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Archive for July, 2007

Good gosh its Goulash

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So, I know, I know, its the middle of summer and its pretty hot to think about something that has to simmer for hours, but a craving is a craving and you must ALWAYS bow to the craving! Today I made Hungarian Goulash. I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people that doesn’t eat beef anymore, so I didn’t quite know if it would work, but I made the goulash with chicken instead of beef….it worked.

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I had a recipe, but honestly I barely followed it, but I will try to recall what I did in case you want to duplicate it.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees 

In a dutch oven, put 2 tbls of olive oil and 2 tbls of butter;

add one chopped onion and approx. 5 shallots.

Cube chicken (about 1 1/2 lbs) coat with flour, salt, pepper and paprika; throw in with the onion and shallot mixture and cook for about 4 minutes.

Add small can of tomato paste, a can of chopped tomatos, 3/4 cup of red wine, 1 can of chicken of veggie stock, 1 tbls of paprika, 1 tlbs of chopped rosemary – cover and put in the oven for about 3 hours (the recipe didn’t say to stir, but I did about every hour and it was a good thing as it was sticking to the sides of my pot)

About 1o-12 minutes before the goulash is done, prepare egg noodles, serve goulash over egg noodles…enjoy. Oh, I also stirred about a cup of sour cream into the sauce when it came out of the oven.

Personally, if I were to do this again, I would use a crock pot, I think it would work just as well and it wouldn’t heat the house to temperatures rivaling the amazon rain forests. (of course, most of you probably don’t have a 6o year old stove).

Anyway – my sister and I enjoyed the meal and her cats played clean-up and are still licking their chops.

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Cheers!

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Sunday Dinner

First let me say that those shrimp/mango tacos look amazing.  I may have to do that some time this week…

I decided our picnic would be a roasted vegetable sandwich.  I went to the store and bought a ciabatta loaf.  Then Dev’s mom and I sliced and roasted red peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, onions and tomatoes.  
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We basted them with balsamic vinaigrette. 
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After roasting the veggies, I drizzled olive oil on the bottom half of the bread. I crumbed goat cheese on the bottom of the loaf, then put the tomatoes on. Next came the squash and zucchini, then feta cheese and a little more balsamic. Lastly I put on the roasted red peppers and sliced sharp cheddar cheese. I put on the top of the loaf and wrapped the whole thing in foil. I put it on a sheet pan and put a cast iron skille on top. It went in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, then I decreased the heat to 200 degrees to keep it warm until we were ready to pack up and leave. We cut it in 4 pieces and put it back in the foil.
Here’s the finished product, complete with cheetos as a side dish! Oh- and we bought fresh brewed root beer at the picnic to go with it.
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One last pic to share….this is what Dev and his dad looked like while we were in the kitchen putting together this sandwich….(I posted this pic on my other blog as well because I just think this pic needs to be in as many places on the internet as possible).
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Shrimp and Mango Taco

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Sunday dinner was shrimp and mango tacos served along side orzo and black beans with guacamole. For the shrimp season as you like (I used garlic, salt, pepper and a dash of red pepper) saute with chopped onion. While that is cooking away, cube the mango and set aside; you can also warm the tortillas at this time. Serve however you like, I like the soft flour tortillas, and I put salsa and sour cream on my black beans and orzo. For preparing the orzo – follow package instructions and the black beans don’t need to be cooked, just heated (provided you buy canned and not dried).  It was a long day today and I wasn’t feeling at my most creative or productive, but its an easy meal to prepare and quite tasty.

Cheers!

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes getting flavor throughout a piece of chicken is tough, especially if you prefer white meat chicken as I do.  I grilled chicken on Friday and I got the flavor, I think, just about right. I used breasts (bone in) and put 2 2 inch cuts (about 1/4 inch deep) into the thickest part of the breast. I seasoned each breast with salt and pepper and then rubbed that into the meat. I prepared a marinade of soy, garlic, honey, chili powder (thanks Mimi) and let it sit for at least 1 hour.  I then prepared a skillet with a bit of olive oil and when the pan was nice and hot I seared the chicken on both sides to seal in the juices. I then removed the chicken and continued cooking on the grill. It was very excellent!

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For a side dish I prepared pasta salad – simple and easy – cook tri-color pasta (or whatever you have) season with salt and pepper – I put in about 2 tbls of mayonaise, a heaping tsp of mustard, a handful of feta and the left over bits of tomato and cucumber I had.

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It was a great summer meal and the leftover chicken can be enjoyed cold – in fact, I pulled it off the bone and threw it into the leftover pasta salad and it was a great lunch the next day. I served this with World Market’s label AAKU Shiraz.

Cheers!

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Cooking Challenges…

People tend to fall into ruts.   I think maybe it’s part of human nature.  When I am cooking for Devin and myself, I try to keep things new and exciting, but I tend to fall back on old, dependable dishes.

Well, this weekend, I had to bump things up a level because Dev’s parents came to visit. 

Our guests arrived Friday afternoon, just as we were getting home from the grocery store.  Dinner needed to be quick and pretty no-fuss.  I opted for turkey burgers  and sweet potato fries (Di gets the credit for this menu- she is the master of both of these).  I did bake a brownie pie for dessert.  It was pretty tasty.  The recipe is as follows (I got it from an “Easy to Make, Easy to Bake” Collection card):

Brownie Pie

1 package brownie mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 9″ unbaked pastry crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine brownie mix, eggs, oil and water in a large bowl.  Stir with spoon until well blended, about 50 strokes.  Stir in chips.  Spoon into crust.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes until set.  Cool completely and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Simple and not from scratch, but really really good!

For breakfast Saturday morning I stuck with the classics.  I scrambled eggs, Dev made some breakfast sausage and I made biscuits.  The biscuits were a new recipe and I think they were good.  The recipe called for corn muffin mix and biscuit mix, as well as sour cream, buttermilk and cheddar cheese.  They didn’t rise very high, but the flavor was different than regular biscuits.

Dinner Saturday night was Chicken Divan (I used a Paula Deen recipe), sauteed zucchini and tomato, and corn on the cob.

Sunday hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll have to fill you in on that later.  I think we’re doing a picnic for dinner (and taking it to the local park for a concert).

Wish me luck!

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Dry Rub Salmon

So…I forgot the camera tonight, but I figured I would write about the dinner anyway since I will likely have leftovers the next couple of nights. You can make a dry rub out of pretty much anything that you like, I used salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, red pepper, cumin, and dry mustard; the portions of each ingredient are pretty much your choice, probably my largest portion went to paprika – maybe about a tablespoon (for 2 large fillets) and then about 1/2 teaspoon of each – its not exact, best just to keep at it and taste it along the way until you get something you like. Press rub into flesh side of the salmon and let it sit for an hour or so – you can grill it or saute it, I used a grill pan and put it in a 400 degree oven for about 6 minutes – it will depend on the thickness of your fillet.

On the side I made orzo with black beans (I like to serve this up with a bit of salsa and sour cream); to cut the spice of the salmon and the black beans, I made a salad of fresh greens, cucumber and mango. Cucumbers are great when it is hot out as they are, I think, on average about 10 degrees cooler than the temp. so you get that cooling refreshing taste right away.

I served this with a slice of roasted garlic bread and a nice shiraz…too bad I forgot the pictures as it was a pretty meal with the pink of the salmon and the orange of the mango against the black beans and the green salad.  No way to go wrong really, just get in the kitchen and try your hand at cooking…you can always call the pizza place if it is terrible, but I find that it rarely turns out to be inedible.

Cheers!

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Wine Tasting

I didn’t cook anything new tonight, well that’s not entirely true, I just didn’t actually make it from stracth. My Dad came and installed a ceiling fan in my kitchen and then he and I went to the Fresh Market and bought a stuffed chicken breast (stuffed with feta, artichokes, black olives, and various other things I can’t remember) it was darned tasty and I recommend it if you have a Fresh Market near you. Anyway…we went to a wine tasting hosted by a friend who owns a package shop. The Gallo distributor brought some new wines, which will probably be out to limited markets next week sometime. I will post the tasting list – a couple are old standards, but for the most part these are all new wines.  The ones in bold were my personal favorite, but they were all good and in the low teens in cost.  Cheers!

McMurray Ranch Pinot Noir

Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc

DaVinci Chianti

Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Frei Brothers Pinot Noir

Frei Brothers Sauvignon Blanc

Martin Codax Albarino

Martin Codax Tempranillo

&

Polka Dot Riesling

 

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Busy Busy Busy

Wow- I leave town for 2 days and Di has been working overtime!  I can understand the basil overload, as our basil plant has also exploded lately. 

I had several good meals during my trip to Santa Fe, and I blogged about the trip on my other blog.  I will talk more about the food here.

We arrived in Santa Fe around 10am Saturday morning, just in time to meet our friends Tonya, Shane and Sarah for brunch at Harry’s Roadhouse.   I don’t know that I can describe how good it was.  The only place I can think of that even comes close is a place called the Thumbs Up cafe in Decatur, GA.  Harry’s has a beautiful garden in the back, and if you are willing to wait a little while, you can eat at one of the garden tables.  The menu is pretty huge, and it’s very difficult to choose just one thing.  I ordered the green chili chilaquiles with fried eggs.  Dev ordered the shrimp and grits.  Sarah had the cornmeal waffle with strawberries, Shane had the lemon ricotta pancakes, and I honestly can’t remember what Tonya had.  If you remember, T., please leave a comment!

We had dinner at a little place in the Plaza district called the Burrito Company.  Again, great food with even better prices.  Dev ordered the pork adovada (so pathetically mis-spelled) burrito plate, Tonya had a Santa Fe wrap, Shane had the chicken fajita wrap, Sarah had a chef salad and I had the frito pie.  I thought frito pie was uniquely southern.  The only times I’ve ever had it, I’ve been at girl scout camp or some other similar event, and it was made in the same bag the fritos came in.  I have NEVER seen it on a menu, and certainly never expected to run into it in the land of authentic southwestern cuisine.  And in my usual fashion, I managed to order the biggest thing on the menu.  When it came to the table, it was an entire dinner plate covered with fritos, ground beef, pinto beans, red chili, raw onion and chopped fresh tomato.  I didn’t even put a good dent in it.  If you ever eat at the Burrito Company in Santa Fe, I highly recommend the frito pie.

Sunday morning breakfast was at the hotel.  And quite a good breakfast it was.  The hotel in general was extremely nice.  We stayed at the Residence Inn at Galisteo.  The room cost included a hot breakfast.  They offered scrambled eggs, french toast, sausage, potatoes, waffles, yogurt, muffins, bagels, fruit and beverages.  Why go looking for breakfast when you have such a great selection right on your doorstep?

We ate Sunday lunch at the Santa Fe Grille.  This was also a really good restaurant.  Dev had the quiche (ham, cheddar, mushroom, green chile) and a caesar salad.  I had the roasted sweet corn chowder and a caesar salad, Tonya had a breakfast burrito, Shane had the tortilla soup and Sarah had a kids breakfast burrito.  We had to wait a while for our food, but there was live acoustic guitar music to take our minds off the situation, and the food was great once it got there.

On the way out of town we stopped at the Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe.  I had never been to a Trader Joe’s, but I had heard really good things about it from my friends.  I showed remarkable constraint on this particular day, helped in no small part by the fact that we had just had a huge lunch, so I wasn’t hungry whilst shopping.  My purchases were as follows:  Molasses cookies, a bag of whole toasted almonds, chocolate soy milk, smoked gouda cheese, Cotswald cheddar cheese, 2 bottles of wine, and a box of crackers.  I got out of there for about $31- hard to believe.  But I’ll be better prepared next time.  Also- on the next trip I’ll also tackle the Whole Foods and the Wild Oats stores.

I really enjoyed the trip, and I would love to go back when we have more time to shop and crawl around.  I told Tonya I could make a whole weekend out of just grocery shopping.  But I think I’ll need a pretty big cooler…..Oh and I might even remember to TAKE PICS OF THE FOOD, since that’s what this blog is all about!

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I am still using the basil and the plant – overnight – has completely replinshed itself, so there will be more meals involving basil – I also managed to use a tad of my rosemary as well.

I skewerd some shrimp and tomatos basted with pesto and roasted potatos with rosemary and garlic. yummy.

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I don’t know about you, but my basil plant is out of control, I have made countless batches of pesto and it still manages to get ahead of me. Well, today I used a lot of the plant in a supper of summer favorites, caprese salad and pesto chicken strips. It was quite tasty.  I won’t post a recipe as you can find countless pesto recipes that are all basically the same – use your best judgement there.  For the caprese, just layer fresh mozarella, fresh tomatos (I like roma, but you can use beefsteak of better yet, heirloom) and basil, salt and pepper to taste then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – it doesn’t get much better than that! I enjoyed this with the rest of the Cline zinfindel from last night – a good pairing, I also added  a couple of pieces of bread to soak up any stray pesto or olive oil…waste not, want not.  It is an easy and delicious meal and if you can grill the chicken outside, even better, the house stays nice and cool.  Even though today was a beautiful 85 degrees with a wonderful breeze (quite the treat for July in Savannah), I like a meal that doesn’t require heating up the kitchen!

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Cheers!

Diane

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