Friday, August 28, 2009

A movie for foodies and travel buffs alike!

Go see "Julie and Julia" this weekend! It's delightful. You'll have so much fun, and a renewed admiration for America's first celebrity chef, Julia Child. I enjoyed the flick so much, I went out and bought "My Life in France" by Julia the very next week. What's next? I've asked for "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" for my birthday in September. Julia's got me all revved up to be creative in the kitchen! What's on the menu this weekend? Real Chile Rellenos, starting out the old fashioned way, with fresh chiles. I've made them before, but used whole chiles in a can. This should be interesting. I'll take some pix and let you know how it all turns out!
In the meantime, get your Julia fix by checking out the pbs site on all things Julia:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's All Greek To Me!

Tonight, I am trying something new. An all Greek, home-made meal. The chicken is marinating in a yogurt and rosemary infused marinade, and even the spanikopita was made by me and my friend di cucina, Kathy. Working with phyllo dough is a little tricky, as it dries out very quickly. I printed off Ina Garten's recipe for "Dinner Spanikopita" and followed it to the letter. The results were fabulous! So, if you are feeling adventurous in the kitchen, check it out at Even with 2 experienced cooks working the recipe, it took us over an hour to produce about a dozen servings. We made them in a bigger size, which I think was easier, since it was our first time working with frozen phyllo dough. The chicken is also adapted from an Ina recipe. It's grilled outside, so does not heat up your kitchen. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which are fairly easy on the budget and the waistline! Don't be scared of the yogurt in the recipe. It makes the meat so juicy and delicious. I think you are going to love going Greek! Greek Style Grilled Chicken Thighs 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 to 6 pieces each 1 lb. non-fat plain yogurt 5 T. fresh rosemary, snipped 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced 1/2 tsp. dried oregano juice of 1 lemon the zest from 1/2 of that lemon 1 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 medium red onion, quartered and separated into pieces

Mix together everything except the red onion. Let this mixture marinate in the frig at least 30 minutes, up to over night. Over a large cookie sheet, thread your chicken pieces on to a skewer (bamboo or metal, but be sure to soak the bamboo first in water if that's what you use) alternately with a piece of red onion. This is a very messy procedure! Be sure to wash your hands well after handling raw chicken and clean any surface that it touches. Preheat your outside grill or get a grill pan nice and hot. Lay your chicken skewer on the grill, turn the heat down a little and let it alone for about 5 minutes. Turn it once and grill a few more minutes till the onion starts to brown and the chicken is cooked through -- about 8 - 10 minutes total. Serve with rice or pita bread.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bruschetta, A Super Simple Summer Treat

The tomatoes are in, and when they come in, they really come in! We are deluged with gifts of tomatoes, so there are lots of tomato sandwiches at our house, and plenty of salade caprese, that classic pairing of tomatoes, mozarella and basil. It was that salad that inspired this appetizer that I made for my husband for his August birthday.

We love bruschetta, and when you are drowning in tomatoes, what could be better? The basil in my garden is lush and green, and the pairing of tomatoes and basil is simply classic, simply delicious.

Simple Bruschetta

5 medium almost over ripe tomatoes

1 clove garlic, finely minced

12 large basil leaves

pinch of sugar

salt and pepper to taste

3 T. good extra virgin olive oil

1 loaf french baguette

about 3 -4 oz. fresh mozarella (that's about 1/2 of a medium size ball of it)

Preheat your oven to 275. Thinly slice the baguette and put it on a cookie sheet. Place it in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it sit for 30 more minutes.

Finely chop your tomatoes and drain off a little of the clear juice. If the skins are tough, you may want to skin them first. (Very easy to do, just dunk them into boiling water, pull them out out immediately and let them cool to the touch. The skins just slip right off!)

Roll your basil leaves together like a cigar and cut them thinly -- this is called a chiffonade in chef-speak. Mix the tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil in a non-metal bowl. Place it in the frig for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together.

Put one spoonful of the tomato mixture on top of each toast. Count how many you have (probably somewhere around 24) and cut your mozarella into that many small squares. Place one on top of each toast and run it under the broiler for 3 minutes or less, until the mozaralla is just melted.

Delicious served as an appetizer, a side dish or even a light lunch. Refrigerate any leftover tomato mixture and use it on grilled chicken or fish, or even heated up slightly and put over pasta.