Monday, December 31, 2012

Best Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

I love traditional pumpkin pie, but this pumpkin chiffon pie is sooo much better. I rarely make changes to our Thanksgiving menu, but after eating this pie, the family unanimously agreed that they wanted it for Thanksgiving. This is a riff on a recipe by Paula Deen. She used Cool Whip which I don't like, but you could substitute it-just don't tell me about it. The pecan-graham cracker crust (which is what really takes it over the top) ocurred when I happened to have some extra chopped pecans from another recipe.

 Prep Time:10 min Inactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time:10 min
 Serves: 8 servings

 1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust, prepared according to package& baked, or Pecan/graham cracker crust
 32 jumbo marshmallows or 1 large pck mini marshmallows
 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 8oz container of heavy whipping cream, beaten.
 1 tbl bourbon
 1/2 tsp vanilla

Pecan/graham cracker crust
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans (toast pecans first, then chop)
3/4 cup graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted

Mix all ingredients and press into pie plate.  Bake 10-12 minutes at 350.  Let cool COMPLETELY!

Place marshmallows in a large bowl and microwave on high 3 minutes.  Stir marshmallows and heat a few minutes more if not completely melted. Add the pumpkin puree.  Stir in the spice and salt. Taste and add more spices if you like (remember that chilling dulls the flavors). When the mixture is completely cool, fold in the whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Caramelized-Pineapple Baked Alaska


Papa Joe made this Friday night for guests.  He said that it was easy and delicious.  So here it is--an easy retro dessert from Food and Wine Magazine.  I think that it would be good to add a layer of pound cake (Sara Lee makes a good one.) at the bottom of the ramekin.  Sprinkle the cake with some rum and proceed.  I also think that you should sprinkle a little rum on the pineapple chunks. Papa Joe substituted canned pineapple chunks for fresh which really took a lot of the work out of it.

  1. 1 pint coconut or vanilla ice cream
  2. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  3. 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  4. 3 tablespoons dulce de leche
  5. 4 large egg whites
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 4-6 tbls confectioner's sugar
  1. Preheat the broiler and position the rack nearest the heat. Peel the cardboard carton off the ice cream and cut the ice cream into 4 round slices. Pack the slices into four 6-ounce ramekins, transfer to a baking sheet and place in the freezer.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add the diced pineapple and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the dulce de leche and cook, stirring, until the pineapple is lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of dulce de leche and transfer the pineapple to a plate. Place the plate in the freezer to cool the pineapple.
  3. Put the egg white in a clean mixing bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water and, using an electric mixer with clean beaters, beat the egg white and salt at high speed until firm peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
  4. Spoon the cooled pineapple over the ice cream along with any juices. Cover the ramekins with the meringue and broil just until lightly toasted, about 45 seconds. Serve right away.

MEATBALLS IN CHIPOTLE SAUCE Albóndigas al chipotle

I saw this on Patti's Mexican Table, and made it last week.  It was delicious.  I added a whole chipotle, chopped, and, at first, I thought it was going to be too picante (spicy hot), but noooo. It was perfect.  The simmering, and of course the rice, calmed things down to the perfect level of spiciness. I used 1 pound of beef and froze enough for another meal. 

Serves 6 - 8 

 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons white onion, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, or to taste
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, optional
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth
2 to 3 fresh cilantro sprigs, or to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat with the eggs, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands or a spatula. 

Place tomatoes in a saucepan and cover with water; simmer over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through and mushy. 

In a blender, add the cooked tomatoes along with 1/4 cup of their cooking liquid, 2 garlic cloves, white onion, the sauce from the chipotle chiles in adobo and, if desired, one whole seeded chipotle chile. Purée until smooth. 

Pour the oil into a large soup pot and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, pour in the puréed tomato mix. It will sizzle and jump, that is ok! Let it simmer, with the lid ajar, anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes, or until it has changed its color to a deeper red, thickened in consistency and lost its raw flavor. Add the chicken broth and salt to taste and reduce heat to medium low. 

Place a small mixing bowl with water to the side of the soup pot with the simmering tomato broth. Wet your hands and start to make the meatballs, one by one. They should be anywhere from 1 to 2". Gently place the meatballs in the simmering tomato broth. 

Once you have shaped all the meatballs, add the cilantro sprigs to the pot, then simmer over medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Serve hot with a side of avocado slices avocado, some warm corn tortillas and, if desired, frijoles de olla or white rice and plantains.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Quick-Brined Pork Chops with Fruit Compote

My sister just sent this recipe from William Sonoma. She said that her husband liked it so much that he wanted it again the next night.  We've replaced the maple flakes (who has that on the shelf?) with maple syrup.

2 cups room-temperature water
2 star anise pods
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons kosher salt
4 cups ice water
6 boneless pork chops, each about 8 oz. and 3/4 to 1 inch thick
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup diced dried apricots
¾ cup apple cider
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

Brine chops:
 In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the room-temperature water, star anise, 2 of the bay leaves, 1 of the cinnamon sticks, the thyme, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, maple flakes and salt. Bring to a boil, then transfer to a large bowl and add the ice water. Submerge the pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Make Compote:
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, apple cider, brown sugar, the remaining bay leaf and cinnamon stick, the cayenne and apples and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Uncover and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes more. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Serve the fruit compote warm or at room temperature.

Grill Chops:
Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Drizzle the olive oil over the chops and rub evenly on both sides. Grill chops,about 4 minutes per side, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 145°F. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the fruit compote and smashed potatoes. Serves 6.

Chinese Chicken Thighs

I found this recipe last night, and I made it for dinner.  Wow--really delicious and easy. Serve this with jasmine rice and your choice of veg. I think that this would be amazing with chicken wings too (I would brown them in the oven, then add the sauce and bake.)

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper
8  chicken thighs (Remove the skin if you want to make this lower in calories)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp dry thyme  
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped  
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Green onions, chopped

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, brown the chicken thighs.  Discard the oil and set the chicken aside.  Add all the remaining ingredients except the cilantro and green onions. Put the chicken thighs back in the skillet, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, place the chicken skin side up and cook, basting, until the sauce is syrupy and glazes the chicken (about 15 more minutes).  Remove from skillet to platter and garnish with fresh cilantro and green onions.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cashew Chicken

I haven't tried this yet, but my friend, Connie, says it's quick, easy, and good. 

Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, in app. 1" cubes
1 tbl cornstarch
salt and pepper
2 tbl vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
green part of 8 scallions, cut into 1" pieces
white part of the scallions, cut into 1" pieces
2 tbl rice vinegar
3 tbl hoisin sauce
3/4 cup raw cashews, toasted

Cooked white rice
Toast cashews - spread on baking sheet and toast at 350 for 10 minutes, until golden and fragrant.

1 In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with cornstarch and season with 3/4tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

2 In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbl oil over medium high heat. Cook half the chicken, about 3 minutes, until brown. Transfer to plate. Add remaining chicken, garlic, and the white part of the scallions. Cook, tossing often, until chicken is brown, about 3 more minutes. Return the first part of the chicken to the pan.  Add the vinegar, cooking until evaporated, about 30 seconds.

3 Add the hoisin and 1/4 cup water; cook, tossing, until is cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove
from the heat and stir in the scallion greens and cashews. Serve immediately over rice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gorganzola Truffles

Nancy Macrae told me about this appetizer.  Someone brought it to a teacher appreciation lunch, and she thought it was delicious.  It certainly sounds fantastic and easy. If you wanted to make this a little lighter, you could roll the balls in chopped pecans or walnuts. You could also try the Hormel bacon bits.  I've never used them, so I'm not vouching for the taste.  I'd try it on one and see how it tasted. 

1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon  (or substitute chopped pecans or walnuts)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened 
1 (4-oz.) container crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Apple and pear slices and grapes


Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until well combined. Cover tightly, and chill at least 1 hour or until firm (can chill up to 3 days)
 Roll cheese mixture into 3/4-inch-round balls. Roll each ball in bacon. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve. If chilled, let stand 30 minutes before serving. Serve with apple and pear slices and grapes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Praline Key Lime Pie

My sister posted this. If she says it's good, it's delicious.  She also used 1 can of regular sweetened condensed milk and 1 can of low fat sweetened condensed milk.

1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. jarred caramel topping
2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
6 egg yolks 
2 teaspoons Key lime or lime zest 
1 cup fresh Key lime or lime juice
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, next 2 ingredients, and 1/2 cup toasted pecans until blended. Press crumb mixture on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch deep-dish pie plate.
3. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 45 minutes).
4. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup toasted pecans over bottom of crust; drizzle caramel topping over pecans.?
5. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and next 3 ingredients. Gently pour into prepared crust.
6. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until almost set. (The center will not be firm but will set up as it chills.) Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 4 hours.
7. Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Dollop or spread over pie.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Veal Chops with Caper Sauce

I saw this this morning on Essential Pepin. I think that Jacques is a genius.  This looked delicious. I may try it this weekend. 

4 veal rib chops trimmed of excess fat (about 10 ounces each), and 1 inch thick
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl butter1 teaspoon canola oil1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
SAUCE1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) red onion2 tablespoons drained capers1 tablespoon minced fresh sage2 teaspoons julienned lemon zest1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste2 tablespoons homemade chicken stock or low-salt canned chicken broth2 tbl white wine1 tbl butter

Remove veal chops from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Heat a pan over medium high.
Rub the chops with the oil and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. 

Add 1 tbl butter and olive oil to saute pan and cook the chops 2-3 minutes per side (cook on side too). Remove and let rest, covered, at least 10 minutes (the chops can be kept in the oven for up to 30 minutes). You want the veal to be pink, but not rare.
Add onion to pan and saute. Deglaze with white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add stock, chopped sage, capers, and lemon juice and rind, and cook another minute. Add another 1 tbl of butter to pan, swirling to thicken.
At serving time, place a chop on each of four plates and coat with the sauce.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spanish Chicken Pot (slow cooker)

This is a favorite of my friend Mary Beth. She made it for us and it is delicious. If you like crockpot recipes, you'll love this.

Serves 6-8
Cooking time - 8-10 hours

2tbsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skinned if liked
6 chicken drumsticks, skinned if liked
1 large onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
3tbsp plain flour
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
5oz piece of chorizo sausage, diced
1 1/2lb baby new potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered depending on size
3/4 pint chicken stock, hot
2 1/2oz pitted black olives
few rosemary sprigs or a pinch of dried
salt and pepper
basil or extra rosemary sprigs to garnish
crusty bread to serve

Preheat the slow cooker.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken in batches until browned on all sides.  Drain and transfer to a large plate.
Add the onion to the pan and fry for 5 mins until pale and golden.  Stir in the garlic then the flour.  Add the canned tomatoes and chorizo and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil.
Transfer the chicken and potatoes to the slow cooker pot, pour in the tomato mixture then add the hot stock, olives and rosemary.  Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Spoon into shallow dishes, sprinkle with fresh rosemary or basil and serve with plenty of warm crusty bread.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Red rice is red from the achiote in recado rojo.  It's a classic Yucatecan flavoring that is readily available in Mexican food stores.  You can also dissolve it in vinegar and use it as a seasoning rub for grilled chicken or pork.

1-2 tbl olive oil
1 cup rice
1/2 purple onion, chopped
1 tsp recado rojo (available in Mexican food stores)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste (if your chicken stock has salt in it, don't add a lot of salt)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Add a sprinkle of salt and saute.  Add the recado rojo and saute, breaking up the flavor cube. Add a tablespoon of water to dissolve the recado and cook til the water evaporates.  Add the rice and saute, stirring.  Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat, Taste and correct seasonings.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee Recipe from ?New New Orleans Cooking?, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch

This is the second time I've made this. It's really delicious and easy to make if you already
have the Emeril's Essence and the shrimp stock made.  If you don't have shrimp stock, you can substitute clam juice or chicken stock. I reduced the amount of shrimp stock because the first time I made this, the shrimp stock diluted the base too much. I've also added some lemon juice and hot sauce.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped green bell peppers
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 2 cups shrimp stock
  • 3 pounds medium shrimp (21 to 25 count per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Steamed white rice, for serving
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbl Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce


Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the shrimp stock.
Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the etouffee, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season the shrimp with the remaining tablespoon of Essence and add them to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, and hot sauce to the pot and stir to combine.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onion tops.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Shrimp Stock:
1 pound (about 1 quart) shrimp shells and heads
1 cup coarsely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrots
3 smashed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
Place the shrimp shells and heads in a large colander and rinse under cold running water for several minutes.
Combine the shrimp shells and remaining ingredients in a heavy 6-quart stockpot, add 4 quarts water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim to remove any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, skimming occasionally.
Remove the stock from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container; let cool completely. Refrigerate the stock for up to 3 days or freeze in airtight containers for up to 2 months.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

  • My sister originally posted this recipe, and I don't know what happened to the post.  She says this recipe is FANTASTIC.  She loves the glaze on Cornish
  • 'game hens too.  She served this with black beans and rice, and everybody loved it!
  • Ingredients

  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Guava Glaze, recipe follows
  • Orange-Habanero Mojo, recipe follows


Preheat a grill to high.
Brush pork with oil, and then season it with salt and pepper. Set aside a few tablespoons of the Guava Glaze for brushing the cooked pork. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, brushing frequently with the Guava Glaze. Remove from the grill, brush again with glaze and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch thick slices, drizzle with the Orange-Habanero Mojo, and serve immediately.

Guava Glaze:

  • 1 cup guava jelly, or apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk jelly, mustard, and orange juice together in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Orange-Habanero Mojo:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 habanero chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add lime juice, orange juice, and habanero chile and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the cilantro and cumin and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Drizzle over pork.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Brined and grilled pork chops

I think that it's very difficult to grill pork chops these days.  The pork is so lean that if you overcook them the teensiest bit, they are dry and inedible. You can solve this problem with brining and you will always have a juicy chop.  You can also change the herbs and seasonings in the brine in order to flavor the meat how ever you want.

1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup ice
1 tbl salt
1 tbl sugar
herbs and spices to taste*
2 1" thick pork loin chops

Dissolve salt and sugar in boiling water.  Add herbs and spices.  Add ice to quickly cool down brine.  Add chops and let stand in fridge for 1-1 1/2 hours.  Remove from brine, pat dry, and grill about 4 minutes on one side. When juices start to come up on the top side, turn, and grill about 3-4 more minutes or until medium (just a little pink inside).

* Mexican - add 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder, lime
   Mexican tomato sauce- heat a 1/2 cup Goya sofrito with a tbl of chicken stock and season with a little cumin and chipotle chile.  When hot, squeeze in a little lime juice and add some chopped cilantro if desired.
* Italian - add rosemary, garlic, lemon
* American - bay leaf and thyme

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Potatoes with Achiote (papas en recado rojo)

I served this with the Chicken in Tomatillo and Brown Sugar Sauce. They were yummy.  Measurements aren't really necessary, just taste and adjust seasoning.  If you don't have recado rojo, an essential Yucatecan  seasoning, you can buy it at any Hispanic market.  Recado rojo, dissolved in vinegar, is delicious on grilled or roasted chicken and pork, too.

Serves 2-3
3-4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
2 tbl olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced fine
about 1-2 tsp recado rojo dissolved in several tbl chicken stock
1 tbl butter

The recado rojo which is a mix of annatto (achiote) and spices comes in little blocks.  Cut off a piece approximately the size of a tsp or so.  Place this in a cup and add chicken stock; stir and mash with a fork until dissolved more or less.  Set aside.

Put olive oil in saucepan to heat.  Add potatoes, salt and pepper, and saute.  Add garlic and saute for a minute more.  Add recado rojo and stir to coat with spice.  If it's too dry, add a little water.  Cover and steam until tender.  Adding more water if necessary.  When tender, add butter stirring to melt.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chicken in a Tomatillo, Chipotle and Brown Sugar Sauce (Pollo con Tomate Verde, Chipotle y Piloncillo)

I'm always looking for new chicken recipes, and here's another one from Pati's Mexican Table. I made this tonight, and it was delicious.  I used chicken thighs and brown sugar. Loved it! I served this with Potatoes in Achiote.

Pollo con Tomate Verde, Chipotle y Piloncillo
Serves 4 to 6

3 chicken leg quarters, or 3 drumsticks and 3 thighs, rinsed and patted dry 
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste 
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground 
1/4 cup safflower or corn oil 
2 cups white onion, sliced 
2 garlic cloves, chopped 
2 lbs tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed, quartered 
4 tbsp piloncillo, shredded, or substitute for brown sugar 
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, plus more sauce if desired 
2 cups chicken broth, or water 

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

In a thick and tall heavy skillet or casserole dish, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the chicken pieces.  Brown on one side, for about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip and brown on the other side, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Don't try to flip too soon or the skin will stick to the skillet. Remove the chicken pieces and place in a bowl.  You may remove the skin if you wish, I don't.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring for about 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, for about 20 seconds.  Make room in the pan and add the tomatillos.  Let it cook all together, for about 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the piloncillo, the chipotles and their sauce and stir well.  Once it comes to a simmer incorporate the chicken pieces along with the chicken broth and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be chunky and thick, and the chicken fully cooked.


I saw this on Pati's Mexican Table, and it is scrumptious!  I have rewritten the recipe for a smaller amount. I cut the recipe in half and used fairly small chicken thighs. I cut the water back to 1 cup, and I also cut the cooking time and only browned the thighs for 20 minutes, more or less. I can't tell you how good this was. It's going into the permanent repertoire. I served this with arroz rojo and squash sauteed with onions and cilantro.
Serves 3-4

6 chicken thighs,cut into pieces, plus two more pieces of your choice, with skin and bones
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1 tbl olive oil
1 cups water
1/4 pound dried apricots, about 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons apricot preserves
1/2 cup tamarind concentrate* 
1 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, or more to taste, add chiles if you please

Thoroughly rinse chicken pieces with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a deep extended skillet, heat oil over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add chicken pieces in one layer, bring heat to medium-low, and slowly brown the chicken pieces for 5-10 minutes a side or until nicely browned. Turn them over every once in a while, so they will brown evenly on all sides.

Pour water over the chicken, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a simmer. Incorporate the apricots, apricot preserve, tamarind concentrate, chipotle sauce and salt and stir, and keep it at a medium simmer for 35 to 40 minutes more. You may need to bring down the heat to medium.

The sauce should have thickened considerably as to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Taste for salt and heat and add more salt or chipotle sauce to you liking.

or substitute with 1 tbsp tamarind paste mixed with 1/2 tbsp sugar and a 1/2 cup water. You can purchase this from

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs with Potato and Onion

Just saw this on Best Thing I ever Made - Chicken. It is delicious. I made it with store-bought tapenade cause I was in a hurry.  I didn't bone the chicken thighs, and I added some chopped chorizo and garlic to the potatoes and onions. I also placed the chicken thighs directly on the potatoes and onions. This was delicious and super-easy.  Mary Beth made this with skinless chicken thighs that she topped with slices of pancetta.

Alton Brown, 2012

Cook Time:1 hr 0 min
Serves: 6 to 8

6 ounces pimento stuffed green olives, chopped 
2 teaspoons lemon zest 
2 cloves garlic, grated 

3 tablespoons smoked paprika 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground 
8 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (if you can't find boneless with skin, just get bone-in thighs)

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled 
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and then sliced
1-2 tbls olive oil
salt and pepper
2 fat cloves garlic, chopped finely

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the olives, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside. Mix the smoked paprika, olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper into a paste in a large bowl. Lay the chicken thighs skin-side down. Using a pair of kitchen shears, make a cut down the length of the bone to expose it, then cut the meat away from the bone. Discard the bone. Add the boned chicken thighs to the paste and massage to coat. 

Make the tapenade: Mix together the chopped green olives, lemon zest and garlic.

Thinly slice the potatoes about 1/4-inch thick. Toss the potatoes and onions with a tbl or 2 of olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. Arrange the potato slices and onion pieces in an even layer on a foil-lined half sheet pan.. 

Stuff about 2 tablespoons of the olive mixture under the skin of each chicken thigh. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on a cooling rack and set the rack over the potatoes and onion in the half sheet pan. Bake until the skin is crispy and the potatoes are tender, 45 to 60 minutes,depending on the size of the thighs. If you prefer the potatoes crispy, remove the rack with the chicken and return to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Italian potato and string bean salad

This recipe is from Biba's Modern Italian Cooking.  I don't think exact amounts of beans, potatoes, or pancetta matter. Just use what you have on hand. I certainly didn't have 1 1/2 pounds of string beans--maybe 1/2 pound. I also added the red onion and tomato. A little garlic would be nice too. If you need to make this quickly use frozen green beans that you defrost in the microwave.

Serves 6
1 1/2 pounds small string beans (stringed, snapped, and blanched or use defrosted, frozen)
1 tsp salt
7-8 unpeeled small red new potatoes (boiled, then cut into 1 inch pieces)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
cherry tomatoes or diced tomato
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into small cubes 
2 tbl olive oil

For the dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1 tbl dijon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

String, snap, and blanch the string beans in boiling,salted water. Then refresh them in ice water, drain, and set aside. Saute pancetta in 2 tbls olive oil until lightly crisp. Transfer to paper towel and set aside. Make the dressing. Boil, drain, and cube the potatoes; season with salt and pepper and some dressing. Add remaining ingredients and add dressing, reserving some for later. Salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add the remaining dressing if the salad seems too dry.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Peach Melba

I got fresh peaches at the farmer's market on Tuesday and I couldn't resist making this classic dessert. You could, perhaps, substitute really good canned peaches to make this really easy. Poaching the peaches and making the raspberry sauce need to be done ahead anyway. If you have them in the fridge, it's child's play to make this elegant dessert.

Serves 4-
4-8 poached peaches halves (1 or 2 halves per person)
Really good vanilla ice cream like Ben and Jerry's
raspberry sauce

To poach peaches
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbl brandy
1 big piece of lemon rind ( use a vegetable peeler to remove it and don't get any of the white pith)
4 freestone peaches, cut in half (don't use really ripe fruit)

Bring all ingredients except peaches to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
Place peaches in syrup and adjust heat to a bare simmer. Let peaches cook until fork tender.  The time will depend on the ripeness of the fruit. I had not quite ripe peaches and let them simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and let fruit cool.  When fruit is cool, carefully peel and destone the peaches.  Return to liquid and store in fridge.

Raspberry sauce
1 pkg frozen raspberries, defrosted
2-3 tbl sugar or to taste
juice of half a lemon

In a food processor or blender process all ingredients. Taste and adjust sugar. Strain through sieve.

Assembly Place a peach half in each bowl. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle on a generous amout of raspberry sauce. Garnish with fresh mint or a chocolate tuile cookie.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chocolate Angel Pie

  • Ellen, Ama B, and I, all, used to make this pie. I lost the recipe, but, thank goodness, Ellen found her copy. This pie is scrumptious!

  • 2 egg whites
  •  tsp. cream of tartar
  •  tsp. salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pkg bakers sweet chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Servings/Yield: Servings: 8 servings

Make pie shell: beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until foamy, add sugar gradually, beating until very stiff peaks hold. Fold in nuts and vanilla and spread into a greased 8 inch pie pan. Bake in slow oven 300 degrees for 50-55 min. Cool
Filling: Melt Chocolate in water over low heat stirring constantly, cook until thickened. Add vanilla, then fold in whipped cream. Pile in the meringue shell and chill 2 hours.

If desired, top with more whipped cream and chocolate curls.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Easy Chocolate tarts

This was an experiment, using the shortbread pastry shells from the supermarket. (At Krogers, they are next to the graham cracker crumbs in the baking aisle) Everybody loved these and they looked really beautiful.

Shortbread pastry tartlet shells
1/4 bag of mini marshmallows (about 2 cups before they're melted)
3 oz dark chocolate
1/2 -1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 container heavy whipping cream (1 tbl heavy cream + remaining cream,beaten)

Slices of strawberries or raspberries to garnish

Place bowl and beaters for whipped cream in freezer.

In the microwave, melt the chocolate on power 6-7 for 2 minutes, then add marshmallows and cream.  Return to microwave and cook on power 6-7 for 1 minute, stir and continue cooking until all is nicely melted.
Let cool to room temperature. Beat heavy cream in cold bowl until medium stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture, and spoon into pastry shells. Garnish with fruit.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chicken Canzanese

This recipe is from Cook's Country, and it's fantastic!
1 tablespoon olive oil ( divided use)
2 ounces proscuitto, 1 thick slice, cubed
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin lengthwise
8 chicken thighs ( bone-in)
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons flour
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth ( low-sodium)
1 sprig fresh rosemary ( 4 inch)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Preheat oven 325°F Remove leaves from rosemary and mince. Keep both leaves and stem. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in 12 inch ovensafe skillet over medium heat until oil is shimmering. Add prosciutto and cook until just starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic slices and cook, stirring until garlic is golden brown. Do not burn. Remove prosciutto and garlic using slotted spoon and keep for later.

In the same pan, increase the heat to medium high and add 2 tsp olive oil and heat until just smoking. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and sprinkle both sides with generous amount of pepper and bit of salt. Add chicken skin side down and cook without moving until nicely browned, about 6-8 minutes. Turn chicken and and brown on second side for about 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to plate.

 Remove all but 2 T fat from pan. Sprinkle flour over fat and cook, stirring for about 1 minute and slowly add wine and chicken broth. Bring to simmer, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits and cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Stir in rosemary stem, sage, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and reserved pancetta-garlic mixture. Nestle chicken into liquid skin side up. Skin should be above the surface of liquid to keep it crisp at all times and bake, uncovered, until meat offers no resistance when poked with fork, about 1 hour. Check chicken after 15 minutes in the oven; broth should be barely bubbling and if bubbling too much, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Using tongs, transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Remove and discard rosemary stem, cloves, and bay leaves. Place skillet over high heat and bring sauce to boil. Cook until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/2 to 1 1/4 C, about 2 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in rosemary leaves, lemon juice and butter. Taste for salt and pepper. Pour sauce around chicken and serve.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Easy Lemon Tartlets

I made these for my book club, and they were a hit.  Super easy! If you can't find the tart shells, you could substitute frozen phyllo shells.

1 pkg Kroger's Private Selection shortbread tart shells (I think that I found them in the baking aisle.)
1/2 jar Dickensons Lemon Curd (in the baking aisle)
4 oz cream cheese or whipped cream
fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

If using cream cheese, whip softened cream cheese with a fork, add the lemon curd, and mix well.  For whipped cream, simply fold the cream into the lemon curd. Spoon the mixture into the tart shells, top with the blueberries, and refrigerate.

I made them about 3 hours ahead, and they seemed to keep perfectly.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Calabrian Lamb chops

I saw this on Nigella Express today. It sounds fantastic, and I'm going to try it soon. Of course, I'll have to substitute something for the black olives, perhaps capers, since Jim won't eat them.

I think that this would be nice served with orzo or roasted potatoes and a salad.


* 12 lamb rib chops
* 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, for frying
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
* 1 teaspoon chili flakes
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 small lemon, zested and juiced
* 1 teaspoon Maldon salt/kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 15 black olives, pitted and sliced
* 1 long red chile, deseeded and finely chopped, optional


Layer the rib chops between clingfilm/cling-wrap (plastic wrap) and flatten them gently with a rolling pin or mallet. Place the chops in a large dish so that they all fit in a single layer.

Pour over the 4 tablespoons/1/4 cup of oil and add the garlic, chili, oregano, lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle over the salt and the olives and then turn the rib chops in the marinade so that both sides are coated.

Cover and leave the lamb to marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature before cooking.

Heat a large frying pan with the 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the chops scraping off the marinade before you put them in the pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes a side on quite a high heat so that they take on some color.

Turn the heat back down to medium and pour the marinade into the pan over the colored chops. Add 2 tablespoons or so of water so that they cook in a little liquid.

Cook for about 5 minutes for rare cutlets or a little longer if you like your lamb well cooked, (this will also depend on the thickness of the chops).

Transfer the lamb to a serving plate, pour over the juices from the pan and sprinkle with the chopped red chile should you feel like enhancing the dried chili with the pep of fresh.

Double Chocolate-Peppermint Crunch Cookies

yield: Makes about 50 
2 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (do not exceed 61% cacao; 15 to 16 ounces), divided
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon peppermint extract 
2 large eggs 
4 candy canes or 16 red-and-white- striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir 2 cups chocolate chips in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Measure 2/3 cup melted chocolate; transfer to small metal bowl and reserve for drizzling.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add sugar and both extracts; beat until smooth. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat in melted chocolate from medium bowl. Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Measure 1 level tablespoonful dough; roll dough between palms to form ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until cracked all over and tester inserted into center comes out with large moist crumbs attached, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to racks to cool completely. 
Rewarm reserved 2/3 cup chocolate over small saucepan of simmering water. Using fork, drizzle chocolate over cookies. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over, arranging some pieces with red parts showing. Chill just until chocolate sets, about 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 weeks ahead. Store airtight in freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies

yield: Makes about 4 dozen sandwich cookies 
For Cookies
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
White and colored sanding sugars

For Filling
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

Special Equipment:
a heavy-duty sealable bag

Make Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.
Beat together butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in zest and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture just until a soft dough forms. 
Put sanding sugars in different bowls. Roll a scant teaspoon of dough into a ball and drop into sugar, turning to coat. Reshape if necessary and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 3/4 inch apart, until baking sheet is filled.
Bake until tops are slightly cracked but still pale (bottoms will be pale golden), 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to a rack to cool completely.
Form and bake more cookies on second baking sheet. 

Make Filling and Sandwich Cookies: Beat together all filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined well. Transfer to sealable bag and snip off a corner.
Turn over half of cookies and pipe about 1/2 teaspoon filling on flat side of each. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently.

Recipe Notes
1. The sugared dough balls should be chilled for 30 minutes or frozen for 5 to 10 minutes to help preserve their round shape. Keep the sandwiched cookies chilled.
2. The unsandwiched cookies keep, in a metal cookie tin, at a cool room temperature for up to 4 days.
The Gourmet Cookie Book