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Posts Tagged ‘Olive oil’

Braising Pan by Schulte-Ufer

Braising Pan by
Schulte-Ufer

As I said in an earlier post, there’s a whole lot of cooking is going on this weekend.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s been raining for most of the time.

I had had some chicken thighs in the freezer for a while and thought I should  use them so I looked through my recipes to see what I could make.  Two caught my eye and ultimately I opted for the quick and simpler version. You will note that in this recipe and many others, that I use a braising pan.  I never owned one until a couple of years ago and now I can’t imagine cooking without one.  I use it all the time and if you want to cook or like to cook, I suggest you invest in one.  Actually the one I have in my cottage is more the perfect size  (11 1/2 “) than the larger one in NYC.  I always forget to mention that I use the braising pan as the serving dish/bowl for my meal.  That could be because although the cottage is filled with kitchenware and dish ware, I don’t have that medium size shallow bowl in which to serve my dish.  Maybe, BUT it sure makes cleaning up easier and keeps the food hot right from the stove to the table.

Balsamic Orange Chicken

Balsamic Orange Chicken – courtesy Martha Stewart

Ingredients

4 bone- in, skin-on chicken thighs

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS Balsamic vinegar

1 orange cut into 8 wedges

1 TS unsalted butter

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 450 °

Heat oil on med-high in oven proof skillet ( I used a braising pan) and brown chicken skin side down till golden crispy, about 7 minutes.  Remove from pan to plate and pour off fat from skillet.  Return chicken to pan skin side up and put in oven for 10 minutes (I checked the temperature of the meat with my thermometer). Return chicken to plate.

Heat skillet over medium  and add vinegar and orange wedges to pan.  Scrape up any bits stuck to bottom of pan.  Cook till oranges get soft, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

To serve, return chicken to pan and toss pieces around in the sauce.  Squeeze the oranges over the chicken and serve with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food – November 2010

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gorgonzola

Gorgonzola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back at the shore where I have a decent-sized kitchen albeit a minute stove (20″) and able to shop at my favorite grocery store, Wegman’s, I’ve been cooking up a storm these past couple of days. By the way did you hear on the news that Consumer Reports rated Wegman’s the best supermarket chain in the US AGAIN this year!  I couldn’t be happier because as my readers know, I LOVE Wegman’s.

Last night I made a dish that had my husband doubtful when he heard what it was…Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Gorgonzola Cheese.  His first reaction, “Cheese! You’re making a pasta sauce with cheese?” I assured him he wouldn’t die from it and I silently thanked him for not mentioning that the fact that the spaghetti was whole wheat (his concession to me).  Actually I’m not even sure he heard me when I said whole wheat because he was in shock over the Gorgonzola cheese – this from a man who slathers Blue Cheese dressing on his salads and sour cream on his baked potaoes.  Uh huh, you know the type!

Needless to say it was amazingly good and I hope to serve it sometime for guests because it was delicious.

Ingredients

8oz whole wheat spaghetti ( I used about 12 oz)

3 TBS butter ( I used 5 in the end)

1 medium onion thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 small or 1 large head of escarole chopped crosswise ( I used a cello bag of chopped escarole)

4 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.

The directions that follow are for 8 oz of spaghetti and since I had increased that amount I increased the butter and escarole.

Heat 2 TBS butter in braising pan.  Add onions and garlic and cook till soft and lightly brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Meantime cook pasta.  

Once onions are soft and pasta is almost done, add escarole and cook it till it wilts.  Add 1 TBS butter to pan. 

Drain spaghetti (reserve a cup of water) and add to braising pan with escarole mixture.  Mix well and then top with sprinkled Gorgonzola cheese.  I was afraid my sauce might be too dry so I added some of the pasta water to  keep the dish moist.

All I can say is that there were NO LEFTOVERS!

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"Cover Coughs, Cover Sneezes" - NARA...

“Cover Coughs, Cover Sneezes” – NARA – 514081 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s almost April and where is that lamb that’s supposed to escort March and the cold weather out of here?  I’m surrounded by people who are sneezing, coughing, dripping and chilled.  Today I had to ask a co-worker to please not lean over my desk and breathe on me – she looked awful and had been home for two days sick and with a fever.  GREAT – just what I need.  I have never gotten over the cold/sinus infection I caught from one of my Mah Jongg players who coughed and sneezed all over the tiles and that was in February!  I walked to work today and by the time I got there, the wind had caused my eyes and nose to run, quite the sight walking in.  So what’s a person to do?  Two words – COMFORT FOOD.  This Tasty Tidbits Tuesday recipe comes from PureWow Recipes.

ULTIMATE CHICKEN SOUP

Makes 6 servings

Start to Finish 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients

1 TBS olive oil

1 sweet onion finely chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped

3 celery stalks finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBS tomato paste

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

8 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

2 thyme sprigs

1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

2 cups chopped cooked chicken meat

1 cup egg noodles

6 eggs, poached or fried, for garnish

Roughly chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions

1. In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté until tender, 7-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and serrano; continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the chicken broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring the soup to a simmer.  Simmer until a good flavor has developed, 15-20 minutes.

3. Stir in chicken and noodles.  Continue to simmer until chicken is heated through and the noodles are tender 6-8 minutes.

4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with egg. Season the egg with salt and pepper, and garnish the soup generously with parsley.  Leftover soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

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Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello Mushrooms

It’s Tasty Tidbits Tuesday and as long as this weather stays so cold and I stay indoors, I’ll be making soups.  I have made this soup many times and it’s always a hit.  Flavorful and delicious.  This is one of quickest tastiest homemade soups I’ve ever made. 

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

1/2 lb sliced portobello mushrooms

1 medium carrot chopped

4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

Kosher salt

1/2 cup of orzo

1 (16 oz) can cannelloni beans drained and rinsed

2 TBS chopped parsley

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Saute the onions, garlic and carrot in a large saucepan until onion are soft 4-5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add broth and bring to a boil; then lower heat to medium low.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Add the orzo and cook 10 minutes.  Add the beans; cook until orzo is completely tender and beans are heated through, about 5 minutes longer.  Season with salt to taste. Add the parsley and  serve with Parmesan.

Recipe from PASTA VERDE  – more than 140 vegetarian recipes for soups, pasta sauces, salads and baked pastas

 

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Farro

Farro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found this recipe on a blog that I follow, Proud Italian Cook and I knew right away I wanted to make it.  I had all the ingredients in my kitchen except for one.  I made it for myself for dinner one night to test it out because I planned on serving it for a planned dinner party.  It was delicious and I served it this past weekend. This is so simple and so tasty, you should make it tonight.  It’s a good winter salad.

1 1/2 cups of cooked farro 

1 lb. baby arugula

handful of marcona almonds

1/2 cup, sliced cherry tomatoes

1/3 cups nicoise olives

1/2 cup good feta crumbled

FOR THE DRESSING

1 lemon

olive oil

1. Make the dressing by squeezing the juice of one lemon into a small bowl then whisking in olive oil and tasting until you get the right balance.

2. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and then toss with the dressing adding salt and paper to taste.

*** The first time I made it I didn’t have farro in the house but I had some Ancient Grains and I used them.

 

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There are literally a couple thousand gifts, gift ideas, and/or catalogs devoted to gifts for Foodies on your Christmas gift list.  So every night I surf the net looking for the next  new and better thing out there and feature it in my count-down to Christmas posts.

I just came across a very cute and practical item.  I often serve olives as an appetizer before dinner or as an hors d’ouevre with drinks.   Eating olives can be a messy event if you use your fingers and I dare say most of do.  TOOTHPICKS are the answer.  You can always put the olives in one dish, then put out a small little bowl for the pits and place a whiskey shot glass filled with toothpicks alongside the bowl.  My main problem with this set-up is real estate.  Never enough room to put much out on my coffee table.

HEDGEHOGS to the rescue!  This little guy will hold the toothpicks for you, perched on the rim of the bowl of your choice.

Don't Worry - No Quills

Don’t Worry – No Quills

KLpik Toothpick Holder available at MOMA gift shop – $25.00

MOMA is short for The Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan NY.  You can buy online!

 

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I almost always increase the number of garlic cloves any recipe calls for.  I’m Italian and many dishes I make are of that ethnicity and with garlic.  I’ve had a couple of garlic presses and hated trying to poke all of the residual garlic out of the holes.   Then I had one of those that switch the head back and forth and it pushes the last of the garlic out;  Unfortunately I broke two of those – not sure how or why.

When the rubber tube garlic peeler came out, I bought one of them and one for my daughter.  At first it seemed like the ideal way to peel garlic and I used it hundreds of times.  Lately I’ve been peeling cloves sans tools because, because I have no idea why lol.  

LOOK what I found!  A new garlic tool and it looks like a winner.  It is called Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Crusher. It looks like this:

It ROCKS!

It ROCKS!

By using downward pressure and a ‘rocking’ motion, this stylish tool breaks up garlic cloves quickly and easily, forcing the pieces up through the array of small holes in its base. The crushed pieces are then held in the curved design, allowing them to be spooned or scraped conveniently into a pan or bowl. Additional cloves can also be crushed at this stage before emptying. Continue rocking for a finer texture. Rocker™ is easy to clean under running water but is also dishwasher safe. 

It was designed by Goodwin Hartshorn and is available through Yellow Octopus for $12.95

 

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Bucatini

Bucatini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, if it’s not soup, it’s pasta (we call it macaroni) and you know I love to cook both.  This past weekend I made a pasta dish I’ve been wanting to try for awhile.  It calls for using a macaroni known as Bucatini.  As for as long as I’ve known, Bucatini was a long spaghetti-like strand of macaroni that was hollow in the middle.  Heavier and thicker than regular spaghetti or linguine and a macaroni that needed a sauce to stand up to it.

However, when I went shopping for this pastas, what I found was a package being marketed as Bucatini but the pieces had been cut into lengths of about 3 1/2 inches.  Mmmm I thought this is not the real thing BUT as it turns out, this cut was probably better than the long strand version.  Why? Because the sauce was a bit soupy and with those two open ends, the sauce just slithered into the piece and oh what a delightful mouthful it was.

1 lb Bucatini (cooked per directions)

1 pkg (4oz) Pancetta diced

1 pkg (4oz) Prosciutto diced

2 cups thinly sliced red onion (about 8oz onion)

1/2 tsp or + crushed red pepper

2 TBS Chianti Red Wine Vinegar

1 jar of pomodoro sauce, 24 oz ( I used Wegman’s Grandma’s Pomodoro Sauce)

1 jar of water using sauce jar

2 TBS Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Use a braising pan.

1. Add pancetta and prosciutto to pan on MEDIUM.  Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes until browned.

2. Add onion and crushed pepper.  Cook 10-12 minutes until onions are softened.  Add red wine vinegar, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.  Add sauce and water; bring to simmer. Simmer gently 5-8 minutes.

3. Add oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir.  Add cooked pasta to pan and toss.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU Magazine 

I served this dish with an Arugula Salad which proved to be the perfect complement.

 

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TUSCANY

TUSCANY

It’s Tasty Tidbits Tuesday!  You know I love to cook on the weekend, especially at the shore because the kitchen is bigger although the stove is smaller as is the oven.  The real reason I love cooking in New Jersey is the accessibility to several marvelous grocery stores and two magnificent fruit and vegetable stands.  Believe they don’t call New Jersey the Garden State for nothing! Unabashedly, Wegman’s is my favorite grocery store and I love making the recipes in their seasonal MENU magazine.  This recipe for Tuscan Baked Beans is in the latest edition.   I don’t know if it was meant to be a main dish but it certainly would satisfy a vegetarian or vegan.

1 pkg dry Great Northern Beans OR 4 cans of Great Northern Beans undrained.

9 cups of water* (only needed it you use the dry beans)

24 leaves of fresh sage OR 20 if you are NOT using dry beans

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, OR 1 if you are NOT using dry beans

1/2 cup of Extra Virgin olive oil, divided

1  1/2 pkgs of chopped onions.  (12 oz)

4 cloves of garlic, finely diced

8 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 TBS salt

1 tsp pepper

1/4 cup basting oil (olive oil with Italian herbs in it)

2 cups of Panko bread crumbs

You’ll need a stockpot* and a braising pan

** indicates usage with the dry beans

*Place sorted and rinsed beans in stockpot.  Cover with about 2 inches of water, tilt cover to vent and soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain the beans.  Put the beans and 9 cups of fresh water in the stockpot. Heat on HIGH uncovered, until boiling.  Skim off as much foam as possible.  Add 4 leaves and 1 sprig of rosemary to the pot.  Reduce to MEDIUM.  Cover, tilting to allow steam to vent.  Cook one hour, do not stir.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in braising pan on MEDIUM.  Add onions and garlic, cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Chop 20 sage leaves and sprig of rosemary, add to onion mixture.  Cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.

Check beans for tenderness. If not quite tender, cover completely and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Add beans and liquid to the onion mixture in braising pan.  Stir to combine. Drizzle remaining olive oil and bake for 60 minutes.  Beans will be done when liquid is syrupy and bubbly.  Carefully remove from oven, season with salt and pepper.

Mix basting oil and panko crumbs in small bowl.  Place mixture over beans and return to oven, bake 20-30 minutes until topping is brown and crisp.

This makes enough beans to feed 8 people. It tastes great, REALLY!!

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine 

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Oh wow, what a great time I had last night.  I was in my glory and in full possession of the remote.  Well if not the remote exactly, I did pick all the shows we were going to watch on Sunday evening.  I had it all planned out and then the football game  screwed up the line-up.  It started out with 60 Minutes  starting late and running over past 8:00.  I wanted to watch The Amazing Race, the only reality show I think worth watching, so since I also wanted to watch The Good Wife, my solution was to DVR both of them as I was watching them BECAUSE Masters of Sex and Homeland  followed at their regular times.  Oh my,  such planning;  Two TV’s on two different floors and only one with DVR capacity.  Such is life in the 2000 millennium.  

My plan did not quite work;  We watched the shortened version of 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race and three quarters of The Good Wife.  I happily went upstairs to watch SHOWTIME, content with the knowledge that afterwards, I could go downstairs and find out what Alicia was going to do as she was caught in the middle of a fiduciary dilemma.  Best laid plans and all that jazz, I just never took into account that the DVR  didn’t know that the football game had run late, it recorded The Good Wife from 9:00 to 10:00 and therefore the ending was never recorded! 😦

There was just enough chill in the air to warrant closing the window and making a hearty soup for dinner.  The soup was  Escarole, Canellini Beans and Sausage and it hit the spot on this fall Sunday evening.  I served it with some great chewy Italian bread.

1 pkg (1 1/2 #) Italian mild pork sausage patties ( I used hot poultry sausage)

3 TBS basting oil divided

8 oz chopped onions

3 cloves garlic chopped

1 pkg (15 oz) escarole

Salt and Pepper

1 carton chicken stock

1 can cannelloni beans, drained

1 cup ditalini pasta

lentils + escarole

ESCAROLE  (Photo credit: joannova, a/k/a foodalogue)

2 TBS lemon juice

Cut each sausage patty into 6 pieces and roll into balls.  Heat 1 TBS basting oil in a large braising pan on MED .  Add sausage balls and cook, turning to brown on all sides 3-4 minutes.  Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Discard pan drippings.

Return pan to heat, add remaining 2TBS of basting oil. Add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent. Add garlic, cook, stirring till softened-1 min.  Add escarole, cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in stock, beans and browned sausages.  Heat to boiling on MED-HI.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Add pasta, simmer 10 minutes.  Add parsley and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.

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