Sunday, March 31, 2019

Roast Chicken Thighs over Spinach and Linguine

This is a delicious and easy recipe that Sunset Magazine published a long time ago, well before the Lane family sold the magazine to Time. Those were the days you could trust their recipes to always be good.

1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dry basil
1/2 tps Aleppo pepper
8 chicken thighs, dried with a paper towel and fat deposits removed
2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach
16 oz. linguine
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 orange cut in wedges.
Melt butter in a 10 by 15 baking pan in 400º oven. Stir onion, garlic, basil, and Aleppo pepper into the melted butter. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the butter mixture and then turn it over. Roast the chicken uncovered for 45 minutes, until it is 165º. While the chicken roasts, thaw the spinach in a baking pan next to the chicken. That will take about 30 minutes. Break it up into chunks after about 15 minutes to speed thawing. Pour the thawed spinach into a colander and squeeze out the liquid.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the linguine according to package directions. It will likely take about 12 minutes to cook the linguine.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and keep it warm. Add the spinach to the pan along with the linguine and the cheese. Mix with forks and scrape any browned bits free. Season to taste with salt.
To serve, mound the pasta mixture on each plate, top with chicken, and place orange wedges on the side. The orange wedges should be squeezed on the chicken and pasta.

Italian Style Kale Salad

A friend gave me this recipe. I don't know where she found it. Not only is it delicious, it keeps well, which is unusual for a salad.  Unfortunately for me my husband likes it so much we rarely have any leftover for me to have for lunch the day after I make it.

4-5 cups organic lacinato Kale, removed from stems and sliced
juice of a meyer lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Aleppo pepper to taste
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup pine nuts or toasted walnuts
Whisk together juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper, and herbes de Provence. Pour over kale and toss with your hands. Add panko and toss with salad servers. Add cheese and nuts and toss servers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

Do look for a kabocha squash. I find that they are usually sweeter than butternut squash but if you can't find one at your market a butternut squash will do. I found this recipe, which called for a butternut squash, at Serious Eats and made only a few changes. Roasting the squash makes for a better soup than just steaming it.

1 kabocha squash, about 2 1/2 lbs
2 or 3 carrots
extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves
4 cups low salt chicken broth
2 tsp herbes de Provence
1 tsp piment d'Espelette
whole milk
Slice the squash, pole to pole, and seed it. Next cut each half in 5 or 6 slices, coat with olive oil, and put the slices on a sheet pan. Peel the carrots, cut them into chunks, coat with olive oil, and place on the sheet pan with the squash. Put the squash and carrots in a 425º F. oven and roast until tender, about 50 minutes. Turn the vegetables over every 15 minutes.
Slice the onion and the garlic thinly. Melt the butter in a pan that will hold the completed soup, and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onion has browned. If the squash has cooked and the carrots are still hard, add some of the broth to the soup pot and toss in the carrots and simmer until the carrots have softened. When the squash is cooked remove it from the oven and cut off the peel. Add the squash to the soup pot, along with the carrots if they are not yet in the pot. Add the broth and the herbes de Provence and the piment d'Espelette. Bring the pot to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or use a standard blender. Thin with milk if the soup is thicker than you would like.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Pasta Sauce (or in the Instant Pot)

This recipe is based on one by Jamie Oliver. I cooked it as he wrote it more than once but the last time I made this sauce I didn't have the correct amount of everything or as much time as I would have needed to slow cook it. It was better with the changes in ingredients and the Instant Pot worked well to speed the prep time up. The last time I made this sauce I served it over spätzle and it was a great combination. The sauce is also very good with pappardelle.

4 lb chuck roast cut into roughly 2" chunks
Extra virgin olive oil
1 handful each fresh rosemary and fresh thyme.
1 large red onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1/2 of a 750 cc bottle of wine
1 12 or 14 oz can of organic Marzano tomatoes
2 tbs pearl barley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 tbs unsalted butter, cut in chunks
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving.

Dutch Oven Version: Salt the meat and brown it in olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the vegetables except for the tomatoes, turn the heat down, and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it has mostly cooked away. Add the tomatoes, herbs, pearl barley, and enough water to cover the meat by 1/2 inch. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, until the meat shreds easily. When meat is cooked, remove it from the pan and shred it. Return the meat to the pan and add the butter and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and your sauce is ready to use.

Instant Pot Version:  If you will be using an Instant Pot, brown the meat in a frying pan and once it is browned move it to the Instant Pot. Put the vegetables in the frying pan with more olive oil if needed and cook until they are softened. Add the wine and simmer until it is mostly cooked away. Transfer the vegetable and wine mixture to the Instant Pot with the beef. Add the tomatoes, herbs, pearl barley, and enough water to cover the meat by 1/2 inch. Lock the lid in place and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Remove the meat and shred it. Return the meat to the pan and add the butter and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and the sauce is ready to use.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I can never remember what I did the last time I made a creamy style mac and cheese and to save myself the work of figuring out what to do when I make it again I thought I should write a recipe down. Plus Len liked this as much as he likes his mother's style mac and this was a first. This is the type I make when I have some soft stinky cheese I need to use up. Feel free to use multiple types of cheese but if you use Roquefort don't use a large amount or it will be too strong. Feel free to mix up any sorts of cheese you happen to have.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound macaroni, I prefer cavatappi
8 ounces unsalted butter, divided
4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon
large pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese grated 
8 ounces Compte or Gruyere, grated
4 ounces Epoisses or similar cheese
enough cracker or bread crumbs to cover the top of the mac mixed with 2 ounces melted butter
Heat the oven to 350º F. Butter a 9" by 13" pan. Cook the macaroni until just short of al dente in boiling salted water. Heat the milk over medium heat. Melt 6 ounces of the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. When it bubbles add the flour. Cook, whisking 1 minute. Add the hot milk slowly, whisking the entire time. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and bubbles, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese and the spices. Stir in the pasta and place the mixture in your pan. If you want to have even more fat in your mac and cheese you may pour some melted butter on your bread crumbs now. Lastly sprinkle the crumbs on top of the mac and cheese and bake it until it is golden, about 30 minutes.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Crazy Chocolate Cake or (Updated Name) Vegan Chocolate Cake

This recipe is from the Great Depression when eggs, milk, and butter could be hard to come by. It is great for people with egg or lactose allergies. Another bonus is that you don't have any dirty bowls to wash. Back when this recipe was developed being vegan was not fashionable and the cookbook where I found the original recipe doesn't mention that it is vegan. I found this recipe in the LA Times.
I top the cake with powdered sugar and serve it with sliced strawberries.

Crazy Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups unsifted all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup cold water or weak coffee or 1/2 cup stout plus 1/2 cup coffee
Set your oven to 350º F. Sift the dry ingredients into an ungreased 8" square baking pan. Whisk them together in the pan until mixed and smooth them out. Make 3 depressions in the dry ingredients and pour the vanilla, vinegar, and oil in the depressions. Pour the water over all. Mix everything together with a spoon. Don't worry if there are a few lumps. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Väänänin Martini Recipe

I thought that I didn't like like martinis until Eeva made her twist on her brother Jukka's version of the classic recipe. It was delicious and changed my opinion when it came to martinis. I am pasting the recipe Eeva sent to me.

 Always use Noilly Prat vermouth. Accept no substitutes (well, perhaps in this hipster era of ours there are acceptable substitutes out there, but guilty until proven innocent, I say). I'm pretty sure we got Noilly Prat at Trader Joe's, but your Aptos liquor store is bound to have it, as it's the standard bearer, not niche. 

I favor stirred martinis. If you don't have a stirrer, you can use a large pint glass. Put enough ice cubes in it that they will be higher than the gin. Stir quickly to chill the glass (you don't want the ice to melt, and if any water collects on the bottom of the glass throw it out before adding the gin). Add the gin (just shy of 1/4 of a cup per person) and no more than a Noilly Prat cap full of vermouth, stir rigorously for a few seconds and pour into martini glasses. The idea is to ensure as little dilution of the drink, so no extra time in contact with the ice. Take your lemon peel piece, give it a quick twist above the glass to release the aromas and drop it in. You're all set. 

My martini is based on the stirrer I use, so the amount may vary but it looks like about 1/4 cup. No need to fill up the vermouth cap entirely either, it's really just meant to be a hint. Some folks even rinse their martini glasses with vermouth first then chuck it out before adding the chilled gin.

Some people also store the gin in the freezer or place martini glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes before making the drink. I sometimes do the former, but never the latter, as I don't like drinking from a wet glass and having precipitation all over my hands.