One of the things that I like about Giada’s recipes is that she is serious about the spices and seasonings. I don’t have to add anything; she has it handled.
I have had her recipe for lemon-cumin chicken in my database for a while. I tried it on a recent Saturday and it was a success. I prepared the marinade as specified and I let the chicken marinate for close to five hours. I bought the thin-sliced chicken breasts at the full-service meat counter of our local grocery store. I cooked the chicken on our outdoor gas grill.
I had never made pesto before. The task seemed daunting. I have watched enough cooking shows that I really should have gotten it that pesto isn’t that hard. But it just never sank in. This recipe called for pesto, however, so I decided to tackle it. It was really very easy and came out quite tasty. I substituted pine nuts for walnuts because that was what I had on hand. Otherwise I followed Giada’s instructions.
On the side I served Farmhouse Herb and Butter rice mix and I had our home-grown romaine lettuce with my homemade vinaigrette blend.
It was a dinner that worked out very well.
When I make clam chowder, I have always made the traditional New England clam chowder. But on a recent evening Terry suggested that she would like Manhattan clam chowder. The only Manhattan clam chowder I have ever made was out of a can, but I was up for the challenge. I pulled out my laptop and opened my recipe database. The only recipe for Manhattan I had was from the illustrious Sam Sifton of the New York Times Magazine. (Yes, I know there’s a gazillion recipes online.) Sam’s recipe called for fresh clams, which I don’t have access to and wouldn’t use if I did. So, as usual, I did my own thing, but for the most part I followed Sam’s list of ingredients.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
makes about 4 servings
- 2 Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 large carrot
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 strips of bacon
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 cans of diced clams
- red pepper flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
- Chop the vegetables and put them in a sauce pan.
- Add water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Use a ladle to remove enough water to add the remaining ingredients.
- Cook the bacon separately. I microwave it.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Break the bacon into bits and add.
- Add the spices to taste.
- Simmer for a few more minutes and serve with toasted garlic bread.
It exceeded my expectations. Terry loved it.
A success, I believe.
I was looking for something different to fix for dinner. I wanted something Mexican that was not enchiladas or tacos. My wife makes a great chili verde and I didn’t want to infringe on her territory. I thought chili colorado might be a good option, but I was surprised at the dearth of recipes for that dish, which is on the menu of every Mexican restaurant west of the Rockies. I found a starting point and spun off from there.
I’m not specifying quantities. I’ll leave that to you. But I’ll give you the general framework.
Slow Cooker Chili Colorado
- Chilis, of your choice (Anaheim, ancho, etc.)
- vegetable stock
- ground mustard seed
- olive oil
- red wine or basaltic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- stew beef
- corn starch
- Mix the spices and add olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Marinate the stew beef for two hours or more.
- Put the vegetables under the broiler for several minutes. Add the chilis near the end.
- Put the vegetables in a blender and blend. Add vegetable stock as needed.
- Put everything in a slow cooker. Cook 6 to 8 hours.
- Add corn starch in the last half hour to thicken the sauce as needed.
I started with a recipe from Aarón Sánchez. I followed his direction on the veggies. I used his spices, but he specified a paste while I made a marinade. He called for roasting a flank steak, I chose stew beef in the slow cooker.
I was happy with the result and Terry loved the dish.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Mole
- Fresh or thawed chicken breasts, cut into four strips, about 8 oz total
- mole sauce, 8 oz container
- brown rice
- Spoon half of the mole into a bowl. Mix with enough water to make a sauce to your liking.
- Coat the chicken in the mole sauce.
- Heat 2 cups of water in the microwave for 4 minutes.
- Put the rack in the electric pressure cooker. Add the water. Put the chicken on the rack.
- Set the pressure cooker to 10 minutes on High.
- Allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes, and then do a manual pressure release.
- Serve with brown rice.
I love making pizza from scratch, but I don’t do it terribly often as it is a lot of work. My latest foray, however, I believe was my best effort since leaving behind my convection oven in Gilroy.
I have developed a set of steps for making pizza, which I adapted from the instructions that came with a Chicago Metallic pizza pan. This is just about right for a 12-inch pan.
- ⅝ cups warm water (105° to 115°)
- 2 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 ½ tsp (1 packet) yeast
- Mix ingredients in a stand mixer (KitchenAid, of course).
- Let rise 1 to 1 ½ hours, punch down.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Grease pizza pan with olive oil, roll out dough.
- Bake for 5 minutes on middle rack.
- Add sauce and toppings.
- Bake 15 minutes on lowest rack.
For the sauce I use a Spicy Pizza Sauce recipe from Cooking Light. I drained the canned tomatoes and (roughly) doubled the tomato paste which made for a thicker sauce without the liquid that I had experienced previously. I like a smooth sauce so I blended it using my immersion blender.
I used Provolone for the cheese and topped the pizza with bulk sausage from the service meat department, fresh white mushrooms, and sliced black olives.
I’m always happy to have a new recipe for my NuWave oven, and I love Indian food. I’m not sure where I came across this recipe for Lean Tandoori Chicken Kebabs, but I had added it to my database at some point. It nicely covered both categories, so I decided to make it on a recent Saturday.
The first thing I did was to make the marinade the evening before in order to give it a full 24 hours. That was the right thing to do. The chicken came out very flavorful. I followed the recipe for cooking times plus a couple of minutes, and I think it was a bit too long. The chicken was a tad dry. But I put both a lemon and a lime on our plates, and drizzling on the citrus made up for any dryness and added a little zing.
The basmati rice on the side worked well.
It made for a great Saturday dinner.
I follow the posts from the kitchn in my news reader each day so I see all of their new content. They publish some interesting recipes, and when I saw their recipe for One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni it caught my attention. I saved it and added it to my database.
When I was ready to make it I decided that Terry and I had gone rather heavy on meat that week. So instead of using ground beef I used a 12 ounce bag of Morningstar Grillers (soy) Crumbles. The recipe also made way more than we needed (it was written to serve 10 to 12), so I cut back on the quantities. I pretty much followed the recipe with respect to the veggies, canned tomatoes, seasonings, and pasta. I didn’t add the soy crumbles until near the end, however, and I seasoned them with Cajun seasoning. I was beginning to think I had a disaster on my hands, and so I held my breath as I mixed in the shredded cheddar cheese.
I put the dish on plates and brought them to the table. Terry really liked it, and I thought it was pretty good as well.