Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Pork Chops with Herbed Mustard Sauce

These are really simple to make and really delicious to eat 🙂 Really. Just take a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard and mix with a half teaspoon of fresh thyme. Sprinkle pork chops (these are Saratoga chops) with salt and pepper and spread one side with mustard mixture. Grill 5 minutes, turn, spread with more mustard mixture, top chops with a sprig of rosemary, and grill another 5 minutes or till done.

pork-chops-mustard

Grow Your Own: Chicken Cacciatore

Grow Your Own 2008It’s been cool and rainy this week, with the Nor’easter we had, so I’ve been craving a nice braised dinner. I still have lots of tomatoes ripening in the garden, as well as pimento peppers, so chicken cacciatore came to mind. I searched around for recipes and finally found one that doesn’t include mushrooms, which are not a favorite of Dan’s or mine. And it’s by a real Italian – Giada de Laurentiis 🙂

It turned out very well, and I made enough to have leftovers at work the next day. It’s one of those things that improves with sitting in the fridge overnight.

Chicken Cacciatore

4 chicken thighs (I used 6 thighs and no breasts)
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped (I used one small red and one small green bell pepper)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (I used 3 cups diced fresh garden tomatoes)
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.

With a side of spaghetti, a green salad and garlic bread, this was a delicious, warming dinner on a cool night.

Chicken Cacciatore

The peppers, tomatoes, oregano, and basil in this dish came from my garden. This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, a food blogging event celebrating the food we grow or raise ourselves, originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this time by Denise of Chez Us.

Grow Your Own: Pesto Pasta

Grow Your Own 2008I love this time of year 🙂 My basil is just out of control and the roma tomatoes are finally coming in strong, so it’s caprese salad or something with pesto regularly now. I also need to get some pesto frozen for the winter. I like to put a tablespoon or so into marinara sauce and this recipe works even with thawed frozen pesto.

This is a really simple recipe, though. Everyone has their own basil pesto recipe, I’m sure, so I’m going beyond that to one of my favorite side dishes featuring pesto – pesto pasta. If your favorite pesto uses an herb other than basil, or cheese other than Parmesan, you can substitute those for the garnish. I like to use rotini pasta, because the crevices catch the pesto and you get a lot in each bite.

Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta

1 lb. rotini pasta or other small pasta shape
1 cup basil pesto
1-2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil if needed
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook pasta till al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool; remove to a large bowl. Using a large spatula, mix pasta and pesto together, adding 1-2 tbsp. olive oil if needed to loosen up the pesto. Garnish with diced tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

This is my entry in the food blogging event Grow Your Own, begun by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this month by Jessica of Finny Knits.

Summer Produce

Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures has an unbelievable array of food blogging events going – don’t know how she keeps up with the round-ups. There are lots of tasty-looking recipes from previous events to read about and maybe try.

Right now, at the height of the summer, the event she has going on is Summer Produce, and we have lots. The basil and roma tomatoes are really coming in now, and the cucumbers are catching up. So I made a sort of caprese salad over greens for dinner one night. I know, using vinegar isn’t traditional, but I just love red-wine vinegar with this, so that’s what I use 🙂

Ingredients for caprese-inspired salad
Fresh basil, cucumber and roma tomato from the garden

Caprese-inspired Green Salad

3 cups chopped romaine
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Layer half of romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, cheese and basil in each of two bowls. Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and drizzle over salads.

Caprese salad over romaine

Grow Your Own: Tzatziki

Grow Your Own 2008For this month’s Grow Your Own food blogging event, hosted by Andrea of AndreasRecipes.com, I made tzatziki, the Greek sauce/dip made of yogurt, cucumbers and seasonings. My dill is still doing pretty well, although it likes cooler temperatures, so it probably won’t last much longer. I keep the mint in a strawberry jar on the patio, to keep it from invading and taking over the herb garden.

Ingredients for tzatziki

I love this stuff, especially in the summer – it’s so cool and refreshing. We eat it as a dip with homemade pita chips and crudites, and as a sauce for grilled chicken or gyro sandwiches. Just toast some pita pockets, season chicken with oregano, lemon and garlic (I use Penzey’s Greek seasoning), then slice the chicken and put it in the pita with chopped lettuce and tomato, topped with tzatziki and some feta cheese.

Here, I served it with pita chips and baby carrots.

Tzatziki with pita chips and baby carrots

Tzatziki

3 cups plain yogurt, or 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (preferred)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced fine
1 tsp. fresh mint, cut into chiffonade
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste

If using regular yogurt, place yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a bowl; put bowl, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour to drain excess liquid. If using Greek yogurt, this step is not necessary.

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, oil, vinegar, herbs and salt. Add cucumber and mix well. Place in a serving dish, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, to allow the flavors to mingle and make friends 😉

Grow Your Own: Southwestern Potato Salad

Grow Your Own 2008Back in March, Dan and I went to see Bobby Flay do a cooking demonstration in downtown Norfolk. It was lots of fun, and I got an autographed copy of one of his books: “Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook: Explosive Flavors from the Southwestern Kitchen.” I’ve made several recipes from the book and loved them all – although I’ve tweaked a couple 🙂

We both really like this recipe for Southwestern Potato Salad – I’ve made it three or four times now. This last time, I used green onions, a red onion, and cilantro from our garden. I know the cilantro looks a little funny, but it’s trying to bloom and I’m trying to stop it 😉

Southwestern potato salad: Ingredients from our garden

I’m trying to expand my taste horizons, so I went ahead and added the red onion, even though I don’t like the flavor of raw onion. Guess what? I still don’t. But Dan does, so next time, I will just dice an onion for him and he can add it to his portion.

Also, the recipe says to add one jalapeno pepper, finely diced. If you like a lot of heat, go ahead and do this. I made it this way the first time, and it was too hot for us. The second time, I removed the seeds and membrane first, and it was too mild. The third time, I cut the pepper in half and removed the seeds and membrane from one half, leaving them in the other half. This time, it was just right 🙂

Bobby Flay’s Southwestern Potato Salad

2 lbs. small new potatoes (I used Yukon Gold potatoes)
Kosher salt
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tbsp. ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped (I used 2 roma tomatoes)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (I used two)
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Add 1 tbsp. salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pieced with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes.

Drain well, let cool slightly, and slice 1/4 inch thick (I cut into 1/2-inch chunks). Put in a large bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you prepare the dressing.

Stir together all remaining ingredients except black pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture over the warm potatoes and mix gently until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature. This can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated.

We had this with cole slaw and our first smoked BBQ ribs. It was a great meal.

Southwestern Potato Salad, with cole slaw and smoked BBQ ribs

This is my contribution to the Grow Your Own food blogging event, hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

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