Archive for February, 2009

In Which Jess Fails At Food Blogging

Seriously, I suck at this!

Last week at some point I made Pomegranate Glazed Chicken, and it was okay.  Not great, and so apparently not worth posting about.  (The pomegranate syrup that I made to substitute for the pomegranate molasses I couldn’t find has made its way into a few cocktails and glasses of seltzer, however.  Nom nom nom.)

After that I made what was supposedly Fettucine With Parsley And Parmesan, but wound up being kind of a repeat of the Fettucine With Broccoli and Pine Nuts because I had both on hand and wanted something more substantial than just a bowl of pasta.

Today I went to the farmer’s market and bought really good turkey burgers from the turkey guys.  (As well as a bag of “parts” – mostly necks – that is currently simmering its way to stock in my slow cooker.)  I also bought a few parsnips and made the parsnip “fries” from this recipe.  This is one of my favorite sides and I always forget about it because who ever thinks to buy parsnips?  Fortunately, the farmer’s markets in the Northeast are still all about the apples and storage veggies, so the parsnips were looking pretty good.  Parsnip parsnip parsnip.  The word has lost all meaning.

Next week I’ll be returning to The Book once or twice, but as I said a couple of weeks ago, I’ve kind of reached the point where the remaining recipes just don’t look all that appetizing.  (Or healthy, for that matter.  Half the side dishes in this book are variations on mashed potatoes.  Do I really need a recipe for that?)

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Turkey Picadillo Empanadas

This was more time-consuming than I expected (I didn’t mentally account for the extra 20 minutes needed to bake the empanadas – oops!) but the results were really good.  I really wish FreshDirect sold regular ground turkey instead of just the all-white-meat version – fat free ground meat is pretty much the definition of useless.  (When I buy my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment, I can buy boneless skinless thighs and grind my own.  In the meantime, I just use a little more veg oil in the initial saute.)


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Mac & Cheese

The original recipe title was “spicy mac & cheese” but since I was making this for a 20-month old I left out the cayenne and the jalapenos.  Still very tasty though!  I also added some roasted veggies because I like my mac & cheese with roasted veggies.  I’m still going to count it as having made this from the book because I followed the recipe’s directions regarding the types and proportion of cheeses.  Also the cumin and coriander in the sauce, which was a nice touch that I think I’ll keep. Read the rest of this entry »


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Slacker Catch-up Post

I fell WAY behind last week, so this is a quickie catch-up post.

Shrimp Chalupas – yum!  Enjoyed by all.

Chiles Rellenos Casserole – let us never speak of it again

Sweet Potato Chili – not as good as a very similar chicken chili recipe I already have.  The sweet potatos were a nice touch.  Thumbs up from Dylan.

Ligurian Chicken – very nice, complete 1-pot meal.  Dylan enjoyed picking the bits of potato out of the potato-kale “filling.”

I’m reaching the point in the book where I’ve made almost all of the recipes I really really wanted to try, and am starting on the second tier.  We’ll see how it goes.

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Havana Black Beans / Cilantro Lime Rice

All recipes for cilantro-lime rice follow the same basic formula, and this one does not stray from the path.

Heat a few tbsp olive oil in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid.  Add some minced garlic, lime zest & lime juice, salt.  Add rice (I made 1.5 cups), saute until lightly browned and nutty.  Add water (twice as much water as rice), cover and let steam 30 minutes.  Stir in minced cilantro and scallions just before serving.  (Most recipes, including this one, also call for chopped spinach.  I accidentally turned all the spinach in my fridge into creamed spinach two nights ago, and so had none left for this rice.  Oops!) Read the rest of this entry »


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Imperial Orange Tofu

This is a nice basic recipe for the kind of “orange [insert protein here]” you can get at any Chinese fast food lunch buffet.  It would work just as well with chicken as with tofu, but actually the tofu has a really nice texture once it’s been battered and fried.  It was sweeter than I normally like for dinner, but not overly so, and the crispiness of the tofu really balanced it well. Read the rest of this entry »


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Chicken Toscana / Creamed Spinach

I’ll start with the creamed spinach, since I made that one first.  This is a very standard recipe with the very welcome additions of leeks and arugula. I used fresh baby spinach, but frozen would work almost as well.

In a saucepan or skillet with high sides, heat 1 tbsp each of olive oil and butter.  Add 1 chopped cleaned leek and saute until softened.  (The recipe says not to let it brown, but I really wouldn’t worry about it too much.  A slightly caramelized leek is no bad thing.) Add 10 oz (1 bag) fresh chopped spinach and 2-4 cloves chopped or pressed garlic.  Saute until wilted.  Add 1 tbsp flour, stir to evenly combine.  Add (slowly) 1/2 cup milk or cream, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook over med-low heat until slightly thickened.  Add arugula and season with salt and pepper.

It’s probably worth mentioning that the original recipe called for a full cup of cream, but I stopped after 1/2 because it looked plenty creamy already, and I didn’t want to water it down.

The chicken was equally easy and also delicious.  The key is the herb marinade that it sits in overnight – once those flavors have worked their way in, there’s almost nothing left to do but heat and eat. Read the rest of this entry »


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Twice-baked Potatoes with Cheddar and Jalapenos

This was originally a mashed potato recipe – I changed it up a bit because I really, really really love twice-bakeds.  And because you eat the potato skin too, they’re marginally healthier than mashed.

The recipe is a bit of a no-brainer.  Potatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, a couple chopped jalapenos (I used jarred tonight because I couldn’t find fresh on my way home), just enough butter and milk to make them fluffy.  Salt and pepper. Read the rest of this entry »


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