Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Chicken and Gnocchi Stew for the Instant Pot®


Instant Pot Chicken & Gnocchi Stew

I live in Florida. We don’t get an Autumn, but we can pretend. If we lived somewhere with seasons, it might be getting a little cool by now. Everyone would welcome a velvety stew.  Here, it is almost 5 pm and 90˚. I still love this stew.

I made this in this Instant Pot®. You could use roasted chicken, but I think the pressure cooker gave it extra flavor. I also made the chicken the night before, so the flavors would meld. Cooling the chicken overnight also allowed me to remove most of the fat from the liquid. Use thighs and not breasts. The thighs have a hearty flavor and it is okay if you overcook them a little. Finally, you can substitute chicken stock for the water and chicken base, but the base is so much richer than normal stock.







Servings: 6-8
Hardware: A knife and a cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, a veggie peeler, Instant Pot Duo® (IP), silicone oven mitt, tongs, a large bowl, a small bowl, a fork, food safe gloves and a wooden spoon
Time: Active time: 15 minutes; Cook: 35 minutes; Stew in about an hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 2 large carrots (8 ounces)
  • 2 celery sticks (4 ounces)
  • 1small onion (4 0unces)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon chicken base (I used Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 cup + 4 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1-pound gnocchi
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Peel the carrot and wash the celery. Cut them into pieces that are 2-3 inches in size. Peel and crush the garlic. Peel and quarter the onion. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.
  2. Put the white wine, 1 cup water, rosemary and 1 tablespoon soup base into the IP. Turn on the sauté setting and allow the liquid to boil. Stir to dissolve the chicken base.
  3. Put the trivet into the pot. Place the carrots, celery, onion and garlic on top of the trivet, put the chicken on top of the veggies. Place the lid on the IP, making sure the valve is set to ‘sealing.’ Turn on the pressure setting and set for 10 minutes. When time is up, allow it to release for about 15 minutes and using the silicone oven mitt move the valve to ‘release.’
  4. When the float falls, move the chicken to the large bowl. Fish out the rosemary and discard. Remove the trivet.
  5. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, put on the food safe gloves and remove the meat from the bones. Discard the skin, fat, gristle and bones.
  6. Pour 4 cups water and the rest of the chicken base into the IP. Return to a boil. Put one tablespoon of cornstarch into the very cold cup of whipping cream. Use the fork to stir until the cornstarch dissolves. Pour the cornstarch-y cream into the soup. It will thicken as it boils. Return the chicken to the pot and add in the gnocchi. As soon as the gnocchi floats (3 minutes) the soup is done. Stir in the dried parsley. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
 
Chicken and Gnocchi Stew for the Instant Pot®

 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Orange and Ginger Pork Chops

Orange & Ginger Pork Chops

I love pork chops. This tangy, sweet and slightly spicy sauce makes the chops shine. I served these chops with Orzo Pilaf and steamed broccoli that I finished with a little squeeze of lemon juice. However, Coconut Curry Rice or Yellow Rice would also be excellent.

As always, I like to give you ideas for making my dish your own. If you find the sauce to be a little too sweet, add a splash of vinegar or a little more soy sauce. If you want the sauce to be thicker, mix ½ tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water. Mix until the cornstarch dissolves. Add the cornstarch-y water to the boiling sauce. The sauce will thicken up as it boils. You can also substitute onion for the leek. You just need to sauté onions a little before you place the chops in the pan. They take longer to cook than leeks do. Cook them until they are soft and push them to the edge of the skillet then just follow the recipe.






Servings: 4
Active time:  10 minutes; Cook: 20 minutes; Chops in about 25 minutes
Hardware:  Knife and cutting board, measuring spoons and cups, a bowl, a zester, a sauce pot, a wooden spoon, a large, heavy bottomed skillet that can be used on the stove top & in the oven (I prefer cast iron), tongs, 2 plates, an oven mitt, a meat thermometer and a slotted spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 large pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4-bone in center cut, thick pork chops (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1 leek
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • Olive oil for bottom of pan
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Slice the leek. Rinse the leek in a bowl of cold water. The leeks will float, the sand won’t. Dice the garlic. Zest and juice the orange. Mince the ginger. Sprinkle both sides of the chops with onion powder, salt and pepper. Set everything aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the sauce pot over medium. Add the orange zest, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes. Sauté until the garlic and ginger become fragrant (2 minutes). Add the orange juice, stock, marmalade and soy sauce. Turn up the heat to a gentle boil. Allow it to bubble until the chops are finished. Stir often.
  3. Heat the oil on high. When the skillet is very hot, add the chops. Cook until the chops have a sear (about 3-4 minutes.) Flip the chops (using the tongs.) Nestle the drained leeks around the chops and place the skillet in the oven. Roast until the thermometer reads 145˚. This might take another 5-7 minutes. Do not overcook.
  4. Place the chops on the clean plate. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt.
  5. To plate, place a chop on a serving dish and top with ¼ of the roasted leeks. Pour on a tablespoon or two of the sauce. Use the slotted spoon to scoop out some of the seasonings and sprinkle on the chops and leeks. Offer your guests more warm sauce at the table.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Broccoli Bake


Broccoli Bake

Side dishes at our house usually consist of a simple veggie and pasta or rice. Rarely anything fancy. However, the last time I posted a side dish, Rosemary Potatoes and Blue Cheese Gratin, you all responded very positively. My husband did, too.

So, I decided to dress up some broccoli. This was delicious. I served the Broccoli Bake with roasted chicken. It would be great with pork chops, too. The protein needs to be simple, because this is very flavorful.

As always, here are some suggestions for making this fit your family’s taste. I used frozen broccoli, but you could steam your own. You could also add a little garlic with the onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes with the salt. I used cheddar cheese, but any melty cheese would work.

Servings: 6-8
Active time: 10 minutes; Cook: 25 minutes; Broccoli in about 30 minutes
Hardware: Cutting board and knife, measuring cups and spoons, a 10-inch oven-proof skillet (I used cast iron), a whisk, a wooden spoon and an oven mitt

Ingredients:

  • ½ a small onion (2 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¾ cup chicken broth (or veggie broth or water)
  • 12-ounce bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚. Slice the onion as thin as possible.
  2. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk until the roux is the color of butter, about another minute. Slowly whisk in the broth. Bring to a low boil.
  3. Add the frozen broccoli and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  4. Stir the cheese into the broccoli and top with the bread crumbs. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Open the oven and stir to incorporate the toasted crumbs and bake for 5 more minutes. If you want the top to be crunchy bake for a little longer.
  5. Allow the Broccoli Bake to rest for 3 minutes before servering.