Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Minute Burger Bread or Fast Food for Super Bowl


So you need something fast, but you don't want it to be the usual? I've got you covered. I made this bread countless times when my kids were in high school and they needed something for all those sport meetings we had to attend. It is quick, easy and adaptable, unlike a lot of those coaches we had to deal with. No, I do not miss those meetings at all. Tennis season made me cringe, swim team made me suffer (all those early mornings), and cross country I could deal with. I often wondered if playing sports really translates into real life and the good news is that in my kids case, it does.

Zoe, who was in  constant battle with her high school tennis coaches, (because they believed in playing favorites) became captain of her college team. Though she was always at the bottom of the roster, she had a great attitude and was a strong leader. She still plays tennis today, but not as often as she likes. She also runs and has been in 3 half marathons and run a full one, too! That was exciting!

Alex had the same awful tennis coaches; really they were. So much so that he gave up tennis his senior year and decided to run cross country. I remember feeling awful about that, but was so proud of him for not being afraid to switch sports as a senior. He now is hopefully going to run a half marathon in Shanghai in May. They both are also excellent skiers; which I hope is my golden ticket for getting them to move back one day. I have faith!



But back to this burger bread. It is highly adaptable and almost any ground meat mixture can be placed atop the French bread. The juices from the meat sink into the bread and it is heavenly. You can do a more traditional burger with the ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles. Or you can do some Italian seasonings with some tomato sauce and mozzarella. Mexican style-that works, too! Throw in some chilies, some jalapeno cheese and some taco seasoning and it rocks! If you are taking this somewhere just wrap it up in some foil to keep it hot, but it does work even at room temp. Well, at least it works that way with teenagers!

Super Bowl is a perfect occasion to serve this. It takes truly just minutes to throw together and you can even make the meat mixture ahead and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. No need to make a mess with grilling or frying burgers, this makes life easy! Now if only those coaches were, too!



10 Minute Burger Bread
Adapted From: James McNair's Favorites
Time to Make: 10 minute Time to Bake:15 minutes
Serves 6-12 (This depends on if these are appetizers or a main course.)

Ingredients:
1 long thin French baguette split lengthwise
4 T butter softened
1 1/2 lbs of your favorite lean ground meat or sausage
1/2 c finely chopped onion
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T bbq sauce (see below)
Ground pepper and salt
1/2 t garlic powder

Bbq Sauce
1/2 c ketchup
4 T Worcestershire
4 T brown sugar

Yellow mustard for drizzling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400. Spread slit baguettes with a light smear of butter. Make it garlic butter if you want!

Combine meat, onion, Worcestershire, bbq sauce, salt, pepper and garlic. (If you want to check to see if this is seasoned to your liking take 1 T of mixture and put it in microwave for about 25 seconds. If you like it, then leave it, if not feel free to up the seasonings.) I use my hands to mix this really well. Spread meat on buttered bread about 1/4 inch thick. If you make the meat to thick, it won't be cooked when the bread is golden. Make sure all the bread is covered and it is pressed a bit into the bread. Spread some of the bbq sauce on top. You should have some left over which you can serve on the side.

Place the bread halves on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 7-15 minutes. This depends on how well you like your meat cooked. Watch that the bread doesn't burn, but it should get golden and crispy. If you want to add cheese, place it on when the meat is done and run it under the broiler until it melts.

Slice into serving pieces and serve with your favorite accompaniments. I drizzled with some mustard and added pepperocinis! It is good as is, but you could put out pickles, pepperocini, mustard, jalapenos...You get the idea!

Other Super Bowl Food:
Saigon Crunch Chex Mix
Buttery Garlic Parmesan Potato Chips
Italian Nachos
Pimento Less Cheese
World's Best Onion Dip
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip
Thai Peanut Pork Dip
Dan Dan Sliders or Chinese Sloppy Joe
Microwave Caramel Corn
Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake






Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Shitake Stuffed Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas and a #Whole Foods #Giveaway


It seems I've been on a SUPER duper Mexican streak for the last few weeks. Green chilies are a SUPER favorite of mine and I'm always thinking of ways to use them. Whole Foods sells Hatch green chilies which is a SUPER thing, because when I run out of my fresh frozen ones, I will need a place to turn too! Luckily, I still have a ways to go...

My friends at Whole Foods have me thinking health and SUPER Bowl which is kind of funny because I've had this recipe tucked away for a long time that I've been waiting to try. It is a vegetarian enchilada recipe that contains lots of healthy things including Hatch chilies and yogurt. I've never seen an enchilada recipe with yogurt, have you? In any case, they turned out great and would be a SUPER addition to your SUPER Bowl buffet. Isn't that a SUPER thing to know?

In honor of the SUPER Bowl, I actually looked up the teams that were playing. They are the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. The Denver Broncos were not SUPER enough. Nor does my SUPER brain really care, but I know many do. As a wife of a Broncos fan, I feel your SUPER shame.



It is now time to get over it and try these SUPER enchiladas. I love making enchiladas because there are countless ways to make them. In this case, one could try varying the enchilada  sauce, even though this recipe is a SUPER one, it isn't traditional. You could try my SUPER green chile or my SUPER red chile. I love the green and red and you could even make both and have the enchiladas Christmas style. Wouldn't that be SUPER?

If you felt the need for meat, which might be an essential for SUPER bowl fans, one could add chicken or chorizo. They would taste SUPER, too! One could also stack these enchiladas and slice the green chile to lay it flat between the tortillas. Switch out the corn tortilla for another type because Whole Foods has a  variety of tortillas to choose from! That is pretty SUPER too!

All in all, these are pretty SUPER enchiladas. The shitakes make them rich, but not over the top. They are creamy, but they won't make your stomach hurt. If you want them a touch richer add a little heavy cream to the cream cheese mixture. On that note, feel free to download some great healthy eating tips from Whole Foods and make these enchiladas. Yeah. I know you know. They are SUPER!

Whole Foods is giving away 1 $25 gift card to help fill your basket.  This is a sponsored post by Whole Foods but all opinions expressed are mine, baby. Open only to US residents.No compensation has been given but products have been provided. Giveaway closes on February 14, 2015. Subscribe if you don't want to miss the announcement of the winner in February to see if you won! Winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator!  Enter once by leaving me a comment and telling me the best way to eat chilies OR how many times I used the word SUPER! Enter twice by subscribing to This is How I Cook. Enter again by following me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter or on Instagram at This_Is_How_I_Cook.



Shitake Stuffed Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas (from the package of dried shitakes)
Makes about: 8-10 enchiladas
Time to Make: About 30-45 minutes active time
Ingredients:

Enchilada Sauce:
2 T oil
1 large chopped onion
2 coves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 c red wine, broth or water
1 T ancho chile powder or your favorite
2 t oregano
2 t honey
1 t salt
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t hot sauce or to taste
Enchiladas:
4 T butter
1 c dried shitakes, rehydrated and sliced
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used a variety that included portbellos, shitakes and criminis)
1 c chopped green onions
1 lb whole green chilies, roasted, and seeded
4 oz cream cheese (feel free to sub in the low fat)
1 c plain yogurt
2 T flour
10 corn tortillas or your choice, but use the smaller sized ones
1 1/2 c shredded cheese, but I just crumbled some feta over the top
Directions:
Sauce:
Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft. Stir in garlic, tomato sauce, wine, broth or water, seasonings, honey and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. If you need to add more liquid to keep the sauce on the thinner side, you may. I also used a handheld blender to make the sauce smooth, but that is your choice. Set aside for further use. (This can be made a day ahead.)
Enchiladas:
In a large frying pan, melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook until somewhat golden. Reduce heat to low and add green onions, yogurt, cream cheese and flour. If you want some heavy cream, add it here. Cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Lightly oil a large 13 x 9 baking dish. Spread a small amount of enchilada sauce on the bottom. Now make a slit in each green chile and stuff with about 1/3 c of cheese mixture. You can leave the stems on and let them stick out of the enchilada.

Heat enchilada sauce and dip a tortilla into sauce for just a few seconds to soften. Place filled chile into each tortilla and roll up. Place in baking dish. When all are rolled, pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Bake covered for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Uncover and sprinkle with your choice of cheese. Continue baking, uncovered for 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with more green onion or cilantro. Serve! Be prepared for SUPER compliments. After all, these are SUPER and it is the SUPER bowl!



Other Hatch Chile and Mexican recipes:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Green Chile and Chorizo Bread or Barbarian Bing Bread


Are you ready? It seems that the last few weeks has found our Hatch chile friend, Preston, making the rounds. Lately, I've seen so many chile recipes out there and now there is one more. Mine also contains the home made chorizo that I mentioned in my last post but one could also use store bought. Just don't skip the Hatch chilies. I never say no to chilies even though my freezer is still full from fall, when I went over to Federal and bought a bushel. And yes, those were Big Jim's, too!  I love chilies, but having them arrive on your doorstep already cleaned, is pure luxury. It saves so much time.Time that I can devote to cooking!

Yes, we all know that the Super Bowl is coming up. I know who is not playing in it, but I have no clue who is. Truthfully it matters not to me, though it does give me a great opportunity to eat good junk food-versus junk food that is bad. Know what I mean? Of course I've never really tasted junk food that is that bad, because what makes junk food junk, is that it's good. Or so it seems. Glad we've got that cleared up!

Recently Bon Appetit had a little blurb on their web site that linked to a restaurant in Chicago that makes Bing bread. What, you might ask is bing bread? Well, I didn't know either until they told me that it is similar to the Chinese scallion bread, that I love. It can be sweet or savory and is commonly served for breakfast. Let's just say that Manservant did eat this for breakfast. And lunch and dinner, often accompanied with a fried or poached egg on top and some beans on the side.



 Bing is short for Shaobing and this is a Northern Chinese dish that isn't very common in the South. It may be related to na'an or pita and one translation called it a barbarian bread. I love that. "Hey man. Let's have some barbarian bread to go with our yak milk tonight." I've made it before but I've never upped the amps like this, which is all thanks to the restaurant in Chicago and Preston who sent me the chilies. My mind does work in odd ways.

Now if you think I've upped the amps, I must mention that the original recipe from Chicago contains a pound of bacon and two cups of white cheddar cheese. Sounds fab to me, but like I said-these chilies were on my doorstep and the chorizo was in the fridge. So let's get this straight. I've created a fusion bread. Yes, a Chinese bread filled with a New Mexican filling, that will easily step in for the ubiquitous stromboli or pizza on game day. Got it?

The bread is easy to make, though you must allow a bit of time. It is filled to the brim with chilies and chorizo. Throw in some cheese and potatoes and scallions.Top with a great sun dried tomato butter. Or you could also try a green chile butter or an ancho butter. I've got you covered! This makes two breads which slices into about 12 dense wedges. And the filling, which is great in the bread, also works great for quesadillas or tacos. You could stir it into scrambled eggs or spoon it over baked potatoes. Perfect for breakfast burritos, too. My mind just isn't holding tight today!

Feel free to check out my other green chile postings. And if you ran short on chiles this season, do order from Preston. He makes it easy. Check out his Facebook page for more great recipes. Remember if you aren't a football lover, you can always cook on game day and be assured a hungry crowd. Preferably one that loves green chilies and barbarian bread. But I'd skip the yak milk!



Green Chile Chorizo Bread
Serves 12
Adapted from: The Parachute, Chicago
Time to Make: About 60 minutes active time

Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 T  sugar
  •  t kosher salt, divided
  • 4 c all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 large russet potato, unpeeled, cut into ½" pieces
  • 3 T vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound chorizo, cooked and blotted dry
  • 1 lb chopped Hatch green chilies, drained
  • 8 oz  cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
  •  c thinly sliced scallions
  • Your favorite butter for topping

  • Directions: 
  • Combine yeast, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 tsp. salt, and 2 cups very warm (but not hot) water in a large bowl, whisking to dissolve. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 4 cups flour and mix with a wooden spoon until dough comes together in a shaggy ball with only a few dry spots of flour remaining. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 50–70 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Toss potato with 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil and remaining ½ tsp. salt on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing once, until potato is golden brown and soft, 15–20 minutes; let cool and then mix in bowl with chorizo mixture.
  • While potato is roasting, cook chorizo in a frying pan until fat is rendered and chorizo is a touch crisp. Save grease to brush on dough rounds. Place chorizo in a large bowl and mix in drained chilies, grated cheese, scallions and roasted potato.
  • Once dough has doubled in size, gently punch down and transfer to a generously floured surface. Knead, adding more flour a tablespoonful at a time if dough is very sticky, until smooth (dough should be very soft, pliable, and slightly sticky).
  • Divide dough in half. Flour surface generously. Cover 1 piece of dough with plastic so that it doesn't dry out. Roll out the other piece of dough, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking, to a 13" round about ¼" thick. Sprinkle with half of chorizo/chile mixture.
  • Roll up dough like a jelly roll. Pinch together seam and each end to seal, then gently squeeze and press from the center toward the ends to elongate the roll slightly and even out thickness.
  • Starting from one end, coil roll (like a rope) to form a large spiral. Gently flatten spiral with your hand to form a 9" circle, sprinkling with lightly with more flour to prevent sticking if needed. Cover and repeat with remaining dough


Friday, January 16, 2015

Chorizo - How to Make It and Eat It!


 Chorizo is so full of flavor and so easy to make, it is high time you try it yourself. I love sausages probably because I love the flavor that is infused into the meat. One can be so creative when it comes to cooking with them. In most cases it is totally acceptable to substitute ground turkey or chicken instead of pork or beef. The choice is totally yours. Standard recipes such as sloppy joe or chili can become new taste sensations when you sub in a sausage instead of the normal ground meat. 

Well, making my own chorizo has been on the back burner for awhile. Lately, I haven't like my choices at the grocery. And last weekend found me with some ground turkey when I wanted chorizo. Being too lazy to run to the store I decided to finally make my own. Let me tell you, there is no going back. Not only do I love knowing what is going into my chorizo, I also love that it tastes better.

Chorizo is quite common in Mexican food, but also is used in famous Spanish and Portuguese dishes. After googling chorizo, it is apparent that most countries seem to have their own version. Today we are talking about the Mexican version that differs from the Spanish kind in a few obvious ways. Spanish chorizo is usually dried and filled with lots of smokey, spicy paprika and white wine. Mexican chorizo is fresh and tends to use vinegar for flavor. It also contains paprika, but not usually the smoky kind. They both are traditionally made from pork. I took a few liberties with my recipe and combined a bit of the two.


As for uses for chorizo, we love it fried in patties for breakfast. We love it cooked and crumbled on quesadillas. We love it in sloppy joe. We love it instead of hamburger patties between a bun with lots of spicy mayo for extra flavor. It tastes great added to chili and is a perfect addition to poultry dishes. Mixed into scrambled eggs or instead of bacon on a fried egg sandwich, is a sure way to make something common become something over the top. I could go on, but you get the picture.

The hardest part about making chorizo is the waiting. It tastes better if you give the flavors a chance to melt into the meat, which means mixing up the spices and the meat and letting it sit refrigerated for up to a day. Now I don't have a lot of patience so I only waited a few hours, but I am imagining how extra special it would have been if I would have showed some restraint. Well, we all are good at something!

I've got a recipe coming up that does require chorizo. If you want to prepare and make your own, give it a go. On the other hand, you can always buy it. Just keep in mind that this is easy and tastes so much better. And it is fast; well, that is if you don't count the waiting! So now I'm off to look for dresses. I have several occasions coming up and I need a dress. I am good at cooking. I am not good at looking for dresses. Wish me luck, because I need one for next weekend and another more fancy one, two weeks later. I'd much rather be making chorizo!


Chorizo
Makes 1 lb
Time to make: About 10 minutes active time
Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork, turkey or chicken
1 T ancho chile powder
1 T chili powder
1 T oregano
1 T garlic powder
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 T smoked paprika
1 T regular paprika
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar

Directions:
Combine ground meat with seasonings. I used my hands to mix this really well, but you could use a wooden spoon. Form meat into a loaf about 10-12" long and place in plastic wrap. Tightly wrap and place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. You could even freeze it like this for further use. When ready to use you can slice this and press it into patties or fry it and crumble  for other uses.

Ways to use Chorizo:
Breakfast Burritos
Red Chile and a Breakfast Sandwich
Simple Green Chile Breakfast Souffle
Overnight Mexican Breakfast Casserole


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup or Put Some Sunshine in Your Life!


The gray, dreary, totally sad excuse for days, has left me feeling in a bit of a funk. The need to rise out of bed is minimal except to meet the needs of the soft, little, shaggy creature, clawing at my bed. She wears a red, size 3T shirt, that says, "I love my mom." If that doesn't get you out of bed, what would?



Colorado is beginning to remind me a lot of growing up in Illinois, where the days were a constant gray, from November until April-or so it seemed. I was so ready to escape, but I must admit to missing those wide open flat places, that makes it seem like the horizon never ends.


 Days like this require fortitude. They require something that at least makes you think sunshine is still there. Somewhere. "It must be somewhere," she screams! Days like this require contemplative thought, which is why I'm finally starting meditation. I don't care what you call it, but I hope to find a new happy place and I can't think of a better place to start than within me. Between this and my friend Reebok elliptical, I've got some new things on my plate. So far I've been a good friend to Reebok and all she has given me is sore legs, shortness of breath and lots of sweat. They say good friendships take a long time to develop, so I am hanging on to see the results. Be nice to me Reebok or I know a good truck to send you away on!



Days like this require simple food. Days like this require soothing food. But if you know my food by now, you must realize that flavor is my middle name. I love food that sings to me; food that makes me guess all of its components while happily munching it away. Yellow was missing from my life,(maybe it is because Zoe has left) but the sweet beauty of Thai chicken soup was calling my name. Yeah. Today, this was how I cooked.


Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves about 3-4
Time to make: About 15 minutes to make and 15 minutes to simmer
Ingredients:
1 T oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced in thin strips which is best accomplished when the meat is partially frozen)
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t cayenne pepper
pinch red chili flakes
1/2 can unsweetened coconut milk
3 1/4 c chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 t lemon grass paste
1-2 t fish sauce
3 T pineapple juice and reserve the chunks
2 T crunchy peanut butter
1 c thin dried egg noodles
3 scallions, chopped
3 T cilantro, chopped
1/2 t sriracha
Fried onions to garnish
Chopped peanuts to garnish
Chopped Cilantro to garnish
Sliced Jalapenos to garnish (seeds in = spicy!)
Directions:
Heat oil in a large-ish pot. Add garlic cloves and saute until light golden. Add the chicken, turmeric, pepper, and red chili flakes top pot. Stir fry for a few minutes until chicken is almost cooked. Add coconut milk, chicken stock, lime juice, lemon grass paste, fish sauce, and pineapple juice. Whisk in peanut butter. Simmer for a few minutes. Soup can be made until this point. To continue-while soup is simmering add the egg noodles and cook al dente according to package directions. Before serving, stir in scallions and cilantro. Add sriracha to taste at table. Fish sauce can also be added if you like a saltier flavor. Ladle soup into bowls and top with fried onions, cilantro, chopped peanuts, jalapenos, and small chunks of pineapple. Taste the sunshine!

A few more to try:
White Bean, Bacon and Kale Soup
Cincinnati Chili
Pasta Chicken Gratin
Chili Lover's Meatloaf
Chicken Soup Chicken

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey and Playing Catch Up!


Sometimes I feel like I've been playing catch up. When your life stops it takes awhile to catch up and that is what I'm doing. My life had been on hold for various reasons, some of which had to do with Manservant's travels and lack of work or to much work. Last year began my time of catch up, which I was more than ready to do. I could wax poetic on this, but my mantra to all girls just starting out is to always keep your foot in the door. Trust me, I learned the hard way. But rather than dwelling on the past, let's move into the present and let me tell you about why we are even talking about "catch up".

And what, by God, does this have to do with chicken? Trust me, I always seem to know where I'm going; I just don't know how I'm getting there! My recent foray at Costco found me deciding which Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook to buy. I already have Jerusalem and I've shared many of those recipes with you. I was all set to buy his new one, but it was the old one, the very first one, that caught my eye; so that is what I bought.

Trust me, I have bought very few cookbooks in the last 10 years. Luckily, I have a lot of cookbooks and the library has been a great resource, too. In the last ten years those two have kept me fed, so to speak! The truth is that I love cookbooks. I devour them like novels.I sleep with them by my bed. In my opinion, one can never have too many cookbooks. If you are ever wondering what to buy me, well, flowers and cookbooks will suffice!


And so it is I found myself facing "Ottolenghi" at dinnertime. On a cold winter night. In a cold house. It was snowing outside. I was hungry for more than a PB and J! Have I set the scene properly? So I opened the book to the middle. Truly, the page I opened to is page 123 and there are only like 283 pages in the book, so that is about the middle, isn't it? This recipe was on that page. And on the opposing page is another chicken recipe with za'atar that I am dying to make, too!

Now if you are smart, you will deduce from my photo that I had not planned to make this for a blog post. I planned to make this and eat it. I did not count on this being so good. I did not count on the aroma of chicken with ginger and cinnamon and saffron with plenty of black pepper and rosewater to bring Manservant up from his office and say, "That smells really good. When are we eating?" I did not have a plan on plating this and making it beautiful. I just planned on serving it with a salad and rice. But my last minute inner voice told me to take a picture, even though it was totally dark outside. My inner voice told me that something that smells so good has got to taste great. Trust me. I have developed a very good inner voice. I have very good intuition. 

Well, this chicken rocks! It will knock your socks off. It will send people running from all avenues of your home to see what you are making. It is special. It is simple. It is worth waiting 10 years for, when I could have made it way back in 2008, when this cookbook was published! My intuition tells me that you will love it. But my intuition also tells me that you may wonder about this odd sort of ingredients that aren't very American, so to speak. To this I say, "It is the new year. Time to try new things. Escape your box. Live a little. Catch up. And trust me!" I have great intuition!


Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts and Honey
From: Yotam Ottolenghi - "Ottolenghi, The Cookbook"
Time to Make: About 20 minutes
Ingredients:
1 chicken, divided into pieces or quarters
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 T olive oil
1 t ground ginger or a few gratings of fresh
1 t ground cinnamon
a generous pinch of saffron threads
Juice of 1 lemon
4 T cold water
2 t coarse salt
1 t fresh ground black pepper
3/4 c unskinned hazelnuts
3 1/2 T honey
2 T rose water
2 chopped green onions

Directions:
In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Leave to marinate up to overnight, but at least for a few hours. (I think I marinated this about 3 hours.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Chop coarsely and set side.

Transfer the chicken and marinade to a parchment line baking sheet, large enough to not crowd everything. Place chicken skin side up and place the pan in the oven for about 35 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, mix the honey, rose water and nuts together to make a rough paste. Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon a generous amount onto each piece. Return to oven for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the nuts are golden. You can place this under the broiler if you want it more golden, but watch that the nuts do not burn.

Serve the chicken sprinkled with green onion.


Other great chicken dishes:

Monday, January 5, 2015

What To Do with an Ugly Chocolate Fudge Loaf Cake and Happy New Year!

"What to do with an ugly cake!"


Zoe flew back to Philly yesterday, which meant I spent a day doing nothing. Before leaving we woke up early and she snuggled in my bed just to get in a few extra moments of each other's company. My daughter will always be my child no matter her age, and I am grateful for that. It was hard to let her go after being surrounded by so much love for two weeks, but all good things must come to an end and life must get back to normal, whatever that may be. Being engulfed by so much to get caught up on, I found myself doing absolutely nothing. I read, relaxed and even napped.

Today has greeted me with laundry, dead pine boughs, lots of candle wax in all the wrong places, dirty bathrooms, and tons of leftovers. What a new year. Thinking back over 2014 brought many good thoughts. It sure beat 2013 when Manservant did not have regular work. That was a year where I felt awful about myself and the world in general. 2014 brought my spirits back and though it was far from a perfect year, we certainly began making steps in the right direction. With hard work, I believe that will continue and 2015 should be even better. OK. I'm not so much of an optimist that I can say spectacular, but we will sure give it a go!

The New Year brought us together with friends who we have celebrated with for 20 some years.


 Past celebrations with kids included banging pots and pans at midnight and yes, I still have the pots with dings etched into their bottoms. We also used to light fireworks left over from the 4th of July. Our new years nights hold many memories not only for me but also for our  children who managed to make some unforgettable memories of their own; many of which we did not discover until after the fact. We won't go there, but let it suffice to say that New Year's Eve without our friends, just wouldn't be a new year!


Though the kids have graduated to their own celebrations, the "adults" have gotten quite sophisticated with theirs. I usually try to make a special dinner and good wine is always a must.


This year we had some unforgettable bottles, thanks to my father finally deciding that he and my mom would not be able to drink all that was in their wine cellar even if they drank a bottle a week, for about the next 10 years. We were one of the happy recipients of some of those bottles and the good news is that most of them need to be drunk now. We needed no persuading to dive in and after Manservant categorized each bottle and was able to find it, he chose these for our new year celebration.


It was a good way to start the new year and then I got the exciting news that Alex wants to come home for a visit in February. I don't have dates yet but it looks like he will be able to visit for about two weeks so I have something to look forward to. The year also begins with my triplet cousins B'nai Mitzvah in Chicago and two weeks later my first cousin's daughter is getting married in Phoenix. All good things to start the year off right.

I must tell you that this morning I also met my enemy; a machine that wants to conquer me, but I won't let it. It is called a Reebok elliptical and it is trying to put me in my place. My dad also gave us this and I think I will follow each work out with a bottle of wine. How does that sound, Dad? 

But onward to cake! What a fitting conclusion after a workout, huh? So I made a Nigella recipe. I've never done that before. Well, this is what I will tell you. This was a damn good cake. On the other hand it was the ugliest cake I ever made.


It may have been because I over beat it. It may have been because of Denver's altitude. Whatever.The bottom line is that it overflowed the pan and it sunk. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Now if it was only my mouth that I was plunging it into, well, it wouldn't really matter. But I just couldn't serve such an ugly cake. Keep in mind that this tastes superb. It is fudgy and dense and still light enough to be considered a cake and not a brownie. Want to know what to do with an ugly cake? Slice it in pieces and layer it with a whipped cream/mascarpone mixture. No one objected; I think, because their mouths were too full. It was very, very good; which was a very, very good way to start the new year!

Happy New Year everyone!


Nigella's Chocolate Loaf Cake with Whipped Cream Layers
Serves:10-12
Time to Make: 45 minutes active time
Ingredients:
1 c softened butter
1 2/3 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
4 oz bittersweet chocolate melted and at room temperature
1 1/3 c flour
1 t baking soda
3/4 t kosher salt
2 T bourbon
1 c room temperature coffee

1 c heavy cream
1 container mascarpone cheese
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 8 x 4 loaf pans with parchment paper.

Cream butter and brown sugar together until blended. Do not over mix. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to incorporate. Mix flour, soda, and salt together. Mix bourbon with coffee. Alternately add flour and coffee mixture to mixing bowl until all is combined. Pour into both pans equally.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Cake will be set and should not be too jiggly. The sides should pull away from the edges of the pan. Bake longer if needed, though a skewer will not be clean if inserted. Let cool completely. Remove from pan by lifting out the parchment paper. Peel off.

Slice in 1/2" slices. If by chance your cake turns out beautiful, you could just eat this cake as is. It is mouth wateringly good, I promise. If by chance it becomes an ugly duckling, you can make this whipped cream.

Directions for whipped cream:
In a chilled bowl whip heavy cream until peaks are not quite stiff. Stir in mascarpone cream and continue whipping until light and stiff peaks have formed. When this point has been reached (it could take a few minutes) stir in powdered sugar and vanilla and beat a few more seconds until incorporated.

Now in a 9" spring form pan, line the sides with parchment. Place slices of cake on bottom and use crumbs to fill holes. Now use slices on the sides of the pan, placing cake slices close together. Do not be afraid to press this into the sides. This cake is pretty forgiving. Now place 1/2 of the topping over the cake slices. Place the rest of the slices over the cream. Use the rest of the topping on this. Crumble a few crumbs on the top and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. Feel proud that you made an ugly duckling into a swan!

The winner of the Whole Foods Giveaway is: Seyma Bennett Shabbir!
I'll be in touch!

Good food to start the new year!
Simple Green Chile Egg Souffle
Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Saigon Crunch Chex Mix
Peppadew and Green Chile Pimento Less Cheese
Muhammara
Chinese Steamed Chicken with Shitake Mushrooms
Saffron Baked Chicken