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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mid-Week Moment #30

"Long you live and high you'll fly and smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry and all you touch and all you see is all your live will ever be.-Pink Floyd

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stir-Fried Corn with Chili,Ginger,Garlic and Parsly

  Let's get down to business first,giveaway business that is!!!! We have a winner: girlichef !!! Yay for you lady and you've got some tomato jam coming your way. Email me at with your info         ( where I can send the jam) and it will be in the mail asap. Ok (as my dad would say) enough shilly- shallying around,let's talk corn!
    Today was one of those days that I was totally thrilled dinner was cooking away in the slow-cooker. We had a lot of plans on the "honey-do" list (as my sweet husband calls it). We had some gardening,some painting (think chalkboard paint on a wall in our kitchen :) !!! ),a little bit of yard work and some canning to do.
       I planned our main dish around this week's choice for I Heart Cooking Clubs ,Getting Fresh with Jamie. Oooh la la.     Well if you find fresh corn even remotely ooh la la then honey this was the dish for you.The recipe was Stir-Fried Corn with Chili,Ginger,Garlic and Parsley and it was wonderful.And I got some kitchen time with the man that makes me go ooh la la,what a guy!
I got some corn at the farmers market. 
My sweet husband shucked the corn,rinsed it off and got all the kernels off the cob for me too!
Oooh la la,a bottle of olive oil. 
Now truth be told I did go ooh la la when I saw this bottle for sale at an arts fair a few weeks back.It's handmade and I just wanted it. And my cool guy husband wanted it too,so he bought it for me us. The steam surrounding that good-lookin' olive oil bottle,well thats from my big ol' canner on the burner,just a boiling away.At this point I was finishing up some blueberry jam. I love blueberry jam almost as much as I love my cool guy husband.Thank goodness for him.
But back to corn,love me some corn.
So here's the basics of the recipe: corn (I have no idea how many cups that is,I bought a dozen ears and well we used it all.
(So there we have it for being exact.) 
Next we have garlic,fresh ginger,chili and parsley.Heat up some olive oil in a hot wok or frying pan,add the garlic,ginger and chili.Add the corn and cook for 5-6 minutes quickly,stirring as you go.Next soy sauce,then the parsley,toss and serve.
Enjoy! I did.
Stir-Fried Corn with Chili,Ginger,Garlic and Parsley
adapted from Jamie's Dinners page 167
written by Jamie Oliver
4-6 cups of fresh corn
2 TBL olive oil
1 chili,minced
2 cloves garlic,minced
1 TBL fresh,minced ginger
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
2 TBL soy sauce
1. Heat olive oil in a hot wok or frying pan over medium high heat. Add in the garlic,ginger and chili,cook until fragrant about 30 seconds.Add in the corn,cook for 5-6 minutes,stirring constantly.Stir in the parsley and serve.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Roasted Shrimp with Rosemary and Thyme

I have mentioned my thing for rosemary.
I love it.
Bottom line.
                     A few nights ago,I had no idea what we were going to have for dinner. Not a clue. Until lunch that day,when I caught up on a favorite magazine of mine,Fine cooking. I love this magazine almost as much as I love rosemary.Great photos,detailed how-to's and great introductions to certain cooking methods,ingredients,seasonal recipes,wine pairings....etc.
     I found within those pages a simple,fresh dinner idea that I just fell for and even better if I paired it with pasta,we would have leftovers for lunches the rest of the week.
    I was gonna ditch the deli meat for a few days,what a prospect!
Let me tell you how wonderful this roasted shrimp dish was :
Gather you ingredients: a fairly good size baking dish,extra-virgin olive oil,salt,pepper,white wine vinegar,rosemary,thyme,pasta and ooooo weeee feta. Most folks just call it feta.
Oh and some shrimp.Might be helpful and all.
You preheat your oven and then pour your oil in the baking dish and add your herbs and black pepper. I threw in a little red pepper flakes.I like my food spicy.My godson Bishop,when he was a wee one called it "picy."        Yes spicy minus the S.  Picy.
See now here's the dealio: By heating up the oil and herbs you get all them seasoning baking together,jiving( if you will) and then comes the shrimp.Bake those jewels for a bit and then it's magic time.(While the shrimp bakes,cook your pasta according to the package directions.)
Yes I know this is the same photo as above and thsi photo is very large,but look closely. Go on look.
See the bubbles there in the top right corner or so...
That would be the white wine vinegar,extra-virgin olive oil and salt making some magic happen.The combination of the vinegar,salt and olive oil produces a flavor like no other. Weeeelll wait no wait it's like buttah! No really the reaction of the vinegar and salt hitting with the hot oil coats the shrimp and herbs in a melted butter-like mixture.I'm tellin' you it's hard to tell the difference.
Unless you prepared the dish yourself. Well then you would know,but your guests won't.
(a wee bit dark photo,but you get the idea.)
Shrimp meet feta. Feta meet shrimp. Oh and look pasta came along too! I threw in the feta and pasta just for fun and also to have a tasty lunch the next day.It was a fine combo and made for a fine dinner and a a fine lunch.Hooray for catching up on magazines!
adapted from Fine Cooking magazine,April/May 2011 issue
serves 4
6 TBL extra-virgin olive oil
6 fresh thyme sprigs
3 large fresh rosemary sprigs,halved
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes *optional
1 1/2 lb extra-large shrimp (26-30 per lb)
   peeled and deveined
1 1/2 TBL white wine vinegar
1 12-ounce pasta,spaghetti or angel would work fine.
1 package of feta,either block feta crumbled or feta crumbles
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the oil into a 9x13 baking dish. Add the thyme,rosemary and 1 tsp pepper and bake until the oil mixture is fragrant,about 12 minutes.
2. Add the shrimp to the dish and toss with tongs until coated. Bake the shrimp until pink and firm,8- 10 minutes.At this point cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Add the vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt,toss well, and let rest at room temperature until the oil cools slightly,about 5 minutes. Discard the herbs (if you choose) and serve over pasta. Toss shrimp and pasta with feta crumbles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mid-Week Moment #29

"Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person the more necessary tact and courtesy become.    -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tender and Crisp Chicken with Sweet Tomatoes and a GIVEAWAY!

     I knew it,I just knew it when I turned the page I would find the perfect Father's Day dinner main dish in the pages of that cookbook. I bought two Jamie Oliver cookbooks back a few months ago.See I love cookbooks (some would say almost too much,everyone is allowed their opinions...) and I have a few on the shelves in my office-craft room place. I pulled a few cookbooks off the shelves searching for the perfect recipe for Father's Day dinner and even more special this meal would be the first big gathering at our new house,oh geez. No pressure AT ALL. And I get lucky with these dinners a lot of the time,but until the guest are fed,sent home with leftovers and dishes washed I give my all. Thank the Lord for luck and some measurable cooking skill. :)
    Ultmiately I wanted to accomplish three things with this meal: 1. Feed a handful of my family (eight is a handful right?!?!) a divine meal that would leave them with a warm heart and full belly. 2. Prepare a fairly easy dish that required minimal prep and slow-cooked,fresh flavors. 3.What the heck,lets cook a recipe that would also double as my post for the Father's Day theme over at I Heart Cooking Clubs.
I am grateful to say ALL three missions were accomplished and throw in a long nap this afternoon,what a weekend.
   Now let me show you how easy this dish is to prepare,cook and enjoy,dang fine:

    I love the farmers markets. I do a whole lot. I can get quality food for a quality price from quality people and take that quality food home and serve to my amazing family a quality meal. People the smell of fresh,home-grown,just picked off the vine tomatoes is unlike anything else I have ever smelled. So much so,when I cut up a few to put in the salad I proceeded to walk around to each guest and let them smell the stem area,just to take in what summer is : fresh,home-grown love in the form of a tomato. Perfection.
    Now the meal,I promise I will tell you about this meal,well the main course.
( I must tell you about the Baked Parmesan Cheese Grits another day,I must ,...but for now lets talk chicken.)
   Well this is it really. I arranged some chicken drumsticks and chicken thighs in a large roasting pan. Next I patted them dry,salt and peppered them and covered them in some summertime goodness: tomatoes,basil.garlic and hot peppers.Oh and a few good glugs of extra-virgin olive oil went in the pan just before all those other fine ingredients were lovingly tossed in there and folks thats it.
 Place that pan filled with summertime goodies in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half. 
***Allow me a moment: So cooking/baking/roasting dishes in a new oven has it's challenges,you find out if it's the oven,the oven thermometer or just you who is not acting just right.As you can see I have two thermometers in my oven currently because the dial on the dashboard on the stovetop says one thing and the precious little oven thermometers say another... 
     My solution for this problem,well I don't have one yet. I have to cook/bake a few more recipes,play with the oven temp on the dial and watch my food to see what the solution might be. None to worry food will be cooked,cookies baked and this too shall pass. The temperature in the oven in this photo was 350 and the dial was cranked up to 425 and we settled somewhere at 400 degrees. Why this is ok,see that little soufflĂ© dish in the top right? It contains one fine dip and well I have some patient guests and as my dad stated " you come from a long line of folks who don't cook on time." It's true and heck I just knew this was gonna be good.And my oven delimna: I'm cooking with a gas oven now and not electric,I'm a learning I'm a learning. Any hints?***

         Tender,crispy chicken skin coated in a rich tomato basil sauce,just thin enough to coat the pan.The tomatoes on the bottom roasted to tender perfection while the ones on the top remained firm and solid throughout the whole cooking process. And hello basil chips,fried deliciuos basil chips with the slightest hint of chicken... just fine fine eatin' right there.It was a truly special occasion,not only the Father's Day bit but that I opened my own personal pint-size jar of  the best jam ever,Tomato Jam! My stars between the crispy chicken slow-roasted with tomatoes and basil,a kick of red chiles,parmesan cheese grits and balsamic roasted asparagus, the dads were celebrated and a really great time was had by all.
***Oooohhh wait giveaway time!!!
       It has been a few months since my last giveaway,but I would love to make someone's day with a 1/2 pint of this fantastic jam and's my last jar of the stuff ( none to worry,my awesome father-in-law and my husband planted over 50 tomato plants some time back,well will have more tomato jam,so that means more for you to enjoy.) Good deal for all of us I think.
   So how do you get this jar of tomato goodness: Tell me about your favorite Father's Day memories. I will randomly pick a winner and ship that tomato jam out to the lucky person asap,so you too can enjoy with with roasted chicken or heck some plain bread makes a fine meal.The giveaway ends Saturday, June 25,2011 at midnight and I will announce the winner in the post on Sunday,June 26,2011.***
Tender and Crispy Chicken with Sweet Tomatoes
adapted from Jamie's Dinners
written by Jamie Oliver
serves 4
4 chicken legs or chicken thighs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of basil,leaves picked 
2 big handfuls of red and yellow cherry tomatoes,halved
  and 2 big plum tomatoes quartered
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves (peeled)
1 fresh red chili,finely chopped
olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken pieces in a large roasting pan,pat dry and salt and pepper all the pieces.
2. Toss together in a large bowl the tomatoes,garlic cloves,red chili and a few good glugs of extra-virgin olive oil. Distribute contents of the bowl all over the chicken pieces. Layer the basil leaves on top of the chicken and tomatoes.
3. Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven,bake for 1 1/2 hours until the chicken is crispy and falls off the bone.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh Rosemary,Rose Marie!

   Oh rosemary,rose marie! Rosemary has become on of my most favorite and my most used herbs in my garden.It is so hardy,sturdy and will even tough it out during a snowfall covered in a plastic garbage bag.What a trooper.
      So I was looking around on some of my favorite food blogs and found that other folks like rosemary just as much as me! I'm in some fine company.
1.The lovely folks over at Simply Recipes have come up with one tasty-lookin chicken recipe.You should check this recipe out very soon.I am. And of course I will tell you about it.
2.Tomorrow we are venturing out into the land of the downtown Tupelo farmers market and I hope to find some onions there. Little,ittle bitty wild onionsjust so I can make this recipe for pickled onions. Yum,yum yum. (I might keep breath mints handy after a meal of these pickled little onions.)
      And then my affection for rosemary continues into my kitchen windowsill. I try to root the stuff in water and most of the time it works! Hooray for free plants! 
    See folks more reasons for you to run down to your local plant nursery and buy you some rosemary. (all the cool kids are doing it.)
3. Mentioning cool kids Molly Wizenberg over at Orangette even likes rosemary, so much that she made a delicious,light perfect soup for summer with some tomatoes,chickpeas and heloo rosemary.
4.And last but not least another fantastic blogger named Deb has a way great blog called smitten kitchen. She has some of the best food photography and she makes a mean focaccia with grapes and rosemary,genius.   Genius. 
  So I hope I have swayed you too into The Rosemary Fan Club and if not stay tuned in the next week for some more convincing. All I'm sayin is chicken,olives,tomato sauce and rosemary. Dang.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Simple Tomato Sauce.

  I like homemade salad dressing... I like all kinds of homemade salad dressings.... I must admit I have become attached to them,especially in mason jars. I really love mason jars and all though I don't currently use them as my glasses at home,I consider them a part of the drinkware family. ( I don't know if drinkware is actually a word.)
   And lets see I've gotten into making my own jams,jellies and pickles and oh wait must not forget the almond butter! I really loved that,that was just some fine almond butter.You would think by making all these condiments I don't by them at the grocery store anymore,weeellll...not really I don't but when it comes to dollars I think I break even. One thing though,when it come to taste I have hit the jackpot.
   A few months ago,we had just gotten the house and I knew that very soon there would be a spell where I didn't a. didn't feel like cooking elaborate meals, b. might not have all the ingredients to cook elaborate meals, and/or c. wouldn't have all the time in the world to cook elaborate meals.
      The iheartcookingclubs group had just voted on Jamie Oliver as our next chef ,I ordered a couple Jamie Oliver cookbooks online and when they came in the mail I WAS OFF!! I like his style and am still getting used to his recipe format. One thing I have fallen completely for is his tomato sauce recipe ( and you thought I was gonna say his lovely British accent...not bad though).So this is my contribution for the Potluck theme this week and in a few weeks I'll wirte about the roasted chicken with rosemary and olives recipe that I used the tomato sauce in until then...
Gather together 2-3 cans of good plum tomatoes,I like Cento.
 Round up the rest of your ingredients: dried oregano,(he asked for fresh,I had dried) red chile and 3 garlic cloves.(Oh yes,in the book he says either the oregano or some chopped basil's summertime and basil is now alive and well,hello I might make this sauce again with the basil stalks,look out!)
A few simple steps later you have divine (like buttah) homemade tomato sauce. fine,fine fine,pot full of tomato goodness.
And folks what do you do if you know in a few weeks you might not have time/money or energy to make such a divine sauce,well gather your wits about you and make up a pot of this stuff,let it cool overnight in the fridge and bag that goodness up for the future. Hooray for thinking ahead.

Simple Tomato Sauce
adapted from Jamie's Dinners
 written by Jamie Oliver
page 40
2-3 cans good plum tomatoes
olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
pinch of dried oregano
fresh or dried red chile
swig of red wine vinegar
1. In a large pot heat some olive oil over medium heat,gently fry the garlic,oregano and chile.Add the whole tomatoes cook for a minute or so,reduce the heat and lightly season with salt and pepper.Gently simmer for 30 minutes,remove the chile.
2. Mush up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon ( or a quick go with the handy immersion blender) and add a swig of red wine vinegar for some twang. Taste and season carefully with salt and pepper again and TA-sa! you have homemade tomato sauce. Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mid-Week Moment #28

"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous."                -Coco Chanel

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Roasted White Fish and Leeks...(and chicken!?!?)

 I had to use some brain cells to make this recipe.

 I didn't use all of them,but on account the budget's a little tighter (since taking on a house note),I had to use (as my husband would call them) some mad ninja skills to get the dish made and on the table.I am tad bit more clever in the kitchen and now have two dishes to serve in the future instead of just one!
(I believe folks might call that BOGO...I don't know really.)

   This past week was a pretty busy one around our house and I knew a real meal was to come on Thursday. Real food on a real plate,warm-inviting-tasty real food...after a busy week I couldn't wait.The only problem,a wee one at that : My sweet,social husband had a friend coming to dinner on Thursday night and well I only had two pieces of fish to use in this recipe! Oh crap,really what's a girl to do? Let's discuss the options for just a minute:
Option #1- Find another recipe,using some other protein that I was sure I had frozen out in the deep freeze. Completely start over.
*** why this wouldn't work:I had 90% of the ingredients list already,just had to get a few things at the grocery.***
Option #2-We (my husband and I ) are folks that like to eat and even better we lurve leftovers even more than we like to eat.
***why this wouldn't work: Heck no was I going to not just make enough of the recipe,but even worse half of the recipe.***
***figure this one out soon sister***
Option # 3- I knew good and well I had other forms of protein in our deep freeze that would go with this same flavor profile and dangit I was going to make this work.
***DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER*** (I know I've had you on the edge of your seat this whole time. Fine I'll just tell you,ok ok ok.)
    The thought came to me and here goes it : Chicken. (God bless the yard bird.)
Boneless,skinless chicken breasts. Now truth be told I haven't used a whole lot of boneless/skinless chicken breasts lately,mainly because I've come to appreciate cooking chicken on the bone,the flavor is so rich,but because of that preference I had one little bitty ol' pack of chicken in the freezer.Thank goodness.Now on to my moment in the sun, the kitchen.
 I decided that I would use the fish and the chicken.Follow the same directions in the recipe to the best of my ability and still respecting the ingredients,make this one fantastic dinner.I knew it could be done.(No this was not the recipe Olympics,but a challenge nonetheless.)The recipe calls to marinate the fish in a herb filled,olive oil,citrus marinade. I thought (and after a quick internet search) that you really weren't supposed to marinate raw chicken for long periods of time with citrus,raw citrus especially. The acid in the juices cooks the chicken sort of and well that was my only hurdle in this whole meal.Ok den,what to do:
 I decided to marinate the chicken in everything but lemon and really infuse the chicken with the herbs,olive oil,salt and pepper.And then when it came time to bake the chicken,bake that chicken on a bed of lemon slices and lay some slices on top,just kicks. There we have it folks,all the flavors in the marinade incorporated in,no not at the same time but all would be present in the final dish. Hurdle jumped,now onto the rest of the recipe.
Confession time: I had never had leeks before this past Thursday night. I did know that they were a part of the onion family,so the oniony flavor was going to be a part of this dish.The fantastic Ina Garten had also taught me, on her show Barefoot Contessa, that you must always rinse out your sliced leeks. They have a little dirt still hanging out in all those layers.I rinsed off the leeks,then began to slice them and Ina's words rang true as wet dirt was on the cutting board.Off to the bowl of cool water for you! 
(The real confession is I'm not a huge fan of leeks now.I will always use them when I make this recipe because the recipe calls for them.It's a texture thing really,to each their own right. *insert sheepish grin here* thanks.)
As the leeks drained,I prepared the marinade for the fish and got the two blessed pieces of mahi mahi marinating for a bit.
At this point I was pretty thrilled I chose chicken to finish out the recipe. And really slap some bacon over all that marinated goodness,it was gonna be all good either way. Bacon makes everything better.
(Oh and I lined the preheated pans,very carefully with foil. It just made clean-up a little easier.)
  I tell you what that was some fine eatin' ! All of those flavors sang together.
My stars this chicken tasted so good,I mean really good. Hooray for ingenuity and chance! (let's be honest here) Oh yes and the marinade is cooked with the fish/chicken as the sauce and that was the best sauce too!(Sop-it-up kind of good.) It was so fresh,the lemon brightened the bacon. (Who knew bacon could be brightened,but it totally happened!) The herbs and olive oil provided a nice platform for the bacon/lemon and it really was a real-food-on-a-real-plate,warm-inviting-tasty dinner that was enjoyed by all that night.

Roasted White Fish and Leeks
adapted from Jamie At Home
written by the fantastic Jamie Oliver
page 334
serves 4
16 baby leeks,I used two adult size leeks
4 7-ounce fillets of white fish
 -off the bone,scaled,skin on
1 large lemon,but into 8 thin wedges
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
8 strips of bacon
for the marinade:
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme,rosemary 
a couple of bay leaves,I used two dried bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the baking pan in the oven to warm it up.
2.**For the fish-to make the marinade,bash up the thyme,rosemary and bay leaves with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle or the back of a wooden spoon works well too,until the salt turns green. Pour in two glugs of olive oil and a pinch of pepper and the lemon juice and give it a stir.
**For the chicken: Marinate the b/s chicken breasts in a glass baking dish with the rosemary,thyme,salt,pepper and olive oil for at least 8 hours up to overnight.
3.Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and parboil the leeks for about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and them steam dry.
4. Put the fish,lemon,rosemary sprigs and leeks into a bowl. Pour the marinade and toss to cover everything in the marinade flavors. Place the fish,skin side down,into the preheated pan. Pour the marinade contents over and around the fish. Place two strips of bacon on each piece of fish.
**For the chicken,place the contents,chicken and all in another preheated pan and place lemon slices and leeks on and around the chicken. Place two strips of bacon on each piece of chicken.
5. Baking time-Put the chicken in the oven about 15 minutes before you put the fish in,it gets the chicken a head start and hopefully they are done in the same amount of time. Make sure your cooked chicken reaches 170 degrees,then it's done.
Bake the fish around 15 minutes until the fish is just cooked and the bacon is crisp.If the leeks could use more time take out the fish,place on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Roast the leeks a little longer until they get a little more color.
6. Pile the fish/chicken onto a serving platter and pour the rest of the pan's contents all over the chicken/fish. Any way you make it,this is so delicious,Enjoy!