Tag Archives: cooking

The Best Cranberry Chutney EVER!

Standard
The Best Cranberry Chutney EVER!

Thanksgiving – 2016

Maybe you’ve had that cranberry “stuff” than comes in a can and decided that cranberry sauce wasn’t for you.  That was my experience, until some years ago I came across this absolute marvel of a recipe for cranberry chutney.  I’ve been making it for Thanksgiving ever since as a “must have” on my menu.  Try it, it’s easy, its delicious and it’s  not only good with turkey, but with chicken and pork, as well.  It is so good, in fact, that I can’t bear to keep it to myself and have decided to share the recipe with you.  Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Appetite!

Begin by washing and sorting a bag of fresh cranberries, 4 cups.

fullsizeoutput_59c

Add a cup of golden raisins

fullsizeoutput_59d

Add 2 cups of sugar.

fullsizeoutput_5a0

Add cinnamon and allspice to taste.  I like things spicy, so I add extra but a 1/4 tsp of allspice and 1 tsp of cinnamon should be adequate to start… spice it up from there.

fullsizeoutput_5a2

Drain pineapple, reserving juice,  and chop to desired texture.

fullsizeoutput_5a4

Chop fresh ginger using a pleasing amount.

fullsizeoutput_5a6

Add water to pineapple juice measuring to one cup.

fullsizeoutput_5a7

Add liquid and stir.

fullsizeoutput_5a8

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.  Cook a bit longer for thicker consistency.

fullsizeoutput_5a9

The mixture will reduce down to a syrup that thickens as it cools.img_3879

Store in refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.  Serve cold or at room temperature as desired.

fullsizeoutput_5ab!!ENJOY!!

Advertisements

November Comfort Food

Standard

Old-Fashioned Goodness.

It’s been a long while since my last encounter with oatmeal in the morning, but as chance would have it, I had a meet-up with the Quaker Oats guy in the cereal aisle last weekend and we decided to go home together.

It may have something to do with the change in seasons and the dark days of winter approaching, that cause my thoughts to turn to oatmeal.  I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I find a steaming bowl of hot mush to be a very satisfying and nutritious way to start a November morning. It’s really quite easy to make, but being pressed for time as I often am, I decided to do some pre-organizing to speed up the process in the morning.  I assembled five pre-measured bags of ingredients, one for each day of the week, so that all I’ll have to do when I stumble out to the kitchen at 5:30 a.m. is add a cup of hot water to the mixture and voila, I’ll have my oatmeal in no time at all.

Oatmeal Time

I like to use nut pieces, not only for added flavor, but for the trace nutrients and extra calories they provide. I use unsalted, dry roasted varieties such as pecans, filberts, almonds and cashews.

breaking nut pieces

Dried fruit, such as currants, raisins or cranberries add sweetness without the use of refined sugar.currants

Add 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal.oatmeal

To avoid the recommended salt, I add spices such as cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg again for flavor and also for added health benefits that spices offers.cinnamon spice

And with that, my work is done.  Just seal the bags and they are ready to go in the morning.  Now all I have to do in the morning is put a cup of water on to boil and breakfast will be ready  in a jiffy.Ready to go.

Seasonal Soup Recipe

Standard

In Autumn

Great Minds Turn To Thoughts Of Pea Soup

There is nothing quite like the brisk bite of fall air to make me start thinking about steaming bowls of soup and hunks of crusty bread or delectable portions of pomme frites.  I love hearty soups.  There is something primal about the making and eating of nourishing soups that warm the body and soul.

I discovered this recipe last year and it has become a favorite.  Although I adore pea soups made with ham or bacon, this lighter version is equally delicious and a lot easier on the waistline.

I began by assembling all the ingredients.

Curried Pea Soup Ingredients

Then I chopped the onion into small pieces and sautéed them in olive oil for around 5 minutes.

sauteed onions in olive oil

While the onions were cooking, I peeled 3 to 5 cloves of garlic and a portion of fresh ginger.

chopping garlic and fresh ginger

I have found that my mini-processor makes quick work of chopping herbs, so into the chopper they went.

finely chopped herbs

Once finely chopped, I added the mixture to the onions and continued cooking for a few more minutes.

chopped garlic, ginger and onions

Then came the spice, hot curry (to taste) cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and salt.  At this point my kitchen began to waft with the fragrant aromas of the spice market in the  Grand Bazaar.

Add spices

I mixed the spices in and let them simmer for a  few more minutes.

onion, garlic, ginger and spices

Next I added chopped carrot, celery and a bit of fresh Italian parley for good measure.

add chopped carrots, celery, Italian parsley

Not being a vegetarian myself, I opted for a carnivorous blast of chicken broth.

add liquid to soup

Then I washed the peas and sorted through them for things that might not belong.

washing dried peas

After washing, I stirred the dried peas into the broth, put a lid on the pot and let it simmer until finished.

add dried peas

Once the soup was done, I let it cool.  Once thoroughly cooled, I took approximately half of the soup and placed it into a blender.  I don’t like pea soup that it completely smooth; I do like a little bit of texture so I leave a bit unblended.  Pureeing helps to give the soup body by thickening it up a bit.

pureeing soup

Then I added the pureed mixture (yum) back into the soup pot,

pureed pea soup

and stirred to blend the two together.

IMG_8227

Pomme Frites Soup Toppers

Dice a yukon gold potato and pre-cook. Drain well and set aside.

precooked potato cubes

Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a small pan and add the potato cubes, cooking until crispy and golden.

cooking pomme frittes

Remove from oil and drain well on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and dust lightly with curry powder.

curried pomme frittes

These make a tasty garnish to an already delicious bowl of curried pea soup.

Buon appetito

Curried Pea Soup with Pomme Frittes

Garlic-Basil-Chicken

Standard

OH, MY!

I noticed a restaurant sign board advertising Garlic Basil Chicken a couple of days ago.  It sounded really good to me, but the place advertising the dish looked like the kind that might accidentally mistake the rodents in the back alley for farm fresh chicken and oops into the garlic basil sauce they go.   I drove on, but the thought of garlic basil chicken lingered in my mind.

This morning I bought the ingredients making a special stop to buy my chicken from an organic supplier, Draper Valley Farms.  Then it was off to the produce market for other ingredients.  This dish is very simple to make, delicious and healthy.

Ingredients 

1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast sliced in thin slices

1 small onion halved and sliced in 1/4″ slices

2 red bell peppers sliced in 1/4″ sticks

5 large garlic cloves sliced or minced

1 1/2 cup of fresh basil

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup of water

                                                                         ingredients for garlic basil chicken recipe

Dredge chicken in cornstarch or flour and saute in light olive oil until browned on both sides, approximately two minutes each side.

saute chickenRemove chicken from skillet  and add onions and peppers with more oil if needed.  Saute for a couple of minutes being careful not to over-cook.

saute onions and peppers

Add garlic slices and brown

IMG_7876Once garlic is browned, pour in the rice vinegar, soy sauce and water.

add liquids

Add cooked chicken back into pan.  The flour from the chicken will help to thicken the sauce.  Again, add more water if the sauce needs it.

IMG_7878Stir in chicken and cook a little until liquids begin to thicken into a sauce.

Add basil.

fresh basil

Cook until basil is limp stirring as needed.

IMG_7881Serve mixture over rice and pair with a cold beverage which in this case happens to be an Imperial Pale Ale, my personal favorite, Hop Czar from Bridgeport Brewery in Portland, Oregon.

Enjoy!Garlic Basil Chicken

Cooking in Sewville

Standard

SImple Goodness

I am a fan of white beans, no doubt about it.  I love bean soups and bean salads, and bean pates.  Beans are healthy and a great source of complete protein.  I’m always looking for new ways to prepare beans and landed on this interesting recipe that uses caramelized onions.  Being a huge onion fan, I thought it sounded rather good, so I gave it a try.

I like the recipe which I found on treehugger, because it is simple and requires only 4 main ingredients, onions, cheese, beans and spice.   The original recipe called for thyme, but I think Mexican spices, such as cumin, chile powder and possibly some jalapeno might be an interesting addition as well.4 main ingredients

I began by slices five onions in half-moon slices and sauteing them in olive oil for an eternity.  The recipe said it would take 25 minutes, but it took a lot longer than that to achieve the sugary golden flavor or caramelized onions.  Add thyme to the onions in the last stages of cooking.

carmelized onions

Once the onions were prepared, I washed and drained two cans of white beans.  I always wash my canned foods , because I think it washes salt and chemicals away.  Not sure if it really helps, but it makes me feel better.

rinse and drain beans

Divide the onions into thirds and spread the first third in the bottom of a casserole dish.  I sprayed no-stick spray on just to make sure they wouldn’t stick, although it probably wasn’t necessary due to the olive oil in the onions.

spread onions in casserole dishThen spread one can of rinsed beans over the onions,

layer beans over onions

and sprinkle with cheese.  Again, feel free to experiment with different cheeses.  The original recipe called for cheddar, but I think Asiago or parmesan and rosemary spice would be nice for an Italian flavor.  Continue to layer onions and beans ending with cheese on top.   Before placing in the oven, add one half cup white wine or veggie broth if you prefer.

completed casserole before cooking

Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until cheese is bubbling and slightly browned.

baked casseroleI served this dish with fresh green beans lightly sauteed in olive oil and garlic and a nicely chilled glass of chardonnay.

It was flavorful, simple and delicious.

dinner at 8:00

And for those of you who are wondering what this has to do with my blog theme, I sewed the red table runner and napkins you see in the final photo.  She sews and she cooks!   🙂