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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Black and Blue Sliders

Jeff and I recently visited some friends in Asheville, North Carolina.  We had a wonderful time.  We went to the Biltmore, the Grove Park Inn, and many breweries.  Every restaurant we visited had some version of this burger on the menu.  I liked it so much that it was the first dish I made upon our return.  I decided to make sliders because the taste is so bold that a little bite will do you. This tastes really good with a dark stout.

Servings:  8 burgers
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a small plate, a large plate, a pepper grinder or a mortar and pestle, a spatula, a heavy bottomed frying pan
Time: Prep-5 minutes, Cook-7 minutes

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef (the best that you can afford)
  • ¼ cup course cracked peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan
  • ¾ cup blue cheese dressing
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ½ cup French fried onions (I use Durkee)
  • 8 potato dinner rolls
  1. Coarsely crush the pepper and place it into the small plate.
  2. Divide the ground beef into 8 equal ¾ inch patties. Sprinkle both sides with salt.  Press one side of each patty into the cracked pepper.
  3. In the pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high.  Place each burger pepper side up into the pan.  Cook for 3 minutes and then flip.  Cook for 3-4 more minutes. Place one tablespoon of blue cheese onto each burger during the last minute or so of cooking.
  4. To serve place the warm burgers, pepper side down, onto the split buns.  Top each burger with 1 ½ tablespoons of dressing and 2 tablespoons of French fried onions.

Sweet Lime Chipotle Wings

The Super Bowl is this weekend. I was having a bit of trouble trying to create a blog entry for the game.  When making food for a party, I try not to be too adventurous.  I figure that not everyone wants to try something TOO, TOO new.  Who doesn’t like wings?  They are easy to make and can be made in a million varieties.  When I was thinking of new wing flavors to make I thought about flavors that went well together.  Sweet, spicy, tangy=honey, chipotle, lime.  These turned out to be really good.  Jeff loves them.  I hope our friends do, as well.

Servings:  Dozen wings
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a mixing bowl, a baking sheet, a cooling rack (or foil), a small bowl, a sauce pot, tongs, wooden spoon, zester
Time: Prep-10 minutes, Cook-50 minutes

  • 1 dozen wings
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt & pepper
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 cup chipotle salsa
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • Cooking spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Place the cooling rack over the baking sheet.  If you don’t have a cooling rack, just line the baking pan with foil.  Spray the rack/foil liberally with cooking spray.
  3. Use the kitchen scissors to separate the flaps from the drums.  Also snip the points from the flaps.
  4. Mix the softened butter with the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne in the small bowl.
  5. Rub the wings completely with the butter mixture.  Then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  6. Place the wings in a single layer onto the rack.  Place in the oven.  Cook for 20 minutes. Flip and roast for 20 more. If you prefer crispier wings turn the broiler on for 5 minutes or so. Make sure to monitor them so they don't burn. Turn the oven off and leave in the warm oven for 10 minutes.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, place the lime juice, chipotle salsa, honey, and zest in the sauce pot.  Heat on medium high, stirring until the honey is completely melted.
  8. Remove the wings from the oven and toss in the sauce.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You might also like: Sweet and Spicy Teriyaki Wings and Hot Garlic Wings

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken and Herb Stew

It is cold.  Not Florida cold which is anything below 70˚, but cold.  It will be 19˚ here tomorrow.  So I wanted dinner to be warm and comforting.  I decided on  Chicken and Herb Stew.  It is hearty and healthy. This meal is also inexpensive.  And when it is cold out, I like to use the oven, because it helps warm the house.

You can change up this stew by adding different herbs.  Herbs de Provence would be nice as would an Italian mix.   Using the original herbs, you could use different root vegetables. Parsnips could replace carrots.  You could also add ½ cup of diced rutabaga or turnips with the potatoes.

Servings:  6-8
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes Cook:  60 minutes
Hardware: knives & chopping block, measuring cups & spoons, 4 quart Dutch oven, a plate, tongs, wooden spoon, small bowl, fork, no powder latex gloves

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs (1-1½ pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh sage and thyme
  • ½ tablespoon rosemary (you can substitute 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning for the herbs)
  • ¼ pounds carrots
  • 1 medium onion (½ cup) chopped
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds white or russet potatoes
  • 5 cups liquid ( I used ½ low sodium chicken stock & ½  dry white wine)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper.
  • 2 tablepoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (1 tablespoon dried)
  • Salt & pepper 
  1. Wash and roughly chop the carrots, onions, garlic, and celery. Mince the rosemary, sage, and thyme. Scrub the potatoes and quarter them. Set aside.
  2. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375˚.
  4. Coat the bottom of the Dutch oven with olive oil.  Place over medium heat.  When the oil is hot place the chicken, skin side down in the Dutch oven.  Allow the chicken to sear for 6 minutes.  Turn and sear for 6 more minutes.  Remove and place the chicken onto the plate.
  5. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.  Place the carrots, onions, garlic, celery, rosemary, sage, and thyme in the Dutch oven and sauté until the garlic becomes fragrant and the vegetables soften (about 5 minutes.)
  6. Put the chicken back in on top of the vegetables. Add the liquid and the salt & pepper. Put the potatoes on top of the chicken.
  7. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and place in the oven.  Cook for 40 minutes.
  8. Mince the parsley if you are using fresh.  Set aside.
  9. Remove the Dutch oven and return to the stove top. Put on the gloves and remove the meat from the bones.  Discard the skin, fat and gristle. Shred the chicken and return it to the stew.
  10. Put the cornstarch in the bowl with 4 tablespoons of cold water.  Mix until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  11. Return the stew to a boil.  Add the cornstarch-y water. Stir until the stew thickens.  Remove from the heat.  Adjust the salt & pepper..  Sprinkle the parsley on top. 
  12. Serve warm with soft rolls.