Tarragon Peas and Mushrooms

tarragon-peas-and-mushrooms

Since tarragon does not thrive in our part of Texas, we grow Mexican Mint Marigold in the herb bed. I use it in any recipe which calls for tarragon, so for this dish I used the pretty mint marigold flowers for garnish.  I always keep Penzey’s dried French Tarragon in the pantry for times when the herb garden is wintering.  This combination of mushrooms, butter, and chopped fresh herb would be a great addition to green beans, too!

Tarragon Peas and Mushrooms

16 ounce package frozen green peas

1 cup fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced

2 T butter

1 T chopped fresh tarragon or Mexican Mint Marigold plus a few leaves for garnish

herb flowers left whole for garnish

Melt butter to pan and add sliced mushrooms. Saute, stirring occaionally until mushrooms are tender.  Add frozen peas and cook 3-4 minutes, until heated through but not mushy.

Put into serving dish with extra herb leaves and flowers for garnish.

 

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

cookie

Nora and I made a new recipe for chocolate cookies that will be one we consider a keeper!   This is for all the chocolate lovers in our family and yours!  Double chocolate, the taste is deep and rich.  Bake them longer if you want a crisp cookie, but they are best when you watch your baking time carefully and take them out when they are soft and puffy. They flatten as they cool, rich and chewy. Very much like a brownie in a cookie!  There are many recipes similar to this online and in cookbooks. Some use peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

1 14cups butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

34  cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°

In large mixer bowl; cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually blend into creamed mixture. Add chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake only 8 or 9 minutes. Cookies will not look done, but soft and puffy.  LIft with a spatula and place on wire rack to cool. They flatten as they cool.

chewychocolatecookies

Kale with Cherries and Apple

kale

Even though our garden beds are newly planted, we have lovely winter greens that have begun to thrive in recent cooler weather.  Kale is a favorite, so we planted both red and green ruffled kale as well as Cavallo Negra, or Tuscan Kale.  For a side with baked chicken this week, I sauteed kale leaves, chopped apple, and dried tart cherries. Delicious! For this skillet, I only cut 3 large kale leaves!

Kale with Cherries and Apple

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Kale leaves, stems stripped, and chopped

1 Honey Crisp apple, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dried tart cherries

salt and pepper

balsamic vinegar

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in iron skillet.  Add kale tossed with apples, and cherries, and saute until kale is wilted.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

 

Apple Spice Cake with Praline Frosting

caramelapplecake

Many of the flavors of Autumn I love most are combined in this apple cake. The cake looks like the cover of my recent Southern Living magazine, but the recipe omits the layer of cream cheese batter that cake features.  The kitchen smells like a cup of chai tea, and we can hardly wait to slice and taste!  Great for dessert, as a treat with coffee, or toasted for breakfast!

Apple Spice Cake
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups flour
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
Praline Frosting
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (about 5 oz.) powdered sugar, sifted

1. Bring brown sugar, cream, and butter to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium, stirring constantly; boil,stirring constantly, 1 minute.

2. Remove pan from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Gently stir until mixture begins to cool and thicken, 4 to 5 minutes. Use immediately, sprinkling top with toasted pecans if desired.

Caramelized Butternut Squash

butternut

Winter squashes are not only great decorations before cooking, but also delicious,nutritious, and add beautiful color to our fall table.  My favorite is Butternut Squash.  Roasting and caramelizing adds an amazing layer of flavor.  Try using any leftovers in soup or salad!

Caramelized Butternut Squash

2 medium butternut squash (6-8 cups cubed) (I have used Costco’s precut squash for super quick and easy preparation)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Note:  cinnamon or cayenne may be added for varying flavor

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off and discard the ends of  butternut squash. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, cut in half lengthwise, and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut into  1-inch cubes and pour onto baking sheet lined with foil (for easier cleanup). Add melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss and spread in a single layer. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize on edges. Turn the squash a few times with a spatula.  Remove to serving dish.

 

Lime Marinade and Herb Salad for Steak

herbs

This lime marinade has become my new favorite. Couple with the fresh herb salad topping and hit a homerun  with those at your table!.  The fresh brightness of herbs and tangy lime juice adds layers of flavor to grilled meats, fish or chicken. I use Mexican Mint Marigold in my herb mix because tarragon does not grow well here, but if you have tarragon, use that. We will have this again tonight with sides of baked potato and crispy lettuces, also from our garden. This is my version of Danny Boome’s, used when grilling flank steak on his Food Network show Rescue Chef.

lettuce

Lime Marinade

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1 orange, juiced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Add the steak and refrigerate for 30 -45 minutes, turning occasionally.  Remove from refrigerator and let come to room temperature before grilling or pan-searing steak.

Herb Salad

1 small bunch Italian parsley
1  small bunch sweet basil
1 small bunch cilantro
1 small bunch Mexican Mint Marigold  (or use fresh Tarragon if you have it.)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 limes, juiced
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash the herbs and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Remove the leaves from stems and chop slightly. Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Add  to chopped herbs a few spoonsful at a time until mixture is lightly coated with dressing.  You may not need all the dressing, but serve any remaining to pass with a small spoon at the table.

 

Fall Garden Dill Pickles

picklesbowl3_0

Fall means a number of eagerly anticipated things in our part of Texas.  One of them is a second growing season.  In our fall garden, Kristen and Nora are harvesting cucumbers! So we made dill pickles this week, a small batch which can be stored in the refrigerator.

pickles

Fall Garden Dill Pickles

Prepare the jars and lids you wish to use.  The number will depend on the size and quantity of available cucumbers.  Prepare more than you estimate needed.

12-15  pickling cucumbers, washed and patted dry

6 cups water

3 cups vinegar

2 Tablespoons pickling salt

2 teaspoons sugar

12 or more cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

whole  peppercorns

large bunch of dill

yellow mustard seed

Set jars out on a tea towel.  Into the bottom of each jar, place a garlic clove, one dill frond, several peppercorns, 1 teaspoon mustard seed.

Set aside any cucumbers you want to leave whole. Slice remaining cucumbers into 1/2 inch slices or spears. To make brine, combine water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in pan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat. Add cucumbers to jars to within 1/2 inch of top of jar . Do not pack them too tightly as you need room for the brine. Scatter more fresh dill,  garlic, mustard seed, and peppercorns on top of the cucumbers. Finish by pouring into each jar enough brine to cover the cucumbers. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least one week before eating. Pickles should be good for at least 6 weeks after that. These small batches disappear fast.

 

 

Roasted Lemon Chicken

lemonchicken1I love cooking in my iron skillet, flavoring with herbs and lemon, and easy entrees, so this is a new favorite. Served with a mixture of white, brown, and wild rice and a pan of roasted brussel sprouts with apples and pecans, everyone at our table gave it a thumbs up!  This is my version of Ina Garten’s recipe.

Roasted Lemon Chicken

1 teaspoon thyme (I used Penzey’s French Thyme)

 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup good olive oil

2  lemons, 1 halved and sliced, the second lemon juiced

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the thyme, 1 teaspoon salt,  1 teaspoon pepper and 1/3 cup olive oil  into a small bowl and set aside.

Put the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and scatter the onion and garlic over lemons. Place the chicken on top and rub with about half the herb mixture. Turn chicken breasts over, pat dry with paper towel. and rub with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan at edges of chicken and roast for another 15 minutes. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes Serve hot with the pan juices, lemon, and onion.

lemonchicken2

 

Blackberry Crisp

blackberrycrumbleUse blackberries, dewberries, raspberries, or blueberries (or a combination) in this old-fashioned crisp .A crisp is like a cobbler and depending on the fruit used can sometimes be called by names that make us smile –  pandowdy, grunt, slump, buckles, , croustade, bird’s nest pudding or crow’s nest pudding.  They are all simple variations of cobblers, and they are all based on seasonal fruits and berries, in other words, whatever fresh ingredients are readily at hand.  They are all homemade and simple to make and rely more on taste than fancy pastry preparation.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their recipes with them, such as English steamed puddings.  When they could not find their favorite ingredients, they used what was available. That is how these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names.

I made this one for a Saturday breakfast, but Joe can eat berry cobbler anytime!  It is tastiest when right out of the oven, and any leftovers never last long.

Blackberry Crisp

6 cups fresh Blackberries

1-2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.

For Topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 Tablespoons butter cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a deep baking dish. Combine berries, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl and pour into baking dish. In another bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Add the butter bits and mix with hands until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of berry mixture and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Shawarma

chicken-shwarma

True shawarma is cooked with stacked, spice-marinated meats– lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, or a mix of meats– on a vertical spit. This is an oven roasted dish, chicken shawarma style because of the delicious layers of flavor delivered by the mix of Mideastern spices. A friend shared the recipe from the New York Times on Facebook and I adapted slightly to arrive at this version.  I served this with green beans,  pita chips, tabouleh, and tzatziki. Wonderful!

Chicken Shawarma

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmericshwarmaplate
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 4 large or 6 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (could use boneless thighs)
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or mint

Put the chicken in the oven and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes, then slice into bits.Scatter fresh herbs ( I used mint)  over the top and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita and yogurt sauce plus a vegetable of your choice.