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Summer is officially over. Well almost! When you live in Arizona you never feel as your summer ends.
We have had a fantastic summer and this year we decided to take the summer off to enjoy some great travels and spend as much time with family as possible. With that said we also had a great time eating our way thru our vacation. No guilt eating, is the best!
While home, we made it a point to prepare some new fun dishes in our kitchen as well as some old time favorite recipes.
I will start with this new recipe, “Honey Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Garlic” that I have found in an old magazine long ago. I have modified to our taste and also due to the fact that we were not able to locate some ingredients. Isn’t that the fun of cooking after all? Creating, been adventurous with new flavors and most of all… have fun.
The strong flavor of the garlic and the lemon, required some side dishes that will blend well together while not overpowering each other. Milk peas and lime cilantro rice were just that, perfect side dish. The cumin from the rice blended well with the cilantro in the rice. The pea’s light and tender flavor was the perfect balance between them. Love it and could not get enough of it.
Do not be taken back by mi picture of the Roasted Chicken, the skin got a bit caramelized too much, however the flavor was not just perfect. Juicy chicken breasts, soft caramelized garlic.
A great meal for the whole family that is easy, delicious and a bit different.
Enjoy!
Bon Appetit!

Giangi
Honey Roasted Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Garlic
Milk pears
Lime Cilantro Rice

HONEY ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH HONEY AND LEMON

2 large skin on bone in chicken breasts – about 2 pounds
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
1 lemon cut into quarters, separate the rind
¼ cup good quality honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
10 garlic cloves, crushed and halved

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle cumin both under and on the skin. Carefully tuck 2 quarters of lemon rind under the skin of each breasts. Pour honey under and over the skin of each
Heat a large 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add the oil and the butter to the skillet. When the oil is hot and the butter melted, add the chicken skin side down. Arrange the garlic in the pan so the cloves all make contact with the bottom. Cook for 7 minutes, then turn the chicken, skin side up and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven, and let the chicken cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Serve the chicken cut off the bone with all the caramelized garlic pieced and the thick sauce underneath it.

MILK COOKED PEAS

¾ teaspoon cornstarch
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup half and half
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Mix 1 tablespoon of the butter with the cornstarch and set aside.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the garlic, and cook until the garlic begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the peas and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and cook the peas until they turn bright green, about 1 minute.
Add the half-and half and cook until it bubbles in the center, about 30 seconds.
Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring until the content of the pan thickens and the peas are tender.
Add the lemon zest, parsley and tarragon. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately.
You may want to remove the garlic cloves before serving.

LIME CILANTRO RICE

2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup Jasmati or long grain white rice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro

Bring water to a boil, stir in the butter and rice into water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro into the cooked rice just before serving.

School is out, triple digits are in. Finally catching up on all my dinner that I did not post.

I will start with this simple and yet very delicious Vegetarian Quiche. Perfect for lunch and dinner and enjoying it with a nice chilled glass of white wine.
Green salad as a side, and ice cream to top off a perfect evening.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s dinner:

Vegetarian Quiche
Green Salad
Vanilla Ice cream with Blackberries in sugar

VEGETARIAN QUICHE

1 Puff pastry sheet (Pepperidge Farm), thawed
4 tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas thawed
1 teaspoon sugar
½ of a can of artichoke hearts
4 eggs
1 ½ -cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1-tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven at 400°
Roll out the puff pastry sheet to fit a 9” pie dish. Butter and flour the pie dish. Place the pasty and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel cut and removes all seed from the tomatoes. Chop them roughly, salt and pepper them.
Add the peas, artichoke and tomatoes to the puff pastry.
Beat together the eggs, heavy cream and the Gruyere cheese and pour over the vegetables.
Lower the heat to 375° and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the eggs mixture is solid.

Good Morning Everyone and Happy Sunday!!

Thanks to a chef friend of mine, Eliane at La Serviette Blanche  , I share with all of you this wonderful recipe.  This is actually my version based on her recipe. I used what I had on hand however, you may want to use any fish and vegetables of  your liking

Poaching is the key for this recipe, you want the butter to emulsify and not boil. Keep it just below simmer until the prawns are cooked and turn pink.

Stirring the pasta in the sauce, removed from the heat, gives it a great flavor. Do not be shy to add more butter if you heart desires it, and pour any sauce left over the pasta. Trust me you will not regret it.

Enjoy this fun and easy dish.

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

Tonight’s April 26, 2014 dinner:

Poached Prawns with Fettuccine and French String Beans

POACHED PRANWS WITH FETTUCCINE AND FRENCH STRING BEANS

1 pound uncooked prawns
5 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper
Fettuccine pasta
French string beans, 8 ounces can
Squeeze of lemon juice

Cook pasta according the packaging directions. Drain and add the string beans and 1 tablespoon butter and stir well.

In a skillet add water and bring to boil point and start adding the butter, tablespoon at the time to emulsify. Once all the butter is melted add the prawns and poach – just below simmer- until the prawns are cooked and turn a nice pink color. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the prawn leaving the juice in the skillet. Add the pasta with the French string beans to the skillet and stir to coat the fettuccine well.

Place pasta in the middle of the plate and place the prawns over it with any juices.

Having friends for the weekend is always fun as it allows me to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. However my son and guest did not feel my excitement on the new muffins that I was going to prepare for them.
Me: I am going to make chocolate chip sweet potatoes muffins
Son: Sweet potatoes?? Really!! I don’t think that will taste that good, potatoes muffins!!!
Me: You must expand your food repertoire and I would like for you to try them. I know once you bite into one, you will love them.
Friend: I do not like chocolate chip muffins.
Me: You do not like chocolate chip muffins?
Son: my mom can’t have them either as she gave up chocolate for lent, so you are in luck.
Me: I guess it will be sweet potatoes muffins.
Son and Friend: Oh!!
I have not made this very old recipe, which it was handed me down by someone ions ago, was delicious with the chocolate chips, and now without them, I was in unknown territory and had no idea what to expect.  Not too sweet, light and just delicious was the final verdict. we enjoyed them also with butter and jam.
We hope you will enjoy them as well as much as we did.
Bon Appetit!

Giangi

 

SWEET POTATOES MUFFINS
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup orange juice
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
16 ounces – 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams- cooked in the oven until soft
1 cup chocolate chip
Sanding sugar for decoration

Cook in the oven the sweet potatoes until soft. Remove from the oven and peel them. Place the meat into a dish, smash to reduce to a no chunk pulp and let it cool.
Keep the oven at 400°.
Mix all the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips if using.
Add to the dry ingredients the orange juice, sweet potatoes, egg and oil and mix well.
Place muffins cups in muffins pan and pour muffins mix up to cup high.
Sprinkle sanding sugar and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Serve at room temperature.

 

Trying to add a new flavor during the week is rather challenging but not impossible. As you may have notice we are not beans eaters in our family, and as lamb was on the dinner menu, I wanted to prepare alongside something new. Browsing thru some old French cookbooks, I often saw lamb prepared with beans. Why not give it a try.
The white bean recipe last night  was a combination of three recipe books and created as I was looking at my ingredients that I had on hand and did not feel like going to the store to just purchase one ingredient. Kind of fun to see what you can get away with and still  have a delicious easy meal prepared.
Great family dish, enjoyed by all and no left overs.
Bon Appetit!!!
Giangi

Tonight’s February 24, 2014 dinner:

Herbs Rack of Lamb with White Bean and Rosemary Ragout
Oven Roasted Potatoes

 

HERBS RACK OF LAMB WITH WHITE BEAN AND ROSEMARY RAGOUT

2 8 ribs each rack of lamb, frenched
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon rosemary
4 teaspoons unsalted butter melted
1 15 oz. cannellini beans can, drained, juices reserved
½ Knorr cube concentrate for chicken soup or vegetables soup
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven at 375°.
Stir together the mustard seeds, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, bread crumbs, parsley, rosemary, and melted butter. Spread this mixture over the top of the rack of lamb. Place the lamb in a roasting pan and cook in the oven at 375° for 25 minutes.
While the lamb is cooking prepare the white bean ragout. Combine the cannellini beans, ½ cup of their reserved juices, 1 tablespoon rosemary, the soup concentrate Knorr cube and the lemon zest in a saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to simmer the ragout for 10 minutes. If the ragout becomes too thick, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved juices from the beans to restore the consistency.
Keep warm.
Remove the lamb from the oven, cover and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Playing with new flavors last night. Browsing in my cupboard, the idea of tonight dinner  vegetable side dish was born.

I always have chickpeas in my pantry, love them in my salad for lunch, and preparing them along side Brussels sprouts and cauliflower  was something I never thought of doing and why not??
Searching thru my cookbooks, I found the idea of  sautéing  the chickpeas. Different, I thought, and curious as to the flavor they will give out.
In the kitchen I went, skillet out and ready to have fun.
Be very careful while sautéing the chickpeas as to not leave them unattended, as I did for 1 small minute: the chickpeas pop and I had a few that who flew the coop.
Well!! was I surprised.  Not only we really enjoyed the nuttiness of the chickpeas, the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower were delicious together.  Sautéing them, made them tender. Roasting them sealed in the great flavor.
A fun winter side dish.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s January 27, 2014 dinner:

Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower and Chickpeas
Leg quarters roasted
Apples quartered

 

BRUSSELS SPROUTS, CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEAS
½ cup olive oil
1 15 ounces can chickpeas, drain and patted dry
1 pound small Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil and the chickpeas and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Do not leave unattended.
Add the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, season with salt and pepper and add the thyme. Cook stirring until lightly browned.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the vegetables for another 15 minutes or tender. Stir half way thru the oven roasting.
Squeeze the lemon juice and serve immediately.
Coming home late and wanting to prepare a new recipe , can be a recipe for disaster. I have been wanting to prepare this great cauliflower gratin from Bobby Flays’s “Bar Americain Cookbook” for a while now, but every time I read the recipe I got discourage because it was  too late to start  and I did not have the time necessary to donate to it. Re reading the recipe  I decided it to modify it and make it more school night friendly.
Steaming the cauliflowers was a quick short cut that eliminate a good 20 minutes from the oven cooking and could be done alongside preparing the béchamel sauce. And voila, what was supposed to be an over one hour meal preparation it was done in less than 45 minutes.
We served alongside a nice bone in pork chop.

TIP: * Life lesson from my grandmother: when cooking cauliflower,  squeeze a teaspoon of lemon in the water, or place some slices of lemon in the water. The lemon will absorb the smell that we are not too fond of.

* Make sure the cauliflower is not to cook but still has a bite or the whole plate will become mush.
* Using regular goat cheese is fine, actually that is what was required on the original recipe. I did not have any on hand.
* Use a good Monterey Jack cheese that is not too high on fat content.
Bon Appetit!!!

Giangi

Tonight’s January 23, 2014 dinner:

Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Gratin
Bone in Pork Chop

 

CAULIFLOWER AND GOAT CHEESE GRATIN

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 -3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoon flour
1 ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
6 oz. herbed goat cheese, cut in small pieces
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets, and each florets cut in half

Preheat oven to 350° and butter a 10 inch gratin baking dish.
Steam the cut cauliflower until slightly tender. Remove from heat and place in a dish to cool off.
Meanwhile in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat melt butter and whisk in the flour. Stir to blend and cook for I minute. Gradually add the milk while whisking constantly until the mixture has thickened.
Remove from heat and add the Monterey cheese, ¾ of the goat cheese and ½ of the Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the sauce over the cauliflower and stir well.
Place the cheese and cauliflower mixture into the buttered gratin dish and top with remaining goat cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Place the gratin dish over a cookie sheet (for spillage) and bake until the cauliflower is tender and the top bobbly and golden brown.
Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

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