Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and some amazing treats...

Archie with an evil look on his face.
But at work today what an array of sweets...
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pasta & Fagioli

It's official. Even though this is the first time of the autumn/winter season that I have made Pasta Fagioli, I have found my favorite recipe. I found it at Cucina di Barbara. I have been looking for sometime now a recipe for Pasta Fagioli that I really liked. This is it. The recipe on the site made enough for 2 meals. I did not add the tomato paste to the portion I froze, I'll add it when I reheat it. And I also did not add the gnocchi to the freeze bound portion. When I make that portion I can add any pasta. Really happy that I found this recipe.
Oh and we did get a a bit of snow last night -

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Proscuiotto and Bleu Cheese Focaccia and Snow

I walked into Costco today with my Dad and it was a cold October morning. A Nor'easter was predicted for later today. We were in the store for about an hour,  maybe longer and when we walked out it was blizzard like conditions.
Here's the deal. When it snows I need to bake bread. Not sure why but it just happens. I had started the No Knead Bread this morning but that would not be baked until tomorrow. I had seen a recipe in the Bon Appetit for Bacon and Bleu Cheese Focaccia. And I thought I had all the ingredients in the house. I put the yeast and honey in the water and let that sit for 10 minutes. I mixed the 4 1/2 cups of flour with the salt and pepper. I checked the recipe again and realized I did not have mashed potatoes. I do not even have boxed mashed potatoes! Great. After some thought, and rearranging the pantry, I decided to add polenta. Yes that's right I made polenta. It was about the same consistency of mashed potatoes so I figured it might work. The texture of the dough was very nice to work will. I let the dough rise and moved on to the next step in the recipe. Cook the bacon. I look in the fridge. I look in the freezer. I look in the freezer downstairs. No Bacon! Oh heck I have Prosciutto. So I proceed with the recipe and the result was very good. The dough was crisp and the prosciutto, well of course it was good.
For dinner, well lets just say it was like beat the clock. Before I started dinner the lights were flickering. Chris and I looked at each other and had visions of Hurricane Irene. I made the fastest dinner ever. Chicken Piccata, sauteed carrots and zucchini and mashed, yes mashed sweet potatoes. A nice bottle of Chianti and dinner was perfect. And the lights stayed on!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friends and Company and Jacques Pepin

Fried Calamari with Tomato Caper Sauce. Veal Saltimbocco wrapped in Prosciutto, Sage and Asiago Cheese over Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Polenta with Madeira Sauce. Pork Chops and Apple Chutney with Honey Cranberry Butternut Squash. Doesn't that sound wonderful. Well it was quite wonderful. We ate at Friends and Company before going to see Jacques Pepin speak.
Jacques Pepin was promoting his latest cookbook, Essential Pepin. He has lived in Madison for over 30 years. Someone in the audience asked him what he thought of the food that is served in schools. He said 30 years ago he went to the school board and asked if he could show them how to make soup. They told him they were not interested. Could you imagine! He also said that you really don't need to spend more than $10 one a bottle of wine. Good to know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

That's right I made Chicken Stock. Quite a large pan of it. I made is on Sunday and froze most of it in 2 cup portions. I kept some out to make tonight's meal. I added noodles and some of the meat from the chicken that was used to make the broth. Also tossed in some frozen mixed vegetable. Oh and fresh spinach! What a delicious meal.

So for $8 I bought the chicken and the only other ingredients in the broth was celery, carrots, onion and parsley. I ended up with a lot of stock. So why do I by the canned stuff?

This broth tasted so clean. I know that is not a term usually used for food but it had no canned taste to it. It reminded me of my sister's chicken broth. And she does make the best broth.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

 Where to start? Okay I had leftover risotto and did not want to waste it. 
So I made rice balls. Yum!

Our main dish was from EatingWell.  I had never used the "shelf-stable gnocchi" before. It was not bad. We both loved this meal. And it was meatless. I had some beet greens from the beets I roasted the other night and added them to the Swiss Chard.
Chris picked up a bottle of Fratelli Grati 2008 Chianti to go with dinner. Nice.

So have you heard about Pinterest. It is a fun site to spend some time looking around.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stuffed Crust Pizza

When I first saw the commercial on TV for a stuffed crust pizza I thought to myself how could anyone eat that. Well I was making pizza tonight and I had the crust hanging over the side of the pan and thought why not put some shredded Mozzarella cheese on the pie and fold the crust over it. Not a bad idea. Other than that I topped the pie with leftover pork from last night, and some of the roasted peppers I had made. The crust is from My Bread by Jim Lahey.
 Today I made pot of Chicken Stock. The house smelled so good
and I had someones attention...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pork Chops With Roasted Beets and Oranges

Don't you love roasted vegetables? I found this recipe on Pork Chops with Roasted Beets and Oranges. Simple to make. The pork was delicious, loved the thyme and oregano flavors. The beets were fantastic. I had some Arugula that did not get used in last night's meal. And I never thought to roast an orange. For another side I made polenta. It was a very nice meal.

Today my sister and I took my Dad to the Knights of Columbus Museum to see the exhibit Full of Grace, Crowned Madonnas from the Vatican Basilica. There was also the Papal Gallery. And what caught my attention...

A pair of the Pope John Paul II's  Papal Shoes!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Risotto With Chicken and Arugula

Not just any Risotto, Low Maintenance Risotto. This was a combination of 2 recipe from the Real Simple site. I don't ever make risotto. I make Aborio rice as a side dish but not as risotto. Why? Time. But now it is quite quick and easy. I was able to make a cake while the risotto was cooking! The addition of the Chicken and Arugula came from another Real Simple recipe. Have you ever taken the meat off of a rotisserie chicken with a cat in the same room. Archie was barking at me for meat.
Anyway Chris loved this dish. It was really creamy and the arugula gave it a nice peppery taste.
Now about that cake.  My mom's Apple Cake. It's just the 4 Egg Cake with sliced apples and cinnamon on top. When I was growing up we had dessert every night. Right after dinner, even before the dishes were done. We don't eat like that anymore, except when we go out to eat. Sorry I digress... the cake looks perfect. I am bringing it over to my dad's tomorrow.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grilled Roasted Pepper, Prosciutto and Provolone

Well the title pretty much sums it all up!
Well except I roasted the peppers myself (they were on sale!).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lentil Soup

A quick post tonight... I have a lot of knitting to do... Another super easy and super delicious meal. Lentil soup from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything App.

Photo styling by Chris!

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.1 onion, chipped
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
Fresh ground pepper

Put the oil in a large deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until soft, just a minute or two. Add the carrot and celery and keep cooking and stirring until brightly colored and hot about 2 minutes.
Add lentils, bay leaf and stock; sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet Cherry Tomato and Sausage Bake

The first time I posted this recipe it my 5th blog post. Quite a while ago. Still this is a wonderfully easy meal.
And Happy Birthday to my sister Lenore! Yes she is the one that makes the best pie crust ever!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pizzette with Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Oregano

Do you ever bookmark a recipe and then hope that you will actually make it. Well I bookmarked this recipe back in March of 2010. Wish I had made this sooner. Yep it was quite good.
Pizzette with Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Oregano. Loved the flavors.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

BBQ Ribs and Pie

This is a recipe I have made before. It is from

BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
2 lb. pork spare ribs
1 onion

1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1/3 c. ketchup

Place spareribs (meat side down) in roasting pan. Cover meat with thinly sliced onion. Pour sauce over meat. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until done. Last 10 minutes of cooking you can remove cover to "crunch up" the top slightly.

So where is the photo? Well sometimes a photo is not necessary. Okay I took a photo but it was so zoomed in it looked rather ugly. So let's just move on...
I made Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. That photo came out ok -

The Pie! I made my usual Pate Brise crust and sliced the apples. Mixed the apples with some sugar and cinnamon. Put the apples in the center of the crust, dotted it with some butter and folded the crust over. Baked at 350 degrees for ... okay I didn't time it. It seemed like an hour but the ribs were in at the same time so the timer was set for them. Damn it. Does not knowing the cooking time make me a bad baker? Heck no! The pie tasted wonderful!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scallops with Citrus and Quinoa

I found this recipe on the Food Network site, Scallops with Citrus and Quinoa, when I googled Scallops and Quinoa. I know we had Quinoa last Friday night but what can I say. We like Quinoa.
Tonight's recipe was lovely. Nice and light citrus flavor. Chris cooked the scallops. They came out perfect!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eating BC

BC as in Before Chris. Tonight Chris had to go out to dinner for work leaving me to eat anything I wanted to. I looked in the fridge and there was not much to work with. There was leftover rice, white and brown. I found some frozen peas in the freezer and that was dinner. Before I met Chris that is pretty much what I would eat for dinner. I used the Success Rice bags, I could not make regular rice to save my life. I would use either frozen or steamed veggies. Add a little butter, some cheese and crushed red pepper and that is what I lived on... well except when I would go by my parent's house and mom would have "Care Packages" ready for me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It was 20 years ago today...

Well it was 20 years ago today,
Sargent Pepper taught a band to play,
They've been going in and out of style,
But there guaranteed to raise a smile...*
Oh sorry, it's just that whenever I start with the phrase "It was 20 years ago today..." I just break out in song.
20 years ago today I married Chris. Amazing isn't it. It does not seem like 20 years. Anyway we ate out tonight. We went to our usual place for such occasions, Friends and Company. Always a good meal.
We started with drinks and Crab and Corn Fritters. They were so light.  For dinner Chris had the New York Strip Steak Gorgonzola and I had Panko Coated Oven Roasted Cod. We both enjoyed our meals, yes we cleaned our plates.

*The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beef and Bean Chili

I signed up with Cookstr recently (if you have not visited the site you should, very cool site) and this is the first recipe I have tried. Chili Three Ways. I ended up freezing half of the chili base. I think next time I may try the vegetarian...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicken with Bacon and Leeks

I met Chris when we were both working at a restaurant called Nancy Lee's. He was the bartender and I was a waitress. It was a small American bistro. The food was amazing. One of Nancy's dishes that I loved was Chicken with Bacon and Leeks. Nancy finished her's with cream... 20 some odd years later I am leaving out the cream.

Cut the chicken as if you are making scallopine. Dredge in flour. Heat butter and olive oil in saute pan and cook the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan, keep warm. Add a little bit of oil and saute the leeks and bacon. Return the chicken to the pan. Add some white wine, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and simmer for a couple of minutes.

For side dishes we had brown rice and steamed beans and carrots. The beans were picked today from my Dad's garden.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mom's Meat Sauce with Cheese Ravioli

First big pot of sauce of the season. I feel like I a squirrel storing away nuts for the winter. We had cheese ravioli with the sauce. The recipe was my mom's and I love this sauce. It always tastes so familiar.

2 large onion, chopped

olive oil

2 # ground beef
1# ground pork
1# sausage links, optional
4 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

tomato paste




Method - Heat oil and saute onion until translucent. Add the meats. Cook until meat begins to brown. Drain off any fat from the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the type of meat that is used. If the sauce is thin add tomato paste. Season with parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

It was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon for all of us.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bufalina - Wood Fired Pizza

I am trying to come up with words to describe tonight's dinner. Delicious keeps getting stuck in my head. We got dinner from Bufalina in Guilford, CT tonight. The owners are the authors of The Italian Farmer's Table: Authentic Recipes and Local Lore from Northern ItalyThe pizza shop is very cute. A few spots at the counter were full and the operation runs like a well oiled machine. They have not been open long but they seemed to be finely tuned. And the pizza... well did I mention delicious? 
 We had the Rossa which was tomato, oregano and crushed red pepper and the Porri which was caramelized leek, pancetta  and scamorza. Wow. The crust was crisp and had the flavor was very nice. Both pies disappeared quickly. Fortunately I also got the Arugula Salad. Wow the Cipollini onions were fantastic. And I do love shave pecorino.
So from someone who was raised on Zuppardi's Pizza in West Haven, then  Pepe's and Sally's and Modern in New Haven, and we can't leave out DePalma's in East Haven, I think this is a really good pie. And it seemed different from the other pies. I know this sounds corny but it tasted authentic. No grease just crisp bread with toppings.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Toasted Quinoa Salad with Chicken & Snow Peas

Tonight's recipe is from Eating Well. The original recipe called for scallops but chicken is listed as a substitute. Seeing as the scallops were $15 a pound I opted for the chicken. We loved this recipe. Of course I forgot to get the scallions. The only other change I made was adding crushed red pepper to spice it up a bit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peppers, Prosciutto and Ricotta Salata Frittatta

Okay so it was Peppers, Prosciutto and Ricotta Salata and a couple of zucchini that I had in the fridge. The peppers were from my Dad's garden, not sure if there will be more this year. The combination of peppers and eggs has always been one of my top choices at a sub shop. The other choice would be Eggplant Parmesan. The eggs have to be cooked, not runny, but that is my own taste. I do not eat a lot of green peppers, I prefer the red ones. But these were nice and small so the flavor along with the seasonings I added ended up as a tasty dinner.