Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Parmesan Potato Rounds

As I was debating about what to do with a potato for dinner tonight, a memory came flashing forward...it was really a flash from the past...Parmesan Potato Rounds!  I hadn't made them for ages and they were going to be perfect with dinner!!

The recipe comes from an Oregon Cookbook...the centennial edition of Flavor of Florence.  On the inside I saw the date...August 1993!  I usually buy a cookbook when traveling and those of you who have followed the blog for a few years know that we love to go to Oregon as often as possible.

The potatoes are so simple to prepare....quick and easy exactly what I needed....so without further adieu, I present the Parmesan Potato Rounds!


Parmesan Potato Rounds
Flavor of Florence

Yield:  6 servings

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
6 medium potatoes, scrubbed, sliced into rounds 1/2-inch thick
Italian seasoning to taste

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Pour the melted butter into a large baking dish. Large enough so that the potato slices can lay in a single layer.

In a plastic bag, combine the flour, cheese, salt and pepper.  Shake a few potato slices at a time in the bag to coat them with the flour mixture.  Place the potatoes in a single layer over the butter.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the slices and sprinkle Italian seasoning .  Bake the potatoes for another 30 minutes or until tender.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chicken Tacos with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

I have come to appreciate the tomatillo!  The tomatillo is like a small green tomato, "tomate verde", but it is covered with a husk.  The tomatillo has been cultivated in Mexico and Guatemala since pre-Columbian times and there has even been evidence that the tomatillo was used as food dating back to 900 BC - AD 1540!  The tomatillo or husk tomato has withstood the test of time as it is still a major part of the Mexican and Guatemalan cuisine.

While the tomatillo is primarily used in sauces frequently combined with chilies to enhance the flavor of a dish, it is also said to stimulate the appetite.  Whether you choose to use the tomatillo raw or cooked, it makes a wonderful puree to add to meat dishes.  This puree or chili sauce is commonly known as salsa verde (green sauce) and it does enliven the flavor of any meat dish!

Today, though, I used the tomatillo raw to make an Avocado Tomatillo Salsa! The salsa accompanied chicken tacos with a squeeze of lime and a cold brew!  Trust me, you want the brew...the punch thrown by the salsa (because I didn't remove membrane and seeds) was enough to knock one off the chair!  It wasn't enough, however, to keep me from having seconds!


Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day and I was assigned The Bad Girl's Kitchen.  What I learned from perusing the blog is that the blog is an open forum, so to speak, it was established as a spot where folks may share recipes for family and friends....so far 36 cooks contribute their tried and true recipes to the blog.

I selected a recipe that one of the bloggers raved about.  She had gotten the recipe from the 2012 Food and Wine Annual Cookbook...great source for some delicious meals, I might add.   The recipe was Fried Chicken Tacos with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa.  While we rarely fry chicken we do love to try different salsas so Mr. T. and I agreed that this would be a great recipe to prepare.

We elected to grill some boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the tacos and we were not disappointed!  The chicken was moist and tender....just perfect in thin slices for the tacos.



Chicken Tacos 
with Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Yield:  4 servings

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Kosher Salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (pounded to about 3/4-1 inch thickness, even cooking)

1/2 pound (3 to 4 medium-sized) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Hot green chilies to taste:  1-2 serrano chilies or 1-2 jalapeños, stemmed, (membrane and seeds removed, if desired), roughly chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (I used 1/3 of a medium purple onion.)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 ripe Haas avocado, pitted, flesh scooped out and cut in a 1/2 inch dice

Large pinch of cayenne pepper
Large pinch of chipotle chili powder

Artisan Style Tortillas, Corn and Whole Wheat Blend
Lime wedges

Prepare the chicken breasts by pounding for evenness.  Combine 1/4 cup of lime juice with 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring until dissolved.  Add the chicken breasts and lime mixture to a large plastic bag, seal.  Turn to coat.  Refrigerate for two hours.

Combine the tomatillos, garlic, serranos, onion, and cilantro leaves in the bowl of the food processor or blender.  Process to a coarse puree.  Transfer the salsa to a bowl.  Gently fold in the avocado (reserving a few pieces for the top) and 2 Tablespoons of lime juice.  Add salt to taste. Place in the serving bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves, the remaining avocado dice and a slice of lime.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and lay on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle the chicken lightly with cayenne and chipotle chili powder.  Grill the chicken on a medium-high grill until done.

(If you elect to fry the chicken you should:  Combine 1/3 cup flour, the cayenne, salt and pepper and dredge the chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.  Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the chicken over moderately high heat until well browned and crisp.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.)

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and thinly slice into strips.  Serve the chicken in warm tortillas topped with salsa and a lime wedge.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


The salsa keeps for a day or two with the avocado not turning.  We managed to enjoy more chicken tacos for dinner the next day...it is way too good!  I see these appearing on the table in the future!  I might try roasting the tomatillos first next time, just for fun.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lemon Strawberry Loaf Cake

Have you ever looked at a recipe and had such a strong visual that your mouth waters?  A recipe where your expectations for a wonderful. flavorful bite are bursting forth so fast that you cannot get the mixer out fast enough?  That is the way it was was with this recipe.  I mean...lemons, strawberries, glaze...sounds delightful...doesn't it?


Pretty, isn't it?  I think so...I could hardly wait to cut into it!  


Very moist...very dense...but.....it was not what I was expecting.  In looking at the recipe, I immediately thought of Ina's Lemon Loaf Cake with the addition of strawberries....but, it wasn't.  I had expected this wonderful marriage of the sweet strawberry and the tangy lemon flavors.....alas...I didn't think that there was a strawberry flavor. Mr. T who has had quite a sweet tooth of late was not impressed.  He had one piece and his comment was, "It's okay."  The cake just kind of sat there on the serving plate until it made it's way to the trash bin. That's sad.

Then my friend texted saying that she saw I was making a Strawberry Lemon Loaf and would I share the recipe...she had made one that didn't impress her family and she wanted to try again. Sadly, it seems we both used the same recipe.

I doubt that either of us will be making this version of the cake again.  If you have better luck, let me know.  I keep looking at the recipe trying to figure out what to adjust.....and maybe I will figure it out.  The idea of this cake is worthy of entertaining....  I am looking for the keeper!!

Lemon Strawberry Loaf

Preheat oven:  350° F.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste.)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups plus additional for dusting the pan and 2 Tbsp for the berries
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup diced strawberries

Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Add in the vanilla.

Combine the fresh squeezed lemon juice and the buttermilk.  Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Alternately, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the batter, combining after each. Continue until both are combined with the batter.

Shake the diced strawberries with 2 Tablespoons of flour until well coated.  Gently fold the strawberries into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a well greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center, comes out clean.  Let the cake rest in the pan for 20 minutes.  Invert on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Prepare your glaze.  Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice to the consistency and flavor that you like.  (This can be over-powering...taste as you add the lemon juice...add additional powdered sugar as desired.)  I added additional powdered sugar as well as 2 Tbsp of milk.

Spread the glaze on top of the cooled cake.  Garnish with additional strawberries.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage and at Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roasted Beet Salad with Horseradish Cream Dressing

I discovered roasted beets a few years ago...I am so sorry that I have only been able to enjoy them for a short period of time.  I guess I will need to make up for lost time!

At our gourmet group we had a wonderful salad featuring roasted beets with an amazing dressing....Horseradish Cream.....so good.


You are in for a treat with this salad. The creamy horseradish dressing was not overpowering and a great compliment to the sweet beets.  Be sure to use a hot horseradish or the dressing will be on the mild side...

The changes that we made to the salad made the flavors pop....the beets were tossed with a vinaigrette after baked and sliced.  The onion was pickled.

Roasted Beet Salad
with Horseradish Cream Dressing

Yield:  10 servings

6-8 beets, roasted, sliced, tossed with a vinaigrette
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons hot prepared horseradish
1 small sweet onion, sliced and pickled
1-2  heads boston lettuce 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Wash and trim beets, but do not peel.  Place on a large piece of foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then fold up in a loose package sealing seams tightly.

Place foil package on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour or until beets are tender.

Let cool, then peel and thinly slice the beets.  Toss the beets in a bit of vinaigrette then refrigerate until serving.

Whip the cream until thick but not stiff, fold in sour cream and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until serving.

Slice the onion and pickle.  Refrigerate until serving.

To serve, divide lettuce among serving plates.  Then, 
add a layer of the pickled onion rings.

Top the salad with beet slices and drizzle with dressing.

Sprinkle dill on top.

Note:  There was not a particular vinaigrette that was used...just basic.  The onions can be pickled in whatever way you prefer.



Prepare yourself for a delicious burst of flavor!  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Smørrebrød: A Danish Open-Faced Sandwich

Our friends recently went to Copenhagen for their daughter's wedding!  How exciting for them to meet their daughter's new family and also get to sample some wonderful new foods.  They had quite an adventure.  When they got home, they were ready to hit the kitchen to prepare some of the wonderful dishes that they sampled.  How lucky were we that they are in our gourmet group and we got to enjoy a wonderful meal!

I learned that bread is an important part of the Danish diet.  Bread and pastries are in abundance!
Denmark's bread is usually a dark, heavy, sourdough rye bread.  It is normally sliced and used as the base for the ingredients used to make Smørrebrød, the Danish open-faced sandwich.

It is only fitting then, that our first course was Smørrebrød.  This Smørrebrød was an appetizer with Blue Cheese, Apples and Bacon!  Would you believe that there is a blog dedicated to just Smørrebrød?  Well, there is and that is where the recipe came from....


Smørrebrød:  Danish Open-Faced Sandwich
Blue Cheese with Apples and Bacon



Sandwich Layers
Danish rye bread, thinly sliced
Savory spread (recipe follows)
Bacon slices, fried
Apple, sliced
Danish Blue cheese, sliced
Chives or green onion (green part, thinly sliced)

Savory Spread Ingredients
10 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
3-4 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry the bacon over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered out of the bacon.
Remove the bacon placing it on paper towels to drain.  Set aside to use later.  Leave the grease in the pan.  

Add the onion, apple, and thyme to the bacon grease.  Cook over medium heat until the onions are brown and the apples are very soft.

Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cool thoroughly.

Assembly
Spread each bread slice with thin layer of the savory spread.  Top with a slice of Blue Cheese, an apple slice, and a piece of bacon.  Garnish with chopped chives.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


These were quite tasty!   We enjoyed them with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc....mmmm....what a nice start to a great meal!!

We think that they would actually make a nice light lunch, also.  It is a win either way!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Growing up, the one cake that I requested over any other was the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. What a treat!  When I saw a recipe for the cake on the Saveur feed a few weeks ago, I knew that I was going to be making it.....and, for the first time!

I have no idea why I had never made it, it is so easy and it was, my favorite.....so in celebration of years gone by....I present the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake!


The intro to the recipe states that it comes from the chief of the Arcata Fire Department in Humboldt County, California.  I can see why it is said to be an all-time favorite of the crew!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Arcata Fire Department, Chief and Saveur

Serves 8 (those would be rather large pieces...)

1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. fine salt
1 1/3 cups unsalted butter, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
3 tsp. vanilla, divided
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
10 Tbsp. brown sugar (5/8 cup)
2 Tbsp brandy
7 slices of canned pineapple
1 1/2 cup stemmed maraschino cherries

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In the mixer bowl, cream the 12 Tbsp of the butter, granulated sugar, vinegar, and 2 tsp vanilla until fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add one egg at a time to the butter mixture, beating after each one.  On low, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in 3 batches.  Scrape down the side of the bowl, as needed.  With the mixer on medium, beat the batter until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in a 10" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the remaining vanilla, the brown sugar and brandy, until dissolved, about 1 minute.  Remove the skillet from the heat; arrange the pineapple slices on the bottom of the skillet.  Arrange the cherries among the pineapple slices, evenly.  Gently pour in the cake batter.  Bake the cake until it is golden and set, about 35 minutes.  Let cool for 30 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Note: Test the cake before removing from the oven and extend the time as needed.  It took my cake about 45 to 50 minutes.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

While this isn't my mom's recipe for the cake, tt was fun to enjoy it and think of those times, with the family, around the table, gobbling up mom's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake!

I am sharing today at Foodie Friday and Full Plate Thursday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baked Kale Chips


More kale....on Saturday we got another bunch of kale in the veggie box.  It was a different variety, though.  This kale was a beautiful green and leafy variety called Curly Kale.  Curly Kale is more sweet and mild than the Lacinato or Dino Kale that I used in the soup.

Having bumped into my friend while picking up veggies, she shared with me how she made her Kale Chips.  We had sampled her kale chips a few weeks ago and they were so tasty that we decided we would give the chips a try.  How hard can baking leaves be?

Kale Chips
adapted from My Friend, Gay!


Preheat oven to 300° F.

1 bunch kale (any variety will work)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea Salt

Seasoning salt (I used Trader Joe's South African Smoke Seasoning Blend)
Crushed red pepper, if desired.

Rinse and dry the leaves.  With a sharp knife remove the stems and center rib of the leaf.  You can tear the leaves into pieces (fairly large pieces as it shrinks while baking) or keep them whole.  I left the leaves whole.

Toss the leaves with the olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle sea salt over the leaves.

Bake for 20 minutes.  You want the leaves to crisp up but not burn!

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning or crushed red pepper.  Cool.

Note:  My friend tells me that you can bake the chips at 250° F. or at 300° F. just keep an eye on them.  The baking time will vary by variety.

PRINTABLE RECIPE


That was simple...and we had a nice healthy snack!

I am sharing today at Foodie Friday and at Full Plate Thursday.