Monday, August 31, 2009

Greek Night

Oh how I love Greek food. Souvlaki, salad, and tzatziki. This continues to be a summer time fave, especially since BBQ season may be over sooner than I think, I can't help but want to get my fill. This marinade keeps chicken very tender, and all that tasty garlic creates a great aroma. I usually serve up with roasted potatoes, or rice. But I have been meaning to find a good recipe for those tasty lemon potatoes. I keep forgetting to get the recipe from a friend, who was fortunate enough to marry into this fabulous culture. I will get it, try it and post soon. OPA!

Chicken Souvlaki, Traditional Greek Salad & Tzatzki

Chicken Souvlaki


1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or dry oregano
1 teaspoon of dry thyme
1 Tbspn olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup of yogurt
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (or Pork)
To prepare souvlaki, combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl; and mix well.. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate chicken in refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning once.
Remove chicken from bowl; discard marinade. Thread the chicken onto each of 4 (8-inch) skewers.
Cooking options: BBQ of course, 8-10 minutes. If it's dead of winter, I have made this on broiler pan in oven at 400 F.
serves 4
Greek Salad

I don't bother with measurements for salads, put more or less of your favorites -

Ripe tomatoes, cherry or whatever is in your garden. cut in half or bite size
Cucumber, English or farm fresh, cut in rounds
Red onion, sliced thin
kalamata olives
Feta cheese, crumbled or cubed (I use light because I am generous)
Olive oil
Dry oregano
Salt and fresh ground pepper
(some people add a little lemon juice or vinegar, I find tomatoes to be acidic enough, but sometimes like a little twist of lemon.)

Combine all ingredients, toss and serve..
Recipe Stolen from a beautiful food blog I stumbled across, Big, Bold, Beautiful Food, you can see more here . I am sure I will be referencing her a lot. I can't believe I am using her Tzatziki recipe when Ninette has soooo much more to offer...

3-4 servings
16 oz. container of Fage yogurt
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 a cucumber, peeled, shredded and squeezed dry in paper towels
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
A shot of lemon or a little red wine vinegar
Mix together above ingredients. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes so the flavors can soften and meld together.
Image credits: souvlaki photo from Real Mom Kitchen, but her recipe is quite different; Greek salad image from Because you value your Body; Tzatziki, photo and recipe, from Big, Bold, Beautiful Food.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easy Dinner

Sometimes, I just need a break. This is the absolute tastiest "break" recipes that I have. it's perfect for a lazy Saturday night or Sunday night dinner. It's fun to sit around and get a little messy! If you are a member of my family, a LOT messy!

Chicken Picadillo and Rice with Black Beans

Any leftover chicken mixture can be reheated and served on hot tortillas; top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and light sour cream. Total time: 30 minutes.
4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup bottled salsa
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

Place chicken in a food processor; pulse until ground.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, cumin, salt, cinnamon, and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in salsa and raisins. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in almonds and cilantro. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.
While you are preparing the picadillo, you can prepare white rice, as per your usual. About 1 cup or dry rice, to 2 cups boiling water and let simmer covered for 20 minutes. When rice is desired texture, add 1 (15 oz) can of rinsed black beans. Stir together, and add some chopped cilantro. Serve beside picadillo.

For a little fun, you can serve these with warm wraps, a little cheddar cheese and sour cream. And all the other fixins that make a wrap impossible to fold up..:-)

Recipe and pic from Cooking Light, July 2006 , found online at

Monday, August 17, 2009

Light Summer Dinner

I am the Queen of soup and salad. I was a vegetarian (ovo-lacto + fish) for almost 20 years. When i became pregnant, I started to crave meat. It was ridiculous, I would dream of biting into veal sandwiches. Even biting into steak, which never appealed to me. I gave in. I figured if i was craving it, my body was probably in need of the nutrients. A year and half after baby #2, I am beginning to lose interest in meat. The truth is I really enjoy a diet high in vegetables and legumes. I am naturally drawn to these foods, and my body responds better to this lighter method of eating. So here is one of my favorite soup and salad combos.

Asparagus Soup

1 pound fresh asparagus
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 sweet onion, diced
2 medium-size red potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Coat asparagus lightly with cooking spray, and arrange in an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

2. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until tender and slightly browned, turning after 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes or until tender. Add remaining butter, and stir until melted. Add potatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium, and simmer 6 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

4. Chop asparagus into 1/4-inch pieces. Add chopped asparagus to soup; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool 10 minutes.

5. Process asparagus mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor 8 to 10 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Return asparagus mixture to Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Yields 8 servings
Cindi Judson, Houston, Texas, Southern Living, MAY 2008
Notes: I love that this soup is made with potatoes and not cream. It's rich and flavourful without having to add the richness of cream.

Tuna and Cannellini Salad on a Tomato

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (5 oz. each) tuna*, preferably packed in natural juices, drained and broken into chunks
3 green onions, thinly sliced (ahhhh - any onion will do, I like red)
4 to 8 thick slices large heirloom tomatoes (we especially love Brandywine)
so picky - I go to garden - whatever is ripe, i eat!

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chives. Add parsley leaves, beans, tuna, and onions and stir gently just until coated.

2. Arrange tomato slices on 4 plates and spoon tuna mixture on top, dividing evenly. Top each salad with a few parsley leaves if you like. Yields 4 servings

Sunset, AUGUST 2009

Notes, You can even use chickpeas instead of the cannellini beans. I also like to prepare dry beans. And, I use my tuna packed in oil. Callipo is one of my faves and it comes in a jar. I am not a fan of canned food.. I wish everything was bottled instead of canned.

Original recipes found at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Obsession: Cookware

I'll never forget the day I came home from a shopping excursion excited to show my mother my new purchase. I must have been 18, and I would imagine most young women would probably be very excited about an article of clothing or some new music. I opened my bag to reveal a shiney new sauce pan, Lagostina on sale at the Bay. My mother's reaction was "Oh No, You too?' Apparently I come from a long line of women who love their pots and pans.
I recently decided to lose the T-fal and started looking for the perfect stainless steel fry pan, You can imagine my excitement when The Bay was having their annual 70% off sale and I found the Gordon Ramsay Royal Doulton cookware waiting to be aquired by me.
My food never tasted so good!

Amazing heat distribution and faster cook times.


And here is a fabulous little recipe from Gordon Ramsay

Baked Pork Chops with Piquante Sauce

Ingredients for pork chops:
4 pork chops, about 9oz each
a little olive oil
few thyme sprigs
few rosemary sprigs (leaves only)
1/2 head of garlic separated into cloves (unpeeled)
sea salt and black pepper
Ingredients for Sauce:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion (peeled and minced)
1 red bell pepper (seeded and minced)
1 red chili (seeded and minced)
7oz cremini mushrooms (trimmed and finely sliced)
14oz can chopped tomatoes
sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp sugar

Heat your oven to 400 F. Place the pork chops in a large, lightly oiled baking dish and scatter the thyme sprigs, rosemary leaves, garlic cloves, and salt over the top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until pork chops are cooked through. Make the sauce while your waiting.
Heat the olive oil in a wide pan and add the onion, red bell pepper, chile, and mushrooms. Stir over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Tip in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and add the sugar and a splash of water. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the onions are tender and the tomato sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Putting it all together:
Take the pork chops out of the oven and let rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. Pour any pan juices into the sauce and reheat. Ladle a generous amount of sauce over the chops to serve.
Done and done! Under 30 minutes? Only if you’re fast.

Recipe taken from this great site, Gordon Ramsay's Recipes

Friday, August 7, 2009


Not feeling so great this week. Had a fever and the aches and no desire for food. I am hoping that today I can get some food down. There is only one thing that I know for sure my body will welcome, Brodo (or Broth). Growing up my mother would make it frequently through the winter months, and of course whenever we weren't feeling well. Today, the tradition holds strong in my home. When one person is down, we all benefit from this very nourishing soup.

Chicken Broth

1 large (about 2.5kg) good-quality chicken, without giblets
4 bay leaves
2 onions, whole
2 carrots, cleaned
3 celery sticks,
Small bunch of fresh thyme
Small bunch of fresh parsley
2 tsp salt
5 peppercorns
Wash the chicken very well and place in a large stock pot or casserole pot with bay leaves, onions, carrots and celery. Tie up the herbs with string and add to the pan with the salt and peppercorns. Pour over enough water to cover the chicken completely (about 4L). Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. Leave in the broth until cool enough to handle.
Remove the chicken from the broth and place on a board to cool completely. Remove the cooled meat from the bones and slice or shred. Set chicken aside and use for salads or make a tasty chicken soup.

Note for leaner broth, refrigerate for a few hours, a skim fat off before re heating.

Mmm Mmm..

Chicken Soup

Return shredded chicken to strained broth. (you could reserve some if its too much) I like to use the carrots and celery , roughly chopped, in my soup. For a heartier soup, add some pasta. Bring to a boil and serve it up !!

Borrowed again, All pics from Channel 4 food.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Risotto con funghi

Risotto Con Funghi
Mmmm .. so many things to love about risotto. That wonderful rich and creamy taste, with a beautiful blend of aromas infused. Making risotto takes a bit of patience, and a good quality Arborio rice. I just started using Scotti Arborio lately, and it makes the best risotto by far. The trick is letting it cook slowly over medium - low heat and constantly stirring to create the richness. Most people cheat and add a bit of cream or milk, but it's not necessary if you aren't in a rush. Garnish with some parmigiana shavings, and a little basil, and you can easily impress friends .
1 cup of Arborio rice
3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
3 Tbspns Olive Oil
1 white or yellow onion, Medium
3 cloves of garlic
350 grams of sliced white mushrooms
1/4 cup of white wine, or a little more or less as you wish..
In a large pan, heat olive oil and add the onion and then the garlic. Slowly fry without colouring them for at least 10 minutes. When onions are soft, add mushrooms, another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the rice, and stir for 3 minutes. Stir in wine – it’ll smell fantastic! Keep stirring until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladle fulls of stock, stirring and massaging the starch out of the rice, allowing each ladle full to be absorbed before adding the next.
Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. This will take about 30 minutes. Plate and serve with Parmesan, shaved or grated. Sit and enjoy the praise.
Serves 4
Yey - I finally took my own picture. Feel free to use it if you like, credit back is always appreciated.