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Artichoke Tapenade…that Ain’t no Choke!

13 Feb

In my last post I wrote about cookbooks and mentioned David Lebovitz, well this recipe is from his cookbook My Paris Kitchen. As I was reading it (yes, reading a cookbook) I saw this recipe for an Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil, there are few things that I enjoy more than a good artichoke dish. I don’t like rosemary oil though, so I used regular olive oil. This is my new favorite, easy to make and delicious!

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Ingredients

14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1/2 cup pitted green olives

1/3 cup olive oil + more for drizzle

1 Tbs capers, rinsed and squeezed dry

1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Sea salt or kosher salt

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the artichoke hearts, olives, olive oil, capers, lemon juice, garlic and cayenne pepper until smooth. Taste, and season with a bit of salt if necessary. (I did not add any salt, the olives and capers did the trick.)

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Serve drizzled with olive oil or rosemary oil if you prefer, along with toasted baguette, crackers, toasted pita or flat breads for dipping.

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Serves 6 to 8. Will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

 

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Cookbook Collection or a Collection of Cookbooks?

26 Jan

I love cookbooks. Only recently did I actually start to read them, like a book. I always used to just look for a recipe, find it, make it and be done with the book. I never really looked at a cookbook as a book, but they are; it’s right there in the name.

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When I really started to enjoy cooking and learning new things about cooking I started to buy lots of cookbooks. And I got them as gifts because I guess people liked my cooking and wanted me to cook more, or perhaps they didn’t like my cooking and thought I needed cookbooks to make me a better cook? Either way I love them and have recently started reading them, really reading them and to my surprise there is a lot to learn and not just about cooking but the people who have written them. My new favorite author in the world of cooking is David Lebovitz. I highly recommend you get at least one of his cookbooks; he has great recipes and stories of Paris, what could be better than that? Being in Paris and reading it, I suppose.img_5002

My other favorites are the ones that my Mom gave me. I have her old and tired Fanny Farmer, one she made as a fundraiser for the church and my Great Grandmothers cookbook. It’s fun to read and see the notes that my mother wrote and my Great Grandmother. img_5004After the last few years I have gathered what I now refer to as a collection. And I will keep adding to it. I just wish I had a bookcase in my kitchen because my table isn’t going to hold much more. I will keep buying them and reading them; really reading them to learn, be entertained and hopefully become a better cook!img_5003

 

 

How to make Butter even Better!

9 Jan

If you read my blog regularly then you know that this past summer I discovered the wonder of shallots. Who knew such a little thing that not too many people talk about, (as far as food is concerned) could be so good and add so much flavor!

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Now I’m not sure whether it was something I saw on Instagram or Pinterest but somewhere I saw an herbed butter with shallots and garlic. Who ever thought that butta could taste even better than it already does? Well it can. Butta can taste better!

Here is my recipe, they are all pretty much the same, for an herbed butter with shallots and garlic . It tastes great on everything. I use whipped butter, I love that it gets nice and soft; easy to spread. Use the best butter you can afford for the best flavor. And keep in mind that butter should be served at room temperature. One of my biggest pet peeves is hard butter served at a restaurant…you can’t spread it on that yummy bread, it tears it apart.

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Ingredients:

8 oz. whipped salted butter, room temperature

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp fresh chopped chives*

A bit of shopped fresh parsley

To do:

Put butter in a mixing bowl.

Add olive oil to saute pan and heat over medium. Add shallots, cook them until they start to brown, about 5 or 6 minutes. Don’t let them burn.

 

Once the shallots start to brown add the garlic and stir, cook for only another minute or two.

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Add shallot and garlic mixture to the butter, add chives and parsley. Stir to combine until well blended. Refrigerate.

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Of course you can use it right away, store it in the refrigerator, just remember to take it out a bit before you are planning to use it so that it softens up. You can use it on bread, to cook chicken, beef or fish; cook your eggs with it…delicious!

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*You can use any herbs that you like-sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano…it’s really up to you and your tastebuds and what you will be using it for. Enjoy!

 

 

Peachy Keen Crostata

9 Sep

Peaches are summer in a fruit. Nothing better than eating a sweet, ripe peach with the juice running down your chin. And believe it or not, for the few years that I lived in Georgia, I never ate a Georgia peach! Another thing; I did not know that peaches grew in New Jersey until just recently and they are delicious!

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After buying too many peaches at the farmer’s market a few weekends ago I decided to make a peach pie-my favorite kind of pie. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not very good at making a pie look pretty…so my new friend is the crostata. A crostata is basically a pie with only one crust that doesn’t need to look pretty.

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Crust Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes

1/3 cup ice water, plus 1-2 Tbs as needed

Filling Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs peaches, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2″ slices

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs corn starch

1 pinch of salt

2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Glaze Ingredients 

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbs apricot preserves

1 tsp water

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Directions

For the crust, combine flour, salt and cold butter cubes in the bowl of a food processor (I did it by hand with a fork). Pulse several times until cubes become the size of peas. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl and 1/3 cup of ice water. Stir gently adding additional water if necessary until dough forms a ball that is moist but not sticky. Take the dough a shape into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and place on floured work surface. Roll the crust into a 14″ to 16″ circle, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll the dough around the rolling pin to prevent the dough from breaking as you transfer it to the baking sheet.

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To make the filing, toss the sliced peaches, sugar, lemon juice and corn starch in a large bowl until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Spoon the filling into the center of the crust, leaving a 2″ border all the way around. Fold the crust over the filling then brush some egg wash under any dough that overlaps, it helps the folds of dough stick to each other. Dot the top of the filling with butter then brush the entire surface  of the crust with the remaining egg wash.

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Bake 20 minutes then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove from oven. Stir apricot preserves with hot water and brush over the filling. Allow crostata to cool enough so the filling sets. Cut into wedges and enjoy! And a little bit of vanilla ice cream doesn’t hurt!

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Chicken Milanese-Perfect Summertime Dinner

9 Jul

Always searching for the something new for dinner that is easy, tasty and not full of calories, this is it, Chicken Milanese. I was inspired by my friend and fellow food blogger (you should check her out) Stacey Snacks, she posted a photo on Insta of her Milanese and it was exactly what I was looking for and I didn’t even know it!

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I think the trick to making it really tasty is well-seasoned chicken cutlets and the dressing. The first time I made it I used the typical lemon and olive oil with salt and pepper, it was delicious. But then after looking on Pinterest at different lemon vinaigrette recipes, I decided to try a lemon-caper vinaigrette and it was super good! Of course if you don’t like capers stick with the traditional lemon.

 

One other important thing is that the cutlets are nice and thin. I learned to use a rolling pin from Ina Garten and it really does the trick.

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Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly into cutlets (I like to cut my own but you can always buy them and pound them thinner)

1 egg

1 Tbs water

1/2 cup flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.

Arugula or any other of your favorite greens (I don’t care for arugula, I use a spring mix)

1/4 cup olive oil plus more for frying

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbs capers

1 Tbs juice from capers

Directions:

Put the flour on plate with salt and pepper. In a bowl beat the egg with the 1 Tbs of water and on a third plate put the bread crumbs with the seasonings and the 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

Put the cutlets between sheets of wax paper on a cutting board and pound with a mallet or rolling pin.

Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip into egg mixture and lastly dredge in the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to cover completely.

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Heat the oil a large pan. Add breaded cutlets 2 or 3 at a time, cook 3 to 4 minutes each side. Place cooked cutlets on a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.

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Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, capers and caper juice. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss greens with vinaigrette, place greens on a platter or individual plates, top with cutlets and grated cheese. I also like to add a vegetable such as green beans, tomatoes, artichoke hearts or asparagus. Serve. Enjoy!

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*I added fresh parsley and basil from our garden to the greens, added nice fresh flavor!

 

Corn Salad with a Spicy Twist

2 Jul

With the 4th of July just 2 days away, I needed to try something new, I always love the standards like coleslaw and potato salad but like to add something different each year. As I was scrolling my Instagram I came across a beautiful photo of a corn salad with avocado posted by Bon Appetit Magazine and knew I had to try it! It has a Mexican flair with serrano chile, cilantro and lime juice…delicious! Corn Salad with Hot Honey Lime Dressing for the win!

Now, the recipe calls for grilling the corn but I wasn’t going to start the grill for 4 ears of corn (we only have a charcoal grill) so I pan roasted mine in the cast iron skillet, just as good as grilled.

Also, you may not want it to be too hot, spicy that is; I used a mildly hot yellow pepper from my garden instead of the serrano chile. It’s really up to your personal taste and what you think your friends and family like…you can always add more heat but you can’t take it away.

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Ingredients:

4 ears of corn, husked and kernels cut off

2 Tbs unsalted butter

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs fresh lime juice

2 Tbs honey

1 1/2 Sriracha

1 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 avocados, cut into bite size pieces

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Directions:

Heat butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat, add corn kernels. Cook about 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. I let mine brown slightly. Remove from heat, let cool.

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While the corn cools, whisk lime juice, honey, Sriracha, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl to combine. Add corn, avocados, serrano chile and cilantro to vinaigrette; toss gently. Season with salt and fresh pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

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Enjoy! We had it with crab cakes but it would be a great addition to any BBQ.

*To make this dish vegan just cook the corn in vegetable oil.

Shallots: Fit for Confit

6 Jun

I have seen the term confit many times on many menus. I know what it means, sort of…and then I saw a beautiful photo of shallots in oil on Instagram and wondered what it could be. Shallots are one of my favorites in the onion family. The photo was the beautiful beginning of a shallot confit. I knew I had to make it!

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I also knew I needed to know what it really meant. So off to Google I go. Confit comes from the French word confire, which means to preserve. A confit is any type of food cooked slowly for a long period of time as a method of preservation, it is usually cooked in oil or fat. It is a centuries old method that can be used for fruits, vegetables and meats. Meats are typically salted too. A confit can kept for weeks, sometimes even months…not my shallot confit, it was gone in the blink of an eye.

Ingredients:

10 -12 shallots, peel and sliced

2 Tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tsp thyme

1 –  2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Add olive oil to a Dutch oven or medium pot and heat over medium heat, add shallots, garlic, salt and thyme. Sauté until the shallots start to brown and caramelize a bit, lower heat and let cook until the shallots become super tender, almost mushy. I cooked mine for a  total of about an hour. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and eat right away or store in airtight container and refrigerate until your ready to use it.

The confit can be used as a condiment on meats or I like the idea of serving it as an appetizer on slices of a toasted baguette with a spread of cream cheese. I have read that it is also good on a salad…whatever you can think of, it can’t be bad.

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*Recipe from Judy Kim and be sure to check out her Insta and her blog, just beautiful and lots of great recipes.

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