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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Combo Bean and Veggie Chili

Hopefully, we are in the last "throws" of winter. This dish was just perfect to make and enjoy on a blustering winter day.

Combo Bean and Veggie Chili
The main ingredients were black beans, chili beans, fresh plum tomatoes and a can of tomatoes with their juice. I sautéed 1 red bell pepper, a medium sized onion and 4 garlic cloves in evoo. To this I added chopped fresh plum tomatoes. When the pts were soft I added the canned tomatoes and a small can of tomato sauce. The herbs and spices included freshly ground black pepper, dried oregano, basil, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. After adding the two cans of beans (rinsed) I added beer. During the course of the chili cooking and simmering I added addition herbs/spices and liquid as needed.

After ladling the chili into the bowls I topped it with shredded cheese (a mixtures of various cheddars) and chopped scallions.

Nothing special but it was quite tasty and warmed us up. I usually do not pare wine with spicy chili, but we had one glass each left in a bottle, a very rare occasion. It worked. The wine: Penfolds Bin 138, a nice blend of three grapes.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Flatbread Appetizer and Chicken Pot Pie

Another evening of a appetizer and conversation while preparing the meal. I had some of the sun-dried tomato and olive spread left, but thought it would be too much too spread on the entire rectangle of flatbread so I prepared half of it with chopped fresh basil, garlic and parmesan.

The Appetizer: Flatbread with Sun-dried Tomato Spread and Basil-Parmesan
I brushed the Stonefire Flatbread with olive oil and on one-half crushed garlic and heated in a 400 degree oven on a preheated pizza stone. After removing it from the oven one half was spread with the sd tomato and olive mixture and the other half with the chopped basil and parmesan cheese. We enjoyed it with a glass of Penfolds Bin 138.

I recently purchased two small casserole/tureens at a bargain price and decided they were the perfect size for individual pot pies.

Entree: Chicken Pot Pie

A small piece of butter and evoo were heated and then sliced crimini and shitake mushrooms were sautéed. Diced chicken pieces, dusted with flour, and chopped garlic was added to the pot. When mushrooms were tender and chicken was partially browned I tossed in some Marsala. When that was reduced I added a tsp of chicken demi glace, about a cup of chicken broth and fresh ground black pepper. As it reduced I added the pearl onions that I had boiled and peeled earlier. Chopped frozen peas and carrots were added and I let it simmer for about 10 mins.

The chicken and vegetables were spooned into the two individual tureens. I added more chicken broth and Marsala to the liquid and let reduce slightly then stirred in some flour/broth mixture to slightly thicken the sauce. The sauce was poured over the chicken in the tureens. For the crust I used pillsbury sheet dough which I brushed with thyme and sage. The pot pies were baked for about 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees. The edges were brown and crispy but the center even though was hard to the touch was a tad underdone. The chicken and vegetables were very good - the Marsala certainly enhanced the flavor. The next time I will go back to using puff pastry for the top.

The wine: Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir. Yes, one of our favorites that we do not get often enough because the winery does not ship to our state and our local stores do not carry it.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Sun-dried Tomato/ Olive Spread, Salmon wi Balsamic Caper Sauce

Another trip through an airport and another issue of Food&Wine. Why don't I just subscribe to this magazine? - and spoil my airport routine!! Surving airports is helped by an issue of the NYT and the latest F&W. And if it is a long wait or a long flight I can plan upcoming dishes. The "Tangy Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Dip" looked interesting and perfect for conversation while preparing the meal. On many occasions I made an olive tapenade and a sun-dried tomato tapenade, so the combination of the two main ingredients sounded interesting.

Appetizer: Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Spread
Note I did not call it "dip." To me a dip sticks to the chip or veggie stick when it is "dipped" in - like the good old onion dip, which I never buy or make, but must confess when others serve salty potato chips and store bought onion dip I have been known to eat more than my share.

Now the "spread." I cut the recipe in half since I was only making it for two. The sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, garlic, crushed red pepper, balsamic vinegar, and oregano were pureed in a food processor until chunky. Adding the evoo and processing it a few seconds more made it a finer paste. What I did not do that F&W did, was add bread and warm water to the mixture. Maybe the water is what gives it the "dip" factor but then the photograph in the magazine did not look like dip texture. I served it with toasted flatbread. It was quite tasty, but I think I prefer the two separate tapenades.

Entree: Salmon with Balsamic-Caper Sauce
I have made this sauce for tuna and referred to it in one of my earliest blogs. It comes from a recipe in January 2009 issue of F&W and is used with a polenta crusted chicken.

For two servings I heat a tbsp evoo and stir in a tbsp of tomato paste, stir until paste shimmers. I then stir in 1/4c balsamic vinegar, 1/8 c of chicken broth (F&W uses water), 2 tbsp of capers, and a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. When it is thickened, it is removed from the heat and swirled with a 1/2 tbsp of butter.

Side: Roasted Asparagus.
Tossed with evoo and roasted at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Wine: Etude Pinot Noir. A favorite.


Monday, February 4, 2013

The Tray and Quiche

Remember the picture of the tray in my last posting - well my friends Mark and Ellen identified the maker and I also heard from my sister-in-law who remembers the tray -"my parents got it for a wedding present and used it every holiday... "

Not quite sure how I ended up with the tray - probably one of those items not "seized" during the divorce. Records, cookbooks, paintings yes, .....but not the tray. So being an "attachment to family things" person that I am, I will pack it up and send it to my SIL so she can use it on her holidays with her husband, and twin son and daughter (who unfortunately never met the grandma and grandpa who filled that tray every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter).

Quiche Lorraine (or similar)

On the subject of family "stories," my recent preparation of a Quiche led me to share a story with my husband whose side glance told me he had heard this more than once or that he was having a hard time believing I would "do such a thing!"

Quiche Lorraine was very "trendy" around the time of needing to choose a baby name for the daughter or son that was about to be...I loved the sound of quiche lorraine and thought it a wonderful combination of two words. I therefore suggested it as a name for a daughter. The husband/father was aghast "no daughter of mine is going to think she is a custard pie!" "No,no", I replied, "we won't spell it Quiche, I thought we could spell it Keish." He was not convinced, so alas we chose another name. When the time came and we had to officially name our baby girl, we gave the first name we had chosen, and then we were asked for a middle name, he immediately said "Lorraine." Surprised, I waited until we were alone and asked why Lorraine? He said "I thought that is what you wanted ..." I groaned "only with Keish" I responded. But what was done, was done. When my daughter was little she liked the story of how she got her middle name but as she grew older I think she shares my current husband's reaction.

So the Quiche
I sauteed a few small strips of bacon, shallots and broccoli. I mixed three eggs, two whole and one just the egg white, about a cup and a half of guyere and about a 1/4 c of half and half. In a store bought pie crust I layered the bottom with the bacon, shallot and broccoli and then poured in the egg and cheese mixture. I cooked according to the directions on the pie crust package.

To my sister-in-law - I will send you the tray
To my daughter - my apologies (again)
To all others