Tag Archives: chopped

Reaching for the ‘clouds’ for the New Year!

Well hello to everyone… yes I realize it has been quite a while since my last posting, but there were many obstacles that prevented me from having the time to focus. Hopefully this will be a new blogging beginning for the New Year!
With 2015 finally upon us and an annual Holiday get-together with our friends approaching tonight, I felt this would be the best time to kickstart everything into motion.
Starting with ‘what can I bring’ to our amazing hostess, the words ‘how about dessert’ was music to my ears! After thinking about something out of the norm, I settled on a triple layered hazelnut mocha pavlova, with a hazelnut liquor cream filling…
It all started yesterday by roasting hazelnuts [the amount is your choice, but I went with six ounces] in the oven and also melting milk and dark chocolates [another six ounces] over simmering water. Both were set aside to cool…
While the nuts and melted chocolates cooled, six egg whites were whipped with a pinch of kosher salt until soft peaks formed, from there the sugar began to slowly get added until the whites became glossy and stiff. Once stiff peaks were evident, vanilla and almond extracts were added and the mixer then turned off. The chopped hazelnuts and a cup of chocolate chips were gently folded into the shiny pillowy mixture, as well as the cooled, melted chocolate to create a lovely marbled wonder.
Poured onto three parchment drawn discs and spread out, it was then into the 225*F oven for two and a half hours. Once cooked, the door was opened and the pavlova’s left to cool completely.
For the whipped filling, I beat cream and some hazelnut liquor until firm. This boozy filling was spread on each layer and stacked. The pavlova tier was popped into the refrigerator to ‘set-up’ overnight and then this edible beauty was dressed with some shaved dark chocolate on top before packing up and heading to the party!
The end result… crisp exterior with a slightly chewy center and a creamy delight to hold everything together… a total favorite!
What will I bake next???






















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one [roasting pan] wonder…

After a long day of running errands and battling the cold weather, it was home to prep up something for a scrumptious dinner! I needed something satisfying and filling, while not taking hours and hours to prepare. Simple enough was one of my fave dishes, from one of my fave home-cooks… Nigella Lawson. It was a chicken, chorizo and potato ‘bake’. This dish is literally a ‘one pot’, rather ‘one pan’ meal! Simple ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen pantry and can be put together in mere minutes.
Into a deep roasting pan went some good extra virgin which coated both sides of a healthy portion of chicken thighs, chopped up fresh chorizo, large diced red onion and cubed yukon gold potatoes! A sprinkling of dried oregano, a scatter of salt, a grating of the zest of a clementine and it was into the oven on 425 for one hour. As the ‘bake’ cooked in the russet beauty from the oil and chorizo, the scent of oregano, citrus and spices wafted throughout.
After the cooking time was up, out appeared a bronzed, crisp chicken, seductively aromatic chorizo, browned potatoes and wilted red onion. No sooner did I take this breathtaking beauty out of the oven, that we were plated up and diving in!
This is one of my go-to recipes, and chances are if you try this it will become one of yours as well!

at a low simmer…


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no sour[dough] taste in my mouth…

Seems lately I’m on a baking mission… this go around was a chocolate sourdough loaf. Just like my earlier sourdough post, this required an equal rest and rising period… No complaints here as again this was worth every ounce of effort!
The flavors were intense, slightly tangy from the sourdough, while chocolatey and sinful from the chunks of chopped dark chocolate. Perfect toasted and with a cup of tea, or slathered with some creamy mascarpone for additional guilt…

at a low simmer…

















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dinner on the whim…

So tonight I decided to make something that was both delicious and good for us!
In a pan, I started by browning up some organic chicken sausage that I whipped from the casing… once slightly browned they were put to the side [until they were needed for later] and then with oils from the sausage, a quick speed date of minced garlic and chopped sun dried tomatoes occurred! It quickly turned out that these frisky guys were looking for an extra addition to their evening… so in went some buttery, plump cannellini beans! As soon as everyone got to know each other, a dash of crisp white wine helped loosen everyone up and let their hair down… an addition of a little chicken stock came to the party and everyone simmered away…
While the trio was melding together, some lonely whole wheat penne took a bath in some super salty boiling water, and then got a wink from the threesome to join them for some tossing around! After a quick stir, some parsley joined in and offered up its fresh self and dinner was served…
Creamy, buttery, vibrant and luxuriously flavorful… this was the perfect meal for any night of the week!

at a low simmer…


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Something to spice up the night [or at least dinner]…

Tonight it was necessary for a quick dish to be thrown together, so what simpler to do than bucatini tossed in amatriciana sauce.
This super spicy [if you’re like me] bucatini hug is made of the simplest of ingredients, but the end result will have you dreaming about it while sleeping!
Everything started with a rendering of some diced pancetta; once browned and crisp, the pancetta was set aside in a bowl and the chopped onions and crushed red pepper were sweated away in the rendered fat. While the onions were getting their workout, I got mine by passing two cans of San Marzano tomatoes through a food mill. This pulpy purée if you will was added into the sautéed onions and crushed red pepper, some salt tossed in and set off to simmer for a while!
The dish came together beautifully with a quick, rough stir of the pasta, a hand of grated pecorino and a drizzling of finishing oil…
The heat factor was just enough to make your tonsils feel the heat, but not too much to make you sweat. Love having this dish recipe in my arsenal!

at a low simmer…








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farro[SO] yummy!

Since the weather took a turn from warm and summer-like, to a slight bit cooler it seemed fitting to make a hearty, warming meal for dinner…
After raiding my fridge and pantry, it was easy! A nutty farro dish with an Asian flavor base to it! Shredded carrots, diced onions, some minced garlic and ginger, chopped porcini mushrooms and sautéed shrimp all came together with a hint of sesame oil, a few tablespoons of soy sauce and a dash of hoisin…
The dish literally takes no time to prepare, but the incredible depth of flavor would make you think otherwise!

at a low simmer…












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it’s still a bit brisk[it] outside…

So for a weekly Sunday supper, the dish started with a beautiful beef brisket that I seasoned with salt and dusted lightly with flour. This hunk of meat went into my cast iron pot to get a beautiful crunchy crust!
Once the brisket was browned, I pulled it out and placed it to the side while two Spanish onions got their own workout in the same pot and sweated it out… as soon as the onions were ready to ‘hit the showers’, the brisket went back into the pot and joined them, along with a bottle of root beer and some homemade BBQ sauce.
With the brisket partially submerged, on went the lid and it was time for a long relaxation period until the meat was tender and fall-off-the-bone[less]!
The brisket was shredded up, tossed back into the pot and mixed with the onions and sauce…
To go along with our shredded brisket ‘burritos’, a side of arroz con crema! Such a simple rice dish to prepare, but the flavor is out of this world… you combine four-five cups of prepared rice, diced poblano peppers [I roast mine on the grill], panfried corn [grilled during the summer months] and one cup of heavy cream. This all is stirred until it starts to ‘thicken’, then in goes shredded monterey jack and cojita cheeses. Lastly chopped cilantro is quickly incorporated and it’s on to eating! [I tend to not add salt… I know I know, but the cheese I feel offers enough]…
Piled high into the center of a light tortilla, dolloped with a hefty helping of homemade coleslaw and then a final tight roll! It was time to bite into this fragrant and tangy ‘burrito’. The flavors burst in our mouths and the coleslaw balanced out the slight heaviness of the brisket; this was just a wonderful Sunday evening dining experience!

at a low simmer…








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my inner cookie monster…

After a sweets craving, I decided to churn out a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies, but to elevate these cookies, I added in some chopped hazelnuts.
I started by creaming two sticks of butter, along with some regular sugar and brown sugar. To the mix, in went two eggs and vanilla.
While everything was mixing, in a separate bowl I added flour, baking powder, salt and some cinnamon. The dry mixture was slowly added into the mixing bowl until combined. Lastly, into the batter went the chopped hazelnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Scoopfuls of the scented batter went onto baking sheets and into the preheated oven. The fragrance of fresh baked cookies wafted throughout the entire house! After eighteen minutes, it was time to take the cookies out. Once out of the oven, a sprinkling of fleur de sel finished these gorgeous beauties…
Almost cake-like, these chocolatey and nutty cookies were the perfect end to the evening with a large glass of ice cold milk!

at a low simmer…















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‘Q’ is for quiche…

With the continued cold temperatures and brisk wind in the air, I decided tonight I would make one of my all time comfort foods… Quiche.
The beauty when making a quiche is you can’t really get it wrong, just add some of your favorite ingredients and you have yourself one hell of a ‘pie’!
To create my heavenly ‘pie’ I started by rendering pancetta until crispy, once done I sautéed a diced onion, followed by chopped green peppers in the rendered fat with these crispy pancetta critters. Once this three-way came together, I added small chunks of split breast chicken that I roasted earlier…
These darlings then were eased into a pie crust and topped with a blend of shredded monterey jack and extra sharp cheddar cheeses. Then a mix of five extra large eggs, a cup and a half milk, along with salt and crushed red pepper were poured over the cheese and chicken mixture…
This ‘pie’ was now ready for a 375 degree oven. The timer was set for forty-five minutes and it was the waiting game for this amazing ‘pie’ to make its appearance! Once cooked and slightly cooled I sliced a hearty piece and quietly savored every bite.
Deliciously simple and simply delicious is all I can say about this classic comfort food…

at a low simmer…
















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my ‘clam’ to fame…

It’s been quite sometime since I’ve taken a dinner journey on the deep blue sea, so tonight was just that…
While walking around the fish counter at the local specialty food market, there was a beautiful bounty of rock hard, tight lidded little neck clams just begging to become a satisfying dinner!
Since it’s only two of us, instead of appearing glutinous, three dozen seemed an ok portion to purchase for the meal masterpiece.
Once home, a quick added scrub and then a thirty minute soaking [these little necks are pre-cleaned, but I take no chances] to expel any potential hidden grit…
To get this party started, a nice glass of white wine for the chef, some chopped up garlic, butter, red pepper [as I always advise it’s personal preference regarding spice level], salt and of course wine for steaming the little necks! Getting my little necks drunk makes this dish even more stellar…
Once all of my little necks pop open, it was time to shuck them out, and then toss them back into the pot full of liquidy broth, along with the tagliatelle pasta I cooked. Some freshly chopped parsley, a heavy handful of pecorino and rapid tossing and it was time to plate this luxurious dish up…
The bursts of flavor were intense, slightly spicy thanks to the red pepper, a wonderful freshness from the parsley and a slight saltiness from the cheese…

at a low simmer…




















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