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Showing posts from January, 2011

A Fun Way to Try Red Zinfandel Wine

Are you wine-challenged?  Do you wonder what wine to pair with which foods?  Well, that would be me.  I am a "safe" wine drinker.  By that I mean I stick with the same wine day in and day out, chicken, fish, or steak.  Are you like me? Last weekend I wanted to try something new.  But what?  We were having the Beef Bourguignon dinner I wrote about a few days ago.  I knew that red wine was in order, but which one? Hubby went to our local wine store where a red zinfandel was recommended by a very knowledgeable employee.  Hubby decided to get three different bottles of red zinfandel wine so we could use this as an opportunity to taste each of the different wines with our meal.  It would give us an opportunity to try a new variety of wine, three different brands and to compare and contrast what we liked about them.  Does that sound like fun?   Yes, it was. The three wines we served with our dinner were:  The Zinfandel Wines  Jonathan Edwards, 2007, Zinfandel Zen of

Making Chicken Tortilla Soup with Homemade Chicken Broth

Do you love soups in winter?  I do.  I make soup at least once a week during the winter months, sometimes twice a week.  Many of the soups I make have a chicken broth base.  While you can use broth from the grocery store I like to make my own.  It is really easy to do.  Here's how to do it: Homemade Chicken Broth  I forgot the celery in this picture  Ingredients 1 whole fryer, 3-5 lbs 1 onion 2 stalks celery 1 large, or 2 medium carrots 8 cups of water 1 tsp peppercorns fresh rosemary, parsley (whatever fresh herbs you have) Directions Wash the chicken and pat it dry.  Place the chicken in a large pot.  Cover with water, approximately 8 cups.  Cut the onion, celery and carrot into large chunks.  You don't need to peel the carrots, but I do.  If you leave the skin on the onion your broth will have a lovely, rich color.   Add the peppercorns and fresh herbs.  Bring the pot to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes. Chicken an

The Barefoot Contessa's Filet of Beef Bourguignon

You can make the Barefoot Contessa's Filet of Beef Bourguignon recipe successfully and wow friends and family.    Filet of Beef Bourguignon-A Special Dinner Don't you love Ina Garten? When I saw her demonstrate how she makes a filet of beef bourguignon recipe on her Food Network television show I thought I needed to make it.  It looked simple, elegant and most of all, delicious.  I had friends coming for dinner and thought this was a dish they would enjoy.  I thought I'd make it, test kitchen style, and let you know how it came out. I broke the first rule of entertaining when I tried this recipe, which is don't try making something you have never made before for guests.  We were having dinner with our very good friends from college the following Saturday evening.  I wanted to make something easy, to be able to spend more time with them.  I also wanted the meal to be elegant because they are such special friends.  This dish fits the bill. Tips for Filet of Beef Bourgui


Deliciousness!  That's the word for this one pot dish.  If you love spicy shrimp, fish, sausage and chicken you'll love this jambalaya.  The recipe is adapted from one by chef Art Smith.  I usually cut the recipe in half because it makes a boatload.  Serve it with a salad and a crusty bread and you'll be in heaven.  Jambalaya Ingredients 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil Jambalaya Ingredients 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 pound catfish, cut into cubes 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced 1 large onion, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 4 stalks celery, chopped 2 tsp. Creole seasoning 2 T tomato paste 1 can diced tomatoes, with jalapenos 8 cups chicken broth 2 bay leaves Salt to taste 4 cups long-grain white rice 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley Heat olive oil in large dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.  Add the chicken and sausage an

Anadama Bread

My nana made bread.  Not just any bread, mind you.  She made anadama bread.  "Never heard of it", you say.  Well, anadama bread is a traditional New England bread made with white flour, cornmeal, and molasses that tastes divine.  Yes, it's divine. The origin of the name, as Nana told me, had something to do with a man being angry with his wife, Anna.  As he ate the bread she made from flour, molasses, cornmeal, and yeast he cursed her saying, "Anna, damn her."  This seems like a plausible story, right? A quick search on the internet revealed multiple versions of this same explanation.  So, we'll go with it. I remember Nana making her anadama bread completely by hand.  She used a large mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, and her hands.  No KitchenAid mixer for her.  I can picture her standing at her kitchen counter kneading away. She baked the bread in a large, wood-fired, cast iron kitchen stove.   How wonderful her kitchen smelled! I'm on a self-impose

Cookbook Love

Cookbooks, cookbooks, cookbooks!  Don't you just love cookbooks?  Cookbooks have come a long way over the years.  Today's cookbooks are a feast for the eyes.  Don't you just love flipping through the pages of a beautiful cookbook?  Recently, I got three new cookbooks. A Look At My Favorite Cookbooks Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? is the third Ina Garten cookbook I have.  I also have Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics and Barefoot Contessa at Home .   The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks are beautifully photographed and have easy to follow recipes.  I also follow the Barefoot Contessa show on the Food Network to better understand how the recipes are prepared. Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes will take you on a culinary trip through Italy while sitting in your favorite chair.  Oh, how I dream of traveling through Italy and sampling the regional favorites.  That is one trip that is on my bucket list.  Do you have a bucket list?

White Chili with Cornbread

Sometimes I want comfort food.  Not every day, mind you, but sometimes.  Recently while perusing one of my favorite food blogs, King Arthur Flour's Baking Banter (You'll find the link on the right side of the page), I saw this recipe for white chili with cornbread. Chili is a favorite dish, but I have never made a white chili.  This recipe sounded yummy.  I love cornbread with chili, so this combination had to be a winner.  I decided to give it a try with some minor adjustments. The adjustments are indicated in italics.  You can link to the original recipe here: White Chili with Cornbread Chili Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, diced Chili Ingredients 1/2 red bell pepper, diced 3/4 green bell pepper, diced 1 small jalapeño pepper, diced; remove and discard seeds for milder chili 1 to 4 cloves garlic (to taste), peeled and minced 1 pound bag frozen corn, thawed 2 cans (4

What To Do with Holiday Poinsettia Plants

Happy Monday, friends.  Did you get some poinsettia plants this holiday season?  I had a few in my house for holiday decorations.  This morning I took a look at them and noticed they were looking a little droopy and tired.  Sort of how I was feeling at the time, as well!  I did some research to see what I should do to perk up and prolong the life of my plants and I thought you might be interested as well.  Here's what I learned: Poinsettias like temperatures around 65 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night.    This is good news for me because I have been keeping the house cool to reduce our heating oil consumption. Poinsettias like their soil to be dry between waterings.   This is also not a problem for me as you can see by the drooping leaves in the picture above.  While poinsettias may appreciate being dry between waterings I don't think mine appreciated being dry for a couple of days! Poinsettias like humidity, so misting them will make them happy if your h