Mediterranean Light Chicken and Vegetables Over Pasta

It was time to use the leftover rotisserie chicken.  Since it was already cooked, that eliminated one step of the cooking process.  This dish is similar to chicken caccitore, but a much lighter version, which is perfect for the warmer, more spring-like weather we’ve been having.

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Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetables

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1-1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken, cut into chunks

cooked spaghetti or angel hair pasta

olive oil

1 zucchini, sliced

1-1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 cup sliced peppers – I used the sweet peppers, but any kind will do

1 shallot, sliced thin

1 TBSP garlic

2 cans stewed tomatoes, with the juice

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup dry white wine

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp each, dried oregano, basil, thyme, sage, and marjoram

salt & pepper to taste

 

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Saute all the vegetables together, except the tomatoes, along with the dried herbs and salt & pepper in the olive oil.

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When the vegetables are tender, add the wine and the tomatoes.  Continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

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Mix everything together well then add the chicken and incorporate into the mixture.

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Once everything is combined, add the lemon juice and mix well again. Continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes.

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Once everything is ready, serve it over the cooked pasta.  I served it with some warmed bread and an olive oil dip and a light and fruity chardonnay.  You can also serve it with a light red too if you prefer, but definitely NOT a heavy or bold red.  Something light is definitely best with this light dish.  This is light and zesty, full of vegetables, and full of flavor.  Mangia!

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A Game of Farkle

Human beings are naturally social creatures.  It is in our DNA.  Some of us more so than others.  I am most definitely a very social person and always have been.  I am a free spirit and I hate to be couped up and caged in.  These days, with all the lockdowns in place, I am definitely feeling very caged in.  But because we can’t go anywhere at the moment, we have to find other ways of socializing and connecting.  More so than ever, the internet has become our lifelines to the rest of the world.  I never thought I would appreciate the internet as much as I currently do, but thank God for the internet.

We have now successfully enjoyed our second Virtual Happy Hour with our friends Janet and Bob and their daughter Jeanette and her husband Derek.  This time, not only did we “get together” over drinks, but we added a couple of friendly games of Farkle to the party as well.

All we need for some Moscow Mermaids, a variation of Moscow Mules.

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Drinks – check; snacks – check; SKYPE connections – check; dice – check.  We’re ready.  Let’s let the games begin.

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Obviously it is much better to get together face-to-face, but SKYPE is the next best thing.  We all managed to have a good time.  Times may be tough at the moment, but we’re not going to let them get the best of us.

Hang in there everyone.  This too shall pass.  In the meantime, stay safe and stay well.

 

 

Boeuf Avec Buerre a la Parisienne

We have all kinds of meat in our freezers, and I never know exactly what Larry is going to pull out to defrost.  I let him pick the meats and then I fix them how I want.  This time, he pulled out a big beef roast.  OK.  No problem.  I can come up with some very tasty ways to prepare it.  And believe me, I did too.

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I made the roast very flavorful and tender on its own, but then I added a compounded butter to really make it come to life.  The butter is known as Buerre a la Parisienne, or a Cafe de Paris Butter.  This butter was first created in the Cafe de Paris in Geneva, Switzerland, in the 1940’s, to accompany a variety of grilled meats, although it was originally created go with a simple meal of salad, bread and fries. What I am going to present to you is a modified version, since the actual recipe is a safely guarded secret, known only to a handful of trusted chefs, mainly in Switzerland, Portugal, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Sweden. This is perhaps one of the original secret sauces of the world.

The Roast

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4-5 lb beef roast

2 TBSP garlic

1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped fine

4-5 fresh thyme sprigs, stems removed

2 TBSP olive oil

4 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

 

Mix everything together well and generously coat the beef roast on all sides.  Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3-24 hours before cooking it.

When you are ready to cook the roast, preheat the oven to 450* F.  When the oven is hot, place the roast on the center rack in the oven, fat side up.  Roast for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, turn the temperature down to 350* F and continue to roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130* F for a good medium rare roast.  If you do not like your meat so pink, cook it longer; 140*F will get you to a medium.  You do not want to overcook it though, or the roast will lose its flavor and will become dry and tough.

Let the roast stand for about 15-20 minutes before cutting it.  It will continue to cook a bit.

 

I have served many a roast just like this, so if you do not want the Cafe de Paris butter, no need to add it.  But you will definitely be glad you did.

 

Cafe de Paris Butter

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1 stick of butter, softened

1 TBSP ketchup or tomato paste

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1-2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp curry powder

salt & pepper to taste

1 shallot, minced fine

1 TBSP capers

1 tsp thyme

 

Mix everything together well then place it in plastic wrap and roll it into a log.  Place the butter roll in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set before using.

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Add the butter in large pieces to the roast as soon as it has been removed from the oven, so the flavors can melt into the beef.  You can serve it up with whatever side sides you like, but they need to be strong and bold enough to support the bold flavors of the beef roast.  I made roasted potatoes and curry roasted vegetables.  YUM!

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After the butter melts into the steak, slice it up in thin strips and enjoy.  A bold red is the perfect wine choice to go with this meal.  I chose a bold cabernet sauvignon.

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Today, It’s Spring Again

Yesterday, it was a cold, wintery day, and today it is spring again.  This is so typical of our wacky Colorado weather.  Yesterday, we got about 1-2 inches of snow, and today, most of it is already melted and the sun is shining brightly once more.  The birds and squirrels were happy about this too and came out to play today.

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Chicken with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

One good thing about all this extra time on my hands is that I have become even more creative in the kitchen than usual.  I am going through my library of cookbooks even more so and finding so many great recipes that I just have to try.  Fortunately, my pantry is always well stocked, which means I usually have just about everything I need to prepare these fabulous dishes.  Not only is my pantry well stocked, but so is our liquor cabinet, so I have been cooking more with alcohol than I normally do as well.  It’s odd, we have a very fully stocked liquor cabinet, but other than wine, and the occasional margarita, neither one of us are really big drinkers.  We have some rum that’s over 20 years old, and it is only getting better and better all the time.  Luckily Larry has gotten use to not really knowing what’s for dinner and he is a pretty adventurous eater, so that gives me free reign to try just about anything I want to try.

One of my latest culinary creations was chicken with mushrooms and pearl onions.  It called for brandy, which of course we have, but I had some almond tequila that I decided to use instead.  Oddly enough, I literally had the exact amount the recipe was calling for too.  I also used some of our Costco chicken for this dish as well.  This was our first time to dine al fresco for the season, before we had another bout of snow.

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Chicken with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

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1 1/2-2 lbs chicken pieces – either breasts or leg & thighs is fine

salt & pepper to taste

2 TBSP flour

olive oil

3/4 cup pearl onions, peeled

8 oz mushrooms, quartered or sliced

2/3 cup brandy or alcohol of choice

1 cup chicken broth

2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp thyme, fresh or dried

butter

 

Mix the flour and salt & pepper together and lightly coat the chicken.  Add the olive oil and some butter to the skillet, then brown the chicken pieces on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the skillet and set it aside, keeping it warm.  Since I used chicken that was already cooked, I eliminated this step.

Add more oil and/or butter if needed and saute the mushrooms and pearl onions together for about 5-6 minutes, or until they are browned.

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Once the mushrooms and onions are browned, remove the skillet from the heat and add the alcohol.  Be careful of flare ups and flambeing, unless that is what you are going after.

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Bring everything to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Mix the cornstarch with the chicken broth and add to the mixture, then add the thyme.  Adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Cook for about 2-3 more minutes. Finish everything off with some butter and combine well.

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Add the chicken pieces back into the mixture, making sure to completely coat the chicken with the sauce, and continue to cook for about 2-3 more minutes.

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I served my chicken over some rice with browned butter and pecans, alongside green beans.  My wine choice was a light, fruity chardonnay.  Delicious!

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Its a Good Day to Read a Book

The last couple of days have been nice and warm, and very Spring-like.  I even ventured into my shorts, it was so nice.  Today, on the other hand …. not to so much.  Today is cold, damp and gloomy.  The weather forecasters are predicting snow again.  I think it will come down soon.  It sure feels like it is about to start at any minute.

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That is frost on the upper branches of the trees.  It’s April already.  We’ve had our snow.  let’s let Spring begin.

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More frost in the front yard too.

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So far, out of all this lock down stuff, today is the worst day so far.  Maybe it’s because of the cold and gloomy weather.

I am already on my second “cuppa” today, which I never do.  Since I can’t really even go out for a walk today, I think it just might be a good day to curl up with my cuppa and a good book.  As soon as I finish here, I will be just starting it.  It is a spy novel.  I love spy novels.

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Stay safe and stay well everyone.

 

 

Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp.  Tacos.  Chili-lime sauce.  OK.  This is a very good combination.  I’m in.  As you all know I am always on the lookout for new and exciting recipe ideas.  I don’t really need recipes so much.  I am really just looking for the inspiration.  Pictures are really all I need.  The recipes, for the most part, I can just look at a picture and I can figure out how to make it.

I knew dinner was going to be shrimp, but what I didn’t know was how I was going to cook them.  I did some research, looked through my extensive library, looked on the internet, and finally, I decided on the chili-lime shrimp.  I decided to make them into shrimp tacos at the last minute.  Definitely a shrimpilicious do-over!

The weather has warmed up enough to pull out the patio set and to start dining al fresco once again.  Shrimp tacos and a margarita out on the deck; definitely a great way to make the most out of these strange and crazy times.

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Chili-Lime Shrimp Tacos

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1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp

1/3 cup lime juice

1 TBSP soy sauce

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp chocolate spiced chili

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

cilantro

 

Mix all the ingredients together well and add the shrimp to marinate for about 10 minutes before cooking.

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You can saute or grill the shrimp.  Either way is fine.  I decided to saute mine this time.

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As the shrimp was cooking, I was also cooking up some roasted peppers and onions.  I roasted the peppers first until they were completely blackened, then I peeled them, and sliced them into thin strips.  I sauteed the onions and peppers in olive oil with salt & pepper.

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When the shrimp was done, I added some chopped cilantro and mixed it all together.  You can serve the shrimp as is, or use it for tacos like I did.

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I served my tacos with some Cubano style black beans and rice, made with corn, jalapenos, cumin, salt pepper and cilantro.  Esta muy, muy delicioso!  Desfruitas!

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