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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore


Deliciously lip smacking describes this meal.  Fast although not as quick as most pressure cooker recipes due to stove top prep.

Chicken Cacciatore
from America's Test Kitchen
Family Cookbook
adapted

1 4lb organic kosher chicken cut into 8 pieces skin on
2 yellow onions minced
1 cup dry red wine
2T tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2t fresh minced thyme
2t fresh minced sage
1 (14.5 oz) can diced organic tomatoes drained
extra virgin olive oil
8oz cremini mushrooms sliced thin
4 garlic cloves minced

~ heat large cast iron skillet over medium high heat
~ add half the chicken and brown on both sides about 10 minutes
~ remove skin from larger pieces
~ add to pressure cooker
~ repeat with other half of chicken
~ discard any fat in the skillet
~ heat skillet over medium heat
~ add onions and 1/8t salt
~ cook until soften 3 to 5 minutes
~ stir in wine and scrap any brown bits off bottom simmer 2 minutes
~ add tomato paste and simmer for another minute
~ add to pressure cooker
~ stir in chicken broth, bay leaves and 1/2 of the thyme and 1/2 of the sage and tomatoes to pressure cooker
~ lock lid in place and bring to high pressure
~ maintain pressure for 18 minutes
~ while chicken is cooking...
~ heat skillet medium heat and add 1T oil
~ add mushrooms and 1/4t salt cook until brown about 4-8 minutes
~ stir in garlic 30 seconds
~ add 1/2 cup water and simmer
~ scrape up any brown bits and set aside
~ remove pressure cooker from heat and allow to naturally cool 5 minutes
~ quick release any remaining pressure
~ remove chicken from pressure cooker and place on serving platter
~ discard bay leaves
~ add remaining herbs to pressure cooker and return to stove top
~ bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens
~ stir in mushrooms 1 minute
~ season with salt and pepper
~ spoon sauce over chicken

from our garden: thyme and sage

Greek Salad


Cheese is delightful.  How can you say no to something so rich and creamy thrown together with everything good for you?  While at my favorite store, Trader Joe's, I noticed a petite container filled with Greek Feta, oil and seasonings.  Greek Salad screamed in my head as well as music from Zorba the Greek. 

Greek Salad
from The America's Test Kitchen
Family Cookbook
adapted

dressing:
3T extra virgin olive oil
3T red wine vinegar
2t fresh oregano minced
1 1/2t fresh lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
1/2t salt
1/8t pepper

~ whisk all ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold your salad

salad:
1/2 or more thinly sliced red onion
1 organic cucumber sliced
a bunch of organic lettuce
1 pint sweet organic cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 organic red bell pepper sliced thin
1/4 cup organic fresh mint minced or sliced thin
1/4 or more cup of pitted kalamata olives (Trader Joe's pitted in a glass jar awesome)
5 or more ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cubed

~ add red onion and cucumbers to dressing and marinate 20 minutes
~ add lettuce, tomatoes, pepper and mint to the bowl and toss
~ plate salad and sprinkle with olives and feta

from our garden: oregano, lemon, mint, butter and red leaf lettuce

Go Lakers!  WooHoo

Lettuce, Lettuce 
Growing very fast
Planting in the ground
So you can eat it fast
-by the littlest finicky eater and resident poet

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Healthy Earth Day

I love love love my garden and all of the delights I receive from it.  Here's to the Earth...treat it well

Check out my Flickr page for more of our garden

little mango's growing
We have 4 mango tree's.  One from seed via our compost pile.
I have failed the last three years with watermelon, so this year I decided to grow them in pots and so far so good.
Lettuce in pots keep the bugs away.
This crazy wonderful tree mass produces apricots, way too many for us to eat and dry.
Organic tomatoes a difficult find 
find all you want they will be happy inside
by the littlest finicky eater
One of my favorite rose bushes
Swiss chard, lemon grass and a rose bush - Lemon grass I found impossible to grow from seed.  No seeds needed, woohoo, purchase some at your local grocery store and stick them in some water near a window and change the water every other day.  When roots appear and grow to about an inch, transplant into your garden.
Apple blossoms
Apple applelies
Eat all you want
They will be pink inside but red on the top!
by the Littlest Finicky Eater



Some of our giving trees: tangelo, orange, grapefruit, Big Jim Loquat, ultra dwarf Anna Apple, Shinseiki Asian Pear, Pink Lemonade, Moro Blood Orange, pomegranate, Manila Mango, Stella Cherry ultra dwarf, Desert Peach, Passion Fruit, Golden Delicious ultra dwarf, Fejioa Coolidgei pinapple guava,  Suebelle Sapote, avocado, Manzano Banana, Bartlett Pear ultra dwarf, Fay Elberta Peach ultra dwarf, JuJube, Santa Rosa Plum, apricot, Nectarine, weeping Santa Rosa Plum ultra dwarf, Satsuma Plum, 3 in 1 plum,  pixie Mandarin, Red Baron Peach ultra dwarf, 3 in 1 Asian Pear, Dorsett Golden Apple ultra dwarf, All in One Almond, Goldmine Nectarine...

some of herbs: chives, lavender, cilantro, basil, summer savory, rosemary, sage, dill, fennel, marjoram, lemon grass, borage, oregano, stevia...

some of our vines: raspberry, black raspberry, boysenberry, seedless grapes, watermelon...

some of our vegetables: asparagus. artichoke, cauliflower (purple of sicily), cardoon (gobbo di nizzia), lettuce (rouge d'hiver), radish (chinese red meat), beans (aquadulce fava), beets, tomato, eggplant, squash...

all on 1/4 and acre shared with our house.  I fill every inch of dirt with our edible garden.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blue Cheese and Pear Tart


Henry's market had a fantastic sale on organic pears. I purchased some since my pear trees are at the beginning states of fruiting.  I have Asian pears, Bartlett pears and 2 trees with multiple types graphed.  On one such tree, there are hairy pears and I have no idea the name so if you happen to know Hairy the Pears (like a whole lot of peach fuzz)  name please let me know.

This recipe is from Sunset Magazine, November 2010 issue.  An egg is mixed with the blue cheese ugh. Eggs! I hate stinky eggs and luscious blue cheese my favorite, a conundrum.   Will the egg over power the cheese? OR will the artfully ripe Italian Blue Cheese come out ahead.  Thankfully it was the latter.


Blue Cheese and Pear Tart
from Sunset Magazine 
adapted


1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry (8.6 oz.)
1 large egg
2/3 cup gorgonzola dolce cheese (I used Italian blue cheese in blue wrapper from Trader Joe's)
1/2 small sweet onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ripe organic pear, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

~ preheat oven to 425° with a rack set on bottom  ( I used my toaster oven)
~ lay dough flat on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper
~ poke holes all over dough with a fork, leaving the outer inch untouched
~ bake until dough starts to puff, about 10 minutes (watch so it does not burn)
~ whisk together egg and cheese until smooth and spread over dough, using a spoon to move mixture toward the corners 
~ sauté onion in oil in a frying pan until softened
~ scatter onion and pear over cheese
~ bake until pastry is golden brown and egg has set, about 15 minutes
~ sprinkle with thyme and cut into squares

from the garden: thyme

Fava Bean, Asparagus, and Green Bean Salad



Everyone should have the problems currently plaguing me.  Fava beans and asparagus running ramped in our garden along with an over stuffed freezer.  Lucky for me I came across the perfect recipe at Serious Eats web site that helped solve my problem.  Simple and umm umm good, what could be finer?

Fava Bean, Asparagus, and Green Bean Salad
from Seriouseats.com
adapted


1/2 cup shelled, blanched, and peeled fava beans
1/2 cup 1-inch lengths of asparagus 
1 cup haricot vert or trimmed green beans ( I used frozen)

dressing
1/2 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4T lemon juice

3/4T balsamic vinegar

3T good olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

~ bring a pot of salted water to boil
~ peel open the fava bean pods and remove the beans
~ blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water at the one minute mark add the asparagus
~ then remove and cool quickly
~ split open the pods to reveal the bright green beans inside ( I did about half because I found this tedious)
~ follow the instructions on the frozen beans package to cook

****side note- since my fava beans and asparagus were just picked they only required the short cooking time above.  The original recipe continues with the further cooking as follows...They did not use frozen green beans.

~ add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for a minute or so. Follow with the asparagus for an additional minute, then add the fava beans. Cook until softened but not limp, then drain and plunge everything into an ice bath.

Dressing
~ put all ingredients in a glass and whisk
~ pour and toss over vegetables

from the garden: fava beans, asparagus, lemon and thyme

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Orzo Salad


Sometimes when I am up to my elbows in dishes with whining voices crying, "When will it be ready????" I think why why why did I think this could be done in an hour.  On this day I decided to make pasta e fagioli, vegetable panini and orzo salad for lunch.

yummm...that day and the next and the next

Finally lunch was ready and devoured.  Everything tasted great.  Orzo being the stand out of the meal.

orzo with garbanzo beans, red onion, basil, mint and pine nuts
from Giada De Laurentiis
Giada's Family Dinner
adapted

4 cups vegetable broth
16 oz orzo
1 15 oz can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cup organic cherry tomatoes cut in forth
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup red wine vinaigrette ( recipe follows)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

~ bring broth to boil in large pot over high heat
~ stir in the orzo partially cover
~ stirring frequently about 7 min. orzo should be tender with a firm bite
~ drain orzo and reserve broth for soup (that is what I did)
~ transfer orzo to large bowl and toss to cool
~ allow to cool completely
~ add beans, tomatoes,onion, basil, mint, pine nuts and enough vinaigrette to coat
~ season with salt and pepper
~ serve at room temperature

If I had more time, I would have made the garbanzo beans in the pressure cooker.  Freshly cooked beans have more of a bit and just taste better.

from the garden: basil and mint

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bread Sticks


Spring break - kids- Wii - pool party and food...  Italian of course with crunchy bread sticks.  James Beard strikes again in one of my favorite books, Beard on Bread and talk about fast,  from flour to sticks in a little over an hour.  

Bread Sticks
from James Beard
Beard on Bread

2 package of active dry yeast
1T granulated sugar
2t salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups warm water (100-115 degrees)
3 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg white beaten with 1T water
course salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds

~ in a large mixing bowl combine yeast and sugar
~ add oil and 1/4 cup water
~ mix well for about 3 minutes
~ add salt
~ add 1/2 cup of flour and continue mixing
~ alternately add four one cup at at time and water until you have a fairly soft dough
~ switch to dough hook and knead for several minutes until the dough springs back and is satiny and smooth
~ place dough on floured surface
~ cover with towel and let rest 5 minutes
~ shape it into a roll about 20 to 22 inches long
~ with a sharp knife or pasty cutter cut into 20 equal pieces
~ let dough rest again for 3 to 4 minutes
options
~ using the palms of your hands roll out each piece as long as the baking sheet you are using
or
~ sprinkle seeds on surface and roll out each piece encapsulating seeds
~ oil baking sheet or use parchment paper
~ arrange bread sticks about an inch apart on sheet
~ let them sit for 20 minutes
~ just before you place in oven brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with salt or seeds
~ bake in a slow oven 300 degrees for about 30 minutes
~

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Barley Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Jacques Pepin recipes equals great food - one problem sometimes a plethora dirty pots and pans.  This recipe is no exception.  Pots and pans and I added the pressure cooker too.  I of course started the recipe without realizing once everything was ready and put together baking time was 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Nine pm dinner not a good idea, whereas pressure cooker time of 6 minutes high pressure and then slow release of 7 minutes, great idea. 

Fabulous and the barley was a delightful surprise.  Even the onion hater liked it and the next day it was better then the first.

Barley-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
from Jacques Pepin
Jacques Pepin's Table
adapted

1/2 cup pearl barley
9 1/2 cup water
1 head of cabbage
1 1/2T olive oil
6 garlic cloves minced
3T cider vinegar
1 pound lean organic ground beef
1/2t fresh ground pepper
1/2 t dried dill
1/2t caraway seeds
4 sprigs of thyme

Cider-Tomato Sauce
1 cup organic tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups organic chicken stock
1T brown sugar
1T cider vinegar

~ place barley in 1 1/2 cup water
~ bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover 30 minutes until tender
~ drain excess water
~ core cabbage and reserve core
~ bring 8 cups of water to a gentle boil
~ place cabbage into water and bring back to boil 6 to 8 minutes
~ carefully remove leaves one by one and place in strainer
~ heat oil in skillet medium high heat
~ when oil is hot add onion stirring occasionally 2 minutes
~ cut core and some of the smaller leaves into 1/2 inch pieces
~ add garlic to onions
~ stir and immediately add the cabbage pieces and vinegar
~ cook over medium heat 8 - 10 minutes or until cabbage is wilted
~ cool mixture in large bowl
~ once the mixture has cooled add barley, meat, dill and caraway and mix together
~ combined all sauce ingredients in pressure cooker pot and heat medium until blended and add thyme sprigs
~ lay cabbage leaves out
~ roll meat into meatballs and roll into cabbage leaves
~ place cabbage rolls into sauce
~ close lid and bring to high pressure 6 minutes and allow slow release 7 minutes

Lentil Soup


Mmmm lentil soup quick, perfect for dinner.  Once again I utilized my pressure cooker and we had soup in less then 10 minutes.  The recipe called for Dijon style mustard, but we adore the newest sweet and spicy mustard from Trader Joe's so I used it.  Amazing flavor the night I made it; however, the next day it had lost it's umph.  So this is an eat it all on the day made meal.

Quick Lentil  Soup
from Lorne J. Sass
Cooking Under Pressure
adapted

2 cups of dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 bay leaf
2 large cloves of garlic cloves minced
1 large onion coarsely chopped
1T oil
6 cups filtered water
1/2 bag frozen spinach
3T sweet and spicy mustard
1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley
1/2t sea salt or to taste

~ combine the lentils, bay leaf, garlic, onion, oil, water and spinach in the cooker
~ lock the lid in place
~ high heat bring to high pressure and maintain for 8 minutes
~ use quick release to release pressure
~ remove lid
~ remove bay leaf
~ stir in mustard, parsley and salt

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fontina, Corn and Jalapeño Quesadillas


Lunch time!  and continuing the theme of how fast can I empty the freezer.  I decide on quesadillas and recall a recipe I made years ago from Epicurious.   


Yum, need I say more?
Fontina, Corn and Jalapeño Quesadillas
from Epicurious.com
adapted

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup or more frozen corn kernels

4 jalapeño chilies, seeded, minced
1 teaspoon fresh oregano minced
1/2 medium sweet onion sliced
8 7-inch flour tortillas
2 cups grated Fontina cheese (about 8 ounces)


~ heat 2 teaspoons oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat
~ add corn, chilies and oregano and sauté 2 minutes
~ remove from heat
~ add onions saute until soft
~ place 1/4 of each corn mixture, onions and cheese on a tortilla
~ put in warm cast iron skillet and top with another tortilla
~ then place a warmed cast iron skillet on top of tortillas
~ when bottom tortilla is browned flip and place skillet back on top
~ plate and cut with pizza cutter

recipe on epicurious
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