipe was doubled to make 9 quarts!! This is a great recipe. Leftovers can be frozen in Ziploc bags for later use.

Homemade Shake and Bake

Ah yes, another pork chop recipe! You can’t blame me because pork is one of the best things in Mexico. I don’t buy the chops, I buy the loin and slice it to my desired thickness and then freeze what I am not going to use. Since I did not want to use the Smothered Pork Chop recipe, I decided I wanted to bake them for a change. Having no Shake and Bake, although it is available here, I searched the ‘Net for a homemade version, et voila! This recipe was very good and the Shake and Bake can be kept in a sealed jar for 1 to 2 months…good also with chicken…

Homemade Shake and Bake

3 cups bread crumbs – I used the Japanese Panko

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. dried onion flakes

3 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne I omitted this

1/2 tsp. dry parsley

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dry oregano

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until evenly mixed and the crumbs are no longer clumpy from the oil.

Dump into a Mason jar or plastic container in the pantry for 1 to 2 months.

For Pork Chops – Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dump some of the Shake and Bake in a large Ziploc bag. Rinse the chops in cold water. Let excess water run off. Place pork chops one at a time in the bag and shake until coated. Remove the chop from the bag, shaking off excess breading. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Do the other chops. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remember, pink is good in pork these days!

For Bone-in Chicken – As above, bake for 45 minutes.

Boneless Chicken – bake 20 minutes.

Recipe from The Black Peppercorn  www.theblackpeppercorn.com

Filetes a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets in the style of Veracruz)

Lee was asking for some fish dishes a while back. Today and next week, I will post two excellent fish dishes which never fail….here’s my first favourite… you can also search here for salmon…

 

Filetes de pescado a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets Braised with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives & Herbs)
No matter where fish is served, you can be sure that pescado a la Veracruzana will be on the menu. It’s a delicious blend of Old and New World ingredients: Capers, olives, herbs, and garlic weave their way through two of America’s greatest contributions to Mediterranean cuisine – tomatoes and chilies. Though practically any firm, white-fleshed fish would work well, when the dish is made with fresh Gulf snapper – as it often is in Veracruz – it’s a revelation.

This is a company favourite in Mexico….well worth the prep time!
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes)
• 1 cup sliced pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, divided
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup capers, divided
• 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, divided * (optional)
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 6 (6-ounce) red snapper or other firm white fish fillets
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup olives, water, 2 tablespoons capers, 2 tablespoons jalapeños*, parsley, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until reduced to 6 cups. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Discard bay leaves.
Arrange fish in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; drizzle with lime juice, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes; discard marinade.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spoon sauce over fish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and 2 tablespoons jalapeños*. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.