Pasta in soup is always a good idea
For those folks who believe that minestrone should be made only with vegetables I suggest you cover your ears and hum. Or if it must have tomato in it.
Of course I am also really enjoying what a little bit of lamb bone can do for flavor in a stock. Toast some old french bread in olive oil and place in the base of each bowl before spooning in the soup for a little something extra.
Minestrone with a Lamb Leg
- 1 lamb bone (from a leg roast)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dried garbonzo beans
- 1 cup dried kidney beans
- 4 carrots chopped into small dice
- 3 ribs celery cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp cilantro chopped fine
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 bunch kale leaves ripped from stems and torn up roughly
- 2 cups small pasta
- Dried cayenne pepper
Soak beans in cold water for 3 hours. Bring beans to a boil, add lamb bone and simmer until really tender, about 2 hours. Add more water if necessary. In a large stock pot heat 2 tbsp olive oil and saute onion until it softens over medium heat. Add carrot and celery and saute until the carrot begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cilantro and cook until fragrant. Add beans (including bone), stock and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Season with cayenne, pepper and salt. Simmer soup until reduced by 1/3, about 45 minutes. Remove bone, add pasta and cook until al dente. Add kale and wilt. Season again with salt and serve hot poured over toasted bread.
Look at the cheese just seeping through without leaking out the sides. It brings a tear to my eye
For this meatloaf I used a mixture of ground chicken and beef. This meant that there needed to be a little more moisture in the filling to help compensate for the chicken’s low-fat content. I accomplished this by not squeezing the buttermilk from the bread cubes and adding everyone’s favorite secret ingredient.
Chicken Meatloaf Stuffed with Cheese
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 slices wheat bread crusts discarded and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 lb ground chuck
- 2 ribs celery chopped into small dice
- 1 jalapeno pepper minced
- 1 cup red onion finely diced
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 6 oz mozzarella cut into thin rectangular strips
Soak bread in buttermilk until almost all is absorbed. Pour off any excess, but do not squeeze out bread. Mix everything but the cheese together and form into a rough loaf. Do not overwork the meat, it will be a little wet but should hold its shape. Grease a large baking dish. Create a well in the center of the loaf and place the cheese in it. Leave about 1 1/2″ meat on each end. Fold the loaf back together and place the meat seam side down on baking pan. Coat outside in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees until a knife passes cleanly through the loaf and the outside in browned, about 1 hour. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
There are a lot of colors in this bowl
I tried something a little different with this stir fry. Instead of adding the sesame oil at the end as a flavor boost, I put it in the marinade. By doing this the oil helped to coat the chicken pieces to the other flavors in the marinade and it gave the dish a subtler evenly distributed sesame taste. Serve over brown or white rice for best results.
Chicken and Broccoli
- 2 chicken breasts cut into small bites
- 1 tbsp miso
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 broccoli heads cut into bite sizes
- 3 carrots julienned
- 3 ribs celery sliced medium
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
In a bowl mix everything but the vegetables together. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes stirring often on the counter. In a wok heat vegetable oil. Stir fry ginger for one minute over high heat. Add celery, broccoli stems and carrot and fry for 1 minute. Add chicken and sauce and stir fry until chicken is done, about three minutes. Add broccoli crowns and cook until softened about two minutes more. Serve over rice.
We like this meal because it blends seasonal and pantry ingredients. Risotto is good anytime of the year.
Trim your leaves closer than this.
Red Wine Risotto
This presentation is getting a little too stuffy in here for me
Lemon Basil Granita
Cooking with beer is fun
This is a great way to use up some leftover party beer that maybe you do not like that much. Any beer will work including light, but the heavier and darker the beer the heavier the flavor will be in the bread.
For people who are not very confident in making their own bread, beer bread is a good first step. The alcohol reduces the amount of time needed for rising and helps flavor the dough as well. This recipe uses a combination of flours which also helps improve the flavor of the bread. This makes one large loaf but can be divided into multiple small loaves or buns.
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 1/4 cups rye flour
- 3/4 cup beer
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 2 tsp salt
Mix yeast in a bowl with water. Mix 1 1/2 cups white flour and rye flour together. Heat beer, honey and butter until warmed. Add beer mixture, caraway seeds, yeast water, and salt with flour mixture and beat until a smooth batter forms. Gradually add remaining white flour until a rough dough forms. On a floured counter knead dough until smooth and tight, about six minutes adding more flour if dough is too sticky. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until about double in size. Preheat oven to 375 degrees 30 minutes before baking. Form dough into a cylinder and place in a greased loaf pan. Bake until done, about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before slicing.
This gives me an idea for another thing to stuff into chicken
This is a great use of leftover grilled chicken thighs and takes very little time to make. Use fresh, firm medium sized eggplant for this.
Stuffed Eggplant with Cheese and Chicken
- 2 grilled chicken thighs chopped into small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 large eggplant
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cut into small cubes
- 1/8 cup grated Romano
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped fine
- tbsp olive oil
Cut eggplant in half and scoop out the seeds and some flesh to create a deep hole. Make sure to leave enough flesh on the sides and bottom to keep the eggplant shell intact. Dice up seeds and flesh. In a large frying pan heat olive oil over medium. Saute onion until it turns translucent then add chopped eggplant, capers, rosemary and garlic. Saute until eggplant begins to turn golden. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and mozzarella to vegetables and mix well. Place eggplant shells on a greased baking dish. Sprinkle inside with a little Romano and pepper. Spoon filling equally into all shells and then top with sprinkle of Romano. Bake eggplant at 365 degrees until soft and filling has begun to brown, about 25 minutes.
It’s like an adult slurpee
Our regular readers often comment on the size of our liquor cabinet. It’s really not that big and it’s poorly lit, so we never humor them with a photo. Also, we have the main liquor cabinet, the dining room overflow and the bedroom closet backup. In an attempt to use up some liquor and liqueurs that we like, but don’t need to replenish, we’ve been using up some of our more unusual items. Cucumber liqueur, gone. Cherry brandy from the Finger Lakes, outta here. Mezcal, we’re working on it. If you haven’t had Mezcal, think of tequila with a lot of smoke. This drink may resemble a peach margarita, but it has a richer flavor and is less fruity. Blending a smokey flavored-liquor wasn’t something that occurred to me until inspiration hit on a dog walk. Inspiration usually hits on dog walks, workouts or in the bathroom, but I digress. Perhaps one of my neighbors was barbecuing some honey-glazed ribs. (Not when I was in the bathroom, when I was walking the dog.) Anyway, the honey really does pair well with the smokiness and you can’t go wrong with peaches frozen at their peak. I think Coltrane deserves another walk.
The Smokey Peach
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches
- 2 handfuls ice
- 1 ounce honey
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 2 ounces triple sec
- 3/4 cup Mezcal
Puree all ingredients in a blender. Divide between two margarita glasses. Garnish with a lemon.