Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

So I didn't get a Puppy

I was hoping for a Mastiff Puppy for Christmas from Santa, but alas he let me down. He claims it's still coming (actually we are hoping to adopt an adult Mastiff). But Santa did come through. He got me a Sous Vide.

This has made me realize that I have crossed a line here. I'm no longer just a foodie; I'm a serious foodie.  Making my own butter, pasta, and cream cheese, nor the amount of kitchen supplies I own,  convinced me of this but for some reason, the Sous Vide convinced me.

I think I might be totally out of hand here. I don't want to be one of those hipsters who think they're cool because they are into artisan stuff (insert eye rolls here from daughters - "Mom you will never be cool") and make everything from scratch. I just think it is the science of it all that interests me. How does all this stuff meld together? How is it made? Why do the components go together like this or why don't they? My Mom always tells me I'm crazy for going to so …

Baked Parmesan Chicken

I sort of left you hanging with that cut up chicken before Christmas and nothing to do with it. Well here's something to do with it:  I've had this recipe for a long time. My Mom used to make it (what is with this nostalgia thing??). It is quite simple and makes an easy meal for a cold day. This was in the day when fresh herbs were not readily available and the garden herbs long used up but the recipe still holds up pretty well.

Baked Parmesan Chicken

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/4 c olive oil
1 t dried basil
1 t dried garlic
1 t paprika
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried onion
5 T grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c white wine
Place chicken in a 13x9 pan. Pour oil over the chicken. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1/3 of the herb mixture on chicken and bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Turn chicken and sprinkle with 1/2 of the remaining herb mixture. Return to oven for another 25 minutes. Turn chicken over and sprinkle with the remaining herb mixtur…

Happy Christmas


Better savour the moment - Each year the tree gets smaller and smaller. This year's theme was red.

How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken

Many people do not know how to cut up a whole chicken. It is a very easy thing to do once you learn how (and cheaper). As a bonus you get to keep the backs and wing tips for making chicken stock. Here's a simple way to cut up a chicken into 8 pieces or an optional 10.

Lay the chicken on the cutting board breast side up.

You can either remove the wings or legs first it is up to you. This time I removed the legs first.

Cut the legs at the joint like this:

Aniseed Meringues

This sort of grabbed me from the moment I saw them. I'm always on the prowl for a way to use up those extra egg whites I have patiently waiting in the freezer for use. These struck me as either they were going to be totally delicious or totally awful - either way I was using up 4 whole egg whites!  Luckily they turned out in the totally delicious camp. For some they might turn out in the totally awful camp - those that don't like the anise flavor.
Aniseed Meringues (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

1T aniseed
4 egg whites
2/3 c sugar
3/4 c confectioner's sugar
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 c slice skin-on almond
additional aniseed for garnish

In a small skillet toast aniseed until fragrant - tossing often. Set aside to cool. In a mixer, beat egg whites about 1 minute or so. Gradually add the sugar. Beat until medium peaks form - about 8-10 minutes. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and beat until stiff peaks form - about 5 minutes. Add almond extract. Gently fold in aniseed.  S…

Gingerbread Cookies

What's in the tin huh???

Soft gooey gingerbread cookies!

I like gingerbread but I like it soft - not those crisp things some people call gingerbread. I guess overall I don't like crisp cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies (Adapted from Back to Her Roots)

1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 c sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 egg
1 t vanilla
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
2 t ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
1/8 t pepper
1/4 t salt
2 c flour
sugar for rolling

Cream the butter and sugars together for about 8-10 minutes. You want the mixture to be light and creamy. Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, clove, pepper, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1" balls and then in sugar. (I used a mini scoop to portion out the dough). Place on ungreased cookie sheet (I used my silpat). Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the start to crinkle (mine didn't really crinkle) or un…

Lemon Cookies

Why didn't I see these before I used those precious lemons from my lemon tree?? Not that the pasta was a bad choice. These would have been the perfect vehicle for those lemons. Oh well I'll have to bookmark this for next year. These are soft, lemony deliciousness.

Lemon Cookies (Adapted from Back to Her Roots)

1 stick butter
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c honey
1 t vanilla extract
1 3/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
sugar for rolling

Cream butter, lemon, zest, sugar, and honey. For about 8-10 minutes - seriously. It will look a little curdled but that's OK. Add vanilla and mix well.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture in 3 batches. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Roll into 1" balls; then roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet (I used my silpat).

Bake at 350 until edges start to turn brown - anywhere between 5-10 minutes. These go from not done to done VERY quickly. Cool on the cookie shee…

Sloppy Josephines (OK They're Sloppy Joes)

These are too good to be called plain old Sloppy Joes - I want to call them Sloppy Josephines. The root beer gives them such an interesting flavor - yeah I know sounds disgusting - but it's not. It is a little on the sweet side but the root beer really gives them a depth of flavor. I don't think the great flavor was because I used my homemade ketchup either. They recommend using chili sauce and I think it might be good with that also.

Sloppy Josephines (Adapted from Cooking Light)

1T olive oil
1 c finely chopped onion
1 lb ground beef (I used 85% lean)
1/2 c homemade ketchup or tomato sauce
1/2 c root beer
1 T Worcestershire sauce (obvs homemade-which I know I still haven't posted the recipe - I will, I will)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t dry mustard
1 t ancho (or to taste)
1T tomato paste
4-6 buns (depending on size and how much you want Josephine to ooze out)

In a large skillet add oil, onions, and salt. Saute about 10-15 minutes until onions start to carameli…

Tuna Casserole

OK I'm going to admit something here - I love tuna casserole made with canned cream of mushroom soup (GASP). It might be the nostalgia. When I was a kid my friend Debbie's mother used to make this. The first time I had it over her house, I came home and begged my mother to get the recipe. Then I would constantly ask my Mom to make it. The original was made with egg noodles. I've since adapted it to use pasta and changed a few other things but it still tastes good or is that the nostalgia talking??

Tuna Casserole (adapted from Lois Janeczko)

1 onion, chopped
olive oil
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 c white wine
2 cans tuna (used to be 6oz but no any more)
2 can cream of mushrooms soup (concentrate 10 oz)
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 t dried thyme
1 lb pasta, spirals (or some other pasta that will "catch" the sauce)

Cook pasta until very al dente (you want it pretty firm because it will continue to cook in the oven). In a skillet add onion, olive oil, salt an…

Big Batch Brownies

I'm always trying new brownie recipes. Often I'm disappointed but sometimes I'm not. I'm a little on the fence about this one. The taste is delicious but the removal from the pan was a bit of a challenge.  What attracted me to this recipe was that it was a large batch. Often brownie recipes are in 8x8 pans not 9x13. This was a 9x13er.

Chewy Brownies (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

4 T butter (1/2 stick)
1/3 c cocoa
1 1/2 t instant espresso
1/2 c + 2T boiling water
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 c + 2T canola oil
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 t chocolate extract
2 1/2 c sugar
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 t salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

Line a 13x9 pan with aluminum foil. The easiest way to do this is form fit a piece to the outside of the pan and then fit it inside. Grease the foil and set aside.
Melt the butter in a bowl. Whisk in the cocoa, espresso, and boiling water. Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Add the oil. Add the eggs…

Spaghetti with Lemon & Olive Oil

I've patiently been waiting for the lemons on my lemon tree. We've had the "tree" for about 4 years. Every year I get real excited because it gets tons of flowers and then gets tons of little baby lemons. Then they all fall off one by one and we end up with 2 lemons. They usually are ripe anywhere between November or December. I always try to make something special with them since they are such a scarce commodity. Something where lemons are center stage. They have a very thin skin and are very lemony.

So this year it was a classic dish - Spaghetti al Limone. I came upon this via Smitten Kitchen who came upon it via American's Test Kitchen.
Spaghetti al Limone

1lb spaghetti, linguine,  angel hair pasta
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c heavy cream
3 lemons or about 1/3-1/2 c lemon juice
zest from 3 lemons
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Fresh basil (optional)

Boil pasta in salted water. Reserve 2 c of pasta water and drain pasta. In the pot…

Poached Flounder

This recipe almost didn't make it here. When I carefully removed the fish from the pan, it fell apart and looked real messy. Then I thought I lost one of the toothpicks in the broth but then found it in the mound of fish. BUT then I tasted it and knew it was definitely worthy of a post.

I bravely added some pepper flakes - I am very heat adverse. For some reason I am very sensitive to heat. I once cut a serrano chile* without gloves and my hands burned for a full 24 hours. I tired every single thing I read on the internet** - soaking your hands in milk, vinegar all sorts of things and nothing worked. So I figure if the outside of my body is that sensitive imagine the inside! But I digress yet again.  The Sous Chef really liked the heat in the dish (I thought I had gone a little heavy on the pepper flakes). But he confirmed that I needed to post this recipe. Don't mind the pictures - totally not pretty. But then again the taste is what it's really about to me. I'm not …

Honey Soy Roasted Chicken

There is nothing more tasty than a roasted chicken. Besides the whole house warms up and smells great. One way to roast a chicken is in a cast iron frying pan.

Honey Soy Roasted Chicken

1/4 c honey
1/4 c butter (1/2 stick)
2 T soy sauce
1 small onion
1 stalk celery
3lb whole chicken

Melt butter, add honey, and soy sauce. Dry chicken and place in cast iron frying pan. Salt chicken cavity.  Place onion and celery inside cavity. Brush sauce on chicken. Put in 350 oven and baste chicken every 20 minutes. Cook for approximately 60 minutes or until chicken is done.

You could also put some lemons inside the cavity and I think that would go nicely with the soy and honey flavors. I made a little extra of the sauce and basted a sliced acorn squash. I cooked it for about 30-40 minutes in the oven with the chicken. It was quite tasty as well but wasn't much to look at (so no pics).

Cinnamon Raisin Tea Bread

Browsing around my recipes to try file (OK that makes is sound like it's a little thing - it's really a LARGE file) I found this one. The Sous Chef is a big fan of tea breads. He likes plain, dry things (wait a minute I think I might have insulted myself there?). I thought I would be nice and make him a tea bread since I usually lean towards more chocolatey gooey things in my baking.

Cinnamon Raisin Tea Bread (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 c raisins
2 c hot water (for raisin soaking)
3/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1t almond extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c ground flaxseed
1t cinnamon
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg

1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1/4 t almond extract
1T milk
2 T toasted sliced almonds

Grease a loaf pan. Soak raisins in hot water for about 5 minutes until plumped.
Meanwhile combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until mixed well.  Stir in raisins. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into wet ing…

Turkey (or Chicken) Pot Pie

Whenever I make chicken pot pie, we have to call it chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie because of this show:

I know, I know I'm showing my age by posting all of these "old" youtube videos.
Well with all those turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving - I made turkey pot, turkey pot, turkey pot pie. I had also seen a tip on shredding the chicken (or turkey) and wanted to give it a go. It actually worked quite well. You just put the chicken (or turkey) in your KitchenAid with the paddle attachment and give it a whirl. I have to say there was a little bit of turkey flying out of the bowl at first but once I lowered the speed it worked well. Since this was leftover turkey, it was mostly the dark meet and it helped to find the sinewy pieces to remove.

Turkey (or Chicken) Pot Pie

For Crust:
1 c white whole wheat flour or 1 c regular whole wheat flour
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 t poultry seasoning
6T butter, chilled - cut into tablespoons
3-5 T ice water

To help this crust come al…

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm busy basting the bird wearing my "Thanksgiving Pants" but feel free to poke around and see what else is cooking.

Finally Sauerkraut

Finally the sauerkraut was ready! All total it took about 3 weeks.


1 head cabbage
1 T kosher salt
salted water

For cooking sauerkraut

2T butter
1T olive oil
1/4 c brown sugar
1T caraway seeds

Shred cabbage. (I did it by hand but no one will think less of you if you use a food processor - hey you're making your own sauerkraut!). Rub salt into cabbage. Let sit for at least two hours. Meanwhile you can simmer the water with salt in it. It needs to taste like what you would make pasta in - like sea water. Heat water until salt dissolves. Let the water cool.

Smash the cabbage into a glass jar. You really need to press it down tight into the jar. Add water to cover the cabbage by about 2". Place a piece of cheesecloth over the cabbage. Put a plate over the cheesecloth. (I used a plastic top to a sour cream container). It needs to be big enough to cover most of the cabbage. Now place a weight on top of the plate (I used a bottle of water). Next cover with a kitchen tow…

Parker House Rolls

No - not that Parker house (we would not want to eat rolls from that household - sorry inside joke there). This is still not the recipe I was looking for but it is a nice dinner roll. Not only is it tasty but it's rather convenient too. You refrigerate the dough for several hours so you can make them ahead of time and just pop them in the oven. I was a little confused by the directions (I was apparently directions-challenged today) so I've taken some step-by-step photos to help you along.

Parker House Rolls (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 1/2 t yeast (1 pkg)
1 c milk
3 T sugar
1/4 vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
1 1/2 t salt
1 egg
3 1/2 c flour (I used Bread Flour)
1/4 c butter

Heat milk to about 100-110 degrees (should feel ahhh not owww). Add yeast and sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble.

In a bowl add vegetable, salt, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. After yeast has proof add into bowl. Beat until dough begins to form, adding the remainder of t…