Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicken Marbella is a sweet-and-salty crowd-pleaser

When I first saw the recipe for Chicken Marbella, I did not think the combination of prunes and olives would go over well with Bryan. He seems to think that he doesn't like fruit with his savory foods, even though he raves about that combination just about every time he tries it.

Easy solution: I just don't tell him. Makes it easy when the recipe has a name like Chicken Marbella, and smells so delicious when it comes out of the oven that he's more concerned with getting that first bite in his mouth than needing to know what the ingredients are.

It's certainly a tactic that works when you've got an ingredient like prunes, even though they are used pretty sparsely in this recipe. Honestly, prunes are hardly an ingredient most people would think of putting in anything but a dessert, if at all.

But in a sweet-and-salty dish such as Chicken Marbella, the prunes add a boldness to the dish that makes it a sure crowd-pleaser among even those picky eaters. Just keep the ingredient list to yourself until after everyone has raved about your dish!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Adding flavor that's not sugar to oatmeal

There can never be too many recipes for creative ways to eat hot cereal.

Although my recent favorite is Maple Buckwheat Groats with Pears and Dried Currents, I may have found a new go-to with the above-pictured Oatmeal with Berry Compote.

I've actually been meaning to make this recipe since I posted it sans photo to the Bastyr recipes pages in February, both to see how delicious a cancer-fighting meal could taste and so I could finally add a photo to the recipe (which is why the photo on the link is identical to the above photo!).

It tastes good and it fights cancer? I'd be willing to eat this every day for that trade-off!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Arroz con Pollo an easy substitute for paella

So I thought I knew what paella was and that I had eaten and enjoyed it, but until last month, I apparently had never really had paella.

Now this is paella. I apologize that there's nothing in the photo to show you how incredibly huge this dish was, but realizing that all of those wedges on the corners are lemons oughtta help!

Bryan and I indulged in this deliciousness last month at one of the Thursday Night Chef's Dinners at The Wandering Cafe, a catering company in our neighborhood that swings its doors open for special parties throughout the year. You can read more about all of the other delicious courses we ate that night on a blog post I wrote for Maple Leaf Life.

As for the paella, after watching chef and owner Kristine Pottle slaving over her giant skillet for at least an hour, I'm not sure I want to follow in her footsteps. After browning the meats (which included chorizo, gigantic and delicious shrimp, and what Bryan called the best chicken he'd ever had), she slowly poured ladle after ladle of broth into the rice, which I know I do for risotto, but it's hard enough when I'm just using a regular stockpot rather than a giant skillet!

Needless to say, I found a shortcut tonight that though not even half as good as Kristine's paella, is sufficient for Bryan and me and doesn't require me to buy a paella pan and other "must-have" accessories.

Arroz con Pollo from Greg Atkinson's "West Coast Cooking." Similar to the paella, I started by browning the sausage (I used spicy Italian sausage because good chorizo is so hard to find!), then browning the chicken. Onions came next, then the rice mixed with smoked spicy paprika, diced canned tomatoes and beer(!). Instead of pouring ladle after ladle of broth into it like Kristine did for the paella, I just threw the meat back in and let it cook for 35 minutes. Green peas on top are the finishing touch (and no, Bryan did not tell me that these chicken thighs were better than Kristine's!).

Love this book.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Drunk pears waiting for winter!

I love it when I spend two days cooking for a party, then get sooo much more from my guests when they arrive. There were chips and dips, cheese and crackers and sausages, side dishes galore, and more beer and wine than Bryan and I will be able to drink in a month!

And a few guests even brought gifts from their own gardens for me to indulge in the days to come. It didn't take long for me to take advantage of the pears from Adam, Emily and Penny, especially after I found this recipe for Canning Pears Mulled in Red Wine. Since I'd never canned pears before, I looked online and was immediately smitten by this recipe. I didn't even bother looking at any other ones!

The wine syrup smelled delicious, the pears were juicy and crunchy, there is no way these won't be the best pears EVER!!! I'll let you know this winter when I'm in the mood for some drunk pears on ice cream!