Saturday, September 29, 2012

Truffled Potatoes (with Chicken)

I love roasted potatoes. The outsides get all crispy, the insides are soft and hot.  The chicken, like the parsley sprig is mostly just a garnish here!

Truffled Potatoes

1 lg bag red skinned potatoes, 1-2lbs
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350degrees. Butter your roasting pan. 

Quarter your potatoes and toss with the parsley and the Olive Oil. Lightly dust with the salt and pepper now. You can always add more later. (or use the Black Truffle Garlic Sea Salt)

Roast, uncovered, for 30 - 35 minutes. They should be starting to brown.

Serve alongside chicken or steak. This chicken was previously pan fried in the Roasted Garlic Olive Oil.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hibiscus Poached Pears with Juniper Berry Sauce

I was watching the Food Network this week and one of Alton Brown's recipes caught my eye. Poached pears. As I am never one to do things the easy way, I switched this up a bit.

I love the way they look poached in red wine, but didn't have any. What I did have was Hibiscus tea. I bought this bag of powdered drink mix from the Redner's Market once on a whim and have been buying it regularly ever since. It's a sweet tea drink with a brilliant color and floral flavor.

Hibiscus Poached Pears
inspired by Alton Brown

Cold Hibiscus tea, about 4 cups
4 firm pears
4 tbsp Juniper Berry Balsamic
1/2 cup coconut cream for serving

I like to cut my pears for poaching. It still looks pretty and takes a bit less time than when they are whole. So I cut them into quarters and removed the core. Pour the tea into a large saucepan and submerge the pears. Bring to a boil, making sure the pears are fully submerged, or they won't take the color as evenly.

Cook at a simmer for 30 minutes. They should be soft, but not falling apart. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside. I like to serve them warm, so I put them in an oven safe dish and turn it on to warm until the sauce is ready.

Add the Juniper Berry Balsamic and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid until it becomes half of its original volume. This takes 20-30mins. If you would like a thicker sauce, go ahead and keep boiling. Be careful not to let it burn.

My favorite way to serve this is in martini glasses. I ladle in some pear slices, top it with some of the reduced sauce and then a drizzle of the coconut cream. You could also use whipped cream if you like or even mascarpone cheese.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jerk Chicken with Rice

I wanted to make something spicy last night to start the week off right. This did the trick!

Jerk Chicken with Rice

2 Tbsp, plus 1 tsp Basiks Jerk Blend seasonings* divided
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 - 3 stalks green onions, sliced
4 chicken breasts, sliced into tenderloins
2 tbsp Butter Olive Oil
2 cups cooked white rice

Heat the olive oil to medium high heat. Add the chicken and 2 tbsp of the seasoning blend. Cook about 7-8 minutes stirring occasionally so the chicken cooks evenly. 

Add about half of the grape tomatoes. Cover and let cook for another 4 - 5 minutes. Stir in the rest of the tomatoes and cook, uncovered another 2 minutes. 

Toss the remaining seasoning blend with the rice. Garnish everything with the green onions. Voila! 

*Basiks Jerk Blend only available in store or over the phone. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Herb Butter Steak

Herb Butter Steak
serves 4

4 steaks, 1-2 inches thick
Fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup chopped herbs, thyme, chives, parsley and scallions were what I had on hand
Save some chopped scallions for garnish
2-3 tbsp Butter Olive Oil

Mix butter and herbs together in a small bowl until well combined. Add in pepper. It will be very chunky. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil to medium high heat in your pan. Coat your steaks liberally with the butter/herb mixture and lay them in the pan. Cook at least 5 - 6 minutes on each side and more if you like it well-done. 

Serve with chopped scallions for garnish. 

Pair with green beans and roasted potatoes for a great dinner.

Chicken Tacos

So this is my breakfast this morning. Sorry for the half-eaten look, I was on my way in to work.

Yesterday this was lunch. I find this recipe really useful to have in the fridge and have been keeping a container of it there all the time.

Easy Chicken Taco Filling

1 rotissere chicken, shredded
1 pkg chicken breasts, roasted with Chipotle Olive Oil*
2-4 tsp Taco Blend seasoning
2 tbsp Chipotle Olive Oil

Place your shredded chicken in a pan and turn it to med-low. Add the Basiks blend and 2 tbsp Chipotle Olive Oil. Stir it around until well combined and piping hot.

Serve with taco fixings like sour cream, lettuce, beans, salsa, guacamole and cheese.

This breakfast wrap included a scrambled egg, some bell peppers, sour cream and cheese as well.

*Roasted chicken breasts in oil

Heat your oven to 400degrees. Brush both sides of your chicken in Chipotle Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and wait 30minutes. Take them out and let them cool slightly. Shred using two forks. Make tacos using the above directions.

Hope everyone has a good time at the FACT Aids walk today!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cinnamon Pear Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I made these last night but forgot to post them. Sorry! On the plus side, my mom loved them with her lunch today!

Cinnamon Pear Roasted Brussels Sprouts

2-3 cups brussels sprouts, halved
3 tbsp Olive Oil (I like a Spanish Blend)
3-4 tbsp Cinnamon Pear Balsamic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375degrees.

Combine the Balsamic and the salt and pepper together. Whisk in the Olive Oil. You could also do this in a closed container and shake it.

Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts, stirring to coat. Spread the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven.

Roast for 25-30 minutes turning once. They should be just browning, not crispy. If you want them crispy, cook an extra 10-20 minutes, checking every five minutes.

And if you want them really crispy, use only 2 tbsp each of the balsamic and oil. Really make sure to check every ten minutes. The dryer they are, the faster they will go from crispy to dead.

I'm going to be making these for Thanksgiving too. Or at least pre-making them. Roasted veggies freeze really well!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Pasta with "Nutella" Sauce

This is the easiest of the Chocolate Pasta recipes. The sauce can be thrown together in less time than it takes the pasta to cook.

Chocolate Pasta with 'Nutella' Sauce

Chocolate Pasta
1/3 cup nutella
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp Chocolate Balsamic
Chopped hazelnuts

Heat nutella, balsamic and milk together until they combine well and are heated through. Pour over pasta and garnish with chopped hazelnuts.

This is a 'Nutella' sauce because my husband is not keen on hazelnuts(the chopped hazelnuts were on my plate). So I made it with chocolate almond butter. But I am guessing that more people have Nutella than chocolate almond butter at home. But by all means, make it with almond butter, or peanut butter. If you can't find chocolate versions, mix in a tablespoon of cocoa powder when you are heating it up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chocolate Pasta with White Chocolate Liquor Sauce

I have a friend who hates chocolate, unless it's white chocolate. But he agreed to try the chocolate pasta so I made him this special sauce.

Chocolate Pasta with White Chocolate Liquor Sauce

Chocolate Pasta
2 oz white chocolate liquor
8 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
dark chocolate shavings for garnish

Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the cream to a near boil in a heavy pan. Pour over the chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate has melted. Stir in the chocolate liquor.

Cool slightly and pour over pasta. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings.

His verdict was: Not bad. But he wants to see a white chocolate pasta.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chocolate Pasta with Mixed Berry Caramel Sauce

Now the Spicy Strawberry Sauce recipe was a hit, but, I try not to make the same dish twice in a row.

I tried to think up other sauces for the Chocolate Pasta. Man, I have a few! The rest will be coming over the next week.

Chocolate Pasta with Mixed Berry Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Pasta
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 3/4 cups heavy cream or coconut cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
Pinch sea salt
1-2 cups fresh mixed berries (frozen is okay too)
Chill a handful of berries in the freezer for garnish

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat on low heat until the sugar dissolves. Heat it to a boil for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix should be an amber color.

Turn down the heat to a simmer and gently add in the cream, salt and vanilla. Simmer an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add the berries and simmer another 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly. They should start to break down and release their juices. Yum.

The sauce is ready at this point, but it is really better to cool it down to room temperature before serving. It lets the flavors really develop and the caramel thickens slightly too.

Toss the frozen berries on top of the warm sauce and pasta for a cool burst!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cheese Steak with Fresh Hummus

I love a good cheese steak sandwich. Sometimes I buy them from our pizza shop, but more often than not, I choose to make them myself. 

I enjoy customizing my toppings and cheeses. Sometimes I make it a mix between chicken and steak. These are all steak with peppers and fresh hummus. Give it a try, it makes a heckuva meal.

Cheese Steak with Peppers and Hummus
makes 2

1/2 lbs very thin sliced meat, 
if using beef, rib eye is best
1 sliced bell pepper
2-4 tbsp Olive Oil, I like to use the Garlic
1-2 oz cheese of your choice
2 hoagie rolls (Amoroso's if you can)
Fresh Hummus, recipe follows

The best way to get the really thin slices of meat you need for this sandwich is to partially freeze your meat. If you have a local butcher, they might be able to do it for you. 

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan to medium high. Saute the bell pepper until it softens and just begins to brown. Three to five minutes. Remove to plate and set aside.

Add the meat to the hot pan. Saute, stirring constantly until the meat is done. Add a bit more olive oil if you need it. Add the peppers back to the pan and melt your cheese over top.

Spread hummus on the bread and pile on the steak filling.

Fresh Hummus

2 cans chick peas, drained, but reserve the liquid
1/2 cup reserved liquid
4 tbsp tahini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil, also Garlic

Put the beans and garlic into a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the salt, reserved liquid and tahini. Pulse again.

Slowly add in the lemon juice and olive oil. If it is still too thick for you, add a little more olive oil.

If you serve this by itself, drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and serve with warm pita bread.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pomegranate Chipotle Pork

While my mom's favorite combination is the Chipotle Olive Oil with the Mango Balsamic, I prefer the Chipotle mixed with the Pomegranate.

My sister-in-law sold Pampered Chef for a long time and my favorite of their products was the pomegranate chipotle sauce. It was smoky and sweet and something I would hoard away for special occasions that never seemed to come up. At twelve dollars for about 8 ounces, it was so hard to justify using it on things. And then, they stopped making it!

So now, I make my own-ish. It works out to much less cost per serving and is still just as good.

Pomegranate Chipotle Pork

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Chipotle Olive Oil
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Pomegranate Balsamic
Salt and pepper
3 clove garlic, sliced
1 pork roast 2 1/2 pounds is a great size
Garlic Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)

Heat your oven to 350degrees.

Place your roast in a roasting pan and cut slits in it. Then slide the garlic slices inside. Rub first with the Balsamic, then the Oil, making sure to get everything. Try to get some inside the slits with the garlic too.

Ahem, now go wash your greasy, spicy hands.

Place the roast in the oven and cook for about an hour. Flip it and cook for another hour.

Remove from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Slice and drizzle with additional Chipotle and Pomegranate.

Basic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 box garlic mashed potatoes, sub in Garlic Olive Oil for 1/2 the butter

or, use Alton Brown's recipe. He's the best.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cherry Bourbon Flank Steak

Cherry Bourbon Flank Steak

1/4 cup Cherry Balsamic*
1/4 cup cherry juice**
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Halved, pitted cherries for serving

Mix your liquids in a bowl with the salt and pepper. Stir well.

Set your oven to broil. Place your steak in an oven proof casserole dish. Pour your marinade over it and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Once it has marinaded, place the dish in the oven on the top rack near the top of your oven. Cook for at least 5 minutes per side.

Cool slightly and serve sliced thinly and against the grain with some of the pan sauce and some fresh cherries.

*Cherry Balsamic is available in limited quantities in store or by phone only.

**Cherry juice is becoming more popular in stores for it's heath benefits. I like it for the taste. If you can't find 100% cherry juice, you can use the pomegranate/cherry juice blends they sell in the vegetable sections of your grocery store.

This recipe would also work with cranberry juice. But then, swap out the Cherry Balsamic for some Cranberry and fresh cranberries for the cherries. In which case, it should be named, Cranberry Bourbon Flank Steak.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cinnamon Pear Pork Chops

Oven Baked Cinnamon Pear Pork Chops

1 pkg thick cut pork chops
1/2 cup smooth applesauce
4 tbsp Cinnamon Pear Balsamic
2 tbsp Olive Oil, I used our House Blend
Salt and Pepper

Heat your oven to 425degrees.

Heat the olive oil to medium high heat in an oven safe pan. Season your pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the chops to the pan and cook about 4 minutes per side.

Mix the applesauce with the Cinnamon Pear Balsamic until smooth. Spoon over the pork chops and place in your preheated oven.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve with veggies and stuffing.

Fall here we come!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Orange Chicken

Because I still had some peppers left, and lemongrass paste, I needed some way to use them up. Chicken is always a good way.

Orange Chicken

2 tbsp Blood Orange Olive Oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp lemongrass paste*
1/2 inch fresh ginger
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 green peppers, diced
4 chicken breasts, diced
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp honey

Saute your chicken breasts over medium heat in the Blood Orange Olive Oil. Add the carrots halfway through so they can get some color. Cook about 7-8 minutes. 

Add the peppers, ginger and lemongrass. Toss to coat and cook around 5 minutes. Stir in the honey and orange juice. Cover and let simmer 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice.

*See note in Thai Mango Beef

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thai Mango Beef

To keep on the Thai theme.....

Thai Mango Beef

1 pkg beef strips for stir fry
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 - 1 cup julienned carrots
1 lg onion, thin sliced
2 tbsp lemongrass paste*
1/4 inch piece ginger, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tsp cornstarch
4-5 tbsp sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup coconut milk

Place beef into a large bowl, sprinkle with the cornstarch and toss to coat. Heat a large saute pan to medium-high heat. Swirl 2-3 tbsp sesame oil around the pan. Add the beef and stir-fry 4-5 minutes, or until it is cooked through.

Set the beef aside and keep warm. With the pan still hot, add the onion. Stir fry for 2-4 minutes, until the onion just starts to brown. Add the bell pepper, lemongrass, ginger and carrots. Add a little more sesame oil if needed.

Add the beef back into the pan. Stir in the coconut milk and the Mango Balsamic, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

Serve hot!

*I love lemongrass paste. Most grocery stores carry the Gourmet Garden pastes, but if not, you can find them online here.  Or just use 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, diced.