Entree

Pasta Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

This morning is vastly different from last Sunday around here. Last weekend we hosted my son and daughter-n-laws wedding reception that we had to postponed from last year. The weather was excellent for the majority of the party, the rain came later which we were all grateful for. There were twelve of us staying over and fourteen plus two dogs for breakfast.

At the moment it is me and the dog. I am glad I picked the last of the produce from the garden as this morning was the first frost of the season. I picked a dozen or so green peppers, too many jalapenos and a bunch of cherry tomatoes.  My kitchen is clean, the dish washer running, the beds are stripped and in the washer and I have hung out the first load of laundry on the clothes line – ahhhhhh. Don’t get me wrong I loved having everyone here but I also love some peace and quiet.

If you are looking for a quick come together meal this is it. It was fast with very few ingredients and the flavor was banging. You do need to make sure to really brown the sausage in order to get the most flavor for the finished product.

Pasta Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

dclarkabal
a quick delicious meal for you and the family

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Pasta orecchiette or I had some specialty lasagna bites
  • 5 links sweet Italian sausage sliced into bite size pieces. casing removed
  • 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper a little more or less according to your tastes
  • 4 slices provolone chopped into small pieces

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions. Drain and reserve a cup of the salted pasta water.
  • In a large skillet heat to medium high heat, add a little olive oil and the pieces of sausage and cook till browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • In the same skillet add a little more oil if needed, along with the tomatoes and crushed red pepper. press the tomatoes and cook until they softened about 4 minutes. Add about ¼ cup or more of the white wine and let it reduce for about 2-3 minutes. Add some of the reserved pasta water. Season with salt and cook over moderate heat, scraping up all the browned bits and crushing the tomatoes, until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet along with the sausage and cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring until everything is combined. Remove from the heat and add the cheese stir to combined. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.
  • side note my husband really liked the leftovers too.

 

Tagine Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons

I received a lovely gift from my sister-in-law when she came to visit a couple of weeks ago. Firstly let me say this is not my first tagine recipe that I have blogged about. However because of my sister-in-law this is the first one in an actual Tagine.

What a unique cooking vessel. Not unlike a cast iron pan that you must first season before using, the Tagine needs a little attention ahead of time as well. Both pieces need to be completely submerged in water for 6 hours up to 24 hours. Then you need to dry them off and let them sit for an hour, take 3 tablespoons of olive oil and rub into the base and inside of the lid. Then you place both pieces; separately in a cold oven and turn on to 350’F and let them bake for 2 hours.

I know quite the process, up side is you only have to do this process once as long as you use your tagine again within 6 months. The consensus from the fam is we want to explore more Moroccan food. The aroma and flavors are warm and inviting so flavorful.

I do have to admit my first go around with the this recipe could have gone a lot smoother had I read the recipe myself. We had all had a very stressful day/week and had the chicken marinating over night so we were making this dish with not a lot of time. My daughter read me the directions and I followed. It took way longer than it should have, it was still delicious but I was not thrilled; it just added even more stress to my day. So I will tell you here to brown your chicken and the onions in a frying pan before adding to the Tagine to finish the job. It will go much more smoothly for you.

You will need a diffuser so the clay pot is not on an open flame

Chicken Tagine with Olive and Preserved Lemons

dclarkabal
A warm your belly dish that fills your home with a wonderful aroma
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • Tagine
  • Frying pan

Ingredients
  

  • 5 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads pulverized or steeped in water as we did
  • ½ teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 chicken thighs or you can cut up a whole chicken and use all the pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions sliced thin
  • 1 cinnamon stick we didn't do this, this time around
  • 8 green olives pitted and halved
  • 8 kalamata Olives pitted and halved, we didn't have on hand
  • 1 large preserved lemon quartered, pulp removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric together plus a 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Add pepper to taste. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 hours to overnight
  • Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken, and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add onions to skillet, and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to tagine, if you are using one, or leave in skillet. If using add the cinnamon stick
  • Put chicken on onions. Scatter with olives. Quarter the lemons, remove pulp and cut skin in strips. Scatter over chicken. Mix stock with the lemon juice. Pour over chicken.
  • Cover tagine or skillet. Place over low heat, and cook about 30 minutes, until chicken is done. Scatter parsley on top, and serve
Keyword Chicken, olives, preserved lemon, Tagine

 

Soba noodle salad with roasted chicken


Current situation is I am in the den trying to write my blog, my sister-in-law is in the kitchen doing dishes, her husband is helping my husband with his snowmobile seat replacement. My brother-in-law and his GF just left to head home to the Cape which is why I am in the den trying to write. Oh and my daughter and her BF just woke up and came downstairs. To say it was a hectic kind of morning is an understatement. Oh and I forgot my son came down with his dog to run and play with my dog and they are both roaming around the kitchen.


This is kind of a typical day around here, and I am not complaining.


This simple salad recipe was fast to come together and really quite delicious; even the next day for lunch it was great. I am not sure if it would have made 2 days for lunch but I would love to make this again and so would the fam.

I am not sure who came up with the grocery stores roasting a bunch of chickens and selling them but I think they were brilliant. I buy them fairly often for our house and at least once a month for my in-laws who we are still grocery shopping for. We started shopping for them due to Covid but since they are in their 90’s I think it is more of a convenience for them plus I pretty much get carte-blanche for the most part of what to buy so I know they are eating pretty well.

Soba noodle salad with soy-lime dressing and roasted shredded chicken

dclarkabal
a light but filling and delicious salad for dinner or lunch or both
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

soy-lime dressing

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice roughly 3 large limes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

salad

  • 8 ounces soba noodle
  • 2 cups roasted chicken shredded
  • ½ English cucumber we used ours from the garden, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into half moons
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled cooked according to the package instructions
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves plus more for serving
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds plus more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly grated lime zest and wedges for serving

Instructions
 

Dressing

  • in a bowl, whisk together the lime zest, juice, soy sauce, Sriracha, garlic and the brown sugar. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow steady stream. The dressing, you can make the dressing ahead of time and it can be kept in the refrigerator in a airtight container for about a week.

Salad

  • cook the soba noodle according to the package directions. Drain and then rinse with cold water and set aside.
  • combine the noodles, chicken, cucumber, edamame, cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • divide the noodle salad into 4 bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds, cilantro and lime zest and serve with lime wedges.

Tuna Poke Bowl

 

I can say without a doubt that just a few years ago I would not be talking about let alone making and eating raw fish. This is my first time making a poke bowl and it was SO good. I am looking forward to making it again. So are my husband and daughter; we all really enjoyed dinner the other night.

I fried up the wontons in a little oil after cutting them into triangles.  We chose mango, avocado, pickled ginger and I didn’t have scallions so I added chives. I think it could be even better with scallions.

Tuna Poke is a Hawaiian salad of raw tuna marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and a few other flavorings. We had ours over sushi rice with some yummy toppings. I will share with you how I made mine and you pick and choose how you make yours.

I hope you all enjoy the last weekend of summer – not technically just seems that way!

Tuna Poke Bowls

dclarkabal
a great introduction to raw fish, comes together quickly and has wonderful flavor
Prep Time 20 mins
Course dinner, Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or Sambal Oelek
  • 2 teaspoons ginger freshly grated or tubed
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced - or chives
  • 1 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna diced into ¼ or ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups sushi rice cooked according to package instructions

toppings - optional choose which ones you like

  • sliced avocado
  • sliced cucumber
  • edamame
  • pickled ginger
  • diced mango
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • wonton crisps

Instructions
 

  • in a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, honey, hot sauce, ginger and scallions. Add the tuna and toss. Let it sit in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes up to an hour.
  • to serve, scoop some rice into a medium bowl, top with the tuna poke and whichever toppings you chose. There will be a little extra sauce if you wish to drizzle over the top of everything.

Sheet Pan Chicken and Cabbage

Procrastination is the word of the weekend!

I feel like every time I go and do something on my list I have a “squirrel” moment. We were all going to a pool party yesterday afternoon. Brings me back to my youth; I wonder if that is where my love of parties comes from hmmmm interesting.  I was going to write my blog, pack the cooler, suits and extra clothes before we left. Instead I went out to the garden to weed and harvest, then I came in and processed a ton of tomatoes, divvied up some granola I made and picked up the house?

So here I am about to sit down this morning and write. Squirrel lets strip the bed and start the laundry, and oh the dishes and I should really take the pile off my desk aka the drop zone so while my pictures are downloading I will have it already to do. I have issues I know!

So here I am again, and please don’t think this recipe isn’t something I really want to share, It was so good I had the two leftovers for lunch last week. Plus I overheard my husband talking with someone at the party about what my wife made with some cabbage from the garden and it was really good. I love sheet pan dinners, they are super easy and all the ones I have made are blog worthy.

Sheet pan chicken and cabbage

dclarkabal
comes together quickly with great flavor
Course dinner
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 8 pieces bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

  • pre-heat oven to 425°F and grease a sheet pan
  • Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl add the oils, soy sauce, vinegar, and sriracha. You don't have to use the sriracha if you don't like a little heat but I strongly recommend it. Add a little less if you want. Pour 1/4 of this mixture over the chicken. Note if you are using melted coconut oil you will want the chicken at room temperature. I didn't do this and it coagulated. Let it marinade while the oven pre-heats 10-15 minutes.
  • Cut the cabbage in half through the core, cut the each core again, keep doing this until you have slices of cabbage, all a little less than and inch thick. I removed my core which is why mine are not holding together in chunks. Your choice remove or keep intact. Season the cabbage with salt and pepper then place in a large bowl and cover with the leftover marinade.
  • Place the chicken on the sheet pan and into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the cabbage around and under the chicken if needed. Back into the oven to roast for 20 - 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter and return the cabbage to the oven to get a little caramelized about 10-25 more minutes. Serve warm.

Spaghetti with lemon and summer cherry tomatoes


Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?

I would say; if asked that it is doing OK; just OK because somethings are doing way better than others. I would argue that it’s more the weathers fault than my own; how could you dispute it? July was the rainiest on record, August has been hazy hot and humid and still a bit damp. Later today we are supposed to get rain and wind from hurricane Henri. Even being an hour and a half from the coast we still feel some of the weather. Flooding is being talked upped quite a bit over the weekend around here. If you are on the coast please stay safe!

Back to the garden – our sunburst cherry tomatoes are popping. I picked all I could yesterday and will be making this recipe sometime for dinner this week. If you like simple recipes that pack a punch of flavor and you have an abundance of cherry tomatoes; this one is for you.
My daughter made this last weekend while we were away so I only had the leftovers for lunch. Even a couple of days later it was delicious. Super flavorful with just a little heat.

Spaghetti with lemon and summer cherry tomatoes

dclarkabal
a simple summer pasta with a punch of lemon and heat

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic smashed and sliced
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes 1 pint halved
  • 1 teaspoon habanero chile finely diced
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 1 pound dried bucatini or use thick spaghetti if you can't find it
  • cup Parmesan Reggiano grated or use pecorino, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup fresh parsley roughly chopped, plus more for serving
  • 2-3 links Italian sausage optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, do not walk away from the stove. Cook until it is light brown, about 2 minutes. Add all of the tomatoes and chile. Season generously with salt. Cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, 8-10 minutes. Stir in half the lemon zest and all of the lemon juice. Continue to cook until most of the tomatoes have burst and begun to break down, 3-5 minutes. Set them aside and cover to keep warm.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bucatini and cook according to the package directions until al dente
  • Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the tomato mixture, grated cheese, and ½ cup of the pasta water to the pot and toss to combine. Add additional pasta water, as needed, to make a light sauce. Stir in the fresh herbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, more grated cheese and some lemon zest
  • If using sausage, slice 1 to 1½ inch pieces and sauté in a pan until browned and cooked through. Add on top and around the pasta once plated

 

Meat Jun with Somen Dressing Chopped Salad

This recipe is a slight collaboration between my daughter and I; since I work from home my job was to make the marinade and add the steak to it so it had time to gather all the yumminess – which for only marinating for a couple of hours had a ton of flavor. This is another recipe from one of her favorite cookbooks Aloha Kitchen.

Trying to find some motivation on another rainy Sunday here in NH I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather as there are so many crazy weather patterns out there around the world and so much worse than ours. But this has been the soggiest July on record here in Southern NH. It actually broke the last record set back in 1915. The best crop in my yard are the mushrooms growing all around in my lawn. My poor garden is producing a few things here and there but my tomatoes are looking a little “under the weather”

We were fortunate to have a wonderful day yesterday; the sun was shining all day. We were able to go to a postponed fourth of July Paella BBQ party and spend some much needed time with wonderful friends we haven’t seen all summer. It was topped off with a little fireworks display and some yummy desserts.


My other job was to add the rice to the rice cooker. If it were not for my daughter I could say without a doubt I would not have ever had a rice cooker in the house. She had one when she lived in Japan and bought one almost immediately when she moved back home and we use it quite often; not only for rice but we put steel cut oats in it at night and set the timer so we have fresh warm oatmeal for breakfast – Great purchase!

My daughter took two recipes from the cookbook and made a lovely dinner

Meat Jun

A mixed plate you can make at home

Ingredients
  

Meat Jun marinade

  • 2 pounds round steak or you can use chuck, tri-tip or flank steak
  • cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 green onions green and white, chopped
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted, ground
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

dipping sauce

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed toasted, ground
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced

steak coating

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups steamed rice
  • oil for frying

Instructions
 

marinade

  • in a ziploc bag, combine the brown sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and pepper. Close the bag and shake the bag well to combine all the ingredient. Add steak and transfer to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Dipping Sauce

  • in a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, gochunjang, rice vinegar, honey, sesame seeds, sesame oil, pepper, garlic, ginger, and green onions.

making the steak

  • Line a plate with paper towels and set aside. In a shallow bowl add the flour, in another shallow bowl, beat the eggs. In a large enough pan to fry the steak, add 1/4 inch of frying oil. and heat over medium-low heat. Once the oil is shimmering. Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the marinade. Set the meat in a dish, working in batches, dredge the meat, one piece at a time into the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off before placing each piece into the skillet. Fry until golden brown 1-2 minutes on each side. Set on the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat until all meat is fried.
  • Serve warm with the dipping sauce and steamed rice

Somen Salad Dressing

a quick simple chopped salad dressing
Course Side Dish

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup mirin

Salad

  • carrots shredded
  • cucumbers peeled, sliced into match sticks
  • cabbage shredded, or sliced thin
  • snow peapods diced

Instructions
 

Dressing

  • combine the sugar, chicken broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, and mirin in a jar with a lid. Shake together until the sugar has dissolved. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use up to two weeks

Salad

  • peel and slice the cucumbers, shred or buy shredded carrots, shred or slice the cabbage and dice the pea pods. Arrange on a plate and when ready to eat. Add some of the dressing and combine the salad.

 

 

Spam Fried Rice

current situation, we are out on the porch with our morning tea and coffee. The birds are chirping the wind chime is chiming, and for some strange reason I have a very mean humming bird who doesn’t like to share. I do have only one feeder but many flowers around so I am sure there is plenty of nectar to share but this little bugger sits in the tree and chases everyone else off. He/she needs a time out! Update – a few minutes ago there were 2 hummingbirds on the feeder, they are trying to make a liar out of me now hmmmmm

So I am sure that this recipe will be cool with some and some won’t even read the recipe; let alone make it all because of the word Spam. Technically it is a terrible name, if you google it the first definition is an irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the internet to a large number of recipients. the second definition is a canned meat product made mainly from ham. No wonder people now a days are not a fan. When I was growing up I distinctly remember my mother grinding it up for ham salad finger sandwiches and I remember my dad using it in westerns and frying it up for a sandwich.

So those of you courageous enough to pick up a can, or dare I say two of this terribly named meat; you should check this recipe out, even the leftovers are quite delicious with a little Thai chili sweet chili sauce.

Spam Fried Rice

dclarkabal
another great way to use up some leftover white rice and also clean out the fridge

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups day old white rice room temperature
  • 1 table sesame oil
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 can 12 ounce Spam sliced into ⅛ x 1-inch matchsticks - we used light Spam
  • 1 cup carrots about 1½ finely diced
  • 1 cup onion about ½ we used Vidalia
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, green and white parts about 4
  • 1 teaspoon garlic finely grated/minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 4-6 eggs for frying/serving (optional)

Instructions
 

  • in a large bowl combine the rice with the sesame oil, toss to coat and set aside
  • Using a wok or large pan, set it over medium heat and coat the bottom with 1-2 tablespoons of canola or similar oil. Fry the Spam for a minute or so on each side, or until they are browned and a little crispy. Transfer Spam to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and coat with 1-2 tablespoons oil. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, add the carrots and onion. using a wooden spoon or spatula stir-fry until the onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before increasing the heat to medium. Add ½ cup of the green onions and cook for another minute to soften them. Add the rice, garlic, soy, oyster and Worcestershire along with the Spam. Breaking up the rice as needed with the wooden spoon. Stir-fry until the rice is hot and has absorbed all of the liquids, about 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  • Create a well in the middle of the rice and pour the beaten eggs. Let sit for 30 seconds before scrambling them. using the wooden spoon let them set another 30 seconds before scrambling them again. This last time bring the rice together with the scrambled eggs. Stir-fry for another minute or so until the eggs are cooked through, Turn off the heat, sprinkle with the remaining green onion and let it sit until you are ready to serve.
  • Make your fried and If you are serving one on top, I am not sure why you wouldn't but you do you!

recipe adapted from cookbook Aloha Kitchen

Pomegranate and Sumac Chicken

I know I have mentioned the spice Sumac seasoning before; I really think you should check it out. If you have a fabulous spice market of some sort near you; you should be fine. I do not so we buy ours online. Why do you want to check this spice out besides the the zip and color it will bring to your dishes especially but not limited to meat, veggies, dip and dressings. It does have some health benefits which might interest you. It is a powerful Antioxidant It ranks very high as an anti-inflammatory spice and again it adds and brings out flavor, similar power that salt does.

So apparently we didn’t take a picture when the chicken came out of the oven. One of my; and I know there are many flaws is that we are eating the food I write about in this blog. So I have a very short window to take pictures of the finished dish before we sit down and eat it. Apparently this one didn’t even get taken. I do apologize, we will make it again and update the pictures.

Another bonus is you can make this simple chicken dish. See what I did there, you buy the spice and now you need something to make with it; I got you! Chicken thighs are a fantastic choice here; seriously they are usually always a great choice. Bone-in skin-on are pretty forgivable when it comes to cooking and not drying out too much. No I don’t suggest you try to overcook them to prove me wrong but try cooking chicken breast 10 minutes longer than you should have.

Those little pods are the Aleppo pepper spice my daughter got from Occo.  https://www.eatocco.com/
She is not here at the moment so I cannot confirm but she has backed several kickstarters and I believe this might be one of them. They come pre-measured in cute little pods, stay fresher longer. You should check them out!

I am giving you a heads up that you need to marinade the chicken for at least 3 hours. I honestly hate grabbing a recipe, make sure I have everything, get it all on the counter and it has to marinate overnight or I should have started 3 days ago; not cool! So make the marinade in the morning, when you want dinner take it out to come to room temperature and pre-heat your oven and you are golden. I would serve rice along side this and maybe your favorite summer squash. Keep it simple and delicious.

Pomegranate and Sumac Chicken

dclarkabal
a flavorful easy way to prepare chicken that everyone will love
Course dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 8 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

for the marinade

  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 2 large garlic cloves crushed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl add all the marinade ingredients and mix together with 1½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Place the chicken in the bowl with the marinade and massage the chicken into the marinade making sure to cover the chicken with it. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  • When you are to bake the chicken. Take the bowl out of the fridge and set it on the counter to come to room temperature, roughly 20 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F
  • Place the chicken, skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Place sheet pan in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear.

Recipe adapted from cookbook Ripe Figs – Yasmin Kahn

Picadillo ground beef Tostadas

In Memory of our Fallen Heroes for all who gave their yesterdays
A thank you today – On this Memorial Day weekend!

My daughter and I have been watching this seasons Top Chef; this is a our first time tuning in and I am not sure why I never watched it before. I know why we started this season one of the contestants is from a local restaurant that we eat at. Unfortunately he was eliminated this past week. The challenge was to create a recipe that a home cook would make. Plus write a recipe for them to follow.


I can see where this could be a challenge for chefs and cooks alike. Sometimes I have a hard time providing the correct measurements for you all. I season to taste as should you. What that means is we are all different and like different things. You and I I’m pretty sure have different tastes. You should adjust any and all recipes to your liking and what you can find or have on hand in cooking, not baking; the rules change when baking – follow them.

The recipe I am sharing today was one my daughter made and I am writing about; we are getting pretty good at this collaboration. She went a little further on this one by making her own chili powder. The cookbook she used Nopalito mentions that the store bought chili powder you buy in the store doesn’t hold a candle to the flavor of making your own. My daughter said it was really easy and dinner was excellent so it is probably true. As I mentioned above we all like different things. Give it a try and you be the judge.

Picadillo ground beef Tostadas

a warm comfort dish you should try - plenty of leftovers

Ingredients
  

Chili Powder - for those that want to make your own

  • 2 quajillo dried chili
  • 1 pasilla dried chili

Picadillo

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef 85/15
  • 1 large white onion finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos finely chopped, remove seeds for less heat
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 2 cups carrot finely diced - about 4 carrots
  • 3/4 cup yukon gold potato finely diced - 1 small

for serving

  • 1 cup refried beans make your own or canned
  • 12 tostadas or use corn tortillas
  • crumbled queso fresco
  • crema or sour cream
  • green cabbage thinly sliced
  • cilantro thinly sliced
  • white onion thinly sliced

Instructions
 

chili powder

  • Pre-heat oven to 350'F, place dried chilis on a small baking sheet and place in the oven for about 3-8 minutes turning every minute or so, until darkened and evenly toasted. Remove and let cool
  • Transfer the chiles to a blender or spice grinder and grind into a powder. using a scraper or rubber spatula to direct the chilis towards the blades.

corn tortilla - drying them out

  • Pre-heat oven to 300'F. Place tortillas single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crispy about 20-30 minutes.

Picadillo

  • In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the ground beef and season generously with salt. Cook stirring occasionally, until cooked through. about 7 minutes. Stir in the onions, jalapenos, oregano, cumin, tomato paste, and chili powder and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked through but still al dente. about 20 minutes.
  • When ready to serve, warm up the refried beans in a small pot. you may need to add a little water to help make them spreadable. Carefully spread some of the beans on each tostada shell. place a mound of picadillo, garnish with the queso fresco, crema, onions, cabbage and cilantro.

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