September 29, 2010

Chicken with apple and shallot sauce

Fall Fest 2010 week 2 is all about apples. This dish uses fresh apples, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar to make a yummy sauce to go over chicken (it would also be lovely over pork). The apple flavor really shines in this sauce and the caramelized shallots are a nice compliment to the sweet and tangy apples. I like to find ways to use fruit in savory dishes rather than always in desserts. This recipe will make enough for two people. 

September 26, 2010

Curry chicken salad

I actually never had curry chicken salad until last year. Once I tasted it, I thought that it would be a really easy thing to replicate at home and be great for lunches and for using up leftover roasted chicken. Well, leftover roasted chicken is what I had so I decided to make some of this up to have in the refrigerator for a tasty lunch. Luckily, I also had some cilantro that was begging to be used up, too. You can eat this on a sandwich or wrap, with some crackers, or even just put a scoop on top of a bed of greens. It's a flavorful salad and it has a nice combination of tastes and textures that really make it interesting.

September 22, 2010

Spinach and artichoke pizza

Spinach was the first topic for Fall Fest 2010 that begins today and continues each Wednesday throughout the fall. I'm hoping to participate in this and challenge myself to come up with a recipe that hi-lights the ingredient and/or topic for each week that celebrates fall.

For spinach, I made a spinach and artichoke pizza. I cheated and bought a whole wheat pizza dough ball at the bakery because I didn't have the time on a weeknight to make the dough myself. It was still really good and I love that I can get a pretty healthy pizza crust when I need. I liked this pizza a lot. It's a good way to get a lot of greens into something that everyone will enjoy. 

September 20, 2010

Spiced pickled grapes

OK, I know what you are thinking - pickled grapes?? But, trust me, they are good. They are full of sweet and tangy syrupy goodness with just a little kick of spice (from mustard seeds, black pepper, and cinnamon). I first saw pickled grapes last winter on this blog post. I immediately bookmarked it, swearing that I would try it as soon as grapes were back in season. Usually I forget about most of the stuff I bookmark for a long time (or forever). But not these soon as I saw grapes at the farmer's market over the weekend, I was buying them up and rushing home to make these (just hoping that I had all the ingredients when I got there). Well, I had most of them, except for the white wine vinegar, so I used apple cider vinegar in its place. They were still yummy. I think they would be better with a slightly firmer grape, but these were the only grapes available. I'll definitely make them again once more grapes are available.

September 19, 2010

Chicken, apple, caramelized onion, and cheese quesadillas

I got the idea for these quesadillas when I saw this recipe. As soon as I saw them, I wanted to make them. I'm really getting into fall and fall flavors now that the weather is cooler and the grocery and farmer's market are full of apples, grapes, squash, and all the other wonderful fall produce. I changed these quesadillas up a bit from the recipe that inspired them. I layered in some smoked mozzarella (any smoked cheese would be nice), cheddar, apple-wood smoked bacon, chicken, caramelized red onion, and sweet apple. They would be a great way to use up leftover chicken, too. This made four quesadillas and could easily be adjust to make more, if needed. I also made a spicy chipotle-yogurt dipping sauce (recipe below) for these and used some jarred salsa verde I had in the fridge as a second dipping sauce. Both went well with the flavor combination in these smoky-sweet, fall-inspired quesadillas.


September 18, 2010

Sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon butter

These pancakes are hearty and full of fall flavors. They are perfect for a cool morning or as part of a weekend brunch. I made these after an early morning visit to our local farmer's market and they were delicious. I make a lot of different types of pancakes (just click on the pancakes label if you don't believe me), but I had never made sweet potato ones before. They turned out really nicely. Sweet potatoes are such a great, healthy food, too. I had a can of organic sweet potato puree in the pantry, but you can roast or boil a medium-large sweet potato, remove the skin, and mash it up if you would like. I served these pancakes with some toasted pecans, a cinnamon butter and some real maple syrup we picked up at the farmer's market. The recipe will serve about 4 people. 

September 17, 2010

Celery root and apple puree


I'm always trying to come up with more vegetarian dishes and lately I've been trying to come up with more interesting vegetable side dishes. Celery root is a something that I have never eaten until yesterday. It's one of those things I would always look at in the grocery store and wonder what in the world I would do with it. I have seen celery root in many recipes both online and in cookbooks. I decided that when I saw them return to our grocery store this fall that I would give it a try. I am glad that I did. The taste of the celery root is just like celery stalks, but stronger. I just bought my first bag of apples for the season and had a bunch of garden fresh sage so that's what I used in this side dish. This recipe will serve about 4 people as a side dish. 

September 14, 2010

Moroccan stewed chicken

Moroccan stewed chicken is a recipe I got from a co-worker. He was eating leftovers of this for lunch one day and it smelled so good. I asked him for the recipe and I have made this many times since then. It's originally from Men's Health magazine. I'm sharing the recipe that I've tweaked a bit. This meal is similar to a vegetarian version that I've posted before: Butternut squash Moroccan stew. I like both variations a lot (the chicken more for summer and the squash more for fall/winter). Another great thing about this recipe is that it is a different way to use up some of your summer zucchini harvest (along with these muffins and these enchiladas). This recipe serves two with leftovers and can easily be adjusted to serve more. You can also adjust the cayenne to your liking. This recipe will make a medium-spicy dish. 

September 12, 2010

Carrot-zucchini-ginger muffins

I made these muffins on a cool Sunday morning. Ginger is one of my favorite flavors. I love carrot cake and zucchini bread as well. So, when I saw these muffins I knew they'd be a great way to use up some of the zucchini and carrots that are taking over our refrigerator. These muffins have a slight, warm ginger flavor in the background that works well with the warm cinnamon. The combination of carrots and zucchini is a nice change. It's also really pretty because you get flecks of orange and green throughout the muffins. Using vegetables in your muffins is a nice change up from the usual fruity muffins, too. I changed the recipe a bit and those changes are reflected below. 

September 11, 2010

Roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries and hazelnuts

Brussels sprouts are a yummy vegetable. I think that when people think that they don't like vegetables like brussels sprouts, that more than likely they have just never had them cooked well. Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that probably have gotten this poor treatment -- boiled until bitter, soggy, etc. If that is how you've eaten your brussels sprouts in the past, then I don't blame you for thinking brussels sprouts are yucky. But, try them roasted until just tender and combined with a combination of sweet and salty additions, and I'm willing to bet that you may just be won over by these yummy little veggies. Even if you are already a fan, this combination is really good and makes a great side dish!

September 8, 2010

Watermelon rind pickles

I can't take full credit for these watermelon rind pickles. My husband wanted to make them and decided that he would begin the process of doing so and I became the helper. He read recipes from both the Ball cookbook and an old Betty Crocker cookbook and he choose the Betty Crocker recipe as he thought it was closest to what his grandparents used to make (except we used white vinegar instead of cider vinegar because that's what his grandparents used). We cut the recipe from the original as well because we didn't have the quantity of watermelon. The recipe below though is the full Betty Crocker recipe (with our comments/changes in parentheses).

September 6, 2010

Peaches and cream tart

I really do enjoy making (and, of course, eating) tarts. As my husband says -- there's a better filling to crust ratio in a tart versus a pie (not that I don't love pies, too). This tart is another recipe I found to try to use some of the local peaches we have. The recipe I used is adapted from here. The tart was very good. I'm getting better about making the sides of the tart crust as well, which makes me happy.

Peaches and cream tart
I started with the basic olive oil crust that I almost always use, except I added one tablespoon of icing sugar and used white whole wheat flour. You can use whatever crust you like. The original recipe (above) has a recipe for a sweet crust. 

for the filling:
2 large peaches, peeled*, pitted, and sliced
1/2 cup half and half (or cream)
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon Amaretto liqueur (or almond extract)
dash of salt

for the streusel topping:
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

After you have formed the crust into the tart pan, arrange the peaches around the pan in a "spoke" pattern. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining filling ingredients until well-blended. Let the bowl sit on the counter for some of the air bubbles to pop out. Then "rap" the bowl firmly onto the counter to get the rest of the air bubbles out. Pour the filling over and around the peaches. Bake for ten minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking for another 20 minutes. 

In another bowl, mix the streusel ingredients using your finger tips until it's well-combined. Place in the refrigerator until the above cooking time is up. Then you are ready to add the streusel. Carefully remove the tart from the oven and add the streusel to the top (trying to cover the cream parts and leaving some of the peaches peeking through). Place back in the oven and bake for another 18-25 minutes, until the filling is set and the streusel is golden. 

Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack. Serve when almost cooled or at room temperature. Alternatively, you can cover and refrigerate overnight and serve room temperature.

* To peel the peaches: Cut an "X" into the skin on the bottom of each peach. Blanch in boiling water for about 10 seconds and then rinse in cold water. Peel the skin from the peaches.