Monthly Archives: September 2009

Chicken in tomato and basil sauce with goat cheese for pasta

Once again a recipe using my delightfully inexpensive all-natural chicken legs.

Ingredients:

three large chicken legs cut in pieces and skinned (or not, to your liking)

2 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 tbls butter

1 tbls olive oil

head of garlic diced

1 tsp red chili flakes

Salt to taste

3/4 cup white wine (red wine would be good too)

lots of fresh basil (see picture)

5 oz fresh goat cheese round

Brown chicken and garlic in butter and olive oil. Add the wine while it’s on high and let it boil down a tad. Add the tomatoes and the basil salt and red chili.

woops, a little steamy!

woops, a little steamy!

Cover and put heat to medium or medium low. After about 20 minutes uncover so that some of the juices will evaporate and turn the chicken pieces. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Once the chicken is done and the sauce has cooked down some add the goat cheese in cut and bits and stir in until melted.

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Note: This is not a super thick sauce, it can be runnier than what most Americans consider pasta sauce should look like. In fact Italians do not eat the super thick tomato sauces we often see in America–I tend to cook my red sauces somewhere in the middle of what Italians and Americans like as I’ve been influenced by both cultures. I don’t imagine most of you know my parents are Italian and so I grew up eating as an Italian. All my cooking is very much influenced by my father in particular though both my parents are very good cooks.

Stuff like goat cheese are ingredients I’ve added as my culinary experience grew outside my home. We did not eat goat cheese in my home.

3chickred

Pumpkin soup and roasted pumpkin seeds — waste not want not

So to mark the very beginning of fall I’ve made pumpkin soup. It was not premeditated I just felt like making pumpkin soup. In general it’s been a soup I make on Thanksgiving and Christmas but I had a hankering for it the other day and so I bought a pumpkin.

I wish I had taken a picture of the cute little squash before I gutted and roasted it, but I did not so here it is after the fact.

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I halved it then took out the seeds and wrapped the squash in foil. I roasted it at 400 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours. After roasting the pumpkin I turned down the oven to 250 and roasted the pumpkin seeds.

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These are the seeds before roasting. I lightly rinsed them. I like leaving a bit of the pumpkin goop as it helps the tamari and salt I add to them stick nicely. I roasted them at 250 for several hours until browned and crispy.

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I eat them whole. They are very yummy.

Now the soup.

Ingredients:

1 smallish pumpkin (I wish I had weighed it but I didn’t)

48 oz vegetable stock

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

2 tbls virgin coconut oil

1 large onion

4 large garlic cloves

Salt to taste

1 tsp cumin

1 tbls coriander

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbls dried ginger

1 tbls dried mustard

1 tsp cayenne

plain yogurt to top the soup with (optional)

Directions:

So roast the pumpkin for an hour and a half or until nice and soft. Let cool a bit.

Saute onion and garlic in coconut oil. Let this cool a bit too once it’s nice and soft.

Toss pumkin in a blender and add enough broth to puree. Do the same with the onions and garlic. Blend one of the batches with all the spices. Mix it all up in a pot and just barely bring to a boil. Turn off and let sit for a few hours. Add the orange juice and reheat when you want to eat it.

If you like top it with the yogurt.

Done.

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Cream of spinach soup

spinach

Another easy creamed soup. My favorite thing to eat these days.

This one had: (all thrown into the pot at the same time and boiled)

2 lbs frozen spinach

64 oz vegetable broth

3 onions cut in quarters

1 head of garlic

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

I cooked all that until it was soft then took it off the burner to cool a bit. I added these ingredients while it sat there:

2 cups milk

1/2 lb goats cheese (fresh rounds)

1 cup grated pecorino/romano sheeps cheese

Then I blended the whole lot of it. Simple, fast and nutritious. I freeze leftovers.

Chocolate mousse with a twist

mousse

This was a total spur of the moment experiment. I generally don’t eat sugar and generally this includes natural forms of sugar such as honey, agave nectar, maple syrup etc.

Every now and then though I get a bit of a bug to have something sweet. Today I got that bug and wondered what I could make. I have raw cocoa powder on hand and thought I might do something with that. I surfed around the web a bit and came up with the below recipe that is a mish-mosh of several different recipes as I did not have all the ingredients for any of the recipes I found online.

I have never been a desert maker and so this was me in the land of big question marks.

Blend in the blender:

14 oz can coconut milk

3/4 cup raw cocoa powder

1/2 cup raw honey

1/4 cup raw almond butter

Refrigerate until nicely chilled.

Then mix 6 egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into the above cold mixture.

This was a goopy but very airy mixture so I chose to freeze it to make it more solid.

Freeze until firm. Yummy delight. My husband likes it much more than I do and he will be eating the bulk of it, which is fine with me. My sweet tooth generally lasts about 2 or 3 bites.

Modified chicken piccata

This dish appears to generally be made with boneless chicken breasts or occasionally boneless thighs. I’ve made it with whole legs which I cut into thighs and drumsticks. I get these whole legs for $1.59 a pound and they’re organic. Can’t beat that.

Ingredients:

3 large whole chicken legs, skinned and cut into parts

1 tbls butter

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice – save one squeezed lemon cut in half to cook with the chicken

1/2 cup of white wine

3/4 cup of chopped parsley

3 tbls capers

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup of flour (I used whole rye flour as I’m allergic to wheat. It does not have a strong flavor as one might assume, it works fine in place of whole wheat flour in everything I’ve used it in)

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and brown them on both sides in the butter. Once brown add the lemon juice and the lemon rinds, the white wine and the capers and parsley. Bring all to a boil and cook for 1/2 an hour.

After browning but before cooking for 1/2 an hour

After browning but before cooking for 1/2 an hour

After a half an hour thicken sauce with a bit of flour. I used about a tablespoonful mixed with a bit of wine, then I slowly dribbled it into the juices while it was still boiling until the sauce was thickened.

After cooking

After cooking

And the final plate looked like this:

afinal

Cream of broccoli soup

broc

6 heads of broccoli

64 oz of vegetable stock

2 large onions

1 head of garlic

1 cup of cream

1/3 lb goat cheese (fresh round)

This is a large recipe. You can halve it and it would be enough for about 4 – 6 bowls.

This is one of my simple quick soups. One could saute the onions and garlic first and it might make a better soup, but these lazy put everything in some stock, boil, and puree soups are working just fine me. They are really good.

So that’s what you do. Cut up all broccoli and onions in large pieces, no need to be careful or meticulous. The only tricky part is peeling the stalks and cutting up those.

Throw the broccoli, onion, and garlic, salt and pepper in the stock, boil until very soft.

Cool the veggie a bit and puree in a blender.

Once pureed add the cream and goat cheese. Heat enough to melt the cheese but do not bring to a boil again.

I froze this and it was fine upon reheating too.

Ground beef stir-fry

beefcab

I’m thinking I should do a 101 ways to prepare ground beef as I have an outrageously inexpensive source of very lean, grass fed, organic meat and I have a ton of it in my freezer. I virtually never ate any beef before I got this source.

I was once again inspired by Wandering Coyote, though I have to say my dish is a very toned down and simpler version.

I got to cooking and didn’t have most of the ingredients I would have liked to have. This is  the recipe WC recommended.

In any case, I certainly cannot call this Mongolian Beef, which is what WC made. But it was tasty even if extremely simplified from it’s inspiration.

This was the dumbed down version–which was completely acceptable in the end:

3 cloves garlic

1 small purple cabbage (grated in food processor–it should have been sliced though, that’s why you can’t really see it)

1 bunch green onions

2 large carrots (grated in food processor)

1 lb ground beef

4 tbls tamari (tamari is essentially soy sauce, I’m allergic to wheat and tamari has no wheat in it as soy sauce does)

1 tsp red chili pepper flakes

1 tbls dried ginger (I was dismayed to find we were even out of fresh ginger)

Saute diced garlic. Brown the meat in the garlic. Toss everything else in as you like and cook as you like.  I served it over steamed brown rice. It was simple but yummy.

Baked chicken slathered in pesto and lemon zest

Wandering Coyote gave me the idea of basil and lemon for flavoring chicken yesterday.

I had some chicken breasts in the freezer which I took out yesterday and I decided to modify the recipe WC had because I needed to make another huge batch of pesto today, just like I did here.

So today once the pesto was complete I took out a couple two or 3 tablespoons before freezing the rest and added the zest of one large lemon and some lemon juice. Probably about 1 tbls of lemon. I mixed it up into a paste and smeared it all over the chicken. I added some fresh black ground pepper.

Stuck them in the oven and this is what emerged later:

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I’m don’t think this picture can begin to suggest how delighted I was with the flavor of this chicken. The lemon zest in concert with the basil and garlic (and cheese and pine nuts!) was to die for. I have never used this flavor combination with chicken. And the pesto made a very good paste that stuck to the chicken so that the flavor was very rich. YUM! Thanks Wandering Coyote you just grew my chicken world!

Chicken with white wine, shitake mushrooms and goat cheese sauce

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The first part of this dish I diced lots of garlic (about a whole head of it) and sauteed it in olive oil. I then browned the chicken in the oil and garlic and topped it off with fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden. Salt and fresh ground black pepper, as well.

Once it was browned I poured in one cup of white wine and let it boil and then lowered the flame and covered the dish as it looks above.

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I had dried shitake mushrooms which I brought to a boil in water. Above is what they look like before and after. I allowed the mushrooms to stay in the hot juices until they cooled and then I poured the left over juice into the cooking chicken and cut up the mushrooms in bits which also went into the pan with the cooking chicken.

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When the chicken was completely cooked I took out the meat and added 1/3 of a pound of goat cheese into the juices. It looks like the above picture.

I then boiled some pasta and made the final dish. The picture unfortunately came out awful, but the food was delicious.

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