Tag Archives: Recipes

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!

 

 

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!

 

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.

Spring Vegetable Tart

6 May

It is asparagus season, this makes me very happy. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables because it tastes great and can be used in so many different types of recipes. Asparagus is great all by itself, in a salad, hot or cold, roasted or steamed…I could go on forever.

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Now when most people think of tarts they think dessert, I know I always did, until I began to cook and opened my mind to all kinds of new things in the world of food. According to Wikipedia “a tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry.” So when I was looking for something to bring to my sisters that was a bit different than the usual, I found a recipe for an Asparagus Leek Tart, it was perfect.

Ingredients

4 small leeks or 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed well

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into small pieces

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

1/3 cup milk

2 eggs

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

1 heaping tsp of fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme if you don’t have lemon thyme

1 tsp of fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp concentrated balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or line with foil and grease lightly with shortening or butter. Set aside.

 

Melt butter and olive oil together in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add leeks and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes and remove from heat and keep to the side. While the leeks are cooking blanche the asparagus for two minutes in boiling water and then put into ice water to stop the cooking. Add asparagus to the leeks and set aside.

 

On a lightly floured surface roll out puff pastry dough into a rectangle and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. Using a fork score around the edges to create a crust and pierce the dough all over so that it doesn’t puff up too much in the middle.  Bake for 10 minutes.

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While the pastry is cooking whisk together the eggs and milk in a mixing bowl until well combined. Add cheese, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

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Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the puff pastry from the oven and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Using a fork gently push the air out of the center of the dough so that it flattens in the center.

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Scatter the asparagus and leeks evenly on the dough, pour the egg and cheese mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 20 to 25 until set. Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with concentrated balsamic vinegar, serve and enjoy!

 

Thank you The Life Jolie for this delicious recipe!

A Lemony Transition to Spring Soup

18 Mar

As much as we are craving Spring, it’s just not here yet; there is snow on the ground and it’s cold. Now today was beautiful and sunny, it did get up to 42 degrees, but that’s not exactly Spring. During the winter months we eat a lot of soups and stews which I love but I’m ready for lighter and brighter foods, so I went on the hunt for soup that was just that, and I found it! Thanks to the blog Cup of Jo I found the perfect recipe for a soup that warms the body but is light and bright; a Lemony Soup with White Beans and Kale.

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This soup is delicious, especially since I changed it up a bit to make it mine. I used spinach since I’m not a fan of kale and I used orzo instead of Ditilini pasta (not a big deal but that’s what I had in the house). I also used canned beans instead of dry, the last time I tried to use dried beans I ended up with cement not soup…something I need to work on.

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I think that other than the fact that this soup tastes so good, is that it is souper easy to make; the flavors of the lemon and garlic are just so good together and it comes together in less than hour.

Ingredients

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs olive oil

1 small potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes

6 to 8 cups vegetable stock

1 lemon, juiced

1 cup orzo pasta, cooked

2 cups fresh spinach

Salt and pepper

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Directions

In a large dutch oven or pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat, add onions and potato. Stir and cook until onions are translucent then add garlic. Cook for another minute or two until garlic is fragrant. Add 6 cups of the vegetable stock, lemon juice and beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat till boiling then reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.

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While the soup is simmering cook the pasta. I like to cook the pasta and add it to each bowl as I serve it, otherwise I feel like it gets to mushy and soaks up the liquid. So cook it and put it aside to add as you serve.

Once you feel the potatoes are done, add the spinach. At this point add more stock if you think it needs it, it’s up to you how “brothy” you like it. I did use all 8 cups.

When it’s ready serve with grated parmesan cheese, drizzle of olive oil and some freshly grated black pepper. Mangia!

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Now if you want to, which I may do the next time I make it, is to leave out the potato and add a second can of beans. And of course if you want to keep it vegan, no cheese. One more suggestion for the gluten-free folks, keep the potato and omit the pasta. Once again one of the reasons I love cooking is that you can always make it your own, there are no rules. So keep on cooking and keep on enjoying!

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