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Monday, November 7, 2016

Candied Jalapenos

So, what do you do when you "over-purchase" hot peppers at the Farmer's Market ? You make candied jalapenos ! I honestly have never tried these; however, I am now a huge fan. I have always loved the combination of sweet and spicy, but this takes it to a new level. The side bonus is 3 small jars of the sweet syrup, infused with peppers, which will make an amazing glaze for some Cornish game hens I have in the freezer !

These are so easy, and are great with cheese and crackers, or incorporated into a sandwich, salad or snack !

Candied Jalapenos
3 pounds red and green jalapenos, sliced
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons hot chili powder
3 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons celery salt

In a large stock pot, mix together vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 10 minutes. Stir in sliced peppers, and cook for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, start your canner with boiling water, and reserve 10 half pint jars. Bring water to a boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, place peppers in sterilized jars. Bring remaining syrup to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Pour hot syrup over peppers up to 1/4 inch from the top of the jars. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, then cool and store. Any extra "syrup" can be canned along side the peppers, and used for glaze for meats.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Potato Leek Soup

I really love this soup. It's fairly simple to make, is vegetarian, and dairy free, so easy to share with people and not worry about dietary issues.

The first time I had potato leek soups was many years ago in Ireland. Before that, potato soup for me was chunky, creamy, with bacon, maybe carrots. So, when we were served this at a dinner, I was blown away ! It still tastes creamy, warm and comforting, but was different than anything I had ever had.

This recipe makes a large batch, but freezes well, so save some for later, or share the love !

Potato Leek Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large leeks, thinly sliced and washed thoroughly (I try to choose those with the largest white portion)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
8 cups vegetable stock
4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons Vegeta (this is a salt/spice mixture available online or in ethnic food stores)
2 teaspoons pepper (or to taste)

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and saute until soft. Pour in vegetable stock, then slowly add potatoes, to prevent splashing. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat until potatoes are soft enough to be blended.

Using a blender or immersion mixer, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in spices, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes, tasting for seasoning. Serve hot with bread or toasted bread crumbs on top, for texture.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Garlic Confit

It was quite awhile ago that I made a recipe for a sauce that called for garlic confit. So long ago, in fact, that I can't recall the original recipe. The garlic confit, however, I most definitely remember. 

My husband is a big garlic fan, he will even eat the cloves raw sometimes. I like it roasted, or chopped finely and used in recipes. This confit garlic is almost like candy. You can eat it alone, or in recipes, but it also has this amazing by-product. You get a nice batch of garlic infused olive oil, which I have used for grilling vegetables or even to start an omelet, in place of butter. 

And it's super simple to make. I can almost guarantee, if you like garlic, you will wind up doubling or tripling this batch ! 

Garlic Confit 
2 cups good quality olive oil 
30 cloves of garlic, peeled 

In a medium sauce pan, combine olive oil and garlic. Simmer over low heat, being careful not to boil, until the garlic is soft and golden brown. Remove garlic from oil and let both cool. Store garlic in the refrigerator, and oil is fine in a bottle on the counter.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lemon Chicken with Tortellini and Spinach

I almost always find there is a "roundabout" way to my best recipes. This was one of those... 

My husband saw a recipe on a friend's Facebook page, and asked if I could make it. So I purchased the ingredients needed, then set about making it. Then I started thinking...he loves tortellini, so why not use that as the pasta ? And since it was originally a lemon chicken recipe, why not marinate the chicken with lemon pepper ? I love mushrooms, I should add those as well ! Oh, wait...and onions, and a fresh tomato from the garden... 

You can see where this is going. All that really remained from the original recipe was lemon, and chicken. It maybe had spinach, but at this point I had already veered away so far, what else could I do to it ? Substitute a hard goat cheese for parmesan, of course ! And this was the result: 

I promised my husband I would post the recipe, so he can make this when I am not here. It may seem like a lot of steps, but it was really not hard at all ! 

Lemon Chicken with Tortellini and Spinach 
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 
Marinate with: 
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon agave or honey 
2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper 
1 teaspoon salt 
Marinate at least 3 hours or overnight 

For the rest of the dish: 
1 small onion, diced finely 
8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced 
1 medium tomato, diced 
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used garlic infused, but any good olive oil is fine here)
2 packages cheese tortellini ( I used dry, but fresh will work as well) 
3 cups fresh spinach 
3 lemons, zested then juiced 
1/2 cup salted butter 
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper 
4 ounces hard goat cheese, grated (or parmesan, if you prefer) 

Start a large pot of boiling water for the pasta (whatever kind you choose, following package directions). In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, remove chicken breasts from marinade and place in the pan. Cook on one side approximately 5 minutes, then turn and cook and additional 5 minutes. When chicken is lightly browned on each side, and cooked through, remove from pan. Place on a plate to cool, then cut into bite sized pieces.

Check your pasta water, you should be ready to add dried pasta at this point. If using fresh, wait...

In the same saute pan as the chicken, add the diced onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms and tomatoes. Saute this mixture until everything is soft and combined, remove from heat.  If you are making fresh pasta, add this to the pot of boiling water, and cook while you dice the chicken breast.

At this point your pasta should be cooked. Drain it, reserving about 1/2 cup of liquid. Saute spinach in the liquid until it reduces down, then stir in the mushroom, onion and tomato mixture. Add the tortellini back to the pot, along with the chicken. Stir in the lemon juice, butter and pepper. Make sure it is all well combined, then top with lemon zest and grated cheese.



Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Magic" Chicken with Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A couple of years ago, I made a dip to take a party, made from Greek yogurt, cilantro and lime. I unfortunately left it at home, so I needed to find some way to re-purpose it. I decided it might make a good marinade, and the "magic" chicken was born.

During summer, a simple grilled meat and salad is the perfect dinner. It is simple to throw on some beets when grilling your protein, and then incorporate in your salad. Goat cheese and beets are a pretty classic combination, but I love the golden beets even more than the red, because they are more mild. This dinner was a really great summer salad !

"Magic" Chicken with Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad 
 For the chicken:
3 four ounce chicken breasts
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 limes, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, mix together yogurt, cilantro, zest and lime juice. Salt and pepper chicken breasts generously.  Place chicken in the yogurt mixture, and let marinate overnight. When ready to grill, preheat grill to high, and cook chicken 4-5 minutes on each side until completely cooked through.

For the salad:
2 medium golden beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups mixed greens
9-10 garlic scapes (or green onions, if these are not available)
4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
2 tablespoons pepitos
Rub the beets in the the olive oil, and wrap in foil. Place on the grill, and cook while chicken is grilling, turning frequently. Remove from grill, let cool, peel and dice. Toss scapes in olive oil and lightly grill, then chop. Arrange salad ingredients on a platter, top with your favorite dressing ( we like a citrus vinaigrette) and serve with chicken.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pickled Ginger

Post number three in the "lovely pickled things" series. Pickled ginger is mostly seen in Asian cuisine, in a strange pink form. This version is a much more zesty version, and I like to use the brine from it in vinaigrette as well. It is so versatile ! I used a mandoline to cut the ginger thinly. We actually have enjoyed just pulling a slice from the jar to snack on every now and again.

Pickled Ginger 

1 cup peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/2 cup cider vinegar 
1 cup water 
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon salt 
1 tablespoon pickling spice
Place ginger in a pint jar, cover with remaining ingredients, and give a jar a good shake. Let sit on the counter for one hour, or refrigerate. Can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pickled Onions

As a follow up the previous post, pickled onions !

We love these on so many things. And, you are starting to see these more and more on the Food Network shows, so apparently I am "trending". They are so simple to make, I keep a jar in the refrigerator all the time. Try them on tacos, burgers, pizzas...any other ideas ?

Pickled Onions 

2 large red onions, sliced 
1 cup cider vinegar 
2 cups water 
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tablespoon salt 
1 tablespoon pickling spice
Place onions in a quart jar, cover with remaining ingredients, and give a jar a good shake. Let sit on the counter for one hour, or refrigerate. Can be kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.