Monday, August 30, 2010

Roasting Chicken

There is nothing so perfect as a whole roasted chicken. To me it is the ultimate Sunday dinner. Something about it just screams family. The first step to roasting a wonderful chicken is ensuring crispy skin, while keeping the meat moist and tender, once you have perfected that you can start to play with the flavor. I still love my go to chicken recipe, based on the Barefoot Contessa's "Engagement Chicken", but I was in an allspice kind of mood and this was a wonderful change of pace. As a bonus I tossed in some zucchini and made this a lovely one dish meal.

Roast Chicken with Sherry and Allspice:
1 5-6 lb roasting chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
3 medium onions
2 medium zucchini
1 tbsp of whole allspice
1/3 cup of sherry
1/2 cup of chicken stock
Salt, Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rough chop the zucchini and onions, and toss in the bottom of a baking dish (reserving 2 or 3 pieces of onion) with salt and pepper and about a table spoon of olive oil. Wash the chicken, inside and out, then pat dry. salt and pepper the chicken inside and out. Stuff with the reserved onions, the garlic cloves (smashed slightly) and half the allspice. Sprinkle the remaining allspice through out the pan. Drizzle or rub the rest of the olive oil onto the chicken. Bake for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and pour the sherry over the chicken. Bake for another 20 minutes then pour the stock over. Continue cooking until the popper pops up, basting the chicken stock occasionally with the juices from the pan, about 20 minutes per pound. Let rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve and Enjoy.

Happy Eating


Friday, August 27, 2010

Beer for Breakfast

I was browsing the wonderful recipes over at Brown Eyed Baker, hunting for something delicious to bake, when I came across this very intriguing recipe for Three Cheese Beer Bread, yum. Apparently beer bread is a fairly known baked item, but I had never heard of such a wonderful thing. I love cooking with beer, so I gathered the ingredients and planned on making it one lazy Sunday. Then I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and could not fall back asleep, at that point mad at my pre-dawn internal alarm clock, I decided I deserved a most decadent and delicious breakfast, enter a wonderful veggie and cheese omelet, thick sliced bacon, and cheesy beer bread.

Veggie and Cheese Omelet:
3 egg white (or whole eggs if you prefer)
1 small jalapeño, diced (from my garden, on the milder side, optional)
1 small to medium tomato (also from the garden)
1 cup swiss chard
1 tbsp of sour cream
small handful of fresh chives
1/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
salt, pepper

Heat a small skillet or omelet pan over medium-high heat, use butter, oil or PAM to coat the pan if not non stick. Put the chard and jalapeño in the pan and allow to cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile beat the egg whites (or eggs) with the sour cream (the secret to fluffy omelets). Add the tomatoes and chives to the pan, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies. Cook until it is almost set in the middle, then cover with half the cheese. Flip in half and top with the remaining cheese. Serve and Enjoy.

Cheesy Beer Bread:

3 1/4 of cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, or to taste)
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tbsp of oregano
1 small handful of fresh chopped chives
1 cup of low fat plain yogurt
1 cups beer
1/4 cup of tomato juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 eggs
1 cup of Gruyère cheese, shredded (this one I had to grate myself)
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir flour, baking powder, salt, mustard, pepper, red pepper flakes, and chives. Toss in 1/2 cup of the Gruyère and cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and Pecorino cheese. Stir so all the cheese is coated with flour. Whisk together the yogurt, beer, juice, Worcestershire, and egg in a small bowl until fully combined. Add to the flour mixture and stir together until just combined. The dough should be sticky and fluffy. Pour dough into a 9 inch by 5 inch greased loaf pan. Use the back of a spoon to smooth dough. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve hot, cool or toast (it was especially delicious the next day toasted).

(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Happy Eating


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making Jam

When I was little I very rarely ate store bought Jam. The simple reason was my grandmother seemed to have/be making a never ending supply of jam, mostly strawberry. I remember standing on a stool as a little girl, wearing a handmade apron, watching the strawberries boil away. When she stopped making it, it took me years to adjust back to the store bought variety, granted there are some very fancy store ones now, that are much better than average, but nothing compares to homemade, fresh jam made from deliciously in season fruit. So, for the first time ever, I whipped out my canner and mason jars, and made some fresh jam. The only problem with making jam is that I simultaneously want to share it with everyone I know and keep it all for my hungry self.

Before making your own jam for canning, I recommend checking out The National Center for Home Food Preservation's website. They have lots of useful information about canning safely, the different canning methodologies, using pectins (which I didn't), and recipes too. Here are both the recipes I made, the way I processed the jars is at the very bottom.

First I pre-sterilized the jars by filling them with warm to hot water, and putting them in a canner(a giant pot with a special rack for the jars) and then filling the rest of the canner with warm/hot water. Bring to a boil, then boil COVERED for 10 minutes, it was probably a little longer, because I just boiled them while I was making the jam and left them in there until I was ready to ladle the jam in, since it is best to hot-pack the jars. Leave the pot covered as much as possible and keep the water boiling.

Strawberry Preserves:
6 cups of strawberry
4 1/2 cups of sugar

Wash the strawberries. Slice the strawberries in half or quarters for large strawberries and mix with sugar in a big bowl. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Heat in a large skillet or pot until boiling, then boil until the mixture becomes thick and gels, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Skim the foam off the top as best you can before filling the jars. This made enough jam to fill 5 half pint jars, although one definitely had a little less than the others.

(Adapted from the he National Center for Home Food Preservation)

Spiced Peach-Blueberry Jam:
4 1/2 cups of peaches, chopped (about 3 lbs)
3 1/2 cups of blueberries (approximately one large container)
2 tbsp of lemon juice, about half a juicy lemon
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tbsp of whole allspice (this doesn't have to be exact)
1.2 tbsp of whole cloves (this doesn't have to be exact)
a piece of cheese cloth

Wash all the fruit. Chop the peaches into pieces similar to what you would find in canned fruit salad (so pretty small). I left the skin on and the jam came out wonderful, you can peel them (in the original recipe they did). Heat the fruit, water and lemon juice in a large skillet or pot, bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Tie the cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves in a piece of cheese cloth. (Note: Tie very tightly because if you don't it will spill out into the jam, which is fine the jam will still seal and is perfectly delicious, but biting into a whole clove is not pleasant). Stir sugar and salt into fruit until combined, when fully combined add toss in cheese cloth. Allow to boil for about 15 minutes until jam is thickened. Stir frequently, but gently (again to prevent the cloth from opening). It is definitely a little extra work to "spice" the jam, but it is so delicious and totally worth it.

(Adapted from the he National Center for Home Food Preservation)

To fill and process jam:

Remove Jam from heat. Ladle jam into hot, pre-sterilized 1/2 pint jars leaving about a 1/4 inch of head space. Basically, fill until just below where the grooves on the top of the jar are, then wipe the top part clean. Put the 2 part lid on the jars and screw the lids on tightly. Place the jars back in the rack and load into the canner/pot, that is already full of boiling water from the pre-sterilizing process (it is easiest to just keep the water covered at a boil the whole time). Boil for 10 minutes to seal jars. Remove jars from the water and let cool on a counter with a few inches in between each jar. When the jars have cooled completely, test to make sure they are sealed by pressing on the lids, if the lid pops back when you press on it then the jars are not sealed, refrigerated immediately and use it up within 2 weeks. If the lids are sealed then the jam is shelf stable for about 18 months, but refrigerated after opening.

The blueberries and peaches cooking...

The strawberries boiling away...

The peach-blueberry jam I didn't seal cooling (so I could eat it immediately)...

The sealed jars cooling...

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Warm Summer Pasta Salad

I will admit, that when I started making this, I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know what the end product would be or how it would taste. I couldn't decide if I was going to have separate components or one dish, mostly I was just upset because I had planned on making fried chicken cutlets, only to discover I was out of chicken. Life goes on, and becomes what is arguably the best pasta dish I have ever made. And so summery too, something about tomatoes and goat cheese, it just tastes like summer and so does this pasta.

I don't know about the rest of you out there, but the tomatoes in my area have been absolutely stunning this year. Better than I can ever remember. My 2 main sources of tomatoes have been my garden and my CSA, although I occasionally supplement with LOCALLY grown tomatoes from my friendly neighborhood Wegmans. I don't think I have had a bad (forget bad, a not fantastic) tomato all season. I hope your's have been just as delicious.

Warm Pasta Salad:
1 lb of penne or rotini
2 large tomatoes
1 large onion
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp store bought pesto
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Pecorino Ramano cheese
2 oz of soft goat cheese
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Boil water for the pasta and heat the olive oil in a large pan. Slice onion into thin slices and toss with the brown sugar. Put onions into a hot pan and reduce heat to medium low, cook until soft and brown (when the pasta is done) and stir occasionally, so nothing burns. About before the pasta is ready to be strained, chop the tomatoes and add them to the onions, stir and raise heat to high. Drain the pasta, leaving a little water clinging to the noodles. Pour the noodles into the tomatoes and onions and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and add the pesto and Parmesan and Pecorino cheese. Mix together, add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Crumble in the goat cheese right before serving.

Happy Eating.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meaty Baked Ziti

Sometimes I crave gooey melted cheese and when I do there is nothing as satisfying as baked ziti. This ziti was full of ground turkey, which made it super hearty. Granted I decided to eat this at not the most weather appropriate time, but it was still delicious. And as a bonus, I now have one in the freezer for a lazy cooking day. This recipe will make 2 medium sized zitis (more than enough for 2 people, even when one eats like a starving football player) or one very large ziti. I made the two, then had a little leftover for a lunch, and one whole ziti comfortable at home in my freezer, until he is needed...

Baked Ziti:
2 lbs of penne or ziti
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
1 cup of Parmesan cheese, divided
8 oz of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 lb of ground turkey (or beef)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 medium shallot
1 clove of garlic
1 handful of fresh basil
1 tsp of dried oregano
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (to taste)

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta to al dente. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Dice the shallot and garlic and add to the pan, cook for about a minute, then add in the sauce, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. When the sauce is hot, stir in the ground meat. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with 1/2 a cup of Parmesan, a handful of the mozzarella, and the egg. When the pasta is done cooking. Divide it into two baking dishes if you are making 2 zitis, or pour into 1 large baking dish. Stir in the cheese mixture, then the sauce mixture. Top with the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. Cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes for the smaller dish, or 50-55 minutes for the larger one, until the top has browned and the sauce is bubbling. If freezing, allow to cool down then cover with tinfoil and put flat in the freezer. To cook from oven, bake at a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Stir Frying Some More Goodness

First, congrats to Carol on winning the CSN stores giveaway! Stay tuned for more contests. Now onto food...

I love to stir fry. Delicious veggies, light sauce, a yummy fried egg to top it off. Plus pretty much any veggie is happy in a stir fry, which enables me to clean out the fridge and of all the leftover odds and ends (of the vegetable, and sometimes meat) variety. In today's stir fry I got out the grater, which made for a nice change and some crispy freshness. I assembled my stir fry separate (noodles, veggies, egg) and did a sort of make your own, instead of mixing everything together, just to change things up. The sauce also makes a very tasty salad dressing, and the mustard binds the olive oil together with the other liquids, making it like an Asian inspired vinaigrette (which I ate on a salad for lunch today).

Raw and Cooked Stir Fry:
8 oz of Soba noodles
1/2 yellow onion
1 garlic clove
1 green pepper
1 turnip
2-3 large carrots
1/2 large cucumber
2 eggs (1 per person)
Salt, pepper
Olive oil

1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 pinch of brown sugar
1/8 cup of rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of olive oil (I used a Chipotle infused olive oil)
1 tbsp of Sriracha (or to taste)

Heat some olive oil a pan or wok over medium high heat. Dice the onion and garlic and add to the pan, lightly salt and pepper. Grate (I used the large circles side) the peel and turnip and add that as well. Slice the pepper into thin slices. Add that to the pan and cook stirring frequently. Grate the cucumber and carrot and set aside. Mix the sauce by whisking all of the sauce ingredients together, adjust any to taste. Make the Soba noodles according to the directions (they should only take about 4-5 minutes). While the noodles are cooking, spoon a little of the sauce into the veggies and stir together. When the noodles are done toss them with the sauce to taste (you should have some left for dipping). Fry eggs so that the yolks are runny. Quickly mix the carrots and cucumbers into the veggies and stir to combine. To assemble, fill a bowl with noodles, then top with a heaping portion of veggies and a fried egg. Serve and enjoy.

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Blueberry Buckle

A few weeks ago, I posted about my Indian food dinner party, and my dessert that evening was an absolutely delicious Blueberry Buckle. I have been so obsessed with this cake since I made it, that I sent a picture over to Lisa at the Lunch Box Project. Lisa draws and paints the most wonderfully adorable food art. She sells prints, recipe cards, stickers, note cards, and paintings all of her wonderful and original food art. Lisa was kind enough to make a print out my delicious blueberry buckle.

Isn't it adorable? Here is a photo of the original cake and the recipe again.

Blueberry Buckle:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
1 cup of sugar plus a handful for topping
1/4 cup of low fat or fat free plain yogurt
1/4 cup of skim milk
2 eggs
3 heaping cups of blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the butter, and mix in sugar, milk, yogurt, and eggs. Stir in flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a few additions. Pour batter into a nonstick 9 inch cake pan (I love the spring form ones). Pour the blueberries on top (they sink into the cake as it bakes) and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a fork or toothpick comes out clean. Serve and enjoy.

Check out Lisa's blog for this drawing and so much more! Or you can purchase her wonderful designs here.

Happy Eating

PS - You can still enter the CSN contest all week. Click here for more information. I will randomly choose the winner this Friday. Good luck.


CSN Stores Giveaway!

Great news! We are having our very first Giveaway here at Eat, Knit, Grow. The giveaway is being hosted by CSN Stores, I will be raffling off a $25 gift certificate for anything from dinnerware, to blenders, to towels and furniture!! With over 200 online stores to choose from, you will definitely find something to spend your one-time-use CSN $25 gift certificate on!!

I have my eye on this bread machine:

Or Maybe this adorable Olive Oil Dipping set (I did just by some lovely new Chipotle Olive Oil)

So... to enter this contest, either add me as a follower here on blogger or on twitter, then leave a comment to this post telling me you added me and with your email address, so I can contact you if you win (If you already follow me leave me a comment saying that and it will count. I will randomly choose a winner This Friday (8/13/2010).

This contest is open to US and Canadian readers only, sorry, CSN only ships to these two countries!

Good Luck!!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Perfection

What is summer perfection? For food it is those exceptionally delicious items that can only found (or found decent) when it is so sunny and warm. Namely, tomatoes, corn, watermelon and peaches. There are more, but that is my list. I love seasonal things, they are so much more special than food that can be found any old day of the year (this is why I only make ginger snaps in the fall, even though I technically could make them any time, but more on that in October). I will admit the corn that I have had so far this year has been fairly disappointing, but the other three have more than made up for it. Especially the tomatoes, the wonderful, juicy tasty, perfect tomatoes, and I am growing them, which makes it even more satisfying. For this recipe I used a combination of some from my garden and some wonderful colorful heirloom tomatoes from the store. The resulting concoction was absolutely amazing, summer in a bite. I am not sure exactly how to classify or call it, but here it is...

Warm Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad:
1 Tbsp of olive oil (I used a Chipotle infused olive oil)
6-8 oz of your favorite French or Italian bread (something hearty will do best)
1 1/2 lbs of delicious tomatoes (I used a mix from my garden and heirlooms from the store)
1 medium shallot
2 oz of soft goat cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into large bite size chunks. Heat the oil in a large pan and toss in bread to toast lightly and coat with oil. Chop tomatoes into roughly the same size pieces as the bread. Dice the shallot. Add shallot and tomatoes to the pan and toss to combine. Crumble in goat cheese and toss to combine, pour everything into a glass bake dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes are bubbling. Serve and enjoy.

I served these wonderful tomatoes along with an Chipotle marinated pork tenderloin (although the tomatoes stole the show, the pork was also delicious, and spicy) and some corn on the cob.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin:
1 small can chipotles in adobo
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb.

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl to taste. Put pork in a plastic freezer bag and coat with marinade. Let marinate at least an hour and up to overnight. Cook at 350 for about 15 minutes then 400 for about 10 minutes, or until pork is cooked to desired level. Serve and enjoy.

Happy Eating.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Arroz con Pollo

Yum, the delicious taste of childhood is calling... Growing up, I very rarely remember eating macaroni and cheese, or those other childhood "classics". I remember eating castillos y somberos (castles and hats, which I later learned was actually called arroz cubano) and my absolute favorite one pot wonder of all time, arroz con pollo, or chicken with rice (far to simple a name to describe the tastiness of this concoction). So with a tip of my hat to my old nanny, Raquel, or more specifically her mother Maria, who made this for me every she visited, or I visited Spain, my very own Arroz con Pollo.

Arroz con Pollo:
6 boneless chicken thighs (skin on or skinless, your preference)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2-3 medium tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups of white rice
3 cups of chicken stock
Olive oil
1 packet of saffron
salt, pepper.
2-3 Chorizo sausages (optional)

In a medium to large pot coat the bottom with olive oil and heat on medium-high. Add the saffron to the wine, and let sit. Salt and pepper the chicken. Add the chicken to the oil (skin side down, if skin-on), let brown for 3-4 minutes then flip and repeat. Remove the chicken from the oil and add the onions and the garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes. Add the saffron wine mixture and raise heat to bring mixture to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to cook until almost all the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and reduce heat to low. Put the chicken back in the pot, and cook covered for 45 minutes to an hour (until rice is tender), stirring once in the middle. If using sausage, add in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve and Enjoy.

Happy Eating.