This month’s bon appetit (March 2014) has an abundance of recipes I’m looking forward to diving into and trying out. The first one I gave my hand at was the Herb Faux-tisserie Chicken and Potatoes. Now, I did do this recipe on Sunday, though I purchased my bird on Wednesday. I wanted to try this 3 hour dish during the week to see how convenient it would be with the work day schedule. But, as life often laughs at some of our plans, Sunday turned out to be the day that worked best this time around. The only additions/changes I made to the recipe was I added lemon zest right before it went into the oven and I squeezed an entire lemon over it as it was at rest out of the oven. I like lemon. To go with this main course, I roasted a few Brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. I also made my new ‘go-to’ scratch bread recipe that I have found myself making 3 out of the 7 days a week. I learned while in Florence, Italy that I like Tuscan style bread. Traditional Tuscan bread is made with out salt. Though upon serving the bread I slice it in small chunks, grind some course sea salt over the still warm bread and drizzle some green virgin olive oil. The recipe I discovered is from King Arthur Flour. Instead of the 24 hours they recommend I have managed to get the process down to between 4 to 5 hours; I’m still very pleased with the end results. To round out the table, I served a traditional Greek salad, banana pudding for dessert and included a nice Syrah wine. The chicken was delicious and so easy to do, I can easily see making this Faux-tisserie chicken as one of my new go- to meals.
|I want you by my side! The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held annually in more than 650 communities nationwide, this inspiring event is a display of combined strength and dedication in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
The end of Alzheimer’s starts with me, but I cannot do this alone. Please join me in the fight against Alzheimer’s by walking with me. Together, we can become an unstoppable force against this devastating disease.
Please visit my personal fundraising page to register for my team. If you are unable to join me, please consider making a $35 donation to my fundraising campaign.
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
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This month’s issue of Food Network Magazine, March 2014, is all about bacon. Now I’ll admit that at first glance I was not quite certain about the Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes and I am still not sold, but the issue did have some interesting reveals. Like it is best to start cooking your bacon in a cold frying pan. There are three different types of curing listed: wet-cured, dry-cured and uncured. Here’s a link to those cures, their meanings and a bacon buying guide.
My personal favorite Ina Garten’s Caramelized Bacon
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. Copyright (c) 2012 by Ina Garten. By Arrangement with Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. for Food Network Magazine
Yield:15 to 20 servings
Bacon Appetizer Cocktail Party
thye1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup chopped or whole pecans
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 pound thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon (such as Nodine’s)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning) and place a wire baking rack on top.
Combine the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor and process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper and pulse to combine. Add the maple syrup and pulse again to moisten the crumbs.
Cut each bacon slice in half crosswise and line up the pieces on the baking rack without touching. With a small spoon, evenly spread the pecan mixture on top of each piece of bacon, using all of the mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is very browned but not burnt. If it’s underbaked, the bacon won’t crisp as it cools.
While it’s hot, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature. (The caramelized bacon can be made early in the day and stored at room temperature.)
Another fun section is: In the Know, What’s your Bacon IQ? This issue has so much fun information and thought-provoking recipes go online or pick up an issue and let me know what you think.
The Mediterranean Diet: Becoming the Way of Life in America
The Mediterranean diet continues to grow in popularity. Although termed a “diet,” it is more an eating style, with an emphasis on healthful high antioxidant-, fiber-rich ingredients such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and healthier fats derived from olive oil, nuts, and seafood. Not only are consumers driven towards this flavorful and freshly prepared cuisine, but growing research on its numerous health benefits has given it precedence in the scientific community, as well.
For years, respected health organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have supported the Mediterranean Diet for its emphasis on incorporating variety into the diet rather than restrictions, and a panel of physicians and nutritionists ranked it this year’s top plant-based diet and third best diet overall in the U.S. News & World Report Best Diets 2014.
The latest research out of the Harvard School of Public Health provides additional evidence for supporting this cuisine. In their study, individuals with greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet—without making any intentional modifications to their current diet or lifestyle—were found to have significantly less weight gain, lower cholesterol, and reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Today is the day I head off for a seven-day adventure to Florence, Italy. It all began with an email in November. An invite for a girls trip to Italy. The four of us board the plane for a week of friendship, laughter, fun, food and rejuvenation in just one of the most fabulous cities ever. I will be taking lots of pictures, testing tons of food, maybe even a cooking class or two. There has even been talk of the Vespa wine tour. Wishing you a great week.
Ciao Bella ~ Happy Cooking!
When baking goes bad, oh what to do? A few weeks ago I went to the grocery store while some banana bread was in the oven. I had 45 minutes to make the trip. Well needless to say I was gone to long. That bread could have been used as a brick. I was wishing I was at the ranch so at least I could give it to the free-roaming chickens and not feels so bad about tossing it out. Next up was the banana cranberry bread with orange zest, with about a half of a cup of sugar short. Yeah, not a good idea either. I went for a run thinking maybe I will add a little powder sugar glaze or even better, when in doubt add that brown sugar!
As I begin to do more experimental cooking and baking, bad things do happen. I just wish on some of these dishes or breads they could be salvaged. I do so love hanging out in my kitchen. Experimenting, risking, adventure taking, all in order to stretch my inner cooking goddess. This truly has become a wonderful journey for me.
I guess it is like one of those famous quotes we always hear, that “if something is always going right then there is no learning going on”. I have a lot of learning going on!
Happy Cooking ~ even when it goes bad!
It is that time again Super Bowl Sunday 2014. Super Bowl brings back great memories of my mom hosting a big bash. Always a house full of friends and lots of snacks all around. This issue of Food Network Magazine January/February 2014 list 4 different seven layer dips to make and enjoy. The one that caught my eye is :
7-Layer Greek Meze Dip
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchens
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
7-Layer Greek Meze Dip
Feta Side Dish Dip
You’ll need a 2-quart bowl or small trifle dish for these dips. Scoop them out with a big spoon; each dip serves about 8.
Crumble 3 ounces (about 3/4 cup).
Toss 3 chopped plum tomatoes with 1/4 cup each chopped mint and parsley, 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion and 1 tablespoon each olive oil and lemon juice.
Bring 1/3 cup water to a boil; add 1/3 cup bulgur, season with salt and simmer over low heat, covered, until tender,10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and fluff with a fork; let cool.
Combine 1/2 cup each plain Greek yogurt and diced cucumber, 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Slice 1 small eggplant and 1/2 medium zucchini lengthwise 1/2 inch thick; toss with olive oil and salt. Cook on a grill pan over medium-high heat, turning, until tender, about 8 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.
Pit and coarsely chop 1/3 cup.
Add 3/4 cup hummus, preferably roasted red pepper flavor.
Another 7-Layer Thai Chicken Dip courtesy of the food network
As I write this blog it seems that a year has gone by since I last wrote of any physical activity. I do partake in some type of physical outdoor activity at least 5 days a week. My best month last year was July where I logged over 100 miles. As of today I have hit 41.5 miles for the month of January and that feels just great. It is at times a challenge to keep all things in life going strong. For me, exercise helps me keep life in balance. I try to change my routines up from running, hiking, boot camp, walking and my all time favorite swimming. By giving myself this time it allows me
to have some quiet time for self discovery, hit a new trail or experience the simple beauty of nature. I find myself not exercising so much for the benefits of competing in any certain event, but continuing to exercise so that my life will contine to be full of good health for many years to come.
As we all reach new mile stones in our lives we reached the one where AARP lands on our door step. This month they did a good review of the changes put forth last November by two groups of heart experts. Statins are given to reduce high cholesterol in hopes to prevent a heart attack. They carry many side effects ranging from potential liver dysfunction, increased risk of diabetes, muscle aches and side effects can be more apparent in the older population. But, some have no choice but to be on them. As for us, we have hereditary high cholesterol. This being the case all new information that is published I watch with an eagle eye. The promising news that caught my attention again is that lifestyle changes are key. Eating a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, one full of fish, olive oil, nuts and fresh vegetables with regular physical activity is still the other best defense when dealing with the high cholestral offense.
I will admit that active dry yeast was missing from my quick pull all handy spice rack. But, no longer. I am now ready to make my pizza dough. As the year came to a close and I began to think of all the ways I wanted to engage in the new year my thoughts turned to friends, family and hosting. Hence, homemade pizza dough. I can hear the judge saying please wrap this up. Here is the vision that involves my new active dry yeast. Make lots of pizza dough, invite friends over for a night of make your own pizza, share some wine and friendship. Today, I will try my hand at the dough, then a week to Florence, Italy for some really quarto fromaggio then home to send out some invites. I am attaching the How To Make Pizza Dough recipe for you to try.
Let me know how it works for you.