Monday, March 11, 2013

Roasted Garlic

This is a great way to preserve garlic.  Take about an 8 inch square aluminum foil and spray with a vegetable or olive oil spray.  Place a whole head of garlic inside the sprayed foil. Gather the ends together and twist to seal.  Roast in a 350 oven for about an hour.  Store in Freezer bags in your refrigerator crisper for several weeks.

When ready to use, take out of the foil and cut in half.  Squeeze garlic from the head.  Great for just about anything from garlic mashed potatoes, garlic bread, a spread on grilled bread or crackers, or a wine reduction sauce.  The roasting adds a mellow flavor to the garlic and takes away the harsh "bite."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spicy Thai Noodles

1 Pound Linguine
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced thin
2 Red Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and sliced thin
1 Bunch Green Onions, sliced on the bias
1 Bunch Cilantro, chopped
1 Bottle Prepared Peanut Sauce
1 Small Can Cocktail Peanuts, salted, slightly pulvarized
Olive Oil
1 Lime, juiced

Cook the Linguine to the package directions (about 9 minutes in a large pot with boiling salted water).

Heat a large frying pan and coat the bottom with the olive oil.  Add the peppers and stir for about 5 minutes until starting to caramalize.  Add the onions, stir and add about 3 tablespoons water.  Cover and let soften about another 5 minutes.  Add the peanut sauce, peanuts and stir together.  Add the linguine (don't rinse) and the lime juice and cilantro.  Serve immediately.  You can also garnish with some sesame seeds if you wish.  Serves 4.      

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tortilla Soup


2 Quarts Chicken Broth (low sodium, or free-range, organic if you can find it or make your own, recipe below)
1 large can Chef's Cut Tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano, but if not, get low sodium)
1 large can Crushed Tomatoes (same as above)
1/2 head Roasted Garlic
16 oz Black Beans (organic if you can), drained
1 package Supersweet Frozen Corn (or regular)
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Brown Onion
1 Tube Italian Tomato Paste (or 1 small can)
2 TBS Chipolte Chili Powder
1 1/2 TBS Smoked Paprika Powder
olive oil

Garnish (Optional)

1 12 count package Corn Tortillas
Peanut Oil for frying tortilla strips

Cut the tortillas in half and then into 1/4 inch strips.  Heat the Peanut oil until shimmer and fry in small batches until brown.  Remove and drain on paper towels and squeeze lime juice over and sprinkle with salt.  repeat.  Can store in a zip lock bag for up to a week.

Other Garnishes (Optional)

1 Avocado
Sour Cream
Grated Cheddar Cheese


Heat a large soup stock pot and add about 2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the red pepper and onion, stirring until coated with the olive oil and starting to brown.  Add about 1/2 cup of water and cover and simmer until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and tomato paste.  Stir together with the peppers and onions.  Add the tomatoes and stock and heat until boiling, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add the beans and corn and heat until heated through.  Add the seasoning and adjust salt and pepper.  Serve with your favorite garnishes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Baked Potato Salad

I created this from leftovers one day and it became an instant hit.  Really great for potlucks or office parties.  The idea is a fully loaded baked potato - in a salad.  And using sour cream instead of mayonaise gives it a fresh taste.  If you can invest in some really good smoked sea salt, I would recommend it - not just for this dish, but in general.  You will find yourself addicted to the flavor!

I would plan to use 1 potato per person, or if you are going to make this for a potluck, doubling the recipe yields a large Tupperware container size.


6 Large Idaho Potatoes
1 pound bacon (I like applewood smoked bacon)
1 small red onion, small dice
6 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup, or 1 package fresh chives, cut in 1 inch pieces
16 oz sour cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Splash of red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Vegetable Spray (or Olive Oil Spray)
Aluminum Foil

To bake the potatoes:

Scrub the potatoes under water and pat dry on paper towels. Using a fork, poke holes liberally around the skin of the potato. Rub with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place each potato on a vegetable or olive oil sprayed 9 inch square of aluminum foil, shiny side up. Tightly wrap each potato and place in a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to cook for about 1 hour until fork tender. Cool. This step can be done the day before you serve.

To prep the bacon:

Cut bacon across in 1/4 inch strips. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until done. With a slotted spoon, remove from the fat and set aside.

Boil, cool and peel the eggs. Slice across into fourths.

Dice the red onion and place in a strainer and rinse under cool water. Place the strainer on some paper towels to drain. This will take any bitterness out of the onions.

Slice the potatoes in one inch cubes. Combine all the ingredients and adjust for salt and pepper.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Basic Chicken Stock

6 Chicken Thighs bone in and with skin on
1 Brown Onion
5 Large Loose Carrots - peeled
5 Stalks Celery - Peeled
Salt and Pepper
2 Quarts Fresh Water
Olive Oil

Optional for Chicken Soup:
3 Large Loose Carrots - peeled and sliced
1-2 Medium Potatoes - peeled and diced
Bok Choy
Green Onions
Leeks or whatever vegetables you prefer
Pasta such as vermicelli, capellini, angel hair pasta, etc.

Rinse and pat dry chicken.

Sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper (I use a high quality sea salt - a smoked Chardonnay salt - but use what you prefer).

Heat a stock pot and coat the bottom with the olive oil. Add the chicken, skin side down. Don't touch for  a few minutes then check if the skin is golden brown. Then turn over and add:

The onion, top and end off, peeled, cut in half and each half quartered.
The carrots, peeled, cut tops and ends off (about an eight of an inch each side), and cut in about 2 inch chunks

The celery, peeled and cut in similar sizes as the carrots
The water

Cover and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer with the lid askew for about 20 minutes. Check the chicken. It should be floating. With tongs, remove the chicken to a cutting board to cool. Continue to simmer the chicken stock.  When the chicken is cooled enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and replace the bones and skin in the stock.  Refrigerate the meat until ready to use.  Continue to simmer the stock for at least 3 hours.  Strain.

This is the basic stock.  To make chicken soup, peel and slice thinly 3 more carrots and add whatever vegetables you like, such as peeled and diced potato, green onions, bok choy, leeks, etc. and cook in the hot broth until fork tender.  Take the chicken from the refrigerator and take out any sinew, fat, etc. and divide into pieces and place in the broth.  Add large pieces of vermicelli, capellini, angel hair pasta or whatever you like and cook until just tender as the package instructions.  Taste for seasoning.