Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Almond Chutney Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Printable Recipe
Fresh lemon lends a bright refreshing lift to this out of the ordinary lettuce wrap. The chicken salad-like filling is served cold with a side of cucumber and a plate of crispy lettuce leaves to wrap burrito style and eat at the table. A delicious luncheon or light dinner served with hot soup. Or may be eaten at midnight standing in the open refrigerator door - let's not get too fussy, here, shall we...not?

So, let's get ready to roll! We're going to make this quick and easy by buying a roasted whole chicken at the grocery and pulling the meat off the bone.

But first let's combine the rest:
1 small red onion
1 lemon
1 jalapeno
2 celery stalks

Chop the onion very fine. Split the celery into two or three pieces lengthwise and then chop into fairly small pieces crosswise. From the lemon, we want to use the inside and out both. Using a fine rasp, grate the zest stopping just short of the white pith which is bitter. Don't want that. Now, halve and juice the lemon, too.

Mix 1/3 cup Mayo or Miracle Whip and about 1/2 jar of Major Grey's Chutney. Add all the zest and maybe 1/2 the lemon juice to start and taste it. It should be both sweet and tangy but not make you pucker up like a lemonhead. More lemon juice if it needs it.

Finally, add 1 cup of almonds, roughly chopped. I love these smokey salty almonds and they really added an extra element to this dish.

I pulled the chicken into a big pile and just rough chopped through the whole stack with a large chef knife until it was taken down to smaller than bite size pieces.

Mix all together and let sit at least a few hours to marry all the flavors together.  

Wrapping it up right at the table.


    One 3-pound roasted chicken
    1 medium red onion
    1 large lemon
    1 jalapeno, fresh
    1 jar Major Grey Chutney
    1/3 cup mayonnaise
    Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
    1 cup whole salted almonds, coarse chopped
    1 large head Bibb lettuce
    1 large cucumber
Summer has given way to Fall Fest at the Food Network website where you'll find my foodie blogs along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas all the way through the holidays! Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week, it's Mixed Lettuce, next week come on back for perfect ways with Pumpkins. Check out these other delicious ideas:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Quinoa and Black Lentil Salad With Mixed Salad Greens
Cooking With Books: "Chopped" Salads
Haute Apple Pie: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing
Dishin & Dishes: Beet Salad With Garlic Vinaigrette
Thursday Night Dinner: Mixed Lettuce, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pita Pizza
And Love It Too: Rainbow Salad
Made By Michelle: Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches
Feed Me Phoebe: Hearts of Romaine With Beets, Pistachios and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Mixed Lettuce
Virtually Homemade: Mixed Fall Greens With Dijon Chive Vinaigrette
Devour: Lettuce (Hold the Salad)
Delicious Lean: Chiffonade of Mixed Greens
FN Dish: Top 12 Lettuce Wraps

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Spinach-Sausage Saute with Pan-Fried Gnocchi

Printable Recipe
Starting the skillet with a good spicy sausage gives a blast of flavor to the handful of spinach you'll toss in to melt together with a bit of chipotle in adobo and then, voila - dinner is on the table. Take an extra few minutes to pair it with a side of pan fried gnocchi and you have a great last-minute dinner that doesn't feel last-minute at all.
Start by assembling ingredients. As with any quick fix meal you'll want everything out of the package and at hand, ready to hit the skillet. Pre-washed spinach unbagged, chipotles rough chopped, sausage into 1" dice.

I've used a lean turkey kielbasa link sausage here because it is what I had on hand, but pancetta would be excellent and chorizo would really spice it up!    Look for the freshest and softest gnocchi because we're not boiling it first. That's right! I haven't lost my mind. I lifted this idea straight from Nigella the Queen of Bites. I found this little pearl of an idea on her iPad app called Nigella Quick Collection. Great collection of recipes taken from half a dozen of her cook books and loaded with in-app videos.
While I was making a brief advertisement for Nigella the sausage took off cooking without me. I am not Nigella's agent but I would like to meet her whenever she's ready, ahemmm.

When the pan is good and crispy on the bottom and the sausage browned, drop in a few handfulls of spinach and a tablespoon or two of chopped chipotles, depending on how hot you like it, baby.
Let it all melt down together which will only take a few minutes.

Don't empty that skillet yet! First let's grab up all that flavor on the bottom with a quick splash of water. Even 1/4 cup will do it as long as the pan is good and hot. It should sizzle immediately and dissolve all that flavor into a wonderful savory glaze as you scrape the skillet and keep everything moving.
Now transfer all to a serving platter and give the skillet a quick wipe out with a dry paper towel.

There should still be a fine layer of browned fond left behind which will help the gnocchi to brown well. Film the skillet with a layer of mild olive oil and raise the heat to medium high.

Toss the gnocchi to coat with the oil and spread them out in a single layer with enough space to allow them to brown. Watch the heat and reduce if necessary. Flip the ghnocci when they have browned well and repeat on the other side. Serve immediately with the Spinach and Sausage for little out-of-the-ordinary meat and potatoes meal!

Bag of Prewashed Spinach
One Pkg Fresh Gnocchi
One Pound Link Sausage (Kielbasa, Pancetta,   Chorizo)
Small Can Chipotle in Adobo
Summer has given way to Fall Fest at the Food Network website where you'll find my foodie blogs along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas all the way through the holidays! Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week, it's Spinach, next week come on back for tasty ways with Turnips. Check out these other delicious ideas: 

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Skinny Hot Spinach Dip
Feed Me Phoebe: October Evening Lentil Soup With Spinach
And Love It Too: Grain-Free Spinach Pie
Cooking With Elise: Baby Spinach Salad With Cranberries, Spiced Pecans and a Maple Vinaigrette
Virtually Homemade: Three Onion Dip With Spinach
HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Spinach
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Whole-Wheat Pasta With Spicy Spinach and Peanut Butter Pesto
Thursday Night Dinner: Spinach Ice Cream
Cooking Channel: Fresh Spinach in Indian Recipes
Delicious Lean: Spinach Leaf Roll Ups
Bacon and Souffle: Baby Spinach Pizza With Sopressata and Sriracha
FN Dish: Stuff It With Spinach

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Easier-than-Pie Creamy Apple Bake

(Printable Recipe)
Not an apple cream pie, not a pudding, not a baked apple...maybe a little of all those in one? This super simple creamy-licious apple dessert comes from the maven of classic desserts, Maida Heatter, whose cookbooks I often turn to when I'm ready to try something new and want some no-fail perfection going on in my kitchen. When I read her description of this dish, I thought she might be using the term "pudding" as the Brits do to simply mean dessert of any kind because the topping was rich with butter but lacking the milk needed for a true pudding. I decided it didn't really matter to me what it was called when I considered the ratio of ingredients because that much butter, sugar, and egg could only lead to something scrumptious.

I chose a mix of McIntosh and Granny Smith apples for a balance of flavor. Granny Smith is one of the most tart cooking apples while McIntosh is quite sweet.  Check out the Apple Chart at the bottom of this post for your own combos.

Peel and quarter the apples, removing the core in the process. Chop these quarters into approximately one inch chunks and move to a large bowl.You should have around 4-5 cups full.

Add 1-2 Tablespoons of real Maple Syrup - use the real thing, not maple flavored pancake syrup! Add 1/4 cup sugar and toss well. Turn into a well buttered 2-quart casserole dish.

Now for the topping ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1-1/2 sticks butter

Microwave the butter for a minute or so to melt while starting on the the rest.

In an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and creamy.

Add both the butter and flour all at once and continue beating until smooth again.
Are you wondering what's awry in this picture? If it looks like I'm wearing my right hand backwards, that would be because it's my left hand twisted around at a ridiculous angle. This is what comes from insisting on shooting the camera righthanded no matter what sort of contortions are required by the poor left. And, nope, there's nobody holding that Pyrex measuring's just wedged there. Really.

Beat for a few minutes and scrape down around the edges until the flour has blended in well and all lumps are dissolved.

Top the apples evenly with this luscious not-a-pudding mixture and pop this into a 325 oven. Start checking it around 45 minutes, but it may take as long as an hour to cook all the way through. Check it by pressing into the center of the dish with the back of a spoon to be sure there is no liquidy center remaining. It will be soft set and still moist when done and only slightly browned. Delish!

Serve warm with a dollop of sweetened cream whipped with a pinch of cinnamon.

  It's still SummerFest at the Food Network website where you'll find my foodie blogs on the Food Network along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week, it's Apples, next week Potatoes. Check out these other delicious ideas:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake
Virtually Homemade: Apple Pie Muffin
Chez Us: Baked Apples With Creme Anglaise
Made by Michelle: Pear Apple Crisp
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Apple, Fennel and Cheddar Cheese Panini
From My Corner of Saratoga: Spiced Apple Dutch Baby
Thursday Night Dinner: Apple Bread Pudding
Devour: 7 Apple Desserts Beyond Pie
Healthy Eats: Marrying the Apple With New Flavors
FN Dish: Let's Go Apple Picking
Holy Kaw! All the topics that interest us<br />The spectrum of apple flavors

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Honeydew Salad with Genoa Salami and Mozzarella Fresca

Printable Recipe
Honeydew's gentle sweetness is just what a good salami needs to enhance its flavor and cut its saltiness. Adding a mellow cheese like Mozzarella Fresca is the perfect accompaniment for both, adding no extra saltiness, only cool smooth flavor and texture.

Honeydews when ripe might be a little sticky on the outside but the skin should not be slick or slimy. A few freckles are fine also, they just indicate ripeness. Try to choose one that is good and heavy for its size. It's OK to leave it sitting out on the counter for a few days and it will continue to ripen, then it needs to be refrigerated. OK, that's the honeydew lesson.

Now, here's a little basil info. I chose this variegated leaf basil because it is very mild and sweet. I wanted a touch of basil flavor but nothing pungent. If you don't grow this type or can't find it, either skip the basil or just use a single leaf of the basic variety, very finely minced.

I used only half this melon and cut it into small dice as pictured here. Making these slices about half an inch thick or less made it easy to crisscross cut them into dice.
I did the same thing with the fresh mozzarella, slicing it a little thicker than 1/4."  This salami was already thin cut. If you don't have the same brand look for another another that is actually made in Italy. The difference in flavor is very much worth the few dollars more you will spend. It will be much more tender and tasty, not like chewy harsh tasting cheap salamis. Yep, I know I'm handing out a lot of shopping advice this week. That's what I'm here for.
Here we go, taking it all down to size. For the meat: I just left it stacked the way it came in the package and cut through in strips, then cut it crossways some too. Just let it tear as you go, doesn't matter. Stacking the basil leaves makes them easy to cut into thin julienned strips.Now toss all together and don't worry about adding any sort of dressing, you won't need it. The salami lends a bit of oiliness to the moisture of the honeydew and creates a bit of its own "dressing."
Colorful, a bit unusual, but so tasty! Paul Dean and Bobby Flay have both made the Watermelon Feta Salad popular in the last few years. Well, this Honeydew Salad is my take on the prosciutto-wrapped-melon-slice idea with a little bolder flavor in a quick, easy salad. Buon appetito!
1 small Honeydew Melon
1 4-6 oz pkg Genoa Salami
4 oz Mozzarella Fresca
1-4 Fresh Basil leaves 

 SummerFest is on at the Food Network website (FN Dish)! Once again, you'll find my foodie blogs on the Food Network along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week, it's Melon, next week Eggplant. Check out these delicious ideas:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Caramelized Grilled Peaches

(Printable Recipe)
Fresh peaches on the grill, brushed with brown sugar and butter, drizzled with raspberry juice. The only thing that could make this any better might be to swirl it all with some brown sugared vanilla cream in the ice cream maker and turn it into...oh my, that's another post altogether. Back to the grill - these will be ready in a snap so let's pull it all together before the meat hits the flames.

For 3-6 peaches, you'll need 2 Tbs of Butter and 1 Tbs of Brown Sugar.  Peel the peaches, split in half, and pop out the pit. 
Now, some recipes will tell you to blanch the peaches to loosen the skin and make them easier to peel. Here's what makes them easier to peel: A Decent Peeler. Get yourself a nice quality vegetable peeler and throw out that ancient one that's as dull as rubber. I use a Cutco peeler because that thing would take the hide off a coconut. It's kind of pricey at around $30, but it's a tool I use constantly in the kitchen, just like my good knives. If you cook often, you don't need to feel guilty about investing in decent tools for the job. The "shop" in our garage is full of all manner of self-important tools. Well, my kitchen is my "shop," so there.

Before I got off on that rant I believe I was about to say let's get the caramel coating ready for our peaches. Here is the simplest possible way to make it - put the butter and brown sugar in the microwave for 1 minute only and then whisk immediately very quickly to blend into a smooth liquid caramel. And yes I have whisks in 6 sizes all the way down to this itty bitty and look how cute that is.

Brush both sides of peaches and move them to the grill in the least hot spot. Depending on how hot or not hot that spot is, they will need anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes on each side to get some grill marks and just warm and sweeten up. Sugar burns easily so keep a close eye on them, maybe checking once a minute to be sure they don't burn. These will be delicious just as they are but when has that ever stopped us before?

Raspberries and peaches were made for each other so let's marry them together. This is one 6 oz package of fresh berries to whir in the food processor with 2-3 Tbs sugar and a squeeze of lemon.

I don't mind the seeds and don't bother to strain them out, but you can do so if you wish. Just press through a fine mesh strainer and use the remaining puree to guild your lovely peaches just before serving. Or you could serve this rich ruby sauce in a small glass pitcher or bowl and let your guests choose for themselves.

 SummerFest at the Food Network website (FN Dish) is back! Once again, you'll find my foodie blogs on the Food Network along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week, it's Peaches, next week Melon. Check out these delicious ideas:

Delicious Lean: Smokey Peach Chipotle Grilled Chicken
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Peach Blackberry Arugula Salad
Cooking With Elise: Streusel Topped Peach Muffins With Peach Butter
Heather Christo Cooks: Peach Coconut Pancakes
Ingredients, Inc: Easy Peach Pie
From My Corner of Saratoga: Grilled Peaches With Caramel-Ginger Sauce and Pound Cake
Dishin & Dishes: Peach Lacquered Chicken Salad
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Easy Peach Limeade
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Fresh Peach and Coconut Cake
Thursday Night Dinner: Peach Shortbread
Sweet Life Bake: Jicama Tortilla Salad With Peach Dressing
I Am Baker: Cilantro Peach Salsa
Zaika Zabardast: Donut Peach Quesadilla
And Love It Too: Peachy Coconut Streusel Muffins
Daydreamer Desserts: White Peach Margaritas
Cooking Channel: 4 Savory Uses for Peaches
Healthy Eats: What to do With Overripe Peaches
FN Dish: Peaches Move to the Big Kids' Table

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shrimp and Chorizo with Red Pepper Chermoula Sauce

(Printable Recipe)
Why not double dose this shrimp with spicy and exotic flavors both? The chorizo gives a nice deep heat and savor while the chermoula sauce adds a top note of piquant green and lemony tang along with a snap of red chili.

If you haven't heard of chermoula sauce before, I'll bet you soon hear of it again or see it on a trendy menu. It's a traditional Moroccan marinade that seems to be making an appearance in all sorts of dishes these days. I've added a few non-traditional ingredients while keeping the basics.  And we're going to make it first so the flavors can mull a bit. A night or two in the fridge would be even better!

The greens are cilantro and about twice as much parsley. (So, here I've used 1/4 C Cilantro, 1/2 C Parsley.) The spices: 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, and paprika. Unless you use ground coriander often, buy it fresh just before you make this or buy coriander seed and grind it yourself in a clean coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. It should smell like a fresh cut lemon. Anytime you open a spice bottle and smell nothing, throw it away.  Just to intensify the flavors of these 3 spices further still, we're going to borrow a tip from India and heat them in a skillet over low heat. Use just a drizzle of oil with the 3 spices and move it all constantly with a spatula until it bubbles, maybe one minute. It should smell very fragrant.
Now drop all the greens, two seeded red chilies, and a garlic clove into a food processor with the heated spices. Process with  2 Tbs olive oil and 2 tsp lemon juice until well combined and smooth. Taste test. I like to add a pinch of sugar to balance that lemon flavor, if the coriander was good and potent. You be the judge. I also like a grate or two of ginger, which is completely un-traditional, but again, try it and judge for yourself.

Now it's time for shrimp! You can thin slice the chorizo if that works. This particular link was almost falling apart when I cut it so I just removed the casing and cooked it in "crumbles" in the skillet. The point is to flavor the skillet before the shrimp hits it, so really let the chorizo brown well and develop a nice fond on the bottom of the skillet.

It almost looks too done, doesn't it? That messy looking skillet is just what we want, though.

Now, add the rinsed shrimp and stir quickly to pick up all the good bits on the bottom. It will be ready within just 5 minutes or so. Select the largest shrimp and cut in two to be sure it's white all the way through if you're not sure whether they are all done.

Serve with a side of Red Pepper Chermoula Sauce!

 SummerFest at the Food Network website (FN Dish) is back! Once again, you'll find my foodie blogs on the Food Network along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week, it's Peppers, next week Peaches. Check out these delicious other great ideas:

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Stuffed Peppers With Quinoa Grilled Vegetables and Pesto Sauce
Cooking With Elise: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
What's Gaby Cooking: Oven-Roasted Peppers With Herbed Breadcrumbs
And Love It Too: Roasted Red Pepper Paleo Hummus
Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Flank Steak With Gazpacho Sauce
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Seared Pepper Tacos With Pintos and Avocado Crema
Delicious Lean: Peppery Kung Pao
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip With Baked Corn Tortillas
Thursday Night Dinner: Black Bean and Sweet Pepper Salad
Cooking Channel: 5 Stuffed Pepper Favorites
HGTV Gardens: Garden to Table: Peppers
Sweet Life Bake: Rajas de Poblano con Elote y Crema
Dishin & Dishes: Bacon, Onion and Green Chile "Jam"
Healthy Eats: Peppers for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
FN Dish: Meat and Peppers
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