Monday, June 29, 2015

Farro, Chickpeas and Greens

Tonight we had grilled chicken breasts which were marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, fresh thyme and rosemary. To go along with the chicken I made Farro, Chickpeas and Greens. I found the recipe on Better Homes and Gardens. For the greens I used the radish greens from the radishes used in Saturday night's recipe. I also picked up some baby beets and used those greens too. Delicious combination. The dressing was my favorite, olive oil and lemon juice.

From Better Homes and Gardens, Farro, Chickpeas and Greens

1 cup uncooked farro
1 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 cups loosely packed fresh hearty greens (such as mustard or kale), coarsely chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Cook farro according to package directions. Place the chickpeas in a colander. Drain the farro over the chickpeas and run under cold water to cool farro quickly and rinse the beans. Drain well.
In a large bowl combine the farro mixture with the greens, tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Top with cheese. Season to taste.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Calabrian "Purgatory" Sandwiches

This was suppose to be Calabrian "Purgatory" Vegetable Sandwiches but I had a Pork Cutlet leftover from last night. So of course I added it to the sauce. Why not! The recipe is from La Cucina, The Regional Cooking of Italy. A book that I am sure Chris is happy he bought me. The recipe is from the Calabria region. And for those of you who have the book, it is page 719.

For a Sunday night dinner this was perfect. I made the sauce early today and just heated it up before dinner. I think it would have been good even without the addition of the pork.

From La Cucina, The Regional Cooking of Italy, Calabrian "Purgatory" Vegetable Sandwiches. I cut this recipe in half and had enough for maybe 4 sandwiches. So plan on leftovers.

3 medium plum tomatoes (I used canned diced tomatoes)
2 tbsp. shredded basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggplants, cut in sections and soaked in salted water for about 30 minutes
4 young potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters (I cut mine in little cubes to cook faster)
4 peppers, coarsely chopped
1 loaf country bread (I used Italian grinder rolls)

Parboil the tomatoes, peel them and cut them in pieces. (Or open a can of diced tomatoes). Put the tomatoes in a sauce pan with the basil and 2 tbsp. olive oil and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, adding salt to taste.
In another pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the remaining vegetables and cook until the potatoes are soft. Transfer them to the tomato sauce, and stir together for a few minutes to evaporate some of the liquid. Cut the loaf lengthwise, scoop out some of the bread, then stuff it with the puragtorio; close it, slice it, and serve immediately.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pork Chops With Spring Vegetables and Mustardy Pan Gravy

Tonight it was like we ate out but we ate in. We had Pork Chops With Spring Vegetables and Mustardy Pan Gravy. The recipe was from RealSimple. The presentation was spot on and the taste was quite amazing. The pork was perfectly cooked. I used pork cutlets instead of the bone-in pork chops. We both loved the vegetables, yes those are sauteed radishes! And the gravy was perfect. Now if we just had someone to do the dishes the dining out experience would be complete.
From RealSimple, Pork Chops With Spring Vegetables and Mustardy Pan Gravy

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 bone-in pork chops (1 inch thick; about 2½ pounds total)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 bunch radishes, halved
½ pound sugar snap peas, halved
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Chopped fresh chives, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chops with salt and pepper and cook, in batches, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest chop registers 145° F, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Reserve the skillet. Add the broth and mustard to the skillet, whisking to scrape up any browned bits. Cook until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in another large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallots, tossing occasionally, until browned and softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the radishes and cook until just beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and cook just until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the peas, season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Serve the pork chops over the vegetables, with the gravy drizzled on top and sprinkled with the chives.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Club, Delicious!

This month's book was Delicious!, by Ruth Reichl.  I enjoyed this book. A nice and light read after last month's selection. Instead of soldiers marching through the forests we had a young girl walking through the streets of Little Italy and Chinatown. The story was a bit predictable at times but I loved the subject matter and I looked forward to reading it after a crazy day sitting in traffic. I have read Ruth Reichl's other books and heard her speak at Foodstock a couple of years ago. I am looking forward to her next novel.

And of course Book Club always means good food.
We had some "book inspired" dishes tonight.
We should have been counting how many times the word "Delicious" was used.

In the book there was discussion of Cow's Milk Mozzarella and Buffalo Milk.
Personally, I liked the Buffalo!

But then we also had Burrata Cheese. Sorry Buffalo, Burrata steals my heart every time!

Stuffed Grape Leaves! Homemade! Amazing
The recipe is at the end of this post.

 Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken. Loved this!
The recipe for this is at the end of this post.

Beet and Berry and Arugula Salad.
Almost too pretty to eat! But it was delicious!

Ham Sandwiches on Southern Biscuits with Fresh Blackberry Mustard. 
1/2 cup fresh blackberries mashed into 2 Tbs. of grain mustard. 
I love blackberries and would never had thought to use them like this. Now I know!

Macarons in honor of the James Beard letters in the book.

And Billie's Gingerbread.
I made Billie's Gingerbread. The recipe calls for whole cinnamon sticks, whole black pepper and whole cardamom . There is a note on the recipe saying you can use ground spices but the flavor will not be the same. I am glad I used the whole spices.
Want the recipe?  Click here. I would strongly recommend trying this recipe. Was it a difficult recipe? No. The hardest part was grating the ginger. Not that it was hard it was just time consuming. But the aroma in the kitchen from the grinding of the spices and the oranges and ginger was intoxicating. 

Before I sat down to write this post I found a recipe on Bon Appetit for a Lemon Ginger Brew recipe. In it they chop the ginger and then pulse ginger in a food processor to a coarse paste. I wonder if this paste could replace the grated ginger?

And here are the recipes for the Stuffed Grape Leave and the Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken -

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Try to pick leaves before July 4 for freshest. Pick the largest but youngest, tender light green leaves.
They should be about 6" across for best rolling. Now, to make the dolma:

1) Snip off each stem near the leaf, trying not to tear the leaf.

2) Blanch leaves 2-3 at a time in shallow pan with 1-2" very hot water, turn them over once (the whole group of 3). Wait until they go from bright green to olive-colored and soften a bit.

3) Set aside and make your filling. You can use anything leftover, and it always helps to have some cooked rice on hand.

4) Mince 1/4 cup onions and saute to soften. Cook some ground lamb or hamburger--you don't need much for a dozen dolma, about 1/2 cup.

5) Mix the meat and onions with1/2 cup of rice. Adjust amounts to preference. Season with salt and pepper. You can also add some breadcrumbs to the mixture.

6) Lay a leaf flat, with smooth side down. Place a tablespoon or so of filling crosswise near the bottom of the leaf.

7) Fold the sides of the leaf in, then roll from bottom to point. (Kate's Gypsy friend from Upstate New York says the measure of a Gypsy's worth is how tightly her dolma are rolled!)

8) Place point side down in dish. Squeeze lemon juice over top and drizzle each with a little olive oil. Chill.

Serve with Dilled Yogurt!

Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken  (serves 4)

2 cups corn flake cereal
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp skim milk
1 tsp garlic salt
4 chicken drumsticks (about 1⅓ lbs)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Spray an oven-safe 13x9x2 inch pan with cooking oil spray.
Place the cereal in a resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin. Add 2 tbsp parsley and the paprika to the bag and shake to incorporate. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small skillet. Remove from burner and let cool for a few minutes. Then, whisk in the milk, 1 tbsp parsley and garlic salt. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Then, roll it in the butter mixture. Transfer chicken pieces to the resealable bag and shake until well-coated (do then all at once -- it's easiest). Place the chicken into the prepared pan. Spray lightly with cooking oil spray.
Slide the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

This was our last Book Club meeting until September. There is talk about a Book Club road trip to Arthur Avenue this summer. Could you imagine us wandering in and out of those shops. Sweet dreams! Have a Happy Summer and read a book!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Eggs in Purgatory

If this is Purgatory, Heaven can wait. I have made this dish so many times. My mom made it. My Aunt Marie made it. My Aunt Catherine made it. Let's just say it is one of those go to recipes. And there are so many variations of the recipe. My mom use to add green beans to her sauce. I opted for zucchini and a couple of hot dogs. But the main component of the dish is the sauce. Yes it is all about the sauce. The sauce I used tonight was the leftover sauce from the Steak Pizzaiola we had on Sunday night. That sauce is from Lidia's Favorite Recipes. Tonight I sauteed the chopped zucchini in some olive oil and then added the chopped up hot dogs. I sauteed those for a few minutes then added the sauce. Once it came to a simmer I added 4 eggs, one at a time, and poached them. This was a dinner that will be remembered. Why? The sauce. It's all about the sauce.

The sauce is from Lidia's Favorite Recipes.

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
One 14-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced garlic. Let the garlic sizzle a minute, then toss in the bell peppers and mushrooms. Season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the oregano. Saute until the mushrooms and peppers are caramelized on the edges, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes, and slosh out the can with ½ cup hot water, adding that to the skillet as well.

Bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and the peppers break down, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grilled Steak Spinach Salad

Remember that steak we had for Father's Day. It was pretty large for two people. Tonight Chris used the leftovers to make a Spinach Salad. A perfect warm weather supper. And he made a delicious dressing. Olive oil, 1/4 cup, fresh lemon juice, 1/2 lemon, 1 tbsp Dijon, 1 tbsp Romano Cheese and 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar. It had the prefect balance of flavors. The salad consisted of spinach, celery, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella and the most perfectly ripened tomato that we have had in a long time.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Waldorf Chicken Salad

Let's lighten dinner up a bit after the past 2 nights. Literally. I found the recipe for Waldorf Chicken Salad on Cooking Light. I was able to prepare it when I got home and it was the perfect meal. It was delicious and not heavy. And I have leftovers for lunch! Click here for the recipe.