Friday, May 20, 2011

Braised Chicken with Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, and Balsamic Vinegar

This looked like a nice recipe- using up some more of the chard that I have. I found it online at an interesting site called Meals Matter. They are interested in better and more nutritious meal planning and offer tools for folks.

8 Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and skin
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 Large onion , halved and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon Tomato paste
3 cloves Garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 Anchovy fillet , minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained
2 cups Low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons Chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Bay leaf
12 ounces Swiss chard , washed and dried
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in nonreactive Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking; add chicken thighs skin-side down and cook without moving them until skin is crisped and well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer; transfer thighs to large plate.
2. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from pot. Add onion and tomato paste and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until tomato paste begins to darken, about 4 minutes (if bottom of pot becomes very dark and sticky, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water). Add garlic and anchovy and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, and wine, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon. Add red pepper flakes, thyme, and bay. Remove and discard skin from chicken thighs, then submerge chicken bone-side up in liquid, adding any chicken juices accumulated on plate. Increase heat to high, bring to simmer, cover, then place pot in oven. Cook until chicken offers no resistance when poked with tip of paring knife but meat still clings to bone, 40 to 55 minutes.
3. While chicken cooks, trim stems from Swiss chard. Cut stems crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces; halve leaves lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Set stems and leaves aside separately. Also while chicken cooks, simmer balsamic vinegar in 8-inch nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat until thick, syrupy, and reduced to 1/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes (begin measuring volume when vinegar begins to cling to sides of saucepan). Set vinegar reduction aside.
4. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil; discard bay leaf. Bring liquid in Dutch oven to simmer over medium-high heat; add chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add chard greens and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir about 1/3 cup sauce into balsamic reduction to loosen, then stir mixture into sauce; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Return chicken and accumulated juices to sauce, cook until heated through, about 2 minutes, turning chicken once or twice. Use slotted spoon to transfer chard to serving dish or individual bowls; place chicken thighs on chard, then spoon sauce over. Serve immediately.

**I will be skipping step number one and making modifications since I will be using skinless, boneless chicken thighs. This dish is very tasty!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spinach Bread Pudding with Lemon and Feta

With a lot of family coming into town for graduation, I need a good breakfast casserole for one of our meals together. I saw this recipe in Food and Wine and decided to give it a try. It seemed lighter than many breakfast casseroles that I have seen. I have yet to find one that I would make twice. So I'll make this one in advance...just to check!

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the dish
8 ounces whole wheat bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 ounces baby spinach, finely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chopped oregano

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a medium baking dish. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until dry but not browned. Let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the spinach and 1/4 cup of the feta.
  2. In another bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the mustard, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the milk and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir until they are evenly moistened. Transfer the bread mixture to the baking dish and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining feta on the bread pudding and bake in the center of the oven until risen and set, about 40 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and broil until the bread pudding is golden and crispy on top, about 2 minutes. Scatter the oregano on top, cut into squares and serve. 

**Very nice. It took twice as long to cook it. I will definitely serve this for brunch. 

    Black Bean And Zucchini Chilaquiles

    This recipe originally comes from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook, found on the Epicurious web site. I needed a quick make ahead recipe for a very busy evening.

    1 1/2 tablespoons light or extra-virgin olive oil
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 medium green bell pepper, diced
    One 28-ounce can crushed or puréed tomatoes
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    One 16- to 20-ounce can black beans or 2 1/2 cups cooked black beans (from about 1 cup dried)
    1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
    1 small fresh hot chile pepper, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
    12 6-inch corn tortillas, torn or cut into several pieces
    8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese or Cheddar-style nondairy cheese

    1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch baking pan or 2-quart round casserole.
    2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue
    to sauté until it has softened and the onions are golden. Stir in the tomatoes, seasonings, beans, zucchini,
    and chile pepper. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 5 minutes.
    3. Layer as follows in the prepared pan. Half the tortillas, half the tomato black bean mixture, and half
    the cheese. Repeat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10
    minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve.

    **I left out the bell peppers. I used my frozen garden tomatoes. I used chipotle chili powder. This was a very fast and easy dish to make. The sauteed onions added the sweetness to balance the spice. Kind of a deconstructed enchilada dish.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

    This comes from another blogger, The Pioneer Woman.


    • 3 whole Eggs
    • 7 slices Thick Cut, Peppered Bacon
    • 1 whole Red Onion, Small
    • 1 package Mushrooms, White Button
    • 8 ounces, weight Baby Spinach, Washed Dried And Stems Removed
    • 3 Tablespoons Reserved Bacon Grease
    • 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons Sugar
    • ½ teaspoons Dijon Mustard
    • 1 dash Salt

    Preparation Instructions

    Cook eggs: cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and allow to sit in water for 20 minutes. Drain off water and add ice on top of eggs.
    Fry bacon until crispy/chewy. Remove to a paper towel.
    Remove 3 tablespoons grease and set aside.
    Add 2 add’l tablespoons of grease to a separate skillet over medium heat.
    Slice red onions very thinly, then add to skillet. Cook slowly until onions are caramelized and reduced. Remove to a plate and set aside.
    Slice mushrooms and add them to the same skillet. Cook slowly until caramelized and brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
    Chop bacon.
    Peel and slice eggs.
    Make hot bacon dressing: Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, vinegar, sugar, and Dijon to a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk mixture together and heat thoroughly.
    Add spinach to a large bowl. Arrange onions, mushrooms, and bacon on top. Pour hot dressing over the top; toss to combine.
    Arrange eggs over the top and serve.

    ** Although it was delicious, next time I would use a different oil than the leftover bacon grease. 

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Chicken Tenders

    It feels a bit silly to post this because it is so easy. It is a great recipe for little kids and we are still eating it!

     Chicken breast, cut into thin strips
    Good handful or two or three of corn chips, crushed in a food processor
    1 T taco seasoning- mixed with the corn chips

    Dredge the chicken strips into the chips. Place on cookie sheet. Cook for 14-15 minutes on 350. (or until done)


    Cabbage Pie

    This comes from the Johnson's Backyard Garden blog (an Austin, TX CSA). The person who posted the recipe recommends using escarole, but indicated that it is good with other greens, so I used our napa cabbage and 3 or 4 chard leaves. The original posted indicated that the recipe came from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook.

    1/4 cup olive oil 
    6 large cloves of garlic, chopped 
    1/4 cup black olives, chopped 
    1 tablespoon capers, rinsed 
    2 heads of escarole, chopped 
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
    1 teaspoon fennel seeds 
    pastry for a 9 inch, 2-crust pie 
    8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (I usually use shredded) 

    Preheat oven to 375. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, olives, capers. Cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Add the escarole, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Cover, reduce heat to low and allow to steam 30 minutes, stirring frequently until the escarole is tender. If it begins to stick, lower the heat. Stir to mix well. Taste for seasoning. Drain in a colander.  

    Sprinkle half the mozzarella over the bottom of the pie crust. Put the escarole mixture in the crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top. Cover with the top pie crust, sealing the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut 3 slits in the crust to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into wedges. 

    **I used napa cabbage and some chard for the escarole. I also used the ready made spelt pie crusts. And finally, I used a good squirt of the Thai hot sauce instead of the crushed red pepper flakes. The flavors of this dish just didn't do it for me- the saltiness of the capers against the sharpness of the fennel seeds. I won't make this recipe again.

    (I have also substituted other greens in it as well though the escarole is my favorite.)

    From Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook:

    1/4 cup olive oil

    6 large cloves of garlic, chopped

    1/4 cup black olives, chopped

    1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

    2 heads of escarole, chopped

    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    1 teaspoon fennel seeds

    pastry for a 9 inch, 2-crust pie

    8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (I usually use shredded)

    Preheat oven to 375. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, olives, capers. Cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Add the escarole, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Cover, reduce heat to low and allow to steam 30 minutes, stirring frequently until the escarole is tender. If it begins to stick, lower the heat. Stir to mix well. Taste for seasoning. Drain in a colander. 

    Sprinkle half the mozzarella over the bottom of the pie crust. Put the escarole mixture in the crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top. Cover with the top pie crust, sealing the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut 3 slits in the crust to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.


    This is a delicious pizza crust. Very easy to make and adapts well to using spelt. I often 1 x 1/2 times the recipe to make 2 cookie sheets' worth of pizzas. This week I roasted a head of garlic with some fresh thyme and olive oil along with half a head of garlic. I put that on the crust along with lots of fresh spinach and crumbled feta cheese. This pizza dough recipe comes from Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. I searched online for the recipe, but came up short.

    1 pkg dry yeast (1 T)
    1 C warm water
    1 t salt
    2 T olive oil
    2 C unbleached flour (or spelt-can substitute 1 C whole wheat)
    additional 1 C flour

    Mix the yeast and water in a large bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes until dissolved. Mix in the salt and olive oil. Stir in 2 C of flour and beat well. Gradually add enough of the additional flour to form a soft dough. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a lightly floured board. Knead it for about 10 minutes (much less for spelt), until smooth and elastic.
    Wash out bowl and oil it with 1 T of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turn it over to coat with oil, and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
    Just before you're ready to use the dough, preheat the oven to 400.
    Punch the dough down and knead it briefly in the bowl. Oil a pizza pan or baking sheet. Press and stretch the dough to cover the pan and form a ridge around the edge.
    Put your toppings on and bake for 30 minutes.

    **So delicious, I couldn't get a picture in time!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Quinoa Tabouli Salad with Chickpeas

    One of my favorite summer salads. I used to use bulgher until wheat became an allergy issue in this house. Now I use quinoa and love it. This recipe comes from The New Moosewood Cookbook. I found the recipe on-line on the website . However, what you see below is how I've adapted it over the years. Depending on what is in season, I'll add the tomatoes or if I have kalamati olives, I'll add them. I usually add chickpeas for the protein.

    • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
    • 3 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • pepper
    • 3 scallions, finely minced
    • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley, packed
    • 8- 10 mint leaves, minced
    • 2 medium tomatoes, diced or 4 roma tomatoes,diced
    • 1/2 cucumber,  minced

    1. Cook the quinoa in the water for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.Fluff up the quinoa.
    2. Emulsify the lemon juice and oil. Then mix in the salt, garlic, pepper, and scallions.
    3. Chill for 30 minutes.
    4. Before serving, add the rest of the ingredients.
     **Delicious, as always.

    **Made a different time, with black olives, tomatoes, and carrots.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Vietnamese Spring Rolls

    I love these rolls wrapped in rice paper. They are perfect for a warm day. You can find a multitude of recipes on-line for the fillings and for the sauces. Here is what we did:

    For the spring roll
    Cucumber, cut into long slices
    Carrot, long peels
    Tot Soi, washed and left whole
    Basil, cut into strips
    Mint, cut into strips
    Tempeh, cut into strips
    Rice vermicelli

    For the Sauce
    1/4 C hoisin sauce
    2 T almond butter
    1 t rice venegar
    1 garlic, crushed
    1 squirt Thai hot sauce

    In bowl of warm water, dip each rice paper wrapper for about 3-5 seconds (depending on rice paper thickness). Do not over soak your rice paper wrapper! Place on work service and allow rice paper to soak up water and become gelatinous and pliable (about 30 seconds to 1 minute, again, depending on the thickness rice paper).
    On top 1/3 side closest to you, lay noddles and greens on the bottom for added strength to the wrapper. Then place herbs and other vegetables. Roll up spring roll about 1/3 way through, then fold in the sides.
    Serve with hoisin almond dip (or any other sauce).

    **Delicious. Keeper.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Spring Fettuccine

    The basis of this recipe comes from Fettucini alla Primavera. I will be using more vegies than it calls for. Since I've never made this recipe- we'll see what changes as it gets made. The recipe below is what I intend to make- not the recipe on the link.

    6+ oz frozen baby peas
    1 C zucchini, sliced and cut in half
    1 cup frozen edamame
    1 C baby carrots, peeled
    1 1/2 oz butter
    1 small white onion, finely chopped
    1 lb brown rice fettuccine
    4 oz ham, diced
    freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 C cream
    1/2 C low-fat milk
    fresh mint
    freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan) for serving

    Take peas out of the freezer. Drop the edemame into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water. Bring the water to the boil, then cook the beans for 3-4 minutes. Drain. Plunge the carrots into lightly salted boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain. Steam the zucchini until al dente. Put the butter into a medium-sized frying pan and add the chopped onion. Cook gently until very tender. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of gently boiling well-salted water until al dente. Add the edamame, carrots, and zucchini to the onion in the pan and cook for a few minutes more, until hot. Add the ham and season the sauce with a few pinches of salt and plenty of black pepper. Pour in the cream and let it bubble up for a few minutes (don't over-reduce it). Turn off the heat.As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it over the peas and turn it all into a heated serving bowl. Add the mint to the sauce, then pour all the contents of the pan on top of the pasta. Toss well and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6

     **Delicious! I used 2 large carrots, 2 small zucchini, half a larger bag of baby peas, and a whole small  bag of frozen edamame. Because of the extra veges, I put in 3/4 C whole cream and 3/4 C of 2%. I didn't cut the mint up, but put in some leaves whole. Keeper for sure!

    Mashed Potatoes with Garlic- Pressure Cooker

    This recipe comes from a great cookbook called Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass. I couldn't find the recipe on-line, but I did find her site for some of the recipes. This one is adapted from the recipe for Mashed Rutabagas and Potatoes.

    2-4 T butter
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 3/4 C vege stock
    2 1/2 lbs potatoes cut into 2 inch chunks (I cut red potatoes in half)

    Saute garlic in butter, add potatoes and stir. Pour in stock and lock lid in place over high heat. For russets, cook 6 minutes under high pressure, for reds-cook 4 minutes. Quick release the steam. Mash and serve.

    **Delicious and so easy to make. You can also substitute onions for the garlic.