23 July 2011

Blackberry Ginger Glazed Salmon


Another delicious summertime dish.  Fresh blackberries are cooked down with ginger and a hint of lemon into a thick glaze to go over salmon.  This is an adaptation of a Sunny Anderson recipe.


Blackberry Ginger Glazed Salmon


Ingredients:
½ cup water
6 oz. fresh blackberries
1 (½”) piece ginger, peeled and grated
½ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Directions
Preheat oven to 400°.


In a small saucepot over medium-high heat, combine water, blackberries, ginger, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until berries break down and sauce is reduced, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl, using the back of a spoon to push blackberry pulp through. Return blackberry mixture to the sauce pot.  Dissolve cornstarch in a small amount of cold water and add that and the sugar to the blackberry mixture.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Remove from heat and let cool.


Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and set fillets on top. Brush fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper. Once blackberry glaze is cool, pour half of it  into a separate bowl and set aside.  Using the first half of the glaze, brush it generously over salmon fillets and discard the rest.  Bake salmon for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and, using the reserved glaze, brush the salmon again. Bake another 8 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.  Brush with additional glaze before serving.


Makes 4 servings.

Super tasty.  Thickening the glaze with cornstarch was my addition; it was too thin and kept running off the salmon.  The cornstarch trick worked very well.  I also cut the glaze ingredients in half because I had tons of it leftover; it was way more than anyone could use for 4 pieces of salmon.  You could go a head and double the sauce and then reserve some for topping ice cream or something.  Yeah, it's that good!

I know the picture isn't the greatest, but isn't it the prettiest salmon you've ever seen?  This dish is known as "purple salmon" in our house.

I served it with brown rice and green beans.  I love pairing fruit flavors with salmon, so this is a winner in my book.

22 July 2011

Lentil Tacos


This is a new meatless main dish I tried last night.  My friend Barbara knew that I do meatless meals one night a week, and she had tried these and loved them so she passed the recipe on to me.  It came from the website Eat at Home.  Here's my amended version.

Lentil Tacos

Ingredients:
1 cup lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, diced
2¼ cups chicken broth
6 taco shells
Lettuce
Salsa or taco sauce
Cheese
Sour cream

Directions:
Rinse and drain the lentils and drain.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until slightly tender.  Add the lentils and taco seasoning; cook for a minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and cook a few more minutes to thicken.  

Use this just like you would taco meat.  Place a spoonful of the lentils in taco shells and top with lettuce, salsa, cheese, sour cream, or whatever else you like on your tacos.

Makes 6 servings.

This was really good!  I'm not going to lie to you and tell you it tastes just like the beef; it doesn't.  But it's really good in its own right.  My meat-loving husband actually said that he likes these just as much, if not more, than any taco he's ever had.  That's pretty good!

The lentils are really easy to make, but best of all, they are super cheap.  This amount of lentils cost me less than 36 cents.  Wow!  I love cheap food!  Some people do the Meatless Monday thing to be healthier, or to be more environmentally friendly, but my main reason is to save some money (although the healthier aspect runs a very close second).  So these definitely fit the bill!

I did change the recipe slightly from the original.  I used my own taco seasoning instead of the seasonings listed in the recipe.  It also called for adding salsa to the lentils right at the end of cooking.  I left that out and just put salsa on my tacos separately.  I also reduced the amount of chicken stock slightly because I really had to cook it a long time with the lid off to get the liquid to reduce.



 Not a great picture, but here are the cooked lentils all ready to go into tacos.


This is good on either soft or crunchy shells, but crunchy is my favorite.

Thanks so much for the recipe, Barbara!  If anyone else has any good meatless main dishes, please share them with me.  You can comment here, or on my Facebook page.

21 July 2011

Broccoli Salad



This is a recipe my sister gave me.  She made it for my nephew's birthday party and I liked it so much I knew I had to make it.  We had a church picnic on Sunday which provided the perfect occasion.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it before it was devoured, so I had to make it again (darn!).


Broccoli Salad


Ingredients:
6 cups broccoli florets
½ cup onion, chopped
1½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (3 oz.) package real bacon crumbles or 8 slices bacon, crumbled
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar


Directions:
Combine broccoli, onion, cheese, and bacon in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, vinegar, and sugar, whisking until smooth.  Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and toss to coat.  Refrigerate before serving.  For best results, make a day ahead and refrigerate to let the flavors meld.


Makes 12 servings.

The amount of servings is just a guess.  This made enough for a picnic at our very small church, so if you are feeding a real crowd, you might want to double it.

It's a very simple dish, but I find that in the summertime, simple dishes are best.  Especially no-cook dishes like this.  There's nothing like whipping up a delicious recipe without even turning on the oven or stovetop when it's hot like this!

Thanks for the recipe, Hil!

20 July 2011

Honey Mustard Potato Salad (Mayo-Free Potato Salad)


This is a potato salad recipe that I created July 4th weekend.  I had been wanting to make potato salad for a while, but wanted to try something different than the usual mayo one.  I used a variation of Alton Brown's honey mustard dressing for something else, and thought it would be good in a potato salad.  I already knew that honey mustard was good on potatoes because of my Honey Mustard Potatoes, so it wasn't much of a gamble for me.  I had some Teeny Tiny potatoes that I got from Trader Joe's; they're even smaller than fingerlings.  But you can use any potato you like.


Honey Mustard Potato Salad


Ingredients:
2 lbs. potatoes
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
2 tbsp pickle relish
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
Anything else you like in potato salad
5 tbsp honey
3 tbsp Dijon mustard


Directions:
Peel potatoes if desired.  Boil in salted water until tender.  Drain; cut up into desired sized pieces.  Put them in a large bowl and add onion, egg, relish, chives, and whatever else you like in your potato salad. 


Combine honey and mustard in a small bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Pour honey mustard over potato mixture and toss until well coated.


Can be served warm or chilled.


Makes 8 servings.

It turned out really well.  It's such a nice change from the same old potato salad.  I served mine warm, but like I said in the recipe, it would be good served cold as well.  

This recipe is great for cookouts, picnics, or any outdoor meal.  Since it's mayo-free, you don't have to worry so much about keeping it cold.  And I'm guessing that this would go over better with kids than traditional potato salad!

18 July 2011

Lemon Basil Muffins


You may be thinking, "Basil in a sweet muffin?"  But, yes, it works!  Lemon and basil are a perfect pair and they both scream "Summertime!" to me.  I saw these muffins on the blog Lovely Eats and had to make them.  I chickened out a little bit and only put in half the basil called for, but was happy with the results.  Don't be fooled by the picture of the cut-open muffin; most of the others showed a lot more green than that one did.


Lemon Basil Muffins


Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
3 eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Juice of 2 lemons
½ cup sugar


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line a muffin pan with paper or grease and flour it.


Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest, eggs, and sour cream.  
Stir in basil.  Gently fold in the flour and baking powder.


Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins (or until a skewer inserted comes out clean).


To make the lemon sugar, mix the lemon juice and sugar together. Once the muffins are done, spoon the lemon sugar over the muffins immediately. The syrup will soak into the muffins and the sugar will form a crunchy crust.


Allow to cool for 10 mins before removing from the pan.


Makes 12 muffins.

I actually made my muffins with canola oil instead of butter.  I do that alot, to make them dairy free so that my daughter can eat them.  Imagine how dumb I felt when I got down to the part of the recipe where you add sour cream!  Oops! Oh well. They were okay with the oil, but next time I will probably try them with the butter to see what difference it makes.

I'm sure that you're used to eating basil in savory applications, but it actually works really well in sweet ones as well.  Remember, the official name of it is sweet basil, as opposed to the other kind called Thai basil.  You must chop the basil very finely, though, so people don't get a big chunk of it.

I think these are the perfect summertime muffins.

16 July 2011

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies


I usually make dessert one night a week: Thursday.  I chose Thursday because my husband has Fridays off, so Thursday night kicks off our weekend.  And, outside of summer, all of our favorite funny tv shows are on Thursday nights, so we get the kids to bed, dish up some dessert, and fire up the dvr.  

This Thursday, my husband had a minor outpatient surgery, so I knew I had to bring out the big guns in choosing a dessert to cheer him up and take his mind off any pain he might have.  If these brownies aren't "the big guns", I don't know what is!

These brownies are composed of three layers: a layer of fudgy brownies (your fav recipe or my fav, a boxed mix), a layer of chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups and chopped peanuts, and then topped with a layer of melted chocolate and peanut butter with Rice Krispies mixed in.  Wow!  Are you drooling yet?  If you like peanut butter, these are the brownies for you.  I got the recipe from The Stir, who got them from How Sweet It Is.

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix, plus oil and eggs called for on box
1 cup Reese's peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
½ cup salted peanuts, chopped
1½ cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ tbsp butter
1½ cups creamy peanut butter
1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:
Make the brownies as directed on the box in a 9x13” pan; bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the brownies from the oven and top with the peanut butter cups and peanuts. Place the brownies back into the oven and bake an additional 6 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean. Remove the brownies from the oven.

In a microwave safe dish, melt the chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter for about 45 seconds. The chocolate chips should keep their shape but will melt completely when stirred. Then stir in the Rice Krispies.

Pour the Rice Krispies mixture over the brownies and let cool.  Once cool, place the pan into the refrigerator. Refrigerate the brownies for at least two hours until serving.

Makes 24 servings.

Oh my goodness.  These things are amazing.  Very rich, very decadent.  I love the crunch from the Rice Krispies and the chopped peanuts.  

I consider these "fork brownies" because they are quite messy.  You have to keep them refrigerated because the top layer will get all soft and mushy at room temperature.  

These brownies are definitely going into my recipe collection, but I'll probably only make them for special occasions.  They're certainly a splurge!


Peggy from My Fiance Likes It, So It Must Be Good, chose to make this recipe when she was assigned my blog for the Secret Recipe Club in August 2011. Click on the button below to check out her post!
Secret Recipe Club

15 July 2011

Tequila Glazed Grilled Peaches


Okay, so these don't make the prettiest picture, but don't be fooled; they are tasty!  This is a recipe I created all by myself.  I've been on a grilling kick lately and decided to try grilling fruit.  It's fun!  Here's what I came up with.


Tequila Glazed Grilled Peaches


Ingredients:
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp tequila
4 peaches
Whipped cream
Cinnamon


Directions:
Combine honey and tequila and heat over medium-high heat until just boiling.  Remove from heat.  Let stand a few minutes.  Glaze will thicken as it cools.


Grill peaches over medium-high heat until grill marks form and peaches start to soften.


Glazed can be brushed over peaches or drizzled over them.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.


Makes 4 servings.

My husband and I made this recipe together after the kids went to bed one night.  He grilled the peaches while I made the glaze.  He had a little trouble with the peaches sticking, so I suggest oiling the grate before laying the peaches down.

We didn't skin our peaches, but I think I might do that next time.  It was a little bit bitter.

The cinnamon is certainly not necessary; it's more for looks.  But it adds a nice touch.

I love tequila and the flavor really comes through in this dish.  The glaze is not really cooked long enough for the alcohol to be removed, so I would consider this an adult only dessert.

This dish makes for a sweet ending to a fun summer day.

14 July 2011

Slow Cooker Soy Garlic Drumsticks


I like to keep chicken drumsticks on hand at all times.  I buy them in bulk when they go on sale for less than a dollar a pound.  I peel the skin off and freeze them individually so that when I am ready to cook, I can just pull out however many I need.  I keep them on hand for days when I don't have a meal planned for whatever reason, or I need something easier or faster than what was planned because something came up.  I like to throw them in the slow cooker, topped with a sauce of some kind.  I have a few different sauces, and this is one of my favorite.  I got it from Taste of Home.


Slow Cooker Soy Garlic Drumsticks


Ingredients:
8 chicken drumsticks, skinned
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp cornstarch


Directions
Place chicken in slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic; pour over chicken. Toss chicken to coat.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.


Remove chicken from slow cooker and set aside.  Pour cooking liquid out into a small saucepan.  Add cornstarch to a small amount of cold water and stir.  Pour into the cooking liquid.  Bring to a boil until thickened.  Place chicken and cooking liquid back into slow cooker and cook for another hour or until chicken is tender.


Makes 4 servings.

The original recipe didn't call for thickening the cooking liquid, but I really like doing that.  It makes the sauce cling to the chicken better and it's really good drizzled over the rice.

This is one of my go-to easy dinners.  And it's great in the summer because I don't have to heat up the kitchen by turning on the oven.  Just a good recipe to have in your arsenal, so to speak!

13 July 2011

Apple Chicken Sausage Boats


Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?  We sure do.  That's why this recipe from February's issue of Cuisine at Home caught my eye.  It was one of those recipes where, halfway through, I thought it was going to be a flop, but in the end it turned out just fine.


Apple Chicken Sausage Boats


Ingredients:
1 lb. ground chicken
1 apple, cored, peeled, and grated
¼ cup onion, minced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp olive oil
4 medium eggs


Directions:
Combine chicken, apple, onion, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.  Divide into four equal portions.  Shape each portion into a 1” thick patty, then press a 2” wide well in the middle of each patty, leaving a thin layer on the bottom of the patty.


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add patties, well side down, and cook until browned, about 4 minutes.  Turn over.  Gently crack an egg into the well of each patty.  Cover pan and cook over medium-low heat until egg whites are set and yolks begin to thicken, about 7 minutes.


Serve warm.


Makes 4 servings.

This is pretty tasty!  I've made my own chicken sausage before, so I was familiar with that, but the whole egg in a well thing was new to me.  The chicken mixture was kind of loosey-goosey and I didn't think the patties would hold their shape after I put them in the pan.  Especially since you are supposed to put them in with the well side down.  I thought the whole thing would collapse and there would be no well.  But I was pleasantly surprised when I turned them over.  The well was still perfectly intact!  But then I came upon problem number two: my eggs didn't fit inside the wells.  Either my wells were too small or my eggs were too big, but a lot of egg white spilled out of the well and into the pan.  But that ended up okay too; I just used the turner to kind of "cut away" the extra egg white from the sides of the patties after it was cooked.  In the future, I would try using medium eggs instead of large, which is what I usually buy.

The original recipe called for ½ cup of minced onion, but I read it wrong and only put in ¼ cup.  I'm glad I did, because even as it was, my husband's only complaint was that there was too much onion.  If you're not a big fan of onion, use only 2 tbsp.  Personally I liked the onion, but I could see how some people would think there was too much.  So adjust that according to your tastes.

The combination of the apple and the brown sugar gives this sausage a sweet flavor.  Jim loved that, but I would probably take the brown sugar down a notch if it was just me.  I would probably only do half a tbsp.  Also, the original recipe called for cayenne pepper instead of the red pepper flakes, but I don't keep cayenne on hand.  The red pepper flakes worked really well to give the sausage just a hint of spice.  If you like your sausage spicier, increase the pepper flakes.



 The recipe in the magazine called for serving these on top of toasted ciabatta halves, but I didn't have anything like that on hand so I made pancakes to go with them. 


Cross-section.  The yolks were cooked perfectly to our preferences.  If you like your yolk firmer than this, cook a little bit longer than the 7 minutes stated in the recipe.

We love having breakfast for dinner, so these sausage boats will be going into the regular rotation.

This recipe was included in the sausage recipe linky party over at Savannah's Savory Bites

12 July 2011

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce


So the other day while I was grocery shopping, I noticed a large display of beautiful artichokes.  I had been wanting to try cooking fresh artichokes for a while, so I picked up a few and took them home.  Cooking artichokes can be intimidating; in fact, I got a splinter from one just picking them out at the store!  But thanks to the very thorough directions from my favorite vegetable cookbook, Perfect Vegetables, it was really pretty easy and turned out great.  I decided to create my own dipping sauce to go with them.


Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce


Ingredients:
1 lemon, cut in half
4 medium artichokes (8 to 10 oz.)
2 medium onions


Directions:
Squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl filled with cold water.  Drop the spent lemon halves into the water.


Grasp the artichoke by the stem and hold it horizontal to the cutting board.  Use kitchen shears to trim the tips off the leaves row by row, skipping the top two rows. 


Rest the artichoke on the cutting board.  Holding the stem in one hand, cut off the top quarter (top two rows) of the artichoke with a very sharp chef’s knife.


Cut the stem flush with the base of the bulb.  Drop the artichoke into the bowl of lemon water.  Repeat with remaining artichokes.


Cut two 1½” thick slices from the middle of each onion.  Space the onion rings evenly across the bottom of a large pot and set one trimmed artichoke on top of each ring.  Fill the pot with water to ½” below the top of the onion rings.  Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cover and cook until the outer artichoke leaves release easily when pulled, about 30 minutes.  Check the pot periodically to make sure the water has not boiled dry; add more water as needed.


With tongs, carefully remove the artichokes from the pot and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Steamed artichokes can also be chilled and eaten cool.  Serve with Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce.


Makes 4 servings.


Lemon Garlic Dipping Sauce


Ingredients:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 lemon
1 small clove garlic, or ½ large clove, grated
¼ tsp dried thyme, crushed


Directions:
Put the mayonnaise in a small bowl.  Zest the lemon into the bowl.  Add the garlic and thyme and stir until combined.  Use lemon juice or water to thin out the dip to your desired consistency.  


Serve with steamed artichokes.


Makes 4 servings.

Sounds like complicated directions, but they're really not.  The book provides illustrations of each step, which I found very helpful.  I'm not one of those food bloggers that takes pictures of every step for every recipe (really, who doesn't know what chopped onions look like?), but for this recipe, I think some extra pictures would be helpful.  The picture quality isn't the best, but you'll get the idea.


 Onion rings in the pot.  I only made three artichokes, so I only used three onion rings.  The book says that if you don't want to use onions, you can just use a steaming rack.


 The artichoke as I brought it home from the store.  The book recommends medium-sized artichokes, but mine were large (13 oz.).  They took a little longer to cook and were not quite as tender as smaller ones would be.


 Pokey little tips of the leaves snipped off.

                                                                  
 After trimming off the top.  Note: you will need a very sharp knife and some elbow grease for this.  My knife is very sharp and I still struggled with it.  Those leaves are tough!


 After cutting off the stem.  The stem is much easier to cut off than the top of the bulb.


In the pan with the water.  


Artichokes are one of those fruits and vegetables that turn brown after cutting, like apples, avocados, and bananas.  (Is it only A and B fruits and veggies that do this?)  I made the lemon water as directed, but I had trouble keeping the artichokes in the water because they float.  The book didn't address this issue.  You can kind of see in the picture above the order I trimmed the artichokes in; the top left one looks browner, the bottom one less brown, and the right one not brown at all.

A note on eating the cooked artichokes: Pull a leaf out, dip it in the sauce, then you have to kind of scrape the leaf with your teeth to get the meat out.  You don't eat the entire leaf.  You can do that once you get to the really tender inside leaves, but the ones on the outside are too tough.  It sounds weird, but it's good!

Jim loved the dipping sauce I created.  I used one clove of garlic, and thought it may have been too much.  So next time I will only use half.  But the combination of lemon and garlic was really good.

Overall, this was a fun experience.  It's certainly not something I would do very often, but it went smoothly and now I can say that I have done it!

09 July 2011

Grilled Corn on the Cob


This is another recipe from Steven Raichlen's book, How to Grill.  It's a really fun and tasty way to prepare sweet corn in the summertime.


Grilled Corn on the Cob


Ingredients:
4 ears sweet corn in their husks
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp fresh herbs, minced
1 clove garlic, grated
Salt and pepper


Directions:
Preheat grill to high.


Stip back the husks of the corn, starting at the top of the ear, kind of like peeling a banana.  Leave the husk attached at the stem end.  Remove the silk and fold the husk back over the stalk.  Tie the husk with string to form a handle.


Place the butter, herbs, and garlic in a small bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.  When ready to cook, lightly brush each earn of corn with a little bit of the herb butter and arrange on the hot grate, positioning the ears in such a way that the husks are away from the fire.  Grill the corn until the kernels are handsomely browned all over, 8 to 12 minutes in all, turning as needed, brushing with the remaining butter, and seasoning generously with salt.  Remove the corn from the grill and serve at once.


Makes 4 servings.

Pretty easy.  You can make it even easier too.  Instead of making the herb butter, you can just brush the corn with regular butter.  Or you can even use olive oil.  That's what I did when I made this corn for my Grilled Vegetable Salad.

I don't have string, so we have been making this without tying the husks back.  It works okay that way, but I would recommend using the string if you have it.  I need to get some.

Isn't it pretty?  It makes for a lovely presentation to go with any summertime feast. 

08 July 2011

Savory Peach Chicken


This is an Ellie Krieger recipe that I had saved a while back.  I had some peaches on my counter yesterday that I got from the local farm market that needed to be used up, and I remembered this recipe.  I looked it up again and to be honest, I wasn't so sure about it.  It sounded to me like it was going to turn out to be overly sweet.  So I looked it up online to see what the reviewers said about it.  Online reviews of recipes = greatest invention ever.  I love hearing what people who actually made this dish thought about it before making it myself.  The reviewers of this recipe raved about it.  Several mentioned that it doesn't turn out as sweet as you think it will.  So I decided to give it a try.  I'm glad I did because it turned out really well.


Savory Peach Chicken


Ingredients
1 tbsp canola oil
4 chicken breast cutlets
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 large peaches or 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen peaches, peeled and diced (about 4½ cups)
2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted


Directions:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt, add to the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. 


Meanwhile combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and orange juice in a small bowl and set aside. When the chicken is browned, transfer to a plate and set aside.


Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, the soy sauce mixture, and the peaches to the pan. Turn the heat up to high and cook, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce is nicely thickened and the peaches soften. Add the chicken back to the pan with the sauce, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.


Serve the chicken topped with the sauce and sprinkled with the toasted almonds.


Makes 4 servings.

The reviewers were right; it didn't turn out overly sweet.  It definitely had a bit of sweetness to it, but the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar balanced it out very nicely.  And while you wouldn't normally think of combining garlic and peaches, it works.  

A few of the reviewers indicated that 2 packages of frozen peaches was too much.  I used fresh peaches, but I would say that they were closer to small peaches than large ones, so if you are using large peaches, you might only need three.  And if you're using frozen (which I will probably do if I make this in the winter), then maybe only do a package and a half.

I served this with brown rice and peas.  My husband and daughter both gobbled it up.


07 July 2011

Lemon Pepper Pappardelle with Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce


This is a very versatile dish, as most pasta dishes are.  It can be a side dish, a main dish with the addition of some chicken, or a meatless main dish with the addition of some vegetables.  Which is how we had it last night.  I had bought the dried pasta at Trader Joe's last month while in Wisconsin (we don't have Trader Joe's near us), and wanted to pair a sauce with it that wouldn't just cover up the lovely lemon pepper flavor of the pasta itself.  I had never made a pasta sauce with cream before, but I happened to have some on hand for another dish that I never ended up making.  It needed to be used up, and I had a bunch of garlic on my counter that also needed to be used up, so voila!  Here's what I came up with.


Lemon Pepper Pappardelle with Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce


Ingredients:
2 heads garlic
Olive oil
1 lb. lemon pepper pappardelle
1 cup heavy cream
Salt
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.  Slice the top third off the heads of garlic.  Drizzle the tops with olive oil and wrap up in foil.  Roast until garlic is completely soft, 45 minutes to an hour.  Remove from oven and let cool.


Boil pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook.  


Meanwhile, squeeze garlic pulp out of the paper and into a small bowl.  Mash with a rubber scraper until smooth.  Slowly stir in the cream until well incorporated.  Pour garlic cream mixture into a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Let sauce simmer until thickened, 10-15 minutes.  Add salt to taste.


When pasta is done, drain well.  Transfer to a large bowl and pour on the garlic sauce.  Toss to fully coat all the pasta.  Grate fresh Parmesan over the top.  Serve warm.


Makes 4 servings.

This was really tasty.  And pretty easy to make too.  You don't see it in the picture, but we had this with steamed broccoli tossed in as our meatless meal for the week.  Very satisfying.

If you think two heads of garlic is too much, go ahead and roast both.  Then after you mash it up, take a little bit out and set it aside.  Make the sauce as directed, then give it a taste.  If you're happy with it, toss the reserved garlic.  But if you think it could use more, stir in some of it.  Roasted garlic has a much milder flavor than fresh, so you can use a lot more of it without being knocked out by the garlic flavor.  If you have never roasted garlic before, I recommend you try it.  It gets really sweet; a completely different flavor profile than fresh.  My garlic heads were kind of small, so that's why I did two.  If your garlic is really large, one might be enough.  But I say better to have too much than not enough!  Besides, you could always save the extra for some other dish.

I loved this sauce on this particular pasta because it really let the lemon pepper flavor shine through while adding another dimension of flavor as well.  It was the perfect sauce for this pasta.  But I think it would be good on any kind of pasta.  It's not something I would eat all the time, because it is heavy cream after all, but it's nice every now and then.


This is how my garlic looked after cutting off the top third.  You should be able to see all of the cloves.  I forgot to take an after pic, but it's pretty!

06 July 2011

Now on Facebook

No recipe today, but I wanted to share with you that Edesia's Notebook is now on Facebook. I am a total Facebook junkie and use it personally all the time (I've been a member since January of 2006), and recently I have been posting links to my blog posts from my personal Facebook profile.  This has been very successful.  You may notice that I don't get many comments here on my blog.  I get most of my comments on Facebook where I post the link for all of my friends to see.  I get very positive feedback there, and sometimes my posts spark discussions and questions from friends about various food topics.

I've seen an increasing number of food bloggers who have created Facebook pages for their blogs.  I think it's really smart.  I did the same today.  You can find Edesia's Notebook on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/EdesiasNotebook

There is also a box on the sidebar that takes you right to the Facebook page.  I like this new page because people who don't know me personally can follow my blog and see what I've been cooking lately.  If you are on Facebook, I invite you to check out my new page and "like" it.  I will soon be posting links from there instead of from my personal Facebook profile.

I am intending the new Facebook page to be completely interactive.  I invite you to share what you have been cooking lately.  You can upload photos of your creations, or just share it with others in a wall post.  Also, please feel free to ask any questions there as well.  If I, or any of the other fans, don't know the answer, we'll find it!

So please check out my new page if you have a free moment.  Thanks!

05 July 2011

Grilled Vegetable Salad


We've been grilling out a lot lately.  It's one of my favorite things about summer.  Ever since reading the book How To Grill, we've been expanding our repertoire of grilled foods.  We're really into grilling veggies and other side items now.  The book has instructions for grilling all different kinds of veggies, and I want to try them all.  The idea came to me to grill a bunch of different veggies and put them together in one dish, a grilled veggie salad, if you will.  So that's what we did this Fourth of July weekend (I say "we" because I do all the prep work and my husband does the actual grilling).  This is how it turned out.


Grilled Vegetable Salad


Ingredients:
3 medium zucchini
Garlic powder
Salt
Olive oil
½ large onion
2 ears fresh corn
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Red wine vinegar


Directions:
Slice zucchini lengthwise into ¼” slices.  Season with garlic powder and salt and brush with olive oil.  Slice onion into ¼” slices and brush with oil.  Place two skewers through onion, if desired.  Brush corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.


Grill zucchini, onion, and corn until grill marks form and veggies are tender.  Remove from grill.  Dice zucchini and onion, and cut corn off the cob.  Toss veggies in a medium bowl.  Add cilantro and a few dashes of red wine vinegar.  Taste, adding salt, oil, or vinegar as needed.  Serve warm.


Makes 6 servings.

Mmm, it's really good!  The grill imparts a smokey, roasted flavor to the veggies that just can't be beat.  And I think these three veggies go really well together.  But you can add any kind of veggie you like.  I think roasted bell peppers would be good in this too if you like them.

Here are some pics of the individual veggies before they got cut up.


 You would not believe how sweet the onion gets after being grilled.  I could have totally eaten it all by itself!  I was worried that the onion slices would fall apart on the grill, so I put skewers in them.  Jim told me that he didn't think they were really necessary, and that they took up too much room on the grill.

 Grilled zucchini.  I would have done the grill marks on the diagonal, but it doesn't really matter.  In the book, he suggests doing them on the diagonal, and then turning them 90 degrees to get a crosshatch pattern.

Grilled corn on the cob.  Yummy!  The roasted corn flavor is so good.

This dish was part of a grill feast we had on Sunday evening.  We did steaks, pork chops, all the veggies for the salad, extra corn just to eat off the cob, and even sweet potatoes on the grill.  We threw in some fresh sliced tomatoes with cottage cheese and some coleslaw and it was the quintessential summertime feast!  Thankfully my mom was visiting for the weekend and helped us eat all that food!

02 July 2011

Red, White, and Blueberry Muffins


Happy Fourth of July weekend!  Here is a festive muffin recipe for you!  I got it from Betty Crocker.


Red, White, and Blueberry Muffins


1 box Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix
¾ cup milk (I use soy)
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
¾ cup dried cherries or cranberries
Raw sugar


Directions:
Heat oven to 425º. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease bottoms only of muffin cups.


Drain blueberries (from muffin mix); rinse and set aside. In medium bowl, stir muffin mix, milk, oil, eggs, and cherries just until blended. Gently stir in blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups (each about three-fourths full).  Sprinkle tops with raw sugar.


Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool 3 to 4 minutes; remove from pan. 


Makes 12 muffins.

These are super easy muffins to make since they use a mix.  I had never seen canned blueberries before; but it makes them nice and moist inside the muffins.  Make sure you rinse and drain them really well, or you will have muffins with purple streaks running through them.  In fact, after I added the blueberries, I didn't really stir them in.  I dumped them in then went straight to scooping the batter into the muffin tins.  They'll distribute okay that way.

The original recipe called for dried cranberries but I used cherries instead.  Since I live in Michigan, I figured why not support the local industry? :)  It also called for making a glaze to drizzle over the top, but I'm not a big fan of glazes or icings on muffins; it makes them too much like cupcakes to me.  So I just did my traditional raw sugar topping on these.

I tried one of these, but probably won't be eating any of the rest because, unfortunately, I don't like blueberries.  :(  I know, everyone loves them and they are super healthy, but I just don't like the flavor.  Luckily, my mom is visiting this weekend so that will help them go faster!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

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01 July 2011

Asian-Style Zucchini


This is a zucchini side dish that goes really well with Asian main dishes.  I started with a recipe I found on Allrecipes years ago, but have changed it quite a bit from the original.


Asian-Style Zucchini


Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1” fresh ginger, grated
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ¼” slices
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds


Directions:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger and sauté about a minute or until fragrant.  Add zucchini and increase heat to medium-high.  Sauté zucchini about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Deglaze the pan with the soy sauce.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.


Makes 4 servings.

Very simple and easy to throw together.  You can cut the zucchini any way you like.  If your pieces are bigger than mine, it will take longer to cook, however.

The sesame seeds provide a nice little crunch.  Most people would probably toast them, but I don't usually bother in this recipe.

I love zucchini and I think it's fun to come up with recipes that adapt it to whatever type of cuisine I'm serving that night.  I gave my one-year-old daughter some of this (the smaller pieces that got more done that the larger ones), and she couldn't get enough of it.