Look, I understand that everyone who puts his or her hand on a Godiva’s Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark coffee should instantly think of brewing it and drinking it as fresh or in a beverage of sorts. But why not trying these coffee blends in a dessert recipe like Tiramisu, and sipping freshly brewed along with it?
I am also a musician, and like to improvise on my guitar when we are getting together with a couple folks for a jam-session. This recipe will give you the freedom of doing just that… culinarily speaking (don’t use this dish to play music, it might get awkward). It’s my Mother-in-Law’s Stir Fry recipe that was posted on one of those church Cookbook collections. It beats a lot of recipes out there, and I can vouch for it since I am making it every other week! The secret is in the garlic, of course. Read on, good people…
Looks like I’ve been having my fill of BBQ this summer. Every Friday I pull it out and start improvising with whatever I have at hand that day. So the other day I opened an almost empty, un-inspiring fridge, to discover that I sill have a couple frozen chicken breasts, cream and blue cheese, olives, lemons, parsley and garlic and butter. “Garlic and butter!” I thought to myself… I am saved!
The Art of Slitting
Use this recipe as a guideline for stuffed chicken breasts. You can use whatever you have available to stuff, from spinach to pesto, dried fruit (like figs or apricots), artichoke hearts or asparagus tips. If it comes down to anything that you might have to pay attention to is how to slit the breast to make a nice pocket without ripping it.
The way I found it works is by placing the breast half horizontally on a cutting board and making an incision on the plumpier side of the breast not wider than say 1 inch then carefully making the inside pocket wider, working with the tip of your knife, going as close as possible to the edges without ripping.Once you stuff the breast, seal it with a wooden toothpick and off you go!
The ones here were stuffed with a mix of cream, Parmesan, blue cheese butter and garlic mix, sun dried tomato halves, olives and parsley
I marinated my stuffed chicken breasts in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley and garlic for about 1 hour before they went on a hot charcoal grill. There I had to babysit them pretty often by turning every 5 minutes or so, I got a nice crust and color.
So, really, try your hand at this — you will impress yourself and those around you!
You know that fall is approaching when you start baking. Lately the temperature in Chicago was more baking-friendly so I thought it was time for another BBA Challenge dust-off here with a delicious Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche.
This is a protein-intense bread, surely because of the cheese overdrive content but worth making it again… annually. No, really I would make it more often but it requires attention and time. I really liked the asiago cheese in it because it gives an assertive taste, but you can simply substitute it for any other cheese from that same family (like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano).
Look, how can say NO to a chance of reviewing a cookie (or more)? And how can you relax better than sitting down on a summer afternoon, with a bag of Newton Fruit Thins, a real espresso, and a laptop ready for the review? It doesn’t happen often so might as well dig in… Literally.
So, yeah… Lately I took on a new habit. Smoking… meat, you silly! The need came as I was prepping some Hungarian Gyulai Sausage (post will follow soon) that needed about 8 hours of cold smoke, at 90 F degrees maximum. I needed a simple device that would house the meat, and where smoke went in then smoke went out. Here’s how I did it!
So we have this new thing going on when I have to take care of dinner three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday to be precise. It is something I enjoy, and it’s a way to wind down after a busy day. The problem is that I am a terrible meal planner. I do grocery shopping, and usually get what’s on sale, or what might inspire me to do a certain meal, but I don’t remember ever going with a pre-planned ingredient list for an upcoming meal. And usually what happens is that I wake up, open the fridge to sort of assess the situation of what I have or don’t have or what needs to be gotten rid of, then frantically search the Internet, cooking magazines or cookbooks for something that might resemble a decent dinner. For some strange reason, I always find that I have excessive mushrooms from the previous grocery shopping day. Don’t ask me why.
But I have my staples. I’m not that hopeless. For instance I make sure there are always a couple lemons and limes in the bottom fridge drawer. When skinless, boneless chicken is on sale, I pile up, and divide them up into portions and freeze them. Butter? I need that like gas in our car, okay? And, look! I have all I need for Chicken Piccata, a sublime marriage between sauteed floured chicken breast cut into thin cutlets and a lemony-buttery-garlicky sauce topped with lemon slices, capers and parsley. To be honest, I inherited this recipe from Steph, since she does the best Chicken Piccata in town. And it’s a big town.
Look, this is not the healthiest breads of all, but sure makes a killer sandwich. Also thought it was time to dust off my Bread Baker’s Apprentice book and take on a new bread baking challenge. Summer is slowly tapering off with scattered bearable temperatures when I can finally heat up my oven to 425 without roasting everyone in the house. Who would have thought that this Kaiser roll bread would bring flashbacks of my childhood in Romania! I remember risking being late at our chemistry class (no one cared of) only to run and buy a couple of these Kaiser rolls being sold at our corner bakery. I am sure back then they called these something other than Kaiser Rolls, since little rolls baked in honor of Franz Joseph I of Austria would have gone against the grains of communism. Maybe they called them Lenin Rolls? Don’t remember…
…but I’ll just eat the Prunus persica (aka peach), thank you! After 3-1/2 years the Madison peach tree that my wife Steph planted is happy and producing more that it can bear (literally). I had to prop up its tiny branches with bungee ropes hooked to an improvised wooden tripod so they won’t break off. It produced abundantly this year (about 50 to 60 peaches) with no pesticides, growth hormones whatsoever. The proof is the worm! Last year we lost all 16 but 2 of them to the bloody squirrels (we hates them!), but this year we observed that if we leave the lawn to grow long enough, they seem to hesitate to walk over it. Not sure how much truth there is in this theory (beside the fact that we have a pretty un-kept back yard lawn), but it looked like each time they wanted to approach the peach tree, they kept stopping by the driveway border then turning back hissing mad as if their evil plan failed. I guess it’s a more humane way to keep them out of our trees than I previous thought of [ahem], and I won’t go into details here.