February 15, 2017

Cabbage and Potatoes with Bacon

My favorite local pork farmer sells bacon in slices and in a package called bits and pieces. The bits and pieces are cheaper, and are just the ends leftover from uniform bacon slices. They're perfect for a recipe like this, where they end up in pieces anyway.

Cabbage is not something I eat regularly, but would like to. This recipe is delicious. It reminds of another from one of Heidi Swanson's cookbooks, but she uses white beans instead of bacon.



Cabbage and Potatoes with Bacon
adapted from I'm Bored

1/2 head green cabbage, cut into bite sized pieces
5 slices thick cut bacon
1.5 lbs. red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lg. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. caraway seeds
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spread potatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season liberally with salt & pepper, garlic powder. Roast potatoes about 15 minutes, stirring half way through, until tender and crispy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a high sided skillet, big enough to add your cabbage to later. Either cook the bacon in strips and break it up later or dice the bacon first, then cook. Remove bacon, set aside. Drain grease from pan but leave about 2 tablespoons in the skillet to cook the vegetables in.

To the skillet with the bacon grease, add onions and cook over medium heat, until they start to soften. Add cabbage, garlic, a little salt & pepper and caraway seeds. Stir and continue to cook a few minutes until the cabbage starts to soften and everything is combined well. Add a splash of water, stir, cover and cook about 5 more minutes until cabbage is tender. Stir the cabbage a few times while it's cooking.

When cabbage is done, remove lid, add the roasted potatoes and bacon. Toss well to combine and serve.

Lentil Soup

I've made too many basic lentil soups before finding one that's worth repeating. This one is good.


Lentil Soup
adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion
2 large carrots, peeled
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
2 stalks of celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Italian herbs
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup green or dePuy Lentils
1/2 cup split red lentils
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
3 cups roughly chopped kale
squeeze of lemon

1/2 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2-3/4 cup grated Parmesan

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Chop the onion, carrot, sweet potato and celery into roughly 1/4" pieces. Put all of the vegetables, including garlic, into the warm pot with the sea salt and saute until just softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the pepper, Italian herbs, red pepper and both lentils. Add the broth and stir. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes until everything is tender but not mushy. Using an immersion or regular blender, blend up about half of the soup just so it gets thicker, leaving some chunks. You still want the texture of the vegetables to come through. Turn off the heat. Stir in the turmeric, butter/oil and kale and stir for the greens to just soften and marry into the soup. Add lemon juice and taste for seasoning.

Serve each bowl with parsley, Parmesan, and toasty bread.

October 23, 2016

Strawberry Cake

I'm back! Is anyone there?

My father-in-law requested strawberry cake for his birthday. An internet search brought up so many recipes that included strawberry jello. Using jello probably results in a pinker color and more pronounced strawberry flavor than this cake, but I prefer not to use jello. This cake was delicious, so I wanted to keep it for later by posting it here.

Strawberry Cake


12 medium strawberries, hulled
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray or prepare with butter and flour. Remove any excess flour.

Blend the strawberries in a blender on medium speed until pureed, about 3 minutes. This should result in three-fourths cup strawberry puree. Set aside.

Cream the butter until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Slowly add the sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour milks, vanilla, and the strawberry puree into a measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add to the butter and shortening mixture, alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.

Evenly distribute the cake batter between the cake pans and place the pans into the preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cake releases from the edges of the pan and springs back to a light touch. Remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool slightly in the cake pans for about 5 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks and let them cool completely.

Frost cake with desired frosting, like cream cheese frosting.

January 29, 2016

Lemon Chicken

I almost forgot about this recipe (this is why I have a recipe blog) until I was searching for incomplete posts.  My mom told me this recipe over the phone, and this is what I jotted down.  I've provided amounts based on my best guess. Chicken dredged in flour is always better than not, and the lemon and garlic provide a simple, classic flavor.

Lemon Chicken
as told to me by my mother

flour
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin or cut in half to create two thinner pieces
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. thyme, dried
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, sliced thinly

Dredge chicken in flour, salt and pepper.  Melt butter and olive oil in a hot skillet.  Add chicken and cook until brown on all sides.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add 1 clove garlic, minced.  Sauté for 30 seconds.  Add chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf.  Return chicken to pan and top with lemon slices. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Fajitas

I've tried many marinated fajita recipes over the years, but none have made an impression. This recipe is a keeper, though, and I've made it many times. I usually don't even marinade the chicken very long and it is super tasty.

UPDATE 2/23/16: Finally made a vegetarian version and it was delicious.  I added the marinade (didn't measure - probably used half the amount of marinade) as I cooked the peppers and onions.  After they were cooked, I added one can of drained black beans.


Chicken Fajitas
from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons lime juice (half a juicy lime)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
Few dashes hot sauce, optional
8 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
Olive oil
2 large bell peppers, cut into thin strips (mix of any colors)
1 large yellow or sweet onion, halved and sliced thin
Coarse salt
Accompaniments: black beans, salsa, avocado, cheese, etc.

In a bowl or freezer bag, add lime juice, spices and garlic and mix together. Slice chicken thighs into thin strips (1/4- to 1/2-inch wide) and add to marinade. Let marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days in the fridge.

Heat oven to 250 and wrap tortillas in foil. Set on rack to warm. Prepare accompaniments of your choice.

Cook peppers, onions and chicken: Heat your largest skillet (12-inch cast iron) on the highest heat. When very hot, drizzle in some olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. When this is nearly smoking hot, add the peppers in a single layer. Wait. Try to get them a little charred underneath before you move them around. Once they’ve begun to brown, add the onions, plus some salt. Wait again for some color to develop before you move them. When peppers are nicely charred in spots and onions have softened and sweetened, scrape mixture onto a plate or bowl to clear the skillet. Heat skillet again on a very high heat with a thin slick of olive oil. Spread chicken strips in as much of a single layer as you can. Wait until they brown underneath to move them. Saute strips, regularly pausing so that they can get some color, until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Return peppers and onions to skillet. Heat again until everything is sizzling and bring to the table.

Serve with warmed corn tortillas and other accompaniments.

Madeleines

When I visited Paris a few years ago, I really wanted to try madeleines. We did have some, but they were packaged in a bag, and I'm not sure how fresh they were. They were nothing to write home about. Then I happened upon a madeleine pan at TJ Maxx more recently, and for $7 thought it worth a try. I'm not sure what delicious, fresh madeleines taste like, but these cookies are delightful in an understated way. They do seem to dry out quickly, so they are best fresh.



Madeleines
from VS Kitchen

65g or 1/2 cup and 1 tsp of confectioners’ sugar
zest of citrus fruit (lime, orange, or lemon)
Pinch of salt
1 egg
2 tsp whole milk
65g or 1/2 cup and 1 tsp of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp or 2g of baking powder
65g or 5 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted and cooled until room temperature
Extra confectioners’ sugar for dusting over the baked madeleines

Preheat oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg, milk, sugar, zest, salt to blend. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk or sift flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture and blend to combine.

Add in melted butter, beat until the batter is thick.

Fill madeleine molds with batter, about 3/4 full.  Makes about 10 cookies.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden brown and risen.

Let cool and transfer to wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if preferred.

Chocolate Waffles

When I've had a stressful day and want something easy to prepare for dinner, I go for chocolate waffles. I posted some chocolate waffles before, but I didn't like all the cornstarch in the recipe. This is my new and improved recipe.

Chocolate Waffles
from Alton Brown

7 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 3/4 ounces sugar, approximately 3 tablespoons
1 .5 ounces cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 whole eggs, beaten
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
4 ounces chocolate chips, approximately 3/4 cup
butter to grease waffle iron

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl beat together the eggs and melted butter and vanilla, and then add the buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in the chocolate chips just until combined. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the center of the iron. Close the iron top and cook until the waffle is crispy on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.