Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beef Bourguignon

This is autumn food. It's the kind of stuff you get cooking in the morning on a Sunday, while the house fills with delicious smells and the sounds of football. Love it.
I've made Martha Stewart's version, along with Julia Child's. Both delicious and very laborious. I thought I'd give Ina Garten's version a try, as it looked a bit less involved than the others. Well, it was wonderful, but frankly just as time consuming. There really is no getting around the fact that this is an all day affair...a labor of love. The plus side, is it's fantastic the next day. So, it's a great meal to make for entertaining, as it can be made a day ahead.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chimes Ginger Chews

I was at a local gourmet food shop today & saw these at the register. I love ginger candy & the idea of a peanut butter variety sounded so odd, yet delicious. I picked up a bag & they are SO good! Wait until DH tries one. If you can't find them locally, you can buy them online here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Parmesan Chicken Cutlets

As I mentioned a few days ago, I love arugula salad served with chicken cutlets. So, here's a recipe for them. In my house, this is a favorite meal...especially, for DH. My MIL is the queen of chicken cutlets. She makes hers paper thin. I strive to make some as good as hers, but I've yet to be successful. Maybe one of these days...

Begin with 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Trim the tenderloins off & reserve them for another use. This makes for a more uniform sized cutlet. Place the chicken between plastic wrap, or a in resealable plastic bag & pound to a 1/4" thickness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumnal Equinox

Arugula Salad with Lemon-Parmesan Dressing

I've recently become obsessed with arugula salad. Especially, served this way with lemon & Parmesan. The spicy greens, paired with the salty cheese & tart lemon are amazing together. The salad is great alone, but is even better as a pizza topping, or served with Italian chicken cutlets.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

Microplane graters are all the rage now. It seems everywhere I turn, I'm seeing them. I never bothered to get one, because I have plenty of traditional graters around.
But, I recently caved & picked one up & I love it! Man, it works SO much better than my older ones. If you read this blog with even slight regularity, you know that I use lots of citrus zest & lots of Parmesan cheese {yum}. So, I'm loving this.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dilled Potato & Pickled Cucumber Salad

I made this potato salad to bring to a BBQ with friends. I found the recipe on Epicurious. It was very highly rated, with several people declaring it the best potato salad EVER! So, I had to try it!
It's a recipe that should be made ahead of time, as it requires a few time-consuming steps. It keeps in the fridge for days & even gets better with time.
The best part of the dish are the pickled cucumbers, which are super simple to make & a great snack on their own. The Bozos love pickles & these were a HUGE hit! I plan on making a small batch to have on hand for them.

The cucumbers need 24 hours to marinate, so start those ahead of time.
Begin with 2 English hothouse cucumbers. Thinly slice them & place in a resealable plastic bag. Next, chop a 1/2 cup of fresh dill,

Dash & Albert Rugs

I purchased several small rugs from this company about 5 years ago. I love them! They get used as mats in our kitchen & get washed at least once, sometimes twice a week. Somehow, they have managed to stay in perfect condition & the colors have barely faded.
I have recommended them to lots of people over the years. My sister just got two of the larger sized ones & they looks awesome in her house.
Next up, one of the red striped ones for the Bozos room.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spaghetti with Braised Kale

Kale is really good for you. Being that it's very earthy tasting & slightly bitter, it's probably not high up there on your favorite foods list. The flavor reminds me of something close to broccoli rabe, or a brussels sprout. I love both of those vegetables & I like kale too.
If you have never tried it, or want to give it another chance, this is a great dish. The braising refers to a slow, longer cooking method & it suits this vegetable very well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bozo Picture of the Week...

The Bozos had a fun-filled Sunday with Dad, playing with the BB gun & going to the skate park.
Photos courtesy of DH.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chicken al Mattone

This is the cover recipe from the September 2009 issue of Bon App├ętit. I didn't realize until I started making it, that it was very similar to the Tuscan Lemon Chicken, from Barefoot Contessa I made a few months back.
It's a bit different, so I tried it anyway. I love that this recipe is roasted in the oven, versus the grill. It makes the house smell amazing & with the chilly weather, I love making it indoors.
"al Mattone", means "with a brick", and is traditionally cooked outdoors on a grill. I actually like this method even more.
Once again, you begin with a whole 4 pound chicken. The chicken must have the backbone removed & be flattened, or butterflied. It's much easier to have your butcher do this for you. However, doing it at home is easy too & is just a matter of trying it. It's also cheaper...this dish cost less than $4 & feeds 4 people.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Basil Pesto

I LOVE pesto! I try to make a big batch every summer with our container basil harvest. Pesto is wonderful on pasta. But, I use it more often as a garnish for things like grilled chicken, hamburgers or pizza. And, best of all drizzled over a Caprese salad. It is so full of intense flavor, that a little goes a long way.
Pesto freezes really well & can be thawed &, you can use a bit & stick it back in the freezer. Be sure to pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of whatever you store, whether refrigerating, or freezing. This helps keep the air off the surface, which will turn your pesto brown.
I use BFC's recipe & I don't change a's perfection.

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

Every year when we visit Maine, we stop by Stonewall Kitchen to check out all the kitchen goodies they have. I love their pantry jams, marinades, crackers. But, they also have an amazing selection of cool kitchen gadgets.
This year I picked up this butter keeper. It allows you to keep butter at room temperature for 30 days. It's been so handy having it on the counter, ready to spread on the kid's toast, etc. All you have to do is fill the upper part with butter & pour an inch of water in the base. When closed the water seals out air, keeping the butter fresh.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Green Bean Salad with Arugula, Tomatoes & Basil Dressing

This recipe is also from the Fine Cooking, "Big Buy" magazine I picked up. It looked so colorful & healthy, I wanted to try it. As I have said before, I am a big fan of fresh mozzarella, tomato &, this one drew me in right away.
As the summer is coming to an end, we also have an abundance of tomatoes & basil in the garden. This is a great way to use some up.
All of the elements of this salad can be made ahead of time & assembled when serving.

Begin with 2 pounds of slender green beans. Here, I used a mixture of green beans & yellow wax beans. Trim any long ends off, wash & set aside. Next, you'll need a loosely packed cup of fresh basil leaves,

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bozo Picture of the Week...

Note* Cherry Tomato series courtesy of DH.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rigatoni with Zucchini, Sausage & Goat Cheese

I picked up a special edition of Fine Cooking magazine, called "Big Buy" at Costco before vacation. I hoped to find some good big batch dinner ideas that I could freeze for quick meals down the road. I brought it along with me while away & my stepmother made this recipe one night for dinner. It was devoured so quickly, I barely remember it being on anyone's plate.
I used whole wheat pasta, because that's what I had on hand. It was a smaller shape than most rigatoni & I would recommend getting the bigger kind, if you can.

To prepare, dice 2 medium zucchinis, crumble 3 ounces of plain goat cheese,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Day of School

Second grade for my big guy & Kindergarten for my baby.