Thursday, January 29, 2009
The following recipe is from Elizabeth Ciseros in Chino Hills, CA.
Chicken Prosciutto Bundles
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 leaves fresh basil
4 1/4-in thick slices mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 slices prosciutto
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Cut a 3-inch pocket in thick side of each chicken breast. Place 2 basil leaves on each slice of cheese; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff each chicken breast with cheese slice. Wrap 2 slices prosciutto around each chicken breast, securing with toothpicks. Heat oil over med-hi heat in a large oven-proof non-stick skillet. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden. Transfer skillet with chicken to oven (we put chicken in a Pam sprayed baking dish because we didn't use an oven proof skillet) and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until juices run clear. Serves 4.
You have to make sure not to over bake the chicken (we did a little because we thought the chicken breasts needed more time because they were so large). The prosciutto can dry out very easily. We baked it uncovered.
We ate this with mashed potatoes (boiled peeled white potatoes smashed with garlic cloves, milk, butter, pepper) and steamed lima beans. I think some good marinara sauce over the chicken bundles would be good too.
It seems like I'm into Italian foods at the moment - lots of mozarella, basil & tomato. I think it comes down to the fact that these ingredients are delicious and easy meals can be created from them. More diversity in posts are on the way!
My next posts will include our Super Bowl feast!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today Natalie and I went to the new burger place in Strawberry Square, downtown Harrisburg. Bill's Big Burgers has a very diverse menu of cheesesteaks, pork bbq, tuna melts, hot dogs, chicken burgers, veggie burgers; but I went there for one reason and it was for a beef burger and fries! I ordered the bacon cheeseburger and an order of fries. After tax my total was $6.66 which seemed humorous and after my eyes got wide and I looked at Natalie behind me, the woman taking my order says that number has been coming up a lot. Off the bat that made some jokes about how good our lunch was going to be and if we'd survive into the afternoon. So when my number was called, I went back to the counter and told them what I wanted on my burger - they had lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, bbq sauce, hot peppers, raw onions, maybe more. I got lettuce, tomato, ketchup and pickles.
The burger was good - not Dig's or Five Guys or Jackson House - but it was enjoyable. The bun was soft and the bacon was of good crispiness. The 1/3 lb. burger was cooked well but still juicy.
Since they were busy, they got Natalie's burger mixed up with someone else's so she totally did not get what she wanted. And her burger had a pink center. We don't know if the other customer ordered it that way or if it was accidently undercooked. They didn't ask us how we like our burger cooked so we assumed they cook everything well. After she scrapped the onions off, she was able to eat and enjoy.
The fries were a disaster. They looked good: big and well done. However the deep fryer must have been on too high because the outside was very dark but the inside was not cooked thoroughly. And they were soggy - not crispy at all. I added salt but could still only eat a few. We weren't even given ketchup packets.
We were offered a free dessert of either a cookie or a brownie, neither of which were good but we really appreciated the gesture!
Bill's burger wasn't the best but it was the best quick burger you can get in Strawberry Square and the surrounding blocks. They were busy today which was probably due to everyone wanting to try them out. I think they could do well if they would just improve their fries!
Monday, January 26, 2009
2 loaves frozen white bread dough
1/4 lb. sliced salami
1/4 lb. shaved deli ham
1/4 lb. sandwich pepperoni (larger circumference than traditional pepperoni)
1/4 lb. sliced provolone cheese
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 egg yolk
Marinara Sauce (we used Prego)
Let bread thaw and rise according to package instructions. Once bread rises, punch down and with a floured rolling pin and counter, roll a loaf into a 15x12 inch rectangle.
Layer, in a row, half of the salami, ham, pepperoni and provolone. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. each of oregano, parsley, garlic powder and pepper. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella.
Roll up lengthwise and fold in ends to seal. Place on a Pam sprayed, foil lined baking sheet, seam side down.
Repeat with the second loaf.
Brush loaves with yolk.
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before slicing.
While boli bakes, heat sauce.
The results of a stromboli really depends on what kind of dough you use. The frozen dough I used ended up not rising well. Fresh dough from a bread maker would work well. I am even thinking about going to our favorite pizza shop to ask if we can buy their dough - for this and pizza. I had a lot of trouble rolling the dough out to 15"x12" rectangle. But the dough only needs to be wide enough to make a row of meat and allow enough dough on the ends to seal the roll so this measurement is only a rough guide.
I don't think I would use the yolk wash again. It really didn't do anything exept made the top dark.
The seam did not hold on one of mine because the meat juices and an entire piece of ham made it's way out of the boli when I took it out of the oven.
Overall, this was quite good! My mom, dad, sister and I ate all but 2 pieces of these 2 loaves.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
1 teaspoon allspice
Another thank you to Bec's mom, Alice, for this egg separator! It is so cute and it worked great!
The egg yolks just added to the sugar and shortening.
Adding the sour cream.
A cake is cooling on the opened window sill.
I used a butter cream frosting that really didn't turn - a stick of butter, approx. 4 cups powdered sugar, pinch salt, tsp. vanilla and 1/2 cup milk. I think I added too much milk. I would recommend using your favorite fluffy, white frosting.
However, the cake tasted great! It was moist and the frosting tasted better once it was on the cake - it turned out to be more of a glaze than a frosting. My parents said the cake reminded them of gingerbread.
The recipe makes 2 round cakes for a layer cake but I gave the other cake to Bec.
Bec took this photo of Chester so I had to add it!
Greg got home right as I was putting the basil on the pizza!
Overall, the pizza was a success. In addition to Friday night, Greg ate it throughout the entire day on Saturday. As you can see from the photos, the edges got a little brown. This bread had a really crispy crust.
Friday, January 23, 2009
So we decided to continue walking to the Stone Market Building and on our way we ran into Kalin and Luke (maybe you two could comment and tell us about your experience at the market today?!!).
We weren't planning on buying lunch but when we walked by the Carib Soul vendor and I saw a nice tray of beef patties, I had to get one (Natalie held strong)!
Natalie says they look the meat pies made from humans in Sweeney Todd but don't let that gross image keep you from trying one. They are YUMMMMMMMY!In 2004, I went on a service trip to Lucea, Jamaica with some Hollins students and along with ackee, breadfruit and freshly butchered chicken and goat, patties were a staple of our diet for the 7 days we were there. The flakey, sometimes greasy, crust and the almost pureed spicy beef filling is really addicting! Carib's had mild and hot patties and I got the mild, which still had a nice amount of spice to it. These tasted exactly like the kind I would buy from street vendors in Lucea! Patties are the same as empanadas, which is what they are called in Mexico and South America. Caribbean empanadas sometimes have a softer shell. I don't know exactly what's in the filling, but it's more fun not knowing.
Rebecca - do you have the recipe for empanadas you used to make in high school?
Carib Soul has lots of Caribean dishes which is nice for those who just got back from a vacation but don't want to stop with the island cuisine. The have jerk chicken and goat, rice and beans and fried plantains, just to names some. I will definitely be trying some more things here.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
My mom makes up the recipe as she goes, never measuring, but below is a percise recipe from Betty Groff, where my mom got the recipe years ago. My family has gone on trips to the Betty Groff Farm Restaurant, were you eat family-style at long tables. It's in Mount Joy, PA and I'm looking at a cookbook that is copyright 1987 and is signed by Betty herself when my mom met her. I haven't been to the restaurant in many years but I remember someone telling me it's gone downhill in recently. But when I went, I know I had some great comfort food!
1 (4-pound) roasting chicken
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Pinch of saffron
Waffles (must be crispy to offset the soupiness of the chicken gravy)
1 quart water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
Minced chives and parsley (optional) - she used lots of dried parsley
1/2 cup cream or evaporated milk (optional) - used evap. milk but have used cream or even plain milk in the past - whatever's on hand - cream is best!
Fresh parsley for garnish - we didn't have any
Place chicken in a 3-quart covered saucepot. Add salt, pepper, saffron and 1 quart water. Cover and cook approximately 40 minutes over medium heat til leg meat pulls away from the bone. Do not overcook or the meat will fall apart. Remove from the heat and cool, saving broth. Debone chicken and remove skin. Cut meat into 1" chunks. Remove excess fat from chicken broth and heat to boiling. Add chives and parsley, if desired. Thicken broth by adding cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water and boil for two minutes. If using cream or milk add now. Add chunks of chicken, simmering til chicken is hot. Serve over hot waffles. Serves 6.
This dish can be very bland. I always add lots of salt and pepper before eating. Green beans - or any green vegetable - is a nice side dish.
Monday, January 19, 2009
1 cup unsifted Pillsbury flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using a pastry blender or two knives (I used the knives - worked well), until mixture is the size of small peas. Sprinkle water over mixture, a tablespoon at a time, while tossing and stirring lightly with a fork Add water until dough is just moist enough to hold together. (too much water causes dough to be sticky and tough; too little water causes edges to crack and pastry to tear easily, making it difficult to roll out.)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Divide dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll out each to a 4 to 5-inch round. Turn a muffin pan upside down. Fit pastry circles over cups, pleating sides so pastry fits to cups. Prick generosly with a fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Remove from cups.
Strawberry Glace Filling
1 1/2 quarts strawberries, washed and hulled
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Crush enough strawberries to make one cup (we did it in a mini food processor)
In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add crushed strawberries and water; cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Blend in lemon juice. Cool. Add whole or slice (we did sliced) strawberries and toss lightly to coat berries. Arrange in shells. Chill until served. Serve with whipped cream.
I pureed about 3/4 cup of strawberries, used 3/4 cup sugar but all of the corn starch (maybe even more) because I like the gel to be really thick around the strawberries.
The pastry shells came out perfectly! I was shocked.
Friday, January 16, 2009
SERVES 8 ACTIVE TIME: 20 min TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 45 min
2 1/2 Tbsp Wegmans Basting Oil, divided (used olive oil)
1 pkg [20 oz] Food You Feel Good About Cleaned & Cut Butternut Squash, sliced into 1/8-inch thick pieces (see note below)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp nutmeg, divided
1 1/2 cups Wegmans Heavy Cream
2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, thinly sliced [about 2 1/2 cups]
3 oz Dolce Gorgonzola cheese (according to Bec, Dolce is a type of Gorgonzola that is a little sweeter - I used whatever kind I could fine)
You'll Need: 2-quart shallow casserole dish, baking sheet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rub casserole dish with 1 1/2 Tbsp basting oil. Place casserole dish on baking sheet. Cover bottom of dish with layer of squash; season with salt and pepper and half the nutmeg. Repeat with remaining squash; season with salt and pepper and remaining nutmeg. Pour heavy cream over all.
Bake 30 min; remove from oven. Press squash/cream mixture down using spatula; return to oven. Bake 10 min; remove from oven.
Toss apples with 1 Tbsp basting oil in small bowl. Cover top of squash mixture with single layer of apple slices, overlapping slightly and pressing apple slices gently into creamy mixture with a spatula.
Return casserole to oven; bake 45-50 min (I def. baked for less than this) or until squash and apples are tender. Remove from oven. Top with dollops of gorgonzola; allow cheese to melt before serving.
We had a squash from a community supported agriculture from we belong to called Spiral Path Farms in Loysville, PA (http://www.spiralpathfarm.com/) and my mom cut it up while I was driving home from work with the rest of the ingredients. She began to bake the squash with a little milk (made it runny) just to get it in the oven to have it in time for dinner.
The combo of tastes were great. I love squash of all kinds and the apple made it a little sweeter and the cheese gave it a bite. Once the squash bakes, it's like a puree and the apples were just soft, which gave some texture. I will definitely try this again!
Below is a picture of Rebecca's gratin. She did not peel her apples, which added to the texture of the dish.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
- Lavendar Sencha Green Tea from Japan (from the loose tea bins at Wegmans)
- Mint Chai (also loose tea from Wegmans.. I am currently out so I don't know the exact name)
- Tazo Om
- The Republic of Tea get gorgeous - herb tea for clear skin
- Rishi Tea Organic Peppermint Rooibos
The Lavendar Green Tea is very mild. I do not like green tea by itself but the lavendar blooms make it a little more sweet and less harsh and grassy than plain green tea.
I don't get too technical with the temperature of the water and the brewing times. All of these teas I brew for about 5 minutes and it tastes fine.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Beef Chili with Bacon and Black Beans
Makes about 3 quarts, serving 8 to 10. Published March 1, 2003.
From CI: Good choices for condiments include diced fresh tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, sour cream, and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese. If you are a fan of spicy food, consider using a little more of the red pepper flakes or cayenne--or both. The flavor of the chili improves with age; if possible, make it a day or up to five days in advance and reheat before serving. Leftovers can be frozen for up to a month.
8 ounces bacon [about 8 strips], cut into 1/2-inch pieces (could have used more! Mary told me this but I forgot until it was too late)
2 medium onions , chopped fine [about 2 cups]
1 red bell pepper , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press [about 2 tablespoons]
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef (I used ground turkey - 1.3 lbs)
2 cans [16 ounces each] black beans , drained and rinsed
1 [28-ounce] can diced tomatoes , with juice
1 can [28 ounces] tomato puree (even though I halved the recipe, I used the entire 28 oz)
2 limes cut into wedges (I did not use)
Fry bacon in large heavy-bottomed nonreactive Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned, about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat, leaving bacon in pot. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with additional salt. Serve with lime wedges and condiments if desired.
- Greg does not have a dutch oven so I used a medium/large saucepan. I had to brown the meat in a fry pan because the saucepan was too small.
- I had half of a jalapeno pepper so I chopped it and browned it with the pepper and onion.
- Since I used a lot of tomato puree, I wish I would have added more black beans and/or kidney beans.
- We ate it with shredded cheddar and tortilla chips (Snyder's of Hanover Restaurant Style are very good!)
- CI is correct about making the chili ahead of time. I simmered it for less than two hours because we were so hungry, but when I packed some for my lunch today, it looked darker and thicker.
- I think from here on out, I will be using bacon (good with almost everything) and red bell pepper (a little sweetness to offset the spiciness) in my chili.
- The next CI recipe I have my eye on is a chocolate pudding cake.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I have the Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats (Clarkson Potter/Publishers; New York; 2005) cookbook and I've made a handfull of recipes from it; most of them have been very tasty. I'm a big fan of RR and I'm rarely disappointed with her creations so I'm anxious to try lots of things in this book.
I was in search of something simple last night and as I was flipping through the book (with hardly any pictures = bad), I came across the Southwestern Pasta Bake. Because there are only 2 of us, I halved the recipe below, which is for four (but I've found when RR says for four, it could usually serve more than that). So below is the recipe from the cookbook. In parenthesis next the ingredients are my notes.
Southwestern Pasta Bake
1 lb penne rigate or cavatappi (I used whole wheat penne)
2 T vegetable oil
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground corriander
2 T chile powder
Course black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 T unsalted butter
2 T all-purpose flour
2 c Milk (I used skim because it's what I had; would have been better with whole!)
3/4 lb [or 2 1/2 cups] sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded (even by halfing the recipe, I used 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (I omitted because I didn't have any)
1/2 c fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (by halfing the recipe, I used 1 T dried parsley)
Preheat the broiler to high and position rack 8 inches from the heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salk the boiling water and cook pasta until slightly undercooked - a little chewy in the center.
While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the vegetable oil. Season the chicken with cumin, corriander, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add the seasoned chicken to the hot skillet and cook until slightly brown, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapenos and continue to cook for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking with the onions, make the Cheddar sauce.
In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat, then whisk in milk. When milk comes to a bubble, stir in cheese, cilantro, and parsley with a wooden spoon (I continued with the whisk). Season with a little salt and pepper and remove the cheese sauce from the heat.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot, add the contents of the chicken skillet and all the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer to baking dish and place under the broiler to lightly brown.
- It was difficult to tell when the chicken was browning because there was so much seasoning! Below is raw chicken with seasoning.
- I believe I used too much seasoning on the chicken because as I was biting into the pieces, it was kind of gritty. My fault though because I added more seasoning than called for but I was nervous of it being too bland (and I used only .83 lbs chicken).
- The little extra cheese I added was delicious!I left if it under the broiler for too long so the top got hard. I think you could almost not do the broiling part and just serve it from the pot after being mixed together.
- The dish was very flavorful and I very much enjoyed it (except for the grittiness).
- When Greg walked in the house, he said it smelled like tacos, so I guess it was pretty southwestern!
- Thank you Rachel... I loved it!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Me enjoying a Glasbern coffee at the Glasbern Country Inn, Fogelsville, PA. I wish I could remember the contents of this lovely drink. Just a good excuse to return to the Inn!