Friday, March 27, 2009

Eat Your Colors!

My husband moved out to central New York before I did. He had about 4 months of exploration under his belt and had discovered some local dishes that he was excited to share upon my arrival.

His favorite is one that, to my dismay, I had tried to introduce to him early in our marriage. And now, low and behold, he discovered it all by himself! Happy me.

This dish is a colorful array of vegetables, sauteed in olive oil that makes your taste buds go ZING!
A bit spicy, a bit salty, a bit wonderful. It is a great way to eat your colors!

Greens, Italian Style

1 lb fresh greens washed well (escarole, broccoli rab, mustard, collard, you get the idea)
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
1 red hot cherry pepper, diced
6 clove garlic, minced (must be fresh, not dried from a jar)
1 onion, diced
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 link Italian sausage, removed from casing, browned and crumbled (optional)
or
several slices of pepperoni, sliced again into strips (optional)
1/4 cp sherry
1/4 cp water
1 cube chicken bouillon
or 1 tsp chicken soup base
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet with tight fitting lid, saute peppers, garlic and onion in olive oil until tender.
Add meat, if used and continue saute.
Add greens, sherry, water and bouillon or soup base.
Cover and cook on low, stirring and adding more water as needed, until greens are tender.
Don't add too much water as this dish is dry when done with just a hint of liquid remaining.

If you can't handle the heat of the hot pepper, leave it out.
This is a great side dish with pasta of any sort. Actually, this is a great side dish with just about anything!

Mangiare!

Simple Chicken

Sometimes I am not in the mood to stand over the stove or do tons of prep work. Those are the times when this meal is worth a million bucks. It is easy, flavorful and the leftovers can provide at least one additional meal. Break out your slow cooker and get ready for the most tender chicken in the world!

Simple Roast Chicken

Slice one large sweet onion and place some inside a 3 to 4 lb roasting chicken and some to cover the bottom of slow cooker.
Place bird in slow cooker
Sprinkle seasoning salt, garlic powder, and bouquet garni over top of bird.
Pour 1/2 cup sherry around sides of bird.
Place any remaining onion around sides and on top of bird.

Roast on low in slow cooker until bird is done - about 4 to 5 hours.

I usually serve this with a green vegetable and a wild rice blend. Skip the salad if you are feeling exceptionally lazy.

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Playing With Pizza

I tend to forget most of the things I come up with when playing in the kitchen. I am aware of this. It is a short-coming of mine that has plagued me for years.

I go into the kitchen. Open the fridge or freezer, look in the cupboards and just start throwing things together. Sometimes they turn out great. Sometime not. When they do turn out great, I cannot often remember what went into the making of the dish.

Tonight was one of those nights when it turned out great. Because of that, I decided that, before my mind wanders to the next meal, I would write it down. I even got pictures!

This meal was one of those that is so simple and made with things that most cooks have on hand; especially those cooks with teens in the house.

Without going too much into the needed foodstuffs, let's start playing with pizza!

Upsidedown Pizza Pie
preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix together your favorite pizza toppings (hold the cheese) with enough pizza or pasta sauce to generously cover the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate, about 3 cps of filling.
For mine, I used 1 cup of cooked greens, 1/8 cp of pepperoni, 1/4 cp chopped mushrooms, 1 tbs sliced olives, 1 tbs chopped onion.
For the pizza crust:
1 cp Bisquick
3/4 cp milk
1 egg
Mix together until all ingredients are blended. Pour over the top of the "pizza" toppings.
Cover the crust with approximately 1/2 to 1 cup of Mozzarella.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crust is set and cheese is browned.

So easy! And so tasty!!

will post pic tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St Patrick's Day Feast

Every St. Paddy's day is a celebration. No, we are not Irish, we are Scots, but who is checking. We go to any local parade - the one in Utica was awesome! We drink green beer, and I don't even like beer. We dress in green - don't want to get pinched - hate that. And, I always prepare my favorite foods to commemorate the day.

Whether you are Irish, Scots, British, Ukrainian, or just plain old American, you will love these dishes! I had plans of getting pics, but the boys hit the meal before I could get my camera, and that is fast, let me tell you!

First, I spent the day preparing a Corned Beef. Not just any old corned beef, mind you, but a GLAZED corned beef. It takes a while to prepare, but with a crock pot, have no fear. Just put it in the pot and by the time you are ready to begin the Colcannon, the beef will be ready for the glaze.

Glazed Corned Beef

1 corned beef - weight doesn't matter - rinsed
1/2 cup Jamiesons' Irish Whiskey, Bourbon, or Scotch
1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Place frozen corned beef in crock pot and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours until tender.
Take corned beef out of crock pot and remove all visible fat.
Place beef in shallow baking dish.
Mix Jamieson's or liquor of your choice together with brown sugar.
Pour over beef, making sure that every square inch of beef gets to meet the glaze!
Put into preheated 300 degree oven and bake until colcannon is done (about 1 hour)

While you are baking the corned beef, prepare the colcannon. This dish is so homey and basic. It is comfort food at its finest. I sometimes prepare this with sausage in the mix just because it is raining outside. Plain old good, substantial food. Try it!

While baking corned beef, prepare the colcannon.

Colcannon

1/4 to 1/2 cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
3 to 6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 to 1 stick of butter (not margerine)
1/2 cup juice from corned beef
1/2 water or chicken boullion
1/4 to 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
salt and pepper to taste.

In large pan with tight fitting lid, melt butter and add vegetables , corned beef liquid, and water or boullion.
Cover pan and cook over low heat until potatoes are soft.
Using hand masher, mash potatoes together with cabbage, adding Heavy Cream to desired consistensy (should be that of mashed potatoes) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove Corned Beef from oven and slice. Serve with a drizzle of glaze from pan.

As a side dish, I always prepare carrots because I like the contrast in colors - the reddish brown of the corned beef, the green and white of the colcannon and the bright orange of the carrots. Not only a visual treat, but a taste treat as well!

Add a bit of seedless rye bread and you have a St Patrick's Day Feast.