Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Menu 1/30 - 2/3/12

We played around with drinks again this weekend. This time it was cocktails. I had some blueberry drink concentrate from Ikea in the fridge that I bought with cocktails in mind. It's like a very thick, very blue , blueberry simple syrup.
Cocktail Night
First I tried two parts vodka, two parts blueberry, one part st. germain and 2 parts club soda. This was good, but the st. germain really overpowered everything else.
Cocktail Night
Then we tried muddling about 1/2 cup pineapple, added 3 parts vodka, 2 parts blueberry and 2 parts club soda. This one was the favorite. The pineapple and blueberry were great together.

I also tried a final version that was blueberry and homemade lemoncello I made 2 1/2 years ago. It was good, but very, very lemony!

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Monday Pizza Special at Pizzeria Lola

Homemade Ramen - with homemade ox tail broth

Chicken and Beef Phyllo Rolls

Crock Pot French Onion Soup - from a recipe on Green Your Plate

Something with the Puff Pastry in my freezer, but I don't know what yet.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clementine Braised Chicken

I had some chicken thighs in the freezer that I wanted to use for dinner the other night. My initial thought was to do a Moroccan Chicken like this one or this one, but then I saw that bowl of clementines on the counter and decided on an orange chicken instead.
Clementine Braised Chicken
Matt was a little leery about the idea, I think he thought I was going to do one of those breaded chicken things in a sweet citrus sauce like you see at some Chinese restaurants. My idea though was for something a little more savory and full of flavors that go well with citrus. Things like red pepper and ginger.

Well, I was saying I told you so as we both devoured this dish, it was so good. All the flavors just blended perfectly together with the tang of the citrus being the star. Now, to be completely honest with you, this dish could have easily been made as a quick stir-fry instead of a braise and probably tasted the same. I just had this idea in my head that the clementines would get a more roasted flavor in the oven. Really since they were cooking in a sauce that didn't matter. So, I would say if you make this go ahead and cook it either way.

Clementine Braised Chicken

1 T olive oil
1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 scallions, chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 clementine
1/2 t powdered ginger
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T honey
3/4 c chicken stock
2 T orange juice
crushed red pepper
1 T cornstarch (optional)
hot cooked rice

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a oven-proof pan, like a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper, garlic, and most of the scallions (reserve a bit of the chopped green stem for garnishing). Cook for about a minute. Add the chicken thighs and brown a little on both sides. Zest the clementine and add the zest to the pot. Then peel it and add the clementine segments to the pot. Add the ginger, soy, honey, chicken stock, orange juice anda few pinched of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Put into oven and let cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

If you would like a thicker sauce like we did, add cornstarch in the following manner. When you take the pot out of the oven, return it to the medium-high heat on the stove top and stir in about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in water. Stir until thickened.

Serve over hot rice and garnish with reserved scallion slices.

Makes 2 servings. (You could probably cook 6 thighs in the same amount of sauce for more servings)

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, January 23, 2012

Brewing Beer and Weekly Menu 1/23 - 1/27/12

We are certainly happy to be done with the latest round of construction on our house and back home. Getting new doors and windows in the middle of a Minnesota January cold snap is a lot of fun, but the house is toastier. A good thing with the nasty, icy cold weather we're having. But it is the perfect weather to spend a few hours in the kitchen brewing beer.

Matt got the Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book for Christmas. He wanted it because this book is all about brewing beer one gallon at a time.
IMG_1639
Until now we've been brewing five gallon batches, which is really a lot of two of us and makes it harder to experiment. The other thing this book has done is introduce us to whole grain brewing (up until now we'd used syrups to create our wort). It's a little bit more work and a little messier, but it's fun messing with flavor. Our first batch was a New Year's Ale straight out of the book that is flavored with Clementines. We are learning a lot, like how useful grain bags and hop socks are!
Hop Sock Holder
Matt's simple hop sock holder. Using the hop sock meant there was almost nothing to strain out of the beer before adding it to the fermenter.

Yesterday, I made a batch of Stout using a basic recipe from the book, but added a few additions of my own. First I added coffee beans from our favorite breakfast place, Blackbird and then some Hersey's Special Dark Cocoa.
Hops, coffee beans, dark cocoa, brown sugar and yeast
I'm calling it my Blackbird Mocha Stout. Can't wait to taste it in four weeks. Since we'll only end up with nine or ten bottles we can started dreaming up our next flavor right away.

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Matt's Hawaiian Stir-Fry

Barbecued Korean Pizza at Pizzeria Lola

Roast Chicken with Squash

Hawaiian Pizza - Using the leftover sausage and pineapple from the stir-fry

Chicken Enchiladas - Using the leftover roast chicken and our homemade chile verde sauce.


If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For the Love of Kale

Once again our house is under construction leaving us without the ability to cook at home. Luckily, it is only a few days this time. In the meantime, I thought I'd give you a recipe guide to one of our favorite winter leafy greens, kale.
kale
Kale is one of the main things we grow in our garden each year. It does well in our northern midwestern climate and we can usually get a couple of harvests before a hard freeze kills it off. We blanch it in the microwave and then freeze it in 4 ounce bags to use throughout the winter. Even blanched and cooked kale is is low in Saturated Fat and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. That is one powerful leaf and it has the kind of earthy flavor that goes so well with winter dishes. Here are some of our favorites...
Kale and Mushroom Risotto Kale and Mushroom Risotto
Potato soup with kale & chorizo Potato, Kale and Chorizo Soup
West African Peanut & Chicken Stew West African Peanut and Chicken Stew
Pork Pie Pork Pie
Hearty Lentil Soup Hearty Lentil Soup
Chickpea Stew with Coconut Milk Chickpea Stew with Coconut Milk
Chicken & Lentil Stew Chicken and Lentil Stew
#74 - Colcannon Colcannon
Eggs and Kale in Puffed Pastry Eggs and Kale in Puff Pastry
Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup

You just can't help feel warmer having one of these dishes on a cold day.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cornbread Pudding

This past New Year's Eve we got together with family for a late dinner of barbecued ribs with corn bread and slaw. There was a lot of cornbread leftover, so I decided to turn some of it into a bread pudding type side dish for another night.
Cornbread Pudding
A little milk, egg, bacon and cheese later and we had the best leftover cornbread. It's sweet with a hint of smokey saltiness from the bacon. The custard keeps it wonderfully moist. The only things I might add to it next time are some frozen corn kernels and maybe some scallions.

We had two different kinds of cornbread to start, one was plain and the other had green chiles and spices in it. Both were great in the puddings.

Cornbread Pudding
This recipe makes about 3 cups of pudding. You can easily adjust it to make more.

2 sliced bacon, chopped
3 c pieces of torn cornbread, packed
2/3 milk (or half and half for extra richness)
1 egg
2-3 T grated smoked gouda or cheddar (we used a smoked gouda because we had it on hand, but it was the least smoky gouda I've ever tasted)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain and set aside.

Divide the cornbread between two 1 1/2 cup ramekins.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk and egg. Stir in the cheese and bacon. Season with a little salt and pepper. Check to see how salty your cheese is before adding too much salt.

Pour the liquid mixture over the cornbread. Mix lightly to incorporate. Press down a bit with the back of a spoon. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes for the bread to absorb all the liquid.

Bake for about 30 minutes until puffy and golden.

Makes 2 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crock Pot Bean and Sausage Soup

We are all about the comfort foods right now and this soup came about because of a craving for cassoulet. Now, this is by no means a cassoulet, but it's a kissing cousin with its slow cooked beans and sausage.
Crock Pot Bean and Sausage Soup
You could not get much easier than this dinner. It's pretty much a throw everything in the crock pot and let it simmer all day sort of thing, I didn't even bother crisping the bacon before cooking. It smells amazing and is full of wonderful slow cooked flavor.

A few notes on this dish: You could easily skip the kale, but we are always looking for ways to get a dark leafy green in the winter. The only thing I might do differently next time is add the sausage the same time as the kale. It got a pretty soft texture from the long cooking. The soup gets a lot of its flavor from the sausage, but that last hour should be enough time for that to happen.

Crock Pot Bean and Sausage Soup

1 c dried white or yellow beans (we used Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian Woman Beans)
12 oz smoked andouille sausage links, sliced into rounds
2 slices smoked bacon, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 springs fresh thyme
5 c chicken broth or if you are using a good hearty stock a mix of stock and water
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
2 bay leaves
2 c frozen pearl onions
4 oz chopped kale
salt and pepper

Rinse the beans. Put everything except the kale in the crock pot. Set to high and let cook for about 4 hours. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the kale. Let cook about another hour until the beans are nice and tender.  Serve with a good crusty bread.

Makes 4 - 5 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Smoked Fisherman's Pie

We love a good savory pie, shepherd's, cottage and recently, fisherman's. For this version I used smoked salmon in the filling and played on the smokey flavor by also using smoked gouda in the toping.
Smoked Fisherman's Pie
For the filling, I thought of what would make a good salmon chowder, cream, capers, leeks and worked from that idea. I think the two ingredients that really gave the filling its best flavor, other than the salmon of course, were the dried mustard and capers. Both just take a basic cream sauce up a notch with flavor and tang.
Smoked Fisherman's Pie
Matt thought this pie had the perfect ration of filling to topping when we cooked it in two 6" pie pans. He loved it so much he practically licked his clean.

This was really great the way it was, but next time I might toss the potatoes in a little olive oil to help them brown more. Or perhaps, give them a quick sauté first. I like the texture of them grated in this instead of using mashed potatoes on top.

Smoked Fisherman's Pie

1 T olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk diced
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t dried mustard
1/2 t dried parsley
2 T all-purpose flour
1 c half and half
1 heaping t capers
1 1/2 c smoked salmon, flaked
salt
freshly ground pepper
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and grated
1 1/2 oz smoked gouda, grated

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, carrot and celery. Sauté until the carrots are crisp tender. Stir in the cayenne pepper, mustard and parsley. Turn heat down to medium. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Stir for 1 minute. Add the half and half a little at a time. Cook while stirring until thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Stir in the salmon and capers. Taste and add salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Put the salmon filling into two individual or one pie pan. Mix the potato and cheese together. Spread over the filling. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are cooked.

2 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kale and Mushroom Risotto

We are back home from the holidays and craving some easy, hearty comfort food. The fact that it's 18 degrees just adds to the craving. This risotto take care of that craving perfectly.
Kale and Mushroom Risotto
This is a dish that is just full of earthy flavors from the kale and mushrooms. The garlic is cooked slowly with the risotto and tastes almost like you roasted it. It's hearty and warming, just the thing in front of a fireplace, if you ask me.

A note on the kale, we harvest kale from our garden all summer then blanch and freeze it to use in winter soups and stews. If you are using fresh kale from the store blanch it for a minute before using it in this recipe otherwise it won't be very tender. Kale is such a great winter vegetable and one of those that help keep you free of flus and colds.

Kale and Mushroom Risotto

1 T olive oil, divided
1 leek, sliced and cleaned, white and light green parts only
10 baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
salt
4 oz kale, blanched and chopped, thick stalks removed
4 c chicken stock (use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
1/2 T unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 c arborio rice
1/2 c sherry
2 T grated Parmesan
pepper


Put 1/2 T olive oil in a small skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the leek and sauté for one minute. Add the mushrooms, lightly salt and sauté another minute. Add the kale and sauté until the mushrooms are cooked and the kale is tender. Set aside.

Put the chicken stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Keep simmer during the cooking process.

In another saucepan heat the remaining 1/2 T olive oil and 1/2 T butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and rice. Sauté until the rice is covered with the oil and butter. Add the sherry. Cook while stirring until the sherry is completely absorbed. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, do not add more until the previous addition has been absorbed. You'll want to stir it a lot, but you don't have to sir it constantly. When you have about 1/2 cup of the stock left the rice should be tender and creamy with just the slightest bite to the center (if your's isn't, you may need to use a little more stock or even some water will work). Stir in the last of the stock, the cheese and the mushroom kale mixture. Season with salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Heat everything through. Serve

Makes 2 hearty servings.


If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weekly Menu 1/2/12 - 1/7/12

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all rang it in festively.
New Year's Eve 2011
We spent this year with family, lots of craft beers and a mess o' ribs.
New Year's Eve 2011 New Year's Eve 2011
(Sam Adams' Infinium, it's the true "champagne of beers" and ribs cooked the way my dad ib Memphis does them.)

Today we are going to cook up a batch of home brewed New Year's Beer and experiment with making a gallon of beer at a time. Sounds much smarter then the five gallons we have been making.

On to Menu Planning Monday...

Risotto with Mushrooms and Kale

Korean Short Ribs at Pizzeria Lola

Fisherman's Pie

Crock Pot White Beans and Sausage

Roast Chicken with Cornbread Bread Pudding.


If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski
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