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Wednesday
Sep152010

Pasta E Fagioli With Spicy Sausage and Swiss Chard


The traditional version of this is just as it translates – Pasta and Beans.  I did my usual procedure of covering the kitchen table with all my Italian cookbooks, opened to the Pasta e Fagioli recipes or anything remotely close.  I took the bits and flavors of each recipe I liked best. So, thank you’s go to:  Lidia and your Italian-American Kittchen , Andrew Carmellini and your Urban Italian cookbook, and A-16 and Nate Appleman for all of your inspiration.  This is a true rustic Italian meal in a bowl.  The aroma alone is enough to make you think you can speak Italian.  The garlic, pancetta, and onions, all getting happy together in the saucepan...heaven!

 The one thing I did do was to cook the pasta separately, and only added it on a per portion basis.  This way, the pasta didn’t soak up all the liquid and turn into a mushy mess.  When I re-heated a huge bowl for myself, again, I added the pasta last, just to warm it through then sprinkled (okay, more like piled) some Parmesan cheese on top, sliced two huge pieces of ciabatta bread and tucked in.  With the weather getting colder (sort of) and football season in full-swing...this is a perfect dish for hungry fans.  It also gets better a few days on.

 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

2-3 bay leaves

4-5 sprigs fresh oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil

4oz diced pancetta

2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed and crumbled

1 medium onion, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 ribs of celery, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

½ - 1 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup white wine

4 cups chicken broth

1 19oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 leaves – depending on size Swiss chard, finely chopped

8oz cooked orecchiette, ditalini or elbow macaroni

Grated Parmesan cheese to serve

 

 

Make a bouquet garni by wrapping the thyme, bay and oregano in cheesecloth then tie with kitchen twine.  Set aside. 

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add pancetta and sausage, cook until both begin to brown.  Break up any large pieces of sausage with the back of a spoon.  Add garlic, carrots, onions, and celery.  Saute until the onions begin to soften.  Pour in white wine and add bouquet garni.  Simmer until the wine is reduced by half.  Add beans and chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, add Swiss chard in the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Serve in large bowl, sprinkled/piled with cheese and crusty ciabatta on the side. 

 

It’s All Delicious Notes:  There were so many variations on this dish.  Some with sausage, some without, some called for pureeing half the liquid and beans, others added tomato paste to the soup.  I have to thank my cousin Marcie for the Pasta Fagoli idea.  I hope this lives up to your expectations Marcie and you and Les enjoy this as much as I did.

 

Tuesday
Sep072010

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


It’s a new twist for those ripened  bananas that are turning more spotted as I type.  I never had a Hummingbird cake until my friend Cindy and I took a short road trip to Beaufort and had lunch at the Beaufort Inn.  Southern Graces (a local catering company) serves lunch daily and brunch on Sunday at the Historic Inn - more on that at a later date.  Anyway, so impressed, were we, with the sweet, slight crunch and moist texture of our pieces of Hummingbird Cake that I set out to find my own recipe.  And I did, there are recipes flying all over the internet and are pretty much bog standard (except for Martha’s, obviously she changes hers up – because she’s Martha – freakin- Stewart!  That’s why!).  Hummingbird cake legend has it that the very first recipe was printed in Southern Living in 1978, submitted by Mrs. LH Wiggins of Greensboro, NC.  The exact explanation of the name remains elusive (like the little hummingbird itself) but it’s thought to have come from the sweetness derived from using the combination of crushed pineapple and bananas.  Or possibly that it makes you hum when you devour it.  Either way, I’m just happy I experienced this delightful little treat!  I decided to make cupcakes (for our Labor Day BBQ), and like a hummingbird, one minute the cupcakes were there and the next they were not.  This was truly one of the easiest and tastiest batch of cupcakes I have ever made.

 

Ingredients

Makes about 18 cupcakes

 

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans – about 4 oz

3 mashed bananas

8oz crushed pineapple

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

16oz confectioners’ sugar (about 4 ½ cups)

1 ½  teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a standard muffin tins paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Combine the bananas, pineapple, and pecans in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Beat the oil, sugar and vanilla on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment – about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated and beginning to turn pale – about three minutes.  On low speed, add the banana mixture and continue beating until combined.  Reduce speed to “stir” and add the flour, mix until the batter is smooth.  Fill each liner with approximately a scant ½ a cup of batter.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the middle.  Cool on rack.

To make the frosting:

Beat the butter and cream cheese, and vanilla on medium until smooth using an electric mixer.  Slowly add the sugar (and I mean slowly or you will have a confectioners’ sugar cloud in the kitchen) and beat until incorporated and smooth.  Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes.  Can be made one day ahead and stored in the fridge.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

 

It’s All Delicious Notes:  This recipe was adapted from Paula Deen, Art Smith and Mrs. LH Wiggins of Greensboro, NC.  Also, when I fill my cupcake liners, I use an old-fashioned ice cream scoop – the tins fill perfectly every time.

 

Tuesday
Aug312010

Pino Gelato - Oh Lawd or What I Love On Hilton Head

  

I’ve resisted this place for years and am sorry I did, just look at this gelato.  It’s dreamy, creamy, delicious, and delightful.  You walk into the store, and the sweet smell of takes over you.  You become dizzy as you walk up to the display case and see the most wonderful selection of flavors looking like frozen clouds.  Then the decisions have to come; how much and how many flavors should you decide to put in your cone or in my case, bring home.  On my first visit, I went for traditional vanilla and chocolate (mixed quart).  It was gone in two days.  On the second, a combo of dulce de leche and vanilla in one quart, a pint of chocolate and a pint of raspberry.  I’m still slowly working on these, my guilty pleasure at the end of the evening.  And here’s the good news compared to regular ice cream?  In my opinion, gelato could be classified as a health food with half the fat, almost half the calories, and zero (that’s right...zero) cholesterol.  What’s not to love?  Now I’ve had grocery store gelato, and again, there is simply no comparison.  You get what you pay for and Pino Gelato is far superior to any pre-packaged gelato I’ve had.  

 

They also make these cute little pizza cones that were featured on the Food Network show, “Unwrapped.”  It is just that, pizza in cone shaped flaky dough.  But for me, being a traditionalist I’ll stick to the gelato.  And another interesting little fact which I love (in addition to my personal feelings of the health benefits eating gelato versus ice cream) is that the Pino Gelato franchise is owned by a woman, Ramona Fantini.

 

Pino Gelato

1000 William Hilton Parkway

The Village @ Wexford

Hilton Head Island, Sc 29928

Hours:  Monday – Saturday 12pm-9pm

 

 

Monday
Aug232010

Re-fried Black Beans with Chorizo

  

Easy, tasty, versatile with a bit more texture than totally smashed up re-fried beans.  I used canned black beans to cut down on the soaking and cooking time and a combo of hot and mild chorizo.  The consensus was “delish” and firmly in the “It’s All Delicious” Southwestern repertoire.  I wish I could take total credit for this dish, but I can’t it has to go to Luke and Elena...it was their idea to add the chorizo!  

 

Ingredients

Serves 8-10 as a side dish or dip


2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

1-1 ½ cups chicken stock

8 oz chorizo sausage, thinly sliced

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

 

Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook chorizo until sausage begins to render its fat and browns, remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add onion to pan and cook until golden, add ½ the beans and ½ the stock.  Smash the beans down with a potato masher or back of a metal spoon.  Add the remainder of the beans, mash down, and then pour in the rest of the stock.  Add cilantro, lower heat and simmer until the beans become on the dry side, about 1 ½ hours. Continue stirring and mashing beans down occasionally to prevent sticking.  Return chorizo to pan during the last 30 minutes of cooking.  Serve warm as a side dish or as a dip with tortilla chips. 

 

Tuesday
Aug172010

The Market @ Michael Anthony's - What I Love On Hilton Head

 

 

Finally, an Italian market on the Island chocked full of cheese, breads, dried and cured meats – olives galore, pasta, and massive cans of plum tomatoes.  There’s homemade mozzarella and a nice selection of olive oils, wines, imported artichokes and roasted peppers.  They also sell a few of Michael’s fresh sauces - tomato and Bolognese.  Two days notice can get you branzino (my personal favorite fish) and if you fancy a veal chop just call ahead.  My next fingers crossed hope is that they will have “dishes to go” or maybe pre-made ready to pick-up, bring home and call your own (now who would ever do that?).  Maybe a few desserts?  The whole marketplace concept started when attendees of Michael’s cooking demos wanted to buy the ingredients he used during class.  Makes total sense, rather than traipsing around the Island not finding everything, the Market was born.  Each week there are new and interesting “finds” in the store. 

 

How expensive is it?  Hmmmm...That’s somewhat like; how long is a piece of string?  For instance, a bag of fresh pasta at $9.00 might feel a bit pricey but it’s well worth it being lighter in texture for one thing.  Plus I'm a firm believer of "you get what you pay for!" and "you can't put a price on quality."  

So while you might take an initial gulp, you forget the expense when you al dente it up and pour Michael’s tomato sauce over it (don’t don’t over cook this pasta...please.  If it’s possible to commit a sin against a starch...overcooking it would be cardinal). 

 

The 6lb cans of Alta Cucina plum tomatoes that grace the shelves are things of beauty and the contents produced the best sauce I ever made – even possibly a contender for the “Do you call it sauce or gravy?” competition at the Italian Heritage Food Festival on September 25th at the Shelter Cove Park.

 

 Grazie to all at Michael Anthony’s for opening a well needed specialty store on the Island.

 

Michael Anthony's Restaurant and Market

37 New Orleans Road

Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

843 785 6272

Saturday
Aug072010

Sweet And Spicy Walnuts

 

These are easy...fun...a bit different to make.  I had every intention on using them as a topping for my roasted beet and goat cheese salad.   But well, it didn’t really work out like that.  One taste test, to make sure I got the crunchy/salty/sweet/spicy combination right, led to another taste, which led to “just one more.”  That, in turn, led to a “hey, try one of these,” which led me to just sticking them in a bowl, munching on them, then making another batch for the salad.  What’s nice about these is that they are lighter and fresher tasting than a “praline” nut - crunchy without being teeth-chipping-hard. 

 

Ingredients

Makes enough to enjoy on their own (without getting yourself sick) and if they last, a nice topping for a salad

 

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

12oz shelled walnut halves, unsalted

Course sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Heat water, sugar, and cayenne pepper in a heavy saucepan over high heat.  Cook until the sugar dissolves brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water.  Add walnuts and stir to coat.  Reduce heat to medium. 

 

Cook for 15minutes stirring regularly and wiping down the sides of the pan with the pastry brush as necessary.

Line a baking tray with foil, spray with cooking oil.  Using a slotted spoon transfer nuts to the tray.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and bake for 5-8 minutes until they turn a deep walnut-brown color.

Keep an eye on them; do not over bake since the sugar will burn easily.  Cool and separate any pieces that are stuck together.  Use as an appetizer or topping for salad (if they last that long).  The walnuts will keep in an air tight container for a few days. 

 

 

It’s All Delicious Notes:  1) These are addictive.  2) Substitute chipotle chili pepper for the cayenne pepper for a smoky spicy sweet nut!  3) I tried using cashews, but they really didn’t work as well as the walnuts.  

Monday
Aug022010

Grouper with a Parmesan and Panko Crust

 

Out of approximately two hundred and fifty-five recipes on this site, there are twenty-five plus chicken recipes, thirty plus desserts, twenty-three plus that have something to do with Italian.  Only eight have something fishy about them, and here is the ninth. 

Obviously, I’m not a huge fish person, but my list is finally growing.  I love our lowcountry shrimp – best shellfish on the east coast.  Tender sweet clams and mussels make the list.   Tuna and salmon are my next favorites, a good crab cake - i.e., with white crab meat and limited breading - makes me smile as do soft shell crabs.  I’ve just discovered barrel fish and corvina, so they both have been added.  Swordfish and mako have been deleted - so over them, too much tarragon sauce in the early nineties.  I had tilapia once and will never eat that bottom fisher again – blich! And now, Black Grouper straight out of our local waters has joined the exclusive list. 

To date the best and freshest I’ve found on the Island has been from Dave at Piggly Wiggly in Coligny - say that three times fast! This would be lovely served with a little ratatouille – see previous post from Chef Penn 

 Anyway, I’m determined to expand the fishy-ness of this site and thanks to Michael Cirafesi from Michael Anthony’s, my all time elusive favorite, Mediterranean sea bass or branzino will be available with two days notice – that makes me smile too! 

 

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 ½ lb Grouper fillet – cut into 4 pieces

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Whole milk

Canola oil

Quick light tomato sauce – recipe below

 

Preheat oven to 425°F

Process parsley in the bowl of a food processor until minced.  Add the Parmesan and garlic powder, process until just combined.  Pour parsley mixture into a shallow dish and add the panko, toss with a fork to combine.  Set aside.

Pour about ¼- ½ cup of milk in a shallow dish.  Dip each side of the fillets into milk, then panko mixture, pressing crumbs into each side of the fillets.  Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, refrigerate until ready to cook. 

Heat a large oven proof skillet over high heat.  Add canola oil, when the oil begins to smoke lower heat. Using a spatula, transfer fish fillets to skillet, depending on size of pan, you may have to cook two at a time, do not over crowd.  Press fillets down using a spatula and fry until golden, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.  Finish cooking fish in the oven until firm when pressed approx another 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet.  A good tip from “Cooking” by James Petersen is to figure on a total cooking time of 9 minutes per inch of thickness. 

Spread a few tablespoons of fresh tomato sauce on a plate and top with grouper. 

 

Light Tomato Sauce

2 15oz cans of diced tomatoes, pureed in a blender

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Simmer pureed tomatoes and olive in a medium saucepan for 30 minutes.  Keep warm while preparing grouper. 

It’s All Delicious notes:  Look for a fillet that is pretty uniform in thickness allowing the pieces to be the same size.  This makes the cooking timing easier.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday
Jul252010

Ratatouille from Bistro Patois 

  

  I have always liked the concept of ratatouille (kind of like the concept of short ribs) but end up disappointed with the taste and texture (again like short ribs), especially if there is an over abundance of peppers in the pot.  That was until I had Chef Penn’s version.  In fact until now I never even consider making it, which is stupid considering that this time of year, all of the ingredients (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions and eggplant) are at peak season right now and available from our local farmer’s markets. 

  What also appeals to me with this revived version is it’s versatility.  Chef Penn served it with Lamb; you could use it as a sauce for pasta, or as a topping for a baguette.  Either way, you will not be disappointed on this new take of a wonderful French classic!

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

 

1 medium sized yellow squash, cut ½ inch thick

1 medium sized zucchini, cut ½ inch thick

1 medium sized eggplant, cut ½ inch thick

1 vine ripe tomato, medium dice

1 large yellow onion, large dice

Canola oil

2 cups chicken stock, light sodium

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 large basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (see It’s All Delicious notes below)

Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large oven proof dish, drizzle vegetables with canola oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven until beginning to caramelize – about 25-36 minutes.  Pour chicken stock over vegetables and cover with aluminum foil.  Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and braise for 20 minutes.  Drain vegetables and return them to pan. Let cool completely to develop the flavors.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle basil leaves over and season with cracked black pepper. Serve as a side dish and definitely with a wonderful crusty baguette.

 

It’s All Delicious notes:  A chiffonade cut is basically cutting in long thing strips.  

 

Monday
Jul192010

Bistro Patois - Habersham Marketplace - Beaufort, SC

 

  

picture courtesy of riann mihiylov photography 


Bastille Day Celebration at Bistro Patois

 

First Course – Vichyssoise – Cousserges Chardonnay

Second Course – Moules de Provencal – Hughes Picpoul de Pinet

Third Course – Petite Lamb Rack Chop with Ratatouille – Segries Cote due Rhone Red and Segries Lirac

Fourth Course – Oeufs a la Neige Au Citron – Ch Hallet Sauternes

 

Walking into Bistro Patois feels like you’ve walked into a restaurant that was picked up from the left bank of the Seine, flown over and deposited in Habersham Marketplace in Beaufort.  There’s an immediate feeling of “mais oui!”  My son, Luke, and I drove to Beaufort for French fare (far easier than hopping on a plane plus it’s a pleasant drive).  When we sat down at our table, a nice corner booth, we looked at each other, nodded our heads, and gave a discreet whatever it’s called knuckle punchy thing golfers do.

Bistro Patois, is a curious name.  There is nothing ‘patois’ about the place.  It’s just a year old but you would never be able to tell.  It has calmness about it, suitably proper that makes you think...“we have been around forever.”  It’s small, I think I counted fifteen tables inside and the chance to eat out side if it’s not bucketing down with rain like it was for us on Bastille Day – which didn’t matter one bit.

Chef Penn pillages, in the nicest possible way, the local markets for his menu ingredients.  His philosophy?  Simple is better.  With fourteen years experience under his toque blanche, he’s calm and caring about his restaurant and food and that clearly comes through. I guess that’s the one un-French thing about Bistro Patois...no crazy temperamental chef like Skinner from the movie Ratatouille.

We had a set menu – paired with lovely wines, which I will get to later.  I glanced at the menu proper; it’s definitely up-scale bistro fare.  I guess it could be categorized, if there was such a thing, as a Gastro- Bistro.  It’s expanded beyond bog-standard bistro fare – steak, chips/fries, pate, gherkins, but it’s all there, including raclette!  Their Country Table Lunch Buffet will be expanded later this month to Wednesdays through Saturdays.  A lovely day out – especially on Fridays when the Habersham farmer’s market is in full swing. Well worth the drive from Hilton Head.  My hint, when you go, is to know if you think you are going the wrong way?  You are so going the right way.  You head down a road well signed to Habersham Market and all of a sudden POP it opens up to a small village on the left– I liken it to the little village in Palmetto Bluff. 

Bistro Patois is a sister restaurant to Plums and Saltus in Beaufort – for those who are completely unfamiliar with the surrounding area – it is nowhere near either of them.  What I mean, is that Patois is not in downtown Beaufort, it's approximately 10 miles away.  The Bistro Patois website is comprehensive and informative – there’s really no need for me to go into anything other than that here.

The restaurant itself  is charming.  I was beguiled by the crystal chandelier in the middle of the ceiling (well where else would it be Sally?).  It is truly pretty as is the atmosphere calm and classy.

 

picture courtesy of riann mihiylov photography

Let me get back to our meal.  Our first course was vichyssoise – a potato and leek soup served cold.  It was traditional and tasty.

  Moules de Provencal was next on the menu.  I love mussels and never make them since I never seem to be able to get them clean enough.  I’m sorry to say that some restaurants have the same problem, that and over cooking them so they resemble little rocks – and well the sauce...can be hit or miss.  Not this time.  The moules were tender and sweet – not over cooked and chewy.  The tomato based sauce was a nice change from the sometimes watery and bland mariniere.  At this point Luke and I asked for more bread – mopping allowed with moules.  Not one bit of that sauce was going to be left. 

 

Next was Petite Lamb Rack Chop with Ratatouille.  The lamb, again, was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth – very pink.  The ratatouille served as a bed for the lamb.  The usual stewy ratatouille was replaced with a tasty version that wasn’t runny and had a little bite to it.  You could actually taste and recognize all the vegetables rather than being over powered by too many peppers, or the whole thing drowned in tomato sauce.  The dish was so different from every other ordinary slap it on the side of a plate ratatouille norm that I asked chef Penn for the recipe and will post it here in a few days.

 

Our dessert, Oeufs a la Neige Au Citron was just a miracle – it was humid and rainy outside and they were fluffy and light! I’m still shaking my head on how he accomplished that meringue miracle.  Also, he didn’t poach them, so they weren’t runny; he baked them to a lovely golden color.

 

Now, I don’t profess to know a lot about wines. I like my grape juice and usually in the form of chardonnay.  However, I have to say that Henri Gabriel from Advintage was a straight talking juice pusher kind of dude who made sense.  We could actually follow what he had to say since pretentious wine-ing was not his style.  Our standout favorites were the Huges Picpoul de Pinet – it really popped with the moules.  It was crisp, tart and would be great with just about any seafood.  This bottle was so enjoyable and affordable that I bought a case of it.  Nice price point too: about $10.00.  With the lamb – the Sergries Lirac stood out a lovely blend of primarily Grenache, Syrah, and a couple of other grapes whose names I don’t remember.  Anyway, I bought a case of that, too.  Price point: around $20.00, a poor man’s Chataunauf.

Bistro Patois is one for the short list.  Don’t let the drive put you off if you’re coming from the Island. The food alone is worth it plus it’s a nice change of scene.  Driving from Bluffton it’s a hop skip and a jump.  From Beaufort, well it’s a doddle.  As I mentioned, next time, I’ll make a day of it.  I’ll pillage the farmer’s market myself  on a Friday hang around the village and grab an early bistro dinner. 

 Chef Penn and moi

Bistro Patois

21A-1 Market Street

Habersham

843 379 2207

Hours:  Dinner - Tuesday through Saturday 4:30-10:00pm

Lunch - Wednesday through Saturday 11:00am-2:30pm

 

 

Tuesday
Jul132010

Chunky Tomato Salsa With A Kick!

  

Everyone has their own take on salsa.  Some like it hot, others like it mild, some like it chunky others like my friend Cindy whir it up in a blender so it’s smooth and on the thin side.  And the varieties - Mango, peach, pineapple, jalapeño, corn, fresh tomatoes chunky tomatoes, pureed tomatoes – it seems like you can salsa-fy anything.  Personally, I like a traditional chunky tomato-based salsa with my favorite sweet hot combination incorporated into the flavors.  After making this a few times, I whittled down the chipotle puree from a burn your lips and stick your mouth under the faucet amount to one tablespoon.  But it’s all a matter of taste and if you don’t need your taste buds or want to feel your lips for a week by all means, ramp the puree up to three tablespoons...ouchy!

 

Ingredients

Serves a crowd

3 14.5oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes

2 4oz cans fire roasted green chiles

1 tablespoon chipotle puree

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Combine all the above ingredients, except the cilantro, in a medium sauce pan and simmer, uncovered, 1 ½ hours until thick.  Stir in the cilantro.  Cool and keep refrigerated until ready to use.  Will keep in the fridge for 1 week.

 

Monday
Jul052010

Blueberry and Lemon Pound Cake

 

I’m beginning to think I should rename this website Chicken and Pound Cake.  This is definitely the basic pound cake recipe of choice now - previously seen dressed in carrots.  The sour cream is the way to go giving the cake moist, moist, moistness and the blueberries?  Well, you can’t really go wrong with these gorgeous plump berries this time of year.  Actually, when it comes down to it...I’ll take a blueberry over a raspberry any time.

  The blueberries hold up beautifully during baking.  These sneaky little blueberries release just enough of their tartness to entice you into another guilt free piece.  And I say guilt free since when you cut your third piece, you do so with a smile - realizing you are actually eating a ton of antioxidants.  Go for it! 

Ingredients

Makes 1 Bundt cake – serving 1 or 12- depending if you share

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

6 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

1 cup sour cream (only Daisy in this kitchen)

3 cups flour plus 2 tablespoons

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 cups sugar

Grated peel from 6 lemons

 3 cups blueberries, picked through

 

Pre-heat oven to 325°F.

Let butter, eggs, and sour cream stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Grease and lightly flour one Bundt cake pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.  Toss blueberries with 2 tablespoons of flour, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat paddle beat butter on high speed for one minute.  Reduce speed to medium, add lemon peel, and sugar ½ cup at a time.  Beat for 10 minutes until light and fluffy – don’t skimp on the time!

Reduce speed to low. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating until well incorporated.  Scrap the side of mixing bowl frequently.  Keeping the speed on low, alternate, adding the flour mixture and sour cream to bowl.  Mix until just combined and smooth.  Remove paddle and carefully fold in blueberries until distributed throughout the batter.

 

Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Bake for 60-70 minutes until a tester inserted comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes in pan on wire rack.  Remove and cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

 

It’s All Delicious notes:  Tossing the berries in flour will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cakes when baking.

 Also, with the juice from the leftover lemons – you could make a glaze with confectioner’s sugar and douse the cake in that – just a thought. 

 

Friday
Jun252010

Chocolate Chip And Banana Cheesecake Tartlets

  

These couldn’t be easier to make and quick.  My usual kitchen conundrum of “what in the hell am I going to do with those damn bananas?” stared me in the face once again.  So, I went through my own recipe archives and with a little cutting and pasting, mashing and whipping I came up with these little babies.  My son, Luke, declared them “the most delicious thing he’s had for dessert ever,” ousting Baked Chocolate Cream from its long standing number one position in the dessert charts.  There you have it.  Don’t over bake them or they will come out dry.  I used pre-made mini graham cracker tartlet shells to expedite the quickness, but you could very easily make your own, or even make a larger tart.  A dollop of whipped cream would really dress these up nicely.

 

Makes 8 tartlets

Ingredients

2 very ripe bananas

8 oz cream cheese – room temperature

1 egg – room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ semi-sweet chocolate pieces

 

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl until creamy using an electric mixer, about 3-5 minutes.  Beat the bananas in a small bowl until relatively smooth, add to cream cheese mixture, and beat on low until fully incorporated. 

Stir in the chocolate pieces.  Drop a ¼cup of banana cream cheese mixture into each tartlet shell.  Place shells on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, the sides should be firm and middle still soft and wobbly. 

Chill for a few hours then serve with whipped cream if desired.

 

Thursday
Jun172010

Grilled Chicken "Piri-Piri"

  

 Piri-piri  reminds me of summer, grilling on the beach and Portugal.  Here’s my version using the traditional ingredients with the addition of a little sugar as I can’t get away from the sweet hot combo that I love!  This is a great marinade for grilled chicken or fish.  It’s also perfect as a spicy side sauce.   

“Piri-Piri” marinade

Ingredients

Makes about 4 cups

1 cup lemon juice

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

10 garlic cloves smashed and peeled

3 dried mild chilies

5 dried hot chilies

2 tablespoons oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

3 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Soak chilies in hot water until soft, about 20 minutes then roughly chop including the seeds.  Heat all ingredients over a low heat in a medium saucepan until just simmering.  Cool and process mixture in the bowl of a food processor until smooth.  Marinate chicken for 24hours in the fridge then grill. 

 

Friday
May212010

Curried Pork Spring Rolls

 

These are a bit fiddly to make, but well worth it.  Something different.  The curry taste is not over powering at all and the carrots give a nice crunch.  If this is your first foray into deep frying I suggest investing in a proper thermometer, it’s important to have the oil at the right temperature so you actually deep fry the rolls quickly rather than letting them sit in an oil bath before they begin to cook.  Also, here’s a good tip; set out a bowl of vinegar near to where you’re cooking. This will absorb any orders so you won’t have the smell of deep fried curried pork spring rolls wafting around the kitchen for days and days.

 

Makes about 20

Ingredients

 

¾ lb. ground pork (or chicken)

1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, chopped

½ cup shredded carrots, chopped

½ of a granny smith apple, peeled and diced  

1 tablespoon garlic puree

1 tablespoon ginger puree

1 tablespoon red curry powder

1 tablespoon rice wine

Rice noodles, cut into 2-3inch pieces (about ½ of the package

Egg roll skins

Canola oil for deep frying

1 egg, beaten

 

Soak rice noodles in hot water for 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Mix pork, purees, curry powder and rice wine in a bowl.  Let marinate for at least ½ hour, up to 2 hours. Cook pork in a skillet over medium heat, add carrots and green onions.  Cook until pork is no longer pink, about 15 minutes.  Set aside to cool. 

 

Add 1 ½ cups of the softened rice noodles to pork mixture.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle the surface with flour.  According to package instructions, assemble rolls, sealing the edges with beaten egg.  Place on prepared baking tray and refrigerate until ready to fry. 

 

In a wok or deep fryer, heat oil to 350°F.  Working in batches, three at a time, deep fry spring rolls until golden in color.  Do not over cook.  Serve immediately with raitia or sweet chili sauce.

 

Monday
May032010

Jo's Curry

 

This is the very first curry recipe I was given in London.  It was given to me by my friend Debbie, who was given it by her friend Jo.  This basic curry is an original recipe from Jo’s cook, who was a former Gurkha from Nepal.  What I like about this is it’s simplicity for first time curry tasters.  It’s grounded with enough flavor as an introduction which after time can be adapted to suit anyone’s personal tastes and preferences.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

 4 chicken breasts cut in strips

1 large onion chopped, finely

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chili flakes

1 piece of ginger, minced

2-3 tablespoons curry powder

1 28oz can chopped tomatoes

 

Fry onions in oil until soft.  Add garlic, ginger and chili flakes continue cooking for

another 3 minutes.  Add chicken stir to coat.  Cook until just opaque.  Add tomatoes and

 continue simmering until chicken is cooked through.  Serve with steamed rice, naan bread, and raita