Wednesday, June 12, 2019

BACON BASIL PESTO on PENNE with PEAS and HERBS


On one hand I apologize to Italian Culinaria (mi dispiace), but on the other hand I give a high five to my southern roots (Yeahhhh.)  I mean, it's bacon.  
Bacon Basil Pesto.

The Penne Pasta with Peas and Herbs is a great stand-alone and particularly good right out of the fridge.  It's also great tossed and heated in a little Arrabiata sauce.  However, it shines and gets eaten faster than I can dish it out when it's tossed in Bacon Basil Pesto.  So, you do you. Yawl.



Penne and Peas in Herbs Pasta

1 pkg dried Penne Pasta
1 pkg frozen spring green peas
2 tsps each of chopped: thyme, tarragon, mint and parsley
Olive oil
salt/pepper

1) Prepare Penne in lots of boiling water according to your package, but a few minutes before the penne is done add the frozen peas into the same water. 

2) Drain the pasta and peas and add to a large bowl with the chopped herbs.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with Olive oil and toss together well.

Bacon Basil Pesto Sauce

4 slices of bacon
2 garlic cloves
1 cup Basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp. lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmigiano cheese
salt/pepper

1)  Cut the bacon into large pieces and add to a heated skillet (low/med) to render the fat and cook til the bacon is crisp.
2) Add the garlic cloves to the same skillet for the last couple minutes of cooking. The cloves will infuse the bacon fat and also get a bit caramelized.
3) Remove the skillet from the heat and take out the bacon pieces to save for later.  Carefully pour the fat and garlic cloves into a dish to cool for just a couple minutes.
4) To a blender, add the basil leaves, pine nuts, lime juice and pour in the reserved bacon fat and garlic bulbs. Blend slowly, then faster until the ingredients are a paste. 
5) Drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time while blending. Use enough olive oil to make a sauce consistency.  
6) Finally, add the cheese and pulse to combine. Scoop into a dish, season with salt and pepper to taste.


Add a large serving spoon size of pesto to the prepared pasta, toss and taste. Sprinkle the dish with crumbled bacon from the pieces you saved.


*Add more pesto as you like.

*You can also heat together in a skillet, just add a tiny bit of water or pasta water if it's too thick.
  
*Top with more grated cheese for serving.

Buon Appetito and Come and get it!

As always, thanks for being here.
Cathy~ 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Quick Easy Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie - National Chocolate Chip Day


I guess National Chocolate Chip Day is a thing?  Whatever, right?  I'll take any excuse.  This Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie is a perfect "looks fancy, but not fancy" dessert, bar cookie, or just dig in with a spoon (which is maybe what I did?)

Quick Easy Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie -


1 stick butter (soft)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover the bottom of a 9 inch skillet with buttered parchment paper.

1)  Beat butter and both sugars together in a bowl until smooth.  Add vanilla and egg yolks, continue beating until smooth.
2)  In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
3)  Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Spread the thick batter into the buttered and parchment covered skillet.  Cook on 350F for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  

Cut into slices, squares or spoon it out and eat.  Topping with ice cream is optional, but yeah... 
ice cream.

ENJOY - and Happy....National Chocolate Chip Day.  YAY!
ShowFood Chef~

Friday, May 3, 2019

Savory & Sweet Flatbread with 2018 Red Car Rosé

I think a lot of us think of Rosé for special occasions like a wedding, a luncheon, a bridal shower or a toast.  It's in the fridge like the champagne, ready and waiting.  Or is that just me?  Either way, I'm getting smarter.  I had a golden (or rosé) opportunity to taste an early release of Red Car Wine's 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir.  It has convinced me to start the mantra, ROSÉ for EVERY DAY!  

You are invited to join my tiny movement and of course, there will be food:

Seriously, this is so good, so fast, so easy and I use it for appetizers, kid's meals, cocktail nibbles, and "I'm just hungry for something" moments...It's a flat bread that comes together in minutes, cooks in 7 minutes and has unlimited toppings> THIS one was made to pair with a bottle of the new Rosé of Pinot Noir 2018 from RED CAR WINE It was such a winner, I've already made it 3 more times...this week!
Recipe: Preheat oven to 475-500F
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup water
2 Tbls. Olive Oil
pinch of salt.
Mix with a fork in a bowl, then pull together into a ball and knead just until it holds. Wrap in plastic and rest on counter for 15 minutes while you gather the toppings.
Toppings:
4 oz Goat Cheese
1/4 small sweet white onion (sliced very thin)
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Honey to drizzle
1) Unwrap the dough, dust a parchment paper with flour and roll out the dough very thin. Cracker thin (about 10” round.)
2) Place dollops of goat cheese all over the flat bread, then onion slices, then dates and finally sprinkle fresh thyme all over.
3) Slide the parchment (with the flatbread on top) onto a sheet pan. Bake for 7-8 minutes. It should be crisp and toasty brown.
4) While warm, drizzle the flatbread with honey, slice like a pizza and serve while warm.
For other toppings:
Spread 2 Tbls of cream cheese or mascarpone or vegan cream cheese over the rolled out dough.
Top with any of these: thin sliced mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, bacon, prosciutto, fig slices, peach slices, shredded brussels sprouts, arugula, spinach and other cheeses. Keep it light so the cracker thin crust doesn’t get overloaded. The choices are really only limited by your imagination.




*I was lucky enough to receive an early release of the Red Car Rosé, but not compensated in any other way for my recommendation. The thing I liked the most about their Rosé was the balance. It’s not so sweet, and not lacking structure. The spicy that I love in a Pinot is there, just lighter and fresher, making a great “every day” sip.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Watermelon Rind Pickled in Thai Spices

My kitchen is my laboratory and dream factory.  The question that runs through my mind while preparing, chopping, sorting, seasoning and at all times: What else can I do with that?

I absolutely love watermelon.  I add it to salads, in cold gazpacho, sliced with a drizzle of balsamic and juiced.  But, those rinds take up a lot of this fruit, right?  So, of course I'm always saving them for the answer to the question, what else can I do with that?
Pickling is a fun and easy go-to for so many vegetables and fruits.  That's what I decided to do with this batch.  Then the next step is deciding the seasoning.  Since Thai food is a delicate balance of all flavors (sweet, spicy, hot, sour, bitter), I gave it a try.
What a crunchy, spicy side dish to meat, sandwiches and cheese platters this created.  It goes into my "yeah, that works" kitchen file.  Hope you get the chance to try it, too.
 
 
Recipe: Watermelon Rind Pickled in Thai Spices - ShowFood Chef
 
4 cups Chopped Watermelon Rind (green and red removed)
1/4 cup salt
1 quart water

In a large bowl, stir the salt in the water to dissolve, then add the rind to this brine. Place another plate or bowl on top to hold the rinds submerged. Place in refrigerator for 8 hours or over-nite.

Drain, rinse the rinds well and drain again.

4 cups water
2 cups cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Thai spices (including paprika, turmeric, black pepper, coriander, fenugreek, mustard, cumin, cayenne and ginger)
Zest of one lime
1 tsp lime juice

In a large pot, bring these ingredients to a boil, then add the rinds. Simmer for 45 minutes until the rinds are translucent.
Pour rinds and liquid into prepared jars, close lids and refrigerate or use hot water bath method for 10 minutes for keeping pickles outside of the refrigerator for months.

ShowFood Chef~

Monday, June 8, 2015

Smokey Tea Poached Shrimp Salad




Appetizers are one of my favorite foods.  I'll admit it, I get bored easily, so having several smaller items to nosh on makes me a happy nibbler.  

When friends get together, I'm often asked to bring the appetizers.  It's a risky assignment because as much as I like making them, I'm notoriously late to events.  You really shouldn't be late when you have the FIRST course, right?  
 
Now that I think about it, maybe that's why they tell me to bring the appetizers - so I'll try harder to get there on time.  Hmmmm, what smart friends I have.

You can't go wrong with little crispy wonton pots of tea-poached shrimp salad.  It's just a fact.  It's a party-pleaser, and isn't that always a great feeling?


I have poached shrimp in wine for Drunken Grapes with Wine Poached Shrimp Appetizers. And I've poached shrimp in Jasmine Tea for Summer Rolls, so fresh and light.  

This time, I chose one of my favorite teas for infusion, smoking and for poaching foods: Lapsang Souchong.  The leaves of this tea are traditionally smoke-dried over a wood fire.  The tea leaves smell like campfire wood, which translates into a rustic, smokey flavor for shrimp, salmon or chicken.

This is the shrimp salad I use for little Tea Sandwiches, or a scoop on a bed of peppery arugula for luncheon, or these appetizers in Won Ton cups, cucumber cups or as a cracker spread.  
 
It's very versatile and warning...very addictive. You can make this one day ahead, store air-tight in the refrigerator and the flavors will be even better. 

Of course, you can also use the shrimp you have on hand from leftover grilling - hello, perfect way to create another leftover extend-over meal. :D

RECIPE: Smokey Tea Poached Shrimp Salad - showfoodchef
 

1lb. Shrimp (uncooked, in shell)
2 cups brewed Lapsang Souchong tea
6 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
6 Tbls. Mayo
3 Tbls. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbls. minced green onion
1 Tbls. minced white onion
1/2 Cup finely chopped celery
1 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
pinch salt/pepper

1) In a large skillet, poach shrimp in tea at 180f (just under a boil, just slight simmer around edges) for 6 minutes.  Drain, then chill shrimp.
2) Mix all other ingredients together well, in a bowl.
3) Peel and chop the shrimp, then add to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Season. Refrigerate to keep.

showfoodchef


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Honey Cinnamon Hot Milk Cake with Berries

Oh summer, what took ya so long?
 
Finally,the weather is turning warm, even in Chicago where I'm visiting right now. 
 
It's Memorial Weekend, I've been to three baseball games, and my fitbit steps are the only thing balancing all the food I've consumed.

Chicago is truly one of America's greatest cities.  I love their support of the arts, sciences, history and industry. 
 
It's a food-lover's dream and a night-life for all ages.  
The Purple Pig
My husband's whole family are avid White Sox fans. We were front and center, along with a sold out stadium, for Paul Konerko's ceremony that retired his number, 14 forever.  
 
In the heartland city of Chicago, I'm reminded of the true meaning behind Memorial Day, a time to honor those who died while in military service.  It has also become the marker for the beginning of summer (with Labor Day being the end.)  
If you have a picnic coming up this season, or need an easy potluck offering, or just a quick morning cake or dessert - this Honey Cinnamon Hot Milk Cake is the answer.  
This is a simple, moist and easy to "freeze for later" cake. It can be dressed up with butter cream, topped with berries or just sprinkled with powdered sugar before slicing it up and serving it up.  Having one of these on hand is a "super summer time saver".  Hope you'll love it.  Happy Summer!
 

RECIPE:

Honey Cinnamon Hot Milk Cake with Berries - ShowFoodChef:
(butter and flour 8 or 9 inch cake pan, preheat oven 350F)

1 1/3 cup Flour
1 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup Whole Milk
4 Tbls (1/2 stick) Butter
2 Large Eggs
1/3 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Honey
1 tsp. Vanilla

1) In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Hold.
2) In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter until melted. Remove from heat and hold.
3) In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and honey for 5 full minutes.
4) Add the vanilla and milk-butter by pouring into the egg mixture while continuing to beat for 2 more minutes.
5) Fold, then stir the dry ingredients into the liquid.  The batter will be like pancake batter.
6) Pour into a buttered and floured 8 or 9 inch cake pan.  Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, just til the center is done.  Do not overbake. Turn out to a cooling rack.  
7) Drizzle with honey if desired and arrange sliced berries on top.  Garnish with powdered sugar or whipped cream (optional.)
ShowFoodChef

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chicken by Chef (Your Name Here) - Simple Saturday


 This is one of my GO-TO chicken techniques and I proudly and quietly pass it on to my readers. Take it and run, let your "cook flag" fly, create all kinds of different tastes and combinations with no fear.  

Your imagination is the main ingredient with this recipe and it makes the most tender White Meat Chicken Breast you'll ever eat.

Here is the list of ingredients, so you can prepare, then read below for the step-by-step guide with pictures:

* 2 Boneless White Meat Chicken Breasts (or up to 4)
* Salt & Pepper for seasoning
* 2 Tablespoons of your chosen Flavor Paste, whatever you have on hand or want to use for your recipe (see below for examples.)
* 2 Tablespoons of your chosen Flavor Sauce (see below for examples.)
* 1 Teaspoon of Seasoning (see below for examples)

***
Here's the technique - it's really simple, just read through once so you can get the whole picture:

1) Place rectangle sheets of foil on a baking pan. Fold up each corner of the foil sheets to create little trays (I made two for the picture, but I've made as many as 4 on a large baking sheet*.)
2) Drizzle Olive oil into each foil tray, and place into the oven on 375F.  Let the oil heat up as the oven preheats (it's important to let the oil get hot in prep for the chicken.)

3) Once the oven is preheated and the oil is too, place a chicken breast on each foil tray (if you're using chicken with skin, place skin side down first onto the hot oil).

4) On each chicken add two items:

A) A flavoring paste (ie, whole grain mustard, ketchup, peanut butter, cream cheese, sour cream, almond butter,tomato paste, homemade jam- look into your refrigerator or pantry and create!
 B) A flavoring sauce that agrees with the paste you used  (ie, honey with the mustard, soy sauce with the ketchup for a barbecue flavor, lemon grass with the peanut butter for a Thai accent, Lemon juice with the cream cheese or sour cream for a hint of German or Belgium, Coconut milk with the almond butter, Balsamic vinegar with the jam, etc..
 (examples include: peanut butter, lemon grass with soy sauce- Garam Massala, lime, with yogurt- Homemade jam, balsamic with red pepper flakes.) 
 
5) Place the baking sheet into the oven for 8 minutes.
After 8 minutes, flip each piece of chicken over and maybe spoon some of the flavorings in the pan onto the chicken pieces.
 
6) Now, add 1 tsp of seasoning to enhance your recipe so far: ie. tarragon, chives, lemon grass, paprika, brown sugar, sesame seeds, capers, red pepper flakes, etc. Ask yourself which one would balance the flavors you've already created. Place back in the oven, continue to bake for another 8 minutes.
 
7) Open the oven, quickly turn each chicken breast over, mixing in the juices. Push it back into the oven, close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF. Let it cook with the oven off for 8 more minutes.

Remove the pan and place the chicken breasts on a board to settle.
*Note about cooking times**
If you cook more than two chicken breasts at a time, add a minute more to each round of cooking.  So, if you cook 3 pieces of chicken make the cooking times 9,9 and 9 minutes.**

For a sauce or gravy: Mmmm~
While the cooked chicken rests, place the baking pan over the stove top on Medium and continue to cook each packet of sauce/gravy, stirring each one til thickened. If too dry, add a drizzle of wine or spirits, stock or for a creamy sauce add milk or half and half.  For a richer sauce, whisk in a Tablespoon of butter as the sauce is cooling. Try something different for each sauce.

It takes more time to tell you how to make this, then it takes to cook it; so I hope you'll try this style. 

My family LOVES this because it gives everyone a chance to play and to have different tastes. The flavors meld together well overnight, so it's very delicious chilled.

Serve one recipe for dinner tonight, save the other for a salad tomorrow or sandwiches for guests or low points nibbling.

PLUS** you can create several different global flavors in ONE PAN - ONE TIME COOKING. It makes pleasing picky eaters a breeze. It makes preparing a few meals at one time extremely fast and easy.
The ideas are limitless. But, Shhh, let's keep it between us and your closest friends, ok?
(Whole Grain Mustard, Honey and Tarragon)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SBRISOLONA is an "EASY TO MAKE" Italian Crumble Cookie Tart

I'm really not kidding about the "easy to make" part.  The whole Sbrisolona Crumble Cookie Tart can be put together in a food processor in a few minutes, then pressed into a pan and baked. Done.
In years gone by, in it's original city of Mantua, Italy, this was known as a "Tart of Three Cups". 

It used 1 cup of Corn Meal, 1 cup of Wheat Flour and 1 cup of sugar.

The name comes from the Italian word, Sbriciolare  - to crumble.  Along the way it has been tweaked by many, including ShowFood Chef.  
 
The wonderful part of the Sbrisolona that has not been changed, even by the finest pastry chefs, is the crumbly nature and spirit of friendship.  This cookie tart is to be broken in pieces and shared by friends and family.  Sure, you can slice it- but why bother.  It's so fun to break off a piece and pass it along without ever having to stop your chatting.  Okay, maybe that last part was just about me.
Sbrisolona is perfect with tea or coffee in the morning, afternoon or even as a late night "under a book light with a glass of wine" snack.  Yeah, that last part was definitely about me.

Last note: As good as it taste fresh out of the oven, the flavors and texture are even better the next day. 

SBRISOLONA  (Crumbly) Italian Cookie Tart: Traditionally this is shared with friends who break pieces off to eat with tea or wine.
#Recipe:
1+1/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Corn Meal
1/2 c Sugar
1 tsp Orange Zest
1/2 c Butter (cold, cubed)
1/3 c Almonds (toasted)
1/3 c Walnuts (toasted)
1/3 c Dried Cheeries
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1 egg
1) In a food processor, add Flour, Corn meal, sugar and zest- pulse 10 times.
2) Add butter- pulse 10 times
3) Add almonds, walnuts and Cheeries - pulse about 5 times.
4) Add Almond extract and egg- pulse til combined and mixture holds together when squeezed in hand (add a Tbls of water if too dry)
5) Empty contents into a tart pan with removable bottom. Press evenly around the bottom and sides. (Garnish with a few whole almonds)
6) Bake in preheated 350f for 15 mins, then reduce to 300f for about 10-15 more mins.
Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Create Your Own Box Of Chocolates -


Sometimes the best way to say, 
“I Love You” is to just say it.
...
However, adding chocolate 
could help. 
 
You can create your own chocolates with a few steps that are so easy, even a toddler will enjoy making a family treat.
 
The choices of what you add to your chocolates can be unique and simple... 
...or as evolved and inventive as you prefer.   
 
In fact, why not make a party of the whole event?

Recipe: Choosy Chocolates
(makes about 12-15 chocolates, but the recipe can be increased as needed)

1 cup Chocolate pieces:
preferably a very good quality with high cacao and less sugar content.

One or Several choices according to your preference:
shredded coconut, dried fruit pieces, nuts, pretzel pieces, candied fruits, pine nuts, pepitas, salt crystals, flavored sugars, broken candy pieces, organic edible herbs and flowers, etc.

 1)   Gently melt the chocolate your favorite way: double boiler, microwave slowly, etc.

 2)   Spoon small dollops onto a parchment or silicon covered baking or cookie sheet pan. Use the spoon to create other shapes if you like, ie. a heart.

 3)   Sprinkle your toppings as desired, but leave mostly chocolate showing.
 4)  Allow to sit until cooled and hardened (if you have tempered your chocolate you can put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed the process.)

If life is like a box of chocolates, why not create your own choices!