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Showing posts from August, 2017

Fried Chicken and Drop Biscuit Sandwiches

My husband and I have been married 7 years. We are in the middle of building our house, and felt there could be now better way to celebrate than to have a picnic at the job site. I firmly felt the best picnic food would be fried chicken since it is almost better cold than it is warm. My better half upped the ante, by recommending I make my cream drop biscuits to go alongside. I fired back that we should make fried chicken biscuit sandwiches, and here we are! My new home is near my parents’ house. My family used to walk by it every weekend when we would take our 4 mile loop. It’s 32 acres of field and scrub and trees; my dad called it Watership Down after a book he read my sister and I when we were very young. I have read that book every year since, and I can still hear my dad narrating it when I do.  As we grow older, things often change. Watership Down seemed like it would become a place of the past, when a “For Sale” sign was posted on the field. It went under contract

Easy Peasy Peach Cobbler

Do your parents give you food whenever you visit them? I see my parents almost every weekend, and they always give me some food. Pickles they made from cucumbers they grew, piccalilli made in the style of my grandpa, Bumbi, a huge pan of summer squash parmesean, ready to bake, and most recently, peach preserves made from peaches they picked off their neighbor’s tree.  So now I suppose you could say my parents and I are at a stand off. Give me a jar of pickles, and I will make you fried chicken sandwiches, topped with those pickles. Give me piccalilli al la Bumbi, I will bring over fish chowder a la Bumbi. Bake me a huge pan of summer squash parmesan and I will bake you a tray of almond biscotti. Hand me over a jar of peach preserves? I am going to turn around and present you with this peach cobbler. As far as stalemates go, this is a delicious one. Happily, this recipe is super easy and quick to make, so much so that I received the peach preserves in the morning and c

Pineapple Chicken Teriyaki with Broccoli

I have seen variations of this recipe on Buzzfeed, Facebook and Pinterest. I love the idea of serving teriyaki chicken with rice in a pineapple bowl; I think it looks incredibly festive and yummy. For me, however, the recipes associated fall flat. They don’t have enough flavor, and none that I have seen include any vegetables. And some just used the pineapple for the bowl alone, and left the fruit out of the recipe entirely! So I punched up my version with garlic, onion, broccoli, fish sauce, kecap manis, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and included the pineapple flesh.  The result is a flavorful, sweet, lightly sour and slightly spicy chicken teriyaki full of fruit and vegetables served in a creative and fun way. Try it for your next date night and wow your significant other- don’t forget the fortune cookies! Ingredients: 1 large pineapple, pineapple flesh cut into 1/2 chunks 1 tablespoon high heat, flavorless oil like canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc 1 1/2 tea

Cake Batter Blondies

I love the taste of vanilla cake batter. As much as I like making things from scratch, I confess that I love the taste of raw boxed cake mix batter. However, it is not exactly the most healthy thing to eat- raw eggs, raw flour, and the fact that I could probably devour the whole bowl of it lends itself to tummy troubles later. This recipe, however, is not only incredibly easy to make, the bars also taste just like boxed cake batter to me! Plus, the ingredients required are very few and you might even have them on hand already. Whip up and batch and watch them disappear! Ingredients: 1 box vanilla cake mix (I used Rainbow Chip) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk 1/3 cup  whole milk 1/2 cup sprinkles 1/2 cup white chocolate chips Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 11 by 7 inch baking dish withe butter and flour of baking spray. Whisk together the eggs and oil and combine them with the cake mix. Pour in the milk slowly (

Peach Berry Cobbler

Fruit cobblers might be my favorite dessert to make and eat. They are endlessly variable; use your favorite in season fruit for optimal deliciousness. Since it is summer, I opted for peaches, raspberries and blackberries. I love the jet black of the blackberries contrasting with the vivid red of the raspberries and orange glow of the peaches. I don’t bother peeling the peaches; the peels do not alter the texture for me and the skins enhance the color of the fruit. Cobblers are very easy to put together because the batter itself is simplicity itself to make; very few ingredients and just a few steps. I like using self-rising flour because it allows me maximum laziness, but feel free to use all-purpose; don’t forget to whisk in 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I owe a lot of this recipe to Chef John of Food Wishes, particularly his ingenuous way of getting a crisp sugar topping. Cover the whole of the cobbler with sugar generously, then spritz with wate

Reuben Dutch Baby

I love this recipe for an intimate brunch. It serves 4 people fairly generously, and makes for a fun presentation and variation on my favorite sandwich. Normally I make sweet Dutch Babies, topped with fruits or powdered sugar or maple syrup. However, the base recipe for a Dutch Baby batter easily accepts story components. I made this without the caraway seeds my first attempt. The pancake was still delicious, but it wasn’t reminiscent enough of a true reuben sandwich. I had all of my usual topping components, so I looked to the pancake itself. I read my recipe for the rye bread that I make when I want to have fresh bread for a Reuben, and realized that I was missing a key ingredient; caraway seeds. The provide that elemental rye bread flavor; once I added them to the pancake batter, my Reuben Dutch Baby tasted much more like the real thing. This is also a good recipe to try when you have a bunch of corned beef leftover around St. Patrick’s Day, should you make boiled din

Traditional Belgian Waffles

A traditional Belgian waffle uses yeast as on of its raising agents; it needs an overnight rise for the correct flavors and rise to develop. It does require a little planning ahead, but the benefit for the next morning is that all you need to do is add eggs and a chemical raising agents and cook them in your waffle maker. I do not recommend using a standard waffle maker; to get traditional Belgian waffles you will want a Belgian waffle maker that has very deep pockets to make thick waffles. Yeast is a raising agent; it is a single-celled organism that converts sugars to carbon dioxide. These bubbles of carbon dioxide give the rise, or leavening, to the baked good in question. Yeast also lends a distinctive flavor to breads and other baked goods; in this recipe, a long rise time allows these bubbles and flavors to develop. Baking soda is used as the chemical raising agent in this recipe. It reacts with acidic compounds in batters, like buttermilk, also releasing carbon di

Pasta Salad

This pasta salad takes its inspiration from the Mediterranean. Kalamata olives, feta cheese, marinated artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes blend together beautifully and add such bursts of flavor. The cucumber, red onion and celery add much needed crunch, and Brussel sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables and so had to be included. Sauteing them until slightly browned brings out their almost nutty flavor. For my dressing, I wanted something thick and creamy without using mayonnaise. Avocado, that creamy and trendy fruit, was the perfect solution. Combine it with some lemon, vinegar and herbs, and you have a lovely, creamy dressing that is a welcome alternative to mayo. A note on the pasta; I highly recommend a spiral pasta shape. It catches the dressing beautifully and looks so pleasing to the eye. Also, don’t let the pasta go stone cold before incorporating the dressing; adding the pasta with the other ingredients while still slightly warm allows the pasta to better ab

Scallop Chowder

I often buy frozen scallops. When I want a fast dinner, I thaw them in the fridge overnight, rinse and drain them well, and either sear them and serve alongside steak or in a pasta dish. For this weekend, however, I was in less of a rush and wanted to change up my usual scallop routine. I had recently made my grandpa Bumbi’s fish chowder, and realized I could easily adapt it to for scallops instead of white fish. I confess I have made a few changes to Bumbi’s fish chowder recipe beside the protein swap; I add corn and mushrooms, and top it all off with swiss cheese. I love the earthiness of the mushrooms against the sweetness of the corn. I add the swiss because I am a firm believer than almost everything can be improved with the addition of cheese; I love how the shreds begin to melt into the chowder. It is especially satisfying to dip a piece of bread into the chowder and come away with it covered in melted cheesy goodness. On a rainy Saturday, this is a great recipe to enjo