Sunday, January 27, 2013

Honey-Glazed Tarragon Carrots

I love carrots.  That pretty much says it.  I have loved them since I was a child.  My uncle used to tell me that eating carrots would turn my eyes blue...and, didn't I want to have eyes the same color as his?  Of course I did, he was my very favorite uncle and I would eat carrots forever to have blue eyes like his.  That was many years ago....and I smile remembering Uncle Earl.  And, I think I have eaten enough carrots by now to confidently share that eating carrots is not going to make your eyes turn blue!  I am living proof!

I am busy planning the menu for our next gourmet dinner and I was looking for a simple vegetable recipe when I came across Honey-Glazed Tarragon Carrots in Commander's Kitchen by Ti Adelaide Martin and Jamie Shannon.  The combination of honey and tarragon intrigued, why wait for gourmet dinner?  I had just gotten about a pound and a half of carrots in the veggie box so it was really a no-brainer....try out the recipe!

I was not disappointed.  Besides adding a burst of color to the plate, there was a burst of flavors on the palate!  The combination of roasted carrots with honey and tarragon is a winner!  I like the idea that they are pretty much done in the oven so I didn't have to think much about them while I prepared the remainder of the meal.

Honey-Glazed Tarragon Carrots

3 pounds medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias 1/4 inch thick
8 Tbsp butter, diced (1 stick)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Place the carrots in a large casserole that has a lid (and can be used on the stove top).  Add half the butter, half the honey, and the water, salt and pepper.  Stir and bake, covered, for 20 minutes or until the carrots begin to tenderize and turn bright orange.  Remove the cover and stir.  Bake 20 to 40 minutes more, until the carrots are done and most of the water has evaporated.  Remove the casserole from the oven and place it on top of the stove.

The carrots should be tender and be sitting in a creamy, syrupy glaze.  Adjust the consistency of the liquid, if necessary, by removing the carrots and cooking a bit more to thicken or by adding a little water to thin.  Return the carrots to the pan, add the remaining butter and honey over medium heat, then add the lemon juice and tarragon. Stir, adjust seasoning, and serve hot.

Note:  Dill may be substituted for the tarragon and if you desire, orange juice for the lemon juice.

Mmm, mmm, good!

I am sharing today at On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.  I am also sharing at Foodie Friday hosted by Diane at Simple Living and Eating.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hungarian Meatballs with Noodles

In October I had an opportunity to spend four days in Prague.  It was a girl trip as our husbands didn't wish to go.  They missed out on this was an amazing and wonderful experience.  We must have walked a hundred miles and I doubt that we missed seeing anything!  We had some wonderful food and aromatic hot wine to keep us going.

While it isn't Hungary, the cuisine in the Czech Republic is very least what we ate was.  I came home with the desire to try to recreate some of the tasty dishes we enjoyed.  (and....I think I am in love with paprika and all of the types that are available!)

That brings me to today's post.  It is time for the Secret Recipe Club and I was assigned Denise's blog, Creative Kitchen.  Denise has a very busy and active life.  She loves cooking, baking, photography, bike riding, travel, kayaking, blogging and reading...and she has a husband and three active daughters!  When does she rest!!  Denise doesn't believe that it is humanly possible to follow a recipe to the letter and she adjusts as she cooks...I have a tendency to deviate from a recipe also, so, Denise was the inspiration for the Hungarian Meatballs with Noodles that I prepared.

Hungarian Meatballs with Noodles

1 pound beef (I used a combination of beef and pork.  I used just over 1/2 pound of each.)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko.)
1 egg
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, thinly sliced or chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
1 14.5 oz can beef broth
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large bowl combine the meat, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, onion, salt, paprika, caraway seeds, and black pepper.  Form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Working in batches, cook the meatballs, turning often to get them evenly browned.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet and add the carrots, onion and celery.  Cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the flour and paprika and cook for 1 minute.  Pour in the tomatoes and the beef broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; season to taste.  Add the reserved meatballs, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the meatballs are heated through, about 10-15 minutes.

Put the sour cream in a small bowl, then temper it by stirring in a few spoonfuls of the liquid.  Stir the sour cream mixture back into the pan, coating the meatballs and heating through.

Serve over buttered egg noodles.


Amazing Prague was the first stop on our journey!  I am ready to go back...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chicken Breasts in Champagne

I have had this recipe marked in the cookbook for ages...guess I hadn't marked it in an obvious way as I just ran across it again and this time there were mushrooms and champagne in the frig and chicken in the freezer!  The recipe comes from a great little cookbook that my sister-in-law gave me a number of years ago.  I have used it well...the pages are starting to pop loose from the binding and it has a few splashes here and there along with some dog-eared pages and flags along the edges.  It isn't a cookbook with shiny pages and elegant is just a cookbook filled with wonderful recipes, simple recipes with great flavor!  The cookbook I used is Cooking with Annemarie, by Annemarie Huste.  AnneMarie was Jackie O's cook in the sixties.  Can you imagine cooking for kings, queens and dignitaries?  What pressure to always have wonderful menus prepared...well, as I have said before, "If it is good enough for Jackie O, it is good enough for me!"  :-)

Annemarie was also editor for Gourmet Magazine, a cook on TV before it was so very popular, and she runs a cooking school.    The cookbook isn't in print any longer but there are a few used copies out there...

Chicken Breasts in Champagne
Adapted from Cooking with Annemarie

Serves 6

3 whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned and cut in half (I only used two breasts and I pounded them to about 1/2 inch thickness.)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 cups fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup champagne
1/2 cup chicken  broth, double strength (I used chicken stock and added a tsp of bouillon granules.)
2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp all-purpose flour mixed with
1 tsp butter

Sprinkle the chicken with lemon juice and thyme and let marinate for 5 minutes.   Then season with salt and pepper.

In a heavy sauteing pan, heat the butter and oil and brown the chicken breasts on both sides.  Remove from the pan and put aside.  Add the shallots and mushrooms to the pan and saute for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Then add the champagne and chicken broth; simmer this sauce for 10 minutes.  Add the parsley and thicken sauce with the flour and butter mixture.

Note:  I Prepared fewer chicken breasts and pounded them but I did not adjust the other amounts.  I wanted lots of mushrooms and sauce per serving...


I served the chicken with Wine Lover's Rice.  You may get that recipe here.  I usually adjust the seasoning to meet our is a favorite at our house.

I am sharing today at On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cheddar, Jalapeño and Chive Biscuits

I downloaded a couple of cookbooks onto my Nook.  I am trying to decide if electronic cookbooks will work for me...  One was the Joy the Baker Cookbook.  As I "brushed" through the pages, I noticed a recipe for this wonderful fluffy and light buttermilk biscuits...with cheese, jalapeño and chives.  What could be more enticing than that!!

Jalapeño in biscuits?  ....hmmmmm...what to remember is that the baker controls the spiciness of the biscuits as the spiciness is in the seeds.  Scraping out the seeds and membrane before chopping will reduce the spice yet maintain the taste of the pepper.

Cheddar, Chive and Jalapeño Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup cold buttermilk, plus additional for topping
1 egg
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes  (Less cheese may be used, if desired.)
1 medium jalapeño, seeds removed as desired, small dice
3 Tbsp chopped chives
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
Coarse sea salt for topping

Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers or a pastry blender, breaking the small cubes into small bits.  Once the butter is well incorporated into the flour mixture, the flour will resemble coarse meal.  Some chunks will be the size of small pebbles, others will be the size of oat flakes.

Toss the cheese mixture into the flour mixture.  Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture all at once.  Toss together with a fork making sure that all of the flour bits are moistened by the buttermilk.  Mixture will be shaggy.  Dump the biscuit dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 8-10 minutes, just to bring it together into a 1 1/2 inch thick circle.

Cut the biscuits out with a 2 1/2 inch circle biscuit cutter or use a knife to cut the dough into squares.  Gather dough scraps, knead lightly and cut out more biscuits.  Repeat until dough is gone.  Place biscuits on prepared baking sheets, brush with buttermilk, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Biscuits are best the day that they are made but they can be stored, wrapped, at room temperature and served the next day.


These were a delightful treat with our soup at dinner!

I am still undecided how I feel about having an electronic cookbook.  The Nook times out while I am busy preparing a step...guess I need to see about adjusting that.   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hungarian Pot Roast with Paprikash Sauce

I have been in Seattle the last week visiting my four month old granddaughter.  The cold weather has had all of us craving comfort food.  My daughter suggested a pot roast and we wanted something a little different, so it became Hungarian Pot Roast!

There are many kinds of paprika and for me, getting them all straight in my mind has been a challenge.  Basically, if a recipe calls for paprika, it is the Hungarian that is most commonly used.  Hungary has the perfect climate with an abundance of sunshine that is needed to grow this pungent spice.  In Hungary, there are forty types of paprika grown, isn't that amazing?  Based upon the weather predictions for the up-coming year, the farmers make a determination as to which of the crops will yield the sweetest and most colorful paprika.  It is the amount of sunlight prior to harvest that influences the quality of the paprika.

We used Hungarian Half-Sharp Paprika from Penzey's Spices.  However, we are headed to the World Spice Market downtown to select some of the smoked sweet and smoked spice paprikas.  The combination should produce a super sauce the next time this dish is prepared.  The amount of paprika used is really a matter of taste.  We really like a spicy flavor and used 3-4 Tbsp  of the Half-Sharp Paprika.  If you prefer something less spicy, go easy on the paprika or you will be disappointed.  remember, paprika has "spicy heat" to it! rule of thumb is to go easy the first time and add additional as you adjust the seasonings....or additional the second time you prepare the dish!

Hungarian Pot Roast with Paprikash Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 lb. chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into chunks
Kosher salt and pepper
2-4 medium onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 carrots, cut into bite-size pieces, or rounds
2-3 tbsp Hungarian paprika (or Spanish, Smoked Spice)
2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
12 oz. roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
14.5 oz. diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped (garnish)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Sprinkle chunks of roast with salt and pepper.  

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven.  Add roast and brown all the sides and then remove to a plate. Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the onion slices, carrots and paprika until lightly browned. 

Add broth to the pan to deglaze and reduce slightly. (I did not remove the vegetables when I added the broth to deglaze.) Drain the red peppers and cut into slices and add to the pan along with the tomatoes. Return the meat to the pan. Cook at 350° F. for 3 to 4 hours. Check at 3 hours and break up/shred the larger chunks of meat.  Continue baking if needed.

There was not a great deal of liquid in the pan after four hours.  We served it over egg noodles with a dollop of sour cream.  

Should you have an ample amount of liquid, (remove the meat and vegetables) then whisk in the sour cream to make a creamy sauce.  Pour this over the meat and vegetables and heat for another 15 minutes, until warm. Serve over egg noodles.

Slow Cooker Method:  This could easily be done in a slow cooker by removing the meat to the cooker once browned, removing the vegetables to the cooker, add peppers and tomatoes to the cooker, then deglaze and pour over the mixture.  (Prepare the sauce as above by removing the liquid to a pan and whisking in the sour cream.)  Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and heat...and serve!


I am sharing today at Stone Gable's On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Chiles featuring Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans

If you have never tried heirloom beans, put it on your list!  My daughter made the discovery and bean dishes haven't tasted the same since!  The beans pictured above are Rancho Gordo Vaquero Heirloom Beans.  There are numerous varieties of heirloom beans and they all have a great flavor and texture.

I used the Vaquero beans in this delicious Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Chiles.  There were a few changes made to the recipe and I (oops) forgot to puree two cups as directed...oh well, next time.   It was still delicious!

Black Bean Soup with Chipotle Chiles
adapted from

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-size red onions, chopped
2 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 16-ounce package dried black beans (I used Rancho Gordo Vaquero Beans.)
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles (I used two chiles.)
7 cups hot water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup chopped seeded plum tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup salsa (I used Mrs. Renfro's Chipotle Corn Salsa.)

Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and both bell peppers and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; stir 1 minute. 

Transfer mixture to 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans and chipotles, then 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 6 hours. 

Transfer 2 cups bean mixture to blender; puree until smooth. Return puree to remaining soup in slow cooker. Stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon dollop of yogurt into each bowl. Sprinkle with tomatoes and cilantro and serve.


 I am participating in Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Kitchen and Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.