5/08/2022

Sunday Dinner

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Radish Butter on Baguette Croutons

Standing Prime Rib Roast au Jus
Roasted Carrots 
Smashed Potatoes with Herbs

Strawberry Mousse with Frozen Strawberries


How frustrating is it when you plan a dessert for your menu and then go to the store with a list only to find that the main ingredient on your list is  not up to perfect produce standards? Well, it is frustrating indeed, but I am so thankful to have an alternate version of he dessert that highlights the flavor of the ingredient in...wait for it... frozen form.  And as you can see from the photos, that ingredient is strawberries.  The bonus of using frozen strawberries is that they are already cleaned and hulled, so less work for me. Thumbs up! 

The strained juices from the thawed berries are cooked, therefore concentrating that beautiful strawberry flavor.  Seriously, one would never know that frozen berries were used in lieu of fresh berries for this dessert. A few extra ingredients and a couple of hours to chill and your first spoonful will have you dreaming of strawberry fields.


The only thing sweeter than this dessert is my mother.  Happy Mother's Day to my ma and to all of you moms and motherly caregivers 💐🍓, 

4/24/2022

Sunday Dinner

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Cheddar Cheese Coins 
with Cream Cheese and Red Pepper Jam 

Rice and Gravy



If you are from the South, you are familiar with cheese crackers and cheese straws. There are countless recipes out there, but this one works for me and I hope it works for you.


They are delicious on their own, but I like them served with a dollop of cream cheese and red pepper jam.
Happy Sunday! 

4/10/2022

Sunday Dinner

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Rack of Lamb Persillade
Braised Spring Vegetables
Potato Gratin

Strawberry Tarts


Spring is in the air and in my kitchen! Radishes, asparagus, sweet peas and fresh herbs are a welcome addition to any springtime menu or meal and they come together beautifully in this dish.  The vegetables are braised (simmered in a liquid) and then lightly glazed with the buttery reduction of the braising liquid. The fresh lemon zest and herbs make the dish sing (or should I say spring?).  Now, let me briefly talk about each vegetable.

Radishes- I adore them in any way. They add a peppery crunch when served raw and when cooked, like in this dish, they become sweet and tender.  If you haven't tried cooked radishes, please do.  It might change your mind/taste buds.  

Asparagus- I adore them in any way as well.  If I am not snacking on the raw spears, I enjoy making pesto for pasta and to use as a spread for sandwiches and tartines (recipe can be found HERE). I like to use medium-sized asparagus for this dish (see my post and kitchen tip HERE about preparing them and roasting them).  

Sweet Peas- Fresh or frozen is the only way for me (canned peas are just blah).  Frozen peas are used in this recipe because they are readily available and I live in Northern Illinois, so the ground in my garden is just barely thawed. 

Once prepped, this dish comes together rather quickly and should be served immediately while it is still warm.  It is the perfect accompaniment to any Springtime fare, like ham, chicken or lamb.  But it is equally delicious all on its own. Happy Sunday!

4/03/2022

Sunday Dinner

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Caramelized Onion and Black Truffle Cheddar-Gruyère Mini-Phyllo Tarts

Butterflied Roast Chicken
Warm Bread and Arugula Salad

Low-Fat Lemon Pound Cake
Blueberry Compote

I call this a "Use What's in the Refrigerator/Freezer/Pantry/Leftover" Sunday Dinner.  Please let me take a moment to explain.

Appetizer- Onions is in the pantry, 4-ounces cheese is leftover in the refrigerator and the Mini-Pyllo Tart Shells I almost always have in the freezer for a quick little bite.

Main Course- A whole chicken (or two or three) is always in my freezer, the warm bread I will make into croutons from my No-Knead Country Bread recipe and there was about 4-ounces of arugula that needed to be eaten up from a dinner earlier this week.

Dessert- I had quite a few lemons and wanted a little treat for breakfast this morning, so I baked this cake last night and we had a few slices this morning. The leftovers will be enjoyed for dessert tonight along with a compote from about 1 cup blueberries that were hanging out in my refrigerator. 

And that's how my Sunday Dinners roll some times.

This is a wonderfully light little cake.  Low-fat sour-cream is used to knock out some of the fat without compromising the butter flavor of a traditional pound cake.  It bakes up beautifully with a nice dome, but just make sure you use an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Anything bigger may put a damper on the dome.  My only change to the recipe was to triple the glaze because I love me some glaze.  Having said that, you could even make this cake without the glaze and enjoy it by itself or to be used in another layered dessert. Enjoy it for breakfast, as a tea time treat, dessert, or a "just passing-by" snack and you'll be glad it is low-fat😉. Happy Sunday!

3/30/2022

Spanish Tuna and White Bean Salad with Marcona Almonds

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Remember when I was talking about the word 'salad' in THIS post?  Well, here is another delicious salad.  But the funny thing about this salad, it is served as a dip.  Does your brain hurt right now? Whether you serve it as a dip with pita chips or as a salad (on a bed of lightly dressed mixed greens is nice), it is quite tasty and quick to prepare. 

If you haven't tried or heard of Marcona almonds, you are in for a treat.  They are Spanish almonds that have become increasingly popular over the last couple years.  They are flatter in shape, a little sweeter and much softer in texture than regular California almonds, so please do not substitute.  They can easily be found at most grocery stores or gourmet food shops.

Here's a fun food fact and another etymology tidbit for you.  The word 'almond' is derived from the Ancient Greek word 'amygdala', the almond shaped portion of the brain. Now does your brain hurt?😜

3/28/2022

A Special Day!

Pin It Yesterday, on March 27, 2021, my puppers/baby dog, Miss Hazel, came into this world. We celebrated with treats, a new stuffed animal, and a drive-thru to a certain fast food place for a cheeseburger (minus the pickle).  If she could talk, she would say it was an epic day! 



3/20/2022

Sunday Dinner

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Crispy Cheese Wafers
Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly Spread


Shortbread Brownies
Vanilla Ice Cream


I am going to keep this short and sweet because it is way to beautiful outside right now to be blogging. I mean sunshine with a "real feel" temperature of 65° F!! Oh the things I get excited about. And these brownies are something to get excited about as well.

Brownies with a shortbread crust are definitely in the "Brookie" (brownie + cookie) category of sweets.  It is a two in one treat that is delicious on it's own, but is taken to a whole other level when paired with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. Jaws are cracking.  

Now, to point out a few tid-bits and minor adjustments to the original recipe.  For the shortbread crust, I added a bit of salt to the shortbread because otherwise, there will be a heavy flour taste.  That little bit of salt heightens the sugar and butter flavors. For the brownie batter, I added a bit of espresso powder because that really amps the cocoa flavor. The only other thing that I need to point out in the brownie batter is the butter; the recipe calls for 1/3 cup.  That is such an odd measurement for butter using the U.S. system of measurements. When baking, I prefer to use the metric system, so I included equal measurements to 1/3 cup in grams and ounces (1/3 cup is also 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon). Baking is a science, but even if you are .5 grams off in butter, I think you'll still be really pleased with the end result.  Happy Sunday!

3/14/2022

Good Eats with an Irish Flare

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"Doing anything later in the week? Well now you have a little updated reading material and some inspiration to cook up a grand feast for St. Patrick's Day."-  (said in my best Irish accent)
Sláinte! 




























































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3/09/2022

Chinese Chicken Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette

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What do you think of when you hear or read the word 'salad'? Appetizer, breakfast, light lunch, dinner, first course, fruit, vegetable, meat, protein, grain, pasta, leafy green, etc...? My husband and I recently had a conversation about the word 'salad'.  I asked, "I wonder what the origin of the word 'salad' is. I'm thinking French." He responded, "I wonder what the etymology of the word 'salad' is." That became quite the lengthy discussion and study session, as well as, me buying the book Acetaria- A Discourse of Sallets by John Evelyn, Esq. (If you can read Old English, you'll love the book. I just skipped to the appendix where he shared his recipes.)  Search the word 'salad' on your device and see what you come up with.  It's quite interesting.

Back to my initial question and my response to that question, a salad can be anything. That is my modern day take on the word and this is my take on a Chinese Chicken Salad.  

I could literally eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a bite for a snack.  Chicken and a mixture of vegetables always gets a thumbs up from me.  And the hoisin vinaigrette just makes it all that much better.

Stay the course for my next recipe (pun intended).

2/26/2022

No Churn Salted Caramel-Coconut Ice Cream

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I know there are people out there that don't like chocolate, but is there anyone that doesn't like ice cream?? I cannot think of a one.  To me, ice cream is the perfect frozen treat. It's kind of like a work of art.  You start with a blank canvas and go to any sweet or savory flavor town from there.  It is enjoyed anytime of year, it helps what ails you at times (especially if it is turned into a milk shake), it is portable (bowl, dish, cone, etc...), it can be made suitable to a particular diet (vegan, lactose intolerant, or dairy protein allergy), it takes certain desserts, like apple pie, to a new level, it conjures up many of memories with friends and family (I can think of so many), it...let's face it, it's the best.  I mean is there really anything bad about ice cream? Oh yeah, BRAIN FREEZE! But even brain freeze is a little fun and makes us laugh at one another.  Wait, I did think one problem. What if you don't have an ice cream maker to make it home? Cue this heirloom recipe!

I could channel my inner "Alton Brown" and explain the science behind ice cream, but I will keep it simple.  Instead of cooking a custard mixture of eggs and cream, chilling it completely and then letting a machine incorporate air to keep it from freezing rock hard, a no churn ice cream incorporates air by beating or whipping heavy cream.  Sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup are added as sweeteners and also to keep the cream from freezing rock hard.  Once that is done, the imagination can go wild with flavor ideas. So,  I am starting this no churn ice cream flavor journey off with one of my husband's favorites, caramel, with a twist!! Salted caramel with coconut (that's the twist).  I have literally seen him eat a half a quart in one sitting.  He could really eat the whole thing, but he has to talk to himself about strength and will power.  Please don't tell him I told you!  

There is one critical culinary element that I must discuss.  For those of you that know the difference between heavy cream, heavy whipping cream and whipping cream, you can just skip on down to this incredible recipe.  The rest of you, keep your reading glasses on. 

How confusing is it when you go to the store and you have all of these choices for cream? For example, you need one for making whipped cream, so which one do you choose?? Well, I will explain it to the best of my ability.  All three of them will make whipped cream, but not all whipped cream will be the same.  Whipping cream (or light whipping cream) is between 30-36% milk fat.  So if you whip it, you will only get soft peaks that will eventually weep if kept at room temperature or refrigerated too long. I really only use whipping cream if I am making a light sweet or savory sauce.  What about heavy cream and heavy whipping cream?? Is there a difference? NO! Both creams must have at least 36% milk fat.  Once whipped, that higher fat content will give you those nice stiff peaks.  Does that make sense?  Good because heavy cream or heavy whipping cream is what you will need for this recipe.

Ok, now that we have that down, let's talk about the "no churn" technique.  The original recipe uses a blender which makes for a  really quick whipping time, but if you don't have a blender you can use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Both appliances will whip the cream enough to incorporate that air we are looking for to achieve stiff peaks.  I have noted both methods in the recipe below. And with no heat involved, this is a great recipe for kids to help with.

I apologize for keeping your eyes too long, but now we must move on to flavor😃.  Salted Caramel with Coconut...mmmm!!!  Makes my jaws crack thinking about it (and yes I have to think about it because my husband ate it all)!  You will need the All-Purpose Caramel Sauce that I perviously shared, but you can certainly use a good quality store bought caramel sauce.  The recipe also calls for toasted coconut.  Obviously we can't get toasted coconut at the store, so I just measure out about 1/3 cup (it'll shrink once toasted) and toast in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Transfer it to a plate to cool before using. What if you don't like coconut or can't eat it? Just leave it out, but then you'll have to change the name of the ice cream😉 and that's ok.  What is not ok is if you do not make this wonderfully easy and super delicious frozen treat!



Lastly (I promise I will stop typing in a sec), I have 1-quart plastic containers with silicone lids that I like to use (I bought them at Williams-Sonoma), but you can freeze it in a metal loaf pan or even a metal 8-inch square pan to freeze the mixture more quickly.

Ok, I am done. Now go have fun in the kitchen!!

2/24/2022

Quick Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

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I know I said stay tuned for more sugar, but with Mardi Gras just around the corner, I wanted to share this dish first.  

Long time readers should recall that I spent part of my childhood on the North shore of Lake Ponchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana.  Good times and good eats were had all year long, but the season of Mardi Gras still stands out in my mind.  One of the dishes that stands out is jambalaya. I have talked about it previously when I shared my version of Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, so please take a moment to read about the different versions of jambalaya. Today, I share another version; the QUICK one.  

Typically a quick jambalaya is called a "white jambalaya" because the rice is cooked separately from the meat/s and veggies and then it is all mixed together.  It does save quite a bit of time with still great flavor. This particular recipe was originally called Quick Chicken Jambalaya, but I knew I could do the name and recipe a little make over. So, here goes...

The original recipe parboiled the rice before adding it to the meat and veggies, but I stayed true with a quick jambalaya and cooked the rice separately. Also, this is my preferred method of cooking rice.  The only change to the liquid is that I use chicken broth to bump up that meaty flavor, but you can certainly use water instead.

Now, as far as the meats. This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They are tender with loads of chicken flavor and are more economical than chicken breasts and there are no bones, so that quickens the cooking time.  The other meat is andouille chicken sausage.  I used Gilbert's Craft Sausage.  The sausages are filled with chicken, roasted red and green bell peppers, onion, roasted garlic, celery powder, cayenne and other spices.  So basically, lots of flavor. The original recipe called for 8-ounces of sausage, but this particular brand has four links for a total of 10-ounces, so I used all four links.

On to the veggies...Now this is where things initially looked off to me.  The only fresh veggies are green bell peppers and scallions. What?? Where was the Holy Trinity; bell peppers, onion and celery? Well, there is one more critical mixture that can help answer that question.  After cooking the rice, meats and veggies separately, you bring it all together with a mixture of Worcestershire, tomato paste and ketchup. It seems completely weird, but it makes total sense.  I'll explain.

Worcestershire lends so much flavor including garlic and onion. The tomato paste and ketchup stand in for tomatoes that are traditionally used in a creole jambalaya.  Combine that with all of the flavors in the sausages, and you will find all the flavors of the Holy Trinity.  Throw in a few more herbs and a good dash hot sauce and BOOM! You've got a quick and flavor skillet full of grub that tastes like you spent hours over the stove.


I truly hope I didn't bore you with that lengthy explanation, but I feel that some recipes need to be broken down, especially if one is not familiar with its roots. And now you might understand why I renamed this Quick CREOLE and Chicken Sausage and Jambalaya instead of Quick Chicken Jambalaya.

This makes a great weeknight meal all by its self, but is well received to serve for a gathering. I like to serve this with my Creole Cabbage Salad, New Orleans French Bread, and something sweet to end the meal. Now about that something sweet...

2/23/2022

All-Purpose Caramel Sauce

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There are countless caramel sauce recipes out there, but they are not all created equally. A classic and more traditional caramel sauce, like my Caramel Sauce Cockaigne, there is one ingredient that this recipe does not have.  I'll give you a minute to test your caramel sauce knowledge...

Ok a minute is up.  Did you think you have the right answer?  Well, If you said butter, then you are correct! You see, even though you can use more traditional caramel sauces on just about anything, there is one little hiccup.  When you use them on ice cream, the sauce has a tendency to harden up due the butter used.  A bowl of ice cream with bits of chewy caramel is still delicious, but with the exclusion of butter and the inclusion of corn syrup, you have a silky smooth caramel sauce to really use on ANYTHING. I would just stay away from the "shoe leather" route. Not good eatin'. 

So, this is the perfect caramel sauce to use on top of ice cream, but what if you put it in a super-easy ice cream recipe?? Stay tuned for something sweet!

In the meantime, check out some of my other caramel sauces.

2/10/2022

Nutella Brownies

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I am sure many of you will be either hosting or going to a Super Bowl party this Sunday.  I do not usually partake in that American tradition, but I do enjoy the good eats that are usually involved. All of those appetizers, snacks, finger foods, messy foods, sandwiches, chilis, SWEETS, etc...!  Now that's a party I can get after! Well here is another recipe you can add to that sweet table or simply to your recipe caché.  

How many of you keep that lip smacking, super delicious, chocolate hazelnut spread in your pantry?? Oh is my hand ever raised! I actually keep both size jars, the larger 26.5-ouncer and the smaller, 13-ouncer. Why you ask? Well the big one we use for slathering on just about anything and the smaller one is just right for this recipe because you use the entire 13-ounces (1 1/4 cup, divided).  But really, size does not matter here😉.  

The cool thing about this recipe is that there is no cocoa powder.  You don't even to melt chocolate. It is just Nutella, sugar, eggs, and flour. Well, of course, there is vanilla and a little salt.  I do like to add a little espresso powder because it always bumps up the chocolate flavor in most desserts, but if you don't have it, don't worry about it.  Remember that I said the Nutella is divided? Well that is because Nutella is in the batter and then it is dropped by teaspoons then swirled on top of that luscious batter.  Swoon! They should be called double Nutella Swirl Brownies.  Once baked, the "brownie batter" comes out with the perfect cake to fudge ratio with a nice shiny top.  And the Nutella swirl? Well, that stay in its natural Nutella glorious state.  My jaws just cracked!  

I like to finish the brownies with a little sprinkle of sea salt as soon as they come out of the oven because I like a little salt with my sweets, but again, that is optional. What is not optional is making these wonderful squares of Nutella heaven.  Don't put the recipe in a file, in your reader or in your bookmark.  Put it on your counter on bake away! 

Peanut Butter and Banana Pupcakes

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Yesterday was a special day in this house.  Black Lab #4, my Ruby, turned 10! When your a dog in this house and you make it to 10 years of age, that calls for a celebration! And if you know me personally, you'll know that one of my favorite ways to celebrate a birthday is with cupcakes! So, PUPcakes it was.

These are so easy to make and you probably have all the ingredients on hand.  For the cake I used a super-ripe mashed banana and some applesauce as the base of the wet ingredients.  If you don't have one of those ingredients, pumpkin purée or smoother puréed fruit would be fine. You might even stroll down the baby food isle. (I really don't think your doggers will be too picky.)  The frosting is simple a 1:1 ration of cream cheese and peanut butter (I just used traditional peanut butter, not the natural or organic).  I don't know one dog that doesn't like peanut butter.  As for the garnish, it's just Milkbones and finely chopped bacon because I felt like getting fancy and let's face it, even in the dog world, bacon makes everything better.  

Now, I made these treats for my dogs, but really, there isn't anything in the cake that a human couldn't eat outside of any allergies.  In fact, when my husband walked in he saw them on the table and asked if he could eat one.  I said sure, but you might want to take off the Milkbone first😂.

There was a lot of smelling and drooling as I was making these, but if they could speak, I think they would say the wait was worth it!


Happy Birthday, Rubes!!

1/28/2022

Buffalo Chicken Chili

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If you follow my FB page, you might recall that I was trying out a new recipe for dinner.  Well, here is said recipe and wow, was it a winner-winner-chicken dinner!! Combining two American classics in one pot and you'll get a new contender for the next chili cook-off.  I mean, this was a "why didn't I think of that" recipe.

My only change to the original recipe was adding an onion because I like onions and I think they go hand in hand with any type of chili or stew.  And speaking of hand in hand, the accompaniments (sour cream and blue cheese) do just that; they complete the entire dish.  Cornbread crackers and tortilla chips are also welcome to the party😋.

1/23/2022

Sunday Dinner

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Rosemary Crackers

Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb
Flageolets in Thyme Jus

Lemon Custards


Remember when I was I was sharing my chicken stock recipe? I referred to it as a 2 for 1 special. Well, here is another 2 for 1 deal.  I also refer to this as a building block or culinary platform because it can be used in multiple ways.

Confit is anything that is suspended in oil or sugar for a lengthy amount of time. Both solids and liquid can be used in many recipes. Tonight, I used the garlic confit and oil as part as the marinade for the lamb and I used the whole garlic confit cloves when finishing the flageolets.  The garlic can also be spread on toast and used in baking bread.  It is really good when added to a shellfish broth as well. The oil is well, garlic oil. I could spend a lot of time talking about the uses of garlic oil.

The original (ok that made me laugh out loud🧛; garlic and original- cue the CW series) recipe called for canola oil, but I prefer Safflower oil.  It is a neutral oil with added health benefits like vitamin E. The recipe also calls for copious amount of garlic cloves. You can either take the time to peel them or you can take a short cut and use peeled garlic cloves from the store if available (I use Christopher Ranch). 

Upon looking at my written recipe you might ask, What is a diffuser?? To put it simply, mine is a black thingy that you put over your stove burner to "diffuse" the heat. I use mine all the time (it actually has a permanent home on the top left burner) even if I am keeping water warm for tea. Your stove is different than mine so it might look a little different, but the garlic confit will be on point.

Happy Sunday!

1/21/2022

Rumchata Cheesecake

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Last week I was surfing the web for something new, festive and sweet to end our Get me out of the cold themed menu and with that, tropical beaches and poolside cocktails came to mind. I stumbled on a few contenders, but this one ultimately won because, well, I have never tasted RumChata before and I was intrigued.  What's not to like about a little booze, cream and spices in a luscious creamy dessert?  

As usual, I do have to talk about and point out a few things in the recipe. First up, the crust. The original recipe called for a certain cinnamon toast cereal which is not something I keep in my pantry.  I like a more traditional graham cracker crust for cheesecakes, so I thought I would go with tradition and add a little bit of cinnamon to the mixture. Well, let me tell you that when I was at the store, I strolled down the cereal isle out of curiosity and low and behold there was a new kid on the block; CinnaGraham Toast Crunch Cereal™. I could not believe it! I don't buy sugary cereals like that, but I decide to make an exception and I am glad I did.

The original recipe also called for a sour cream topping and a caramel drizzle, but I opted for a cinnamon sugar shake all over, a homemade caramel sauce (because I had some in the refrigerator but store bought can be used) and a lightly sweetened whipped cream that I used to pipe rosettes around the finished cake. All of these made for a beautiful presentation and certainly added to the taste!  After his first bite, my husband declared this to be one incredible cheesecake!

1/19/2022

Papaya Pomegranate Guacamole

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Have you ever heard a cook say, "One can never have too many _______ recipes"? Well, I think guacamole would fill in that blank rather well. That green goodness of the fruit world can be simply made  a very traditional way with just onion, garlic and lime, but it can also be married with a multitude of other fruits and vegetables to be transformed from an ordinary to extraordinary guacamole. How about Guacamole with Pico de Gallo or Mango Guacamole or Tomatillo and Poblano Guacamole? I have even shared Avocado Dressed Shrimp a la Mexicana which is pretty much guacamole with shrimp?And those are just the ones that I have shared thus far!

This particular guacamole is especially nice this time of year when tomatoes are not at their peak, but citrus and tropical fruits are looking good.  Papaya are wonderfully sweet and tender fruits that pair nicely with the richness of avocado. I like to use the smaller Hawaiian variety instead of the Mexican kind (it is just my preference). As for the pomegranate seeds or arils, you can seed a pomegranate yourself using my kitchen tip HERE or most stores this time of year carry arils already packaged. I think some type of chile is a must in guacamole because it balances the richness of the avocado and sweetness from other fruits and veggies.  I do indicate that you can use serrano or jalapeño peppers.  Serranos are typical hotter than jalapeños, but to be honest, you really never know what the heat level from either will be until you take a taste test.

1/16/2022

Sunday Dinner

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Papaya Pomegranate Guacamole

Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

Rumchata Cheesecake


My reason for tonight's Sunday dinner menu would be that I wanted some good eats that would transport my mind to somewhere South of the border because it has been cold! And not just cold, but also days of icy conditions on the roads and sidewalks.  Walking two dogs in such weather is not good.  But what is good, is this meal! Four pounds of pork butt simmered in a flavorful broth and then "pulled",  glazed and then broiled until crisped and caramelized. These carnitas or "little meats" are great for taco and burrito fillings, but they are wonderful when served on a dinner plate with all of these other good eats.  I am starting to feel better all ready. Happy Sunday!

1/06/2022

Chicken and Rice Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms, Ginger and Scallions

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I have shared my roast chicken, the beautiful stock and now, I give you the holy grail of chicken soup!! I kid you not. This bowl has a little bit of everything to provide comfort at anytime of the year and cold-fighting remedies which is perfect for this "sniffly-snuffy-I don't feel so good" time of year. So let's have a chat because I don't think you can see all the goodness in this photo.

There are onions (yellow and scallion), mushrooms, ginger, garlic, chicken stock, soy sauce (low-sodium), chicken, rice and cilantro.  Ok, so what? Well, that means there are plenty of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties going on that help with digestion and fight bad things in your body. There is also fiber and protein. And if you really have the tummy troubles, there is sodium from the stock (or broth) and soy sauce (just a little and it's low-sodium) which are bodies need to retain fluids if we are losing them.  Did you know that soy sauce is also anti-allergenic? Serve it warm and steamy and those vitamin and mineral enriched vapors will help clear those clogged airways.  If you really want to take home remedy to the next level (that is if your tummy is in good shape), be daring and add a bit of Sambal Oelek. That hot Thai chili garlic paste will clear up just about anything!

Let's move on to Make it for you, make it your own. (Maybe I should include that kind of paragraph each post🤔). First, you'll see it quite frequently in my recipes that if vegetable or canola oil is called for, I usually substitute with Safflower oil because it is high in antioxidants and vitamin E. Next, the original recipe called for 4-ounces of Shiitake mushrooms, but I can find a 5-ounce container at my local store that is pre-sliced. Who wants to pay more for stems that you are not going to use? I added garlic because I love it and it's good for you. I also added the soy sauce because I wanted to enhance a bit more of that umami flavor that the mushrooms were providing. The rice was in the original recipe, but I think you could sub it for some broken noodles, like soba noodles, or you can just leave the healthy starch out all together, but it does provide some body. The Sambal Oelek was also my addition, but I kind of have an iron stomach and will put some sort  of heat in just about anything. Ok, not Cheerios😉. Lastly, If you are one of those individuals who thinks cilantro tastes like soap or you just don't care for it, just omit it.

I hope this recipe finds you all healthy and well with strength to get in the kitchen to make this soup! If you are under the weather, pass this recipe on to a neighbor, friend or loved one as a "get well soon" hint. 

1/05/2022

Quick Chicken Stock (made with leftover carcass)

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Broth, stock (white or brown) and bone broth...What's the difference?? Well, I will try to keep it as simple as I can without getting too particular.  

Broth is made using just the meat and vegetables and is cooked in a short amount of time.  It is lighter in color and quite thin in texture.  

Stock on the other hand is made with bones in addition to vegetables and sometimes meat. Because of the collagen-rich bones and the longer cooking time, stock has a more viscous texture. White stock is made from blanching the bones before simmering and brown stock is made by roasting the bones (sometimes with tomatoes or a tomato paste mixture) before simmering.

Now what is bone broth?? It is simply white stock that is cooked for quite a long time. As stated above, white stock is made by blanching the bones first before simmering.  That removes some of the scum or impurities from the bones that float to the surface and needs to be skimmed (that is if you are making stock from fresh bones and not a roasted carcass). It also releases vital minerals which is one of the reasons that some people like to drink bone broth stock.  I cannot explain why they call it bone broth. It just makes it confusing.

Speaking of simmering for a long time, you may have heard of demi-glace or seen that rather small and expensive container at the store by such a name. That is simply stock (that's with the bones) that is reduced until is almost like a jell-o like paste.

You can use broth or stock interchangeably for most recipes, but stock will give you a much richer flavor.

So, broth vs. stock, that is pretty much it in a nutshell. On to my recipe...

This is quick chicken STOCK because I am using the leftover carcass and wing and leg bones if available (I don't care to use the ones that were gnawed on😝).  Unlike the Simple Turkey Stock that uses just the carcass and water, I do like to throw in some veggies and aromatics.  If I did not use garlic and thyme to baste the roast turkey, then I would throw some in the pot.  If I have a leek on hand, that will sometime go in too. If you are using a dry rub, like a BBQ or Cajun seasoning 🤔, well I say go for it and use that stock for maybe a Brunswick Stew or Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya. Why not?  Get creative and,  "Make it for you, make it your own".

But why go through the trouble of making homemade stock if you can buy it from the store? I think the obvious reason is that it is economical. Whether you buy a rotisserie chicken from the store or roast one yourself, you are getting the meat, as well as a leftover carcass to make stock. I like to think of it as a 2 for 1 special. 

But it takes too much time! If you have time to read this post, then you have time to make stock. And if you are short on time after removing the meat for a meal or recipe, put the carcass in a freezer bag and freeze it until you do have the time. (You can also freeze any veggies that might normally go to waste in the refrigerator and then add them to the pot with the previously frozen carcass). 

Let's see...what else? It is very healthy because there are no additives, there are lost of minerals and you control the amount of salt. 

Lastly, it is just plain good.  Good for the mind, body and soul! Happy cooking!

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