23 May 2008

{memorial weekend}

20 May 2008

{raw flavor}

We are getting ready to move. In doing so, I'm cleaning out our cupboards! Last night I made a very simple pasta and cheese dish with a bit of protein, but wanted to add a fresh flavor to the night. What better way then fresh tomatoes and fennel! It added depth and an exotic flavor to our simple meal. I learned this salad from my favorite chef, Ina Garten. usual, I made it fit "me". Hers was much more elaborate with beautiful heirloom tomatoes (which I prefer as well), varying in different sizes and colors (red, green and yellow). I just wanted to use what I had on hand, and it worked wonderfully! Anyone could create this great raw salad.

Ingrediants:   *1 1/2 lbs Tomatoes (I used only 3 on the vine tomatoes, because there was just two of us, but adjust according to your family) *1 small Fennel bulb *2 Tbl Olive Oil *2 Tbl Lemon juice *1 Tbl Apple Cider Vinegar *Pinch of Salt *Pinch of Pepper

Cut the tomatoes into slices. Cut the top part of the fennel and set aside keeping some of the fennel fronds from garnishing. Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the core, then slice thinly. Sprinkle over the tomatoes.

In a seperate small bowl combine: Olive Oil, Vinegar, Lemon juice, salt and pepper. Wisk till blenned. Pour directly over tomatoes and fennel. Garnish with a bit of the fennel fronds.

Let sit - the flavors taste great as they combine all together. This is a great simple side salad that would compliment most dishes. Raw salads are my favorite for the summer season. I do love lettuce, but sometimes it's just nice to have the clean flavor of raw vegetables. This dressing could be used on a variety of things!


14 May 2008


One of my favorite dinner time meals is "breakfast"! I love breakfast for dinner. Actually, I like breakfast for dinner more than I like breakfast for breakfast. So, last night we had the works: hash browns, eggs, (bacon for the husband), toast, orange juice...and homemade strawberry jam. Delicious!  Today I was able to enjoy the jam again for breakfast!  And it's still just as good.   I love having strawberries on hand. I prefer them fresh and will even freeze them for future use, but if fresh aren't available frozen are great too. Anyway, what to do with all the strawberries? Make jam! What I love about this recipe, is that it's so easy. If you want to go through the hassle of canning, then go for it. I enjoy it every once in awhile...but, if you just want a great, quick homemade jam recipe - try this!

*2 Pints Strawberries

*1 Cup Sugar

*1 small lemon (juice and zest)

Before beginning, place a small glass plate in the freezer.

In a small saucepan add the zest of the entire lemon, the juice and 1 cup sugar. Heat on low heat for about 10 minutes (till sugar is dessolved). Meanwhile, cut strawberries in half (or quarters if large). Once sugar is dissolved, add strawberries. Cook on low for about 20 minutes and the juices of the strawberries release. To tell if it's done, take the plate from the freezer and spoon a bit of the sauce onto the plate. Run your finger through the sauce. If it stays separated, then it's done! Place in a sealable glass container or sturdy Tupperware. Refrigerate or use while warm.

I actually mash the strawberries with a hand masher just before they're almost cooked. I still want some pieces, but don't want it too chunky. BUT - that's just my what you like!

This recipe doesn't use fruit pectin, but the lemon does a great job of gelling up the mixture. I learned a variation of this recipe from one of my favorite chefs, but she called for 2 cups sugar. It was way to sweet for me - but, if that's what you all means.

This jam is great on toast, but would also be delicious on angel food cake or even crepes! Enjoy!

09 May 2008

{perfect roast chicken or potatoes or chicken or potatoes. you decide!}

The recipe I'm about to show you is one of my favorites! It is a perfect roast chicken...every time, but I warn soon as you taste this, all you'll want are the potatoes! Forgive the pictures...I took them as an after-thought, and already untied the chicken and cut into to it (you can see the slit).

I first learned this recipe on a show featuring French Chef, Jean-George Vongerichten. I've followed his recipe exactly in the past, but since then have added some things of my own, while still keeping the integrity of the recipe.

*6 tablespoons unsalted butter *6 tablespoons grapeseed oil (USE this, as opposed to Olive Oil cause it's a higher smoke point!) *2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces *1 whole (2 1/2-to-3-pound) chicken, wings removed *Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper *4 sprigs fresh rosemary *4 sprigs fresh thyme *1 head garlic, halved crosswise   Directions Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a medium roasting pan with 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons oil. Place potatoes in a single layer in roasting pan. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Place rosemary, thyme, and garlic inside cavity of chicken; using kitchen twine, tie legs together to enclose. Rub chicken with remaining 3 tablespoons each of butter and oil. Place chicken on top of potatoes on one of its sides. Transfer roasting pan to oven and roast for 20 minutes. Turn chicken onto its other side and continue roasting 20 minutes more. Turn chicken, breast side up, and continue roasting until juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 20 minutes more. Carve chicken in roasting pan allowing the juices to combine with the potatoes. Serve from the roasting pan, spooning pan juices over potatoes. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.  

** I actually just place all the oil in the bottom of the pan, but either way - it works well! Make sure the butter goes on the chicken though and potatoes. If you have a larger chicken, just adjust cooking time (maybe 25 minutes on each side), but keep the same technique. I always add sage, as I like the flavor with it. AND have added a small lemon inside, as well - but that's up to you!

It's so good! I can't even tell you. The potatoes are AMAZING. I wish there was a way to put in more in the pan. But, as close to a single layer is best! I love to serve it with steamed broccoli (or another favorite veggie), and a nice bibb lettuce salad. ENJOY!

07 May 2008


Friends that I grew up with can attest to the fact that EVERY birthday I requested Angel Food Cake. It is by far my most preferred cake...and I dare say my favorite dessert (though creme brulee runs in at a tight second). Just last week I celebrated my birthday, and in a few weeks I'll be with my mom and she promised me my beloved cake! yummy!

As coincidence would have it, Martha Stewart featured Angel Food Cakes on her show today. I couldn't resist showing you these gorgeous cakes. The recipes are included! Just click on the picture!

03 May 2008

{alaskan goodness}

Crab. mmm. My husband and I have been talking about having a "crab feast" for weeks. Alaskan King Crab is amazing up here! We decided that due to the "shy" quantity restaurants offer at an extraordinary price, we should just purchase some at our favorite local market (New Sagaya) and prepare the feast right in the comfort of our home. I must admit I was quite timid about the idea at first. I have NO experience cooking crab (or should I say 'had' no experience). But, we heard of a great sale going on of King Crab Legs yesterday and so jumped at the chance - no going back now!

Let me tell you...there is nothing easier! My goodness, the meal was amazing! I wish I would have taken a picture of our whole plate - filled with a baked potato (and all the fixings), a red onion and tomato green salad, roasted zucchini w/ yellow and orange bell peppers and of course the crab. Yummy.

If you ever get the opportunity - try it! You (and your loved ones) won't regret it! I searched for a good recipe...and came across Emeril's Drunken Crab Legs . The recipe took me off guard at first, but I'd recommend it to anyone now! I've never cooked with beer in the past, but believe me the crab doesn't even touch it - it just gives a slight flavor and blends amazingly with the garlic and lemon. Kids would even love it! (If you can get them to eat seafood.) The recipe is above and literally it takes 5 minutes to cook.

Make sure you have a big pot with a steamer insert. We used a 12 gallon pot and just cut the legs so they would fit. We then cut down each leg before steaming...this really helped at eating time! Made life so much easier.

One other thing I did was serve clarified butter. You want to make sure to go the extra step and clarify the butter. It's super simple. Take a stick of butter and heat in a small saucepan on low. Stir as it's melting. Once the butter is completely liquified (but not 'cooking') remove the saucepan from the heat. Let it set up. As it does the white milk solids of the butter with sink to the bottom of the pan. Let it sit for long enough for there to be a good separation. Once good, cover a glass bowl with a piece of cheese cloth and poor in. You could even put the cheese cloth over a small strainer and then poor into the bowl like that (for extra protection). You just want to gather the butter oil in the bowl. Clarifying butter is essential in many sauces, including Hollandaise sauce, but is great for dipping lobster, artichoke and of course CRAB.

Have fun creating good food and most of all ENJOY!

01 May 2008

{simple side}

I'm always looking for fun, delicious, creative and (usually) healthy sides. There are SO many recipes out there, and I know I'm not the first person to feel this way or try many of these delicious "meal companions". OH and did I mention I like it to be easy most of the time? Well, this side fits the ticket!

I admit that this side isn't for every pallet (as some people -particularly kids- are choosy about the three main items: tomatos, onions, mushrooms), but the flavors are great and the look is truly beautiful and pops next to a savory main dish (such as roast chicken). I first found a similar dish recipe to this, but didn't have all the things they called for, and wanted to add my own spin. I was thrilled with the results (as was my huband).

One thing to remember is that use what YOU have on hand. Don't feel tied down to a specific recipe if you don't have time to do more shopping! For example the orginal recipe called for 1 1/2 lbs of mushrooms (and a mix between three varieties)...I only had a 1/2lb of button. Oh well. It didn't call for onions, but I love onions and didn't have enough mushrooms. It also called for garlic slices...I only had minced. Also, if you don't have white wine, or cooking white wine - or don't prefer to use it, try chicken stock! It's a great comprimise and would taste delicious! Play around with "your" pallet and most of all have fun!  ROASTED TOMATOES WITH GRILLED MUSHROOMS & ONIONS

*2 pints grape or cherry tomatos *1/2 lb to 1 lb button or crimini mushrooms (or a mix) - i used button and only a 1/2 *1 onion (yellow or white) *1/4 C olive oil *1/4 C white wine (cooking white wine is fine - but check sodium content!) *Salt & Pepper (to taste) *1/4 C chopped parsley (flat-leaf is preferrable) *3-4 sprigs of Thyme (if you don't have fresh, use dried - about 1 Tbl...use your judgement) *2 Tbl minced garlic  Oven 425 degrees

Lay tomatos out on a cooking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 8-10 minutes. Tomatos will begin to burst slightly.

In a large sided skillet, heat olive oil on low. Add garlic. Cook on low (you don't want it to burn!). Brown garlic for about 4 minutes, till golden and "crispy". Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and put aside till later. Turn heat up (med-high). Once oil is nice and hot, add sliced onion and sliced mushrooms. Cook in oil for about 4 minutes (stir occasionally) Add thyme sprigs and season with pepper - to taste- (NO SALT YET - it will affect the cooking/coloring of the mushrooms). Cook for 5 min. Add white wine (or chicken stock) and SALT (to taste) cook till almost evaporated.

Remove thyme sprigs. Place mushrooms and onions in a serving platter, add roasted tomatoes, the browned garlic and parsley. Stir to combine and serve!


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