Sunday, May 31, 2009

chicken with apple and leeks

this is jack's all-time favorite dinner. he gets crazy excited about it. my kids think it is especially exciting when they get to go outside and pick their own apples to make it...

- 4 chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons sugar (i never use this much...)
- salt and pepper
- 3-4 green apples (cored and sliced crosswise)
- 3 tablespoons Calvados or brandy (i almost always leave this step out and not one member of my family has noticed...)
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 leeks (white part only)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream

(i know the picture is not the prettiest, but i promise it is tasty...)

1.) melt butter in large saute pan over medium heat. stir in the thyme and add the chicken pieces. saute, turning the pieces as they become golden, 3-4 minutes each side. add the apple slices and cook, turning once, until soft, 3-4 minutes. transfer the apples to a plate and sprinkle with sugar (i, literally, "sprinkle" them with sugar... i think 2 tablespoons is excessive).
2.) pour off the oil from the chicken. pour the calvados or brandy into a small saucepan and warm gently. using a long-handled match, ignite the liquor. when the flame dies, pour the liquor over the chicken. Add the apple juice and arrange the leeks around the chicken. cover and cook over medium-low heat until the chicken is tender, 10-15 minutes.
3.) using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and leeks to a warmed platter, leaving the ends of the platter uncovered. (i find this step to be pointless, i make the cream while the chicken is cooking. when everything is ready put the chicken onto a room-temperature platter with the leeks and apples, pour the cream and serve... but if you want to warm your platter and all that, feel free...)
4.) pour the cream into the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. deglaze the pan by stirring to dislodge any browned bits. boil to thicken the sauce slightly, about 2 minutes. season to taste with salt and pepper.
5.) pour the sauce over the chicken. place the apple rings on the ends of the platter.
serves 4.

away from peaches and on to apples...

any suggestions for fabulous apple recipes?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chicken Tetrazzini

I hesitate to post this recipe since it comes from Zach's Food Network girlfriend (who will remain nameless).  However, since we actually took pictures of us cooking, I guess I need to add it.  We made it for our friends John and Angela Kersting who just had a baby, so they could have something easy to heat up for dinner this week since they will both be too tired to do much cooking.  Zach was so excited about it, that he decided we should make it for ourselves the next night.  It was delicious.  It takes a little bit of time, but it is fun to make.  There are a lot of easier versions that aren't exactly from scratch that we have made in the past.  Zach's mom always made an easy version that just used Cream of Mushroom soup, noodles, black olives, and parmesan.  


  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  •  1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.  

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It's never quite as good as my mom's when I make it, but here goes. The original recipe calls for ham and sausage, which is a little much, so we substitute chicken for the ham and use brown rice instead of white for a slightly healthier meal. The other day I was trying to throw dinner together and made a mexican version by substituting cumin and cilantro for the herbs and leaving out the sausage. The Mexican version would be good with chorizo I bet...I garnished it with shredded cheese and it was pretty tasty.

2 T olive oil
1 C chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes
1 10 can Ro-tel tomatoes (tomatoes and can use regular if you want the dish to be less spicy)
1/4 C minced parsley (i usually forget to buy this and leave it out)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper to taste (I just use Tony Chachere's)
1/4 C Worchestershire sauce
3 C water
2 lbs smoked sausage
2 C uncooked rice

In a Dutch oven (or large heavy pot) heat the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until tender. Add the celery, green onions and cook until soft. Add the parsely, garlic, seasonings, Worchestershire suace, tomatoes (with liquids) and 2 C water. Cook this gravy for one hour. In a separate large skillet brown the sliced sausage and discard the grease. Add the sausage to the gravy and rinse out the skillet with 1 C water and add to the gravy. Add the rice and cover tightly. When the mixture starts to bubble, lower the heat and simmer until the rice is done. Several times during cooking, lift the mixture gently with a spoon to keep it from sticking. If the water is gone before the rice is cooked, add a little more hot water to the gravy. Serves 8-10.

Bruschetta - pretty and delicious

We served these different kinds of bruschetta last weekend at a shower. Most of the ideas I got from Postino's, the wine bar in Phoenix. They're pretty self-explanatory, no recipes needed really:
Mascarpone, prosciutto, and fig... (I found less than 1/2 fig best...they're so rich)
Pesto and chopped tomato
Bleu cheese and pear
Brie cheese and granny smith apple

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Better than P.F. Chang's...Sesame Noodles with Shrimp

Ok, well at least as good. I got this recipe from my cousin Clare, who plugged it as a great summer meal - good either cold or hot. We had it on Friday and LOVED it. Therese, on her way to 3 helpings, said, "this proves McCormacks have the best food". I think the recipe originally came from Cook's Illustrated.

Sesame Noodles with Shrimp (or Chicken)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through
garlic press(about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce(such as Tabasco)
2 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
hot water
1 pound cooked shrimp (or chicken)
1 tablespoon table salt
1 pound fresh Asian-style noodles or 12 ounces
dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 med. carrot, grated or chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped

1. Toast sesame seeds in medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, about 10 min. Reserve 1 Tblsp. in small bowl. In blender or food processor, puree remaining sesame seeds, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, and sugar until smooth, about 30 seconds. With machine runing, add hot water 1 Tblsp. at a time until sauce has consistency of heavy cream, about 5 Tblsp; set blender jar or workbowl aside.
2. Bring 6 quarts water to boil in pot over high heat. Add salt and noodles to boiling water; boil until tender. Drain, then rinse with cold running tap water until cool to touch (if serving cold); drain again. In large bowl, toss noodles with sesame oil until evenly coated. Add shrimp, scallions, carrot, red bell pepper, cucumber, cilantro, and sauce; toss to combine. Divide among individual bowls, sprinkle each bowl with portion of reserved sesame seeds, and serve.

Monday, May 25, 2009

bed and breakfast eggs

this weekend pat mcewen was in town and we made these for breakfast. he thought they were quite delicious. i am posting them per his request because he really wants his sister julie to make them. so, julie this is for you... (but also for everyone else, because they are really tasty and really easy to make for a crowd because you bake them and they are all ready at the same time)...

- 4 english muffins (toasted)
- 4 eggs
- 4 slices canadian bacon
- mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- paprika
- salt and pepper

preheat oven to 350 degrees. in four ramekins, place slice of canadian bacon in each. create a sort of "nest" with mozzarella cheese around the outer edge of each ramekin and crack an egg into the middle of it, careful not to break the yoke. pour a tablespoon of cream on top of each egg and sprinkle with paprika. add salt and pepper to your liking. place ramekins on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. (we like our yoke to still be a little runny, so you can adjust the time accordingly... note that when you pull it out of the oven it does get a little firmer as it sits...). let ramekins cool for about 5 minutes. then, using a rubber spatula, separate the cheese from around the outer edge of the ramekin and scoop your spatula up under the bacon and then slide it off the spatula onto the english muffin (so that the canadian bacon sits on the the english muffin with the egg and cheese on top... i hope this makes ok sense...). i think you are supposed to butter the ramekins, but i never have and they always seem to scoop right out just fine. it is kind of like a much simpler eggs benedict type dish. hope you make it! enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

shepherd's pie

Zach and I decided to make this on St. Patrick's Day.  It is actually a traditionally English meal, but at least it was in the same realm and most good Irish Pubs have it on the menu.  In my opinion it is one of the few meals from that region that is actually good.  Zach loves it and when we make it we usually have leftovers for awhile.  It is sort of one of those easy things to put together in a casserole so you don't have to make anything else for dinner.  Jimmy also loves it.  We have tried a couple of different recipes, but this one was the easiest I found and they all tasted about the same.  I recommend just buying bags of frozen carrots, peas, and corn because you can buy them already all together (although I keep them on hand in seperate bags for Jimmy anyway).  You can mess with the seasonings (when I haven't had Worcestershire sauce, I made up other things) and  people can add their own salt and pepper to taste.


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)... I used 6 medium sized ones and it was just right.
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (I used chicken though)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
1. Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.
3. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.
4. Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.
5. Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.
6. Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
7.Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.  Serves Four.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

strawberry cream cake

i made this cake last year for lucy's birthday and i thought it was delicious. try it the next time you need to make a dessert for something...


Serves 12
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1 pound strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce envelope)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally; place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate.
Make topping: In a large bowl, combine strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside. Place 2 tablespoons cold water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle with gelatin; let soften 5 minutes. Place saucepan over very low heat, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until very soft peaks form. Continue to beat, and gradually add gelatin mixture; beat until soft peaks form.
Arrange half of strawberries over bottom cake layer; top with half of whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Cover with top half of cake, cut side down. Top cake with remaining whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Refrigerate cake and remaining strawberries separately, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Just before serving, spoon strawberries over cake.

watermelon lemonade

we made this several times last summer and it is great because the kids love it and then you can add vodka and have a fun grown up drink. great on a hot day by the pool. (check out this link from everyday food for more great summer drinks...)


2 lemons, quartered
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 medium seedless watermelon (about 9 pounds), rind removed, flesh cut into chunks
1 cup vodka (optional)

Squeeze lemons into a large pitcher; add squeezed lemon quarters. Add mint and sugar; mash with a wooden spoon until mint is bruised and sugar is dissolved.
In a blender, puree watermelon in batches until smooth; pour through a fine-mesh sieve into pitcher (you should have about 8 cups of juice). Stir to combine. (Refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days.) Add vodka, if using; serve over ice.

tomato and goat cheese salad

i love this salad.


Serves 4
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
3 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced crosswise 1 inch thick

In a blender, combine basil, oil, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
With dental floss or a warm knife (wiped clean after each slice), thinly slice cheese (i just crumble it... it is way faster and i think it more evenly distributes the goat cheese flavor... just a suggestion). Arrange tomatoes and goat cheese on a serving plate; drizzle with dressing to taste. Serve garnished with basil leaves.

here's another one that is really tasty also...


Serves 4
1 ear corn (husk and silk removed; tip cut off)
2 pints cherry, grape, or pear tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Stand ear in a large wide bowl; with a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release the kernels. Discard cob. Add tomatoes, avocado, scallions, lime juice, and oil to bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine.

mary burch made this last summer at the beach with bbq chicken and it was great summer food. i was going to make it tonight but didn't have corn, so that is why i went with the top one. both are fabulous in my opinion...

ej's simple ribs with emeril's rib sauce

this is on our menu for tonight. it is from the everyday food magazine (thus, it was a super simple posting since i grabbed the directions and pictures from over there...). it was in their july issue from last summer and all the recipes were so good. i think i will post a couple more of my favorites along with the tomato and goat cheese salad i am making to go with these ribs... (check out their dinner tonight site, also for great dinner suggestions... and if you make it to that page look to your left for the sites they suggest... more good ideas across the internet...)


Serves 4
2 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Coarse salt
2 slabs baby back ribs (about 2 pounds total)
Vegetable oil, for grates
Emeril's Rib Sauce

In a small bowl, combine mustard powder, paprika, celery salt, onion powder, red-pepper flakes, garlic powder, celery seed, and 1 teaspoon salt. Rub slabs on both sides with the spice mixture, and refrigerate, loosely covered, for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Stack slabs on a double layer of aluminum foil; tightly wrap. Place on a rack on a baking sheet. Cook until meat pulls away from the bone and is easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Heat grill to medium-high; lightly oil grates. Carefully remove ribs from foil, pouring off any liquid. Brush generously on both sides with rib sauce; grill ribs until sauce begins to bubble and brown around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve ribs with any leftover sauce, if desired.


Makes 2 cups
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup ketchup
1 cup canned beef broth
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Carne Asada Rides Again

If you're not lucky enough to live in Phoenix, try this homemade version of Carne Asada. Brian found it on Actually, I'm sure we could find a good carniceria around our house, but he was up for a challenge and wanted to make it himself.

Carne Asada marinade
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. lime juice
1/3 c. orange juice
1 c. water
2 Tblsp. peeled garlic, crushed
1 tsp. white pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 orange, sliced
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped, no stems
Seal all in a plastic bag with meat. Marinate overnight.
makes enough marinade for 6 lbs. meat

Caprese Salad

This is one of my favorites in the summertime. I read an article about Capri once that said this salad is traditionally made with a little lemon zest (lemons are everywhere on Capri), so that's how I always do it now, and it adds just the right touch. Easy and delicious.

Tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
fresh basil, rolled up and then sliced into thin strips
lemon zest
olive oil
salt and pepper

Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices, alternating them and building a spiral, or placing mozzarella on top of tomato. Sprinkle basil over, then lemon zest over all. Add salt and pepper. Chill while you grill the meat or whatever. Drizzle olive oil on top just before serving.

Monday, May 18, 2009

what's on your menu tonight?

so, i thought i would start off the week by asking everyone to throw out one (or more) of their dinner ideas for the week. i know typing recipes and posting pictures can be a bit more daunting, but how about just jotting down one meal you plan to make this week (or dream of making if you are not actually going to get around to it) to help inspire your friends? your dinner rut might look like inspiration to someone else... basically, i could use some help over here...
i will gladly go first...
tonight we are having:
- bbq pulled pork sandwiches
- coleslaw
- watermelon slices
- my favorite salad (of the moment anyway...): mixed greens, pear, red onion, dried cherries and candied pecans with champagne pear vinaigrette (from trader joe's)

how about you?

Crumb Coffeecake

Ok, so when you look at the amount of butter in here, you know it can't be taste.  But occasionally (house guests are a good excuse), it's nice to treat yourself.  So with family in town for graduation this past weekend, I whipped up a batch of my favorite coffee cake and thought I'd share.  

2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. almond extract

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Melt butter and add extracts to it.  Pour over dry mixture and mix until all butter is absorbed.  

8 tblsp. butter
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar until light an fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating bwtween additions.  Beat in vanilla and sour cream.  In separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder.  Add to butter/sour cream mixture, stirring until even.  Pour into greased baking pan.  Crumble crumb mixture  over top until batter is completely covered.  Bake in 9x13 pan for 30-35 min on 350 degrees.  

This recipe has A LOT of crumb.  My sister suggested layering some into the batter, which I think I might try next time.  


whole wheat waffles with berries and whipped cream

we made these saturday morning and they were quite a hit. no, they are not as tasty as regular waffles, but they are still really good, especially when you drown them in berries with a dollop (or two or three...) of whipped cream. the recipe i used called for soy milk, which i did not have so i used regular milk and they turned out great. it also suggested trying vanilla soy milk, which sounds a little more intriguing...

you will need:

whipped cream (homemade or store bought)...

and waffles...
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups soy milk (try vanilla for a little more flavor)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
mix all ingredients and pour into a waffle maker.

load 'em up and enjoy...

and, of course, whipped cream...
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
beat with an electric mixer til soft peaks form (works even better if you chill the bowl and chill the beater...). enjoy!

more snack ideas...

found this link through the cookie mag website about healthy snacks for kids and moms. take it or leave it. just thought i would share...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

lemon chicken with polenta

so this is a variation on a recipe from the wonderful, oh-so-new-york-cynical mark bittman from his book how to cook everything. his recipes usually call for very little that you wouldn't have lying around. this chicken recipe is fabulous -- lemony, leeky, and chickeny, which are three things that go together perfectly. kinda like pete burch, knee-high striped socks, and insane hair, but that's another story.

4 tablespoons Olive oil/butter
two leeks, white part minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cupr chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon thyme or tarragon
4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper (of course)
parsley to garnish

-heat olive oil in a skillet and add two minced leeks and cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft.
-add wine, stock and herb and bring to a boil for a minute or two.
-add chicken and cover and cook till the chicken is barely cooked through, 5-6 minutos
-remove chicken with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you cook the sauce on high so it reduces to desired thickness, turn it down to medium-low and add lemon juice, and stir in some butter, about 2 tablespoons
-return chicken to sauce, crank up heat to cook chicken thru and serve with parsley on top!

I usually add a little more of everything for this recipe -- more wine, more stock esp., because I like a lot of sauce on the chicken.

3 cups water
3cups milk
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt

-simmer water, milk, butter, salt, and bay leaf in iron skillet until small bubbles appear on edges
-add cornmeal by the handfuls, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to the consistency of Cream of Wheat -- thickish, but smooth and creamy
-remove bay leaf and serve

Friday, May 15, 2009

peach bellinis

we made these last night at finn's birthday party (for the moms, obviously, not the kids...). i thought they were really good, especially drinking one by the pool...

-2 ripe peaches, unpeeled, pitted and diced
-1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1 bottle chilled Prosecco sparkling wine

place peaches, lemon juice and sugar in a food processor and blend til smooth. pour puree through a sieve and discard the peach solids. pour 2 tablespoons of peach puree in bottom of 6 glasses and top with chilled Prosecco.
then sit by the pool and enjoy...

carne asada

this is not exactly a recipe so much as a recommendation. mostly for phoenix folks, but i am sure you could find something comparable at your own local carniceria. this place is on 16th street just north of mcdowell and pete's dad gets meat from them all the time. for finn's birthday last night i went to pick up some carne asada and it was so, so good. they throw the meat in a bag with marinade, onions, cilantro and a whole bunch of other delicious-ness. you just take it home, let it sit in your fridge (overnight is even better) and then cook it up to your liking. we grilled it and made fajitas/tacos/burritos. so easy, so good. go get some. my other suggestion for phoenix ladies is the ranch market on 16th street and roosevelt. it is like food city on steroids. so fabulous.

green smoothies and homemade popsicles

i found this suggestion for putting fresh spinach in smoothies and thought since my kids love that drink green machine, maybe they wouldn't mind this. as luck would have it, i was right. you would be amazed at how well spinach blends into a smoothie. the original recipe i found (on design mom) was this:
-Half a banana
-A handful of blueberries (add enough to make it tasty)
-Several handfuls of fresh spinach
-Enough water to make it drinkable

in my opinion, it was a little watery and tasted mostly like banana, but was still good and my kids drank it, no fuss. not particularly enthusiastic, but no complaints. it was even crazy, bright green. now, here's the really good part. i made a really big batch of it and poured the extra into popsicle molds. these, my kids loved.

i know smoothies can be a bit of an ordeal when you want a quick snack, but since my kids love them so much (and with summer here it is so refreshing) we seem to make them a lot. thus, i am so excited about making popsicles. this morning we made smoothies for breakfast and, once again, i made double the amount and poured the rest into our popsicle molds. and the ones we made today actually got rave reviews (they drank the extra and i had to make more for the popsicles). today's smoothie was strawberries, peaches, a little OJ, some vanilla yogurt, a couple handfuls of fresh spinach and some water. now we will have an easy, healthy, delicious snack this afternoon when we sit out in the hot sun and eat our popsicles...

they are not exactly the prettiest color, but they are so good, i promise. i bet if you don't use OJ and maybe some more strawberries and blueberries, the color could improve...

i think you will even be a little surprised at how much spinach you can put in and have it still taste fruity and delicious. i dare everyone to try this...

(and if you like these popsicle molds, i got them on amazon... lots of fun shapes and deals if you buy more than one, etc... check it out).

wow, banana bread

ok, so i have always been biased to my mom's banana bread recipe, but the recipe allie posted is amazing... must be the buttermilk.

now i just have to try becca's recipe. i have never used shortening before, so i am a little nervous. i will let you know how it goes...

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Peach Homework

Wow, those peach bombs look fantastic! So here's a few more recipes for you to try:
Julia Roberts' Peach Crisp

3 lbs. peaches, cut in 1 in. chunks
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. Scotch
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
12 T. butter, cut up
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400F. Toss peaches, lemon juice, scotch, 1/4 c. sugar, and 1/4 c. brown sugar. Spread in 9x13 pan. Dot with 2 T. butter. Sprinkle topping over (for topping, combine flour, cinnamon, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 10 T. butter, and cut into coarse crumbs). Bake 30-35 min.

I copied this from a magazine a long time ago. It might be perfect for Pete... not because of J.Roberts, but because of the Scotch!

Peach-Blueberry Crisp
Mary Burch made this for us one time in Michigan. My brother Joe claims it's his favorite dessert... he asked for it on his birthday.

1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. milk
2 c. peaches
2 c. blueberries
1/2 c. sugar (optional - if your fruit is sweet, you don't need it)

Melt butter in 2 1/2 quart oven proof dish. Combine flour, sugar, bking pwdr, and milk and spoon over butter; don't stir. Add 1/2 c. sugar to fruit (if desired) and toss; put fruit over batter. Bake at 350F until crust comes to top and browns, at least 45 minutes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

we tried the peach bombs...

and they were unbelievable.

the way your spoon cuts right into the crust and peach is so fabulous...

nothing left but the pit...

tomato, mozzarella and pesto panini... sort of

i saw this idea in a magazine and as i had just made pesto i decided to try it. it called for a panini maker, but i just grilled them since we don't own a panini maker. pesto on one side, mozzarella and sliced beefsteak tomatoes sprinkled with a little salt on the other. yum.

carrot cupcakes

lucy really wanted to do some baking the other day and as she is recently obsessed with carrots (orange twiglets... a charlie and lola reference...) i decided to make carrot cupcakes. once again ina garten had a delicious looking recipe, but it sounded just a little too intense. i tried this recipe instead, which was not nearly as good as i imagine the barefoot contessa's to be. i did, however, use her recipe for cream cheese frosting, so i guess i should have just gone all out anyway...
they were still pretty good...

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (as i did not actually have pastry flour, i just used whole-wheat flour...)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup natural applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (we did not have walnuts, so i just left them out altogether...)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together the first 6 ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: (this is from ina garten... does she have a recipe that doesn't at least use some butter?)
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.