I’m pleased to announce I have a new URL.
Not a big change, but it simply drops the wordpress and simplifies it to:
My apologies for any inconvience, but I’m afraid you’ll have to visit the new URL and resubscribe to my blog.
I’ve just posted a new entry. It’s about an Elk watching trip to Estes Park, and the Posole soup that came along.
I value all of my readers so much and hope you’ll take the time to continue with me in my food journies.
Tags: appetizer, cookbook review, Food, Fried pickles, On A Stick cookbook, Recipe
What’s your favorite thing to eat on a stick?
I think mine has always been corn dogs, but after reading through the newest addition to my cookbook collection, corn dog status has officially become threatened. Let’s take a small peek into Matt Armendariz’s first cookbook On a Stick. I don’t think I need to tell anyone that Matt is a rock star blogger, a professional food photographer and now a published cookbook author.
Matt’s photo from On a Stick cookbook. (I was given permission from the publisher to print this photo.)
My photo and the recipe I made from On a Stick cookbook.
Note to self: find a blue weathered piece of wood.
I’m killing three pigs with one bird in this post. (Yes, I’ve been playing way too many games of Angry Birds on my I-Phone).
- Fried pickles has been on my list of things to make for a long time.
- A couple of months ago I uncharacteristically wildly waved my hand to receive a free copy of Matt Armendariz, or Matt Bites, new cookbook. As a “condition” of receiving the cookbook they asked me to talk about it on my blog. I am gladly obliging.
- This gives me the opportunity to talk about a great local product; Tru Kosher Dill Pickles. And they’re jarred right here in my backyard in Littleton, CO.
Fried Pickles With Ranch Dressing: I must say, I was taken with this tasty dish. This is the first time I’ve had them and I loved the warm, crunchy, flavor packed appetizer. Truly a treat for the palate. Matt’s recipe in the book called for pairing sweet gherkins with cocktail onions and dill pickle chips. The trio is then skewered on a stick for great little presentation. For the dipping sauce, I used a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. It’s been years since I’ve bought it and I had forgotten how good it is.
Fried Pickles With Ranch Dressing, On a Stick Cookbook
- 8 wooden cocktail picks
- 1 qt. vegetable oil
- 1/3 C. all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 T. buttermilk
- 1 T. dill, minced
- 1-1/2 C. seasoned bread crumbs
- 8 gherkins
- 8 cocktail onions
- 8 dill pickle chips (I used sliced Tru Kosher Dill Pickles)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 C. store-bought ranch dressing
Preheat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.
Mix flour and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and dill. Place bread crumbs in a second shallow bowl.
Thread 1 gherkin, 1 cocktail onion, and 1 pickle chip on each cocktail pick. Once oil reached 350 degrees F., toss skewers in flour mixture, shaking off excess; dip in egg and then dredge in bread crumbs until fully coated.
Drop skewers gently into oil and fry 4 – 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Serve with ranch dressing.
On a Stick cookbook. I’m glad I wildly waved that hand to receive a copy of this book. Chock full of fun recipes and great photos, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. With a line of foods that you’d expect to serve on a stick, like corn dogs and satays, he also throws us some curves with fun ideas for deep-fried mac and cheese, pizza skewers and potato chips on a stick. And are you ready for this one…Spaghetti and Meatballs on a stick. Also offered is an extensive dessert section with cinnamon rolls on a stick and deep-fried candy bars. FUN stuff folks. And of course, each recipe partners with a beautiful photo to entice you into hunger.
I’ve already got several recipes bookmarked and look forward to making many of these fun dishes. Thanks for a great cookbook Matt.
Tru Pickles. As I mentioned above, these pickles are bottled not literally in my backyard, but in Littleton, CO. That means I’ve got a “neighbor” turning out some delicious pickles. They say “You’ve never tasted a dill pickle like this”. They’re very good and packed to the gill with crazy good flavor and yes, I’ve never tasted a pickle like this. Grape leaves are packaged in each jar for crispness and a unique flavor experience. I love that they’re a local product, I love how crunchy they are, and they are the most flavorful pickle I’ve ever eaten. They are sold nationally, so take a look at their web-site, Tru Pickles to find out where you can pick up a jar.
So with all that said, whether it be a pickle or spaghetti, get out your skewers and eat something On A Stick.
Fried Pickles…They’re What’s for an Appetizer.
- One Year Ago: Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Italian Sweet Frying Peppers
- Two Years Ago: Tarragon Chicken
Tags: chicken lasagne, Dinner, Food, lasagne, recipes
Here’s what we like about this:
- It’s a pasta and ooey-gooey cheese combination.
- The sweet and fresh picked home-grown tomatoes turn this dish into a star.
- With ground chicken breast and a cream sauce, you’ve got a great summer version of lasagna.
- The ground garlic cheese croutons added a crunchy little au gratin topping goodness to the whole thing.
- One teaspoon of cayenne pepper brightens the tomato sauce and brings this dish to an unexpected level of excitement.
What we didn’t like:
- This is one of these dishes where will power and common sense becomes nonexistent. Somewhere during your third helping, you realize you can’t stop eating it.
I only make this dish each summer when fresh tomatoes from my garden are rolling around on my kitchen counter. That beautiful fresh tomato flavor truly shines when paired with the three mild cheeses and the ground chicken. Creamy in flavor, and served simply with a tossed salad it’s a wonderful meal. Let’s take a look.
Three Cheese Chicken Lasagna:
- 1 package lasagna noodles
- 1 t. salt
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken breast
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t. cayenne pepper
- 3 pounds fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
- 2 T. fresh basil
- 2 C. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 C. milk
- 1/4 C. chicken broth
- Handful garlic cheese croutons, ground in a mini-chopper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until almost tender, according to package directions. Drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a lasagna baking dish.
In a frying pan heat oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned. Add the onion and red pepper and saute until softened, about two minutes. Stir in the garlic and cayenne pepper and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes and basil, stir well and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, adding the milk and chicken broth to maintain a thick soupy consistency. The amount will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
In a bowl combine ricotta, Parmesan and egg and mix well. Stir in the parsley.
Line the bottom of the baking dish with about 1/4 of the lasagna noodles. Spread with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella, and then spoon on 1/4 of the sauce. Repeat the layering two more times, using up all the ricotta mixture and the mozzarella. Top with the remaining noodles and finally the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with ground up croutons.
Cover and bake until heated through and the sauce is bubbling. About 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Uncover and cut into squares to serve.
Three Cheese Chicken Lasagna…It’s What’s For Dinner
- One Year Ago: Crab Cake Crouquettes with Creamed Corn
- Two Years Ago: Ina’s Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette and Cincinnati Chili
Tags: braised chicken, Dinner, Food, Martha Stewart, recipes
We love braised chicken dishes at our house and with my cast iron skillet as my partner, I can’t go wrong. It perfectly and quickly places a crispy brown crust on the chicken skin.Then it’s high sides snuggle ingredients and sauces together to simmer the flavors into a delicious savory goodness.
Let’s take a look at some of the braised chicken dishes I’ve blogged about:
Chicken Marengo: Flavored with raisins, carrots, tomatoes, black olives in a sweet tangy basil and rosemary sauce. Exciting.
Tarragon Chicken: Simply a tarragon tomato sauce. Savory.
Sticky Lips Chicken: White wine, scallions in a veal demi glace. Omg.
And Chicken Galliano: Mushrooms and goat cheese and simmered in a anise flavored liqueur. Divine.
Thanks to Martha for our latest braised chicken dinner. The chicken soaks up and delivers soft lemony goodness. Accompanied with a bite of briny olives, smooth potato cubes, and topped with fresh sprigs of thyme, it’s a delicious one-skillet meal.
Martha Stewart’s Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives:
- 2 1/4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- Coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 12 ounces baby fingerling potatoes or halved small potatoes
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 cup green olives, such as Cerignola, pitted if desired
- 1 small lemon, washed well, cut into wedges
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken with salt. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Swirl in oil. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken, and push to side of skillet. Add 1 cup stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add potatoes to liquid. Bring to a boil. Add garlic, olives, lemon wedges, and thyme to liquid. Return to a boil.
- Transfer skillet to oven. Roast, stirring potatoes halfway through, until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- Return skillet to stove. Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup stock, and stir into pan. Bring to a boil to thicken sauce. Serve immediately.
Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives…It’s What’s For Dinner.
Tags: Dinner, Food, gazpacho, recipes, summer soup, tapas
As you can see, the sun is mercifully setting on my back deck tapas dinner party.
I’ll conclude this series with the last offering of these Spicy Gazpacho Shooters. I’ve never made gazpacho or for that matter never ordered it in a restaurant. I just can’t wrap my arms around cold soups, I like them hot, steamy and wafting with wonderful spices and aromas.
With all that said, I thought these little cold soup shooters would make a fresh and summery addition to the menu. And when I carried them out on my tomato red platter in my cute little crackly-glass shot glasses, I felt so clever and smug and could have cared less what the soup tasted like.
I Googled Gazpacho and the returns were all similar variations that included fresh vegetables, and always cucumber, tomato and bell peppers. I knew I wanted to kick mine up a bit and added jalapeno and a few shakes of Tabasco.
- Spicy Gazpacho Shooters
- 2 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 3/4 teaspoon salt
- hand full of crusty croutons
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Chill until ready to serve.
Spicy Gazpacho Shooters…It’s What’s for a Summer Tapas Dinner.
Tags: bruschetta, casual dining, Food, goat cheese, recipes, tapas
Love this recipe!!! Goat cheese smeared bread topped with sautéed shiitake mushrooms, briney capers and anchovies…provacative and packed full of flavor. And did I mention easy?
This was the next platter to find its way to the back deck for my Summer Tapas Dinner. Thanks to Greg and Katherine over at Rufous’ Food and Spirits Guide for sharing this wonderful idea. You’ve got to give this one a try. It’s one of those oh-for-pitty-sake good combos. It’s now in my database as a favorite. While you’re at their blog, take a look around. Tons of great recipes and really nice photography.
Before we get to the recipe let’s take a look at some of the water features in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s just short of a 2 1/2 hour drive northwest of our house. We are so fortunate to have such a jaw dropping, spectacular, pristine piece of our country in our back yard. We make a trip to RMNP at least once each summer and I’m always in awe of its grandeur.
Moose Pond. Our cabin was on this pond.
Nautical Neal, our pontoon boat ride on Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake
Heading under the bridge on our way from Shadow Mountain Lake to Grand Lake
Nancy and me, enjoying the ride.
View of Lake Irene from our picnic table, Milner Pass, Continental Divide, Rocky Mountain National Park
View of Grand Lake from our dinner on the porch at Grand Lake Lodge.
Mushrooms with Capers and Anchovies
- 4-6 shiitake mushrooms stems diced caps sliced thin
- 8-10 anchovy fillets minced (I used half that amount, 4 if I remember right)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp salted capers washed and chopped
- 2 tbsp dry vermouth
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Melt 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and saute mushrooms until browned. Add anchovies and garlic and cook until the fish liquifies. Add capers and parsley and cook on medium for a minute more. Add vermouth and deglaze pan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread slices covered in a layer of goat cheese.
Goat Cheese, Mushroom, Caper and Anchovie Bruschetta…It’s What’s for Tapas.
Tags: Appetizers, casual dinner on the patio, Food, recipes, Rocky Mountain National Park, tapas dinner
In Rocky Mountain National Park
Our rock and roll loving, wine drinking, bird watching friends Nancy and Neal (California) and Thomas (Ohio) descended on Colorado last week. A couple of days spent in Denver included a lovely dinner at Ja Ja’s a great little French Bistro, and a tapas-style dinner on our back deck the next evening. Throw in a week-long trip to the high country where we stayed at a rustic cabin at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park on a sleepy little mountain lake, complete with moose, marmot, mink, otter, chipmunk, chickoree, ptarmigan, elk, deer, bats and miscellaneous riff-raff (racoon), and you’ve got a fabulous little vacation. “Paradise” as one of us coined it.
The 10-day extravaganza included many memorable culinary moments:
- Foie gras at Ja Ja’s French Bistro in Littleton.
- Elk medallions at The Rapids Lodge.
- An evening meal on the porch at Grand Lake Lodge complete with a rainbow over the lake and spectacular views of craggy mountain peaks.
- A grilled chicken dinner on the back deck of our cabin.
- Huevos rancheros and a mouth-watering cinnamon roll at The Sagebrush BBQ and Grill.
- Near fist fights over my spicy orange chocolate brownies.
- A picnic lunch at Lake Irene on Milner Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Yogurt and granola breakfasts on the back deck while watching hummingbirds buzz around our heads.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the pontoon boat trip on Grand Lake.
Of course it wasn’t all about food. Lots of hikes, visiting, scenic drives over cliff-hanging Trail Ridge Road, and for you birdwatchers, a hike out onto the tundra produced views of the elusive White-tailed Ptarmigan, one male and a female with three chicks. We topped the week off with a serene pontoon boat ride on Grand Lake with Nautical Neal at the helm.
With all that said, let’s take a look at my tapas meal here at the house. Our Colorado evenings have been so lovely that I opted for a casual meal on the back deck rather than stuff everyone around a dining table. I really enjoyed the mostly no-cook offerings with my new favorite discovery being a shiitake mushroom bruschetta dish that I found from a fellow food blogger. I’ll post that recipe tomorrow. Let’s take a look at the starters.
First up was platter of Amadeus cheese, fig jam, grapes and water crackers. Amadeus is a pasteurized cows’ milk cheese from Austria. It’s pale yellow, smooth, creamy, and rich in texture. It’s one of my favorites with fruit and crackers.
An idea from Vickie over at Part Three was a large plate of assorted skewers made a colorful and filling addition to our outdoor meal. Double stuffed garlic and jalapeno olives, dry salami and sun-dried tomatoes complimented traditional caprese skewers of cherry tomatoes, basil and small fresh mozzarella pearls. You can find these small mozzarella pearls at Costco, along with the double stuffed olives. I really liked how the flavors on this plate flowed. The briney olive and salty salami were complimented with the next bites of cool creamy mozzarella, the fresh basil and sweet tomato skewers.
Stay tuned over the next couple of days for the rest of the story. A couple of great recipes coming up that you’ll want to save for your next tapas style, appetizer party and some more photos of the trip.
Tapas…It’s What’s for Dinner on the Deck.
Tags: black beans, Chicken, Dinner, easy meals, jalapeno, mojo sauce, orange sauce, recipes
I’m sure you know the routine; one week getting ready for vacation, one week of vacation, one week catching up from vacation equals no time to blog, or for that matter not much time for cooking. I’ll most certainly be back in the kitchen this weekend, but for now it’s a quick fix dinner.
This latin chicken dish is so easy, so full of flavor and a pleasure to place on the table. A great weeknight meal that you can easily be digging into in around 30 minutes. The original recipe called for turkey cutlets and Habanero. We opted for quick-fix chicken cutlets from the meat case and a I woosed out and bought, deveined and deseeded a jalapeno. I tried, honestly I really tried…but everytime I look at one of those small little criminal orange Habanero, I become very afraid and reach for the more trustable jalapeno.
This recipe comes from one of my new favorite sites, Fine Cooking. It’s a great resource for quick and flavorful meals. Let’s take a look:
Chicken Cutlets with Jalapeno Orange Sauce and Black Beans
5 to 6 Tbs. olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
1/2 tsp. seeded and minced jalapeno chile
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 small sweet onion, chopped
One 15-1/2-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
4 chicken breast cutlets (about 1-1/4 lb.)
In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil and the garlic over medium heat until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/8 tsp. of the cumin. Add the orange juice, lime juice, and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set the mojo sauce aside. (The sauce can be served warm or at room temperature.)
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ¼ tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beans and the remaining ½ tsp. cumin and cook until the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the beans to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
Wash and dry the skillet. Season the chicken cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add as many cutlets as will comfortably fit in a single layer and cook until browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, adding the remaining 1 Tbs. oil if needed.
Divide the cutlets and black beans among individual plates. Spoon the mojo sauce over and serve.
Chicken Cutlets with Jalapeno Orange Sauce and Black Beans…It’s What’s for Dinner.
Tags: chile peppers, corn chips, Food, mexican dip, Recipe, snack, summer dip
Wow, has this ever been a slow culinary week around our house. I really can’t come up with anything very bloggable at all. One night was a quasi-interesting tomato and fresh mozzarella pizza with a crust that we could have used to drywall the unfinished basement. Another was a lack luster whole wheat spaghetti concoction which produced only a single comment of “leaves a funny taste in your mouth!” Another evening we found take out and dried out sushi on the table. It’s been sad folks.
So, just as our local news channels do during a slow news week, I’ve come up with a whimsical piece as filler until some breaking news comes along.
Once our Colorado produce starts coming in, it seems like my mind-set automatically shifts towards Mexican food. Fresh and simple with lively colors and exciting flavors. I just don’t think there’s anything that showcases our state better, especially when the chile roasters get fired up. The aroma is intoxicating.
Pico de Gallo…yup, even a monkey could make this one and that’s exactly what this monkey did. Twice this week, I’ve chopped up fresh Early Girl tomatoes from my garden, diced some sweet onions and jalapenos and sat on the couch with my Costco 55-gallon drum of organic corn chips and enjoyed some delicious fresh fare.
Here’s my pico recipe, nothing earth shattering, but you pico purists will notice I use sweet yellow onion as opposed to red onion. Let’s take a look.
My Pico de Gallo
2 diced tomatoes
1/2 C. diced sweet onion
1 diced jalapeno, seeded and deveined for us
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 Hatch green chile, roasted and skin removed, chopped
a sprinkle of dried Mexican oregano, or about a teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper and a smidge of sugar
Taste and adjust any ingredients and flavors.
Pico de Gallo and a 55-gallon drum of Costco Corn Chips…It’s What’s for a Summer Snack.