Sunday, July 26, 2009

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Miss Debbie fixed this last night with a grilled flank steak. I thought that they were absolutely delicious--perfectly simple, but the essence of summer.

1 basket cherry or grape tomatoes, washed
extra virgin olive oil to coat
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400.

Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with salt. Toss. Roast in hot oven until skins pop, about 10 minutes.

Easy Cook out Menu

Appetizers - crab salad (from the Shrimp Dock,of course) and crackers. Serve this with a Sauvignon Blanc.

Rosemary & Garlic Marinated Flank Steak. Serve with a nice cabernet or malbec.

Roasted Asparagus with balsamic vinegar

Roasted tomatoes

Roasted new potatoes

Tossed salad

Dessert-Key Lime Pie

Party/Buffet ideas

Two days ago we received a beautiful "Edible Arrangement" from my sister-in-law. Today I took it apart and made the remaining fruit into a fruit salad, but I kept all the plastic picks that the fruits were on, as well as the basket. The basket has a plastic liner that they had filled with Styrofoam. That was covered with curly kale, and then the fruit picks were inserted. You could use the longer bamboo skewers, too. I think that this will be easy to do for a buffet.

Along the same lines, a while back I was at a party where the caterer had covered a styrofoam ball with picks of cubed cheese. It was an elegant and easy way to serve cubed cheese.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lidia's Chicken with artichokes

Chicken with artichokes is from the cookbook "Lidia's Italy" by Lidia Bastianich.  This is a delicious one dish meal. To make it an easy one dish meal, I use frozen artichoke hearts.  Not only do you save all the work of cleaning artichokes, but you save money too.  In my supermarket artichokes are several dollars EACH. One and 1/2 pounds of artichokes would bankrupt you, and, to me, frozen vegetables are an acceptable substitute.
I've left in the directions for fresh artichokes, so you can try it both ways and decide for yourself. Serve this with a good French or Italian bread and a nice red wine, and you're done.

Serves 6

* 1 1/2 pounds small artichokes, (I use 1 pkg frozen artichoke hearts)
* Juice of 1 lemon
* 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, rinsed and patted dry, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
* 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
* 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1 28-ounce can canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. (Skip if you're using frozen artichokes.) Trim pointy tips from artichokes and cut in half or in wedges, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Fill a bowl with water, and add lemon juice. Place artichokes in water until ready to use.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 6-to-7-quart heavy-bottomed, Dutch-oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and add to the pot without crowding, working in batches. Cook chicken, turning once, until browned, 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a platter or bowl; set aside. Drain any fat that has accumulated in the pot.
3. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch-oven. When oil is hot, add garlic and cook until sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove artichokes from water and add directly to the pot; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and peperoncino. Cook, stirring often, until dry and beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring, until wine is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes to the Dutch oven along with 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil. Cook sauce for 15 minutes.
5. Return chicken to the Dutch oven and submerge in the sauce. Cover and continue cooking until chicken is just cooked through, artichokes are tender, and sauce has evaporated slightly, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fried Rice

This is a dinner version of the breakfast fried rice. This can be a side dish, plain or with some vegetables, or a main dish if you have meat to add. Any Asian barbecued pork or chicken would be a great addition. The amount you make depends on the amount of rice that you have. If you have more rice than the recipe calls for, just add another egg. This is a great way to use up any leftover meat or veg (like peas or carrots) you have.

1-2 tbl oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
white part of 1-2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Cup cold, leftover rice
1 egg
1 tbl soy sauce
green part of 1-2 green onions,chopped
salt & pepper

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion & garlic and saute until translucent. Add sesame oil. Add any leftover meat or veg. Add rice and cook until hot. Move rice to the sides of the frying pan, leaving an empty space in the middle. Beat egg with a fork and add to the middle of the pan. As the egg solidifies, push the outside edge to the middle. Turn and chop into small pieces and mix into rice. Add green part of green onions. Season with soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Taste & correct seasonings.

Stir fried vegetables

I make this with whatever vegetables I have on hand. Just start with onion & garlic, then add the harder vegetables, like carrots or broccoli stems. Add things like pea pods, green onion tops, or spinach last. You can add cornstarch and some water to your sauce if you want it to have more body, but I don't usually fool with that.

Mix together for sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbl rice wine vinegar
2 tbl hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp chili paste

1-2 tbl oil
1 onion, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger (optional)

Add & saute your choice of:
brocolli stems, sliced
cauliflower stems, sliced
red, green, yellow peppers, sliced

Add & saute your choice of:
zucchini, sliced
brocolli florets
cauliflower florets
cabbage, in large dice

Add, cover & steam for 5 minutes:
1/2 cup chicken stock or water

Add sauce mixture, stir, taste & correct seasonings.

Brocolli with oyster sauce

1 head of brocolli, separated into florets and stems sliced

1 tbl oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1-2 tbls chicken stock
salt, pepper to taste

Steam or stir fry the brocolli until tender. Add oyster sauce, sugar, chicken stock, taste & correct seasonings.

Asian style barbecue chicken

I made this last night and it was delicious. I served it with fried rice & stir fried broccoli.. This is an easy family meal. I'm sure that the leftover chicken would be delicious, but we didn't have one bite left.

1 chicken cut up

2 tbl hoisin sauce
2 tbl catsup
4 tbl soy sauce
4 tbl rice wine vinegar (you can substitute any white vinegar)
1-2 tsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp hot chili paste or hot bean paste

Put all ingredients in a ziplock bag and add chicken. Let marinate 2-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 325. Line a roasting pan with release aluminum foil. Put the chicken,skin side up, & marinade into pan & cover with aluminum foil. Bake until chicken is done, about 40 minutes. Remove aluminum foil & broil chicken on both sides until brown and crisp, basting until most of the marinade has evaporated. (I did skin side, then meat side, and then skin side again.)

Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Chicken, Rice, and Artichoke Casserole

I made this casserole and froze it for the family to eat while I was in Huntsville taking care of Aunt Kate. They loved it! This recipe really harks back to those 1950's casseroles made with Campbell's soup. It may sound retro, but it's incredibly delicious. I used leftover roast chicken, and leftover rice, so it's really economical too.

If you want to bake this more quickly, leave off topping and microwave until hot. Top with breadcrumbs, almonds, and butter and run under the broiler to brown.

About 1/2 a leftover, roasted chicken, skinned,boned, and diced
about 1 cup leftover, cooked rice
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
1 lemon, rind & juice
1/2 pkg frozen artichokes
1/2 cup or more dry sherry
salt & pepper to taste

Bread crumbs &/or slivered almonds for topping
Pam or butter for topping

Mix all ingredients together except bread crumbs. Taste & correct seasonings. You may need more sherry. Place into a greased casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs & almonds. Spray with Pam or dot with butter. Bake @ 350 about 40 minutes or until hot & bubbly.

4th of July Menu

Yesterday was the 4th and we wanted to do something really easy since we have had an exhausting June. Here's the menu:

Crab salad (from The Shrimp Dock) & crackers
Shrimp & Andouille Sausage

Grilled cowboy rib eye steaks from Butler & Bailey
Miss Debbie's Corn Salad
Roasted new potatoes with rosemary
Grilled asparagus with Balsamic vinegar

Fresh Cantalope

Shrimp & Andouille Sausage

I served this with toothpicks as an appetizer on the 4th of July, but I think that it would be really good over grits or rice as a main dish. To serve over grits it would need to be a little saucier. I think that a 1/2 cup of white wine or some clam juice would do it.

Serves 6 as an appetizer

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 medium shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 8" piece of andouille sausage, sliced lengthwise & cut into half-rounds
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow or red bell pepper, sliced
10 or more grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2-1 tsp thyme
1/2-1 tsp Old Bay
1/4 tsp or to taste cayenne pepper
salt & black pepper to taste
(1/2 Cup dry white wine or clam juice if serving over grits)

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add andouille and cook until brown. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and saute until onion is translucent. Season with thyme, Old Bay, & cayenne. Taste & add salt & pepper. Add tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and optional liquid. Cook, stirring frequently until shrimp are just done. Taste & correct seasonings. Serve with French bread to sop up sauce or serve over grits.