Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baked Kale Chips

More kale....on Saturday we got another bunch of kale in the veggie box.  It was a different variety, though.  This kale was a beautiful green and leafy variety called Curly Kale.  Curly Kale is more sweet and mild than the Lacinato or Dino Kale that I used in the soup.

Having bumped into my friend while picking up veggies, she shared with me how she made her Kale Chips.  We had sampled her kale chips a few weeks ago and they were so tasty that we decided we would give the chips a try.  How hard can baking leaves be?

Kale Chips
adapted from My Friend, Gay!

Preheat oven to 300° F.

1 bunch kale (any variety will work)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea Salt

Seasoning salt (I used Trader Joe's South African Smoke Seasoning Blend)
Crushed red pepper, if desired.

Rinse and dry the leaves.  With a sharp knife remove the stems and center rib of the leaf.  You can tear the leaves into pieces (fairly large pieces as it shrinks while baking) or keep them whole.  I left the leaves whole.

Toss the leaves with the olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle sea salt over the leaves.

Bake for 20 minutes.  You want the leaves to crisp up but not burn!

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning or crushed red pepper.  Cool.

Note:  My friend tells me that you can bake the chips at 250° F. or at 300° F. just keep an eye on them.  The baking time will vary by variety.


That was simple...and we had a nice healthy snack!

I am sharing today at Foodie Friday and at Full Plate Thursday.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Rustic Cannellini, Kale and Sausage Soup

Our veggie box has been running over with kale!  Now that can be a good thing, or that can be a bad thing.  I have never eaten much kale. I have never wanted to eat much kale.  But, the idea behind the beautiful, organic vegetables we get each week, is to eat healthy!  And, it seems that lately, it is to eat things that haven't been served at any table where I have eaten, in my lifetime. Maybe it is the area in which I live...nope, the stuff is grown here....maybe it is that as a child I was never served greens. I am thinking that must be it.   There is a vegetable world out there that I have not thoroughly explored!

So, when I was trying to plan our meal and I was determined that I was not driving the ten miles to the grocery store, I came face to face with a hefty amount of kale....there was also some chicken sausage in the freezer and beans in the was beginning to look a lot like soup!!

I saw a recipe for Cannellini and Chard in Giuliano Hazan's cookbook, How to Cook Italian, and that served as the springboard for this hearty, delicious soup!

A Rustic Cannellini, Kale and Sausage Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
4-6 thick slices bacon, cut into small pieces
3 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz. chicken sausage, cut into 1/2 inches chunks
1 bunch (about 1 pound) kale, rinsed and stemmed, leaves sliced into 1/2 inch strips or chopped
2 bay leaves, broken in half
1 14.5 oz. can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 cups organic chicken stock
2 cups water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the chicken sausage.  Cook until browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the bacon pieces to the pan and cook over medium heat.  Cook until lightly browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté over medium-low heat.  Stir occasionally, until the vegetables soften and are lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove enough rosemary leaves and finely chop to measure 1 teaspoon.  Add the rosemary to the vegetables when they are browned.  Then, stir in the crushed garlic, cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Stir in the stock, water, bay leaves, sausage, bacon, beans, kale and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil then lower the heat so that the soup simmers.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes; or, place in the oven, which has been pre-heated to 300° F. for the same amount of time.  (I used the oven as then I didn't have to watch over the pot to make certain it maintained a simmer....)

Remove from the oven or stovetop and add the rosemary sprig and if there are any leaves still on the first stem, toss it in also.  Let the soup stand for at least 15 minutes.

Remove the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the soup in the pot or drizzle a little over individual servings.

Serve with a crusty bread!

I can see that this soup could also be prepared and put in the slow cooker to simmer away on high until I was ready to eat!


We really enjoyed the soup.  It was hearty and hit the spot on this chilly day! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raspberry Sauce - A Fancied Up Version

First there was a basic raspberry sauce....then there was the Raspberry Sauce in its Sunday go to meetin' clothes!  Recently I was exploring Raspberries and Raspberry was all good!

I grew attached to this fancier version of Raspberry Sauce because I love Framboise, the raspberry liqueur....I especially like a little mixed into a glass of champagne with a few raspberries floating on top....heavenly.  Hmmm....I do have all the ingredients for this bubbly refreshment!  I am easily distracted when it comes to raspberries, Framboise and champagne....

So as not to digress...if you are looking for a raspberry recipe that is just a bit fancier than a basic sauce, you must give this a try.   I have to admit to sitting in front of two cups tasting them each in turn to decide which I preferred....both, is my response...but for different things!  Raspberry Sauce in its Sunday go to meetin' clothes isn't better than the basic, just more complex.  It isn't one that I would use on my yogurt at breakfast....but it is one that I would use in a layered dessert...maybe a trifle would be a place for me to start, especially since I have a jar of Fancy Raspberry Sauce sitting in my refrigerator.

Besides, you can't go wrong with Ina!

Fancy Raspberry Sauce
adapted from Ina Garten

Yield:  About 2 cups

1 cup raspberries (I used about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup raspberry jam (seedless)
1 Tbsp Framboise (raspberry liqueur)

In a small saucepan, place the raspberries, sugar and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor.  Add the jam and the Framboise.  Blend until smooth. Place in a small jar, cover and chill.


We loved this fancied up version of raspberry will too!

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Raspberry Sauce - Quick, Easy and Versatile!

Raspberries have been eaten for ages...the Medieval era for certain where they are known to have been eaten by the poor who were willing to go into the woods hunting for the berry bushes. The Nobles were suspicious of fresh fruit and preferred it to be made into pies or preserved with honey. 

While eating the fresh berries was looked upon with disdain, using it in drinks was not! Raspberry water was a refreshing drink during the Medieval era and while it was called a wine, it was nothing more than the fruit's juice.

What came to mind as I read this recipe, though, was Edwardian Canada and the fictional character, Anne, from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  You probably recall that Anne believes she is serving Raspberry Cordial at tea when it is actually Currant Wine.  I laughed with my daughters at this scene....we were going to make our own Raspberry Cordial and I do not believe we did....but we it is just a mixture of raspberries, sugar, lemon juice and water with some seltzer water added at serving.

The Raspberry Sauce recipe is very simple, quick and versatile.  I am certain that it didn't take much more than five minutes to put together...but, it was five minutes well spent and a special treat for me!  I have been trying to curb the sweets and while the sauce has sugar in it, I decided that I could substitute a spoonful or two of raspberry sauce in place of the fruit I usually have with my Greek yogurt for breakfast.  I even put it in a special I said, a special treat.  

Raspberry Sauce - Quick, Easy and Versatile

Yield:  1 cup

1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water

In a medium saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice and water.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring the mixture to a boil and stir in the cornstarch and water.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened and become clear. Chill until ready to serve.


Today is the Secret Recipe Club reveal day and I was assigned Grandma Loy's blog, From Grandma Loy's Kitchen.  The one thing I learned in perusing this blog is that Grandma's family has a sweet-tooth...there isn't a dessert, cake, pie, cookie, bar, brownie or candy that she hasn't made! She also likes to make her own seasonings or mixes, like Rib Rub, Greek Seasoning or Pumpkin Pie Spice, etc.  She has quite a collection of recipes...and she should, she has been married over 50 years.  One could make quite a few cookies in that amount of time!  Grandma Loy also likes to play in the kitchen...she reads many cookbooks and then hits the kitchen improvising, creating and enjoying herself.

The one thing that I really wanted to make was the Rhubarb is spring and I am ready to dance with rhubarb!  Alas, it is early spring and after searching seven different markets and talking with many produce managers I learned that it is too early for the dance.  But, I will be making the sauce as well as the Spiced Rhubarb Sauce/Jam.

Since Rhubarb Sauce was not in my immediate future, I selected the Raspberry Sauce.  It is a basic recipe that can be made quickly to serve as a topping for ice cream, yogurt or as a layer in some nice Raspberry Bars.  I made the recipe with just one adjustment...I cut it in half.  With just the two of us, one cup of temptation is enough.

I am happy that I made this special treat and I may make some Raspberry Cordial, just for fun.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Southwestern Chicken Pies with Cornbread Crust

Remember being told that you should not go to the grocery store when you are hungry?  Over the years, I have learned that that is a true statement.  Recently, I just learned another new "ism"....Don't read a food magazine when you are hungry and have tabs and a marker in your hand!  The odds are that you will tab or highlight everything!  

This was the case for me when I got the April issue of Cuisine at Home.  When I was finished going through the magazine and making the grocery list, all I could do was shake my head.  Maybe I should have eaten a handful of peanuts or something....that might have made me stop!   Instead I was true to myself.  I crossed off the homemade donuts even though I have never made donuts and would really like to have made them.  I crossed off the Irish Cream Cheesecake...that was sad....really sad, and I am not a real fan of cheesecake...but it looked amazing...

Instead, I decided to make these cute little individual Southwestern Chicken Pies with a Cornbread Crust.  It is like a dessert, isn't it?  There is a crust so it has got to be a faux dessert!  Ha!  Just to make me feel better, I had to buy a new pan.  I didn't own a giant-sized muffin pan... Who knows, I just might want to make these again...  Actually, I still don't have a giant pan...there is no way that I would be able to get 1 1/4 cups into each section...

There were fun to make and fun to eat!   I liked making these cute little guys.   It made me feel know...they had a crust...

Southwestern Chicken Pies 
with Cornbread Crust
slightly adapted from Cuisine at Home, April 2014

Yield:  6 servings
Preheat oven:  425° F. with the giant muffin pan or other oven-safe baking dish inside.

1/2 cup each diced red bell pepper and red onion
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed (about 1 Tbsp.)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
8 oz shredded rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp minced jalapeno
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Minced zest of 1 lime
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Salsa or pico de gallo

For the filling, sweat the first seven ingredients in a large saute pan over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Combine the chicken stock and the sour cream.

Whisk 2 Tbsp flour into the vegetable mixture to coat, then stir in the chicken stock and sour cream mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken, 1 cup of the cheese and the lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

For the crust, whisk 3/4 cup flour, cornmeal, jalapeno, baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and lime zest in a bowl.  In another bowl, combine the milk, egg, and 1/4 cup oil.  Stir this mixture into the cornmeal mixture.

Scoop about 1/3 cup cornmeal batter into each section of the hot pan; bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and scoop 1/2 cup filling into the center of the cornbread in each section.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over the tops of the pies and bake until the cheese melts, about 5 more minutes.  Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges to release the pies.  Serve the pies with the salsa, avocado and a sprinkling of cilantro with radishes on the side!

These were delicious little pies.  Watch the baking time if your baking container varies from the giant-size muffin pan!

I am sharing today at Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chocolate Guinness Pudding

I haven't made a lot of sweets lately but since sweets seem to be the most popular posts in the blogging world, I can live vicariously.  I try really hard not to have a lot of sweets "around the house".  If they are here, they will somehow find their way onto a plate and then attach themselves to my body! I am working hard to detach some of those very items!  There is one question that I must ask....Do folks really eat those decadent cakes smothered in frosting, sprinkled with candy bars, smothered again and topped with whipped cream and more candy?  Or is it for fun?  Don't get me wrong, I have made my share of gooey desserts and loved every bite but I am trying really hard not to wear my dessert around town!

I adopted a rule of thumb for myself.  One small bite, just to sample, then send it off to the neighbors or my husband's friends...they need the energy playing disc golf!   That seems to be working for me....well, it was working until I decided that I JUST HAD to make this wonderful Chocolate Guinness Goodness...oh my.  If you have to choose just one dessert to make for March, let it be this pudding.  What a luxurious, delightfully creamy pudding....and so worth the calories in every bite!  Let's just forget the calories....  I would make this again in a heartbeat and I know that I will for a special occasion...I sure hope that there is a special occasion around the corner.

This was the dessert that I was serving the night of the cremated chicken.   All I can say is that the dessert more than made up for the disastrous main course.

The recipe is from Epicurious.  It was developed by Chef Shane Coffey of Alias a restaurant in New York.  I only made one change....I added chocolate shavings for a garnish...and I did search for a good chocolate with 70 to 72% cacao, as recommended.  

Chocolate Guinness Goodness aka Pudding
Adapted from Epicurious:  Chef Shane Coffey

Yield:  6 servings

8 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup sugar
14.9 oz can Guinness Draught (If the can isn't available, measure 15 oz from Guinness Draught in the bottle.)
3 cups heavy cream
7 oz bittersweet chocolate (70-72% cacao), finely chopped

Chocolate shavings for garnish.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large nonreactive bowl.  Set aside.

Pour the beer slowly into a 4-cup measuring cup.  Pour down the side to reduce the foaming.  Pour half (7/8 cup) into a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan.  Add 2 1/4 cups heavy cream and whisk to combine.  Set the pan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until bubbles just begin to form at the edges.  Remove from heat, add the finely chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.  Return the mixture to the saucepan.  Over medium heat, cook the mixture, whisking steadily until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.  

Pour the pudding into a blender and blend on high for 1 minutes.  Divide the pudding among the serving glass or bowl leaving one inch of head space at the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set.

While the pudding is setting up, make the topping.  Pour the remaining Guinness into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low.  Simmer the beer, uncovered, until reduced to 1 Tablespoon, about 20 minutes.  Pour the syrup into a small bowl to cool.

Beat the remaining cream until soft peaks form.  Add the cooled Guinness syrup and beat until combined.  Divide the cream among the six puddings, sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen and the Four Seasons Blog Hop hosted by Turnips 2 Tangerines and the 6th Annual St. Patrick's Day Blog Hop hosted by Cuisine Kathleen!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Horiatiki Salata aka Greek Salad!

While traveling in Greece I couldn't resist adding the weight of a cookbook to my can never have too many cookbooks.  The recipes in the book are relatively simple as is this Horiatiki Salata aka Greek Salad.  Spring is around the corner but I couldn't resist making this with the cute little Persian cucumbers and Campari tomatoes I found while at the market.

What drew me to the recipe was that it included both olives and capers.  I love the addition of kalamata olives or capers to a dish and this had both!!  Simple was nice too....

Horiatiki Salata aka Greek Salad
adapted from Greek Cookery

8-10 Campari tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed
3 Persian cucumbers, sliced into rounds
1/3 medium red onion sliced, separate into rings
1/2 green pepper, seeded and sliced into chunks or cut into rings
1/4-1/3 cup feta cheese
12 kalamata olives, pitted, sliced in half
1 Tbsp capers
Sprinkling of fresh oregano (dried may be used)
1/4-1/3 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt

In a bowl combine the tomato quarters and cucumber slices.  Place the onion and pepper rings in the bowl.  Add the olives, capers, oregano and salt and mix lightly.  Crumble the feta and place it on top of the salad and dress with the olive oil.


This is one of those salads that can be made to your taste.  If you like more cucumbers, add them..if you don't like feta, omit it....there can be many combinations but one thing is certain. You will enjoy all of the fresh ingredients!

I had posted another Greek Salad along with a Greek Dressing earlier this year.  While they are similar there are some differences...but both have wonderful fresh produce.